Contradictions: Artistic Life, the Socialist State, and the Chinese Painter Li Huasheng

Jerome Silbergeld, Author, Gong Jisui, With
Jerome Silbergeld, Author, Gong Jisui, With University of Washington Press $50 (242p) ISBN 978-0-295-97155-1
Reviewed on: 12/13/1993
Release date: 12/01/1993
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Chinese painter Li Huasheng's dramatic, pure landscapes and realistic depictions of dingy towns are far removed from hydroelectrified socialist realism. Infusing a new subjectivity into the traditional ``literati'' style of Chinese painting, which is steeped in Confucianiam, Li (b. 1944) was vilified during the Cultural Revolution. Trumpeted as a rising ``youth artist'' of his native Sichuan province in the early 1980s, he was condemned in the anti-Western campaign of 1983-1984 but had his laurels restored in the late '80s. Now a salaried, state-sanctioned painter, this outspoken, chain-smoking, opera-loving individualist views success as a pitfall that could obstruct his artistic progress. In a profusely illustrated biographical study, Silbergeld, an art historian at the University of Washington, and doctoral candidate Gong Jisui provide a rare peek inside China's fiercely politicized art world. (Mar.)
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