Perfection by Chance, 13 Mar 2015 — 10 May 2015

Perfection by Chance

Pearl Lam Galleries will present leading Chinese artists in Perfection by Chance — A Yi Pai Series Exhibition at its Pedder Building space. Works by Qin Yufen, Su Xinping, Su Xiaobai, Tan Ping, Yang Zhilin and Zhu Jinshi, curated by the distinguished Professor Gao Minglu, will be exhibited in a fresh look at Chinese contemporary abstract art.

Gao Minglu writes: “Yi Pai attempts to establish a non-representational, non-substitutional and anti-separation mode of thinking, in a quest for freedom, synthesis and wholeness. Neither art nor human life can be substituted one for the other. Principle, concept and form cannot be separated. Word, meaning and image must live and be generated symbiotically.”

This symbiosis can be found in the Three Perfections, which together incorporate a holistic way of discussing Chinese art. Perfection does not come as one expects; rather, it is by chance and from free will. The exhibiting artists have all integrated the Oriental tradition of meditation, essential for maintaining an equilibrium between narration and imagery, and devoted themselves to this philosophy of ‘perfection by chance’ in realising their artistic creations. In
clearing their minds to enter into a relaxed state, these artists achieve a flow in their process, which results in spontaneous, yet controlled freedom of expression.

All Chinese contemporary “abstract” artists share a common principle: the squares, dots, and lines they employ are neither a mere formal decoration (as “what you see is what you see”), nor are they the material expression of the Ideal (as “what it is”). They are engaged in a dialogue similar to the one carried on in everyday life between artists and objects. The squares, dots and lines symbolise the repetition and triviality of everyday life. These forms are similar to forms found in the records of spiritual exercises of Buddhist meditation. Almost all these abstract artists stress repetition, continuity, and a simple, unaffected state of mind.

Zhu Jinshi, for example, has created a cube of Xuan paper by laying several thousand sheets into a humanised structure, with every new sheet laid making a change to the cube in temporality and spatiality. Qin Yufen will exhibit her latest coloured ink paintings on Xuan paper, for which she has repeatedly applied ink and paint in order to make unexpected marks inspired by those in the ancient Dunhuang Caves. In contrast, Su Xiaobai displays an addiction to the medium of his choice. He reinvents the centuries-old use of lacquer through repeated cycles of painting, polishing, and observing to create his sculptural paintings. Like the literati artists of ancient China, Tan Ping, Su Xinping, and Yang Zhilin attach their emotions to the objects of their paintings. Artistically, they represent not only the object but also their feelings. The stroke of their pen is the running of their thoughts.

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