The selection highlights works from prominent Chinese diaspora artists, Chao Chung-hsiang, Walasse Ting, Gao Xingjian and Yang Jiechang as well as important Mainland ink artists Xu Lei, Wei Qingji, and Nan Qi. Following their successful showing at Art Basel 2016, we are excited to be showcasing new works by Chu Chu and Stephen King.
Concurrently with Art Basel 2017, we will be holding solo exhibitions for Yang Jiechang and Chu Chu at the galleries in Central and Aberdeen.
About the Artists
Like Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-chun and Wu Guanzhong, Chao Chung-hsiang studied under the renowned artist Lin Fengmian at the Hangzhou National College of Art, before graduating in 1939. In 1948, he immigrated to Taiwan, and in 1956 won a fellowship to study in Spain. He toured Paris and Europe, before settling in New York in 1958, where he remained for most his life. There he discovered for himself American Abstract Expressionist art, which inspired him to work conscientiously to achieve a synthesis of East and West. The main subjects of Chao's work are flowers and fish, birds, the cosmos and abstraction. From the 1970s, Yin-Yang symbols and hexagrams, which are derived from the I-Ching, began appearing in his paintings, referencing Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. In his paintings, blocks of dazzling fluorescent colour sporadically float upon expressive images rendered in rich ink washes. After more than thirty years in New York City, he moved to Hong Kong in 1989, then to Chengdu, and finally to Taiwan. He passed away in 1991.
Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu in 1928, Walasse Ting is an artist celebrated for his colourful and bright depictions of animals, flora and sultry women. He briefly studied at the Shanghai Art Academy in 1940s, before leaving for Paris in 1948 at the age of nineteen. There he became associated with artists belonging to the avant-garde group CoBrA. In 1958, he travelled to New York, where he befriended the American artist Sam Francis; here Ting became strongly influenced by Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. In 1964 he wrote One Cent Life, edited by Francis and published by E.W. Kornfeld, which involved collaborating with twenty-eight European and American Pop Art and Expressionist artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Joan Mitchell, and included sixty-two original lithographs. In 1977, he won the Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his drawings. By the 1970s, he began experimenting with figures, developing the distinctive style that we are so familiar with today. His paintings of women, flowers, cats, fish, horses and watermelons are often painted in a rich palette of bright acrylics on rice paper, layered with powerful effervescent brushstrokes in Chinese ink. He passed away in 2010.
Amongst ink collectors and academics Gao Xingjian is renowned as a distinguished artist, and globally as a canonical writer and playwright of the twenty-first century who was the first Chinese-born writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000 for his novel Soul Mountain. Born in Jiangxi Province in 1940, Gao began painting at the age of eight, and under the tutelage of his father he studied painting, sculpture and calligraphy. Though he was officially granted French citizenship in 1998, he became a foremost Chinese émigré novelist and playwright almost immediately after moving to Paris in 1987.
Born in 1956 in Foshan, Guangdong, Yang Jiechang began studying Chinese ink painting and calligraphy at the People’s Art Institute in Foshan. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, he attended the Guangzhou Art Academy where he was exposed to Western art through a lecture series given by Joan Lebold Cohen (the noted Chinese art historian and curator) and Taiwanese art magazines. In 1989, he was chosen to participate in Magiciens de la Terra, at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and his series “Hundred Layers of Ink” caused quite the stir at the exhibition and in the international art scene. The paintings from this series are the result of focused repetition, and Yang applied ink to the same piece each day, every day until the paper became completely saturated. Since then, Yang has lived and worked in Paris, producing an oeuvre that varies in style, medium and inspirations. He has had numerous major exhibitions across China, Europe and the North America.
Xu Lei, born in 1963 in Nantong, Jiangsu, is a Chinese ink artist internationally renowned for his meticulous and surreal paintings. Trained as a gongbi (meticulous style) flower-and-bird painter, his iconic portrayals of horses situated in cloistered settings and scholars’ rocks have garnered him international acclaim. Though possibly anachronistic, his paintings are imbued with questions of loss, and the melancholic feelings surrounding the impermanence of time, things, and objects. After graduating from the Department of Traditional Chinese Art at Nanjing Academy of Art in 1984, he held a research position at the Jiangsu Traditional Painting Academy. In 1990, he returned to using traditional tools and techniques in his creations, such as the use of thin silk, a Chinese writing brush, Chinese ink and mineral colours. He was an active member of the 85 New Wave Movement in Beijing during the 1980s. Xu currently works at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, is the art director of the Today Art Museum in Beijing, and the chief editor of Oriental Art · Classics.
Wei Qingji is one of the most famous experimental ink artists from mainland China. Born in Qingdao in 1971, he graduated from the Oriental Art Department, Nankai University in 1995 and obtained a MA from Wuhan University of Technology College of Art & Design in 2008. He has exhibited in France, Germany, United States, Japan, Korea, Singapore, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Wei currently is the Associate Professor, College of Fine Arts, South China Normal University in Guangzhou, and was awarded an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship in 2006.
Born in Yongkang, Zhejiang in 1960, Nan Qi was trained in classical landscape ink painting at the People’s Liberation Army Fine Arts Academy in Beijing. Over the years, his subject matter has ranged from mountain landscapes to Chinese cultural icons, and more recently to iconoclastic images of the Visa logo, currency symbols and military parades composed by myriads of overlaid ink dots with an effect of “eerie 3-D”. He is a member of Chinese Artists’ Association, and currently lives in Beijing.
Chu Chu graduated from the Department of oil painting at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou in 2000, where she also received her MFA in new media in 2007 and in 2015 attained her PhD, in calligraphy under the tutelage of Wang Dongling. An accomplished ink painter, calligrapher and photographer, her artworks often blend together elements from each discipline.
Stephen King is a fine art photographer based in Hong Kong who travels the world in search of captivating images. He is particularly drawn to patterns formed by nature and the artistic beauty of natural phenomena. King’s work has been described as “painterly” and he enjoys blurring the distinction between photography and painting though the use of composition, light and color. In 2015 the gallery held his first exhibition, and nearly every first edition photograph was sold, and many new editions reprinted for purchase. His work has received international recognition from numerous publications including Outdoor Photographer and the Landscape Photographer of the Year Award.