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Fan Yan: Jeux Thèmes Variations – French May Arts Festival

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
3 May, 2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
16 September, 2023
Event Category:
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Opening Reception
3 May, Wednesday, 6-8pm, Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre
Officiated by Mr. Benjamin Cabouat, Consul for Culture, Education & Science, Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau
Opening remarks followed by a short music performance
French May Arts Festival Associated Project
Exhibition Closing Party
16 Sept (Sat) 2pm-6pm
Live Music Performance will begin at 4pm
Solo violin of Heinrich Biber’s Passacaglia by Amelia Chan
Artist will be present
Live stream on our Instagram
Please note during this summer Alisan Aberdeen will only be open on Saturdays 10am-6pm. Other times by appointment
2305 Hing Wai Centre, 7 Tin Wan Praya Road, Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Fan Yan: Jeux Thèmes Variations is our first solo exhibition for contemporary painter Fan Yan, featuring her new series Mist and Ostinato at Aberdeen Gallery, and the sponsorship of Fan’s exhibition at Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre (3-8 May), as part of associated project of French May Arts Festival. The latest series, Mist, is inspired by the subtle changes of sea mist. Fan expresses the rhythm of water and moisture with repeated and precise folding patterns on rice paper. The pink and soft colour tones are filled with the vitality and beauty of nature. Ostinato is like a musical instrument playing “an ink painting” precisely.

Trained as a classical musician, Fan Yan was a viola player with Hong Kong Philharmonic, prior to devoting herself to painting in 2011. Using her music background, her works incorporate musical elements, such as her new B/W series Ostinato which is inspired by the Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt (1923-2012)’s Canto Ostinato. The works in the exhibition are like musical pieces presented visually, giving the audience a new way to experience music and art.

Artist Statement
“In Ten Holt’s Canto Ostinato, he wrote a short melodic phrase performed on four pianos, where the canto repeats in a constant rhythmic pattern. The effect is to create a shifting foundation of a circulating ‘obstinate’ song. My technique of folding rice paper in dye to produce patterns that vary slightly in depth and intensity echoes the repetitive yet changing music patterns of the Canto Ostinato. The way I ‘compose’ painting is how I imagine a musician reading a music score. A visual score, so to speak, inviting audiences to visualise images, forms and patterns of sound vibrations, and inspire all.”


During the exhibition, we have had six special events, including three live music performances that invite visitors to experience Fan Yan’s paintings through music. Such as the exhibition closing party on September 16th featured a live solo violin performance of Heinrich Biber’s (1644-1704) ‘Passacaglia’ by Amelia Chan. On June 3rd, there was a mini concert, including a string quartet by Philip Glass and Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983). During the opening ceremony on May 3rd at HKVAC, flutist Megan Sterling performed a live solo of Debussy’s (1862-1918) ‘Syrinx’ and Honegger’s (1892-1955) ‘Danse de la Chèvre.’

Additionally, several Southside Saturday events allowed visitors to listen to accompanying music pieces for each painting by simply scanning the QR code next to the artwork. The music selection included Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt’s Canto Ostinato, Philip Glass’s Glassworks piano and cello arrangement, and Max Richter’s Vivaldi The Four Seasons. By listening to the music, visitors can more easily appreciate the unique beauty of Fan Yan’s ink works in conjunction with the hypnotic rhythms and harmonies of minimalist music, which have been her artistic inspiration.


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