March 24 - 26, 2016
Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, China
At Art Basel | Hong Kong 2016, INK studio is proud to present a selection of representative works from Li Huasheng’s current practice. Although his works have been collected by such major institutions as the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and National Art Museum of China, Li remains reclusive and rarely participates in commercial exhibitions. INK studio’s presentation is an exceptional opportunity for collectors, curators, and the public to appreciate and acquire the works of an extremely influential but almost inaccessible Chinese artist.
In the late 1980’s, Li Huasheng (b. 1944 in Yibin, Sichuan) mounted a series of solo exhibitionsin the United States as one of the foremost landscape painters of his generation. Having beenexposed to international contemporary art, he abruptly turned away from painting in the traditional manner, and began living as a recluse and traveling alone in the Himalaya Mountains. Following a spiritual breakthrough, over the next decade he developed the radical practice of hand-limning vast grids in a meditative state. Applied with a pliant brush, these lines render with utmost sensitivity the momentary changes in his mind and body. They thereby acquire an existential quality, becoming a metaphor for the unfolding of life over time.
The grid paintings form the core of INK studio’s presentation, including his iconic monumental ensemble 0669 (four panels, each measuring 362 x 143 cm), previously exhibited in “Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China” (2013) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Inside the booth, three of his new two-layer grids—each consisting of two translucent layers mounted together—are hung in the style of a Chan (Zen) meditation room for intimate and contemplative engagement.
For Li Huasheng, the discipline of the grids and the freedom of landscapes and calligraphy are mutually illuminating, and he continues to pursue the latter, albeit in an abstract and minimalist fashion. In the main space, INK studio features a selection of his abstract landscapes, including his signature “one-stroke paintings” and previously-unseen experimental works that may be called “misted landscapes,” in which he paints not grids but their shadows: dots and patches of ink arranged along a dense mesh, appearing from a distance as fields of shifting tones. Eschewing brushwork altogether, these post-grid “landscapes” evoke topography and atmosphere through the material qualities of ink and paper. In both series, Li Huasheng explores the delicate interplay between intention and accidents, image and imagination.
Since 2000, when they drew international notice at the Shanghai Biennale, Li Huasheng's grid paintings have been an essential feature of almost every major exhibition of Chinese contemporary ink painting, particularly abstract ink painting. Li's grids have been featured twice at the Shanghai Biennale (2000, 2002), the Guangdong Museum of Art (2001), the First Chinese Art Triennial Exhibition at the Guangzhou Art Museum (2002), the National Art Museum of China in Beijing (2003, 2013); the International Ink Painting Biennale at the Shenzhen Art Museum (2004, 2008), the Shenzhen Fine Art Institute (2005); the Shanghai Art Museum (2005); the China Millennium Monument in Beijing (2006), the Shanghai Doulun Museum of Modern Art (2006, 2009); Reboot: The Third Chengdu Biennale at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chengdu (2007), the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal of the He Xiangning Art Museum in Shenzhen (2007, 2013), and the Today Art Museum in Beijing (2007, 2009, 2011).
Li Huasheng's works can be found in the permanent collections of the National Art Museum of China, Beijing; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the British Museum, London; the Chicago Art Institute, Chicago; the Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai; the Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou; the He Xiangning Art Museum-OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, Shenzhen; and the permanent art collections of Harvard University, Yale University, University of Washington, and University of Michigan.
Li Huasheng's traditional landscape painting is the subject of a monograph by Jerome Silbergeld, P.Y. and Kinmay W. Tang Professor of Chinese Art History at Princeton University, Contradictions: Artistic Life, the Socialist State, and the Chinese Painter. Li Huasheng (1993) and his artistic practice since Silbergeld's ground-breaking study is the subject of the forthcoming monograph, Li Huasheng: Process, Mind and Landscape, edited by Britta Erickson and distributed internationally by D.A.P. Li Huasheng is also the subject of the documentary film "Li Huasheng's Ambivalence," in the series The Enduring Passion of Ink, directed by Britta Erickson and filmed by Richard Widmer.
INK studio is a Beijing-based gallery and experimental art space devoted to documenting and responding to new and exciting developments in the media of ink painting currently emanating from China. Over the past decades, a group of important artists have been highly active in researching and developing the immense contemporary creative possibilities of the millennia-old language of paper, brush, and ink. Their work is increasingly attracting international critical attention. INK studio’s mission is to present the best of this work to the public in a closely curated exhibition program supported by in-depth critical analysis, scholarly exchange, and bilingual publishing in Chinese and English.
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More information: www.artbasel.com/hong-kong