LUI SHOU KWAN (LÜ SHOUKUN, 1919-1975)
LOTS 808-812PROPERTY FROM AN AMERICAN COLLECTIONFollowing Lui Shou Kwan’s solo exhibition at the City Hall Museum and Art Gallery (now Hong Kong Museum of Art) in 1964, the artist was propelled onto a new international stage as his abstract Zen paintings captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. In November 1965, the Terrain Gallery held a solo exhibition for the artist in New York. Founded by artist Dorothy Koppelman, Terrain Gallery is an exhibition space and cultural centre dedicated to contemporary art and cultural exchange. It was from this exhibition that the present collection of Lui Shou Kwan paintings was acquired. The paintings have remained in the collector's family since.
LUI SHOU KWAN (LÜ SHOUKUN, 1919-1975)

Zen

Details
LUI SHOU KWAN (LÜ SHOUKUN, 1919-1975)
Zen
Scroll, mounted and framed
Ink and colour on paper
95 x 30.5 cm. (37 3/8 x 12 in.)
Executed in 1964

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Angelina Li
Angelina Li

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Lot Essay

ART, ZEN AND SPIRITUALITY
The second half of the twentieth century saw a group of Hong Kong artists preoccupied with Chinese philosophy and particularly, Zen. For them, art was a means to explore paths to spirituality and enlightenment. Classically trained by his artist father, Lui Shou Kwan departed from his traditional brushwork to create abstract Zen paintings (Lots 808, 809, 812). Often executed in the last decade of his life, most Zen paintings show bold, black ink brushworks and a contrasting, red small dot against a white backdrop. The composition represents a universal theme – the lotus, which symbolises eternity, purity and Buddhahood. Chinese philosophy was Lui’s lifelong pursuit and as a teacher he taught his student to embrace Zen in all aspects of their life. Irene Chou (Lot 806), Lui’s student, used meditation to liberate herself from preconceptions and to facilitate free self-expression. Her artistic practice brought her closer to compassion, one of the key tenets in Buddhist philosophy. Kwok Hon Sum (Lot 807) studied under Liu Kuo-sung at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Fascinated by Tibetan monastery wall paintings and cultural relics, Kwok often placed a small gilded square of gold leaf in the top part of his painting, with repeating seated Buddha icons reminiscent of the Thousand Buddha Caves. One cannot stop admiring the arresting colours in Kwok’s painting which evoke meditation and reverie. Xu Bing’s thought-provoking New English Calligraphy (Lot 813) provides a close reading of the renowned stanza of Zen poetry by Huineng. As Xu’s English calligraphy demands undivided attention to read, a state of tranquillity is attained through the journey to reflect on Zen.

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