Lot 7
  • 7

Seafood Banquet

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  • Seafood Banquet
  • inscribed and signed LI JIN
  • ink and colour on paper
  • 53 by 230 cm., 21 by 90 1/2 in.
  • 2014

Catalogue Note

In contrast to the gravitas of the inscription and image relationship in traditional literati paintings, the casualness of text inscribed in Li Jin’s works is a refreshing interpretation of convention. Words are often lifted out of context, omitted, or modified, and then spill into the picture to become key composition elements that create new meaning altogether.

In Seafood Banquet, the grandiose and highly political poetry by Mao Zedong is interspersed between delectable seafood delights. The reasons for such words to pervade the painting could be that he was raised in a family where Mao’s poems were often recited or that he happened to peruse a Mao anthology of his triumphs and tribulations after having a lavish feast one evening. In any case, the ambiguous juxtaposition renders the seriousness of the words into festivity. Li Jin’s re-appropriation of text is less intended to focus on literal meaning than meant to capture a moment of indiscriminate spontaneity—an essential quality of the literati espousal of self-expression.