My Highlights from Art Central 2015
Tiffany Beres is an American curator based in China, having also curated in Hong Kong, the U.S., Singapore, and France. Formerly the international affairs officer and a specialist at China Guardian, she also lectures and writes on Chinese art history and Asian contemporary art.
The artworks below represent a range of the new ink art coming out of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. My selection includes a few talented emerging artists, as well as many of my favorite more established master painters.
Zeng Xiaojun is one of China’s most esteemed and cultivated collectors of antiquities. His paintings are as connected to his own scholarly taste as they are the literati painting tradition. In his paintings, Zeng focuses on the study of old trees, which, isolated as objects from the context of landscapes, remind us of the Chinese intellectuals’ fascination with these subjects as embodiments of their own spiritual perseverance in times of turbulence, as well as the wild and untamed beauty that can be found in nature.
Wei Bi is a Dalian-based photographer who has for the past decade or so been exploring how to combine photography and calligraphy. These works, which are neither just photographs nor paintings, have an air of timelessness. This is one of his latest works from the “Mengxi” Series.
Departing from standard calligraphic script types, Wei Ligang’s cursive forms interpret the Chinese written language so as to impart meaning in an abstract sense. Under the light, his gold-background works are particularly dazzling.
The late Taiwanese abstract artist Hsingwan Chen (1951-2004), was known for mixed-media assemblage works and her black and white ink paintings, both of which were inspired by her artistic heritage, and her journeys across Europe and the Middle East. An early pioneer in experimental ink, her works are meant to transcend tradition and reveal the artist’s inner feelings.
Hong Kong-based artist Wong Hau Kwei is known for his modern approach to the ink painting tradition of ‘sketching from nature,’ that is not only about the depiction of a subject, but is also about the interaction between the artist and nature.
This sculptural homage to the classical ink painter Hongren, who is recognized for reconfiguring and simplifying Chinese mountain landscapes during the early Qing Dynasty, is Zheng Lu’s own three-dimensional reconceptualization of Chinese landscapes. A trained calligrapher, Zheng has formed his stainless steel mountainscape using pieces of welded Chinese characters, both in intaglio and relief, which form a poetic text about landscape painting.
Li Hao is part of the emerging “Cold Ink” society in Beijing, a group of young artists who strive to recolor what we typically consider to be ink painting. Just as we know cold from hot, there is an instinctual feeling of “ink”—something that transcends any particular visual mark or definition.
Liang Quan is an innovative artist who has removed the brush from his ink art practice, and in many cases he takes the ink out as well. In this work—a playful visual diary—the colored pigments you see are actually drops and drips that came from tea that he was drinking.