To commemorate twenty years of exhibiting contemporary Chinese paintings, Kaikodo is pleased to announce a group-show of artists whom Kaikodo has previously exhibited, some over a long period, others more recently, and one for the first time. Our specialty in, and long-commitment to, traditional Chinese painting, both academically and commercially, spearheaded our interest in contemporary Chinese artists linked, some quite strongly, others more tenuously, to China’s past. The term “ink art” has been coined within the field to define the work of such artists, distinguishing them as a group within the greater world of contemporary Chinese painting with its links to Western art, abstraction, and innovations reflecting contemporary global interests, attitudes and approaches.
In this exhibition, straying furthest from Chinese tradition in methodology are the two photographers, Michael Cherney and Yang Yongliang. Using idiosyncratic and creative methods and modern technology to arrive at images in ink on paper, their works are nevertheless inextricably linked in numerous ways to Chinese landscape painting styles, and to actual Chinese landscapes and cityscapes. The architectural drawings of Xu Jianguo bring the viewer to modern Hong Kong and Berlin, but in deference to Song architectural drawing and format. Three artists share a special preoccupation with materials, notable in the manipulation of paper in the work of Tseng Yuho and Lin Yan and in the innovative inks and painting implements used by Wang Mansheng. Two artists, Wai Pong-yu and Lin Guocheng, both produce images in ink on paper that are clearly in established lineages, but do so, surprisingly and most effectively, not with traditional brushes but with pens instead. Finally, if the work of Wucius Wong, Tseng Yuho and Zhu Daoping teeter boldly on the border between representation and abstraction, the works of other artists–Arnold Zhang, Harold Wong, Luo Jianwu, and Li Xubai–are strongly traditionalist, reaffirming the sanctity of classical Chinese painting even within a world that is ever changing.