The collision and merging between Chinese and Western cultures in China following the introduction of Western learning challenged and renewed Chinese artists’ perception of their culture and art, prompting them to mull over whether to carry on or to innovate upon the tradition of ink art. Chinese and Western civilizations began to mingle as China opened its door to the outside world, ending the confrontation between the cultures from the late 19th century to the early 20th century. Their interaction has since given rise to a variety of art forms. But what is worth pondering is how traditional ink art, which communicates Oriental philosophy and explores our spiritual connection with nature, can find its place and a way to resonate in the age of globalization that shapes its contemporary form.
The gap between traditional ink painting and contemporary civilization caused the gradual formation of the idea of contemporary ink. It aims to resolve their conflict through reforms and breakthroughs in medium, technique, and concept in line with the trend of the times. Rather than highlighting classic literary texts and traditional painting techniques, contemporary ink should have contents that carry a greater diversity of thoughts and insights on culture. The artists should involve more colors, forms, media, and interpretations while respecting the “six laws of painting” to diversify the narrative of the art and open up new visual possibilities.
Ancient Chinese literati had elegance as their ultimate pursuit. It is living a simple life without being subject to mediocrity, being able to distinguish the refined from the vulgar, and having a transcendent, spiritual pursuit. Elegance, in this sense, is the core of Oriental aesthetics. The exhibition, themed around Oriental mediums and held by the Macau Youth Art Association under the Macau Artist Society, showcases works that uniquely blend the tradition with diverse cultural elements, reflecting the artists’ distinctive thoughts and pursuit of elegance and marking a whole new chapter of ink art creation in Macao.
Curator: Tam Chon Kit