Past Exhibition

New Ink Art

01 Apr - 31 May  |  2010
Chao Chung-hsiangFay MingJiang DahaiLui Shou-kwanMan Fung-yiTing WalasseWang TiandeWei LigangYang JiechangYang Qi
Alisan Fine Arts presents “New Ink Art” an exhibition of works by 7 International Chinese artists consisting a total of around 30 paintings, installations and sculptures dating from 1990s to current exploring the development of “New Ink Art”. These artists seek to re-interpret ink painting in non-conventional ways. The end result is an art form that is contemporary yet strongly rooted in tradition. As the medium of ink is being internationally recognised, these innovative works of art have been popularised in the 21st century and are fast becoming a contemporary idiom.

The 7 International Chinese artists are:
Wei Ligang魏立剛 (born 1964 Datong City, China, currently living in Beijing)
Yang Jiechang楊詰蒼 (born 1956 Foshan, China, currently living in Paris)
Wang Tiande王天德 (born 1960 Shanghai, China, currently living in Shanghai)
Shen Fan申凡 (born 1952 Jiangyin, China, currently living in Shanghai)
Jiang Dahai江大海 (born 1949 Nanjing China, currently living in Paris)
Ming Fay費明杰 (born 1943 Shanghai, China, currently living in New York)
Yang Qi楊起 (born 1952 Wuhu, China, currently living in Düsseldorf, Germany)

“What is New Ink Art ?”
Chinese ink painting has a particularly long history of over 3000 years. The continuous re-interpretation links ink art to our present-day society and keeps it alive. Modernising ink painting started in Hong Kong from 1950s by the ink master Lui Shou Kwan (1919-1975) who reached his peak with the creation of “Zen painting” series from the late 1960s to1970s.

In Mainland China, Wu Guanzhong's (born 1919 Jiangsu, China) controversial essays unleashed much discussion towards the end of 1970s, leading to the ink movements “New Wave” in 1980s and “Experimental Art” in 1990s, where these movements pointed to the many new directions in ink aesthetics and continued to inspire the artists to engage in the evolution, exploration and breakthrough of concepts. For example, selected artists belong to this group who we are showing: Yang Jiechang's “100 Layers of Ink” series (1990s) and “Tomorrow Cloudy Sky” (2005), Wei Ligang's abstract calligraphy with metallic colour (1990s-2010), Shen Fan's minimalist oil paintings (1990s-2005), Wang Tiande's recent works of landscape in ink & burn marks, Jiang Dahai's “Images of Calligraphy” series (2005-6).

The ink art has come a full circle as some artists continue to push the boundary beyond the two-dimensional ink on paper. Ming Fay and Yang Qi go as much as transforming ink paintings into installations, which provide new visual experiences. Their works can be interpreted as three-dimensional Chinese ink paintings. The gestural bravado of the Chinese brush is brought alive in Ming Fay's bold yet nuanced branches of “Downturn”, “Money Tree” (2010). The recent work “Flying shoes” by Yang Qi where he combines enlarged shoes with small ink paper figures, evokes memories of a Chinese lifestyle of a bygone era.

This exhibition seeks to understand “ink” in its broadest sense. We see similar brushwork, whether in oil or other media, used by artists as having an affinity to ink painting because of its evocative rendering. Their innovative pieces will perhaps draw people’s attention to the New Ink Art.


Exhibiting artists on “New Ink Art”:

Wei Ligang 魏立剛 (born 1964 Datong City, China, currently living in Beijing)
Wei Ligang, one of the most significant artists of the post-modern calligraphy movement in China during the last 20 years, attempts to transform Chinese calligraphy into contemporary abstract ink painting. In 2005, as a fellowship grantee from Asian Cultural Council Hong Kong, Wei travelled to New York to do research on recent developments in contemporary art.

As an art based on Fushan's cursive calligraphy, Wei Ligang'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 entwining, tangling, penetrating, overlapping, sometimes combine with metallic colour, creating a visual complexity of magical power and metamorphic unpredictability.

Since the1980s, he has exhibited in New York, London, Sydney, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Xian, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Taipei, etc. His works are collected by the British Museum, UK; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA; Today Art Museum, Beijing and He Xiang Ning Art Gallery, Shenzhen, China, etc.

Yang Jiechang 楊詰蒼 (born 1955 Foshan, China, currently living in Paris)
Yang Jiechang successfully breaks through the traditional constraints in ink art. He studied traditional Chinese art such as “Gongbi” technique and Taoism in Guangzhou before moving to Paris in 1989. Taoism has deeply influenced his art, particularly the theory of “sublimation in meditation.” He uses multiple layers of ink on paper to create large textured black space both shiny and matt recalling the dualistic Taoist principle in his “100 Layers on Ink”. The effect upon the viewer is to produce a feeling of contemplative tranquillity. Stillness and liveliness coexist in his work. “100 Layers of Ink” is collected by the Ullens Foundation.

In recent years he returns to his “Gongbi” technique producing a series on cloudy sky, expressing his passion and creativity in Chinese ink art.

In 2005 he was a visiting artist at Stanford University, California, and in 2008, he was again invited as a Sterling visiting professor. Since the 1980s, Yang Jiechang has exhibited his works in France, Finland, Scotland, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Poland, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, Turkey, Iran, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, China, Taiwan.

Wang Tiande 王天德 (born 1960 Shanghai, China, currently living in Shanghai)
An innovative Chinese avant-garde ink painter and scholar from Shanghai, Wang is a professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, Dean of the School of Communication & Design at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Art. Wang's burnt calligraphy series has been exhibited at the “Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Sept 2006 to Jan 2007) and his works have been collected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Hong Kong Museum of Art and museums in China.

Wang's new landscape paintings, combine traditional ink medium with burn marks to create landscape images in a new and exciting way. Consisting of two layers of rice paper, the landscape on top is “painted” with a cigarette instead of ink and brush, revealing glimpses of the real landscape underneath. By carefully burning the contour and shades of mountains, trees and the digital inscription, the artist reveals his talent and training in Chinese traditional landscape painting. Thus the unique burnt landscapes stand out with their distinctive quality.

Shen Fan 申凡 (born 1952 Jiangyin, currently living in Shanghai)
The abstract and minimalist artist Shen Fan, graduated from Shanghai Light Industry Institute, Fine Arts Department in 1986.

Shen Fan’s work harks back to the beginning creation: endless patterns and forms are executed daily to remove individualism or eliminate any desire for self-expression in order to attain spirituality. Most of his works are monochromatic. The artist communicates his pessimistic and fatalistic attitude towards life. Although displaying ‘a tragic charm’, his works powerfully attract or exclude the viewer. They are tactile compositions often created with a palette knife, and at other times, an abundant application of rolled greasy paint on canvas allowing the eye to enter through minute openings of crowded space. His 2005 worm-like triptych abstract landscape inspired his light installation of a similar pattern presented at the Shanghai Biennale 2006. His work is collected by Shanghai Art Museum.

Selected exhibitions include Shanghai Biennale 2006, Shanghai Art Museum (2006), Chinese Maximalism, Millennium Art Museum (Beijing, 2003), The Paintings of Shen Fan – Pioneering Abstraction from Shanghai, Goedhuis Contemporary (New York, 2002), Shanghai Abstract Art Group Show, Liu Haisu Art Museum, (Shanghai, 2002), Metaphysics 2001, Shanghai Art Museum (2002), etc.


Jiang Dahai江大海 (born 1949 Nanjing China, currently living in Paris)
Belongs to the third generation of Chinese artists who left China to settle in France, following the previous generation represented by Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-chun, Jiang was selected as one of the artists to represent “France-China Culture Year” in 2004-5. He received his master degree from the Oil Painting Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in 1980. He moved to France in 1980s and studied at L’Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In Paris, he was inspired by the various patterns of clouds in the Parisian skies and this became the main theme of his paintings. After many years of searching for an icon closer to his roots, he began to write/paint on rice paper, afterwards mounted on canvas. Playing on the texture of the paper, dryness and wetness of the brush, his paintings tend to be minimalist but powerful in their simplicity, dissolving into a hazy mist, becoming ‘rhythmic, mysterious and abstract images’. His works are all characterized with a single colour, sometimes deep black or light grey reminiscent of the “Hutong” alleyways of old Beijing.

Jiang had solo exhibitions in Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Paris, Venice, and joined other exhibitions in New York, Paris, Toulouse, Ralona(Italy), Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Taipei, Soeul, etc. His works are collected by national Art Museum of China, Beijing, Shanghai Art Museum, and The Foundation of Soplhia Antipolis France.

Ming Fay 費明杰 (born 1943 Shanghai, currently living in New York)
Known for his lyrical organic, three-dimensional installation of trees, branches, vines and fruits in various arrangements. His work has a strong relationship with brush painting. The gestural bravado of the Chinese brush is brought alive in Ming Fay’s bold yet nuanced reed and fruit configurations. In form, the work is botanical but its content is about life, growth, decay, order, and spontaneity.

Ming moved with his family to Hong Kong in 1952, and then moved to the US in 1961 when Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio awarded him a full scholarship to study design. He earned a BFA degree in sculpture from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1967 and a MFA from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1970. Throughout his career Ming has been an active teacher. He has taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic, Columbus College of Art and Design, Pratt Institute, University of Pittsburgh and Semester-At-Sea program. Presently he teaches at the William Paterson University, NJ, US.

Ming Fay has participated in more than 30 group exhibitions in the United States and has had many one-man shows in America, Taiwan, and Hong Kong since 1980s. His works are collected by Hong Kong Museum of Art; Hexianling Art Museum, Shenzhen; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, Columbus, Ohio; Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, California; Sidney Lewis Foundation, Richmond, Virginia, US, and by are found in many prominent private collections around the world as well as at the Conrad Hotel and China Club in Hong Kong.

Yang Qi楊起 (born 1952 Wuhu, China, currently living in Düsseldorf, Germany)
An outstanding Chinese artist in installation and painting, he is familiar with the use of philosophical vocabulary, the linking of metaphors with visual impact, emptiness with substance. He makes courageous use of all kinds of materials, as seen in the unique hand-made shoes and in his small ink paintings “Zen with German Expressionism”, where the colour of ink is simple and clear, the brush strokes unostentatious, unconstrained while the rhythm is abstract and constantly changing.

He obtained the Bachelor of Arts at Normal University Anhui, China in 1982. He moved to Germany in 1980s and obtained the Doctor of Art History at University Heidelberg, Germany in 1996. He had more than 50 solo exhibitions in Germany since 1989 and first solo exhibition in National Art Museum of China, Beijing in 2005. His works are collected by British Museum; Bethe Foundation, Wuppertal; City Government Heidelberg; German-American Centre, Heidelberg; Heidelberg University; SAP International Art Collection, Walldorf; Art Foundation of Museum Villa Rot, Ulm; Ministry of President Tubingen; Bayer AG, Leverkusen; Bank Cial Art Collection, Zurich; Art Collection La Roche, Basel; Chines Art Academy, Hangzhou and Museum Zhu Jizhan, Shanghai as well as private collectors in Europe and US.