"Treasure Ink in the Present Days"--Contemporary Ink Art Exhibition
Chinese ink painting is the essence of the Chinese painting art, whose significance has far surpassed a simple creative media with the development of the history and passage of time. And it is further evolved into an expression approach of humanistic spirits and temperament of China in the real sense.
Many scholars and art historians hold that the development of the traditional Chinese ink painting or that of the traditional Chinese literati ink becomes more rapid and important since the Ming Dynasty. At that time, the humanistic painters and the professional painters were proud of their performance ability of ink. Shi Shouqian said in From Style to Huayi: Ruminating on Chinese Art History when describing the phenomenon: "this tendency finally forms the 'summit of ink centralism' at the end of the Ming Dynasty." What's more, the development of traditional Chinese ink gets rid of the functional restraint of the single image's depiction and gradually becomes the main role in the Chinese painting field.
In the 21st century, the development of the contemporary ink painting art begun to show prosperity in all kinds. Meanwhile, we must also face up to the "disorder" produced after the dilemma of modernism. However, the excellent contemporary artists in China still use their own brilliant creative skills and their wise and special creation languages and combine the flexible and delicate traditional ink painting with the contemporary tolerance, enthusiasm and creation, thus creating a new ink painting visual drama that integrates both the ancient and the modern, the Chinese and the western.
The creation of participant artists of this exhibit is deeply root in the traditional Chinese cultures and realizes innovation and evolution in the process, thus presenting the new language of ink painting filled with the contemporary visual cultural context.
In his ink painting works, Cai Guangbin forms his own new and vivid creation methodology in terms of the performance mode. He jumps out of the traditional thinking modes, which is to understand the mode of ink painting from the perspective of humanistic painting. In his ink painting world, the ink owns huge potentials in terms of the material media, tolerance and expressive force. As a contemporary Chinese ink painting artist, he is proficient at using his absorption of knowledge and information under the background of big information, big technology and new media and fully combining the traditional Chinese ink painting with the new media, new technology, new influence, new thinking, new visual sense and new living habits to explore the brand-new performance subjects and cultural images of the contemporary Chinese ink painting from the start of crossover. This creation process also becomes an epitome of the process that the new perceptual habit influenced by the new era mode and the new perceptual habit produces the new performance mode and even the aesthetic experience.
Lan Zhenghui has always made use of Chinese traditional ink and rice paper in his paintings. On the other hand, what impresses us most is that his paintings are often surprisingly large, far beyond our understanding of traditional ink paintings. His paintings, a combination of painting and calligraphy writing, seemly take the form of writing; His giant brush on the rice paper miraculously achieves the mix and convergence of water and ink decorated with both black and white colors. The vivid collision on the paper embraces the big world in the mind of Lan Zhenghui: rivers and mountains, all living beings and things in the universe. In his large-dimension paintings, Lan Zhenghui has succeeded in injecting his heartfelt reflections into various collisions and convergence of water and ink as well as brush and paper through the surge and wandering of Chinese brush, with a view to integrating the time-honored painting spirit into each of his works.
The paintings by Qin Feng directly and appropriately express the inherent unruly and heroic spirit of this artist who was born in the big northwest of China. Different from Lan Zhenghui's paintings which indicate his love for rice paper and the enthusiasm of showing each drop of the ink onto the paper. The paintings by Qin Feng are more like an adventurous and groping trip with romanticism and knight spirit. His works, combined with oil and acrylic paints, serve as various media ranging from rice paper, non-woven cloth to self-handmade linen or ceramic paper; The paintings are often misinterpreted as a derivative version of abstract action paintings by western expressionists masters. However, compared with works by Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Hans Hartung and other western abstract expressionists, the paintings by Qin Feng have the penetrating expression and strong motivations, which are advocated by the Chinese traditional culture. The majestic momentum of this penetrating expression makes the paintings by Qin Feng embrace the traditional Chinese culture well and creates the strong echo and resonance of contemporaneity.
Benefiting from the foundation of profound traditional culture, Qiu Zhijie has always been skillful in the free switch between the traditional-and-contemporary modes and the painting contexts. Since the year 2010, he has started the project of "Notes by Qiu·Lantern Festival Painting Plan", which includes facsimileing original painting, taking notes to the paintings, making "props" for each of the interesting elements in the paintings installation art) and even a huge program - "Deduction of Historical Dramas", in which such elements as characters, stories, scenes and even appliances have been integrated into various independent scripts. From the contemporary perspective and creativity, the traditional Chinese paintings will be perfectly expressed through deconstruction and reconstitution. The exhibition of Initial Outlook of Lantern Festival Painting serves as the origin of this series by the artist. Qiu Zhijie manages to reproduce the image of Initial Outlook of Lantern festival Painting (the masterpiece of Ming Dynasty) through pure techniques of ink paintings and related notes of the scene in the painting. Thanks to the reprinting and interpreting by the contemporary artists, the audiences, from a modern view, enjoy the interesting story of Jinling City of Ming Dynasty.
Yang Jingsong likes to use the word "smear" to describe his own paintings. The word, which is inconsistent with the elegant art of ink paintings in our minds, paradoxically injects a unique flavor into the paintings. It is the temperament that detests to be defined simply by so-called of "modeling" and "stereotyped" as well as constrained by undiversified planes and space. Through a closer look at his paintings, we could find that this so-called "smear" type of ink is not characterized with simple materialized clusters, abstract expressions, or emotional elicitations. It focuses on the research and discussion on the "possibility" and "experimental" from the perspective of space and media. Paintings by Yang Jingsong feature a kind of space re-creation which embodies the measured, free and not deliberate, proper re-interpreting of "great image is shapeless", just like the artistic mode of "embracing beautiful images under an empty context" by "blank" in the traditional ink paintings.
Yuan Shun has got his ink language from his many years of cross-cultural reading, experience and scholarship accumulation. He is not only the explorer of the new ink movement in the 1980s, but also has been experience the cross-cultural exchanges for more than a decade. For Yuan Shun, the extensive and profound traditional culture is not only a spirit totem, but also a channel that can help him expand his special world outlook and creative inner world. Therefore, paper and ink still serve as the main media of his art, even though to show such "future" elements as the universe, the future, the macro aspects, as well as the macroscopic and super-material sectors, etc. Benefiting from his excellent skills in the control of ink and shapes, Yuan Shun, from the perspectives of composition, color and diversified arrangement of visual elements, has succeeded in injecting high integrity and strong visual impact into his paintings. In his paintings, the space has developed into a kind of stillness conception and cultural foundation, fully demonstrating his unremitting exploration of the time origin. The eternal soil of artistic creation always derives from a kind of "completeness" between traditional wisdom and contemporary spirit.
The study of Chinese ink art is a subject which embraces an exhaustible source of possibility and surprise. "Treasure Ink in the Present Days", is a theme that explores the charm of ink art in the multivariate and multidimensional way extended from a multi-dimensional view of time to space, history, sociology, topic and other parts. The traditional oriental culture, benefiting from its ideological continuation for thousands of years, has been able to "embracing beautiful images under an empty context" is because: the traditional oriental culture is characterized with its unique passion and simplicity, which can tolerance differences and integrate everything; and can make the seemingly simple or unrelated creation contained and connected closely with each other. Thanks to the deep-rooted traditional Chinese human spirit as inclusiveness, magnificence and simplicity, the contemporary ink art perhaps can deeply explain the core of "re-discovery" of traditional Chinese art. Like the art critic Dr. Robert C. Morgan has once commented: "The recreation of ink paintings can deeply find the origin of traditional culture."
Executive curator, Secretary-general of Shanghai Himalayas Cultural and Arts Foundation: