Asia Art Center is pleased to present “HONG Zhu An: Confluences”, opening on Mar. 2, 2019 at Asia Art Center Taipei II. Curated by independent curator TAN Hwee Koon, this marks artist HONG Zhu An’s debut solo exhibition in Taiwan, displaying twelve selected recent compositions. The Opening Reception will be held at 4pm on Mar. 2, 2019, and the exhibition will run till Apr. 7, 2019.
Singapore based Contemporary Ink artist, Hong Zhu An’s (b. 1955 Shanghai) first solo exhibition in Taipei is entitled, “Rong” intentionally translated into the term “Confluences”. The exhibition is an attempt to express Hong’s identities and ideals shaped by the merging of influences in his art and life from Shanghai, Chongqing, Sydney to Singapore – like the meeting of rivers. At the same time paying homage to Hong’s ancestral hometown Wuxi, in particular, to the calligraphy inscribed plaque in his ancestral home named, “Rong De Tang” embodying his grandfather’s moral and ethical reminders for descendants to always practice “tolerance and forgiveness”. Interestingly, Shanghai, Chongqing, Sydney and Singapore share a commonality, i.e. the meeting of and tolerence for the existence of different cultures and influences amalgamating into Hong’s unique blend of identities. Wuxi, his ancestral hometown where the Taihu rock hails from the famous Lake Tai; and Suzhou where he sought inspiration and respite from city life in the ancient water town Tong Li are closely associated with water. Perhaps explaining Hong Zhu An’s associations and experimentations with the theme and aesthetic qualities of water symbolizing the ideal qualities of a gentleman in his art.
A selection of paintings created in response to the Taipei exhibition site resonate with Hong’s expressions of both past and present identities and his pursuit of moral ideals in his life and art – from Confluence a calligraphy and painting pair echoing the exhibition theme; Quiet Realization a challenging aesthetics manifestation of a quiet heart and mind; Descendants an acknowledgment of his roots; Humming the persistent murmuring of a River; Distant Hometown fading memories; Water as an analogy for the humble behavior of a gentleman; Moral Perfection as an ideal practice; Purity a reminder of the untainted state; Jade a manifestation of physical material quality and luminosity; Ink Lotus an ultimate expression of untainted purity coming out of mud.
This exhibition marks a major shift in Hong Zu An’s contemporary ink practice with a departure from his early three element pictorial composition of – colour background; running script calligraphy; and the adoption of figurative icons including Bada Sharen’s (1626-1705) fish, Wu Changsuo’s (1844-1927) loquats, Willow from Lake Tai, Lotus fruit and Bamboo. Hong’s background colours are now alive with a new fluidity and churning with possibilities in the primordial state of the Limitless Void or Wuji – whether it is a conflicting riot of pink, black, grey, yellow colours in Confluence or complimentary blue-green colour tones in harmony in Quiet Realization. His early analogy of the qualities of a gentleman through the adoption of upright bamboo in his paintings is now replaced by the physical qualities of water flowing downwards in humble existence. Hong’s calligraphy choice is now predominantly in the more expressive cursive script in large, medium or small sizes used separately or in a rhythmic foreground and background push-and-pull combination. The text is now interwoven into the fabric of his colour background. Hong Zhu An has also replaced his signature figurative icons with a direct physical intervention of the paintings’ surface with vertical scratch marks or play with different material absorbency to create hole like patches of translucency in his paintings churning with colours – recalling the perforations on Taihu or Scholars’ Rocks in his personal rock collection.