More than 400 guests are expected in the atrium of the Opposite House hotel in Beijing Friday to get a peek at “Enhance the Beauty,” a collection of four oil-on-canvas paintings by Li Xiaoling. The Kunming-born artist says the subject matter – blooming peonies — so inspired her that she completed the paintings in 48 hours. “When I start my work, I never stop until I finish,” she says.
“I was born in Yunnan, a region of flowers, so I wanted to represent these elements of environment like a dream,” the 39-year-old artist says. The paintings are done in black and white – a call back to old-school Chinese ink-brush paintings – and each exhibits a unique trait. One shows a bird hidden in between the petals and branches; another, bees. A graduate of the Yunnan Arts University and later Beijing’s prestigious Qinghua University, Ms. Li started painting when she was 18. She quickly won a following in China, and her artwork has been exhibited in Beijing and Shanghai galleries. “Choosing which painting is your favorite depends on the personality of the viewer,” says Ms. Li, who says that as an artist she has been turning recently toward classical Chinese paintings and blending them with modern influences.
A former fashion model, Ms. Li is also simultaneously unveiling at the Opposite House a collaboration of nine men’s shirts produced with Italian bespoke tailor Rubinacci. Each shirt features a different motif that is embroidered either on the collar or the cuff. The shirts will carry the label “Lingli,” and will be sold as made-to-measure items in a shop – also called Lingli – that the artist plans to open in September in the Sanlitun North district of Beijing. Ms. Li has not set prices yet. “A few years ago, I designed a women’s collection for myself and sold clothes in Beijing. But this time with Lingli, I have international ambitions and plan to open stores in China as well as Europe and America.” The store will sell other clothing items for men and women, but not her artwork.