Past Exhibition

I Am in It - Contemporary Chinese Art Expressions

09 Dec - 20 Jan  |  2008 -2009
With the special collaboration of Dr. Zhang Yiguo, Florida Gulf Coast University’s Executive Professor and Curator of Asian Art, Alisan Fine Arts is delighted to present I Am in It: Contemporary Chinese Art Expressions. The exhibition was first shown at Florida Gulf Coast University last January. The four participating artists are Shao Yan (b.1962 Shandong), Pu Lieping (b.1959 Sichuan), Lan Zhenghui (b.1959 Sichuan), and Yi Liao (b.1970 Gansu).

Throughout his many years of studying ancient Chinese art, Zhang Yiguo has paid close attention to the development of contemporary Chinese art and its relationship to Western traditions. His study of Chinese contemporary art has led him to examine the background and evolution of calligraphic and writing culture as a critique and curator. One of Zhang’s most successful curatorial project is the exhibition Brushed Voices: Calligraphy in Contemporary China (Columbia University, 1998) that received favourable reviews from the New York Times; the exhibition catalogue was a ‘best seller’ in its field. Zhang Yiguo is an internationally recognized expert in Asian art and an important calligraphic artist in his own right. He is the author of Calligraphy: the Art of Heart and Soul (Peking University Press, 1991; Taipei, 1992), which was recently selected as the reference book for China secondary schools. He served as a Research Fellow at Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (1998-2004).

This year, Zhang chose four Mainland Chinese artists with completely individual approaches. From the Florida exhibition, Zhang has selected 11 works, with the addition of new artworks, our exhibition will be showing more than 20 works.

Shao Yan has sought out the future of calligraphy and writing. Seeing what others overlook, he has drawn from traditional calligraphy and carried it further. Shao especially lays emphasis on the concept of time in the act of writing, as space has no sequentiality. He uses rubbings, writing in ink and adjustments in colour. Pu Lieping’s Chinese character-centered art removes the condition of reading from the process of writing, making Chinese characters without any meaning and opening the work to unlimited interpretations. The architectural spatiality of Chinese characters is a dominant theme in Pu’s works that are often created through pure melody. Lan Zhenghui first studied science, and later switched to art. Inspired by the American expressionist Franz Klein, Lan’s work is created out of large blocks, which gives his style a weighty, sculpted feel: the black and white space thus becomes a wide open medium. Deeply influenced by Zen Buddhism, Yi Liao believes that people live imprisoned by desire until they obtain the wisdom through discipline and meditation to escape into higher realms of consciousness. Yi Liao’s works are typical of conceptual calligraphy, always leading the viewer to think about his own condition of existence.

The exhibition expands the range of approaches to include abstraction by four Mainland artists whose works have attracted audiences at home and abroad, received outstanding prizes, and belong to public collections.