Contemporary Asian Ink Art as a Visual Language: Ink Asia 2017, Hong Kong – art fair round-up

The third edition of the fair celebrates the aesthetics of ink art amidst the growing interest among art collectors.

Art Radar rounds up the four-day fair in Hong Kong.

A monumental ink painting installation work by Hsu Yung Chin, presented by Yesart Gallery. Image courtesy Ink Asia.

A monumental ink painting installation work by Hsu Yung Chin, presented by Yesart Gallery. Image courtesy Ink Asia.

Ink Asia 2017 was held from 14 to 17 December 2017 in Hong Kong, and included a series of exhibitions and academic programmes. At its third edition, the home-grown fair attracted up to 9000 visitors to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, and gathered 50 local and international exhibitors. Since its inaugural edition in 2015, the fair has aimed to foster deeper understanding of ink art and its boundless possibilities, as well as to enhance the international reputation of Asian artists.

Mr Calvin Hui, Director of Ink Asia 2017, remarked at the beginning of the art fair:

This year is the third edition of Ink Asia. I am happy to gather emerging and established artists, galleries, collectors and scholars at the fair and exchange ideas. I have specially proposed a theme for this year: Ink and non-ink. Many people think that ink is all about ‘paper, brush and ink’ or ‘black and white’; however, ink art has become much more diversified in the 21st century. Artists use an open vision, new media and methods to create works with the spirit and concept of ink, and these artworks may not have a direct relationship with traditional ink art. I hope everyone can appreciate ink art as a visual language with a long history, and discuss the future development of ink in the 21st century through the platform of Ink Asia.

From left to right: Mr Andy Hei, Director of Art & Antique International Fair Ltd., The Organiser; Ms Daphne King, Director of The Ink Society; Mr Calvin Hui, Director of Ink Asia; Mr Liu Kuo-sung, renowned artist; Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration, HKSAR; Mr David Pong, Vice-Chairman of The Ink Society; Ms Susanna Lo, CEO of Art & Antique International Fair Ltd., The Organiser; Ms Olivia Wang, Representative of The Ink Society. Image courtesy Ink Asia.

From left to right: Mr Andy Hei, Director of Art & Antique International Fair Ltd., The Organiser; Ms Daphne King, Director of The Ink Society; Mr Calvin Hui, Director of Ink Asia; Mr Liu Kuo-sung, renowned artist; Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, Chief Secretary for Administration, HKSAR; Mr David Pong, Vice-Chairman of The Ink Society; Ms Susanna Lo, CEO of Art & Antique International Fair Ltd., The Organiser; Ms Olivia Wang, Representative of The Ink Society. Image courtesy Ink Asia.

He also commented on the role of the fair in promoting ink art:

Galleries, artists and collectors are happy to gather at Ink Asia 2017, because it provides an engaging professional platform for those with a common idea and aspiration to promote ink art, and explore the future possibilities of ink.

Dr Wang Huangsheng, Director of the Central Academy of Fine Arts Art Museum in Beijing speaks about the ink market thus:

Hong Kong needs to have its own cultural brand, and Ink Asia is a major breakthrough. After Ink Asia was inaugurated in the Hong Kong cultural scene, it influenced the ink market of mainlandChina and Taiwan. This starting point and confidence are very important, because Ink Asia is able to draw new attention to ink art in Hong Kong, advancing the development of the ink world from the perspective of contemporary ink.

Lesley Ma, Liu Kuosung and Pi Daojian's talk at Ink Asia 2017 Academic Programme. Image courtesy Ink Asia.

Lesley Ma, Liu Kuosung and Pi Daojian’s talk at Ink Asia 2017 Academic Programme. Image courtesy Ink Asia.

Chen Haiyan, 'White Chickens', 2017, ink and colour on xuan paper, 123.5 x 124.5 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Ink Studio.

Chen Haiyan, ‘White Chickens’, 2017, ink and colour on xuan paper, 123.5 x 124.5 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Ink Studio.

Strong Sales

With the growing interest in collecting contemporary ink art, exhibitors reported strong sales in this edition of the fair. Over 1000 works of ink art, including painting, calligraphy, photography, prints, sculpture, video and installations, were on view at the venue. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, acquired several pieces of work, including Chinese artist Xue Song’s Mountain Tree Spring at Taipei gallery Loftyart Gallery and another work by Chinese artist Zheng Chongbin at Beijing-based Ink Studio. White Chickens by artist Chen Haiyan was acquired and will be part of an important private collection. 90 percent of the exhibited artwork at the silent charity auction held by The Hong Kong Cancer Fund were sold.

Xue Song, 'Autumn Colours', 2016, mixed media on canvas, 150 x 150 cm. Image courtesy the artist and LoftyartGallery.

Xue Song, ‘Autumn Colours’, 2016, mixed media on canvas, 150 x 150 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Loftyart Gallery.

Ms Elaine Suyu Liu, Director of Loftyart Gallery explains:

Our exhibition “Pine, Smoke, Ink – The Art of Xue Song” was very well-received by collectors, from the private preview up to the very last day. Loftyart has participated in Ink Asia for three consecutive years since its launch, and has witnessed the fair progress and develop. As the first art fair to specialise in ink art, Ink Asia offers valuable academic lectures and a great selection of artworks every year, and is undoubtedly the leader in the development of modern and contemporary ink painting.

Other Beijing-based galleries including No. 55 Art Space, Aura Gallery, Shanghai-based galleries such as Autumn Water Space and Chelesa Art Co., Ltd, Taiwan-based galleries like Da Xiang Art Space, Chini Gallery, Gallery Sun and Yesart Gallery, as well as Hong Kong-based galleries such as 3812 Gallery and Lucie Chang Fine Arts also reported successful sales.

Liu Kuo-sung, 'Midnight Sun',1972, ink and colour on paper, 153 x 533 cm. Image courtesy the artist and The Ink Society.

Liu Kuo-sung, ‘Midnight Sun’,1972, ink and colour on paper, 153 x 533 cm. Image courtesy the artist and The Ink Society.

Qiu Deshu, 'Fission', 2016, acrylic on rice paper and canvas, 122 x 244 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Autumn Water Space.

Qiu Deshu, ‘Fission’, 2016, acrylic on rice paper and canvas, 122 x 244 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Autumn Water Space.

Ink Asia 2017 Academic Programme

On the growing attention placed on ink art, Mr Emerson Kun-sheng Wang, Curator of Taipei-based galleries Yesart Gallery and Chini Gallery remarks:

Ink Asia Hong Kong is a special art fair because it focuses on the tremendous creativity of ink. Ink Asia plays a very important role because it directly elevates ink, a Chinese traditional art, to a significant role in modern society, presenting new concepts of ink in contemporary Chinese art.

To educate the public about ink art, Ink Asia partnered with The Ink Society, a Hong Kong organisation, to deliver the academic programme. It included lectures and panel discussions, which featured scholars, critics, art experts, gallery directors and artists. Topics ranged from private collecting practices to art authentication, as well as current market trends.

Kwok Hon Sum, 'Unbound Universe', 1989, ink and colour on paper, 152 x 83 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Galerie du Monde.

Kwok Hon Sum, ‘Unbound Universe’, 1989, ink and colour on paper, 152 x 83 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Galerie du Monde.

Special exhibitions and projects

The Ink Society presented the special exhibitionA Tribute to Liu Kuo-sung”, and showcased important work from the father of modern ink painting throughout his career from collections around the world. Works by artists who were under the tutelage of Liu, namely Kwok Hon-Sum and Lee Chun-yi, were also exhibited.

Selected galleries presented large-scale ink and installation projects. Hanart TZ Gallery presented the ninepanel calligraphic work Entangled by Wang Dongling, while Ink Creativity Association exhibited Wong Hau Kwei’s Cascading Galaxy. Grotto Fine Art presented My Tiresome at the Bottom of Valley XV – Ensuring the Best Influence for Her Son Mencius by Chui Puichee and Yesart Gallery displayed artist Hsu Yung Chin’s paintings.

Yu Peng, 'A Moss-Lined Heart under Windy Branches' (diptych),1992, ink and colour on paper, 144 x 202 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Hanart TZ Gallery.

Yu Peng, ‘A Moss-Lined Heart under Windy Branches’ (diptych),1992, ink and colour on paper, 144 x 202 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Hanart TZ Gallery.

Jin Sha, 'The Annunciation', 2017, ink and colour pigment on silk, 34 x 48 cm (Framed: 50 x 65 x 9 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Amy Li Gallery.

Jin Sha, ‘The Annunciation’, 2017, ink and colour pigment on silk, 34 x 48 cm (Framed: 50 x 65 x 9 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Amy Li Gallery.

Ink-inspired works were exhibited at Ink+ Project. Non-traditional media included video, new media, installation, ceramics and sculpture. This year’s theme “The Worlds” was curated by Eric Leung, and consisted of ink art by artists in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. Works by 14 artists  – Chu Tat Shing, Fung Ming Chip, Ding Shiwei, Gan Haoyu, Chloe Ho, Hong Ko, Leung Kui Ting, Li Shengling, Vincent Mak, Cindy Ng, Qiu Anxiong, Tang Bohua, Wu Chi Tsung and Xu Chenyu – were displayed.

Teng Pu-Chun, 'Clarity Rock', 2017, ink on paper, 238 x 126 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Chini Gallery.

Teng Pu-Chun, ‘Clarity Rock’, 2017, ink on paper, 238 x 126 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Chini Gallery.

Water + Ink: The Asian Vision of the Transformation of Modern and Contemporary Ink Art” was one of the highlights, consisting of a catalogue and an exhibition, in partnership with Beijing space KuartCenter. Art professionals from around Asia contributed to the project.

Valencia Tong

2008

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