Lu Ji, a calligrapher of the Jin Dynasty, wrote calligraphy work Ping Fu Tie on the hemp paper. Since then, the continuous development of ink painting and calligraphy has gradually made 'paper' rooted in the genes of Chinese art. Until the coming of 85 New Wave Movement, the influx of massive Western cultural and artistic achievements triggered the extensive cultural collision between the Orient and West as well as the transformation of artistic language in China, the trend of which became the main rhythm in Chinese contemporary art field for the next 40 years. During this period, the various creations of the local artists have remained in the mark of this turning point of Chinese art history. In a paused year as 2020, it is of special significance to look back at the artistic creation during the important language transition of Chinese contemporary art in the past half century.
The changeable overprinting of dots, circles and geometries records the creative trajectory of Artist Chen Qiang, who is known as a representative figure of Shanghai abstract painting. From the obvious sense of form and decorative inclination in Chen's early works, to his embodiment of the Western Geometric abstraction's concept 'object is the object' in later creations, then to the applying of Xuan paper as the main material and conducting meditation alike creation with unconscious brushstrokes, several veers of Chen Qiang's artistic language potentially reveal the unique oriental idiosyncrasy of Chinese contemporary artists in abstract creation, which also fit art critic Gao Minglu's theoretical summary of the characteristics of Chinese abstract paintings since the 1990s : the abstract artist's work that focuses on self-sufficiency and spiritual infinity has endless expressive and vividly reflects the 'Marxist Concept', that is, beyond the object form of the work itself and present the specific feelings of individuals and the daily process of continuous development in specific life situation.
Huang Yuanqing create painting based on calligraphy. Among the exhibiting artists, he is the only one who majored in science and engineering subject and studied calligraphy for many years. In Huang Yuanqing's view, the material itself has plentiful meanings and implies a certain cultural attribute. While the concept of 'paper' is fundamentally different between the West and China: paper in traditional Western painting is usually used for sketch making,in another word, it is more like an auxiliary material; however, paper in traditional Chinese art is the main creative material, taking Xuan paper as an example, it naturally possesses certain intimate attribute and needs to be treat gently.
From paper to canvas, from ink to acrylic, from 'heavy' to 'light' and then reverse with a series of artistic language conversions in the past 15 years, Huang Yuanqing continued to explore different cultures behind the artistic expression of the East and West,as he said, 'like Tai Chi and boxing.' The contradictory attributes of canvas and Xuan paper also nourish each other in Huang's works, but what remains consistent is a sense of writing that embodied in his paintings. Calligraphy as a secret and familiar trace of freedom, combined with the spatial possibility interwoven on the surface of the work, accomplish the shaping of artist's expression of strong visual emotion. And when expression becomes a natural presentation rather than the result of will control, Zen concept is also precipitated under Huang Yuanqing's brush.
As one of the first batch of academic oil painting artists after the Chinese economic reform, Jing Shijian created his multi-dimensional visual language through in-depth study of Eastern and Western philosophy. In 2007, Jing Shijian started the exploration of '1/2 Theory'. '1/2' expounds the appearance of incomplete and complete image of anything in the fragmented world. Jing have used corrugated paper as the main material to create painting works. Through the restoration of the place where art originates and the presence of human beings, Jing reconstructed a landscape image of the world and depicted the art world, which also triggered the discussions about conceptual issues such as the role of art within ready-made products, the uselessness and usefulness of art etc. In recent creation, Shijian applied a special way of stone rubbing on Xuan paper. The multiple spots of ink in the work reflect obvious fusion of Expressionnisme and oriental esthetics of ink landscape painting, the conversion of his art language is fierce and direct. Existing in a certain tension of confrontation, the relationship between tradition and modernity, east and west, individual and world, ideal and reality is deeply and magically intertwined in Jing's works.
Chen Qiang, born in 1960 in Hunan province, China, currently lives and works in Shanghai. As one of the representative abstract painting artists of Shanghai, he has been developing his own abstract art world. The state of conflicts and struggling that the artist has long been facing, but at the same time, the artist believes the ways of our life, are revealed in his works with different ways: mixture between the western and eastern art creation process, adjusting Chinese paper and ink with western linen canvas and oil, and layering the different mind frame of reason and emotion.
Chen Qiang's works have been shown in both China and abroad. His recent solo exhibitions includes AFTERGLO–OPERE ASTRATTE DI CHEN QIANG, Pasquee, Massagno, Switzerland (2017); Intersection - Chen Qiang (1990 & 2015), Yibo Gallery, Shanghai, China (2015); Chen Qiang, Galerie Frank Schlag & Cie Gallery, Essen, Germany (2013); The Visual Will — Chen Qiang, Sanjyo Gion Gallary, Kyoto, Japan (2013). He also participated in important group exhibitions including ECHO ON PAPERS, Arario Gallery, Shanghai (2020); Qing Zhong, Matthew Liu Fine Arts (2020); CHINA TODAY, Edsvik Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden (2017); DEGREE ZERO OF ART: the Rational Expression of Abstract Art, Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (2017); China Line - Contemporary Research Exhibition, Epoch Art Museum, Wenzhou, China (2016); Calligraphic Time and Space: Abstract Art in China, Power Station of Art, Shanghai, China (2015); ABSTRACT PAINTING FROM CHINA, Hurrle Museum for Contemporary Art, Durbach, Germany (2014). Chen's works have been collected by The National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Yuz Museum, HOW Art Museum, Foundation Insel Hombroich and China Brands Group. His works are also collected by private collectors among China, America, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Japan, Indonesia, etc.
HUANG Yuanqing, born in shanghai, China, has leant calligraphy since his childhood. He began his modern calligraphy approach in the mid-1980s. In 1990s, he turned to create abstract painting. Since the 90s, the artist started the experiment of combining calligraphy experience with painting language, aiming to explore the expression in written lines in a way of 'writing' rather than 'painting'. In the process of repeated writing, covering and rewriting, the artist transcends his own experience and reduces the existence of 'self' to the minimum, freeing the expression out of the control of willpower as the most natural presentation. Living in Shanghai, the forefront of Chinese contemporary art introducing Western trends, Huang roots in tradition and absorbs nutrition from various elements such as calligraphy and literati painting.
His works are best illustration of the dialogue and integration between traditional art and contemporary art, and Eastern and Western art. His major exhibitions including: Echo on Papers, Arario Gallery, Shanghai, China, (2020); Qing Zhong Matthew Liu Fine Arts, Shanghai, China (2020); Image of Jiangnan Art Museum of Suzhou, Suzhou, China (2019); Five Years of Thriving Stars - Exhibition on the Research of the Current and Future Chinese Ink Painting Liuhaisu Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2019); Motives of Lines Pearl Lam Galleries, Hongkong, China (2018); Solo Exhibition Galerie Albrecht, Berlin, Germany (2016); Image (Z Art Center, Shanghai, China (2010), etc.
Jing Shijian was born in Liaoning Province, China in 1960 and graduated from the department of oil painting of China Academy of Art. Currently lives and works in Hangzhou, China and works as professor and Vice Dean of the school of painting at China Academy of Art. As the first generation of academic painting artists, Jing Shijian's artistic approach is based on the deep study of both oriental and west philosophy. He combines multi- dimensional visual languages and never stops to explore the possibilities in art. In the world he created, time is constant, space is overlapped, and reality and imagination coexist. The time and space in Jing Shijian's paintings can be either folded or stretched, as well as endowed with the depth of philosophy.
Recently Jing has held solo exhibitions, including Fable, Shandong Art Museum, Shandong, China (2018); Domestication, Dresden, Germany (2014); Rowing a Boat, Zhangjiang Art Center, Shanghai, China (2009); Geography of Art, The National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China (2006); Roaming in the World, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2006) and others. JING's works have been collected by major art institutions such as National Museum of China (Beijing), The National Art Museum of China (Beijing), Shanghai Art Museum (Shanghai), Sichuan Fine Arts Institute (Chongqing), etc.
Press release courtesy Arario Gallery.