For this, the third year of our gallery's participation in Art 021, Alisan Fine Arts is proud to unveil a showcase of artworks by six Chinese artists from three different generations, corresponding with our gallery's focus on promoting Chinese diaspora and New Ink Art. Represented artists include the internationally acclaimed Chinese-American painter Walasse Ting; contemporary abstract calligrapher Wei Ligang; the Chinese-French multi-media artist Yang Jiechang, currently featured in Yang Jiechang: 3 Souls, 7 Spirits at the Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum; sculptor of bird cage Kum Chi-keung, and the wildly popular emerging women ink artists Zhang Xiaoli, Hui Hoi-kiu. For the occasion of Art 021 2019, newly created works by Wei Ligang and Zhang Xiaoli will display alongside a series of never before seen small paintings from the Ting estate, and selections of Yang Jiechang's most iconic series 'Hundred Layers of Ink', creating a comprehensive and complementary environment of various ink styles.
Walasse Ting (1928-2010, b. Wuxi) briefly studied at the Shanghai Art Academy in 1940s before leaving for Paris, where he became associated with the avant-garde group CoBrA. In 1958, he travelled to New York, where he was drawn into the circle of American artists like Sam Francis and embraced the influences of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Known for his fluorescent hedonistic ladies, Ting's artistic approach blends Eastern material with Western colours and composition. Alisan has held over ten solo exhibitions for Ting since 1986, including the eponymous show Walasse Ting at the Shanghai Art Museum in June of 1996. Musée Cernuschi in Paris held their first large-scale exhibition for Ting in 2017 and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum held a retrospective in 2010. His works have been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Chicago Institute of Art; Tate Gallery, London; Musée Cernuschi, Paris; Shanghai Art Museum; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Hong Kong Museum of Art. For Art 021, we are excited to debut to the public a selection of dynamic and colourful small-scale works from the artist's estate.
Originally trained in mathematics and classic calligraphy, Wei Ligang (b. 1964, Datong) has undoubtedly tapped into his analytic genius to revolutionize traditional calligraphy into a purely abstract art. Wei began to follow the style of modern calligraphy, adapting traditional rules and deviating from classic calligraphic structure. He is well known for his 'Wei squares' formula in which individual characters are deconstructed and reformed within the boundaries of a square (or circular) shape. He has gradually, however, pushed past textual playfulness and into non-calligraphic forms, including these recent works from the 'Plum Blossom' series. The extensive retrospective Wei Ligang: Universality was hosted earlier this year at the Zhi Art Museum, Chengdu, China. Important collectors include the British Museum, London, UK; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, USA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA; Cernuschi Museum, Paris, France; and National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China. Alisan has worked with Wei Ligang since 2004 and has held two solo exhibitions for him, New Works by Wei Ligang in 2006 and Wei's Ink Garden in 2015. We included his works in the Asian Cultural Council Fellows group show in 2011, Ink Asia in 2015, and three times at Art Basel Hong Kong (2013,2015,2018).
In 1989, Yang Jiechang (b.1956 Foshan) was chosen to participate in Magiciens de la Terre, at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, where 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, by which Yang applies ink daily to the same piece until the paper became completely saturated. Yang currently lives in Paris, producing an oeuvre that varies in style, medium and inspirations. He has held numerous, major exhibitions across China, Europe and the North America.
Yang's paintings were included in recent major exhibitions including Beyond Ink, China Art Museum, Shanghai, 2018; Ink Worlds, The Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, 2018; Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2014. Alisan Fine Arts has held three solo exhibitions in collaboration with Le French May Art Festival, held at these venues: Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong, 2001; Hong Kong Central Library, 2015; Alisan Central Gallery, 2017. His works have been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Rockefeller Foundation, United States; Contemporary Art Foundation of the French Cultural Centre, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hong Kong Museum of Art; M+, Hong Kong to name a few. Yang Jiechang: 3 Souls, 7 Spirits is currently on view at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum.
The important Hong Kong artist Kum Chi-keung (b.1965 Hong Kong) is well known for using sculptural installations in the shape of birdcages to explore social, cultural and environmental issues. The artist states, 'I purposely chose the birdcage and its related parts as it embodies the elements that I wish to explore in my installations: the sky, ocean and land.' The two examples presented at Art 021 are constructed from bamboo and crafted into the forms of an apple and peach, representing the qualities of wisdom and sweetness.
Kum has participated in numerous important exhibitions and biennials in the US, Germany, Korea and Hong Kong. They include Inside Out: New Chinese Art, Travelling Exhibition, New York, Washington, San Francisco, Seattle; Monterrey, Mexico; Canberra, Australia; Hong Kong (1998); 11th Biennial of Sydney International Contemporary Art Exhibition (1998); The New Face of Hong Kong, House of World Cultures, Berlin (1998); 9th Seoul Fringe Festival, Korea (2006); Made in Hong Kong, Hong Kong Museum of Art (2007-08); Hong Kong Eye, Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); and China8, NRW-Forum Dusseldorf & OsthausMuseum Hagen, Germany (2015). He held solo exhibitions at Hong Kong International Art Fair (2012), Space for Lease, Hong Kong Arts Centre (2008), Flying Library, Cattle Depot Artist Village (2004). His works are collected by the Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Heritage Museum and will be included in the upcoming exhibition Classics Remix - The Hong Kong Viewpoint at the newly renovated Hong Kong Museum of Art.
Zhang Xiaoli (b. 1989 Guizhou) is famous for her surreal landscapes inside small containers, using the traditional style of gongbi ink painting to depict memories and experiences. For her second year of participation in 021, Zhang is presenting three works of new series 'Private Collection,' inspired by the concept of the Cabinets of Curiosities (Wunderkammer, 15-18th century), incorporating astronomy, physics, physiology, molecular biology, and even mathematical concepts. The small, boxed objects give allow a window into the artist's imagination, while expressing wisdom, poetry and beauty.
Zhang received a scholarship and moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to pursue higher education at Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she received her BA with first honours in Fine Arts in 2014 and, upon graduation, both the YS Hui Fine Arts and Wucius Wong Creative Ink Painting Awards. She is now pursuing graduate study at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Important exhibitions include Beijing Youth Art Biennial 2016 and Fresh Trend, Hong Kong, 2014. Her works have also been exhibited at several art fairs in New York, Brussels and Hong Kong. Alisan included Zhang in the 2017 group exhibition Desiring: Post 97 Hong Kong Ink Art; the 2018 women's exhibition HOPE; and with sell-out success at Art 021 (2018) and Art Basel HK (2019).
Hui Hoi-kiu (b. 1990 Hong Kong) is an emerging artist best known for intricate ink works traced on tissue paper. She is fascinated in daily objects and often discovers new meaning in them by twisting the traditional art form and appropriating common materials. For Art 021, we present Hui's recent series of delicately painted fans with motifs borrowed from traditional blue and white Chinese ceramics.
Hui received her BA in Visual Arts from Hong Kong Baptist University in 2014 and MA in Experimental Art from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing in 2017. She has received numerous awards including: a scholarship from China Education Development Foundation (2016, 2017); New Art Wave International Artist Silver Award in 2015; Outstanding Award from the 10th 'L&XF' China Fashion Illustration Competition in 2011; and finalist for The Hong Kong Fine Art Prize in 2014. She has exhibited in Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Australia. In 2016, Hui was invited by Lane Crawford to create a window display showcasing a modern interpretation of Chinese traditions, and in March 2019 she was invited to exhibit at Rosewood Beijing group show hosted by the Office of the Government of HKSAR in Beijing. Alisan Fine Arts featured Hui in the group exhibitions Desiring: Post 97 Hong Kong Ink Art in 2017 and Women + Ink | China + Hong Kong in 2019.