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Opening Week: Artist Talk delivered by Lee Chun-yi in conversation with Daphne King Yao

Exhibition details

18 November, 2019
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:
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Language: English and Cantonese
RSVP is mandatory due to limited spots. Please register with your full name and contact details to [email protected]

Coinciding with his first solo exhibition Enriching Steles: Ink Art by Lee Chun-yi with the gallery, and first solo exhibition in Hong Kong for over twenty years, the artist will explain the origins of his self-invented stamping technique and the influence of his mentor Liu Kuo-sung on his revolutionary role within the contemporary ink art movement. He will also address the topic of his 2019 publication Within and Beyond the Shores: Lee Chun-yi’s Postcolonial Cultural Analysis of Contemporary Ink Art.

Before specialising in contemporary Chinese ink painting, Lee Chun-yi first mastered traditional brush as well as Western technique. Cultivating a lifelong interest in the stone steles carved during the Early Han period (AD 25-220), Lee organically began to develop a system for recreating the effect of rubbings made using these ancient communicative tools. The more common steles were commemorative and featured text as opposed to images, scored in a grid-like pattern, that would eventually come to influence the woodblock printing process. Experimenting with these aesthetics, Lee departed from the conventional use of a brush and focused his art on a self-made stamp-based method of applying calligraphy through the use of Chinese seals and ink rubbings. Lee carves Chinese characters into pieces of cork and softwood to form chops, and then stamps them repetitively on the paper to form a semi-photographic image along systematic lines. Literally building up a visual composition through words, his ink paintings function as symbolic poems, with the strength of the stamp indicating the intended tone of expression. The finish to the resulting compositions is contemporary, while steeped in references to Yuan and Ming Dynasty pictorial landscapes, as well as iconic subjects such as pine trees and scholar rocks.

The current exhibition draws particular attention to the classical elements of Lee’s practice, including ink rubbing, calligraphy, carving, and printing, and the fusion of these timeless elements into a revolutionary style often interpreted as photorealist, and universally as contemporary. Exhibition runs 14 November 2019 – 9 January 2020. Catalogue available.

Lee Chun-yi

Born in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1965, Lee Chun-yi moved to Hong Kong at the age of five. He studied painting under acclaimed ink master Liu Kuo-sung, a founder of the Fifth Moon Group and continuing leader in the Chinese contemporary ink movement, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Lee later completed a master’s degree in art at Tunghai, University, Taiwan in 1997, before pursuing doctoral studies in Chinese Art History at Arizona State University in the United States, and eventually returning to Taiwan to develop his artistic practice. He currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Arts, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan.

Alisan Fine Arts formerly featured Lee Chun-yi in the two-part calligraphy show The Voice of the Brush and at Hong Kong’s Ink Asia art fair in October of this year, upon which Lee Chun-yi and Liu Kuo-sung, held a dialogue on the topic of The Cultural Inheritance of Contemporary Ink Art. Lee’s 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, the Phoenix Art Museum, USA; the Jiangsu Art Museum, the Qingdao Art Museum, China; the National Arts Education Institute, Taipei; the Hong Kong Museum of Art, and other public and private collections.

Daphne King Yao

Born in America, Daphne has lived in Hong Kong since the age of five. She graduated from Philips Academy, Andover and the University of Pennsylvania with a BA in History. In 1996, she joined Alisan Fine Arts and was promoted to Director in 2005; in 2011 she formally took over operations at the gallery. She has since curated several landmark exhibitions, including the celebration of Alisan Fine Arts 35th Anniversary at the Central Public Library in 2016, accompanied by the launch of a 300-page monologue highlighting the gallery’s history. Other exhibitions include Selected Asian Cultural Council Fellows: Then and Now held at the Asian Cultural Council and Alisan Fine Arts in 2011; Fang Zhaoling, Vigorous and Fresh Chinese Ink Painting held at Fine Art Asia and Alisan Fine Arts in 2012; Yang Jiechang: Good Morning Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Central Library and Alisan Fine Arts in 2015; A Legacy of Ink: Lui Shou-kwan 40 Years On at the Hong Kong Arts Centre and Alisan Fine Arts in 2015; and Lui Shou-kwan, Pioneer of New Ink: A Centenary Celebration at Alisan Fine Arts in 2019. In recognition of her success as an art visionary, she received the 2018 Women of Hope award in the category of Art and Culture.


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