Exotica, the latest series of LI Huayi, is the fruit of his adventures in recent years. Since 2007, LI has traveled extensively through famous mountains and wild rivers across the country, including Lushan (Jiangxi), Wuyishan (Fujian)、Zhangjiajie (Hunan), Emeishan (Sichuan), Huashan (Shanxi), Taishan (Shandong) and Huangshan (Anhui), visiting historic sites and secluded peaks and rugged corners. In 2015, he took a month-long trip to Huangshan, Qiyun Mountain, Jiuhua Mountain, and Tianzhu Mountain in Anhui Province; visited the Wulong natural karst bridges in Chongqing; and made a special trip to previously inaccessible areas of Sichuan, Hubei and Hunan, including the spectacular Wulingyuan area, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Far removed from the rapid pace of the contemporary world, the artist is tapping into a mindset and a relationship with nature that seems to be all but forgotten. As he takes in the majestic scenes, LI seeks out an invisible natural energy, one that triggers a subconscious evolution within himself, and results in a new outlook on the world. As he translates this energy into his own surreal landscapes, LI Huayi presents us with an extraordinary glimpse into a world beyond our reach.
With a crystal-like sensitivity, LI weaves these otherworldly compositions using fantastical ink splashes, creating mystery and imbuing his works with breathtaking tension. As if holding a drop of ancient ink, bequeathed to him by the masters of the Song Dynasty, he revitalizes and transforms it into unprecedented three-dimensional dreamscapes, opening a new direction for Chinese ink painting in the 21st Century, one that incorporates a global sophistication.