Mao LIZI 1950

Oil on canvas
130 x 97 cm (51 1/8 x 38 1/4 inches)

Mao Lizi – his true name Zhang Zhunli – was born in 1950 in the Chinese province of Shanxi.

Before receiving any formal artistic education, Mao Lizi made his first works in chalk, spontaneously sketching on the walls and floors of his childhood houses.

During these years, he was deeply influenced by a visit to the Forbidden City where he discovered ink works depicting bunches of grapes by the Ming dynasty painter Xu Wei.

“They seemed to my eyes to be drops of ink fallen at random on the paper. The beauty of this work lay in its simplicity.
It was an awakening for me. All along my career as a painter, I have sought to transmit this sense.”

In 1979, Mao Lizi entered the artistic scene in China as a founding member of the Stars group. Defying the Chinese government as part of this avant-garde movement that emerged in the wake of the Cultural Revolution, Mao Lizi was at this time known for his hyperrealist works, including depictions of wooden doors he saw in local countryside houses.

After the early exhibitions of the Stars, he subsequently became further renowned in his own right, through personal exhibitions of which the first took place at the Hefner Gallery in the USA in 1989.

In 1990, Mao Lizi moved to Paris where he was guest lecturer at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts. This period marked a shift towards a more conceptual approach and use of larger formats.

In 2000, after 10 years living in Paris, Mao Lizi returned to Beijing, drawn by the contemporary developments in his native China.

He set up his studio in Beijing to engage upon an exploration of new forms of expression, oneiric and vibrant, from which were born the works presented by A&R Fleury gallery.