International contemporary ink artists show with Chinese in Shenzhen

CONTEMPORARY ART SHENZHEN BIENNALE CHINA

In the contemporary Chinese art market, overwhelming attention has been paid to oil painters and conceptual artists whose works have fetched astronomical prices in auctions worldwide. The traditional art of Chinese ink painting, however, has received far less attention. This state of affairs may finally be changing.

Jin Weihong, 'Shinei', 2008. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Jin Weihong, 'Shinei', 2008. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Liang Quan, 'Wuti'. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Liang Quan, 'Wuti'. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Premièring in 1998, the International Ink Art Biennale of Shenzhen is an international cultural exchange project that focusses on the traditional art of ink painting. Organised with the support of the Ministry of Culture and hosted by the Shenzhen municipal government, the 7th International Ink Painting Biennale of Shenzhen, held in early 2011, featured the works of over 140 artists from over 20 countries around the world.

Ma Yuan, 'Renyu Huoguo', 2010. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Ma Yuan, 'Renyu Huoguo', 2010. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

To principal curators Dong Xiaoming and Yan Shanchun, the promotion of ink art has a unique meaning in the Chinese context. Ink art is not just a classical tradition but a timeless art form that is very much alive and replete with creative possibilities. It is also something that China is in a privileged position to bring to the international art world.

Our goal is to explore ink art’s heritage as well as its innovations, and to promote a distinctive character, national identity and new vitality to open to the world in order to encourage domestic and international artists and art theorists to unite around this subject of common interest.


– Preface to the event’s catalogue, excerpted by The Wall Street Journal

Qu Weiwei, 'Xinwai', 2008. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Qu Weiwei, 'Xinwai', 2008. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Five exhibitions, three venues

More than three hundred works were displayed in five exhibitions at three different venues, namely the Guan Shanyue Art Museum, Shenzhen Fine Art Institute and OCT Art and Design Gallery. Here are descriptions of three of these exhibitions excerpted from Shenzhen Daily, a local English-language newspaper:

Liu Ming, 'Shuimo Kongjian', 2010. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Liu Ming, 'Shuimo Kongjian', 2010. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Guan Shanyue Art Museum: “A New World of Brushwork”, “New Media with Traditional Thought”

Two exhibitions at the Guan Shanyue Art Museum feature experimental works of more than forty artists with opposite approaches. In “A New World of Brushwork” exhibition, artists focus on using traditional materials and techniques to depict today’s urban landscapes and social life. In the “New Media With Traditional Thought” exhibition, artists have employed non-traditional media, such as oils, prints, sculptures, installations, photography, and digital art, to reveal how the elements of traditional ink art can merge with today’s new media art.

Zhang Wei, 'Mao yu Guo', 2010. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Zhang Wei, 'Mao yu Guo', 2010. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

OCT Art and Design Gallery: “Com(ic)media on Line”

The special subject exhibition at the OCT Art & Design Gallery re-interprets the lines of comics and Chinese painting to form a broader aesthetic of lines across art media. “Com(ic)media on Line” takes its name from the concept of the line, the expression of lines, the interest in lines, and the representation of a world enclosed by lines or the différance in the linear zone.


This exhibition brings together Eastern and Western techniques to investigate the similarities of this mass-oriented art form, examining the communication and transmission of simple brush and line drawings, while demonstrating the humor of these fascinating visualisations which metaphorically re-create the real world and the various vicissitudes of human life.


The exhibition includes works in ink on paper and silk, woodblock prints, illustrations, cartoons, animation, video, sculpture and graffiti. Visitors will have a chance to see drawings by late Chinese master painters such as Feng Zikai, Guan Liang, Zhang Daqian, Hua Junwu, and He Youzhi.

Xu Bing, 'Dead or Alive', 2010, natural debris attached to frosted glass panel, Museum of Art and Design, New York. Image from xubing.com.

Xu Bing, 'Dead or Alive', 2010, natural debris attached to frosted glass panel, Museum of Art and Design, New York. Image from xubing.com.

Another exhibition, “Legacy and Creations – Ink Art vs Ink Art”, was organised by the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and showcased works by more than thirty artists from the city. The works span five decades, beginning with masters of the 1960s and 1970s such as Lu Shoukun, who initiated the New Ink Painting movement. Hong Kong has exerted a particularly strong influence on the mainland in modern Chinese ink painting, given the region’s exposure to foreign art influences and the amalgamation of Chinese and Western aesthetics.

The Hong Kong Design Centre has just hosted an Ink and Design Exhibition, with four designers from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan acting as co-curators, providing yet another platform for regional art dialogue.

Zheng Qiang, 'Yi Guyuan', 2010. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Zheng Qiang, 'Yi Guyuan', 2010. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

18 international ink artists included

Aside from Chinese artists from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Biennale also featured the works of eighteen foreign artists from the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Spain, France, Germany, and Japan. Adam Bailey, a 26-year-old animation artist from Britain who recently graduated from the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham and is now working at his London studio, exhibited his work Cheese, a 2”34’ animation.

Speaking to Shenzhen Daily he said, “My work is about dreams and it was inspired by my experience of drawing with ink when I was young. … I’m quite excited to see so many different styles of ink paintings at this year’s biennial. This has given me a lot of inspiration for my future work.”

Dong Xiaoming, 'Mohe Juanben', 2005. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Dong Xiaoming, 'Mohe Juanben', 2005. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Another British artist, Peter Boyd Maclean, is a television director who has produced music videos documentary, comedy and animation series.

Profiles of both artists are available at the British Council website.

Yu Changjiang, 'Minbing shihua changjuan', 1997. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Yu Changjiang, 'Minbing shihua changjuan', 1997. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

How does the art market respond to ink?

The promotion of Chinese ink art by the Chinese state and artists seems to have paid off. According to Barbara Pollack of ARTnews,

There is certainly a growing interest among Chinese collectors for works by 20th-century masters of ink painting. In May of [2010], Aachensee Lake (1968) by Zhang Daqian sold for an astonishing $14.8 million at China Guardian Auctions in Beijing. The figure rivaled records achieved by such contemporary art stars as Zhang Xiaogang and Yue Minjun and demonstrated the strength of the market for modernist ink paintings in mainland China. Just weeks later, Christie’s Hong Kong made more than $27 million in a single afternoon sale of modern Chinese paintings, with works by Fu Baoshi and Xu Beihong attracting bids topping $1 million.

Fu Zhongqi, 'Xiangban dushi', 2004. Image courtesy Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

Fu Zhongqi, 'Xiangban dushi', 2004. Image courtesy of Shenzhen Fine Art Institute.

The question, then, is “whether this enthusiasm will spread to contemporary practitioners of ink painting.” According to Pollack, the record at 2010 for contemporary ink art was $976,569 for Xu Bing‘s The Living Word (2001), which “is strong but pales in comparison to prices for the top-selling Chinese oil painters.”

Click here to read her article, “The New Landscape of Chinese Ink Painting”.

For more on the historical development of the art of Chinese ink painting, visit the China Online Museum. The website contains individual painting galleries featuring the works of the most influential Chinese ink masters dating back to the year 265.

Kan Kit-keung, 'Glazier II', 2004, ink and color on paper, 96 x 80.5 cm. Image courtesy Grotto Fine Art.

Kan Kit-keung, 'Glazier II', 2004, ink and colour on paper, 96 x 80.5 cm. Image courtesy of Grotto Fine Art.

KK/KN/HH

Related Topics: Chinese artists, ink painting, biennales

Related Posts:

Subscribe to Art Radar for more on contemporary Chinese ink painting


Comments

International contemporary ink artists show with Chinese in Shenzhen — 1 Comment

  1. Chinese ink painting is profoundly changing gives attention to the glob i am inspired by its reach creative power. once i was in China in shenzhen for art residency and i had fun there

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.