Old meets new on the canvas

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 July, 2006, 12:00am

The Chinese University of Hong Kong's fine arts programme has a reputation for turning out graduates with a broad creative outlook.

Students are encouraged to explore new ideas and combine traditional and contemporary styles. The result is the Mountain Project, an exhibition by 31 of the programme's fresh graduates.

On show are traditional ink works, digital photographs and video animation, as well as prints, collages and three-dimensional creations.

'Some universities focus on traditional skills, but we were encouraged to explore new perspectives, methods and materials,' says graduate Vincent Mak Shing-fung. 'It's a unique selection of works.'

Mak's contribution to the exhibition - Somewhere - is an example of how two mediums can be combined. He has taken Chinese ink paintings and digitally imported them onto computer software, to create a special kind of video animation.

'It's an upcoming style - not many people use Chinese ink animation,' says Mak, 22.

'I wanted to show this blending effect. It's quite a complicated process. It's different from a still painting in that with the video element there's a timeline. People can enjoy the movement of the work. I wanted to show a world made of ink.'

Chloe Chan Chun-chun, 21, is exhibiting her Keep Up paper sculpture in a glass cabinet .

She made paper mache shoes and decorated them with coloured strips of insulation tape (below left). The shoes are arranged around framed bauhinia flags.

'It's mixed media,' she says. 'The theme suits the environment it's in [a shopping mall]. It took me 18 hours to create one pair of shoes.'

Wong Ka-lai's White Peacock (right) is an example of the 'gong-bi' traditional Chinese style. She carefully painted an outline using a fine brush, before filling it in to create a layered effect.

'It's the second version as I made a small mistake and had to start again from the beginning,' says the 21-year-old. 'It took me two days.'

The title of the exhibition was inspired by the location of the CUHK art department, a mountain-top studio far from the noise of the city.

'The CUHK campus is located on a hill near the university KCR station,' said Chan.

'The environment was inspirational for our work. We also had some very good professors. Some are famous artists in Hong Kong, such as Professor Lui Chun-kwong. They are arts educators as well as practising artists.

The art scene in Hong Kong is undeveloped, and artists find that they can't make a living from selling their work. My plan is to find a full-time job and rent a small studio space in which to work in my spare time.'

The Mountain Project runs until July 25, daily from 9am to 9pm at the OC Gallery, G/F, Olympian City I, 11 Hoi Fai Road, and Upper G/F, Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road. Admission is free. Enquiries: 2132 8718.