Beyond Black and White
Chinese contemporary abstract ink
20 July–3 September 2013
Opening reception on Saturday, 20 July, 2013, 5–7pm
Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present Beyond Black and White, an exhibition showcasing works by eight Chinese contemporary ink artists. These artists are part of a growing circle in China that draws inspiration from traditional Chinese ink painting and its philosophy as well as Chinese calligraphy. The exhibition opens to the public on 21 July 2013.
The medium and technique of ink and brush plays a significant role for these artists as they seek to display the unique heritage of Chinese artistic culture in a new, contemporary context that reflects today’s globalised world. The philosophy of ink painting also plays a central role among contemporary ink artists whose energy is laid bare in their artistic creations. This energy expresses another realm of beauty that goes beyond the visual quality of the painting. This is known as Qi, or vitality, and is one of the Six Principles of Chinese Painting, established by Xie He in the 5th century. This exhibition aims to address the role of ink and its enduring philosophy in contemporary China and challenge the traditional use of the medium.
The artists in Beyond Black and White are all deeply indebted to Chinese culture and art history, using these traditions to guide their work whilst embracing a wide range of sources including Chinese calligraphy, landscape painting and poetry. Whether it manifests itself through the medium, the philosophy or the form, they all draw inspiration from the classical canon.
The exhibition demonstrates that through an exploration of China’s past, contemporary Chinese artists are able to make sense of the present: creating works which are relevant in today’s society as well as being rooted in Chinese culture’s deep appreciation for artistic scholarship. It is this combination that has led to the popularity and re-evaluation of contemporary Chinese ink painting.
Tiger Wind is a monumental cursive calligraphy work by Wang Dongling. The artist’s rapid creative process is filled with uncertainty, and the large scale of the piece emphasizes the the relationship between the artist’s bodily movements and the finished work of art, whilst driving the viewer’s own immersive experience of the piece. Wang’s monumental work breaks through the traditional rules of penmanship, form and composition, revealing the artist’s unique and distinctive style and personality.
Wang Tiande is one of the significant "experimental ink" artists who emerged during the 1990s. In his installation Chinese Clothes Wang Tiande presents a traditional Chinese silk dress (qipao) which he has burned through to reveal glimpses of another layer of silk below covered in calligraphy. The tension between the painted and burned words and the costume is united by the traditional aesthetics of calligraphy, thus creating a deeper meaning beyond the object.
Yengisar Knife is from Qiu Zhenzhong’s ‘New Poetry Series’. Qiu uses his unique style and subtle control of space, time and line to combine elements of traditional Chinese ink painting for his modern art. His concern is the aesthetics of the space of calligraphy as well as the brushstrokes. Qiu’s paintings aim to liberate traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting from its typical ideology, so as to transform its aesthetic function into something more authentic and absolute.