FINE ART ASIA
ZEN INK ART
4 - 7 October 2013
Opening: 3 October 2013
Hall 5BC, Booth H1
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wanchai, Hong Kong
LUI Shou-kwan (1919 Guangzhou, China - 1975, Hong Kong) is recognized as Hong Kong’s pioneer in the “New Ink Painting” movement. In the early years, he focused on literati ink painting and the highly refined court style, but later he strove to free himself from the rigidity of classical tradition. Through his persistent experimentation and dedication, as early as the 1950s he established a new standard in Chinese ink painting for future generations of Chinese artists. Lui called his innovative abstract ink painting “Zen Painting”.
Participating in the FINE ART ASIA 2013, Alisan Fine Arts is proud to present a solo exhibition of Lui Shou-kwan’s Chinese ink works, around 25 paintings executed between 1962 and 1975, featuring his famous Zen Painting and Abstract Landscape, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan landscape. Exhibition catalogue will be published.
About the artist
Lui Shou-kwan’s interest in painting was inherited from his father Lui Canming (1892-1979) from early on. His father was a scholar-painter and owner of an antique shop. Lui Shou-kwan often described himself as a self-taught painter who studied Chinese painting by copying classical works by past masters, such as Bada Shanren (1626-1705, Ming Dynasty), Shitao (1642-1707, Qing Dynasty) and Huang Binhong (1865-1955). In 1948, he moved to Hong Kong and joined the Hong Kong and Yaumatei Ferry Company in 1949, working as an inspector. Working on a pier, he observed Hong Kong’s mountains and harbour in all kinds of weather to produce many landscape works.
In 1954, he held his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, followed by numerous exhibitions in the UK and US. In 1962, Lui was invited to be an Honorary Adviser of the newly opened City Museum and Art Gallery (later to be renamed the Hong Kong Museum of Art.) In 1971, he received a MBE from the British Government in honour of his distinguished contribution to art. Before he passed away in 1975, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford had already held three solo exhibitions of his work in 1962, 1967 and 1974. His important publications include A Study of Chinese Painting (1956), Lectures on Ink Painting (1972) and The Manuscripts of Lui Shou-kwan (2005).
Lui Shou-kwan’s paintings are in the collections of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK. Alisan Fine Arts has been representing Lui Shou-kwan since 1984 and has held several solo and group shows of his work, including “Lui Shou-kwan and His School” in 1995 and a group show in “Hong Kong Pavilion” at Masterpiece London Fair, UK in June 2013.
About Abstract Landscape and Zen Painting
For Lui, abstraction was the realization of free, independent, absolute personal wisdom, and each brush movement was a direct expression of the artist’s spirit. He saw abstraction as a natural development for Chinese painting in the 20th century and for a complete breakthrough, he turned to the West for inspiration. In particular, he credited British painter J.M.W. Turner’s (1775-1851) use of atmospheric light and portrayal of nature.
Lui’s first entirely abstract studies appeared around 1959. In the1960s, amidst his abstract gestures composed by a few decisive calligraphic strokes, he would add a boat, a little cottage, or tiny figures to bring the picture back to reality. These abstract landscapes show that nature and abstraction are not opposites, but that one always comprises the other.
Other sources of inspiration included Daoist and Zen principles. During the last ten years of his life, the “wet” style and “dry” style of Zen paintings marked the peak of Lui Shou-kwan’s creative power. In the “wet” style, the ink is transparent, fluid and expanding, displaying the image of lotus flower (a prominent symbol in Buddhism) over a surface of water agitated in wind or rain, or the moon breaking through the clouds and mist. In contrast to the “wet” style, the “dry” style is more simplistic. With a few mighty strokes in heavy black and a spot of red colour, Lui symbolizes the flash of lightning, by which all darkness is driven away.