Online Catalogue
A Tale of Two Cities
Painting and Calligraphy by Shanghai and Hong Kong Artists

Organizers: Shanghai Art Academy & K. Y. Fine Art
Shanghai: 21-26 May 2016
Hong Kong: 2-7 October 2015

K. Y. Fine Art, Hong Kong and Shanghai Art Academy will jointly present a major exhibition “A Tale of Two Cities – Painting and Calligraphy by Shanghai and Hong Kong Artists” at the Pao Galleries, 4F – 5F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong from 2nd (Friday) to 7th October (Wednesday), 2015. In the exhibition, a total of seventy-five representative works by seventy noted Shanghai and Hong Kong painters and calligraphers will be featured, which will fully reveal the most recent development of painting and calligraphy in Shanghai and Hong Kong, the distinctive accomplishments of these artists in the genres of landscape, figure, bird-and-flower painting and calligraphy and their diversified artistic pursuits. The exhibition also aims to foster cultural and artistic exchanges between Shanghai and Hong Kong and enhance friendship between these two cities.

Shanghai was one of the early cities opened to foreign trade in China, and it has also a deep root in culture whilst also opens to influences from the international arena. In the late Qing period, the Shanghai School of painting emerged and had become a dominant school of painting. In the twentieth century, Wu Changshuo, who merged his energetic calligraphy into his painting; the “Three Wus and One Feng”, who adhered to classic tradition, Liu Haisu, who was proud to be an iconoclastic artist; Lin Fengmian, who employed Western techniques in traditional Chinese painting; Xie Zhiliu and Chen Peiqiu, who gave a new interpretation to the painting styles of the Song and Yuan dynasties; Lu Yanshao, who created with his rich ink and brush flavors; Cheng Shifa, who was famous for his spontaneous renderings of girls of ethnic minorities; as well as Chang Dai-chien, Xu Beihong, Qi Baishi and Fu Baoshi, whose passage through or periods of residence in Shanghai had left invaluable marks in shaping the artistic trends in Shanghai.

With such a legacy, new art waves flourishes. In this exhibition, works by thirty-eight established Shanghai artists reflect their distinctive styles and individualistic flavor. Works depicting Su Dongbo, the Four Renowned Peking Opera Actors Playing as Actress, and the Twelve Ladies of Jinning in the Novel “Dream of the Red Chamber” by Yan Meihua, Han Wu and Ding Xiaofang are either rendered in a vigorous manner or with a touch of delicacy, showing their different styles in figure painting. The landscape works of Yue Zhenwen, Xiao Haichun and Zhang Chi blend traditional ink and brush techniques that reveal their creativity and innovations. The flower paintings by Gong Jixian and Bao Ying are marked with refreshing charm captured from subjects in nature. In the realm of calligraphy, works by renowned masters such as Chen Peiqiu, Lin Ximing, Xu Baoxun and others show their mastery of ancient calligraphic styles and brush work with a spirit of modernity as well as creativity. Other noted calligraphers and painters such as Han Tianheng, Qi Tiexie, Chen Xiang and others also have their independent artistic pursuits with new faces. From the works by the Shanghai artists featured in the exhibition, we would get a comprehensive understanding of the creativity and uniqueness of Shanghai calligraphy and painting.

Hong Kong with its islands acts as a southern gateway to China. It has miraculously developed into a cosmopolitan city since the colonial period to the reunion with China. Although Hong Kong does not carry a long cultural tradition, however, with a free and open social ambience, she is able to be nurtured from both Chinese and Western cultures and develops distinctive identity of culture and art. In the early twentieth century and around 1949, a large number of immigrants came to Hong Kong. These immigrants include established painters such as Huang Boye, Li Yanshan and others of the traditional school, Chao Shao’an and Yang Shanshen of the Lingnan School of Chinese painting, Lu Shoukun, pioneer of the New Ink Painting Movement in Hong Kong and well-known calligraphers such as Feng Kanghou, Deng Erya, Luo Shuzhong, Ho Yau-wai and others. In the 1970s, the Taiwanese painter Liu Kuo-sung came to Hong Kong, who devotes himself to explore new directions of modern Chinese ink painting. They have not only laid the foundation for the future development of Hong Kong painting and calligraphy, but also bring up many students and followers. Since the 1980s, a new generation of middle-aged and young artists has emerged. While being nurtured by the ink and brush traditions, they also inject contemporary artistic vocabulary, cityscapes and cross-media and multi-media elements in their works, enriching the diversity and modernity of the arts of calligraphy and painting. In the Hong Kong section of this exhibition, thirty-seven works by thirty-two Hong Kong painters and calligraphers comprehensively illustrate the development and distinctive identifies of Hong Kong painting and calligraphy.

Artists based on tradition but attempt new explorations include Jao Tsung-I, Wong Kwan-shut, Ou Da-wei, Hung Hoi, Ma Da-wei and others. Jao Tsung-I is a master of Chinese classic studies, who excels in both painting and calligraphy. Wong Kwan-shut successfully grasped the essence of literati painting and calligraphy of the Tang, Song, Yuan and Ming dynasties. Ou Da-wei, Hung Hoi and Ma Da-wei integrate the ink and brush styles of various masters of the past and proceed breakthroughs in landscape painting with their own interpretations. With their art rooted in the Lingnan School of Chinese painting, Wo Yue-kee, Ho Pak-lee and Lam Wu-fui establish their personal styles in the genres of landscape, bird-and-flower and animal painting with harmonious match of naturalistic favour and ambience in portraying their pictorial subjects. The representative work by the master Liu Kuo-sung fully reveals the unbound artistic visions of this modern ink painter. Artists inspired by Lu Shou-kwan, the pioneer of New Ink Painting Movement in Hong Kong, include Wucius Wong, Poon Chun-wah, Leung Kui-ting and others and their works reflect different artistic directions with manipulation of abstract, realistic, traditional as well as innovative elements, which exude a strong sense of modernity.

The inspiration and personal feelings which are our responses to nature and modern life provide sources of inspiration for all artists, and this is true of the artists in this exhibition. Works by Fung Wing-kee, Shen Ping, Zhou Jin and Lucia N. Y. Cheung depict Hong Kong landscapes, cityscapes, as well as daily life. The new generation of artists born after 1970s is noted for strong characters with works employing different media, such as the works by Wilson Shieh, Leung Ka-yin, Chui Pui-chee and others are imbued with social messages and suggestive of life in the contemporary era. The Master of the Water, Pine and Stone Retreat (Hugh Moss) is a foreign artist who engages himself in the business of trading Chinese antiques, painting and calligraphy. His work has an archaic sense and he also inscribes his works with poems and writings in English, showing an alternative artistic rendering in blending poetry, calligraphy and painting in his art.

In the section of Hong Kong calligraphy, representative works by nine artists including Ho Yau-wai, Ng Kai-yuen, Ou Da-wei, Fung Ming-chip and others are featured. These works reflect their different approaches either carrying on the traditions or attempting innovations in writing calligraphy by blending traditional brush work or de-constructing Chinese characters with newly constructed structures.

The Shanghai Academy of Art is a painting and calligraphy academy and educational institution with a long history, whereas the K. Y. Fine Art, Hong Kong has been engaging in the business of trading Chinese antiquities and fine arts. This exhibition marks a joint venture of these two institutions with the objectives of showing the most recent development of painting and calligraphy in Shanghai and Hong Kong and foster cultural and artistic exchanges between these two cities.

The opening ceremony of the exhibition is scheduled at 6:00 pm on 2nd October 2015 (Friday) at the Pao Galleries, 5F, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Hong Kong. Participating Shanghai and Hong Kong artists will present at the exhibition, and an exhibition catalogue A Tale of Two Cities - Painting and Calligraphy by Shanghai and Hong Kong Artists will be published. Dr. Annie Wong Leung Kit-wah, Chairman of Annie Wong Leung Kit-wah Art Foundation, renowned Hong Kong collectors Mr. Kot See For, Owner of Tianminlou Collection, Mr. Leon Lee, Owner of Jiurutang Collection, Mr. David Chan, Honorary Chariman, Kau Chi Society of Chinese Art and Mr. Stewart Wong will officiate at the ceremony with Mr. Yue Zhenwen, Director, Shanghai Art Academy and Mr. Ng Kai-yuen, Director of K.Y. Fine Art, Hong Kong.

Opening hours of the exhibitions is from 10 am to 8 pm daily, and the exhibition will close at 4 pm on 7th October, 2015.