Sam Francis & Walasse Ting; Friends
9 December - 30 January 2007
Opening Saturday, December 9, 2006.
Sam Francis & Walasse Ting: Paths Cross
The idea for the book 1¢ life began in Manhattan at the beginning of December in 1962, in the milieu of the new exciting art of the time. A small circle of friends would meet nearly every evening in the studio of Sam Francis. To one of those evenings, Walasse Ting, a refugee from mainland China added a special touch. He had learned English as a sailor on the boat trip from China to Europe. He wrote poetry, and painted in three different styles: figurative, abstract and beautiful classic Chinese pictures.
Ting wanted to publish the most international illustrated book, intended to illustrate his text, uniting tachisme, neo-dadaisme, pop art, and all other artistic movements. The project was completed in June 1964; around Ting's poems were grouped 28 very different American and a few European painters. The 'pop artists' formed the central core of the group. Among them were Warhol, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Rosenquist, Indiana, Wesselmann and Dine. There were the 'Abstract Expressionists' such as Sam Francis and Saura and members of Cobra as Pierre Alechinsky, Asger Jorn, and Karel Appel. Other great names such as Rauschenburg, Joan Mitchell, Bram van Velde and Riopelle also took part in the project. The book very quickly became the manifesto of a new generation of painters and the expression of the new pictorial research that they were engaged in.
Sam Francis was the editor of 1¢ life. Ting and Francis met in the early fifties in Paris where they both lived and worked. Friendships were shared with a group of artist who lived in Paris at that time as they both exhibited at Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. Ting and Francis's path would cross more than once artistically. In 1972 the Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania exhibited paintings of Sam Francis, Joan Mitchell and Walasse Ting together in one show titled Fresh Air School.
The friendship of Sam Francis and Walasse Ting was that of a special kind, they always stayed in touch over the years. Their last visit was in 1993, half a year before Sam Francis died. Walasse Ting suffered a severe brain haemorrhage in 2002 and is not able to communicate anymore or take part in life as he would have wanted to.
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