Artist Profile

A founding member of the Political Pop movement of the 1990s, Li Shan is internation-ally known for his iconic portraits of a youthful exuberant Mao Zedong set against colourful backdrop, and usually accompanied by a lotus flower. Artists of this genre experienced China’s dramatic transformations and social upheaval during the 1980s and 1990s, recycling images of party propaganda from their youth. Born in 1942 Heilongjiang Province, Li grew up during the rise of the Chinese Communist Party. After studying at Heilongjiang University in 1963 he pursued further studies at the Shanghai Theatre Academy in the Department of Theatre Design in 1964-68 specialising in oil painting. Significantly, during the late 1970s he became actively involved in the Shanghai contemporary art scene, and participated in several exhibitions featuring the new generation of Chinese contemporary artists –what would become known as the 85 New Wave Movement artists. In 1993 his works were featured at the 45th Venice Biennale.


1942   Born in Lanxi County, Heilongjiang Province, China

1963   Studies at the University of Heilongjiang, China

1964-68   Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Drama, Arts Department (oil painting), Shanghai, China

1969   Works in a military farm in Zhejiang Province, China

1985-94   Lecturer at the Art Research Institute, Shanghai Academy of Drama, Shanghai, China

Currently living in Shanghai, China

Solo Exhibitions

2014   Extension Expansion, MoCA@Loewen, Singapore
2012   Reading Li Shan, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan
2007   Reading Li Shan, ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai
2005   Reading - Photoworks
2003-2005   ShanghART H-Space, Shanghai, China
2004   Li Shan: Small new works, ShanghArt Gallery, Shanghai
2002   Reading, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, China
2000   Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong
1976-1992   Alisan Fine Arts at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong; Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan
1990   Shanghai Academy of Drama, Shanghai, China

Group Exhibitions

2016   Alisan Fine Arts: Celebrating 35 Years of Promoting Chinese Contemporary Art, Hong Kong Central Library, Hong Kong
2015   Early Abstraction in China
2012   Important Contemporary Chinese Artists, Alisan Fine Arts, ARTHK12, Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Hong Kong

Shanghai Art Fair-Special Project, China

Shanghai History in Making from 1979 till 2009-curator: Biljana Circ 436 Jumen Rd.

Art 40 Basel: Group Exhibition Art Fairs Basel, Switzerland

Yi Pai - Century Thinking A Contemporary Art Exhibition, Today Art Museum, Beijing, China

CIGE 2009, Art Fair, China World Trade Centre, Beijing, China

2008 FIAC 2008, Grand Palais, Paris, France

Shanghai Art Fair, China

Accumulations–The Spirit of the East: Group Exhibition, Asia Art Centre, Beijing, China

Blackbridge 08' Contemporary Art Exhibition: Group Exhibition, ArtGallery Blackbridge, Beijing, China

2006 The Pumpkin Project - Li Shan & Zhang Pingjie Bio-Art Exhibition: Solo Exhibition, ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai, China

85 New Wave - The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art: Group Exhibition, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China

Strategy on Paper - Works on Paper Invitational Exhibition: Group Exhibition Square Gallery of Contemporary Art, Nanjing, China


The Wall-Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, University Buffalo Art Galleries, Buffalo, New York, USA; Millennium Art Museum, Beijing


Dajia-Studies on Design from Contemporary Art, Museum of Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Open Sky, Grand Opening of Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, China


Paris-Pekin, Espace Pierre Cardin, Paris, France


Inside Out:  New Chinese Art, Asia Society Galleries, New York; Contemporary Art Centre, Long Island City, New York, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, CA, USA; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Monterrey, Mexico; Tacoma Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, WA, USA; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong


Chinese Art: Post 1989, Hanart TZ Gallery, Hong Kong; Sydney, Australia; New York, U.S.A.

45th Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy 

Chinese Art: Post-1989, Marlborough Gallery, London, Great Britain


Begegnung mit den Anderen, Projektgruppe Stoffwechsel, Dokumenta Kassel und Hamm; Munich; Germany


7 Modern Painters from the People's Republic of China, Galerie Werner Melletin, Cologne, Germany

Contemporary Chinese Art, China Art Museum, Beijing, China


2nd Concave/Convex Installation Exhibition, organised with sculptor Yu Shen, Shanghai, China


A State of Transition: Contemporary Painting From Shanghai, Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong


9th Exhibition of the Japanese Artists Group, Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan

1st Concave/Convex Installation Exhibition, organised with sculptor Yu Shen, Shanghai, China

Grand Opening Exhibition at Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, China


Stage '83: Painting Experiments, Futan University, Shanghai, China


Painting the Chinese Dream: Chinese Art 30 years after the Revolution, Smith College, Northampton, MA; City Hall, Boston, MA; Brooklyn Museum, New York, USA


Yallay Gallery, Hong Kong  

[LS001] - Yellow Double Mao
Acrylic and collage on canvas
40.1×42 cm