Past Exhibition

The Voice of the Brush — Part I

05 Jul - 04 Aug  |  2018
Gu GanHuang YaoLuo Qi Wang Dongling
10 July, Tuesday, 3:30-5pm
Presentation from the Huang Yao Foundation
A walk-through of the exhibition followed by a lecture (in English) on the life and work of Huang Yao, delivered by the late artist's granddaughter.

Classical calligraphy in modern China is regarded as an art of exquisite refinement and, alongside poetry, the ultimate expression of Chinese culture. The act of taking brush to paper is a fluid and dynamic dance, the shaping of each stroke imperative in relaying "meaning" to the character, for, the character innately carries the meaning of the intended word. In light of the influence of Western modernism and movements like Abstract Expressionism, as well as social and political changes in China, several calligraphers, percolating in the 1950's and blossoming in the mid-1980s, began to subvert the relationship between the character's form and its meaning, allowing the content of the composition to govern the form, as opposed to the form of the characters to dictate the composition. While the works maintained their calligraphic style, the image became increasingly abstract, and at the extreme, divorced from any specific language except the language of painting.

Part 1 of the exhibition includes Gu Gan, Huang Yao, Luo Qi, and Wang Dongling - artists who are pioneers in this field. The exhibited pieces play with shapes and forms of characters to reinforce their meanings, sometimes blending multiple characters or separating them into component parts with a largely pictographic result. As a unit, the artists succeed in bringing a new voice to the rigorous art of calligraphy, while paying homage to its place in Chinese heritage and identity.