Past Exhibition

“Selected Asian Cultural Council Fellows: Then and Now” Works by Wei Ligang, Wei Qingji, Zhang Jianjun

12 May - 17 Jun  |  2011
Wei LigangWei QingjiGao Xingjian
In 1981 when Alice King opened Hong Kong’s one of the first professional art galleries, her mission was to present works by outstanding contemporary Chinese artists working in the traditional medium of ink and brush.
She was then a pioneering force in a field that was largely unknown and which the international art world did not expect would explode the market twenty years later. Over the past thirty years Alisan Fine Arts has presented more than 100 exhibitions by international Chinese artists including Zao Wou-ki, Chu Teh-chun, Chao Chung-hsiang, Walasse Ting and Ming Fay and has collaborated with the Guggenheim Museum in New York and major museums in China. Her contribution has won her accolades around the world including a “Chevalier Legion d’Honneur” from the French government in 2000.
To launch its 30th anniversary celebration, Alisan Fine Arts (AFA) will join forces with the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) on May 12 to present a special exhibition of works by three artists working in ink who have been supported by fellowships from the ACC for their first visits to the United States on programs of cultural exchange.
“Selected Asian Cultural Council Fellows: Then and Now”, Works by Wei Ligang, Wei Qingji and Zhang Jianjun. The exhibition consists of twenty three ink works on canvas and rice paper dating from 1987 to 2011 which justaposes the artists' works before their cultural exchanges with what they are currently painting. Wei Ligang’s abstract calligraphy, Wei Qingji’s iconic ink symbols and Zhang Jianjun’s ink with oil present the infinite possibilities and interpretations of the new ink art which remains rooted in tradition.
Eleven of the works will be shown at the Asian Cultural Council in the Hong Kong Arts Center, and twelve will be exhibited at Alisan Fine Arts in Aberdeen.
Alice King’s history with the ACC dates back to 1986 when she joined a group of friends to establish a Hong Kong branch of the New York-based ACC which was founded by John D. Rockefeller 3rd in 1963 and has since supported more than 6,000 arts professionals for research trips in abroad.
To celebrate the opening of ACC/Hong Kong in 1986, she presented an exhibition of works by three established artists whom AFA represented and who had received support from the ACC in the 1960’s to study in the United States: Wucius Wong, Hon Chi Fun and Chuang Che.
This second collaborative exhibition which opens on May 12 presents four leading artists from China who have dedicated their work to the exploration of contemporary expression through traditional media and whose creativity has been inspired by exposure to forces beyond their native cultural borders.

Exhibition Artists
Wei Ligang (Asian Cultural Council Fellow 2005)
Born 1964 Datong City, Shanxi Province, China, and currently living in Beijing, Wei is one of the most significant artists of the post-modern calligraphy movement in China since the1990s. He attempts to transform Chinese calligraphy into contemporary abstract ink painting. In 2005, as an Asian Cultural Council fellow, he travelled to New York to do research on recent developments in contemporary art, including visits to the studio of Brice Marden (born 1938 New York, American abstract artist). This exhibition displays one of his 2002 works and around 10 works dated 2011.
Based on Fushan's (1606-1684, Chinese calligrapher of Qing Dynasty) cursive calligraphy, Wei's ink work has a close relationship with Chinese characters and writing. He adds cursive to the already complex seal script to make his work illegible, resulting in paintings of non-semantic forms. Other times borrowing from Japanese modern calligraphy and Western Abstract Expressionism, his strokes entwine, tangle, penetrate, overlap, sometimes combed with metallic colour, creating a visual complexity of magical power and metamorphic unpredictability.
Alisan Fine Arts has been representing Wei Ligang since 2004, organising his Hong Kong solo exhibition in 2006, and exhibiting his work at the Hong Kong International Antique & Art Fair in 2009 and the Hong Kong International Art Fair in 2010. Since the1980s, he has exhibited in New York, London, Sydney, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xian, Chengdu, Hong Kong, and Taipei.
Selected collections: British Museum, UK; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA; Today Art Museum, Beijing, He Xiang Ning Art Gallery, Shenzhen, China.

Wei Qingji (Asian Cultural Council Fellow 2006)
Born 1971 Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, and currently Associate Professor, College of Fine Arts, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, Wei Qingji is one of the most famous experimental ink artists of 1990s mainland China. He graduated from the Oriental Art Department, Nankai University in1995 and gained his Master of Arts from Wuhan University of Technology College of Art & Design in 2008. He has exhibited in France, Germany, US, Japan, Korea, Singapore, China and Taiwan since1993. He is skillful in the traditional technique of Chinese ink painting, but prefers to break through the limitations, exploring new possibilities in ink art with a relaxed and refreshing attitude.
His work is identified by a dark ink symbol in the centre of the painting, similar to a paper-cut silhouette. The image comes from his daily life, with objects such as a spider, a mosquito, a tree, a flower, etc, which look interesting, simple and straightforward, grabbing the viewer’s attention and leading them to understand the painting well. He freely makes use of different kinds of symbols and sometimes sketches with pencil, as a media to record his feelings, showing his concern and contemplations about life. Alisan Fine Arts has been representing his works since 2006. This exhibition displays seven of his works, dated 2005 to 2010.
Selected collections: Mantova Young Museum, Italy; Daniel and Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation; Conseil Général des Yvelines, France; Zeit-Foto Salon, Japan; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong; NUS Museum, Singapore; Guangdong Museum of Art; Nanjing University; Nankai University; Guangdong Art Institute, China

Zhang Jianjun (Asian Cultural Council Fellow 1987)
Born 1955 Shanghai, China, and currently Adjunct Professor, Global Program, New York University in New York and Shanghai, Zhang is the first generation of 1980s abstract painters in mainland China. He graduated from the Fine Arts Department, Shanghai Drama Institute in 1978, and in the 1980s was both the director of the Curatorial and Art Research Department and assistant director of the Shanghai Art Museum. He moved to New York in 1989. Alisan Fine Arts has been representing his works since 1987. The artist has had 18 solo exhibitions in New York, Massachusetts, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tokyo, Singapore since 1987.
Following Zhang’s interests in Chinese tradition and culture, he focuses on multimedia merged with ink art. He started to paint Chinese ink with oil colour since the1980s, expressing the power of bold and black ink. This show exhibits four of the most recent “Vestiges of a Process: Mountain & River Series” (Chinese ink & oil on rice paper on canvas) and two ink paintings dated 1987, which combine a distinct aspect of his memory on Chinese culture imbued with the process of historical time.
Selected Collections: Djerassi Foundation Collection, Frederick R. Weisman Foundation of Art, California; Dow Jones Company, New Jersey; Lehman Brothers, Hong Kong & New York, US; Uli Sigg Collection, Switzerland; International Artists Museum, Lodz, Poland; JP Morgan, Hong Kong; Shanghai Art Museum; Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou; Shenzhen Art Institute, China