Alisan Fine Arts is proud to be participating in Ink Asia for the third time since its inception. This year, our finely curated exhibition features international artists, Walasse Ting, Fabienne Verdier, and Lan Zhenghui. The artistic direction of these three individuals was influenced by their experiences abroad, giving each a unique perspective on the dynamics between Eastern and Western art. Over the years, they have tested and explored the realm between Chinese and Western sensibilities, blending the cultural differences between the two. Each of these artists finds creative expression for their unique concepts through the subtle, yet vibrant medium of ink. In commemoration of Walasse Ting's 90th anniversary, Alisan Fine Arts will dedicate half of its booth to showcase a selection of his most representative masterpieces, including rarely-exhibited Western nudes on Western paper, exotic beauties, and floral works on rice paper - all expressing Walasse Ting's resplendent testimony to love, life and beauty. In addition to these three overseas artists, we will also showcase Hong Kong artist Mok Yat-San's sculptural Chinese ink scroll.
The internationally renowned Chinese diaspora artist Walasse Ting (1928-2010) was among the first generation of Chinese artists to live abroad in the 1950s and 1960s. Self-named the "Flower Thief," he is celebrated for his signature, splashy and colourful depictions of sultry women. Ting was born in Wuxi, China, left for Europe and America at the young age of 19, and eventually settled in New York to develop his artistic career. There, Ting befriended experimental artists Karel Appel, Pierre Alechensky, Sam Francis, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Joan Mitchell. Strongly influenced by the avant-garde movements in New York, particularly Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, Walasse Ting experimented with painting beautiful women with the Eastern tools of brush and ink, developing the distinctive style that we are so familiar with today. His works are bright and colourful; his brushwork, full of motion and energy. In addition to ink art, Ting also used acrylic and oil pastel to create Western nudes on Western paper. Compared with his works on paper, these nude paintings are more sensual and erotic, created in a style more closely aligned with Western tradition.
After Ting passed away in 2010, Taipei Fine Arts Museum held his retrospective in the same year, and recently Musée Cernuschi in Paris held the first large scale exhibition for the artist in 2017. Alisan Fine Arts organized Ting's first solo exhibition in Hong Kong in 1986 and has been representing his works for over 30 years. We have held eleven solo shows for him, including at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in 2010 and Le French May 2017. His works have been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Chicago Institute of Art; Tate Gallery, London; Musée Cernuschi, Paris; Shanghai Art Museum; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; Hong Kong Museum of Art to name a few.
The acclaimed French female painter Fabienne Verdier is an abstract artist notable in contemporary Europe for her calligraphic brush creations. Fabienne was born in Paris in 1962 and graduated from the École des Beaux-Arts de Toulouse in 1983. In the following year, she became one of the first foreign women to attend the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, where she determindly convinced the calligraphy master Huang Yuan to instruct her in the ancient craft. In 1989, in recognition of her accomplishments in calligraphy she was made a member of the National Calligraphers' Association, the only foreign member, and invited the following year to take part in an international calligraphy exhibition at the National Art Museum in Beijing. After returning to France in 1992, she merged the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy with Western abstract expression techniques, using a self-made Chinese brush hanging from the studio ceiling to create her energetic "Calligraphic-paintings." Her large-scale works full of power and emotion. As Fabienne said, "A few touches of black ink break the silence and suggest possible changes to reality. The soul of the painter delights in blending in with the elements to suddenly evoke the universe before our eyes."
In addition to exhibiting her works on canvas, this year we are also showing her original prints, which were made under the supervision of the famed French Master Printers Michel and Thérèse Caza, known for their collaborations with Calder, Chagall, Dali, Miro, Warhol and Zao Wou-ki.
Alisan Fine Arts has represented Fabienne Verdier since 2014 and held her solo exhibition of Le French May in the same year. She was also included in the gallery's group show at Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 and at Ink Asia in 2015. Her works have been collected by major museums and institutions worldwide, including Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée Cernuschi, Paris; Palais de l'Assemblée Nationale, Paris; Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, Paris; Chinese Ministry of Culture, Beijing; Honda Group, Tokyo, Japan.
The contemporary ink painter Lan Zhenghui (b. 1959, Sichuan, China) is best known for his powerful, often large-scale, splash ink paintings, occupying an aesthetic confluence between traditional Chinese ink painting and Western abstract expressionism. Preferring to focus on the relationship of integration and macroscopic processes over detail and realism, he allows the ink to flow freely and paints with bold, kinetic strokes. Through his many years researching the language of vision, Lan's artistic philosophy has evolved to reflect the mantra of one of his favorite artists, Wu Guanzhong: "Good art will shock you." The viewer does not need to understand the specifics of the painting, but rather connect to a quasi-spiritual experience beyond the work, a feeling that is exciting, yet almost jarring, approaching the border of the magnificent. We are showing three of his recent works, selected specifically for this fair.
An active participant in the "85 New Wave" Movement, Lan graduated from the prestigious Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1987. He then taught at Chongqing University until 1993, before devoting himself full-time as an artist, reaching a pivotal point in his career with his selection for a solo exhibition at the National Art Museum of China in 2006. In 2002 he moved to Toronto, Canada, returning to Beijing in 2007 and then travelling between these two locations. In recent years, he has served as an endorsement artist for several European international brands, including German BMW, Schiesser, French Citroën DS, and Italian tailor-made costume, Kiton. He participated in the group exhibition I am in It: Chinese Contemporary Art Expressions jointly organized by Florida Gulf Coast University and Alisan Fine Arts and staged in Florida and Hong Kong, respectively, from 2008 to 2009. Lan's works have been collected by several art museums and institutions, including Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey; Miami Milubel Family Museum, Miami, USA; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Guangdong Museum of Art, Consulate General or France in Guangzhou, Consulate General of Germany in Guangzhou, Guangzhou; Yachang Group, Shenzhen, China.
Mok Yat-san (b. 1968, Guangdong, China) is an outstanding sculptor who works and resides in Hong Kong. His recent piece Loving Kindness (2017) plays with the format of a traditional Chinese hanging scroll, transforming a traditionally two-dimensional "landscape" into a 3-dimensional work of ink art. Also borrowed from traditional landscapes are his favored forms from nature, like butterflies, mountains, rocks, trees and clouds. Within the dreamlike composition, a polar bear laments the effects of global warming; his eyes downcast on the melting snow, reminding us of the importance of treasuring and preserving nature.
Mok graduated from the Department of Fine Arts, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1993 and obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (First Honour) in 2004. He currently presides as President of the Hong Kong Sculpture Society, and was a former senior instructor at the Department of Fine Arts, Chinese University of Hong Kong (2006-11). He has been exhibited in Japan; Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, China since 1999. His works have been collected by Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Hong Kong Housing Department, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Central Library, Hong Kong Airport Authority and MTR Corporate.