Wesley Tongson

Galerie du Monde is pleased to present a solo exhibition of Wesley Tongson, from September 24 to November 16, 2020.


One of the most important ink artists from Hong Kong, Wesley Tongson had a dynamic career spanning from the 1970s to 2012. He began with a foundation in Chinese brush painting, and studied Western painting at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Returned home to Hong Kong in 1981, he went on to explore and teach himself splash ink painting. Tongson considered landscape painting to be the highest accomplishment of Chinese art and was devoted to mastering the form throughout his career. For Tongson, transcending the conventional bounds of landscape painting was akin to transcending one’s self – to attain enlightenment. Tongson also excelled in painting bamboo, plum blossoms, lotus, orchids, and pines.


In 2001, Wesley Tongson started to explore non-brush techniques to eliminate the “distance” between him and his works. By 2009, he had stopped using brush and painted completely with his hands, fingers and nails, pouring his raw emotions directly on the paper. Challenged by schizophrenia since the age of 15, Tongson countered this condition through his art, leaving us with a unique artistic legacy that realized a tranquil, enlightened, and unspoiled natural world in stark contrast to the difficult world in which he lived.


Wesley Tongson’s first solo exhibition was held at the Hong Kong City Hall in 1985, and Galerie du Monde presented his first gallery exhibition in 1986. Tongson passed away in July 2012, and had retrospectives at the Hong Kong Arts Centre in 2014, and the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco in 2018. His work is in many private and public collections worldwide, including the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, the Asian Art Museum, USC Pacific Asia Museum, the M+ Museum of Visual Culture, Hong Kong Museum of Art, and the University Museum and Art Gallery of Hong Kong University.