Li Jin’s Foodist Journey: Specialist Tiffany Chao Picks Her Favourites

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Li Jin is known for his sharp, witty and often irreverent works depicting people, places, food and wine, and based on his world travels. His colours are lush and vivid, his brushstrokes virtuosic yet nuanced, his subjects provocative, erotic and irrepressible. In the spring of this year, Li embarked on a whirlwind gustatory road trip, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and eventually, to New York. Forty exuberant ink on paper paintings and two enameled bronze sculptures inspired by this journey will be on view at Sotheby's Los Angeles this June. A weariness, perhaps even melancholy, lurks behind the revelry as Li seeks a balance between the spirit and the flesh. Tiffany Chao, Specialist in the Asian Art Division at Sotheby’s Los Angeles, has chosen six of her favourite works. Click ahead for a taste of Li Jin's raucous foodist travels. 

Li Jin: A Devout Foodist’s Journey to the West

8–28 June | Los Angeles

Li Jin’s Foodist Journey: Specialist Tiffany Chao Picks Her Favourites

  • Dog Lover
    “I am a dog lover as well. Animals bring out the most tender side of us and make our lives sweeter. What I like most about Li Jin’s painting is that he paints what he likes and reflects his feelings honestly. There’s a pure and simple joy the audience can relate to easily.”

  • Food and Sex
    “I like how he portrays food and sex – the two most basic human needs – so bluntly and directly. We go on a hunt for food at least three times a day to ease that churning urge that comes from the core of our body. The tongue is covered with thousands of taste buds and when it tastes delicious food, wine or a loving kiss, the immediate gratification leaves such a strong sensory imprint that drives us to seek more. Notice when Li Jin pursues his culinary desires, he is always in the company of beautiful women, never alone.”

  • Memories from Bellagio
    “Las Vegas is an oasis of ultimate indulgence, seducing people from all over the world with all kinds of mesmerising entertainment and glitter. Here Li Jin spreads his arms and embraces the women, while looking transfixed. The curving lines of a voluptuous woman’s body are probably what attracts him the most when painting. The bedazzling city lights and the smell of bodies must have enhanced his sensory experience while wandering through the strip clubs of Vegas.”

  • Fun in the Snow
    “I was also in New York when the blizzard hit; it stopped the city from functioning in its usual way and everything quieted down. Li Jin and his friends went on a stroll in Central Park and only met a few people out walking their dogs. The dogs particularly liked the snow and buried themselves in it. Although the bad weather postponed Li’s departure from New York, it also inspired him to paint this whimsical painting where fun could still be had though everything was closed.”

  • Contemplation in California
    “This is my favorite painting in the series; paying tribute to a common scene in classical Chinese painting where a man contemplates with his thoughts in nature undisturbed. Li Jin has his back towards the audience, perhap indicating that he wants a moment of quietness amid the gluttonous parties throughout his eventful journey.”

  • Acupuncture
    “This is a fantastic illustration which exaggerates the use of needles in acupuncture. In reality, not that many needles are needed when the right pressure point is located. He is shown with numerous needles sticking out from his body, looking just a little sad. Although the identity of the mysterious woman in the background is unknown, perhaps acupuncture is less painful when a nearly naked woman is involved.”








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