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(Chinese, B. 1956)
Hundred Layers of Ink
ink and mixed media on canvas
175 x 95 cm. (69 x 37 3/8 in.)
Painted in 1990
Alice Pauli Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Marcello Kwan
Marcello Kwan

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Lot Essay

Artists in the Contemporary ink art movement value calligraphy for both its semantic content and aesthetic significance. They understand the inherent power of calligraphy and found it a rich terrain for artistic exploration. Conceptual Artist Gu Wenda began his Pseudo Character Series in the 1980s, he found ways to subvert the semantic and aesthetic functions of language. In Pseudo Character Series - Wind Rain (Lot 22), the artist wrote large pseudo character that is indecipherable within a surreal landscape. Even though the character is partially recognizable and contains linguistic or cultural affiliations, the viewer is unable to grasp the calligraphy's true context.
Qiu Zhijie who also found artistic expression through calligraphy, is provocative and articulate, he is as much art critic, philosopher, social historian, and curator as visual artist. Although he was not trained in the ink art tradition, he utilized the ink and brush to formulate his thoughts and ideas. In Interpretation of Chinese Characters - Hand & Rain (Lot 23), Qiu used repetition of Chinese characters, rendering them meaningless in the process.
Also one of the leading artists of the Contemporary Ink Art movement who seek artistic expression in Abstraction, Yang Jiechang was introduced to Taoist teachings in 1982, which brought about a transformation in his world view and art practices, resulting in his renunciation of colour and representation. 100 Layers of Ink (Lot 21) is a conceptual and minimalist approach to ink. Layering Chinese ink on collaged paper, the painting appears complex because of the implications of blackness, which is mourning, death and the void. According to Yang, "the process of the work and its results are a kind of meditation, a kind of self-accomplishing. What they reflect and express for the recipient also belongs to the realm of meditation".

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