While graffiti is illegal in China, there appears to be a small but growing movement, according to Clarissa Sebag Montefiore of the BBC. It will be interesting to see if and how it develops. If China did have a vibrant street art scene, you could imagine that Li Tianbing would be one of the artists. Though he now lives in LA, his return visits to China have inspired his recent works in ‘Urban Scene’ at the JD Malat Gallery, bold images showing the contradictions and conflicts in modern China, while it continues its development as a leading commercial, industrial, technical and political world power, with new buildings springing up across the country, within a rich historic culture and its old political regime.
One of the contradictions of the exhibition is a series of works hung in the dark, luxurious meeting space at the rear of the gallery, taking on the atmosphere of an inner shrine, albeit with a larger modern light fitting in its centre – western vs eastern culture.
The detailed lively expressions on the faces of the people in the paintings stand out – and include images of Li Tianbing himself, alongside brothers and sisters he never had.