Out of Ink
Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art
Out of Ink: Interpretations from Chinese Contemporary Art explores the essential ideals of the ink painting tradition as manifest in the work of 13 contemporary artists at work in China today. Their art does not necessarily rely upon conventional materials – ink, paper, or brush – but encapsulates the cultural spirit of ink. The experimental forms of expression that underscores their practice are a prism through which to understand how artists are rethinking the conventions of ink to forge new ties to the present cultural context, and enrich this weighty tradition in the process.
The exhibition curated by Karen Smith echoes content familiarly seen in ink painting, such as landscapes or natural forms, as single or juxtaposed elements from the natural world, as well as the role of calligraphy. These reveal the spirit of ink, a core value that is its most enduring esoteric quality, yet, none of the artists presented here claim to be ink artists. Instead they work with, appropriate, manipulate, or deconstruct, the spiritual and aesthetic ethos of “ink” as cultural metaphor, philosophical system, and as understanding of relationship between man and the physical world of form and space. In their respective ways, each artist makes a contribution to the future possibilities of a medium that has been the dynamic pulse of the nation’s culture through China’s long civilization.
Participating artists are Xu Bing, Chen Haiyan, Jian-Jun Zhang, Xing Danwen, Luo Yongjin, Sun Yanchu, Qiu Anxiong, Li Ming, Xu Hongming, Chen Guangwu, Liang Wei, Zhou Fan, and Tang Bohua.