Li Huasheng Chinese, 1944-2018


In 1987, exposed to works by international artists during a five-month trip to the US, Li Huasheng (b. 1944, Yibin, Sichuan Province), one of the foremost traditional Chinese landscape painters of his generation, came to a radical life and art practice transformation.


In near complete seclusion, Li barely painted throughout the following decade, frequently venturing to Tibet. Inspired by the 

image of the lines formed by the Tibetan monks marching toward Jokhang temple Li began to visualise existence in the form of a line. 

Starting from the late Nineties, the line becomes the artist’s most fundamental expressive cipher and reflects Li’s mental and physical state at the time of its execution. Reminiscent of an ECG it records the rhythm of the artist’s qi (vital energy), the slightest fluctuations of which are detectable in the inherent character of the brushstrokes, speed, force, turn, pause and direction of the brush. Since the beginning of his breakthrough into abstraction, Li has adopted a strict work routine based on meditation and controlled reiteration of the gesture. 


This methodology leads to the formal systematisation of intersecting linear compositions arranged in grid-like configurations 

inspired by architectural elements and natural patterns. Alongside this work, during the last 20 years, Li has developed an increasingly 

radical formal simplification of both Chinese calligraphy and the natural landscape, where the majestic Himalayan peaks are portrayed either in the artist’s sublime “one stroke paintings” style or in his rarefied and highly spiritual series known as “misty landscapes”.


The Mayor Gallery presents a selection of Li’s recent ink paintings on paper, a rare opportunity to admire the revealing works by this self-secluded Chinese artist.