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Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
5 December, 2020
3:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
27 February, 2021
Event Category:
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The opening of the exhibition will take place on Dec 5th from 3pm to 6pm to coincide with the last #Southsidesaturday this year. To maintain better social distancing, we kindly ask you to RSVP [email protected]


Alisan Fine Arts is excited to present Brushless, a group exhibition featuring four internationally renowned artists whose practices revolutionize contemporary ink painting with the use of various tools and media. While brush and ink form the backbone of traditional Chinese ink painting and aesthetics, these four pioneering artists have chosen to push the boundaries of this classical practice by replacing the brush with the use of stamping, photography, incense sticks, and the artist’s own index finger. Together, they have collectively redefined and revived the ancient art form with their robust understanding and respect for the tradition, as well as their clear insights into the future trajectory of ink painting.

Artists included in this exhibition are American photographer, Michael Cherney who uses the materiality of photographic images printed on rice paper; cosmopolitan Taiwanese artist Lee Chun-yi whose approach departs from the conventional use of brushes by employing Chinese seals and ink rubbings on paper to form a semi-photographic image; avant-garde ink artist Wang Tiande while uses the brush to paint, his use of incense sticks adds an unique and ephemeral quality to his traditional landscapes and calligraphy and lastly Zhang Yu whose experimental use of his index finger as the sole tool of creation, fully explores the relationship between self-identity, time, and existence.

The continuing contribution from these four innovative artists has helped in expanding the possibilities of ink painting, serving to reveal the profound potential and contemporaneity of ink art.
About the Artists
Michael Cherney
A thirty-year resident of Beijing, Michael Cherney has travelled throughout China, seeking sites with historical relevance to his black and white photographic works. A deep appreciation for ink painting tradition is reflected in compositions resembling classical Chinese landscapes, printed on rice paper and often mounted in traditional fan or album leaf formats.
Cherney’s works were the first photographic works to enter the Asian Art collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other public collections include Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, USA; Harvard University Art Museums, USA; Yale University Art Gallery, USA, and Hong Kong University Museum and Art Gallery, Hong Kong to name a few.

Lee Chun-yi
Lee Chun-yi moved to Hong Kong at the age of five and he studied art under the great master Liu Kuo-sung at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He then pursued a doctoral studies at Arizona State University in the United States before returning to Taiwan to embark on an artistic career. He carves Chinese characters into pieces of softwood to form chops, and then stamps them repetitively on the paper to build up a visual composition through words, functioning as symbolic poems, with the strength of the stamp indicating the intended tone of expression.
Lee has participated in over 30 group and solo exhibitions internationally. His works have been collected by the Ashmolean Museum of Oxford University, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum of Harvard University, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, USA; the Jiangsu Art Museum, China; the National Arts Education Institute, Taipei; the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and other public and private collections.

Wang Tiande
Wang Tiande was born in Shanghai in 1960. He graduated from China Academy of Art, Hangzhou in 1988 with a degree in traditional Chinese painting and a Ph.D. in calligraphy in 2010. Well versed in traditional Chinese art and culture, Wang searches for further possibilities in the realm of ink art. He first gained international recognition when his work, Ink Banquet, produced in 1996, was exhibited as part of Inside Out: New Chinese Art, a travelling exhibition curated by Gao Minglu which started in New York City at PS1 MoMA and Aisa Society and ended in Hong Kong. This work was subsequently collected by the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
Wang has participated in two group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, as part of Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing in 2006, and the seminal exhibition Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China in 2013. His works have been collected by the British Museum, London; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Berkeley Art Museum, California; Shanghai Art Museum; Guangdong Museum of Art; Hong Kong Museum of Art.

Zhang Yu
Zhang Yu was born in Tianjin, China in 1959 and graduated from the Tianjin Academy of Arts and Crafts in 1988. Throughout his artistic career, he has been engaged with the language of art and experimental ink painting, contributing to and reforming the discursive boundaries of ink art. His early series, Divine Light, became internationally recognised when included in the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Ink Art: Past As Present in Contemporary China, in 2013.
Zhang’s works are collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Chinese Culture Center, San Francisco, US; Benetton Museum, Venice, Italy; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; Chengdu Modern Art Museum, Chengdu, China; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong, to name a few. His work is currently featured in the four-stop travelling show The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China which is travelling across the United States from the Los Angeles County Museum to the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.


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