In the paintings of Professor Au Ho-nien, a key figure of the third generation of the Lingnan school of painting, the impressive world is always transformed into visual feasts.
The creative style of Professor Au in his early years was known for the realistic quality of the Lingnan school of painting, and later he took on spontaneous techniques that depicted nature while giving full expression to the delicacy of lines and the beauty of form. Moreover, his paintings came to possess an air of bold and unrestrained character. With the provision of artworks by Professor Au, who has committed his life to promoting artistic exchanges, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum has organised a large-scale exhibition. Solo exhibitions of Professor Au's art have been rare in Hong Kong over the years, and this exhibition will enable the public to appreciate some of the finest paintings, poetry and calligraphy of the Lingnan school.
Running from tomorrow (September 15) till June 17 next year at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, the "Free and Unfettered: Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy by Au Ho-nien" exhibition features more than 100 works by Professor Au since the 1950s, including landscapes, figures, birds and flowers, insects, fish and animals, and his poetry and calligraphy as well, giving an opportunity for visitors to appreciate the realistic qualities of the artist's works and the strong foundations of his studies of Chinese literature.
The opening ceremony of the exhibition was held today (September 14) at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. Officiating guests were the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Joseph Sung; Professor Au; the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung; and the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Ms Belinda Wong.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Tsang Tak-sing said that Professor Au is a key figure of the third generation of the Lingnan school of painting who has devoted himself to cultivating the young generation and fostering cultural exchanges between the Mainland and Taiwan. Mr Tsang also expressed his gratitude to Professor Au for providing his magnificent works for exhibition, enabling visitors to experience the artistic essence of the Lingnan school of painting.
Professor Au showed great artistic promise from a young age. Born in 1935, Au was raised under the guidance of his father to have a great love and respect for Chinese literature and history. In 1950, Au moved with his parents to Hong Kong, where two years later he began to study art under Chao Shao-an. Since then, Professor Au has actively cultivated younger generations. In 1970, he was invited by Dr Chang Chi-yun, the founder of Taiwan's Chinese Culture University, to take up a position as a professor in the Fine Arts Department of the university. Au accepted the offer, and settled in Taipei to start his career as an arts educator and an advocate of the Lingnan school. In 2001 he taught at the Art Institute of the National Taiwan University of Arts, and he has had a great number of disciples through all these years.
Sparing no effort to promote the art of the Lingnan school of painting, Professor Au has extensively participated in numerous exhibitions and has left his footprints in China and throughout the world. In addition, he has donated many paintings from his personal collection to the Academia Sinica, including works of the great masters of the Lingnan school of painting such as Gao Jianfu, Gao Qifeng and Chen Shuren, as well as those of other Guangdong modern painters. Moreover, he helped in the establishment of the Lingnan Art Museum with the relevant promotion. The Au Ho-nien Cultural Foundation was established in 2000 and the Au Ho-nien Art Centre was jointly set up with the Chinese Culture University in 2005. All in all he makes it his own duty to promote the works of the Lingnan school of painting.
To give visitors a comprehensive review of Professor Au's works in diverse themes, the exhibition is divided into four sections, which are "Impressive World: Landscape", "Free Leap over a Thousand Miles: Animals and Birds", "Refined Scholar and Elegant Person: Figures and Flowers", and "Moulding a Person's Temperament: Poetry and Calligraphy".
In addition, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum has published a 232-page exhibition catalogue for the public to purchase for their collections. Aside from containing photos and descriptions of 108 of Professor Au's works, the catalogue also includes several essays written by two experts and Professor Au. Priced at $195, the catalogue is now available at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum's Gift Shop.
A live demonstration by Professor Au, a not-to-be-missed opportunity to get an idea of typical features of the Lingnan school of paintings and Professor Au's mastery of Chinese ink painting, will be held from 2.30pm to 4pm tomorrow at the theatre of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. A maximum of 300 seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, please call 2180 8260. An application form can be downloaded from the Hong Kong Heritage Museum's website or submitted online.
For details of the exhibition, please visit the webpage of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum at www.heritagemuseum.gov.hk/eng/exhibitions/exhibition_details.aspx?exid=194 or call 2180 8188.
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum is located at 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin. During September, it is open from 10am to 6pm on Mondays and Wednesday to Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. Starting from October 1, the museum will be open from 10am to 6am on weekdays and from 10am to 7pm on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). Admission is $10 and a half-price concession is available to full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
Ends/Friday, September 14, 2012
"The Grand Canyon", created by Professor Au Ho-nien in 1984. With its aspirations for returning to the depiction of natural reality, the Lingnan school of painting had a great influence on Professor Au's paintings and made him adept in depicting powerful and magnificent landscape views. These paintings are all based on real scenes encountered by Professor Au on his trips to different parts of the world.
Professor Au likes to use spontaneous style to express a profound and complicated mood. "Tavern in the Countryside", pictured here, was created by Professor Au in 2005. It portrays the artistic conception of the poem "Early Journey on the Shang Mountain", written by the Tang dynasty poet Wen Tingyun, which tells of the hard situation that a traveller has to face when setting off for a journey at dawn.
Professor Au's paintings of animals often carry the symbol of the pursuit of freedom. In his 1996 work "Bathing Buffalo", shown here, Professor Au wrote down one of his own poems, which is based on the allusion of the hermits Chao Fu and Xu You to reflect his aspirations for freedom and a secluded life.
"Bodhidharma Crossing the Yangtze River on a Reed", created by Professor Au in 1989. Professor Au regards painting ancient figures as a way to make friends, which allows him to upgrade his own accomplishments by understanding the ideas of the ancients. Professor Au's figure paintings include a variety of characters including many literati and wise men of ancient dynasties, as well as religious figures such as Bodhidharma in this painting. This not only reflects the diversity of Professor Au's figure paintings, but also proves that he is not limited to one style.
The opening ceremony of the "Free and Unfettered: Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy by Au Ho-nien" exhibition was held today (September 14) at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. From left: The Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung; the Vice-Chancellor and President of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Joseph Sung; the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; Professor Au Ho-nien; and the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Ms Belinda Wong.
Professor Au (second left) introduces the exhibits to Mrs Fung (first left) and Mr Tsang (third left).