Zen painting 1971, 1971
Zen painting 1971, 1971
Zen painting 1971, 1971
previous arrow
next arrow

The evolution of Chinese Ink Painting

The exhibition Hong Kong Experience – Hong Kong Experiment, at the Hong Kong Museum of Art, brings together an eclectic mix that highlights the changing art scene and showcases local creative talent.

To the uninitiated, traditional Chinese ink paintings may look remarkably similar.

Chinese ink painting emerged during the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). At that time, they were painted on silk (until the invention of paper in the first century), using animal hairbrush pens and black ink made from pine soot and animal glue.

Because paper absorbs ink quickly, marks had to be applied quickly and spontaneously. Artists would invest years learning the subtleties of making confident lines and strokes.

Over the decades before and after the two World Wars, eastern and western art influenced this Chinese art form. Ink painting flourished in Hong Kong, and the evolution of artistic styles and methods is represented by many fine examples in the exhibition.

Lui Shou-kwan (1919 – 1975) was a Hong Kong born and educated artist who strove to emote the individuality and spirit of the artist, no matter the rules and techniques that might be abandoned in that pursuit. He absorbed the essence of Abstract Expressionism and combined them with elements of Chinese ink painting to develop an abstract ink painting style he called “Zen painting”. As an artist and teacher, he was a revolutionary force behind what was later termed the New Ink Movement, but which is now the standard of contemporary ink art.

Text Martin Wray / Photos Cammy Yiu