London | Beijing

London Allotments
Li Tao
17 March - 13 May, 2023
Opening: 6 - 8 pm, 17 March, Friday

Tabula Rasa Gallery is pleased to present "London Allotments," a solo exhibition by artist Li Tao, opening on 17th March, 2023. This exhibition - featuring a sites specific installation and several sculptures - constitutes the outcome of Li Tao's artist residency spanning two months in London, during which he undertook a thorough exploration of the city's allotment system. Through this sustained engagement, he harnessed the unique potential of these spaces as a distinct agency for establishing and framing his observations of London.

The London allotment system has a rich history that dates back centuries and is rooted in the socialist ideal of providing every individual, even the poor, with a piece of land. Despite changing ownership between local authorities, landowners, and private individuals over the years, these allotments have now become an integral part of the community, surrounded by monotonous residential buildings. They serve as the local council's way of promoting communal spirit, improving public space utilization, and preserving the city's biological diversity. Amid contemporary upheavals, such as the pandemic lockdown, economic uncertainty, and social unrest, the recent surge in demand for allotments seems to reflect London residents' desire for a utopian escape and a physical and spiritual retreat from the world. The London allotment, with its unique presence in the cityscape, has become a physical manifestation of the collective mentality of Londoners.

The artist, fascinated by the paradoxical nature of allotments as planned, identical spaces that encourage individual freedom, has used research materials like site visits and photography documentation to create a site-specific installation in the gallery space. The installation's overall composition highlights the allotments' identical structures, while the use of various materials mirrors the greenery variety and individual creativity in each section of an allotment site. In this way, the installation becomes a metaphor for the contested individual freedom in a simulated reality, a panopticon, an all-seeing society.

About the Artist

Li Tao (b. 1971, China) is a Beijing-based artist known for his use of diverse industrial materials as agents of intervention. His repurposing of materials challenges viewers to consider new perspectives and provides a critical lens through which to explore contemporary social, economic, and political systems. Through site-specific installations and sculptures, Li reflects the cultural and political context of the local area, prompting viewers to rethink their assumptions about the world around them.

His recent solo exhibition include London Allotments, Tabula Rasa Gallery (solo, London, 2023), A Week, Tabula Rasa off-site project (Singapore, 2023), ARTsg 2023, Tabula Rasa Gallery (dual solo, Singapore, 2023), Pengzhou Bubble, AYE Gallery (Beijing, 2020), Universe · Secondary, Tabula Rasa Gallery and KWM artcenter (Beijing, 2019). He has participated in group exhibitions at various venues, including Shenzhen OCAT Museum, Beijing Times Art Museum, Chengdu Biennale, Art Basel Hong Kong, Art 021Art Fair and West Bund Art Fair in Shanghai.

Tabula Rasa Gallery (London)
Unit One, 99 East Road,
Hoxton, London
N1 6AQ
Tuesday - Saturday 12:00 - 18:00 | Sunday - Monday Closed

© 2022 Tabula Rasa Gallery

Tabula Rasa Gallery  (London)