Li Shun: Chinglish

Installation Views
Press release

Make Room is proud to present Chinglish, an exhibition by artist Li Shun. Li’s debut exhibition in the United States brings together his latest series on paper, photography, and video.


Li Shun’s “Internet Sketch” series began with his thoughts and obsessions of Woyou (Imaginary Tour). Woyou originated in the Wei-Jin period in China. Confined by the conditions of transportation, ancient people did not have the freedom to travel around the world, so they turned to Shanshui Hua (Landscape paintings) as an alternative. Paintings became the window for ancient people to see the world at home. Li utilizes Google Maps as an index for him to experience the world without taking a step out.


Through Google Maps, Li closely observes and carefully chooses the landscapes that he wants to depict and takes screenshots on the computer. He then photographs the screenshots with a Polaroid and creates painterly sketches based on the screenshots. This mode of Internet Sketch incorporates the obscurity of blurred vision, the novelty of being irrelevant, and the spirit of an imaginary tour. The artist will present the printed screenshots, Polaroid photographs, and sketches altogether in the exhibition.


A virtual private network is required to access Google in China and unexpected bugs might occur when making screenshots due to issues like network speed, etc. These realistic reasons and surreal illusions indicate an English word with both strong directivity and ambivalence, “Chinglish.” The word’s contradictory senses, derogatory remarks, and especially, extraordinary effects make it a poignant word to interpret Li Shun’s work. The transliteration of “Chinglish,” Chigelishi (Eat History) also provides vivid and comical explanation. Li’s latest series of work presents a proper fusion of the solemnity of classic paintings, the form of modernism, and the appropriation of postmodernism.


Li Shun (b.1988 Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, China) received both his BFA and MFA from China Academy of Art School of Intermedia Art, now lives and works in Hangzhou. Recent awards and exhibitions include: TOP20 Chinese Emerging Contemporary Photographer (Hangzhou, 2017); The Civil Power: Beijing Min Sheng Art Museum Silver Award (Beijing, 2015); Nomination for The Sixth Three Shadows Photography Award (Beijing, 2014); The Second New Star Art Festival - Young Photographer Award (Shanghai, 2011); Solo exhibition: “CHINGLISH” (Los Angeles,2019); Solo exhibiton: “Oceanice Scroll” (Beijing, 2018); Art Basel HK solo project (Hong Kong, 2018); Second Changjiang International Photography and Video Biennale (Chongqing, 2017); Solo exhibition: “Li Shun” (Beijing, 2016); Calligraphic Time and Space: Abstract Art in China, Power Station of Art, (Shanghai, 2015); Writing Non-Writing: Hangzhou International Modern Calligraphy Exhibition, China Academy of Art Museum, (Hangzhou, 2015); “Using technology to interpret Art: Li Shun”, West Lake Apple Store (Hangzhou, 2015). Public collections include: White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney, Australia; HOW Art Museum, Shanghai, China; ZHI Art Museum, Chengdu, China etc.