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Ink Alchemy: Beyond Tradition

Exhibition details

Opening / Event Date:
20 March, 2023
5:00 am - 7:00 pm
Closing / End Date:
15 May, 2023
Event Category:
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Art Basel Hong Kong VIP Programme

Opening Reception: 20 March, Monday, 5-7pm


Artists Talk: 24 March, Friday, 11am-12:30pm
Talk will be bilingual with translation available
Artists in attendance: Cheuk Ka-Wai, Cherie, Lin Guocheng, Tai Xiangzhou, Kelly Wang, Zhang Xiaoli, Zheng Chongbin
Moderated by Daphne King, Gallery Director

RSVP [email protected]


Alisan Fine Arts is pleased to announce the opening of the exhibition Ink Alchemy: Beyond Tradition at their gallery during Art Basel, co-curated by Dr. Susan L. Beningson and Daphne King Yao. Ink Alchemy: Beyond Tradition includes new work created for the exhibition by established artists Zheng Chongbin, Imagined Landscape: Rabbit made by Yang Yongliang to celebrate the Lunar New Year, and emerging artists Zhang Xiaoli, Cheuk Ka-Wai, Cherie, Kelly Wang, Ren Light Pan. Other works by Lui Shou-Kwan, Wang Tiande, Lee Chun-Yi, Zhang Jian-Jun, Tai Xiangzhou, Zhang Yu, Lin Guocheng, Zhang Yirong and Chu Chu will also be on show. Featuring 15 Chinese artists from Hong Kong, mainland China and the US of different generations and varying backgrounds, the exhibition seeks to highlight the changes in Chinese ink painting over the last half-century. They move beyond the tradition, adopting innovative materials and ways of creation yet maintaining the spiritual energy of ink or qi.


Landscape Reinterpreted

Landscape as a traditional subject of Chinese ink painting, its artistic essence has rarely been about realistic depiction, but spiritual resonance or the reflection of the state of mind and personality. Inheriting the core spirit of ink art and landscape, the artists further transformed ink landscape painting with new mediums, materials and composition, responding to their reality and imagination through Chinese landscape context of human feelings and literary culture. The section features Lin Guocheng’s three-dimensional surreal landscapes, Tai Xiangzhou’s Cosmoscape paintings, Wang Tiande’s landscape created with burn marks from incense sticks, Kelly Wang’s abstract landscapes that exist somewhere between two and three dimensions and combine contemporary and pre-modern materials, Yang Yongliang’s digital realistic Chinese landscape and Zhang Xiaoli’s boxed landscape inspired by a dicing game from the Song dynasty. By experimenting and creating landscape paintings based on different themes and through various mediums, these artists show a contemporary facet of this time-honoured subject.


Bird & Flower

Besides landscape, bird-and-flower is another traditional subject in Chinese ink. Inspired by the resilience and the beauty of creatures found in nature, as well as human virtues and the principle of nature, the artists in this section create ink paintings of flowers, birds and butterflies employing a new composition style. In this section, the curated works from Chu Chu, Lee Chun-Yi and Zhang Yirong present flowers on their own with a plain background, emphasizing the ultimate delicacy of flowers that the viewers have yet to notice. Cheuk Ka-Wai, Cherie, who specially creates new works for this show, does not adopt a botanical surrounding for her birds but a turbulent environment, symbolizing the peace out of chaos. The way they infuse their ink paintings with calligraphy, chop carving and stamping, and gongbi style is worth noting.



For contemporary ink artists who explore the form of ink art, they have created a new visual vocabulary derived from abstraction, symbolism and endless experiments with materials and techniques. The fascination of their art is no longer limited to the pictorial space but also their roots in their reconstruction and concern and study about the state of the world and the existence of oneself. Highlight in this section will be Zheng Chongbin’s immense B/W painting, Plateau ,which the artist specially created for this show. Zheng endeavours to present ink as the subject, as we can see from the bold manifestation of black, white and grey. Other works on display in this section include: ink master Lui Shou-Kwan’s Zen painting which explores the emptiness of Zen and channels the spiritual connection to his materials; Ren Light Pan’s abstract works imprinted with her body, emotion and experience; Zhang Jian-Jun’s elemental ink series which is based on the elements of fire, water and wood; Zhang Yu’s conceptual Fingerprint series, exploring the relationship between self-identity, time and existence.


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