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LIU KUO -SUNG (LIU GUOSONG, B. 1932)
LIU KUO -SUNG (LIU GUOSONG, B. 1932)

Ama Dablam

Details
LIU KUO -SUNG (LIU GUOSONG, B. 1932)
Ama Dablam
Scroll, mounted and framed
Ink and colour on paper
183 x 90.5 cm. (72 x 35 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2008
Literature
Liu Kuo-sung: An 80-year Retrospective, People’s Art Press, Beijing, 2011, p. 173
Liu Kuo-sung Universe in the Mind, Modern Art Gallery, Taichung, 2010, p. 85
Exhibited
Beijing, National Art Museum of China, Liu Kuo-sung: An 80-year Retrospective, 21 March - 3 April 2011

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Lot Essay

Liu Kuo-sung first visited Tibet in the 1980s. During the summer of 2000, after lecturing in Tibet, he embarked on a journey to reach Everest Base Camp that brought about the breakthrough in his depiction of snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. After several days’ journey, Liu arrived at where the spectacular magic of the mountains revealed itself: as sunlight shone through the peaks shrouded by clouds, majestic mountains shifted in and out of visibility that greatly enraptured the artist.
Upon his return, Liu Kuo-sung began to create the Tibetan Suite series. Liu combines technical mastery and an experimental use of materials. The creative process involves the peeling strands of fibre from a specially-made textured paper to outline the mountains in white. Through repeated painting, creasing and peeling of both sides of the paper, Liu creates atmospheric ‘portraits’ of snowy mountains, their topography shown through crisscrossing white lines set against the dark, expansive backdrop of a Tibetan sky.
PAINTING NATURE
Painters are travellers – they never stop exploring nature far and near. Chinese artists have long established a unique relationship with nature. Their landscape paintings seldom seek truthful representation but instead aspire to embody the spirit resonance of the landscape they see and experience. This attitude has enabled artists throughout the ages to innovate and the genre to evolve.
For over five decades Liu Kuo-sung has dedicated his career to discovering new technique and materials to portray nature. His visit to Tibet brought to him the inspiration to depict the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. Having mastered his peeling technique with textured paper, the Tibetan Suite (Lot 841) series pushes the boundary of his earlier abstract paintings and challenges the norms of traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Another major revolution is Liu’s dedication to paint water (Lot 842). Liu braved the unfamiliar subject matter with a novel rubbing technique and vibrant colours, giving his audience unlimited imagination to the beautiful lakes of Jiuzhaigou and the landscapes along the shore shown from the reflection of the water.
Hong Kong artists He Baili, Koon Wai Bong and Winnie Mak approach nature differently. Transforming the skills learned from the Lingnan School masters, He Baili uses brilliant colours in his sunrise paintings (Lot 843). The scenery he creates is his own utopia, a romanticised version of the world conjured from his memory and feelings. A Hong Kong ink art innovator, Koon Wai Bong reworks the classics by innovative spatial arrangement and novel presentation (Lot 848) . Koon’s works often portray landscape in a narrow or collaged view, presenting a restricted view from the window shared by many in the metropolis. Characterised by densely painted patterns of lines, trees and flowers, Winnie Mak (Lot 846) offers an alluring, almost impenetrable nature, which surprisingly conveys a sense of tranquillity.
Jia Youfu (Lots 844, 845) has repeatedly travelled into the Taihang Mountains and masterfully captures the awe-inspiring peaks with broad, rugged brushstrokes set against atmospheric skies. By starkly contrasting light and darkness, the breathtaking mountains under Jia’s brush often dwarf human existence and evoke contemplation on the relationship between man and nature. Chen Jialing (Lot 847) explores different ways to synthesise ancient Chinese mural painting and European watercolour, developing a distinctive style marked by his use of faded, light layers of ink and meticulous lines. An avid photographer, Chen experiments with ink and colour to capture the beauty of nature and the richness of its colours. Su Chung-ming’s landscapes are odes to nature, and for the artist, inspiration in art is derived from the awareness of nature and life (Lot 849). He believes that artists ought to rely on the observation and understanding of life to discover living sensory entities before internally transforming them into subjective emotions, which are expressed as unique forms and substance.

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