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Hong Kong Book Fair “Cultural July”:Gao Xingjian: Layers of Light Ink in Mind

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
7 May, 2016
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
30 July, 2016
Event Category:

Due to popular demand and to coincide with Hong Kong Book Fair 2016 “Cultural July”, the exhibition has been extended until Saturday 30 July

7 May – 30 June 2016

Catalogue available

Amongst ink collectors and academics Gao Xingjian is renowned as a distinguished artist, and globally as a canonical writer and playwright of the 21st century who was the first Chinese-born writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2000. Self-exiled from China, he has lived and worked in France since 1987. In contrast to his controversial novels, his art combines elements of abstraction and Chinese ink painting, creating a meditative body of work. His unique monochromatic works share his distinctive ‘inner vision’, whereby spatial depth is ambiguous and one can visualize depth from within.

Alisan Fine Arts began representing Gao in 1994 and has organized seven solo exhibitions, with notably two in conjunction with Le French May, Encre/Chine: Ink Paintings by Jean Degottex, Gao Xingjian and T’ang Haywen at the University of Hong Kong in 2005 and New Works by Gao Xingjian 2007-08 in 2008. With this exhibition, we celebrate not only our eighth solo exhibition for the artist, but also our continued representation of this celebrated and important artist.

For this exhibition we will be showcasing twelve works created between 2002-2016, some on paper and some on canvas, including new paintings made especially for this exhibition. When asked if his works had changed over the years, he only smiled and said “that is for the viewer to see and decide”. Of note in particular is the work Moon and Wind (p. 34-35 of the catalogue), which seemingly depicts a lone figure perhaps walking or standing on a grayish background, the wind only evident by the brushstrokes. The spatial plane is obfuscated by the gradation in monochromatic tones, as is the demarcation between figuration and abstraction. In doing so, Gao’s unique monochromatic ink paintings elicit a sombre melancholic response, and we are left in a state of tranquility, meditating on the artist’s reality and the one expressed by his paintings. Together they create a work that invites the viewer into pondering the artistic techniques employed and also to become lost in the black and grey tones.

As Gao Xingjian noted in 1995, “At the end of the day I am Chinese, I am used to the two-dimensional expression of traditional Chinese painting and I feel greatly attracted by the depth of Western painting. That is why when I use ink to express myself, I also seek to rediscover a spatial depth, which at the same time is different from the western perspective. There is a procedure in the theory of modern Chinese painting: perspective through the dispersion of vanishing points…I have taken traditional Chinese expression as the starting point to reach spatial depth. In no way is it a depth that comes out of the observation of reality, but a depth visualised internally…When one keeps an internal vision inside oneself, one can realise that the distance between things is indistinct as if a camera obscura were put in the darkness and its automatic lens were made to turn without stopping by pressing a shutter release button.”

His works have been collected by Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, United States; Musée Guimet, Paris, France; Théâtre Molière, Paris, France; Artothèque de Nantes, France; Maison de la Culture de Bourges, Bourges, France; La Ville de Marseille, France; Bibliothèque de l’Université de Marseille-Provence, Marseille, France; Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels, Belgium; Museo Wurth La Rioja, Spain; Musée des Arts Modernes, Stockholm, Sweden; Ostasiatiska Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Krapperrus Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden; Nobel Foundation, Sweden; Leibnitz Gesellschaft für Kulturellen Austausch, Berlin, Germany; Morat Institut für Kunst und Kunstwissenschaft, Freiburg, Germany; Singapore Art Museum, Singapore; National History Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; University Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


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