Li Jinghu: The Reunion, held at Nodal Contemporary Art Space, Dongguan

Li Jinghu: The Reunion

23 April – 23 June, 2018

Curated by Leo Li Chen



Venue: Nodal Contemporary Art Space, Dongguan Culture Center, Southeast Gate, 6Hongfu West Road, Dongguan, Guangdong, China

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9am to 17:30pm; Closed on public holidays


Nodal Contemporary Art Space is pleased to present ‘The Reunion’ a solo exhibition by Li Jinghu. The exhibition comprises of new works centered on the gaps between personal identity and experience, which define both his art practice and everyday life -looking to draw upon the precarity and the difficulties wrought by China’s rapid process of urbanization.

2001 is the year when China officially became a member of the World Trade Organization and it also precipitated an unprecedented decade of fast-pace globalization for the domestic art market. The situation meant many artists from different parts of China were compelled to move to the commercial art centers of Beijing and Shanghai. It was during this period that Li Jinghu returned back to his hometown Dongguan from Shenzhen, an industrial region famous as the ‘Factory of the World’. Shuttling between participating in exhibitions within the international metropolises and returning to an ‘outsider’ status as a local artist in Dongguan, this experience no doubt contributed to Li Jinghu’s deep-rooted caution and suspicion, not only in regards to the boom bubble of the art world, but also the economic decline of towns in South China. These are the themes that sustain a reflection and motivate his practice to engage with the reality surrounding him.

‘The Reunion’ is an exhibition focused on the trajectory of an artist as he confronts the continual disruptions and issues he is faced with through his work. These themes are all interweaved within the body of recent work produced by Li Jinghu: from personal subjectivity to his role in society, local experience to the regional economy, and from the center of life to the periphery of art. In the exhibition, Li Jinghu uses a large proportion of industrial objects and raw materials as ready-mades that can be found anywhere in Dongguan such as steel railings, aluminum plates, furniture components, artificial diamonds and jewelry. Situated within the production and supply chain of globalization, Li Jinghu reworks at familiar looking pieces of schlock to question the hidden personal values we ascribe to these mass-produced objects. The function and cultural capital of these objects emerge from different contexts to reveal some very distinct value judgments.The exhibition adapts these products of man-made industry into a poetic collection of flowing ‘natural landscapes’, steel pipe waterfalls, ripples of aluminum, and forest parks created from nail polish. They evoke a romantic yet contradictory array of heterogeneous settings, where past memories and the present reunite together and where he mediates between individual experiences and the social reality of his hometown.

About Li Jinghu

Li Jinghu was born in 1972 in Dongguan, Guangdong, where he currently lives and works. Major solo exhibitions include:Time is Money, Magician Space, Beijing, CN (2014); Efficiency is Life, Magician Space, Beijing, CN (2014); Gie, Yangtze River Space, Wuhan, CN (2011); Snowman,Arrow Factory, Beijing, CN (2010); Li Jinghu: Forest, Observation Society,Guangzhou, CN (2009); Li Jinghu: One Day in Dongguan, J&Z Gallery,Shenzhen, CN (2009); No Problem, Shenzhen Sculpture Academy, Shenzhen, CN(2006). Important group exhibitions include: Among Friends, Boers-Li Gallery,Beijing, CN (2017); 1st Yinchuan Biennale, MOCA Yinchuan, Yinchuan, CN (2016);11th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, KR (2016); A Beautiful Disorder, Cass Sculpture Foundation, West Sussex, UK (2016); There Has Been, And May Be Again, PareSite, Hong Kong, CN (2016); This Future of Ours, Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing,CN (2016); THERMO MATTER, Shenzhen Art Museum, Shenzhen, CN (2015); The System of Objects, Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, CN (2015); Institution Production –Ecology Investigation of Contemporary Art of Young Guangzhou Artists, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, CN (2015); You Can Only Think about Something if You Think of Something Else, Times Museum, Guangzhou, CN (2014); Positive Space,Times Museum, Guangzhou, CN (2014); PAINT (erly), BANK, Shanghai, CN (2013);Daily of concept: A Practice of Life - The 15th Shanghai Duolun Youth Art Exhibition, Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, CN (2012); Pulse Reaction -An Exchange Project on Art Practice, Times Museum, Guangzhou, CN (2012)

About the curator Leo Li Chen 

Leo Li Chen is an independent curator and researcher based in Hong Kong, with a research focus on Chinese contemporary art. Also, Chen is a research fellow in City University of Hong Kong. His main research interest focuses on spatial and aesthetic politics, moving image and artistic intervention in Chinese cities. He was the curator of Adrift (OCAT, Shenzhen, 2016), That Has Been, and Maybe Again (Para Site, HK, 2016) and After Party: Collective Dance and Individual Gymnastics (Blindspot Gallery, HK, 2017), and so on. He is a long-term contributing writer for Artforum China, Leap, The Art Newspaper China and Art World.

About Nodal Contemporary Art Space

Nodal Contemporary Art Space is a meeting place affiliated with Dongguan City Cultural Museum in Guangdong Province. Established in 2018, it is the first non-profit art institution in Dongguan dedicated to the practice and research of contemporary art.