Out of Ink: Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art
Exhibition Dates: 2019.04.11 – 07.18
Curator: Karen Smith
Out of Ink: Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art explores essential ideals of the ink painting tradition as they manifest in the work of thirteen contemporary artists at work in China today. The experimental forms of expression that underscore their practice are a prism through which to understand how artists are rethinking the conventions of ink to forge new ties to the present cultural context, and which in the process enrich this weighty tradition. The works in the exhibition by the artists Chen Guangwu, Chen Haiyan, Li Ming, Liang Wei, Luo Yongjin, Qiu Anxiong, Sun Yanchu, Tang Bohua, Xu Bing, Xu Hongming, Xing Danwen, Jian-Jun Zhang and Zhou Fan reflect contemporary approaches to landscape, nature and calligraphy, and they are presented in different media such as painting, photography, video, and installation. Using these various forms, the artists work with, appropriate, manipulate or deconstruct, the spiritual and aesthetic ethos of “ink” as cultural metaphor, philosophical system, and a prism for understanding the relationship between man and the physical world of form and space. Each artist makes a contribution to the future possibilities of a medium that has been the dynamic pulse of the nation’s culture through China’s long civilization.
The exhibition catalogue presents two articles, which provide different perspectives on the tradition of ink and its contemporary reflections. The curator of the exhibition Karen Smith’s essay on the role of ink in contemporary artists’ production contextualizes the works in the exhibition. Beth McKillop presents an extensive historical background of ink in China. The following section about the artists features detailed information about the works in the exhibition.