I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...
The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...
The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...
Alisan Fine Arts is pleased to participate in Art 021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair for the second time. This year our booth focuses on the innovation and creativity of ink art, with artworks by established and emerging gallery artists that inspire and delight, including Wang Tiande, Xu Jianguo, Shan Jianjun, Wang Mengsha, Zhang Xiaoli and Jiang Shuo. These artists are notable for their adherence to the aesthetic of Chinese culture and the noble ideals of Chinese philosophy, while simultaneously making innovative strides in the field of contemporary ink art.
Xu Jianguo and Shan Weijun are Chinese-born diaspora artists presently residing in New York and Paris, respectively, while Wang Tiande is an internationally acclaimed ink artist from Shanghai. These three artists offer unique perspectives on "old meets new," with traditional scholarly practices interposed with modern and experimental approaches to ink creation. Wang Tiande's signature burn paintings, Xu Jianguo's lyrical cityscapes, and Shan Weijun's subdued landscapes all, in their unique ways, elevate traditional landscape painting to a contemporary context.
Sculpture: We will show the colourful and playful sculpture of Jiang Shuo, known for her humorous interpretations of modern culture.
Wang Mengsha and Zhang Xiaoli are two emerging ink artists from the 80s generation. An important figure of "Boudoir Painters" (Guige閨閣), Wang is known for her colourful utopias inspired by gardens and courtyards. In traditional gongbi ink painting style, the young artist Zhang Xiaoli presents surreal landscapes inside music boxes, zipped plastic bags, and food trays, highlighting the portability and transient nature of one's life. Both Wang Mengsha and Zhang Xiaoli are creating and presenting new works specifically for ART021 2018.
Wang Tiande (b.1960 Shanghai) has been using incense sticks in lieu of brushes to "paint" for over 15 years. His paintings are composed of layered rice paper, the top sheet on which he uses incense sticks to create burn marks upon the underlying painted landscape. With each new series, he has invigorated and added new dimensions to classical landscape painting, most recently incorporating calligraphic poetry from genuine Qing Dynasty scrolls into his oeuvre. Two new works by will be on display.
Wang has participated in several important international exhibitions, including Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2014) and Ink Worlds at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University (2018). Seminal solo exhibitions include the Suzhou Museum (2014), The Palace Museum, Beijing (2015), and the Guangdong Museum of Art (2017). Alisan began representing Wang in 1999, and organised four solo exhibitions for him since 2003, the most recent in March of this year. His works have been collected by the British Museum; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Shanghai Art Museum; Guangdong Museum of Art; Hong Kong Museum of Art, amongst others.
Xu Jianguo (b.1951 Shanghai), referred to stylistically as Da Diaozi ("Hue Catcher") has been living in New York for over thirty years. He paints the world's most recognised metropolises with the diligence of an architect, using the highly detailed "skilled brush"(gongbi hua) techniques inherited from masters of the Northern and Southern Song Dynasties. The replacement of the traditional landscape with the modern city is the manner by which Xu comments on the spirit of Chinese culture within the modernised, industrial and globalised world.
Xu's 8 metre-long hand scroll The New Vista of Shanghai was featured at the 2010 Shanghai Expo China Pavilion. From 2010-2013, a solo exhibition sponsored by the US Missions travelled to prominent museums in China, including the Beijing Capital Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, Guangdong Provincial Museum and National Museum of China, Beijing. Alisan is currently holding the solo show Poetic Cityscapes, and included his works at the Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 as well as Art 021 last year. This year for 021, two of his Shanghai landscapes will be on display.
Shan Weijun (b.1962 Jiangsu) attaches great importance to the purity of expression in his paintings. He skillfully uses his brush to painstakingly apply layers and layers of tiny dots. He terms this creative and meditative approach, reminiscent of both the ancient Chinese "Rice-dotted Landscape" (midian shanshui) technique and the Impressionist pointillism that flourished in France at the end of the nineteenth century, as "a thousand points." The result is a series of complex ink paintings that combine Chinese culture, French feeling, and contemporary aesthetics.
Shan studied visual arts at the Wuxi Institute of Light Industry (currently known as Jiangnan University) graduating in 1987. In 1991 he went to Paris, where he studied plastic arts at the University of Paris, and remains to this day. Last year, the Cultural Affairs Department of the French Consulate in Shanghai organised a solo exhibition for him in Shanghai and he participated in the China-Expo Capital Forum Exhibition there as well (2016). In participation with Le French May Arts Festival 2018, Alisan held the artist's premiere solo show in Hong Kong, Between Light and Shade. Wang Mengsha (b.1982, Wuxi) adopts a sense of humor to innovatively combine aspects of traditional paintings of court maidens and beauties with landscape paintings (shanshuihua). Akin to the eminent artist Walasse Ting, with whom she shares a hometown, Wang is associated with bright colours and calligraphic strokes. However, as a female artist she applies a feminine perspective to examine the past and look at the future in ways that redefine contemporary ink art in history and modern culture.
Wang has been honoured with many awards, including selection in 2009 as one of "China's young artists most deserving of immediate media attention"; in 2011 as one of the 100 favourite artworks of the year; in 2013 awarded the Golden Star Prize. Alisan Fine Arts had a solo exhibition for her in 2016 and the group show Beyond the Jade Terrace in 2014. Her work has been recently acquired by a trustee of the New Hall Art Collection, a collection of modern and contemporary art by women artists, to be placed on loan at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, UK.
Zhang Xiaoli (b. 1989 Guizhou) presents surreal landscapes inside small containers, using the traditional style of gongbi ink painting to depict memories and experiences. Particularly, her boxed landscapes series correlates to the "subdivided flats" housing problem in Hong Kong, which the artist experienced while studying in Hong Kong. The four paintings on display are the new works completed during her graduate studies at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing.
Zhang received a scholarship and moved to Hong Kong in 2008 to pursue higher education at Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she received her BA with first honours in Fine Arts and Biology in 2014. During the graduation show, she received YS Hui Fine Arts Award and Wucius Wong Creative Ink Painting Award. Her important exhibitions include Beijing Youth Art Biennial 2016 and Fresh Trend, Hong Kong, 2014. Her works have also been exhibited at several art fairs in New York, Brussels and Hong Kong. Alisan Fine Arts first showcased her works in the 2017 group exhibition Desiring: Post 97 Hong Kong Ink Art, and the charity exhibition HOPE this year.
HIGHLIGHT * SCULPTURE
Jiang Shuo (b. 1958 Beijing), an international sculptor works between Beijing, Berlin and Austria. She is known for colourful and playful creations and humorous interpretations of modern culture. Since gaining Austrian citizenship in 2003, Jiang returned to China where she witnessed how dramatically Chinese cultural norms had changed. The Cat Meeting (2015) bronzes shown here mix elements from the artist's iconic Red Guard series with the her more playful side - her signature cats dressed in guard uniforms and waving Red Books, captured in a moment of animated and humourous conversation.
Jiang was among the first women to study sculpture at the Central Academy of Arts & Design (now the Academy of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University), Beijing in 1978, earning both a PhD in 1985 and appointment as a lecturer. She currently lives and works in Austria with her husband, fellow famous international sculptor Wu Shaoxiang. Her works are included in several major museums and organisations collections, Werner Berger Museum, Austria; Copelouzos Art Museum, Greece; Central University of Finance and Economics, Beijing; Hai Cheng Art Museum, Liaoning, China; Hong Kong Museum of Art; New World Group; Langham Place; MTR Corporation, Hong Kong.
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