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Chinese Abstraction @ Art Basel Hong Kong, Booth 3D03

Exhibition details

28 March, 2018
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:
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Art Basel Hong Kong

Booth 3D03

29-31 March 2018

Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre

1 Expo Drive, Level 3, Wanchai, Hong Kong

In the presence of artists Tai Xiangzhou and Wu Shaoxiang

Private View 27 2pm-8pm, 28 1pm-5pm, 29 12noon-1pm, 30 12noon-1pm

Vernissage 28 5pm-9pm

Public View 29 1pm-9pm, 30 1pm-8pm, 31 11am-6pm

Alisan Fine Arts is proud to present Chinese Abstraction at Art Basel Hong Kong 2018, featuring 10 contemporary Chinese artists who have developed distinct abstract styles by using Chinese elements in their works.  Included in the carefully curated selection are iconic works from Lui Shou-kwan, Hong Kong’s pioneer in the New Ink Movement; prominent Chinese diaspora artists Chao Chung-hsiang, Chuang Che and Walasse Ting who were influenced by American Abstract Expressionism; key figures of ’85 New Wave Movement Huang Rui, Shen Fan, Yu Youhan and sculptor Wu Shaoxiang; as well abstract calligraphic works by Wei Ligang and abstract landscapes by Tai Xiangzhou.

About the Artists

Like Zao Wou-Ki, Chu Teh-chun and Wu Guanzhong, Chao Chung-hsiang studied under the renowned artist Lin Fengmian at the Hangzhou National College of Art, before graduating in 1939. In 1948, he immigrated to Taiwan, and in 1956 won a fellowship to study in Spain. He toured Paris and Europe, before settling in New York in 1958, where he remained for most his life. There he discovered American Abstract Expressionist art, which inspired him to work conscientiously to achieve a synthesis of East and West. Chao has since then created numerous abstract works influenced by elements of Abstract Expressionism.  Whlie he maybe better recognized for his works of with dazzling fluorescent colour what sporadically float upon ink splashes, he was painting abstract works long before that.  After more than thirty years in New York City, Chao moved to Hong Kong in 1989, then to Chengdu, and finally to Taiwan. He passed away in 1991. This year at Art Basel, we will be exhibiting his earlier powerful monochromatic abstract ink splashes which are reminiscent of American Abstract Expressionist works.

A co-founder of the Fifth Moon Group, Chuang Che was born in 1934 in Beijing, China. Chuang’s early education was steeped in classical Chinese painting and calligraphy. His father, Chuang Shangyen, was the Vice-Director of the National Palace Museum in Beijing and so Chuang Che had many opportunities to see the museum’s collection first-hand. In 1949, he immigrated to Taiwan with his family, and graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the Taiwan Normal University in 1957 having studied drawing under Chu Teh-chun. It was during this period that Chuang co-founded the Fifth Moon Group, which advocated that Chinese artists experiment with traditional Chinese art and Western avant-garde art – in particular Abstract Expressionism. By the 1960s, having won an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship to study in the United States, he began travelling to Europe and the United States. In 1973 he settled in Ann Harbour, Michigan, and in 1988 moved to New York where he continues to work. Since the 1960s, he has made a concerted attempt to revolutionise Chinese landscape painting, incorporating abstract elements in acrylic and oil. The works we are showing are from late 1970s, when he was just settled in United States, and 2001.

A founding member of the “Stars Movement”, Huang Rui was born in 1952 in Beijing and is a well-known Chinese avant-garde artist. This group of artists, numbering at least twenty and included such figures as Ai Weiwei and Wang Keping, were one of the first publically active art groups to protest government censorship following the end of the Cultural Revolution. Before founding the “Stars” group he had at the age of 16 been sent to Inner Mongolia to work as a farmer before returning to Beijing in 1975. The group held one of the first modern art shows in China in 1979 at the China Arts Gallery (now the National Museum of China) in Beijing, which on the third day was shut down by police. In 1984, a year after the group dissolved, Huang immigrated to Japan where he remained until 2000. He returned to China in 2002. We will be showing a large monochromatic diptych created during the time he was in Japan.

Lui Shou-kwan was born in 1919 in Guangzhou. He is recognized as Hong Kong’s pioneer in the New Ink Movement and has had a far-reaching influence on contemporary Chinese art. Born in Guangzhou, Lui’s interest in painting was inherited from his father Lui Canming (1892-1963) from early on. His father was a scholar-painter and owner of an antique shop. Lui studied Chinese painting by copying classical works by past masters, such as Bada Shanren (1626-1705, Ming Dynasty), Shitao (1642-1707, Qing Dynasty) and Huang Binhong (1865-1955, who he studied under for a short period). After moving to Hong Kong in 1948, he began experimenting with abstraction that ultimately lead to the creation of his unique Zen Painting, three of which we will be exhibiting. He passed away in 1975.

Shen Fan was born in Shanghai in 1955 and graduated from the Fine Arts Department of the Shanghai Light Industry Institute in 1986. He started painting abstract works in 1980s and deconstructing forms and space in his paintings. He is one of the pioneers who incorporated classical Chinese elements into contemporary context. During 1990s, while his works are composed of monochromatic patterns and Western Minimalism, they keep the distinct characters of classical Chinese art by painting on rice paper and applying numerous calligraphy-like black strokes to his work. Starting from 1998, he has been applying Chinese elements to his paintings on various mediums and materials, exploring the possibilities of painting and new media. He created groundbreaking installations for the 2006 Shanghai Biennial, which were created in tribute to Huang Binhong and reexamined the brushstrokes and composition of classical Chinese paintings.  We will be displaying his Chinese elements-embodied abstract works from the early 1990s.

Tai Xiangzhou was born in Ningxia Province to a scholarly family in 1968 and started studying calligraphy with Hu Gongshi since he was 7 years old. He graduated from the Department of Digital Media, Media Design School, Auckland, New Zealand in 2001. Although he had a successful career in media design and conservation, he decided to further his studies in painting and received a Ph.D. from the Department of Painting, Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China in 2012. We will be exhibiting his recent abstract landscapes layered with different gray ink tones on silk creating misty atmospheres reflecting the vast universe.

Walasse Ting was born in Wuxi, Jiangsu in 1928, celebrated for his colourful and bright depictions of animals, flora and sultry women. He briefly studied at the Shanghai Art Academy in 1940s, before leaving for Paris in 1948 at the age of nineteen. There he became associated with artists belonging to the avant-garde group CoBrA. In 1958, he travelled to New York, where he befriended the American artist Sam Francis; here Ting became strongly influenced by Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. His paintings during this period are filled with bold dripping brushstrokes mixed with bright acrylic pigments, but by the 1970s, he began experimenting with figures, developing the distinctive style that we are so familiar with today. His paintings are a sheer testimony to love, life and beauty. His paintings of women, flowers, cats, fish, horses and watermelons are often painted in a rich palette of bright acrylics on rice paper, layered with powerful effervescent brushstrokes in Chinese ink. He passed away in 2010. We will be showing a painting in his signature style from 1990s. Although this work is figurative, influences of abstraction are clearly present when looking at his treatment of the flowers and greenery.

Leader in the modern calligraphic movement, Wei Ligang was born in 1964 in Datong and currently lives in Beijing. Known as a maverick among China’s contemporary abstract calligraphers, his works simultaneously recall tradition while reconstituting standard ink work. Recognized for his contemporary abstract ink paintings that are rooted in ancient calligraphy, he has been able to transcend the old to create works that are unique in form and style. By combining Chinese ink on a gold metallic background, he has bridged the classical with the contemporary. In 2005, he was awarded a fellowship grant from the Rockefeller Foundation’s Asian Cultural Council to study in the United States.  Not only was he able to broaden his horizon by visiting numerous museums in the West, he was also able to work with other professionals in the field, such as well-known American Abstract artist, Brice Marden. We will be showing his new work created especially for Art Basel.

A pioneer in the modern abstract sculpture movement in China, Wu Shaoxiang was born in Jiangxi in 1957 and graduated from Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in 1982. In 1986, he obtained MA of sculpture from Central Academy of Arts and Design in Beijing and awarded the first Beijing Art and Design Scholarship. His earlier works were influenced by both Western and Chinese elements. This made him an artistic pioneer at the time and set him apart from his more conservative counterparts in China. He immigrated to Austria in 1989, where he continued to blend East and West in his works while attempting to convey social messages by examining consumerism and globalization. With his talent in integrating form and concept, he earned recognition and acclaim on the international art stage and has held numerous exhibitions in China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and Hong Kong. His work Apple was recongnized by the Guiness Book of World Records as the first and biggest coin sculpture in the world.  On this occasion, we will be displaying his important early abstract sculptures from mid-1980, which were created before his move to the West.

A key figure in the Chinese Political Pop movement, Yu Youhan is equally known as a major figure in the Shanghai Minimalist movement. Born in Shanghai in 1943, he graduated from the Central Institute of Technology in Beijing in 1970. Presently he teaches at the Shanghai Institute of Industrial Arts. His influence on Chinese avant-garde art has been felt since the mid-80s. Later he started to paint abstract works. With his famous Circles series starting in 1983, he adopted the circle as the best form to articulate his concept. The circle as an abstract form results from the idea of “grasping things as a whole”. He tried to use the relationship between dots and lines to illustrate the flow and changes within the matter of the universe. With the Taoist diagrams-like dots and lines as the form of abstraction, it demonstrates the deeply implanted Chinese culture in the works. This masterful rendering of the bright folksy patterns and his whimsical compositional approach create an unique style. The work we will be exhibiting is one of the masterpieces from the Circles series.


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