Home > Arts > Major retrospective for artist Li Yuan-chia, produced by inIVA, opens in January at Camden Arts Ce

Major retrospective for artist Li Yuan-chia, produced by inIVA, opens in January at Camden Arts Ce

Added: (Wed Nov 29 2000)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Li Yuan-chia

Camden Arts Centre, London, 26 January – 18 March 2001
Press View: 25 January 4.30 – 6.30pm

Curated by Guy Brett and produced by inIVA in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre

'You can look at my work symbolically
You can think of it conceptually
You can play with it as a kind of toy or game
Or you can appreciate it for its own beauty'
Li Yuan-chia, 1976

At once an artist, curator, poet and archivist, Li Yuan-chia’s inclusive approach to art and life anticipated the attitude and practice of many of today’s contemporary artists. Defying easy categorisation, he has tended to slip through and between the histories of art. Yet Li Yuan-chia ranks among the most original and radical of post-war artists: his contribution to contemporary art is as significant as that of contemporaries such as Hélio Oiticica, David Medalla and Lygia Clark. Li Yuan-chia’s work embraces the ordinary and everyday at the same time as it offers a glimpse into the cosmic and the universal.

This exhibition, curated by Guy Brett, draws together different strands of Li’s career and production - from his early drawings and paintings through to his installations, sculptural reliefs and extraordinary photographs and films. 'Li Yuan-chia' marks a departure from the traditional retrospective, focusing predominantly on Li’s photography and the development of the ‘Point’ as a formal and conceptual device through which he scrutinised the world. Produced by the Institute of International Visual Arts (inIVA) in collaboration with Camden Arts Centre, it will be the first major showing of this remarkable artist’s work in the UK.

Born in China, Li Yuan-chia studied art in Taiwan where he is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Chinese abstract painting in the 1950s. Travelling from Taiwan to Italy and then to England, he arrived in London in the 1960s to exhibit at David Medalla’s and Paul Keeler’s Signals gallery and later showed with the Lisson Gallery. After leaving London in 1968, he spent the remainder of his life in Cumbria where he had a profound impact on the lives of local people and on the cultural scene. Having established the LYC Museum in his own home, he was able to pursue his interest in creating an environment for art free of all hierarchical constraints. His generosity of spirit led him to create opportunities for over 300 artists and poets including Andy Goldsworthy, Shelagh Wakely, David Nash, Joel Fisher, Bill Woodrow, Frances Horowitz and Tom Pickard.

The exhibition will be accompanied by 'Li Yuan-chia: tell me what is not yet said', which is published by inIVA, January 2001. This 160-page fully illustrated monograph includes an essay by Guy Brett and a selection of the artist’s poems edited by Nick Sawyer. Advance press copies are available: please contact Nick Hallam or inIVA for further details. (Retail price: £20.00)

Camden Arts Centre is on Arkwright Road, London NW3 6DG
Tuesday–Thursday 11am-7pm; Friday–Sunday 11am-5.30pm; closed Mondays
Tel: 44 (0)20 7435 2643

For further press information and images, please contact Nick Hallam (tel: 44 (0)20 7439 0972) or Antonia Carver (tel: 44 (0)20 7729 9616 or email acarver@iniva.org).


The exhibition tours to the following venues after Camden Arts Centre:

Abbot Hall Art Gallery and Museum, Kendal 28 March – 3 June 2001

Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels 6 July – 9 September 2001


'Li Yuan-chia' is supported by the Arts Council of England with national lottery funds, London Arts and The Henry Moore Foundation.

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