Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

Li Huayi: Infinities between Ink and Gold

25 November 2021 - 12 December 2021



After around one decade of development of ‘illusive landscapes’ on paper, Li Huayi discovered the limitations of Chinese ink paintings taking a grand scale; enlargement of their size often resulted in the aesthetic qualities distortion. Li explored the idea of expanding the sense of physical space in his works, with the ambition to make large-scale Chinese paintings both engaging and vibrant. He attempted to paint on Japanese Antique gold-foil screens instead of paper, completing his first ink-on-gold-foiled-screen work in 2008.

In 2018, Li challenged himself to expand his boundaries. As the gold-foiled surface did not absorb ink effectively, it required meticulous re-application of the strokes. He ordered handmade silk from a specialist in Kyoto. First, Li outlined the composition and plated the tree body with gold foil, freely playing with the contrast between gold and ink. The luminosity no longer came from the background. It now appeared on the surface, making the tree a prominent and iconic character. Sometimes, the artist pressed the sand against the gold foil to create a sense of texture for the audience, and with it, the illusion of enormous space and depth for imagination. The new method of integrating gold foil and ink on silk gave Li the absolute freedom in creation, resulting in extraordinary works.

The exhibition features 12 of Li’s works from 2018-2021, showing his mastery in using gold-foiled media and integrating it with sophisticated ink strokes on silk. The result is both impactful and unpredictable. With his signature technique, the artist creates boundless spaces and a sense of time passage within his works. Li since has expanded his oeuvre with silver foil, which produces a unique moonshine-reminiscing luminescence.

By Appointment Only


Born in Shanghai in 1948, Li Huayi is one of the leading Chinese contemporary ink painters. At six years old, Li started learning traditional Chinese painting from Wang Jimei, son of a renowned painter in Shanghai. Li studied Western art under Zhang Chongren, and in 1982, moved to San Francisco to continue pursuing Western art, including Abstract Expressionism. Two years later, he graduated from the San Francisco Academy of Art with a master’s degree.

Nearly a decade of developing ‘illusive landscapes’ on paper, Li started painting with ink on Japanese antique gold-foil screens, completing the first work in 2008. Since then, Li’s art journey evolved into two parallel tracks: the original ink on paper format and the new direction involving foiled materials. But for 26 paintings from the artist’s later oeuvre, spanning 10 years, up to 2018.


25 November 2021
12 December 2021
Event Category:

Leave a Reply