Art Basel Hong Kong 2023 | 3D12 | EN9
21 March - 25 March 2023
Hanart TZ Gallery
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Galleries Booth: 3D12
Artist: BOLOHO, CAO Xiaoyang, Luis CHAN, CHENG Tsai-Tung, QIU Shihua, Dashi NAMDAKOV, WANG Dongling, XU Longsen and ZHENG Li

Shanshui (‘mountains and water’) landscape painting is the art form that best captures the spiritual essence of Chinese culture. The Chinese imagination of “magic mountains” posits a realm for the spirit that is both transcendent and concrete, and over the past millennium Shanshui art has come to represent a spiritual site that is simultaneously religious, escapist, romantic and intellectually fulfilling.

Like western religious art, Shanshui has undergone many permutations in contemporary times, but unlikely to go away. Shanshui is being explored from many more angles by artists now that the world is faced with increasingly imminent environmental threats, being aware that virtual reality cannot replace the real world.

In Art Basel Hong Kong 2023, Hanart TZ Gallery brings together contemporary practitioners, including CAO Xiaoyang, Luis CHAN, CHENG Tsai-Tung, QIU Shihua, WANG Dongling, XU Longsen and ZHENG Li. Their works illuminate important aspects of the subject of Shanshui from diverse angles, tracing developments in both the modern academy and contemporary art history.

Nomadic art is fascinating because nomadism is the alterity that defines the agrarian culture, and also provides spiritual sustenance. Historical Shamanism has survived in isolated communities, but Dashi NAMDAKOV has worked with shamanic themes drawn from his native Buryat nomadic roots. His sculptural forms shape the powers lying beyond humanity and the reach of civilisation.

In parallel with the current exhibition at Hanart TZ Gallery, a 7-meter “screen painting” by BOLOHO is featured as a special highlight. This new collective of young artists from Guangzhou recently exhibited at Documenta Fifteen. Their work reflects the cultural imagination of this generation of Chinese youth, which is interwoven with the mass culture of Hong Kong, the result of China’s open policy in the early 2000s.

Encounter: EN9

Constellation Forest by Inga Svala THÓRSDÓTTIR & WU Shanzhuan

Working together since the early 1990s, Inga Svala Thórsdóttir and Wu Shanzhuan’s partnership reflects a symbiotic, creative dialogue. Their individual practices merge to reflect one artist’s complexity and the other’s purity, with a polarity that is evident in this work. The wooden architecture offers the audience passage for activation. It is also a cosmic site for contemplation and intimacy. The artists invite you to move through the environment to experience it from alternative perspectives, both introspectively and alongside the pauses and transits of others. Questioning the very nature of being, the duo offers a sacred space for worship, or a place of meeting to reflect and breathe – inward and outward.

Inga Svala Thorsdottir & Wu Shanzhuan in 2018

Inga Svala Thorsdottir & Wu Shanzhuan in 2018

CAO Xiaoyang曹曉陽  (b. 1968, Jiangsu province, China)

CAO Xiaoyang 曹曉陽 (b. 1968) THE TWENTY-FOUR SOLAR TERMS: Severe Cold《二十四節氣之大寒》 2021 Charcoal on Paper木炭 紙本 102 x 152 cm

CAO Xiaoyang 曹曉陽 (b. 1968)
THE TWENTY-FOUR SOLAR TERMS: Severe Cold《二十四節氣之大寒》
Charcoal on Paper木炭 紙本
102 x 152 cm


Cao Xiaoyang’s innovative signature technique of highly intricate “painting”–using charcoal instead of the soft brush– endeavors to transcend the boundaries of traditional ink painting. Cao’s atmospheric, contemporary landscapes evoke the magic of ancient masters, and capture the spirit of nature treasured by artists over a millennium of landscape practice.

CAO often sketch outside in nature, facing the mountain at different times of the day, and watching as nature’s mysteries unfold one after the other, and then are hidden again, until gradually everything melds into one. As the clouds gather and the mists spread, the composition of the mountain undergoes myriad transformations. This sense of endless vitality does not refer to the form of the mountain within the overall landscape, but rather to the way the plants and grasses are able to flourish and grow, and all myriad things to follow a divine pattern of life.

CAO’s exploration of Shanshu’ is not so much about the landscape itself, or the historical experience of Shanshui painting. It is a method of investigation and experimentation for maintaining awareness of and concern for this world, and for understanding life and the endless experiment of existence.

CAO Xiaoyang was born in 1968 in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. He is now the Deputy President of the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou. In 2014 Cao Xiaoyang had his debut solo exhibition The Twenty-Four Solar Terms at Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong. In 2016 Cao was invited to participate in Beyond the Globe: Eighth Triennial of Contemporary Art—U3 in Slovenia, and in Shanshui: A Manifesta, the opening exhibition of the Gongwang Museum of Art in Hangzhou. In 2017 Cao had his major solo exhibition The Moments In-Between: Cao Xiaoyang’s Works on Paper at the China Academy of Art.

Cheng Tsai-Tung 鄭在東 (b. 1953, Taipei, Taiwan)

CHENG TSAI-TUNG 鄭在東 (b. 1953) A Private Studio《小窗幽記》 2021 Acrylic on Canvas 布面 丙烯 200 x 200 cm

CHENG TSAI-TUNG 鄭在東 (b. 1953)
A Private Studio《小窗幽記》
Acrylic on Canvas 布面 丙烯
200 x 200 cm

In recent years, Cheng Tsai-Tung has increasingly shifted to a state of solitude in which his interlocutors remain the ancients alone. Through classical poetry, he has slowly found ways to crystallize these complex sentiments into a faint melancholy. He condenses his personal tales and sensibility into the mise-en-scène of colourful moonlight, and at the same time morphs himself into a sentient being within the stream of history.

Cheng Tsai-Tung’s contemplative anxiety about the passing of time, and the fragility and preciousness of life drive him on the path of creation. His pursuit of archaic style is a testament to his many years of research travels around China. Although Cheng Tsai-Tung refuses the traditional paths of ink painting, his persistent search for the archaic spirit has opened a personal approach. In these paintings, we can see his engaged interest in ink and brush, his relish in the charm of awkwardness and playfulness, as well as the inner reserve of his personality that flashes out of the silence.

Cheng Tsai-Tung is one of an important group of Taiwan artists who first made their mark during the late 1970s and early 1980s by contemporising literati aesthetics via a unique mode of Expressionism, blended with subtly surrealist imagery.

In 2019, Cheng Tsai-Tung’s major solos exhibition was presented at the Tofuku-ji Tempo in Kyoto, which was built in 1236 by the imperial chancellor Kujō Michiie. The exhibition examined elements of traditional Chinese literati (scholar-artist) aesthetics and the way these can be applied to a contemporary context, in particular as regards the literati way of engaging with art in an environment. He has been living and working in Shanghai since 1998.

Luis CHAN (1905-1995)

陳福善Luis Chan (1905-1995) Untitled (Man with Saw-teeth) 《無題》(鋸齒男人) 1969 Acrylic on Paper 76 x 153 cm

陳福善Luis Chan (1905-1995)
Untitled (Man with Saw-teeth)
Acrylic on Paper
76 x 153 cm

Of all the great Chinese modern masters, Luis Chan is perhaps the only one who fully faced up to contemporary culture and its challenges. Among those artists born in the twilight of the Qing Dynasty, such as Lin Fengmian and Xu Beihong, who also pursued Western style art, no one resonated more intimately with our time and place in history than Luis Chan.

Luis Chan (1905 – 1995) was born in Panama in 1905 to Cantonese parents and settled in Hong Kong with his family in 1910. As a self-taught landscape painter, between the late 1920S and 1960, Chan developed a lively English landscape style and became known locally as the ‘King of Watercolour’. His style evolved as the city went through a half-century of dramatic change. By the 1960s, his paintings had become dreamscapes that portray the subconscious life of the city and the psyche of the post-war generation.

Luis Chan was also a widely published art critic and writer, a renowned social figure, and a seminal catalyst in Hong Kong’s art circle.  From his first solo debut exhibition in 1933 until his final show in 1993, Luis Chan presented 47 solo exhibitions over his long career and published countless articles on modern art.

Coinciding with the Hong Kong Arts Centre’s 45th anniversary, the flagship exhibition All the World’s A Stage: The Art of Luis Chan was held in 2022. A 5-year project “Luis Chan Studio” was also launched, with the studio replica showcasing the artist’s living environment and the setting when he was still alive, allowing the audience to gain an in-depth understanding of Luis Chan’s creations and his artistic world. In 2019, The Power Station of Art, the first state-run museum dedicated to contemporary art, presented a major retrospective exhibition for Luis Chan featuring more than 100 pieces of works.

QIU Shihua  (b. 1940, Sichuan Province, China)

Qiu Shihua邱世華 (b. 1940) Landscape 1999.4 Oil on Canvas布面 油畫 1999 242 x 388.5 cm (Triptych)

Qiu Shihua邱世華 (b. 1940)
Landscape 1999.4
Oil on Canvas布面 油畫
242 x 388.5 cm (Triptych)

One enters Qiu Shihua’s paintings as if slipping into the morning mist. Whiteness dominates, shifting in a variety of shades. By pushing the contrast of form and colour to an absolute minimum, even to the point where it can hardly be differentiated, Qiu has changed the act of viewing from an active solicitation to an alert envisioning. Yet, because his faintly painted landscapes cannot be discerned at a glance, it is necessary first to relax the mind before the image in the painting slowly floats into view: in this way a meditative state becomes the prerequisite condition for viewing the work. Gradually the eyes make out the view: the vague fold of trees, and fainter woods afar. Eventually one seems to see, or sense, every detail, down to the play of light on the tufts of grassy fodder. Qiu’s paintings give the impression of entering the world at a moment of fullness when its mysteries are about to be revealed: light at daybreak, first darkness at dusk, or the moment when sound breaks the fullness of silence.

Qiu Shihua graduated from the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts in 1962, where he trained in both oil painting and Chinese traditional ink painting. His intriguing minimalist landscapes are strongly influenced by the deserts and open pastures of northwest China, where he lived for over 20 years. Qiu currently lives and works in Beijing and Shenzhen.

QIU’s major group exhibitions include the groundbreaking China’s New Art, Post-1989 (1993-1997), which debuted in Hong Kong and toured internationally to Australia, Canada and the United States; China!at Kunstmuseum Bonn in Bonn, Germany (1996); the 23rd International Biennial of São Paulo (1996), where he participated in the main exhibition event by special invitation and was awarded a major art prize; and the 48th Venice Biennale (1999).

Important solo exhibitions include Qiu Shihua, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (1999); Landscape–Painting on the Edge of Visibility, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague, Czech Republic (2000); White Field, a major retrospective at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany (2012); and Landscape, Light and Silence, Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany (2012).

WANG Dongling王冬齡 (b. 1945, Jiangsu province, China)

Wang Dongling 王冬齡 (b.1945) YAN Shu, ‘Sandy Creek Washers’, Entangled Script 《晏殊「浣溪沙」亂書》 2016 Ink on Paper 96 x 178 cm

Wang Dongling 王冬齡 (b.1945)
YAN Shu, ‘Sandy Creek Washers’, Entangled Script
Ink on Paper
96 x 178 cm

“Entangled Script” and “Calligraphic Paintings” are calligrapher Wang Dongling’s representative creations. Entangled Script is the culmination of Wang Dongling’s lifelong pursuit of an art that is both universal and Chinese, forward-looking, and firmly grounded in the past. Wang Dongling breaks away completely from the implied grid of traditional calligraphy, interweaving individual characters and entire columns into an amorphous field. The calligraphic lines take flight in their variations in texture and rhythm, and yet remain tenuously tethered to the text as musical performance is to score and meter.

Wang’s work has been featured in museum exhibitions internationally, including ‘China: Five Thousand Years’ (1998), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; ‘Brushes with Surprise: The Art of Calligraphy in Modern China’ (2002), British Museum, London; ‘Brush and Ink: The Chinese Art of Writing’ (2006), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; ‘Lanting Pavilion Review: China Calligraphy Exhibition’ (2010), Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussel.

Wang’s calligraphy public performances have been acclaimed internationally, and have taken place at a number of major institutions, including Abu Dhabi Art (2016); British Museum, London (2016); Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2016); Imperial Ancestral Temple Art Museum, Beijing (2016); Vancouver Art Gallery (2016); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2015); Universität Hamburg, Germany (2015); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2014); City University of Hong Kong (2013); Hong Kong Museum of Art (2013), etc.

Wang’s recent solo exhibitions include “Wang Dongling”, The Art Institute of Chicago (2018); ‘Wang Dongling: The Bamboo Path’, OCAT Shenzhen (2017); ‘Between Heaven and Heart: Wang Dongling’s Calligraphy’, Imperial Ancestral Temple Art Museum, Beijing (2016). He is currently a Professor in the Calligraphy Department of the China Academy of Art (CAA), and Director of CAA’s Contemporary Calligraphy Research Centre.

XU Longsen徐龍森  (b. 1956, Shanghai, China)

XU Longsen徐龍森 (b. 1956) Cosmos of the Mountains No.4 《大化絪縕之四》 2017 Ink and on Paper 124 x 183 cm

XU Longsen徐龍森 (b. 1956)
Cosmos of the Mountains No.4
Ink and on Paper
124 x 183 cm

Xu Longsen’s key contribution to the evolution of landscape painting is his own concept of ‘monumental ink,’ which is deeply immersed in China’s painting tradition while at the same time infused with a completely contemporary language, representing the XU’s unique methodology of challenging the structural space of the exhibition hall and opening up unprecedented new vistas that break through the traditional boundaries of Shanshui landscape art.

In 2018 spring, the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago presented Xu Longsen’s solo exhibition Light of Heaven, marking the first time the Art Institute has presented an exhibition of contemporary ink painting.With this site-specific installation, Xu again creates an impressive dialogue with the architecture of the site of display, evoking a sense of aesthetic and physical fusion.

Xu Longsen’s landscapes challenge the monumentality of modern architecture with their imposing presences. His monumental installations, recently shown at the Museum of Roman Civilization in Italy (2011) and the Palace of Justice in Belgium (2009). In 2015, Xu Longsen’s monumental landscape paintings was featured in the ‘Beyond’ sector of the Abu Dhabi Art, as his debut in the United Arab Emirates. His position within the lineage of this important tradition was recognized in the invitation by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 2013 when he was invited to exhibit his immense horizontal landscape together with the museum’s famous collection of masterwork paintings from the 10th to 18th century.

Xu Longsen was born in Shanghai in 1956, and graduated from the Shanghai Arts and Crafts College in 1976. He currently lives in Beijing.

ZHENG Li 鄭力 (b.1964, Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China)

Zheng Li鄭力 (b. 1964) Jade River《玉溪振飛》, 2022 Ink and Colour on Paper水墨 設色 紙本 68.5 x 181.5 cm

Zheng Li鄭力 (b. 1964)
Jade River《玉溪振飛》, 2022 Ink and Colour on Paper水墨 設色 紙本 68.5 x 181.5 cm

ZHENG Li’s artistic vision is beautifully articulated through the juxtapositions between the contained beauty of the classical garden and the vastness of nature which they encapsulate. The artist’s supremely confident use of ink play is grounded in a mastery of brushwork, allowing him to create unique innovations within the lineage of the ink-painting language, making his work part of a contemporary evolution of Chinese Shanshui painting rather than a subversion of it.

ZHENG’s works express his responses to and confrontations with the history of Chinese painting. His works conjure a sense of intriguing duality, of both reality and illusion, like the reflection of the moon in water or a flower glowing in a distant garden, bringing into being an atmospheric world where the viewer’s own mood and sensibility become part of the setting.

ZHENG Li received both his BA (1988) and his MA (2004) from the Chinese Painting Department of the China Academy of Art (CAA), with a specialization in Shanshui (Chinese landscape painting). Since 1994 he has been teaching in the Chinese Painting Department at CAA, where he is currently Assistant Professor.

Major exhibitions include SHANSHUI A MANIFESTA at Gongwang Art Museum in Hangzhou (2016), One Hundred Years of Chinese Painting at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing (2001), and in China’s prestigious National Exhibitions of Fine Arts where his works have won numerous prizes. His paintings are highly sought after and are in several private and museum collections.

Dashi NAMDAKOV 達西.那姆達科夫 (b. 1967, Ukurik village, Chita region)

Dashi NAMDAKOV 達西.那姆達科夫(b. 1967) Levitation《升天》 Edn. 3/8 2011 Bronze, Cast and Patinated 85 x 153 x 38 cm Edition of 8 + 4AP

達西.那姆達科夫(b. 1967)
Edn. 3/8
Bronze, Cast and Patinated
85 x 153 x 38 cm
Edition of 8 + 4AP

Technological advancement of this era has spurred a fascination with archaic magical powers. Witness the revival of gothic imagination in graphic art and fascination with zombies and aliens in popular cinema. Historical Shamanism has survived in isolated communities, but Dashi Namdakov has worked with shamanic themes drawn from his native Buryat nomadic roots, and his sculptural forms give shape to the powers lying beyond humanity and the reach of civilisation.

Dashi Namdakov was born in 1967 in a small Buryati village near the Russian – Chinese border, near the magnificent Lake Baikal, the world’s cleanest and biggest freshwater container – one of the World’s Natural Heritage Sites. The local people – Buryats – believe the Lake to be sacred. After graduating from the sculpture department of the Krasnoyarsk State Art Institute in 1992, Dashi has been exhibited worldwide since 2000: from Tokyo and Beijing to New York and Los Angeles. Dashi exhibited his works in museums – State Hermitage Museum (Russia), Beijing Museum of World Art (China), in galleries – Halcyon (United Kingdom), National Arts Club (USA), and also participated in state projects – Russian National Exhibition (France).

Dashi Namdakov’s works are in the collections of the State Hermitage and the Russian Ethnographic Museum in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, the State Museum of Oriental Art, and in private collections in the USA, Germany, France, Great Britain, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, China and Singapore.


Special Highlight: BOLOHO 菠蘿核 (Artist Collective found in 2019, Guangzhou, China)

BOLOHO菠蘿核 BOLOHOPE No.3《BOLOHOPE之三》2022 Acrylic and textile on canvas 集體繪畫與縫紉, 布面塑膠彩與織物 200 × 700 cm

BOLOHOPE No.3《BOLOHOPE之三》2022 Acrylic and textile on canvas 集體繪畫與縫紉, 布面塑膠彩與織物 200 × 700 cm

BOLOHO at Documenta fifteen, Kassel, Germany, 2022 菠蘿核於德國第十五屆卡塞爾文獻展

In parallel with the current exhibition at Hanart TZ Gallery, a 7-meter “screen painting” by experimental Guangzhou art collective BOLOHO is featured at the Art Basel Hong Kong 2023. This work is one of the screen paintings made for their latest project BOLOHOPE (in collaboration with “Reading Room”), as featured in Documenta fifteen.

BOLOHO’s works reflect the cultural imagination of this generation of Guangzhou youth, which is interwoven with the memory of Hong Kong media and urban culture of the 2000s—the result of an early open policy between China and Hong Kong which privileged Guangdong before the opening of the rest of China.

Encounter: Inga Svala THÓRSDÓTTIR & WU Shanzhuan

Inga Svala Thórsdóttir & Wu Shanzhuan 吳山專 與 英格ㆍ斯瓦拉ㆍ托斯朵蒂爾 Constellation Forest《拱林》 2018 American Pine, Larch, Hemlock and White Pine 美洲松、鐵杉、白松、落葉松 Approx. 330 x 900 x 500 cm

Constellation Forest is a series of arches constructed by the principle of “the perfect bracket” and “little fat flesh”, geometric forms the artists invented as a homage to Plato. But their geometry refers to impossible forms that can only belong to transcendent metaphysical spaces. Wu claims: “The very fact that thought has to produce visible evidence spells out its tragedy, for truth has been murdered by its medium.” Here lies the irony for the visual artist, whose very task should be the ideal Platonic form. It is from this ironic position Inga and Wu launch their radical critique of modernity, which includes the artwork “Things’ Rights” that subverts the 30 Articles of “Human Rights” by expanding these principles from humans to all “things”, and exposes with humour the anthropocentric prejudice of the Enlightened modern man. The arches of the “Constellation Forest” invite the visitor to stand under a space where he or she may speculate upon the task of art-making as world-creation.

The radicality of their approach to art-making is impressive, which perhaps reflects the context of their backgrounds. For Inga whose home is Iceland, one speculates on the utopic constitution of Iceland’s geography and its intimate society. For Wu whose home is Zhoushan Island near Shanghai, one cannot but be reminded of the radical experimentation of Mao’s politics. Wu grew up in the turbulent years of the Cultural Revolution when an adolescent believed every aspect of the social world could be challenged and the human being transformed.

Inga Svala Thórsdóttir was born in Iceland in 1966. She graduated in 1991 from the Painting Department of the Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts, and in 1995 from the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. In 1993 she founded “Thor’s Daughter’s Pulverization Service”, and in 1999 she founded “BORG”. Wu Shanzhuan was born in China in 1960. He graduated from the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1986, and in 1995 from the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Hamburg. In 1985 he founded “Red Humour”, and in 1990 he founded “Red Humour International”. Since 1991 Thórsdóttir and Wu have been working and exhibiting collaboratively. They live and work in Hamburg, Shanghai and Reykjavík.

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