“Miraculous Variation, Beyond Boundaries” – Chan Shing Kau's Modern Ink
Chan Shing Kau, Tracing Series (124), 2016, Ink and Colour on Paper, 138 cm x 69 cm
Chan Shing Kau, Roots of Heaven and Earth (152), 2014, Ink and Colour on Paper, 47 cm x 89 cm
Chan Shing Kau, Roots of Heaven and Earth (276), 2018, Ink and Colour on Paper, 140 cm x 70 cm
Chan Shing Kau, Star Dust Series (025), 2016, Ink and Colour on Paper, 95 cm x 58 cm
13 May – 29 June 2019
13 May 2019 (Mon)
Cheer Bell Gallery
Room 1602, Global Trade Square, 19-21 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong
Mon - Sat
"The traces of ink in Chan’s "Tracing Series" resemble traces of scratches on the sand left by deities and ghosts through "planchette writing" and carry religious meaning of mystical and ancient totem.
The movement of Chinese brush and the way that ink is applied are parallel to the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Hence, abstract ink patterns resembling seal and cursive scripts are transformed."
Former Chief Curator of Hong Kong Museum of Art
Adjunct Professor of Academy of Visual Arts of Hong Kong Baptist University
Professor Tang Hoi Chiu
Cheer Bell Gallery is honoured to hold a solo exhibition for renowned Hong Kong Ink artist Mr. Chan Shing Kau. “Miraculous Variation, Beyond Boundaries”, which means infinitely changing imagery beyond boundaries in Chan’s modern ink art, is extracted from The Theory of Six Chirography written by master of Chinese calligraphy in Tang Dynasty, Zhang Huai Guan. Chan was inspired by Zhang’s concept, “holy men do not got solidified in one subject matter”, which denotes that a man is not stuck by any regulations and reacts agilely and flexibly in different scenarios. Chan also delves into a famous painter living in the end of Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, Bada Shanren’s notion “the rules of painting embodied in Chinese calligraphy”. Chan integrates the brushstrokes of Chinese calligraphy in paintings, aiming to achieve a “magical alteration and infinite” spiritual status where “the momentum of words is vivid and natural, as if the evolution of nature is incorporated in that particular momentum.” “Roots of Heaven and Earth” and “Tracing Series” have been selected meticulously for this exhibition, showcasing the artist’s profound knowledge in merging Chinese calligraphy, painting and “Father of Modern Ink”, Mr. Liu Kuo Sung’s techniques and art theories.
The “Roots of Heaven and Earth” series conveys aesthetics of Chinese traditional culture. Chan once talked about his creative concept in a publication, saying that in order to express “the tension of white lines”, he searched for traces of fluids (reserving in white) flowing slowly on the rice paper (tinted with black). With semi-abstract and freely meadering lines, symbolic cursive scripts which resembled the vastness of earth and hilly mountains emerged, thus forming a unique sentiment for hills and natural tension of white lines which moved the audiences. Chan has been exploring “A Discussion on the Dynamism of White Lines” advocated by Liu and picked up his techniques such as “water frottage”, “spraying and dyeing”, “ink blot”, etc, inheriting Liu’s belief of “free manifestations of abstract imagery”.
In addition, Chan learnt Chinese calligraphy, seal carving and paleography from paleographer and Researcher of Special Theme of the Centre for Chinese Archaeology and Art in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Ma Kwok Kuen. The name, “Tracing Series”, is derived from calligrapher of Tang Dynasty, Chu Sui Liang’s “Treatise on Calligraphy”, saying that “in manipulating the brush, it is similar to scratching on sand using an awl. It is also like pressing the seal on the red seal paste, leaving the shape of seal on it.” Master of literature in Southern Song Dynasty, Jiang Kui also raised a similar idea in his “Supplement to the Manual of Calligraphy”. He stated that “when a person writes with a Chinese brush, the brushstrokes should resemble bending a twisting hair pin, the traces of rain flowing down the crevice of wall, or scratching lines in the sand with an awl”. What Chu and Jiang wanted to say was that the traces of brushstrokes on the rice paper should be like the outlines left on the sand by an awl, the shape of a twisting hair pin, or the natural imagery of raindrops dripping down the crevice of wall. Moreover, Former Chief Curator of Hong Kong Museum of Art, Professor Tang Hoi Chiu added that Chan was inspired by “planchette writing”, a divination of Taoism to create “The Tracing Series”. During the process of “planchette writing”, people hold a rack and draw words or images on a tray of sand. Then they decipher the patterns and foretell the future. The traces of ink in Chan’s “Tracing Series” resemble traces of scratches on the sand left by deities and ghosts through “planchette writing” and carry religious meaning of mystical and ancient totem. The movement of Chinese brush and the way that ink is applied are parallel to the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Hence, abstract ink patterns resembling seal and cursive scripts are transformed.
Chan acquires knowledge from Liu’s techniques and concept of ink paintings as well as aesthetics of Chinese traditional culture. He also incorporates calligraphy theories and metrical rhythm of lines into paintings, striving to pioneer a new realm and direction in Chinese ink painting. His vibrant creativity and distinct accomplishments are fully displayed in the “Roots of Heaven and Earth” and “Tracing Series”.