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Alisan Fine [email protected] Bund Art & Design Fair, Booth N307

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
7 November, 2018
12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
11 November, 2018
Event Category:
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Address: West Bund Art Center, 2555 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District, Shanghai

VIP Preview: 7 Wed 12-7pm

Public Day: 8 Thur & 9 Fri 12-7pm

10 Sat & 11 Sun 10am-7pm

Artists Sans Frontier

Alisan Fine Arts is pleased to participate the West Bund Art & Design for the first time. Our booth showcases the most important Chinese diaspora artists of contemporary art that Alisan has been representing since our establishment in 1981 and their internationally influenced works. Chao Chung-hsiang, Walasse Ting, John Way, Lan Zhenghui, Liu Jian  and Yang Qi are Chinese-born artists who immigrated outside of China to find their styles influenced by the Western practices and movements in Europe and America. Conscious of the power of cross-cultural exchange, the gallery has been staging exhibitions for Western artists in China as well. French-born painter Fabienne Verdier had the unique experience of leaving her homeland to spend several years in Sichuan, China learning the traditional art of calligraphy, which now serves as the creative catalyst for her famous “calligraphic paintings.” When it comes to a particular piece of art, we tend to analytically assign a category such as “Chinese” or “American,” yet, like the artists who create them, the reality of nationality and categories is quite complex and resistant to rigid classification. This space reminds us that art is not bound by classifications, and that enjoyment requires us to relax and enjoy the art that exists between geographical borders.

Like Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-chun and Wu Guanzhong, Chao Chung-hsiang (1910-1991), a student of Lin Fungmian at the National Institute of Art, Hangzhou (currently the China Academy of Art) immigrated to New York in 1958 at the height of the American Abstract Expressionist movement. His paintings of birds and flowers mixed with bold splashes and drippings of bright colours successfully combine his Eastern philosophy referencing Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, and background in traditional ink with the action painting of Western Abstraction. After more than thirty years in New York, he moved to Hong Kong in 1989, then to Chengdu, and finally to Taiwan where he passed away at the age of 81.

Self-named the “Flower Thief,” Walasse Ting (1928-2010) is celebrated for his signature, splashy and colourful depictions of sultry women. He was born in Wuxi, left for Paris 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 brush and ink, developing the distinctive style that we are so familiar with today. Subjects other than beauties like horse, cats, flowers and fruits, are all expressing his resplendent testimony to love, life and beauty. 

John Way (1921-2012), Chinese name Wei Letang, was known for his bold paintings that combine layers of colours inspired by Chinese calligraphy and Abstract Expressionist painting. He studied art and calligraphy in China before immigrating to Boston in 1956, where he furthered his arts education with instruction in design at MIT. His late work is characterised by brushy, bold black strokes set against drippy background textures of two or three colors, are similar to the large gestural works of painters like Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline. A major catalogue was published for his retrospective in 2001 at Shanghai Art Museum. In 2006, an exhibition of his calligraphy and oil paintings were on show at the Honolulu Academy of Arts in Hawaii, and a 90-Year Retrospective in Beijing 2010.

The contemporary ink painter Lan Zhenghui (b. 1959 Sichuan)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. 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.

Liu Jian (b. 1961 Shanghai) was one of the few students accepted to attend the Beijing People’s Army Art College in 1979 when he was only eighteen. At twenty-four, he was made life-time resident of the Traditional Chinese Painting Academy, Shanghai, and began teaching thereafter. There he met and worked with many prolific painters, and learned first-hand both Northern and Southern styles of traditional Chinese art. A photograph from the artist’s study shows Liu Jian as a young man addressing a group of elderly masters including Wu Guanzhong and Ye Qianyu. After several major shows across France, Germany, and Italy, the artist eventually settled in Canada in 1990. Liu’s works incorporated broad swathes of colour and texture, mainly oil on canvas depicting abstract landscape, and were undoubtedly influenced by Western abstract artists such as Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and Joseph Beuys. In recent years, he creates both oil paintings and Chinese ink paintings which style is dream-like and almost monochrome but full of expressive brush strokes dissolved in the abstract landscape.

Fabienne Verdier (b. 1962 Paris), acclaimed French female painter in abstract art is notable in contemporary Europe for her calligraphic brush creations. Fabienne was 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 of China 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.”

Yang Qi (b. 1952 Wuhan), a multi-media artist working living in Germany, is notable for his concept of “Zen with German Expressionism”. He received a Bachelor of Arts at Normal University Anhui, China before immigrating to Germany in 1987, where he obtained a Doctorate of Art Philosophy at the University of Heidelberg in 1996. He intertwines the artistic traditions of his cultural Chinese past with the modernist Western style he encountered in Europe, with emphasis on the emotions of lines, colours, composition and technique. His ink paintings and ceramic works are generally composed of a few simple brushstrokes and colours but are full of philosophical thinking.



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