The call for a new centre for the preservation of Modern and contemporary ink painting should come as no surprise; the medium is an inextricable part of Hong Kong’s art history.
Founded in 2003, Hong Kong’s Ink Society was established to promote Chinese ink painting. Now, they hope to open a comprehensive art and education space in a Hong Kong architectural landmark. Read on to find out what you can do to make this happen.
A call for support
King Yin Lei is a historical mansion in Hong Kong dating back to the 1930s. After the property went up for sale in 2004, it narrowly escaped being demolished when the government finally declared it a historical monument in 2008. With the renovation well under way, The Ink Society of Hong Kong is proposing to transform King Yin Lei into an Ink Art Centre, which would play host to exhibitions, seminars, educational programmes and performances focusing on the practice of ink painting.
The Ink Art Centre is currently one of two projects being considered by the Hong Kong government. The other short-listed proposal is for a commercial wedding venue. In an effort to canvas opinions on the development, the government is currently exhibiting scale models of both proposed projects which are on view in the lobby of the Revenue Tower in Wanchai until the public consultation period ends on 29 October 2012.
The project is a chance for Hong Kong to develop a one-of-a-kind contemporary art institution dedicated to one of the city’s most important cultural legacies: a modern tradition inseparable from Hong Kong’s art history that continues to define the local art landscape today. Hong Kong readers who would like to support the project should visit the Revenue Tower at No. 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai North before Monday 29 October 2012 and submit a questionnaire for consideration by the decision committee.
Plans for the centre
The Ink Art Centre will include two main buildings: the Historic Building, which will host exhibitions, activities and historical tours kept small in scale to protect the original architecture, and the New Wing, which will house the society’s larger events. To preserve King Yin Lei’s original landscape, the three-story New Wing will be built into a slope of the terrain and construction will be as minimally invasive as possible.
Designers ensure that any new elements added to the ground would also reflect a sense of Chinese culture and history. The reflective pool that crowns the New Wing is designed to resemble an ink stone, one of several architectural features that recollect the four treasures of the ancient Chinese study. The grounds will also include large, Chinese-style gardens in the front and back of the complex.
By building a large, multi-function complex, the Ink Society hopes that the centre can become more than just a gallery or education centre. As Ink Society Project Director Eddie Lui told Art Radar,
We thought that bringing back [ink] culture is not just teaching people how to hold the brush and how to do ink rendering. We are more of the opinion that people should be able to come in and enjoy the art form and also live with the art form itself. Living with the art form is almost becoming impossible, just looking at the kind of prices that ink art can fetch nowadays in the auction house. So we just want to create a common ground for all people who need some relaxation in their busy life. We need another dimension in art education. We need another aspect of inspiration from a more artistic environment. More importantly, it’s an environment where we can breathe. King Yin Lei is almost like a green spot in the busy life of Hong Kong.
If you are interested in showing your support for this project, you only have a until Monday 29 October 2012 to do so! Head to Hong Kong’s Revenue Tower at No. 5 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai North and submit a questionnaire today.
- New uses for Chinese ink: Jennifer Wen Ma paints hanging gardens in Beijing – May 2012 – an innovative use of the traditional Chinese medium for this impressive UCCA installation
- What is the future of contemporary ink painting? Asia Society panel discussion – July 2011 – top ink art experts in a panel discussion at Hong Kong’s Asia Society
- Who is the King of Kowloon? ArtisTree exhibition pays tribute to artist and eccentric Tsang Tsou-choi – May 2011 – eccentric and “accidental” Hong Kong artist King Kowloon’s ink works on exhibition
- International contemporary ink artists show with Chinese in Shenzhen – February 2011 – Is ink art becoming an international contemporary medium?
- Wilson Shieh revitalises ancient Chinese painting techniques – video – September 2010 – a Hong Kong artist at the forefront of the movement to explore alternative uses of ink as a medium
Subscribe to Art Radar for more on contemporary Chinese ink painting