“Reflection” by Lee Kuan-Lian 李冠嫾

November 8, 2022 – January 1, 2023

This exhibition will explore the philosophical symbols of Lao Tzu in traditional Chinese culture embedded in the creation of contemporary ink painting. There is an important idea of Lao Tzu, which is “Unity of Opposites.” In this “Reflection” exhibition, the artist explored the inner and outer sides of every person, which reveals the unity of opposites. “Seeing is not believing” when it regards a person’s outlook and his or her mind. With the development of the online social world, people develop more and more obvious multiple personalities. She takes this phenomenon as an inspiration for this “Reflection” exhibition. In the ink paintings, she tries to depict not only a person’s outlook but his/her inner images which “reflect” the real him/her.

The “Reflection” installation consists of Xuan paper, prisms, light beams, and the rainbow light scattered by them.

Xuan paper originated in the Tang Dynasty in China and is an ancient material about 1,400 years ago. The dispersion phenomenon of light in prisms was discovered by Newton in 1666 and was an invention more than 300 years ago. The two materials are separated by more than a thousand years, but they have been superimposed and juxtaposed in this exhibition. This concept is like Benjamin’s view of history as a structural subject. The present and the past are not a time-dependent relationship. Rather, it is a spatial superposition and juxtaposition.

This is also an important feature of contemporary art: to accommodate past history and traditions, and to superimpose and integrate different time and space. At the same time, it re-emphasized the essence of Lao Tzu’s theory: the unity of opposites.

Artist Biography:

During doctoral studies at CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing), Lee Kuan-Lian produced numerous works in the form of east-meets-west fusion. Through the medium of traditional Chinese ink painting, and adding the installation on the space, Lee Kuan-Lian’s depiction on contemporary world affairs are vividly presented. Her views on lost identity youths in “Fragile Series” were conveyed by “Art China” magazine. Allegorical techniques used by Lee Kuan-Lian invoke the audience’s thinking on topics such as AI & Humanity, Social Transformations, and Rich-Poor Inequality. The gold award was bestowed upon Lee Kuan-Lian’s “Who am I?” at the China-Japan International Art Exchange Exhibition held at the National Art Center, Tokyo.

She also received the Bronze award for her work “Switch” in the fine art category of the 2020 China Art Yearbook. Lee Kuan-Lian’s motto is “I just want to cross the one centimeter, between the eye of the brain.” She continues to work hard with the goal of arousing thinking with artistic concepts.


“East and West met a long time ago. How does the coexistence of Eastern and Western visual traditions continue to evolve? In the art of Lee Kuan-Lian, the graphic languages of Asian and Caucasian are not simply brought together, but interwoven, to the point where a hybrid of traditions – as well as of traditional and contemporary expression – emerges from a single hand. Lee has mastered techniques associated with West and East and found common ground between them. She can create seamless blends of these disparate practices and, often in the very same works, contrast them dramatically. The faces and figures she renders seemingly jump off modern billboards and onto ancient scrolls; the inner turmoil of her human subjects radiates outward and troubles the placid ponds that reflect them. Lee directs the poetry of Asian pictorialism in the theater of Euro-American visual space. Her images suspend between time and place, scene and enactment. The “reflection” Lee seeks is not simply the presence of a figure in water, but a thought in a gesture. It is also the mirroring and merging of artistic traditions from opposite sides of the globe in and into one another. There is a further dimension to Lee’s reflection, an entirely non-objective one brought to life with Xuan paper and pure light – a very modern use for a very old material. But here, it is the drama of the human condition Lee displays, a drama that well predates East and West.”

— Peter Frank, International Art Critic, Curator and Poet / Los Angeles, 2022

To learn more about Lee Kuan-Lian’s work, visit her website.

Reception Date: 11/11/2022 from 5 – 7 PM


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