Galerie du Monde is pleased to present a group exhibition from January 11 to March 9, 2019, featuring works by pioneers of the most important ink art movement in Hong Kong’s art history, One Art Group. Established in 1971, this art collective was regarded as a milestone movement in the history of ink art, based on the innovative ideas of Hong Kong’s famous ink artist Lui Shou-Kwan (1919-1975). As the longest running contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong founded in 1974, Galerie du Monde has witnessed the discoveries and flourishing of Hong Kong’s local art groups, including One Art Group. In time to celebrate the gallery’s 45th anniversary in 2019, Galerie du Monde will honor the development of paintings spawned from this movement by presenting iconic works of 11 Chinese artists of unique styles, including: Chou Lu Yun, Irene (1924-2011), Chui Tze-Hung (b. 1936), Kan Tai-Keung (b. 1942), Koo Mei, Carrie (b. 1929), Leung But-Yin (b. 1940), Ng Yiu-Chung (1935-1987), Poon Chun-Wah (b.1936), Wong King-Seng (b. 1928), Yeung Yick-Chung (1921-1981), Leung Kui-Ting (b.1945) and Wucius Wong (b. 1936).
In the 20th century, Hong Kong’s art and culture scenes were largely influenced by modernization movements that emerged in the post-war period. Paintings were also simultaneously influenced by Western modern art. Then, in the 1960s, one of the most important aspects of building Hong Kong’s art identity was the return to traditional oriental art aesthetics. Under the hegemony of Western-led modern art movements, Chinese artists living in colonial Hong Kong were prompted to think about how to inherit and develop traditional Chinese art. While adhering to their current life experiences, these artists simultaneously explored and pursued the identity of traditional Chinese arts and culture. Ink artist Lui Shou-Kwan believed that local Chinese artists should strive first to retrace their roots, and seek to understand the spirit of traditional Chinese painting, which would allow them to imbue the diverse aspects of Western modern art into their works, as well as develop self-expression and creativity.
A major turning point for the Hong Kong art scene began in the 1970s, where local artists were inspired by the search for self-identity. One Art Group was extremely active in this pursuit, and became one of the important painting collectives under the “new ink art movement” advocated by Lui, which heralded a new milestone in Hong Kong’s art history. The development of Hong Kong’s art scene in the mid-20th century was still in its infancy, with limited platforms available for artists to engage in dialogues. In response, pupils who studied under Lui established In Tao Art Association in 1968. Later in 1970, these pupils further expanded into One Art Group – a group for local artists, providing the opportunity for them to exchange ideas, form their own style and unique aesthetic, and allow them to express their own feelings through art. One Art Group – Pioneers of Ink Art at Galerie du Monde will present iconic works created between 1970 and 1985, by the members of One Art Group. The first exhibition of One Art Group was held in October 1971 at the Hong Kong City Hall.
To some extent, the trajectory of One Art Group was based on Hong Kong's unique geographical environment, and integration with Western modern art ideas, spawning the use of water and ink as a medium to engage in new creations. While One Art Group returned to its traditional Chinese roots, it was also attempting to shift away from its past, aiming to create a new era of ink painting. The spirit of "new ink painting" trailblazed by One Art Group played a vital role in the development of Hong Kong's artistic language. The spirit of this "new ink painting" challenged the perceptions and limitations of the traditional art forms and attracted artists from different creative fields. The creators of this movement not only came from the Chinese painting field, but also included artists who studied disciplines of Western paintings, sculptures, calligraphy, design and architecture, who collectively have engendered a new spirit of ink, and incorporated features of Hong Kong's modern art scene.
Artists featured in Galerie du Monde’s One Art Group exhibition include Chou Lu Yun, Irene, a prominent international female artist, whose distinctive personality and original style in the development of modern ink painting in Hong Kong have created "deep and spiritually rich works", unrivalled among her contemporaries. Simultaneously pursuing the philosophical and artistic concepts, Chou imbued in her works the characteristics of surrealism and abstract expressionism from Western modernism, while also referencing to the lines and structures that define ancient Chinese ink painting and calligraphy. Presented in the exhibition, "Tree 8" and "Impact A" demonstrate how the artist combined her meticulous skills with her susceptible mind to create a mystic spiritual world and a new visual language.
Another highlight of One Art Group – Pioneers of Ink Artis Ng Yiu-Chung’s "Mountain Road". A former supervisor of a mine site, Ng witnessed the blasting of stones and how machinery can drastically alter the face of nature, his body of works are closely related to his life experience. Influenced by the spirit of "new ink art painting", Ng applied Chinese landscape painting method in his works. He reduced his depicted landscape scenes into fine patterns and rearranged them with overlapping techniques to form a unique painting language. While the sceneries that he constructed are perceived as unconventional, the modern and romantic dexterity of his works renders him as an eminent member of One Art Group.