Li Chevalier, born in Beijing in 1961, is a Franco-Chinese artist. The experimental paintings of this artist are distinctive because of her personal method of bringing together on the canvas Chinese ink and paint pigments, mineral explosions, sable and materials of traditional Chinese art: rice paper and calligraphy.
Her work forms part of the permanent collection of the National Fine Arts Museum of Beijing. Two of her important pieces, in the collection of the French Embassy in China, are currently on show in the reception room of the Embassy Residence, alongside works of renowned Fran- co-Chinese artists Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun.
Franco-Chinese or Sino-French, Li Chevalier employs Chinese ink in an original way, to create shadowy and raid landscapes / non-landscapes, set on a background of chalky streaks and minute glimmers which emit nocturnal vibrations and recurrent stains, in the manner of the « controlled accident » of Toshimitsu Imai. The field of vision widens, flickers and closes in again on zones sometimes mineral, other times starry, under the unpremeditated assault of ink, sometimes associated with acrylic, with sand or as collages, all of which the artist’s thinking hand orchestrates with sweeping gestures of controlled effervescence.
At times we seem to perceive a vague silhouette emerging from a hazy mist, or perhaps a lonely Christian cross bent over by the breeze, evocative of a Breton Pardon ceremony. At other times, an aquatic, or even laval, impression emanates beyond the frame. At other moments, there is an approach to a muffled mobile abstraction with subtle zebra-streaked creases and phosphores- cent glimmers, evoking an environment of imminent danger. But in every case what prevails is an atmosphere, a presence.
There is a sort of melancholy, a deceptive distance, but above all a true mastery. They are essen- tially evocative, these grave and secretive images rooted in nature, but of a quintessential nature, belonging only to their author. We are left in no doubt that Li Chevalier, rather than giving in to the temptation of bridging a way between East and West, has created a world, her world.