Past Exhibition

Ding Yi | Shen Fan | Yang Jiechang

13 Jun - 25 Jul  |  2009
Alisan Fine Arts is pleased to present a group exhibition of three Chinese avant-guard ink painters -- Ding Yi, Shen Fan (both from Shanghai) and Yang Jiechang (Paris-based). This exhibition consists of 18 abstract artworks spanning 1990-2005. Executed in Chinese ink or oil on paper, acrylic or oil on canvas, the works reveal different ways in which the artists express ‘new ink art’.

Ding Yi
(b. 1962 Shanghai, currently lives in Shanghai)

Having graduated from Shanghai Arts and Crafts Institute in 1983 and Shanghai University, Fine Arts Department in 1990, Ding Yi’s works have been exhibited world-wide, most notably at the Venice Biennale (1993), Yokohama Triennial (2001) and Guangzhou Biennale (2002).

Ding Yi’s representative work Appearance of Crosses (one of the exhibits) repeatedly and carefully constructs a cross (+) forming a weaving pattern across the canvas. The artist began his work in colour printmaking in 1988; Appearance of Crosses means that the coordinate exactness should be kept during the printing process. In his visual structures, Ding Yi seems to be aiming for a meticulous systematization of simplicity opposed to the bombastic rhetoric of the literati tradition. The artist draws the viewer into an important act of seeing a mixture of materials and spirit stemming from a free-style expressed in direct and free-hand brushstrokes on canvas.

Shen Fan
(b. 1952 Jiangyin, currently lives in Shanghai)

The abstract and minimalist artist, Shen Fan, graduated from Shanghai Light Industry Institute, Fine Arts Department in 1986.

Shen Fan’s work harks back to the beginning of the world: endless patterns and forms are executed daily to remove individualism or eliminate any desire for self-expression in order to attain spirituality. Most of his work is monochromatic. The artist communicates his pessimistic and fatalistic attitude towards life. Although displaying ‘a tragic charm’, his works powerfully attract or exclude the viewer. They are tactile compositions often created with a palette knife, and at other times, an abundant application of rolled greasy paint on canvas allows the eye to enter through minute openings of crowded space. Also, his 2005 worm-like abstract landscape triptych expanded into his light installation of a similar pattern presented at the Shanghai Biennale 2006. His work is collected by Shanghai Art Museum.

Selected exhibitions include Shanghai Biennale 2006, Shanghai Art Museum (2006), Chinese Maximalism, Millennium Art Museum (Beijing, 2003), The Paintings of Shen Fan – Pioneering Abstraction from Shanghai, Goedhuis Contemporary (New York, 2002), Shanghai Abstract Art Group Show, Liu Haisu Art Museum, (Shanghai, 2002), Metaphysics 2001, Shanghai Art Museum (2002), etc.

Yang Jiechang
(b. 1956 Foshan, currently lives in Paris)

Yang joins the famous Chinese diaspora artists who successfully broke through traditional constraints although using the traditional medium of ink. He studied art and Taoism in Guangzhou before moving to Paris in 1989. He has been living and working in Paris and Heidelberg since 1988.

Taoism has deeply influenced Yang Jiechang's art, particularly the theory of “sublimation in meditation.” He uses multiple layers of ink on paper to create large textured black spaces both shiny and matt (recalling the dualistic Taoist principle) into which the spectator is drawn, such as the famous 100 Layers of Ink of 1992-98 and Double View series of 2000 included in our show. His work draws the viewer into a feeling of contemplative tranquillity. Stillness and liveliness coexist, though seemingly simple but in fact highly complex.

In 2005 he was a visiting artist at Stanford University, California, and in 2008, he was re-invited as a Sterling visiting professor. Since the 80s, Yang has exhibited his works throughout the world.