Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center
1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong
Preview (invitation only): Wednesday, May 13, 4-6pm
Vernissage (invitation only): Wednesday, May 13, 6-9pm
Open to the public: Thursday, May 14, noon-9pm;
Friday/Saturday, May 15-16, noon-8pm; Sunday, May 17, noon-6pm
Featuring works by Gu Wenda, André Kneib, David LaChapelle, Ma Han, Shao Fan, Wang Tiande, Yi Zhou, Zhang Hao and Zhuang Hongyi
Contrasts Gallery continues its mission of showing cross-cultural, multi-disciplinary artists from a variety of backgrounds at the second edition of the Hong Kong International Art Fair. The Gallery does not follow the traditional Western model of an art gallery. Instead, it has evolved from the philosophy of Chinese Literati art, which promotes art for self-cultivation and embraces, rather than hierarchizes, creativity.
American artist David LaChapelle’s colourful large-scale photographs are shocking, surreal, and sometimes controversial, but never dull. He began his career working for Andy Warhol at Interview magazine before shooting for Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Rolling Stone, photographing celebrities and models with outrageous personalities. His works transcend magazine editorials with his commentary on contemporary culture, including the obsession with sex and celebrity through heightened reality.
French artist André Kneib’s ink and acrylic calligraphy paintings blend Chinese and European influences. Educated in China, Kneib infuses traditionally monochromatic Chinese characters with colour using lyrical abstraction coupled with traditional Chinese calligraphy techniques. The characters come to life when the pigmented brush connects with the paper. The varying pressure and movement of his brushstrokes express the artist’s emotional and physical engagement with his subject. Kneib has exhibited internationally with solo exhibitions at the National Art Museum in Beijing, Musée Champollion and the Taipei Museum of Fine Arts.
Shanghainese artist Wang Tiande’s mixed media works are inspired by traditional Chinese landscape paintings. His Gu Shan series depicts beautiful, misty mountain landscapes. Upon closer inspection, one will find that these mountains consist of mounds of calligraphy book ashes arranged and digitally manipulated by the artist. Without using ink or brush, Wang manages to reinvent traditional Chinese ink brush paintings for the present.
Gu Wenda’s splash ink calligraphic Totem Landscape paintings are part of his 1983-87 “pseudo-calligraphy” series. Ancient seal-style characters, now mostly unreadable to modern Chinese people, are manipulated to convey a “mythical sense of infinity and eternity”. Instead of deriving content from the semantics of a character, meaning can only be interpreted from form. While his contemporaries looked to the West for artistic inspiration, Gu focused on Chinese traditions, while rejecting past Chinese doctrines due to lingering distrust from the destruction caused by the Cultural Revolution.
Yi Zhou is an exciting young multimedia Chinese artist living between Paris and Hong Kong. She works in film, digital animation, photography, sculpture, painting, and drawing among other media, with her works delving into the “symbolic language of the unconscious”. In 2006, she staged a solo exhibition Three Cantos, Prefiguration: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Based on Dante’s Divine Comedy, the multi-part installation featured surreal imagery and film projected on carved marble sculptures, depicting the fall of Lucifer, Purgatory Mountain, and a peaceful paradise. On view at Art HK09 will be watercolours of imagery from the installation.
Also on show will be three-dimensional multimedia paintings by Ma Han, painting and sculpture by Shao Fan, contemporary Chinese calligraphy-inspired ink brush by Zhang Hao, and colourful rice paper and ink works by Zhuang Hongyi. These artists all push the boundaries of conventional media, exploring new forms of expression.
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About Contrasts Gallery
Contrasts Gallery is dedicated to presenting creative excellence in art and design from East and West to the international art community. Founded by Pearl Lam in 1992 in Hong Kong, the Gallery nurtures and promotes creative talents where art, architecture, and design intersect. The gallery’s exhibition program is designed to create new cultural exchanges by representing artists from all parts of the world working in divergent traditions and across disciplines. Contrasts Gallery is based in Shanghai with an additional gallery in Beijing.