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Museum of Art showcases new face of Chinese ink art

     Chinese ink painting has a long history. From its ancient beginnings in decorating Neolithic pots, traditional Chinese ink painting reached its height in the Tang dynasty. The continuous re-interpretation of this art form links present-day society to ink art, keeping it alive, and expanding it beyond the two dimensional confines of ink on paper or silk.

     To show the new face of Chinese ink art and its future development, the Hong Kong Museum of Art invited Mrs Alice King, the Chairman of the Ink Society, to curate the latest exhibition, "New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond", the second exhibition of the "Hong Kong Art: Open Dialogue” exhibition series. Featuring 60 pieces of artwork by 30 artists predominantly from Hong Kong and a few from overseas, the exhibition will run from tomorrow (August 22) to October 26 at the Museum of Art.

     Speaking at the opening ceremony of the exhibition today (August 21), the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, said ink painting was a unique form of Chinese art with a long history. Over 1,000 years of development, ink art evolved into a kind of cross-medium, cultural and technique art form.

     "The extravaganza using the ink art as one of the themes at the opening of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games further assured the representation and important position of the ink art in Chinese history," Mr Chow said.

     The exhibition aims to illustrate the evolution and development of the new ink art, and its new interpretation as a contemporary art form. Featuring representative works selected from the collection of the Museum of art and private collectors, the exhibition shows the diversification of ink art through those unconventional, experimental and multi-medium works. Divided into six themes, the exhibition focuses the development of ink art in Hong Kong, its aesthetics and essence represented by the works of senior and young artists, and exploring the infinite possibilities for the future development of ink art.

     The six themes of the exhibition are "The Innovators", "Beyond Tradition", "Evolving City Life", "Transformed Text", "New Frontier", and "Is It Ink Art".

     "The Innovators" presents modern ink masters who, despite their initial practice in traditional ink art, gradually broke away from it. Masters under this theme are Ding Yang-yong, Lui Shou-kwan and Luis Chan whose artworks demonstrate their openness to external intellectual and cultural frames of reference.

     "Beyond Tradition" explores the modern interpretation of traditional subject matter such as landscape painting. The artists featured in this section include Tien Chi, Fang Zhaoling, Wucius Wong, Leung Kui-ting, Raymond Fung, Hung Hoi, and Liu Guosong, who have stepped away from tradition by favouring the experimental dimension of the use of brushwork, and at times, different media.

     "Evolving City Life" presents Hong Kong artists' views of the city centred on social and cultural concerns intertwined with urban references. The works by Wong Sau-ching, Wilson Shieh, and Chu Hing-wah are represented in this section.

     Chinese calligraphy is an integral part of the art of ink painting. Contemporary ink artists have attempted to deconstruct and reconstruct Chinese characters, text and symbols to create innovative images. The theme, "Transformed Text", reflects the evolving nature and transformation of the concept and language of Chinese calligraphy. Works by Wang Tiande, Gu Wenda, Lee Chun-yi, Ha Bik-chuen, Fung Ming-chip, and Kan Tai-keung are featured in this section.

     "New Frontier" presents a group of artists including Tony Ng Kwun-lun, Irene Chou, Kwok Mang-ho, Yang Jiechang, Chao Chung-hsiang, and Choi Hoi-ying whose works are expressed in the widest range but are connected with the common theme of the tension created between traditional and contemporary art. The artists under this theme have transcended the traditional boundaries of ink art to develop their own visual vocabulary.

     "Is It Ink Art?" refers to artworks that seemingly have nothing to do with the ink brush tradition. The similar brushwork, whether in mixed media, used by artists of this group is having an affinity to ink painting because of its evocative rendering. Against the background of the ink art tradition, media such as organic installation, digital art and explosives with burn marks provide new visual experiences, many of which can be interpreted as three-dimensional Chinese ink paintings. Their controversial pieces will perhaps draw people’s attention to new ink art that remains brushwork related. The mixed-media work and installation by Man Fung-yi, Lui Chun-kwong, Wong Chung-yu, Ming Fay, and Cai Guo-Qiang are featured.

     To tie in with the exhibition, Mrs King has also organised a forum, “New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond”, which will be held on August 23 at the museum. The forum will be conducted in Cantonese and Putonghua. Details are available on the website of the Museum of Art.

     The "New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond" is the second exhibition of the "Hong Kong Art: Open Dialogue" exhibition series organised by the Museum of Art. The exhibition series has gained wide support from art circles since its launch in 2006. In that year, it attracted 20 exhibition proposals from local guest curators featuring a variety of styles and approaches in appreciating Hong Kong art.  After deliberation with 10 guest art professionals, the Museum of Art selected four proposals to be implemented between 2008 and 2009. They are "Digit@logue" by Miss Ellen Pau, "New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond" by Ms Alice King, "Looking for Antonio Mak" by Ms Valerie C Doran and "Charming Experience" by Ms Grace Cheng.

     The Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. It opens from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and Fridays, and from 10am to 8pm on Saturdays. It is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays). Admission is $10 and a half-price concession is available to full-time students, people with disabilities and senior citizens aged 60 or above. Admission is free on Wednesdays.

     For enquiries, please visit the Museum of Art's website at or call 2721 0116.

Ends/Thursday, August 21, 2008


"Blue Landscape: the Amah Rock" by Luis Chan, one of the artists featured in the exhibition.


"Tranquility Comes from Meditation: Overlapping Characters" by Gu Wenda featured in the exhibition.


"Mid-Autumn Night" by Chu Hing-wah, featured in the exhibition.


"Ladies" by Wilson Shieh, featured in the exhibition.


The exhibition,“New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond”, was opened on August 21 at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. At the exhibition are (from left) the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, the guest curator of the exhibition, Mrs Alice King, and the Director of The Ink Society, Mrs Nancy C Lee.


The exhibition,“New Ink Art: Innovation and Beyond”, was opened on August 21 at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Pictured (from left) are the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Mr Tang Hoi-chiu, the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Thomas Chow, and the Chair of Asia Art Archive, Ms Jane DeBevoise.




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