Hong Kong’s Samson Young wins inaugural BMW Art Journey



Trailblazing Hong Kong sound artist Samson Young has won the BMW Art Journey award, unleashing him on a journey across five continents.

On 21 May 2015 Art Basel and BMW announced Samson Young as the winner of the first BMW Art Journey. We peer into the profile of this fascinating Hong Kong-based artist and his winning proposal “For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Journey into the Sonic History of Conflict.” 

Samson Young, 'I am thinking in a room, different from the one you are hearing in now (homage to Alvin Lucier)', (2011), sound Performance. Image courtesy the artist.

Samson Young, ‘I am Thinking in a Room, Different from the One You are Hearing in Now (Homage to Alvin Lucier)’, (2011), sound performance. Image courtesy the artist.

A composer-turned-artist

Samson Young (b. 1979, Hong Kong) is a cutting-edge sound artist who is known for his searing intelligence and genre-shifting projects. He is a composer with a PhD in Music from Princeton University, an award-winning multimedia digital sound artist, and a scholar and art theorist with numerous publications to his name.

Young is the first to admit that he’s had no formal training in contemporary art; he studied music, philosophy and gender studies at the University of Sydney before heading to Princeton. In a 2013 presentation at Colgate University hosted by Asia Art Archive in America, he said:

I was not trained in contemporary art. My training was very traditional, strict, down the center, music training [...] up until the year 2002, I was still what you would call a very strict, down the center composer. I would write pieces for string quartets and orchestras and what have you and in some ways I still do that.

Samson Young, 'Nocturne' (studio performance documentation', 2015. Image courtesy the artist and am space.

Samson Young, ‘Nocturne’ (studio performance documentation), 2015. Image courtesy the artist and am space gallery.

Uniquely intermedia

From classical musical composition, Young moved on to sound art — but even that label fails to sufficiently encapsulate his visually compelling, techno-dominant and playfully political art. His projects are “uniquely intermedia experiences”, writes Input/Output Gallery, and are united only in their persistent breaking down of preconceived boundaries.

One iconic example is Young’s project Hong Kong iPhone Orchestra (2010) in which participants were selected via an open call two months prior to the performance in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon. Led by Young, the ‘musicians’ (many of whom had never played music before) performed a musical score of matrix notations by using the iPhone applications Melodica (Free), Nlog Free Synth, Kalimba Free and Satori.

In March 2015, Young performed Pastoral Music (But it is Entirely Hollow) (2014-ongoing) at the am space gallery booth in Art Basel Hong Kong 2015. The site-specific performance examines Hong Kong’s involvement in the second world war and the role that artists play during conflicts.

Samson Young performing at the am space gallery booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2015. Image courtesy the artist and am space gallery.

Samson Young performing at the am space gallery booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2015. Image courtesy the artist and am space gallery.

“For Whom the Bell Tolls”

Young’s project for the BMW Art Journey, which supports an emerging artist each year on a journey aimed to further develop their artistic work, is entitled “For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Journey into the Sonic History of Conflict”. The project builds on Young’s “longstanding fascination with military technology and his training as a composer” and, according to the press release, it focuses on:

… bells, which bring together these two related areas of interest. Canons and bells are made of essentially the same materials. In times of war, bells would be melted down to create cannons, and when peace returned, bells would be recast from surplus weapons.

“For Whom the Bell Tolls” borrows the title of Hemingway’s novel and asks: Who needs bells? For whom are bells cast, sounded, and preserved in perpetuity? Young’s project investigates bells qua conflict and resolution; he writes in his proposal:

The auditory coverage of bells defines territories, separating one community from another along cultural, religious, or ideological fault lines. Bells also connect individuals. When great care is taken in the tuning of bells, the purity of tone and fullness of volume become sources of collective pride.

Young will travel to sites around the world to notate and record the sounds of exceptional and historically resonant bells. He will generate an archive of recordings and “bell sound sketches”, as well as create a set of new bronze bells and an original musical composition for bell-ringers and orchestras.

Samson Young, 'Muted Situations', 2014. Photo: Joel Chester Fildes. Image courtesy CFCCA.

Samson Young, ‘Muted Situations’, 2014. Photo: Joel Chester Fildes. Image courtesy CFCCA.

About BMW Art Journey

The BMW Art Journey is a new global collaboration between BMW and Art Basel. The award offers artists an opportunity to undertake a journey of creative discovery to almost anywhere in the world. Artists who are showing in Art Basel’s sectors for emerging artists in Miami Beach and Hong Kong are eligible, with one artist to be chosen from each location every year starting 2015.

This year the judging panel that chose Young included:

The jury had high praise for Young’s proposal:

Samson Young’s proposal stood out for several reasons: its depth and clarity, its multi-layered approach and its ability to bring a simultaneously contemporary and historical dimension to notions of place. His research will thoughtfully interweave multiple contexts addressing major issues to include war, religion, community and the politics of sound [...] Samson Young has crafted a journey with ambitious scope and strong potential to offer meaningful strides in his development as an artist.

Click here to read Art Radar’s 2013 interview with Samson Young on his project “Memorizing the Tristan Chord”

Michele Chan

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Related Topics: Hong Kong artists, sound art, electronic art, mixed media, new media, political art, awards ceremonies, prizes

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Join me in wishing our Managing Editor, Kriti Bajaj, a sparkling future | Personal note to readers



A personal note from Kate Cary Evans, Executive Editor of Art Radar, to our community of readers, writers and students on the future of Art Radar and Managing Editor changes.

I was sitting in an airport waiting area when I read Kriti’s resignation email. My heart sank. How will Art Radar ever do without her? Kriti Bajaj joined us as a staff writer in 2013 but was soon promoted to Managing Editor. In the 1.5 years that she has been with us, she has made a powerful impression.

She should be proud to look back on what she has accomplished:

  • Grown and stabilised our network of writers: we now have a fast growing team of nearly 30 excellent writers based in locations around the world with deep expertise in different aspects of contemporary art and writing.
  • Grown website numbers to 27,000 unique visitors per month.

These achievements sit alongside the day-to-day (relentless) work of commissioning stories, managing staff and delivering a weekly newsletter of valuable content to deadline. Thanks to her efforts building on the shoulders of the editors before her, we have attracted an amazingly loyal community of distinguished readers and writers. You, our readers, are serious art enthusiasts, art professionals and academics divided equally between Asia, Australia, Europe and the United States and spread over many generations.

On top of all this, Kriti has delivered many special projects for Art Radar, such as:

  • Developing the Art Radar Recruitment service which helps us to fund Art Radar. By setting up and managing this service Kriti has proved that our community of readers is a valuable source of passionate and skilled art staff. The Art Radar Recruitment arm’s clients include platforms such as Larry’s List and leading international Art Basel-level galleries. (If you need to recruit anyone, from intern to director level, we can advertise to our community on your behalf – contact hello.artradar@gmail.com for more information.)
  • Played a pivotal role in helping select our Sovereign Asian Art Prize 2015 nominees, including the overall Grand Prize winner Anida Yoeu Ali. For more on Anida’s intriguing prize-winning work click here.

Throughout her time with us, Kriti has been unfailingly reliable and conscientious, made intelligent judgements and demonstrated flair. She is popular with our whole team and commands their respect and appreciation. How could we replace her?

I was worried.

As metallic voices over the tannoy announced imminent departures, all I could think was, “Two months. Kriti will be leaving in two months.” Could she manage the ultimate challenge and find, recruit and train a high calibre replacement in two short months?

Unbelievably she has done just that, and the excellent quality of applications we received for the position from every continent was another pleasant surprise. Our new Managing Editor, Clare Tyrrell-Morin, will be taking over from 1 June 2015. We are thrilled to have Clare on board. She is highly experienced and is well-known and respected in the Asian contemporary art scene after 15 years of editing and writing on the subject.

I recently had coffee with an illustrious, Hong Kong-based curator of Chinese art and told her the news of our new appointment. “Nooooo! Really? Fabulous! I love Clare,” she said. It was gratifying to see her jaw drop.

Art Radar is looking forward to a glowing future, remaining true to its spirit of quality over quantity, delivering only the most meaningful and important stories. There will be more from Clare on her plans and initiatives for Art Radar over the next few months as she gradually settles into her new role.

But, in the meantime, I had to know – what does the future hold for Kriti now? I asked her: what do you plan to do in the longer term? What is your dream?

She said:

I never know how to answer that! I have so many interests, and there are so many possibilities… For now, the direction that I hope to take is to use photography/film in my work and research, so I’m going to try and make a shift in that direction. [To take] courses [in] visual anthropology, building on my anthropology background but involving the use of the camera as a research tool. Fingers crossed!

Let’s join together in wishing Kriti a sparkling future.

Kate Cary Evans

 

Diasporic Iranian artist Farzad Kohan searches for self in the City of Angels – interview



Iranian visual artist Farzad Kohan on using social media in art practise, and challenging the self through a fragile new medium.

Los Angeles resident Farzad Kohan employs physical methods to shape his work. Art Radar spoke with the artist to find out more about how he uses social media to connect with others near and far, and what it means to be an “immigrant artist” in Los Angeles’ vibrant contemporary art scene.

Farzad Kohan, 'Love Me My Love', 2014, mixed media on wood panel, 152.5 x 152.5 cm (60 x 60 inches). Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Farzad Kohan, ‘Love Me My Love’, 2014, mixed media on wood panel, 152.5 x 152.5 cm (60 x 60 inches). Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Farzad Kohan (b. 1967, Tehran, Iran) is a self taught artist who has resided in Los Angeles since 1991. His work has been shown widely in California, as well as Amsterdam and the United Arab Emirates, and has been offered through Christie’s Auction House and the Young Collectors Auction. Kohan’s work can be found in private collections in the United States and the Middle East. He is represented by Ayyam Gallery in Dubai.

Khaled Samawi, Founder of Ayyam Gallery has high praise for Kohan’s work:

Farzad is one of the hardest working and most underrated artists in the world … time will prove his importance.

Art Radar caught up with Kohan to learn more about his experiences as a diasporic artist and how his work addresses the idea of migration and finding oneself through a unique blend of mediums and techniques.

Farzad Kohan, 'Lost Promises', 2012, mixed media on wood panel, 100 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Farzad Kohan, ‘Lost Promises’, 2012, mixed media on wood panel, 100 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

You were born in Tehran in 1967, spent time in Sweden at age 18 and moved to California when you were 25. What was it like being a diasporic artist when you first arrived in the United States? Is it different now? 

I got my first, serious taste of culture shock at age eighteen when I moved to Sweden. Moving to California was somehow easier. Los Angeles is such a big place with so many interesting things happening! Many people move here, so it is not a big deal if you are from somewhere else. It felt like home when I arrived and many years later, although I am an immigrant artist, it still feels like home.

Things are certainly different now, the city has changed and the people have changed with it. Artists are finding different ways to communicate with people on many different levels. Social media has really helped with this. The use of social media has connected artists with broader communities throughout the city and the world.

One example of me using social media to connect was my “Lost Paintings” project. It started in April 2010, when I wondered what would happen if I put small pieces of my art outside around the community, similar to the lost cats and found dogs posters one often sees. I was curious – would people take my art seriously if they saw my art on a wall outside? I started by making smaller paintings, with the idea of giving them away and seeing how far they migrated.

The idea was to push the boundaries and make the art very temporary and environmentally friendly. It changed the role of the viewer and gave him/her a chance to interact with the painting, touch it and even take it home. I relied upon random strangers to help me with this through social media. I numbered and signed everything. I mailed the finished pieces to whomever was interested and then these “collectors” put it out into the world for someone else to find. The “lost” paintings were trying to “find” homes. They went to twenty-three countries throughout the world! Several pieces even ended up in prominent European museums and went all the way to Iran. In the end, I had around 300 odd pieces out.

This project was a good reminder to me that we all move around and find different homes. Sometimes we get lost and sometimes we never make it. Sometimes we find places that we call home or we adapt to them.

Another example of how social media has had a big role in my practice is when one of my paintings entitled Lost Promises went viral and became the cover image of The Young Collectors Auction in 2013. Unlike “Lost Paintings” where I did the work and sent it out to people, this time people started making art using my blue skull and adding it into their own thoughts and daily lives. They shared it on social media, making a statement that we are all part of the bigger picture and are all a part of each other’s lives.
Farzad Kohan, installation shot in Paris from the "Lost Paintings" series, 2010, acrylic on paper, 23 x10cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Farzad Kohan, installation shot in Paris from the “Lost Paintings” series, 2010, acrylic on paper, 23 x10cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Although you were interested in the visual arts, your primary objective towards moving to Los Angeles in 1991 was to change the Iranian music scene there. Is there a creative connection between your interest in music and in art that can still be seen today?

I come from a background where all of my brothers are musically talented. I started playing keyboard at age five. My older brothers taught me how to play simple songs and I will never forget that moment when I changed a song I had learned. It felt powerful, like I had changed it to something new and it was all mine. Music taught me how to trust my feelings and instincts and allowed me to express myself, something I still do on daily basis but I use different materials to do that now.

In addition to being a sculptor and a painter, you have a daily drawing practice, where you often use Persian letters and numbers. Are your drawings different to your paintings? How? What purpose does this daily practice fulfill regarding your creative journey?

My drawings and paintings are two completely different bodies of work. I have been trying to make marks with a lot of things that I find around me, from coffee and tea to motor oil and milk, sand, water, and so on. Beginning in 2013, I started drawing in sketchbooks. Before that, it was always on separate sheets of paper or surfaces. This was great because at the end I have a book documenting my daily experiences through the process of drawing.

The works range from my own thoughts and ideas to figures; from complicated forms to simple words, and from things that pass my mind in the moment to a memory that appears in my head. I try to capture anything that makes sense to me. They can be funny at times or dramatic or something that I encountered. They can be stories that I hear here and there. I have made over two thousand drawings, and I am only adding to the collection. In a way, it’s kind of cool to be able to say that I have more than two thousand drawings!

Farzad Kohan, Untitled, 2015, ink on paper, 25.5 x 21 cm. Image courtesy the artist. © Farzad Kohan.

Farzad Kohan, ‘Untitled’, 2015, ink on paper, 25.5 x 21 cm. Image courtesy the artist. © Farzad Kohan.

Please tell us about your experience teaching the Children’s Creative Art Workshop in Glendale, California. What did this experience teach you about creativity in both children and adults?

I started The Creative Art Workshop about seven years ago. I work with elementary school children and I teach them different ways of making images, how to use different mediums and mix them. Sometimes children have a hard time painting because they want to make a picture that looks very close to the real thing. I try to teach them that their art does not have to look like anything else – it is great the way it is and we can work together towards making it better. More than anything, I am helping building these kids’ confidence through the experience of making art, and I think I am very lucky to work with them.

Much of my work as an artist over the last two decades includes stories with kids, like when my “River of Life” paper boat project expanded beyond the context of its exhibition space and many local schools were invited to contribute to it. Of particular note was a child named Alex who was born with certain conditions and part of this programme. Most children in his class did not know how to make a paper boat when the teacher asked them to participate in my project. Since Alex was the only child who knew how, the teacher asked the rest of the class to learn from him. This allowed him to become friends with his classmates, something that never happened before because of a condition that limits him.

Your work has been described as containing layers or strips of meaning. What hidden narratives might someone see in your artwork?

I use many layers of advertising and magazine clippings, found paper, and paint. I build up these materials, refine and then paint over the resulting surface with multiple layers. I repeat this process over and over again. My work is very physical. My friends think I am sitting in my studio, sipping wine, having a great time! They have no idea that I am covered in dust, working with noisy power tools.

Our lives are constantly bombarded by paper. I am trying to make sense of this chaos by using paper in a way that recycles it back into my art without the element of advertisement being the primary focus. Sometimes you can see a slight glimpse of what it originally was but again, that is just a sign of day-to-day life in contemporary society, and I use that to make art.

Farzad Kohan, 'Soulmate', 2013, mixed media on wood panel, 152.5 x 152.5 cm (60 x 60 inches). Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Farzad Kohan, ‘Soulmate’, 2013, mixed media on wood panel, 152.5 x 152.5 cm (60 x 60 inches). Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Please introduce some of your series to us.

Soulmate belongs to a series of works that I did between 2013 and 2014. In this series, my skulls represent the commitments that are important to us and those we keep until we die. They do not go anywhere and are like a tattoo on our skin. Each skull is made up of words that construct the figure, repeated in the eyes, nose and lips. It is like they are seeing and saying and smelling the same things, the same commitment.

One Thousand Moonlights on Your Lips belongs to a body of work that I am working on at the moment, entitled “Love Letters”: a series of works on paper. It is a very challenging body of work, as I have eliminated the wood panel and am working directly on paper. We will see how far I am able to push the formalistic limits of this new series, which makes it even more interesting to me. It is as though all of a sudden nothing works the way it used to! I have a new reality in front of me, and I have to make it happen the best that I can, which for me becomes an analogy for migration. When you leave home and move away from what is familiar, you are dealing with unknown realities, different languages, cultures, etc.

My work is very physical and at the same time, very fragile. It’s a search for me to uncover something new. This new series is like that. The best part is that I really don’t know where it’s going. It’s a search for me more than anything else.

Farzad Kohan, 'This Heart Wants You' from the "Love Letters" series, 2015, mixed media on paper, 75 x 56 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Farzad Kohan, ‘This Heart Wants You’ from the “Love Letters” series, 2015, mixed media on paper, 75 x 56 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Tell us about the contemporary art scene in Los Angeles. Are there many Persian contemporary artists in California? If so, is it a tight-knit community?

Los Angeles has a great art scene. A lot of great works are created in this city with influential galleries and museums and lots of street art. Pretty much anything you would like to see can be found here. Los Angeles has a strong history of art that has been receptive to immigrants; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art was one of the first museums to acquire Middle Eastern contemporary art for their permanent collection, and there are a few galleries that concentrate on Middle Eastern artists.

There are some contemporary Iranian artists in California but not too many. The art world is a small place. We are not a tight-knit community when it comes to visual artists – the support for other artistic disciplines is much more visible, but it is changing and people are learning about supporting visual artists and the importance they carry.

Any upcoming shows, exhibitions or auctions during the next six months where people can see your work?

I am preparing for a major solo exhibition in Dubai in 2016 and will also be showing my works on paper at Abu Dhabi Art this November.

Farzad Kohan, 'Closer To You', 2014, mixed media on wood, 122x122 cm (48x48 inches). Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Farzad Kohan, ‘Closer To You’, 2014, mixed media on wood, 122×122 cm (48×48 inches). Image courtesy the artist and Ayyam Gallery. © Farzad Kohan.

Lisa Pollman

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Related Topics: Drawing, Interviews, Iranian, Mix Media, Painting

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Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2015 teaches citizens about art



The third edition of the Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong closed with an excellent turnout, with many reporting an enjoyable experience. 

With a strong emphasis on education, this year’s thoughtful programming created a relaxed yet comprehensive and all-round experience for visitors. 

In an art talk about digital art in Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2015, emerging artist Guang-Yu Zhang discussed how old ideas influence new media and digital works and talked about his own digital photo montages that reflect both traditional and imaginary attitudes. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

In an art talk about digital art in Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2015, emerging artist Guang-Yu Zhang discussed how old ideas influence new media and digital works and talked about his own digital photo montages that reflect both traditional and imaginary attitudes. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

The Affordable Art Fair HK 2015

The finale of Hong Kong’s spring art season, the Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2015 took place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 22-24 May 2015.

This year’s fair showcased thousands of works from more than 130 local and international galleries. Works were all priced between HKD1,000 and HKD100,000, encompassing paintings, prints, photography, sculpture and mixed media by both household names and young and emerging artists.

In addition, the action-packed weekend featured an exciting art education programme of creative workshops, talks, tours, live artist demonstrations and lectures on photography, ink and art therapy, among others. These events were designed to allow aspiring art collectors to develop their tastes and define the styles of art they like.

Winus Lee, 'Tea Set', 2013, porcelain. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Winus Lee, ‘Tea Set’, 2013, porcelain. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Tempting Hongkongers to buy their first pieces

The brainchild of Will Ramsay – who launched the first London edition of the fair – the Affordable Art Fair has become known as the art fair that encourages people to buy their first pieces of art. Ramsay told  The South China Morning Post that:

The great thing about the fair is that everyone is a potential collector. When you visit you’ll hopefully find loads of stuff that you like and can afford. [...] There is something for every budget and taste.

Touting the slogan “Art for everyone”, the fair aims to open up the art market to a wider audience. This has proved challenging in Hong Kong, a city where “[o]nly 15 percent of visitors actually make a purchase compared with the 40 percent from some Western contemporary art hubs the Fair covers, such as London.”

Fair Director Stephanie Kelly told Marketing Interactive:

The rate of art ownership in Hong Kong is undeniably lower. People in Hong Kong don’t often have art on their walls. It’s relatively harder to drive them to buy their first piece. But it’s a journey. People who come to our Fair in the first year probably wouldn’t buy, in the second year they may start to have purchase intention, and more often people would make purchases on their third-year visit.

Park Hyung-jin, 'Redemption 02', 2013, lenticular screen. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Park Hyung-jin, ‘Redemption 02′, 2013, lenticular screen. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Using education to inspire audiences

This year, first-time buyers were made to feel at home in the fair’s relaxed, fun and educational atmosphere. The fair catalogue included lists like “Top Tips for Buying Art”, and this year’s “Gallery Speed Dating” tours introduced visitors to the different styles, media and artists of participating galleries.

Many reported an enjoyable experience. An art student who purchased her first piece at the fair told Art Radar:

There was a lot of cute stuff. The atmosphere was informative but fun and relaxed – not pretentious at all.

Meanwhile, on account of the more affordable prices, seasoned collectors snapped up pieces more spontaneously. A collector and arts professional who had not intended to purchase anything from the fair told Art Radar:

I just came for a quick look, but me and my husband ended up buying something. We’re really happy about it!

Gallery Speed Dating tour at Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2015. Image courtesy Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Gallery Speed Dating tour at Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong 2015. Image courtesy Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Hongkongers hungry to learn about art

This year’s edition placed an even greater emphasis on education than in previous years. There was a designated education space, a venue for interactive talks, artist demonstrations and creative workshops, as well as a Children’s Art Studio hosted by the Sovereign Art Foundation.

In addition to seeing art being made or even making art themselves, visitors were taught about practical art-ownership knowledge, including tips on hanging artworks, finding the perfect frame, and protecting the artwork from sunlight and humidity.

Kelly told Timeout Magazine that the increased emphasis on education was a response to market research:

We asked our visitors why they come to the fair – 80 percent said they wanted to come and learn about art.

Tung Wing Hong, 'Untitled (Head Piece)', 2014, swinging device, CRT TV, digital video, 43 x 36 x 32 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Tung Wing Hong, ‘Untitled (Head Piece)’, 2014, swinging device, CRT TV, digital video, 43 x 36 x 32 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Affordable Art Fair Hong Kong.

Spotlight on Hong Kong Artists 

Another key highlight of the fair was the “Young Talent Hong Kong” exhibition specially curated by veteran local curator Eric Leung Shiu Kee. The show featured ten emerging Hong Kong artists who exhibited experimental new media digital works, including:

  • Chan Chi Hau
  • Sim Chan
  • Dirty Paper
  • Hui Hoi Kiu
  • Lau Ching Wa
  • Tsang Tsz Yeung
  • Tung Wing Hong
  • Wong Hiu Fung
  • XCEED

The theme of the exhibition was for artists to share stories of art-making and life. Tung Wing Hong’s works, for example, explore his bodily experience of the world and at the same time demand audiences to react within his personal sphere.

According to The Standard“[o]f the over 130 local and international galleries participating, 60 percent originate from Asia, with Hong Kong artists making up a strong 22 percent.”

Michele Chan

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Related Topics: art fairs, the art market, art and education, market transparency, democratisation of art, Hong Kong artists, events in Hong Kong

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30 printmakers reinforce ties between Australia and Thailand – in pictures



An exhibition at Mosman Gallery in Sydney extends the ongoing dialogue between Australian and Thai contemporary printmakers.

“Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand” brings together 30 artists in an exchange of printmaking that began in 1992. Through diverse practices, the works consider what it is to be an artist in contemporary society.

Ben Rak ‘Perceive-Conceive (American Soldier Bobble)’, 2013, screenprint, 105 x 55 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Ben Rak, ‘Perceive-Conceive (American Soldier Bobble)’, 2013, screenprint, 105 x 55 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

“Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Gallery from 9 May to 12 July 2015, is the third stop in a tour that included PSG Gallery in Silpakorn University in Bangkok and Canberra’s Australian National University. Featuring artists from Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Canberra and Sydney selected by three curators, the exhibition recognises the long history of collaboration between the two countries.

History of printmaking exchanges

This tradition of exchange in printmaking between Thailand and Australia began in 1992 with a tour of contemporary Australian prints to Thailand. Since then there have been many exhibitions and residency programmes between the two countries, some facilitated by institutions and others through personal connections. In one such example, Thai artist Kitikong Tilokwattanotai worked closely with Cicada Press, an educationally focused custom-printing workshop at the University of NSW in Sydney, and took their model back to Thailand where he established Chiangmai Art on Paper (CAP Studio).

Kitikong Tilokwattanotai, ‘Untitled’, 2014, etching, 100 x 70 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Kitikong Tilokwattanotai, ‘Untitled’, 2014, etching, 100 x 70 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

As lead curator Somporn Rodboon notes:

Many of the artists in “Interchange” have already established strong and on going ties and understand the value of the relationship between Australia and Thailand. Moreover, through “Interchange”, the participating artists promote an increased understanding in the scope and complexity of our respective cultures and the value of further dialogue between our artists in the future.

A reflection on Thai culture

Thai curator Somporn Rodboon selected ten artists from Bangkok and Chiang Mai whose work examines socio-political commentaries and ecological concerns, drawing from their distinct life experiences and cultural backgrounds. From Ammarin Kuntawong’s stylised images of his favourite places to Vimonmarn Khanthachavana’s self-referencing photographic imagery, the artists reflect upon their environment through diverse techniques.

Ammarain Kuntawong, ‘Bush town’, 2014, etching, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Ammarain Kuntawong, ‘Bush Town’, 2014, etching, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

stamping, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Vimonmarin Khanthachavana, ‘Pincusion in Hand’, 2013, woodblock, offset and
stamping, 70 x 100 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Thai artists in the exhibition are:

  • Opus Chomchuen
  • Kade Javanalikikorn
  • Vimonman Khanthachavana
  • Sutee Kunavichayanont
  • Srijai Kuntawang
  • Yanawit Kunchaethong
  • Ammarin Kuntawong
  • Amorntep Mahamart
  • Wittamon Niwattichai
  • Kitikong Tilokwattanotai
Sutee Kunavichayanont, 'Reversed motherland', 2014, etching, 100 x 57 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Sutee Kunavichayanont, ‘Reversed Motherland’, 2014, etching, 100 x 57 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Established and emerging artists from Canberra unite

Curator Patsy Payne selected Canberra-based emerging and established artists who tackle contemporary political issues. Surya Bajracharya alludes to the asylum seeker debate, Alison Alder to the “humane” weapons of the twenty-first century, while others make references to consumerism. These diverse themes are united by a dedication to contemporary printmaking.

Surya Bajracharya, 'In your hands', 2014, screenprint, 112 x 106 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Surya Bajracharya, ‘In Your Hands’, 2014, screenprint, 112 x 106 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

In an essay on the works, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centre Director Joseph Falsone observes that:

The works divide roughly along political, expressive and symbolic lines, but are united by a shared awareness of printmaking’s inherent possibilities, and by a commitment to printmaking as a vital and evolving strand of contemporary art.

Canberra artists in the exhibition are:

  • Alison Alder
  • Surya Bajracharya
  • G. W. Bot
  • Ingeborg Hansen
  • Nicci Haynes
  • Alex Lewis
  • John Loane
  • Patsy Payne
  • John Pratt
  • Bernie Slater

Artists from Sydney respond to space

The ten artists from Sydney, chosen by artist Michael Kempson, respond to Australian social and geographical space. The works range from a journey along the Indo-Australian and Pacific continental plates by Fiona Hall, to Martha McDonald Napaltjarri’s claim to belonging through dreaming and exploring the history of her environment.

Fiona Hall 'Lying in the Dark', 2011, aquatint, open-bite and screenprint, 51 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Fiona Hall, ‘Lying in the Dark’, 2011, aquatint, open-bite and screenprint, 51 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Martha McDonald Napaltjarri, ‘Warlukuritji’, 2013, aquatint, 55 x 66 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Martha McDonald Napaltjarri, ‘Warlukuritji’, 2013, aquatint, 55 x 66 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

As artist and writer Anthony Springford explains:

Drawing on the technical methods of printmaking, these artists show us the landscape as a surface written into, incised, scarred, and gouged by conflicting stories.

Vernon Ah Kee, 'ABC', 2012, aquatint, 32 x 31 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Vernon Ah Kee, ‘ABC’, 2012, aquatint, 32 x 31 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Elisabeth Cummings 'Flinders Farm', 2009, etching, aquatint, open-bite and scraping, 34 x 54 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Elisabeth Cummings, ‘Flinders Farm’, 2009, etching, aquatint, open-bite and scraping, 34 x 54 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Sydney artists in the exhibition are:

  • Vernon Ah Kee
  • Elisabeth Cummings
  • Fiona Hall
  • Rew Hanks
  • Michael Kempson
  • Euan Macleod
  • Martha MacDonald Napaltjarri
  • Joshua Parry
  • Ben Rak
  • Adeel uz Zafar
Michael Kempson, 'East and West', 2014, etching and aquatint, 68 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Michael Kempson, ‘East and West’, 2014, etching and aquatint, 68 x 101 cm, in “Interchange: A Printmaking Dialogue between Australia and Thailand”, at Mosman Art Gallery (Sydney, Australia). Image courtesy Mosman Art Gallery.

Claire Rosslyn Wilson

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5 Armenian artists to know now



Art Radar handpicks five exciting Armenian artists you should know.

With the Armenian Pavilion winning the Golden Lion at the 56th Venice Biennale, and Armenia’s artists exhibiting internationally, we add the country’s artists to our radar.

Image courtesy the Mekhitarist Monastery of the Island of San Lazzaro, Venice.

The Islan of San Lazzaro, site of “Armenity”, the Armenia Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, 2015. Image courtesy the Mekhitarist Monastery of the Island of San Lazzaro, Venice.

Armenia is an ancient country in the Caucasus region and was the first in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion. It is therefore not entirely surprising that Armenian art has religious roots, such as its famous illuminated manuscripts (fifth-fourteenth centuries), medieval decorated cross-stones called khachkar and beautiful buildings such as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Lake Van (tenth century), the walls of which are adorned with biblical themes. While some modern artists have been influenced by modern techniques from other countries, others are heavily influenced by traditions.

Art Radar introduces you to five Armenian artists who are making a mark on the international stage.

Hrair Sarkissian, 'Unexposed', 2012, archival inkjet print, 137.5 x 110 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki.

Hrair Sarkissian, ‘Unexposed’, 2012, archival inkjet print, 137.5 x 110 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki.

1. Hrair Sarkissian

Hrair Sarkissian trained in Syria, France and Holland. He is presenting photos from his series “Unexposed” at the ongoing 56th Venice Biennale, where different facets of issues such as migration, persecution and displacement are deeply explored. The series focuses on Armenians who are based in Turkey, on the sidelines of society due to their conversion to Christianity, but also not fully accepted in Armenia.

The main themes in Sarkissian’s work are memory and identity, which are represented in photographs of urban settings. The photographer attempts to evaluate historical, religious and social narratives both on a collective and individual level. Sarkissian opens up a view into his own and his family’s experiences, linking the seen and unseen stories of the present and the past.

Hripsime Margaryan, ‘’Impression’’ series, 2012, mixed media on paper, 30 x 40 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Hripsime Margaryan, ‘’Impression’’ series, 2012, mixed media on paper, 30 x 40 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

2. Hripsime Margaryan

This Yerevan-born artist exhibits most of her work at the Valmar Art Gallery in Armenia. Margaryan was first introduced to art through her parents, who took her to see many art exhibitions. Her father, Valmer, who also exhibits at the Valmar Art Gallery, has always advised and supported her.

Margaryan has exhibited in Armenia at over 42 galleries. In her art, she creates a dynamic and emotional world which reflects her worries, moods and feelings. Her pieces are highly abstract. Inspired by music and nature, she creates lighthearted compositions by combining lines and colours. Her aim is to show the viewer a coherent series of images, where every painting is a window into a beautiful, kind and positive world. She draws on her own genuine nature and her inner world when creating both abstract and realistic pieces. Her favourite painters are Gustav Klimt (“the most emotional painter she knows”), Renoir (“the gentle painter”), Picasso (“the brave painter”) and Dali (“the smartest painter”).

Arthur Sharafyan, 'Closed Doors', 2015, oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Arthur Sharafyan, “Closed Doors” series, 2015, oil on canvas, 120 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

3. Arthur Sharafyan

Sharafyan has been influenced by El Greco, having always felt Greco’s style in himself in terms of expressive and aesthetic principles. Sharafyan’s individual style includes both contemporary and traditional Armenian elements. Throughout his career, he has tried out various techniques such as collage, canvas, acrylic paints, pastels and oils.

Sharafyan teaches painting at the Yerevan State Fine Art College, in addition to being an artist. He feels that he is helping to promote a civil democratic society by teaching his students not only how to paint, but also how to become free thinkers. In Sharafyan’s view, it is an artist’s job to comment on society and to make people think about the world they live in. He attempted to do so by creating images depicting the tragedy of the Armenian people during the Armenian Genocide.

In honour of the 100th Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, the artist created a series entitled “Closed Doors” to symbolise the personal tragedy of people who had to leave their own houses, their homeland and their personal story, which started beyond those doors but ended up nowhere.

Moko Khachatryan, 'Trees before sleep', 2015, 75 x 140 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

Moko Khachatryan, ‘Trees before sleep’, 2015, oil on canvas, 75 x 140 cm. Image courtesy the artist.

4. Moko Khachatryan

Moko Khachatryan is most influenced by nature, which, she feels, has a lot of depth and energy. She used to create with acrylic paint but has recently moved to oils, as she felt that the former are unable to depict the energy of nature in its full vibrancy. Her ideal project would be to start on a canvas that never ends: she tells Art Radar that this would be her favourite piece.

Khachatryan uses art to depict the tragedy of being: fear, hope, pain, loneliness and self-protective illusions. The light from which life began is the main feature in her creations. Her father was a famous painter as well, whose life has been a positive example and inspiration for the artist.

Armenak Karapetjan, 'The Musicians, Pomegranate and Mount Ararat', 2015, oil on canvas. Image courtesy the artist and Hamlet Mejloumian.

Armenak Karapetjan, ‘The Musicians, Pomegranate and Mount Ararat’, 2015, oil on canvas. Image courtesy the artist and Hamlet Mejloumian.

5. Armenak Karapetjan

Karapetjan has exhibited in the Czech Republic, Russia, Germany and Belgium. The main theme of his paintings is the relationship between family members – the experience of people as children and parents. His images are gentle in colour and shape, elegantly describing the love between family members as the life force at the centre of every person’s life.

His work The Musicians, Pomegranate and Mount Ararat was part of a special project dedicated to the 100th Centennial of the Armenian Genocide, for which fifteen modern Armenian artists were chosen to create oil paintings from moments of Hamlet Mejoumian’s life in the nineteen months before 24 April 2015 – the date of the 100th Centennial.

Elizabeth Kaplunov

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What is… Chinese paper-cut art? Art Radar explains



How much do you know about the ancient Chinese tradition of paper-cut art and how it has evolved throughout the years?

As part of our “What is…” series, Art Radar defines both the ancient and contemporary art of paper-cutting and spotlights 7 contemporary artists who are pushing the medium to new heights.

Bovey Lee, 'Ribbon Dancer' (detail). Image courtesy the artist.

Bovey Lee, ‘Ribbon Dancer’ (detail). Image courtesy the artist.

What is paper-cut art?

Chinese paper-cut art: A history

Chinese paper-cutting, or jianzhi (剪紙), is a folk art that originated in China around the sixth century AD. The art form is most strongly associated with China because paper was invented in the country – by Cai Lun in the Eastern Han Dynasty. The oldest surviving paper cut-out is a symmetrical circle from the sixth century AD Six Dynasties period, and the craft flourished in popularity during the Ming and Qing dynasties (c. 1368-1912).

Traditional Chinese jianzhi is characterised by intricate designs and creative use of negative space. Mostly for decorative purposes, cut-outs are used to adorn walls, columns, mirrors, lamps, lanterns, windows and doors; for this reason they are also known as chuanghua (窗花), which means ‘window flower’. Red is the most commonly used colour, which represents good luck and prosperity, and cut-out patterns are often formed by Chinese characters representing Chinese zodiac animals.

The spread of paper-cut art

Paper-cutting appeared in West Asia in the eigth-ninth centuries, and in Turkey in the sixteenth century. A century later, paper-cut art was being done in most of middle Europe. Scherenschnitte (German for ‘scissor cuts’), for example, was born in Switzerland and Germany in the sixteenth century. The art was then brought to Colonial America by immigrants in the eigtheenth century.

There are two methods to the art form: one using scissors, the other knives. In both, several layers of paper are cut together to achieve intricate patterns. For the knife method, paper is placed on a soft, swampy foundation of tallow and ashes, while the crafter cuts into the paper with a vertically-held knife.

Contemporary variations 

While jianzhi remains popular in China today, especially during special events like weddings and Chinese New Year, paper-cut art has developed into an entirely new art form independent of its jianzhi roots. The attractiveness of paper-cut art lies in the humble medium of paper, which is transformed into intricate, exotic and even three-dimensional designs due solely to the artist’s skill and imagination.

In contemporary paper-cut art, artists sometimes combine paper-cutting with other media and materials such as paint, installation and light boxes to create additional effects. But what remains at the core of the medium is the fashioning of elaborate patterns by the artist’s bare hands, and the creative use of positive and negative space.

In the following section Art Radar spotlights the work of seven contemporary artists from China, Japan and Hong Kong working with paper-cutting.

Installation view of Qiao Xiaoguang's 'City Windows' (2015). Image from jaunted.com.

Installation view of Qiao Xiaoguang’s ‘City Windows’ (2015). Image from jaunted.com.

Contemporary Asian paper-cut artists

1. Qiao Xiaoguang 

Chinese paper-cut artist Qiao Xiaoguang (b. 1957, Hebei) recently collaborated with the city of Chicago, creating a permanent, panoramic paper-cut installation entitled City Windows at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The fifteen-panel piece features iconic images from Chicago and Beijing to symbolise “the deep friendship and cultural and business connections between Chicago and China”. The work can be viewed from both inside and outside the airport.

Qiao learned his craft in the Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, where the ancient art of paper-cutting is still practiced and taught. Also a researcher on Chinese folk art, Qiao is a Professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and Head of the Cultural Heritage Research Center. His art engages with history as well as the contemporary world: in recent years he has used paper-cut art to “cooperat[e] with several European countries in cultural heritage related projects”.

Xin Song, 'On Paper/Grand Central at 100' (installation view), 2013, paper-cut between lightboxes, 4 panels, 42 x 51 inches each. Site-specific public arts installation for the Grand Central Terminal to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Image courtesy the artist.

Xin Song, ‘On Paper/Grand Central at 100′ (installation view), 2013, paper-cut between light boxes, 4 panels, 42 x 51 in each. Site-specific public arts installation for the Grand Central Terminal to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Image courtesy the artist.

2. Xin Song 

Xin Song (b. 1970, Beijing) is another Chinese artist who created paper-cut installations for US public transport stations. The artist’s exquisite works have been installed at the New York Grand Central Terminal and the Bay Parkway Landmark Station of the Brooklyn D line. The Grand Central Terminal piece, which used light boxes to highlight Xin Song’s designs, was installed to celebrate the iconic station’s 100th anniversary.

Xin Song studied at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. Her recent works involve her cutting patterns from magazine pages. By fragmenting images and texts, Xin Song splices up the images of hyper-consumerism and voyeurism like slivers in a kaleidoscope. Her biography on Red Zone reads:

Her decoupage is a reflection on the creation, the perception and the appropriation of the image in our societies in which communication is more and more visual.

Nahoko Kojima with her installation 'Byaku' (2013) at Jerwood Space, London. Image from designboom.com.

Nahoko Kojima with her installation ‘Byaku’ (2013) at Jerwood Space, London. Image from designboom.com.

3. Nahoko Kojima

Hailing from Japan, Nahoko Kojima (b. 1981, Hyogo) is a professional contemporary paper-cut artist whose works have been commissioned by the likes of Bulgari. She rose to fame as the pioneer of paper-cut art as sculpture, fashioning mesmerising, large-scale three-dimensional forms that exude elegance and mystique, and tradition and contemporaneity at the same time.

In the installation Byaku (2013) at the Jerwood Space in London, Kojima created a life-size swimming polar bear suspended from the ceiling. The bear was cut from a single sheet of three-by-three metres washi paper that the artist crumpled beforehand to achieve an uneven, faceted texture. The artist told Designboom:

[I] chose this particular washi because it has less then 100% kouzo content and this means that it subtly turns warmer in colour over time – this mimics the fur of the polar bear which based on my research goes through a similar change over the span of its life.

Click here to watch a Youtube video about Nahoko Kojima’s Byaku

Kojima started studying kirie (Japanese paper-cutting) at the age of five, under private tutelage. After earning a degree in Design from the Kuwasawa Institute, Kojima quickly became a leading figure in the field of contemporary paper-cut art, spearheading the genre in Japan, London and the rest of the world. Karen Wright wrote in The Independent in 2013:

Kojima’s [work] wants to make paper-cutting a legitimate art form. “The curiosity of paper-cut art is to express all dimensions of the world by using one piece of paper.” She is creating sculpture, not craft, and she is clear in her desire to push the medium as far as she and her deft hands can propel her.

Kako Ueda, 'Reciprocal Pain', 2009-14, layers of hand-cut paper with acrylic and water colour, 92 X 55 inches. Image from the artist's website.

Kako Ueda, ‘Reciprocal Pain’, 2009-14, layers of hand-cut paper with acrylic and watercolour, 92 x 55 in. Image from the artist’s website.

4. Kako Ueda

Also from Japan, Kako Ueda (b. 1966, Tokyo) creates work that is just as painstakingly intricate but with a drastically different aesthetic. His delicate patterns barely hide the dark, at times explosive motifs emerging from within – even when the imagery is subtle, a sense of strong menace pervades. Insects, animals and human bodies are often used as themes; according to his website biography, Ueda is interested in how such beings “are born out of nature but constantly being influenced and modified by culture”.

Ueda studied in the United States, earning his BFA from Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and his MFA from the Pratt Institute. The artist practices painting in addition to paper-cut. He said in an interview with The Huffington Post:

Creating an image by cutting out (eliminating some parts of the chosen material) paper is not unlike making a sculpture such as carving wood or chiseling away marble. I always draw first on a piece of paper before cutting so my process involves drawing first then sculpting/cutting. By painting cut paper piece[s] or adding painted images with the cutting paper, I also satisfy my urge to paint. In the end, I often end up incorporating three processes in one piece [...] “Reciprocal Pain,” is a good example of having these three components within one work.

Bovey Lee, 'Ribbon Dancer'. Image courtesy the artist.

Bovey Lee, ‘Ribbon Dancer’. Image courtesy the artist.

5. Bovey Lee

Bovey Lee is a Hong Kong-born paper-cut artist based in Los Angeles. While her incredibly intricate, lace-like works often deal with contemporary topics, her style and aesthetic is rooted in her training in traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting. Lee hand-cuts each work on a single sheet of Chinese xuan (rice) paper, without the help of any rulers or stencils. Her artist statement reads:

My work is like drawing with a knife and is rooted in my study of Chinese calligraphy and pencil drawing. Cutting paper is a visceral reaction and natural response to my affection for immediacy, detail, and subtlety. The physical and mental demand from cutting is extreme and thrilling, slows me down and allows me to think clearly and decisively.

Lee studied Chinese calligraphy and painting in her formative years and completed a BA in Fine Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She gained her first MFA from the University of California, Berkeley and her second from the Pratt Institute. Apart from numerous commissions and editorials, Lee’s works have been exhibited widely around the world, and over a dozen books have featured her paper-cut art.

Leah Wong, 'Textured Edge', 2014, ink, acrylic, hand-cut paper, 36 x 22 inches. Image courtesy the artist and Sherrie Gallerie.

Leah Wong, ‘Textured Edge’, 2014, ink, acrylic, hand-cut paper, 36 x 22 in. Image courtesy the artist and Sherrie Gallerie.

6. Leah Wong

Leah Wong grew up in Qingdao, China and currently lives and works in Ohio. An avid painter as well as a paper-cut installation artist, Wong combines painting and paper-cutting to achieve an avant-garde aesthetic. According to an exhibition entry logged at the Asia Art Archive,

[Wong] hand-colours and hand-cuts her imagined creatures and then embeds them using paint, texture, abstract forms, and gestural lines. Through her paintings, she intends to hybridise culture, conceptual space and materials, and hopes to connect viewers’ minds and imaginations.

Wong earned her BFA in Painting from the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China and her MFA in Painting from Ohio University. She has exhibited nationally and internationally.

Yuken Teruya, "LVMH – Pucci", 2005, paper, glue. Installed at Saatchi Gallery in 2013. Image by Art Radar.

Yuken Teruya, “LVMH – Pucci”, 2005, paper, glue. Installed at Saatchi Gallery in 2013. Image by Michele Chan.

7. Yuken Teruya 

Japanese artist Yuken Teruya (b. 1973, Okinawa) has taken the ancient art of paper-cutting and given it perhaps the most contemporary twist of all. Using discarded paper shopping bags from high end shopping stores to McDonalds, Teruya cuts out painstakingly intricate trees, with each branch and leaf discernible despite their tiny sizes. The paper bags lie on their sides, and viewers peer in through the opening to see these miniature, ethereal creations standing upright inside the paper bag.

Teruya received his BFA from Tama Art University, Tokyo and his MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. His paper bag series is a poignant reminder of the strain consumerist activities are placing on the environment. Teruya’s biography on Saatchi Gallery’s website reads:

Reversing the flow of industry from tree to paper, Teruya’s work has an environmental sensitivity that’s hard to miss. It’s also a poignant assertion of the role of the creative artist: as someone who finds meaning amid the morass of stuff we leave behind.

Michele Chan

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Related Topics: Chinese artists, Japanese artists, Hong Kong artists, paper art, mixed media, found objects, art and the environment, definitions

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