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Alisan Fine Arts – Hong Kong Landscapes by Lui Shou-kwan
December 2, 2021 - March 12, 2022
Alisan Fine Arts is honored to announce its sixth solo exhibition for Lui Shou-kwan “Hong Kong Landscapes”, complimenting the current exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art “When Form Matters: Following the Path of Lui Shou-kwan to Zen Painting”. With a focus on Lui’s contemporary landscape paintings from the 1950’s and 60’s, the 18 works on display literally follow the footsteps of this ink master as he visits the various sites around Hong Kong. They include iconic landmarks such as Victoria Harbour, Victoria Peak, Lion Rock, Happy Valley, and the beautiful beaches of Repulse Bay and Shek O, as well as the various hills and valleys in the country parks. Lui meticulously depicted the changing seasons, weather, and the various times of day. Through these works one can trace the extra-ordinary techniques that Lui developed to express the literati spirit of traditional ink painting. This exhibition is the third in a series of important shows the gallery has planned for its 40th Anniversary celebration this year.
Lui Shou-kwan (1919-1975) is recognized as Hong Kong’s pioneer in the New Ink Movement. He advocated the innovation of traditional ink painting, but never abandoned the ink tradition. In his artistic life, three different subjects: traditional painting, Hong Kong landscape, and abstract ink art are simultaneously painted. Lui merged the traditional ink techniques with the Western style, which has a profound influence on the development of Contemporary Chinese Art. Born in Guangzhou, Lui’s interest in painting was inherited from his father Lui Canming (1892-1963). His father was a scholar-painter and owner of an antique shop. Lui studied Chinese painting by copying classical works by past masters, such as Bada Shanren (1626-1705, Ming Dynasty), Shitao (1642-1707, Qing Dynasty) and Huang Binhong (1865-1955, under whom he studied for a short period). In this exhibition, we can see in “After Hiking Lin Fa Shan” (1961) that Lui was influenced by Huang Binhong’s dark and bold style in his later years. The black mountains with a gleam of light breaking through, remind viewers of Lui’s internationally renowned Zen Painting series.
Lui Shou-kwan moved to Hong Kong in 1948 and began working for the Hong Kong and Yaumatei Ferry Company as an inspector in 1949. While working on the pier, he was able to observe Hong Kong’s mountains and harbour scenes and painted on-site after work. For example, “Hong Kong Landscape” (1954) that Lui painted on-site on a yacht with several Hong Kong artists Dong Kingman, Luis Chan, Lee Byng. Also, in “Junks” and “Repulse Bay” (both 1967), Lui used different traditional ink painting techniques such as Hemp Strokes, Amass Ink, and Break Ink, the expressive brushwork represents diverse characteristics of landscapes.
As Lui Shou-kwan said, “What differentiates the Guohua’s xiesheng and Western en plein air is that the Chinese focus on breaking the boundaries of time and space. At the same time, the objects depicted should accommodate the viewer’s changing mood and behaviours. …..The composition obviously derives from nature, but it should also transcend it, so that it becomes the artist’s expression.” (Quote from “The Search of Zen: The Art of Lui Shou-kwan”, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, 2018, P. 23) We can see this semi-abstract of expression in “Hong Kong Rainy Night” (1961).