“Miraculous Variation, Beyond Boundaries”, Chan Shing Kau’s Mordern Ink

Exhibition Period: 30 March 2020 (Mon) to 29 April 2020 (Wed)

Venue: Delfino Auction Limited, Room 1505-06, The Metropolis Tower, 10 Metropolis Drive, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong (MTR Hung Hom Station)

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri 11:00 - 17:00


To celebrate, Cheer Bell Gallery and Delfino Auction Limited is organising “Miraculous Variation, Beyond Boundaries”, Chan Shing Kau’s Modern Ink Solo Exhibition. The exhibition will be held from 30th March to 29th April 2020 at Delfino Auction Limited. “Miraculous Variation, Beyond Boundaries” means infinitely changing imagery beyond boundaries in Chan’s modern ink art. It is extracted from The Theory of Six Chirography written by master of Chinese calligraphy in Tang Dynasty, Zhang Huai Guan. Chan was inspired by Zhang’s concept, “holy men do not get solidified in one subject matter”, which denotes that a man is not stuck by any regulations and reacts agilely and flexibly in different scenarios. Chan also delves into the notion of “the rules of painting embodied in Chinese calligraphy” by Bada Shanren, a famous painter living in the end of Ming dynasty and early Qing dynasty. Chan integrates the brushstrokes of Chinese calligraphy in his paintings. He aims to achieve a “magical alteration and infinite” spiritual status where “the momentum of words is vivid and natural, as if the evolution of nature is incorporated in that particular momentum.” “Roots of Heaven and Earth” and “Tracing Series” have been selected meticulously for this exhibition, showcasing Chan's profound knowledge in merging Chinese calligraphy, painting and Master Liu Kuo-sung's (also known as the Father of Modern Ink) techniques and art theories.


Chan has been exploring “A Discussion on the Dynamism of White Lines” advocated by Liu and picked up his techniques such as “water frottage”, “spraying and dyeing”, “ink blot”, etc, inheriting Liu’s belief of “free manifestations of abstract imagery”. The “Roots of Heaven and Earth” series conveys aesthetics of Chinese traditional culture. Chan once talked about his creative concept in a publication, saying that in order to express “the tension of white lines”, he searched for traces of fluids (reserving in white) flowing slowly on the rice paper (tinted with black). With semi-abstract and freely meandering lines, symbolic cursive scripts which resembled the vastness of earth and hilly mountains emerged, thus forming a unique sentiment for hills and natural tension of white lines which moved the audiences. 


In addition, Chan learnt Chinese calligraphy, seal carving and paleography from paleographer and Researcher of Special Theme of the Centre for Chinese Archaeology and Art in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Professor Ma Kwok Kuen. The name, “Tracing Series”, is derived from calligrapher of Tang Dynasty, Chu Sui Liang’s “Treatise on Calligraphy”, saying that “in manipulating the brush, it is similar to scratching on sand using an awl. It is also like pressing the seal on the red seal paste, leaving the shape of seal on it.” Master of literature in Southern Song Dynasty, Jiang Kui also raised a similar idea in his “Supplement to the Manual of Calligraphy”. He stated that “when a person writes with a Chinese brush, the brushstrokes should resemble bending a twisting hair pin, the traces of rain flowing down the crevice of wall, or scratching lines in the sand with an awl”. What Chu and Jiang wanted to say was that the traces of brushstrokes on the rice paper should be like the outlines left on the sand by an awl, the shape of a twisting hair pin, or the natural imagery of raindrops dripping down the crevice of wall. Moreover, Former Chief Curator of Hong Kong Museum of Art, Professor Tang Hoi Chiu added that Chan was inspired by “planchette writing”, a divination of Taoism to create “The Tracing Series”. During the process of “planchette writing”, people hold a rack and draw words or images on a tray of sand. Then they decipher the patterns and foretell the future. The traces of ink in Chan’s “Tracing Series” resemble traces of scratches on the sand left by deities and ghosts through “planchette writing” and carry religious meaning of mystical and ancient totem. The movement of Chinese brush and the way that ink is applied are parallel to the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Hence, abstract ink patterns resembling seal and cursive scripts are transformed.   


Chan acquires knowledge from Liu’s techniques and concept of ink paintings as well as aesthetics of Chinese traditional culture. He also incorporates calligraphy theories and metrical rhythm of lines into paintings, striving to pioneer a new realm and direction in Chinese ink painting. His vibrant creativity and distinct accomplishments are fully displayed in the “Roots of Heaven and Earth” and “Tracing Series”.