Xiaozhijian Li (b. 1997 China) is an artist currently works in London for a short time. He graduated from Royal College of Art MA Painting program in 2021. Recent exhibitions include ‘Philosophy Stones and the Four Elements’, Three Shadow Photography Art Center, Beijing, co-hosted by No Space; ‘Breath’, Cub_sim_ Art Space, Shanghai; ‘RCA 2021’ and more. In 2021 he was shortlisted for the Chadwell Award.
Xiaozhijian Li’s primary study is in Zen Buddhist philosophy and its involvement in Eastern Asian ink art. The Zen Buddhist philosophy and the ancient Chinese painting treatises provide a foundation from which his paintings come into being. Suggested by Liangzhi Zhu’s interpretation on Shi Tao’s Words on Painting (朱良志《石涛画语录讲记》), the mountain-and-stream (Shan- shui 山川) motif in traditional landscape paintings is seen as generated from discoveries of the painter’s individual true nature which is beyond the controlled of linear temporality or art historical forms and thus not acting as a mediation but mirroring the painter’s inward discovery suggesting that forms and mind are one. Similar writings and works touching upon the direct impact from visual forms to hearts have influenced Li’s work greatly as he tries to embody the authentic experience in paintings without overlaying painting with reading or interpretation. As Li’s practice evolves, the paintings emerged from this primary study start to suggest new directions hinted by other fields such as the Buddhist mandalas and others, but still not astray from his principal concern simply as “how is a painting generated”- the question of the formation of a painting that leads him back to the treasure of the heart teachings and the combination of the Original Wisdom(本智) and the Radiance of Its Merits(功德/游舞). In general, in his practice Li concerns the illusive topic of the nature of mind in Buddhist teachings and he thinks about how to infuse authentic experience provided by these teachings into two-dimensional visual forms after first obtain them in his mind and heart through reading and meditation. Under this dome, his works include different forms of styles that are not easy to put into one category, such as peaceful verses explosive, traditional verses modern and contemporary abstraction.