With Art Basel held for two consecutive years in Hong Kong which has long been recognized as the bridge that connects the East to the West, the city has evolved into the communication hub for Asian art and culture. Having witnessed thriving artistic creation and art exhibitions in an increasingly prosperous art market, Hong Kong well deserves the title as the important platform for integration of oriental ink art and western art when it comes to exchanges on painting. Apart from being a city of developed economy and convenient transportation, it is thanks to its increasing importance in art exchanges and its role in linking Chinese culture to the West that Hong Kong was chosen as venue for the joint exhibition by organizers Xuanru Art, Huayi Brothers Foundation and Poly Gallery Hong Kong.
Thanks to the generous permission of international art collector Mr. Dennis Wang Zhongjun, two masterpieces of western painting by great masters, Vase with Daisies and Poppies by Vincent van Gogh and Woman with Chignon in an Armchair (Femme au Chignon dans un Fauteuil) by Pablo Picasso, are displayed at the joint exhibition. It is hoped that the Asian debut of the two great works highly acclaimed by art museums would arouse interest of Asian art lovers in exploring the absorption of non-western cultural traditions by van Gogh and Picasso in the two pieces of art that have exerted vital influence on Chinese contemporary art, thus unveiling the importance of mutual influence and exchanges of artistic conceptions in contemporary art.
While getting to be known by the public as a collector besides a movie tycoon, Dennis’ another identity as an artist has been gradually unveiled. For him, collecting masterpieces of van Gogh and Picasso is in no way on a whim. Rather, it is out of his interest in and passion for art since childhood, and his wishes to learn and explore the tradition of western painting.
Apart from engaging in art collection, Dennis has also returned to the life of an artist he had before, with the painting brush as his life companion, painting studio as his living space and colors on oil paintings his spiritual world. Artistic creation of Dennis allows people a close look at the perseverance, sincerity and candor of him as an artist. His works are usually characteristic of strong colors and ingenious composition, a testimony to the artist’s in-depth understanding of western art. The bold and unrestrained strokes, meanwhile, as well as the simple but vivid images in Dennis’ creation give viewers a peep into the highly summarizing nature and strong tension in Chinese ink art.
It is fair to say that van Gogh and Picasso are the two most important figures among the many western artists that have exerted influence on Chinese art since the 20th century. With an even more in-depth influence on Chinese contemporary art, the two great masters mean something more to Chinese ink artists thanks to China’s opening up to the outside world. It occurred to Chinese ink artists that the vitality of tradition lies in renewal as opposed to inheritance, which means that they should promote the modern transformation of artistic traditions and expand the artistic arena with active innovation. Therefore, the contemporary Chinese ink artists, nurtured by traditional Chinese culture and deeply influenced by western contemporary art, have shaped personalized and diversified art looks and conceptions, winning recognition from all sectors of life.
This joint exhibition explores and looks forward to future possibilities of Chinese ink art against a globalized background by showcasing new features of contemporary Chinese ink art in the 21stcentury of integrating Chinese traditions and western contemporary culture, and encouraging innovation while focusing on reality, based on exhibits from ink artists with the greatest exploratory and ground-breaking spirit in contemporary China.
The fusion of western and oriental arts is not only a big cultural topic but also a significant cultural mission. Although today’s What’s Art joint exhibition may be just the beginning, exhibition-wise, of bringing together western and oriental arts, we’ve established a high ambition in terms of artistic conception. We look forward to seeing the sparkles engendered when oil painting meets ink art, when contemporary artworks encounter classical masterpieces, and when collections meet newly-created artworks. More importantly, we expect to witness the seamless integration of western and oriental arts, which finally leads to transcendence of lingual and cultural difference as well as geographic distance.