The Poetry of the Portrait. Jin Lie's paintings unfold a meditative atmosphere, a contemplative calmness. As with his earlier portraits of closest friends and acquaintances and his representations of nature Lie is interested in the essence lying deep within the portrayed personalities.
As Jin Lie’s second solo exhibition at the gallery, upstairs berlin is pleased to present the new body of work by the Berlin-based Chinese artist (born 1969 in the province of Shanxi). For his new cycle of paintings Lie was inspired by the publication The Poetry of the Portrait – which is also the title of the exhibition – by renowned Franco-German photographer and photo historian Gisèle Freund (1908 – 2000). Remaining true to his characteristical, poetical style, Jin Lie’s small-sized oil portraits (depicting Walter Benjamin, Jean Cocteau, Colette, Jean-Paul Sartre, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, T.S. Eliot, Henri Matisse, Marcel Duchamp, Simone de Beauvoir et al.) transpose the distinctiveness of the originals onto canvas. Lie adopts the photographs’ timeless intimacy and momentary value as his own and creates more than just an homage to Gisèle Freund’s œuvre. Through his sensitive portraits he approaches the depicted artists, intellectuals and writers manifesting his fascination for the European and particularly French postwar avant-garde of the past century.
Jin Lie’s works unfold a meditative atmosphere, a contemplative calmness. As with his earlier portraits of closest friends and acquaintances and his representations of nature Lie is interested in the essence lying deep within the portrayed personalities. He is passionate about their strong character, their often radical spirit which he observantly captures. Whether in subdued colours or black and white, Jin Lie’s paintings form a highly concentrated, aesthetic entity focussing on the essential.
Gisèle Freund’s photographs – taken in familiar surroundings and at close range – impress with a direct access to the subjects, providing an insight into their studios and creative environments. Jin Lie continues Freund’s poetry of the portrait in a determined way and lets the protagonists of a bygone era come alive again in the present, reinforcing their status as icons.
Opening 3rd floor: Friday, May 16, 2008, 6 to 8 pm
Upstairs Berlin Gallery
Zimmerstrasse 90/91, staircase A - Berlin
Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm.