Qin's work explores boundaries
Galerie du Monde presents the work of mainland artist Qin Chong in an exhibition entitled 'interplay' which will feature his new works of Chinese ink on paper, oils on canvas and sculptures.
The show runs at the gallery in Central from today until June 13, while a parallel exhibition of Qin's work will be held at ART HK 12 from May 17 to 20
Now working and living in Berlin and Beijing, Qin's technique of applying ink on paper connects his modern concepts with traditional core elements of Chinese culture and heritage, reflecting an ideal harmony between people and nature.
Recent developments in mainland contemporary art, such as the reinterpretation of ink paintings and calligraphy, have led Qin on a path of evolving contemporary interpretation with the changing culture of modern China. His sculptural installations extend far beyond traditional art forms, taking mainland art in an exciting direction influenced by the artist's observation of contemporary life.
At ART HK 12, Qin's debut exhibition will feature his large installation called Past-Future. It consists of rolled paper tubes that are burned on the top rim with fire and then arranged on the earth. The resulting ashes refer to the past, while the varied sizes of the cylindrical paper creations stand for different time lengths representing the future.
Another work is Heart Defence, where the Statue of Liberty holds up not a torch but a Chinese umbrella, standing on what appears to be a part of the Great Wall. Through this work, the artist expresses his ideas about the balance between destruction and reconstruction - death and rebirth.
In talking about Qin's use of fire, art academics Wu Hung and Peggy Wang remark: 'Fire seems like a very negative force: it is uncontrollable, leaves behind soot and dirties the air. But when the art piece is finally exhibited, people can't help but touch it because it looks too clean. Fire is associated with the origins of mankind, and it has contributed so much over the course of human history. Because people are so familiar with the uses of fire, it brings forth multiple meanings when they see Qin Chong's work.'
Another series of abstract contemporary ink paintings will be on display alongside Past-Future at the exhibition, where Qin continues in following his belief in tradition as he explores the unlimited possibilities of Chinese ink.
In the exhibition catalogue Ink Expression, Li Yan writes: 'On the one hand, contemporary Chinese ink painters inherit the merits of traditional Chinese painting; and on the other hand, they actively search for innovation and breakthrough.
'By integrating a variety of mediums, they manage to present the contemporary audience with a broader perspective of ink painting, within which not only natural landscape, but also urban landscapes and lifestyles are featured.' The paintings have a minimalist feel, with various lines in shades of black either cylindrical or in zigzags, creating a stark monochromatic image on paper. Qin's intent is to express a linear rhythm on paper, an exploration inspired by his homeland.
7 March-Whatever is a work of ink on paper where Qin continues to explore varying shades of black ink with playful splotches that seem organic and spontaneous. The series continues with 15 March-Whatever, with ink splatters from the upper left side of the paper that culminate into large curved brush strokes that create circles in varying shades on the right, a kind of mass flowing through the air with a trail behind it.
28 February-Whatever is a collection of many brushstrokes, starting with lighter shades of grey that gradually become more pronounced in the foreground, creating a cylindrical shape on paper, suggesting perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel, or the end of the tumult is within reach.
New York art critic Curtis Carter says: 'These works have a definitely positive aesthetic feeling. They show excellent craftsmanship and skill, as well as a sensitive artistic eye and thoughtful mind.'
Born in Xinjiang in the Uighur Autonomous Region in 1968, Qin later studied and worked in Beijing. He held his first solo exhibition during his studies, showcasing his early paintings. He graduated from the Beijing Academy for Arts and Crafts in 1989 and founded the Ammonal Gallery in the capital three years later.
Qin soon became acclaimed as one of the pioneer artists of the modern/post-modern era in China affected by the tumultuous Cultural Revolution.
By the late 1990s, Qin split his time between Berlin and Beijing. This gave him the opportunity to experience diverse cultures that would be reflected in his artwork. His experiences continued to develop through his interpretation of his own traditions with influences from his adopted city of Berlin, which led to him becoming a member of the German National Association of Artists.
Continuing the tradition of using only black and white in his paintings, Qin's work shows his respect towards his Chinese roots, yet captures an understated conflict between appearance and content.
It is this conflict that allows the artist to highlight a sense of time. For Qin, the essence of time is not invisible, but a tangible concept of space.
Xu Jitao puts it succinctly in his critique of Qin's work. 'Deeply influenced by Chinese traditional calligraphy and paintings, Qin uses the simplest and most compact constructions and patterns.
Venue Galerie du Monde, 108 Ruttonjee Centre, 11 Duddell Street, Central
Date May 10-June 13
Tel 2525 0529
ART HK 12, Asia One
Venue Booth 1X26, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai
Date May 17-20