Impasto layers blur portraits and landscapes in Li Songsong’s fragmented oil paintings



#china # impasto #memory #oil painting #painting #portraits

November 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

“I am what I am” (2020), 120 x 100 centimeters. All images © Li Songsong, shared with permission

Chinese artist Li Songsong (formerly) obscures portraits and larger landscapes with thick brushstrokes of oil paint. Her textured and impasto works are based on found photographs or imagined scenes, and each conveys a narrative linked to ordinary moments or a larger shared history. Varying the extent of the distortion in each piece, Songsong tells Colossal that questioning personal identity is central to his practice. The “cultural and historical aspects are linked to China, and the language and expressions are mine,” he explains.

Songsong’s recent works include a tender scene with an officer and his dog, a portrait of a hopeful pilot, and a panoramic shot featuring a crowd with hundreds of anonymous faces. The richly layered pieces speak to the hazy and fragmentary nature of memories and stories, especially those interpreted from a distance, and come into focus when viewed further away with a squint.

Beijing-based Songsong is currently working on a new series of works, which you can follow on their site.

“Blondi” (2019), 210 x 180 centimeters

“Blondi” (2019), 210 x 210 centimeters

“Tea for two” (2020), 210 x 210 centimeters

“No more tears” (2020), 100 x 100 centimeters

“You haven’t looked at me that way in years” (2020), 170 x 280 centimeters

“Three Decades” (2019), 210 x 420 centimeters

#china # impasto #memory #oil painting #painting #portraits

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