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Li Xin, the ebb and flow of paint New

Philippe Piguet

« The subject is you, your impressions, your emotions towards nature. You have to look within yourself not around you. » These words were written by Delacroix in his Journal. Words that particularly resonate when one gazes at  Li Xin’s work. They invite us to take stock of the infinite space that the artist wishes to embrace. The monochromatic tone, the islets of matter, the stream and its breaches, the ebb and the flow all play a part in an artform determined by a mental experience, sensitive and memorable, whose key motif is the Yellow River. The River is in Li Xin, echoing the words by Cézanne : « The landscape is in me and I am its conscience. » The painter’s  actions all lead to the creation of a work articulated around this one and only motif. Although he knows that trying to capture the landscape in its whole, in its absolute fullness, is an impossible challenge, he finds ways to make it an organism that comes to life.
« Water, says Li Xin is my principal medium. » Through it paint comes into existence. It is water that shapes the image through the unforeseen, or even the accidents of its flow. After carefully selecting papers for their power of absorption, the painter says he makes them drink this water. Li Xin’s practice is therefore the fruit of a double osmosis: on one hand the emanations from the ink that he makes himself from rough pigments, and that slowly appropriate the iconic space ; on the other, the artist’s emotions that are chanelled by his body. The end result has nothing to do with flat monochromes. but on the contrary reveals a whole universe where one color goes through endless variations that float bewteen the ultra thin and the dense. In it, one can hear the memorable echo of the Yellow River that imparts a sort of geology to paint, and whose changing moods link to the theory of vitalism, so dear to the Century of Enlightenment, but that the painter prefers to associate with the principle of inner necessity advocated by Kandinsky. Backed by these references, Li Xin’s art defines the terms of a prospective pictorial thinking process that is anchored in tradition but also aims to renew it.