10 Chancery Lane Gallery in Hong Kong is proud to present “TIME LINE, ABSTRACT ART FROM CHINA” curated by Tang Zehui featuring four of Mainland China’s most innovative abstract artists - Chi Qun, Gu Benchi, Jiang Weitao and Liu Wentao. These four artists interpret the “line” in varied ways of repetition, interweaving or layering to create a transcendental space of meditation.
Born in the 1970s and 80s, with rigorous academic training or self-teaching, they have all chosen the abstract as their individual art direction. As curator Tang Zehui explains, “As can be seen in this exhibition, their "abstraction" is very different from the classical abstract works of Western modernism. They are not intended to present an absolute idea nor pursue the so-called "significant form" approach theorized by art historian Clive Bell, nor do they move toward complete materialism as minimalism. The creation is rooted in the daily manual process of making the works, using their own being to have a constant dialogue with the object over an extended period of time. Although they are skilled artists, their intent is not to emphasize their skill, nor to deny the handwork involved in the making of their craft. The intent is an unspoken understanding of the physical attributes of the material itself and the artists’ hand in making it.”
Liu Wentao (born 1973 in Qing Dao, Shan Dong province, China, and lives and works in Beijing) makes alluring and engaging tableaux using only graphite and canvas. A rising star on the Chinese art scene, he has had several museum exhibitions. He is a graduate from the esteemed Central Academy of Fine Arts Department of Printmaking, where he is now a professor, and he went on to the University of Massachusetts to continue studying in the United States. Trained in the art of copperplate engraving, he honed his practice of fine-line drawing to expand to large two-metre square canvases of diverse plays on perspective in monochrome trompe l’oeil. The works have a drawing-in quality that does not cease to fascinate the viewer.
Chi Qun (born 1981 in Shandong Province, China, and lives and works in Beijing) is a female artist who graduated with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mural Painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Her many-layered paintings of oil on canvas are a series of engravings resulting in a textural and seductive bas-relief of up to 8 layers of pigments. The scratches are meticulously worked creating a textile-like quality. Chi Qun explains "creation is also a way of thinking". She communicates with herself while creating, as to clarify and precipitate various emotions.
Jiang Weitao (born 1975 in Shanghai, China, where he lives and works) is a graduate of the Fine Art Academy of Shanghai. He has developed his abstract modernist technique by way of tradition. His work is a philosophical link between Chinese calligraphy, painting and poetry. He has a daily practice of repetitive writing that allows him to forget himself and liberate his strokes to develop stunningly rich paintings that glow with a lucid transparent veil of deep colour tones. It is no wonder that he strives to represent complexity with simplicity and at the same time stillness and movement in a Taoist contemporary abstraction.
Gu Benchi (born 1979 in Shanghai, China, where he lives and works) is a self-taught artist who started his career as a designer. He uses one of the most innovative materials in his practice being polyester thread that he weaves into splendid three-dimensional wall hangings, sculptures and site-specific installations. For the Time Line exhibition he will create a specially designed installation to transform the window of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery. The complex lattices of colour and structure are controlled via a mathematical model and activate the vitality of the line itself.
10 Chancery Lane Gallery Director, Katie de Tilly says, “this refreshing exhibition of abstract works from some of China’s most interesting artists confirms the skill, ability and limitless creativity of upcoming generations of artists from the country.”
About the Curator
Tang Zehui is a Beijing-based curator and writer. A recipient of the Getty Foundation Fellowship and the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, she graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Master Degree in Arts Administration and Policy.
Tang Zehui has been curating and writing about contemporary art since 2004. She was once curator at the National Art Museum of China and the Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing 2014-2015. She is currently the curator of 2018 Shenzhen Biennale. She curated the Turner Prize winner Laure Prouvost and the Prix Marcel Duchamp winner Tatiana Trouvé’s first museum solo shows in China. Other exhibitions she curated recently include: Jimei-Arles Photo Festival Discovery Award Exhibition 2017, Conjurer: Cross Media Ink Art of Zeng Jianyong, Soka Art Center, 2017, Second Breath, Mebo Space in Beijing,2017, Reverse the Perspective: An Exhibition of Foreign Artists in China, Xiangsi Museum 2015, The Revival of Tradition: Another Approach to Contemporary Chinese Art, Javits Center, New York, 2015.
Tang Zehui is also a contributor to the art section of the Bloomberg Business Weekend and New York Times Chinese online.