Artworks by Li Zhanyang

The Nightmare by Li Zhanyang

Mixed Media Installation (Fiberglass sculptures of girl & man, Worksheets, Schoolbags, Sculpted Stainless Steel)
Overall dimensions variable, Girl: 130 x 50 x 40 cm, Man: 175 x 60 x 36 cm

Opening Ceremony by Li Zhanyang

35 x 50 x 98 cm

Street Scenes- A Tale of Two Cities by Li Zhanyang

121 x 210 x 170 cm
Mixed Media Sculpture

Four Great Thinkers by Li Zhanyang

150 x 311 x 310 cm

Street Scenes- Railway Station by Li Zhanyang

98.5 x 198.2 x 42.5 cm

Street Scenes- Lido Bar by Li Zhanyang

118.5 x 224.5 x 58.5 cm

Sheep flock by Li Zhanyang

185 x 80 x 17 cm

RMB 80,000 by Li Zhanyang

40 x 50 x 35 cm

The Nightmare (Red Scarves) by Li Zhanyang

Mixed Media Installation (Red scarves, Pencils)
Dimensions Variable

Li Zhanyang


“I don’t belong to the school of artists who seek strength and anchorage in political resistance.”

Born 1969, Changchun, Jilin. Lives and works in Chongqing

Established Chinese contemporary sculptor & Installation artist Li Zhanyang is a hot property among the most famous art collectors. Li Zhanyang achieved great commercial success and is one of contemporary installation art’s biggest names in the market, having created some of the most magnificent & memorable installation & sculpture works.

Li Zhanyang’s sculptures are like 3D video grabs of life in his city’s teeming streets. “My works are created to tell stories,” he says—rollicking stories of thieves and prostitutes, cops and drunks. He has been drawn to crowds since he was a child; his first painting, done at age thirteen, was of a food market. Moving to the big city in his late twenties, Li Zhanyang would spend hours in louche bars, seeing “whatever there was to see”, then go home and sculpt the scenes from memory. He went on to recreate gambling dens, railway stations, brothels and bus stops. Once, Chinese sculptures had to be monumental, heavy with political messages. Li Zhanyang’s work is happily trivial and frequently vulgar.He incorporates events from folktales, rendering them as contemporary events, the kind of thing seen every night on China’s TV news.

If one scrutinizes the current relationship between art and reality—as viewed from the vantage point of contemporary art history—one may discern a noteworthy trend: In the belief that modernism somehow enables them to peer into the wellsprings of verity and reality, many artists are striving to project art directly onto “reality”. The function of art is adopting a natural tendency to mirror history as it appears when cast against the backdrop of reality. Consequently, a close link between modernist history and social crises becomes an inescapable concomitant to Chinese history. Since the advent of the policy of opening up and reform, our transitioning society has unleashed an abundance of complications into China’s own backyard reality. These in turn provide a rich vein of resources for avant-garde Chinese artists to mine, resources that ultimately trace their source to diverging worldviews. This is one reason why this artistic genre has attained such a unique appeal.

The contrast between dreams and reality is huge, and casts a lingering shadow, one that is not easy to dispel. Li Zhanyang has to seek sole recourse in an artistic approach to tackle this question—this appeal—even seeking a haven in delirium in order to obtain just a cold crumb of comfort. Or perhaps this is just the grin-and-bear it resistance of that which is styled the art method when squaring up to the sheer immensity of reality. This departure from one’s own cultural context to come nearer to the yearning for a method of creating reality must nevertheless shoulder a responsibility towards posterity to truly reflect upon the reality it captures, and so this also represents an obligation in the purest sense that an artist is bound to assume.

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

Yan’s Salon II · Li Zhanyang Sculpture Exhibition, China Forest Club, Beijing, China
Banana, Organhaus Art Space, Chongqing, China
The Nightmare, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China

Chinese Patients, White Box Museum of Art, Beijing, China

Libido, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland

Rent – Rent Collection Yard, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China

The Naked Human Body, Zhu Qizhan Art Museum, Shanghai, China

Scenes, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland

Life Myriad, China Art Archives & Warehouse (CAAW), Beijing, China

Instant Upstarts Series, Gallery TC/G Nordica, Kunming, China

Li Zhanyang’s Sculptures, Alleyway Gallery of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

Selected Group Exhibitions:

28 Chinese, Asian Art Museum, San Franciso; San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, USA
Il Giardino Incantato, Palazzo Tè, Mantova, Italy
Mármakos, Galerie Urs Meile, Lucerne, Switzerland

Memory, BIENNALE CHINA-ITALIA, Beijing 3 Art Gallery, Villa Reale, Viale Brianza, Beijing, China, Monza, Italy
The Shadow of the Moon Changwon Sculpture Biennale 2014, Changwon, Korea
Re-Sculpture 1 Sanguandian Art 2014, Hubei Museum of Art, Wuhan, China
Nanjing International Art Festival Work Collections, Nanjing International Expo Contro, Nanjing, China

28 Chinese, Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, USA
Voice of the Unseen: Chinese Independent Art Chinese Independent Art Since 1979, Collateral Event of the 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Portrait of The Times – 30 years of Chinese Contemporary Art, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China
Contemporary Art in China, Zhong Gallery Gmbh, Berlin, Germany

The Second Session of the International Art Biennale In the West of China 2012, Yinchuan Cultural Arts Center, Ningxia Yinchuan, China
Magnanimity – Collection of Atypical Works by 21 Chinese Artists, White Box Museum of Art, Beijing, China
National Exhibition of Art Works in Celebration of 85th Anniversary of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) – the 12th Exhibition of Art Works of the Whole Army, National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Beijing, China
Hundred Years of the National Museum of China – Exhibition of Hundred Years of Chinese Sculpture Works, National Museum of China, Beijing, China
Environment Spirit, 2012 Western China International Art Biennale, Tian Ye Art Museum, Yinchuan, China
The 1st Project of the 4th Guangzhou Triennial – Disenchantement of Chinese Imagination, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China

Start From the Horizon – Chinese Contemporary Art Since 1978, Sishang Art Museum, Beijing, China
Chongqing Biennale, Chongqing Art Museum, Chongqing, China
Enlightment – Datong 1st International Sculpture Biennale, Heyang Art Museum, Datong, China
5x5Castelló2011 – Premi Internacional d’Art Contemporani Diputació de Castelló,
Espai d’ Art Contemporani de Castelló (EACC), Castelló, Spain

The State of Things. Brussels/Beijing, National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), Beijing, China
Reshaping History – Chinart from 2000 to 2009, China National Convention Center, Beijing, China

Beg Borrow and Steal, Rubell Family Collection, Miami, USA
The State of Things. Brussels/Beijing, BOZAR, Brussels, Belgium
Yi Pai – Century Thinking, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China
Originaire-Installation Exhibition, De Shan Art Gallery, Beijing, China.

A Hubbub of Voices, the 4th Songzhuang Culture and Art Festival, Song Zhuang, Beijing, China
People History – Looking Back into Chinese Art in the 20th Century, CAFA Art Museum, Beijing, China
Hypallage – the Post-Modern Mode of Chinese Contemporary Art, the OCT Art & Design Gallery, Shenzhen, China
Ah, We – Contemporary Chinese Art over the 30 Years, National Centre for the Performing Art, Beijing, China
Beijing – Malmo, Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Hua Qiao Cheng, Beijing, China
Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, USA

Urban Mirroring – Contemporary Art Exhibition, Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, China
Grassroots Humanism: 21 Cases of Contemporary Art, Songzhuang Contemporary Art Museum, Beijing, China
Mahjong – Chinesische Gegenwartskunst aus der Sammlung Sigg, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria
Starting from the Southwest: Exhibition of Contemporary Art in Southwest China, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China
Thermocline of Art – New Asian Waves, ZKM – Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany
Art from China – Collection Uli Sigg, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Year of the Golden Pig – Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection, Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
Floating – New Generation of Art in China, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea

CHINA NOW – Faszination einer Weltveränderung, Sammlung Essl, Klosterneuburg, Austria;
Kunst der Gegenwart, Vienna, Austria
Mahjong – Chinesische Gegenwartskunst aus der Sammlung Sigg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany

Mahjong – Chinesische Gegenwartskunst aus der Sammlung Sigg, Kunstmuseum Bern, Berne, Switzerland
Tolerance and Identity – Focus on China, Free Visual Academy of Fine Arts, Den Haag, The Netherlands
Second Beijing International Art Biennial, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China
Grounding Reality, Gallery Mee, Seoul, Korea
Village in the City, Art Now Gallery, Beijing, China
The Wall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, New York, USA;
Millenium Art Museum, Beijing, China
Createurs du Nouveau Monde – Montpellier Chinese Contemporary Art Biennial, Montpellier, France
Xian Feng! Chinese Avantgarde Sculpture, Beelden aan Zeebowuguan Museum Den Haag, Den Haag, The Netherlands

The First Wuhan Fine Arts Invitational Exhibition 2004, The Gallery of Hubei Institute of Fines Arts, Wuhan, China

An Opening Era – Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Founding of the National Art Museum of China, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

Good Harvest: China Contemporary Art Exhibition, Agricultural Museum, Beijing, China

The First Chengdu Biennial, Chengdu Modern Art Museum, Chengdu, China

Time of Reviving – Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Art, Upriver Museum, Chengdu, China