Critic by Paolo De Grandis

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I have always been fascinated by Oriental art in its many aspects, from classical Chinese and Japanese art to contemporary art, which today occupies a strong position on the international scene, to the art of calligraphy, which I find of sublime expression. From the beginning of my career I have traveled with passion to discover these distant worlds with the desire to offer new opportunities to contemporary oriental artists in our country. This research started in the 1980s through numerous collaborations with Asian artists, museums and foundations and has never stopped. It has culminated at the MACRO - Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, with the project <From the Biennale di Venezia & OPEN to the MACRO, International Perspectives>, organized with Claudio Crescentini. This project is the extension of <OPEN, International Exhibition of Sculpture and Installations> that I launched with Pierre Restany in 1996 with the precise aim of creating an open-air exhibition of sculptures and installations coinciding with the Venice Film Festival and the Biennale. Over the years, OPEN has developed into a vast exploration of sculpture, which has intentionally extended to the field of installation.


Along the way, I met Li Chevalier, an extraordinarily talented artist whose works are so unique that it is not possible to classify them or label them in any way. They must simply be "exposed" and in what frame more appropriate than MACRO, where the Franco-Chinese artist presents a project full of the refined grace that characterizes her work. Li Chevalier pursues a plastic research where aesthetics is cherished and reveals the truth of the world. It is marked by the elegance and refinement of the pictorial technique and the staging in her installations.


When Li Chevalier leaves Beijing for Paris, her art reaches a new dimension where the Chinese tradition is nourished by a Western philosophical-aesthetic context that never completely absorbs it, but which influences it, making it more articulated. Her aesthetics of the void "fills" with new elements, which modify, fertilize and nurture her work


Another constant interest in the life of Li Chevalier is music that she has grown with in China since the age of 15 years. She then sang as a soprano at the Choir of the Paris Orchestra conducted by Arthur Oldham and Semyon Bychkov. She was accompanied by the soloists of the Paris Opera in many musical-visual events, including a premiere at the National Opera of China under the direction of Philippe Jordan, where violin solo Frédéric Laroque gave an impromptu in front of her monumental installation.


 This passion for music gives her installations a singular expressive timbre. Her productions reinterpret deeply the space, regenerate it, and create a dynamic landscape where one is immersed. The spectator moves in an enveloping space where light and shade, undulating water, wind breezes and the sounds of stringed instruments scarcely touch the precious and delicate art works : the ink worthy of the most beautiful classic technique, the dream landscapes, ally to reveal signs and stories. The finely painted violins are in harmony with fluctuating veils of ideograms, the black of the ink calls our gaze, enchanting and tracing "the trajectory of desire".


Her paintings maintain the purity of tradition, emerging from the sands, mists and the distant horizons. The sails of fine calligraphy evoke the spontaneous breath of Oriental creation while violins and music invade the space generating a poetic symphony with Western accents. In this meeting between East and West, an intercultural experience, an art of connections and interconnections, cross-education and mutual discovery, a unique artistic experience flourish. Her aesthetic universe, both complex and immediate, requires no analysis and captures us without mediation. The art of Li Chevalier is suggestion: tales of love, travelers, children, faith, nostalgia, choice. She reveals the sketches of a bridge, a woman, long hair, a cross, trees, a circle ... of Time.

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