This week, we have continued our traditional Chinese art exploration with Art+ Shanghai’s latest exhibition, The Hanging Garden. The paintings featured in this exhibition focus on a modern interpretation of the beauty of Chinese landscapes.
Traditionally, Chinese paintings had many functions and were often used to depict the beauty, peace and philosophy of the Chinese culture. The subject and method of each painting was meticulously planned, and each element had a special place and meaning.
The Hanging garden offers a fresh and modern take on traditional Chinese landscape paintings. The artists have used the traditional subject focus yet have placed it firmly in the 21st Century, adding vivid colours, unusual materials and urban images.
Yu Peng's landscapes
Yu Peng’s works are a brilliant example of how traditional Chinese art has evolved. His paintings feature traditional landscapes and scenes of Chinese nature yet there are people scattered everywhere. The use of colour is a new and unique method, which deviates from traditional Chinese painting techniques. Yu Peng’s lines appear pure and somewhat simple, offering a different perspective while paying tribute to traditional Chinese landscape paintings. Some of Yu Peng’s pieces have a poem written across the top, while the art itself is a visual poem.
Yu Peng's landscapes
The unusual aspects of Xiang Guohua’s works are somewhat surprising, again using a modern take on traditional methods. He depicts images of ancient landscapes by burning rice paper with incense; the traditional landscape is used and a sense of beauty and significance is portrayed, giving a sense of deep meaning when contrasted to the fast pace of life in modern society.
Xiang Guohua's rice paper
The second floor of the gallery is designated to the works of Tony Ng. He uses a variety of materials, including Plexiglas patches, in order to represent physical features in nature. A particularly interesting piece is a video which presents a person locked behind a window. His spirit manages to escape these constraints and is transported to the other side, thus set free.
Ng also paints several rainy landscapes. He uses ink in an innovative way, making it appear as though it has been cast along the canvas; he achieves this effect through use of a toothbrush and spray can. His paintings appear nostalgic and dark, teaching the viewer something of life in modern China. He appears absolutely revolted by the Chinese overproduction and consumerism; as a result, his work is a mix of nostalgia and a tribute to the beauty of nature.
Tony Ng's raining landscape
Tony Ng's 'Cloud'
The Hanging Garden is a real breath of fresh air; it is evocative and emotional, appealing to the imagination through provoking a sense of deep nostalgia. The exhibition will be running until June 30th.
PICTURES: ART+SHANGHAI GALLERY