For ART SG presentation, INKstudio has selected eight leading contemporary Chinese artists—each of whom take a different approach to constructing an alternate modernity from their engagement with China’s distinctive five-thousand-year history of cultural production.
The first three artists—Bingyi, Zheng Chongbin and Li Huasheng—take a Modernist approach deconstructing the language of brush and ink art into its constituent elements. Li Huasheng (1944 – 2018), for example, reduced painting to the brushline and its indexical connection to the artist’s consciousness. Zheng Chongbin (b. 1961), in contrast, abandons the brushline and instead explores how ink manifests the creative agency of nature. Finally, Bingyi (b. 1975) uses the traditional materials of ink, water and paper to allow the landscape itself to “paint” an image of itself.
The five artists—Li Jin, Peng Kanglong, Su Huang-Sheng, Hung Fai, Wai Pong-yu—on the other hand, utilize traditional modes of brush-and-ink painting to create contemporary images reflective of our time. Arguably the first Chinese ink artist to embrace the self-portrait as his primary subject, Li Jin (b. 1958) harkens back to the early origins of Chinese painting in the portraiture of moral paragons, extraordinary personas, and counter-cultural iconoclasts. Peng Kanglong (b. 1962), in contrast, combines the distinctive traditions of landscape and flower painting from the Ming-Qing and Modern periods into a new synthesis expressive of our time. Finally, the young artist Ethan Su Huang-Sheng (b. 1987) explores the contemporary possibilities of mineral pigment painting from Central Asia, China and Japan. Hung Fai (b. 1988) and Wai Pong-yu (b. 1982) use parallel lines and freehand curves to create a dense record of otherwise inarticulate nuances of human relationships.