Art Basel HK 2016 Press Release – Tay Bak Chiang and Gao Xingjian

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(above left) Tay Bak Chiang, Stringless Qin 无弦琴, 2015;  (above right) Tay Bak Chiang, After the Feast  盛宴过后, 2015. Each is 140x140cm, Pigments & acrylic on canvas

Tay Bak Chiang a solo exhibition of recent paintings, presented in a dedicated solo booth at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016.

Gao XingjianApres le Deluge (After The Flood) 洪荒之后 has been selected for inclusion in the Film sector at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016.

Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 opens to public from 24 – 26 March; the VIP Preview takes place from 22 – 23 March. The fair will be held at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.


iPreciation is pleased to announce that the gallery will return to Art Basel Hong Kong 2016, with a solo exhibition of Singaporean painter Tay Bak Chiang’s new body of paintings under the Insights section and a film screening by Nobel Prize Laureate Gao Xingjian under the Film section at Art Basel Hong Kong 2016.

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Tay Bak Chiang

After a successful solo exhibition at iPreciation in 2014, Tay Bak Chiang (b. 1973, Malaysia/Singapore) continues to push boundaries and contemporize the genre of Chinese painting through the use of acrylic and pigments on canvas.

In this body of new paintings, Tay’s progressive attempts have borne fruit; experimenting with mineral-rich tones that range from brilliant blues to opalescent greens and shimmering yellows. In this exhibition we observe an extension of the rock series and his foray portraying the ancient Chinese instrument guqin as a new exploratory subject matter.

The inspiration behind his stone paintings stem from his walks in Bukit Timah Nature Reserve in Singapore some years back. He was inspired by the hulking forms in nature, though inanimate, they appeared full of life and personality. To achieve three dimensionality and character for the stones, Tay manipulates colour and shades to achieve subtle gradations and ink-like translucency using acrylic paint, a technique forged and refined by the artist since his encounter in the nature reserve.

In this exhibition Tay also explores the depiction of one of China’s oldest stringed instrument; the guqin a seven-stringed zither, viewed as a symbol of Chinese high culture and the most expressive of the essence of Chinese music. In Chinese, “gu” means ancient and “qin” means musical instrument. Symbology characterizes this instrument, for example, it measures 3’6.5” (Chinese feet and inches) to symbolize 365 days of the year; the upper surface is rounded representing the sky and the bottom is flat representing the earth. The first 5 strings represent the elements: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth. The 6th string is sorrowful and the 7th string represents strength. The thirteen mother-of-pearl inlays along the outer edge represents the 13 months of the lunar year. The guqin has been frequently referred to as the preferred instrument of the sages and literati. In imperial China’s past, monks, scholars and ladies of the elite society were supposed to master the four traditional arts, and one of them is qin, for the purposes of enriching the heart and elevating the human spirit.

Tay’s minimalist compositions are not about representing minimalistic images or technical skills, but to evoke a sense of poetry and inner emotion, a nod to the values of Chinese literati painting rendered with a contemporary sensibility. Before the works are exhibited in Art Basel Hong Kong in March 2016, there will be a preview of his latest works at iPreciation.

 Gao Xingjian

Gao Xing Jian (b. 1940, China/France) is an important leading cultural figure who is much more than a painter also an accomplished and internationally recognised writer, playwright, director, painter and photographer who is the first Chinese to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2000. In 1989, he was awarded the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship from the United States. In 1992, he was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and in 2002 the Legion of Honor by the French government. In 2006, he was conferred the Lions Award by the New York Public Library (NYPL) at Library Lions Benefit event.

Gao Xingjian is the epitome of a well-rounded scholar, or as described by the 2008 Milan Arts Festival – ‘the modern Renaissance man’. Equal to his literary oeuvre, his paintings and film are works of art with a fine level of originality. Gao possesses an insatiable intellectual curiosity; he studied European oil paintings, film, photography which led him to interrogate the aesthetic effect of using different techniques on different medium. Since 1964, Gao has been painting exclusively with various kinds of inks, demonstrating a radical departure in subject matter from traditional Chinese ink painting. Inspired by western paintings’ core idea of light, Gao embodies this ‘light’ presence in his work, fusing a significant aesthetic and critical language in Western painting with Chinese ink painting which traditionally do not portray light. Gao’s ink paintings are never mere black, portray a spectrum of fifty shades of grey. His reflection on this visual genre; the interplay of light, positive and negative space continues to inform and inspire new directions in his paintings.

Gao created 3 films in the 2000’s, the first one is called “Silhouette/Shadow 側影或影子” in 2006, followed by “After the Flood 洪荒之後” in 2008 and “Requiem for Beauty 美的葬禮” in 2013.

Created in 2008, Apres le Deluge (After The Flood) is a short film lasting only twenty-eight minutes. Gao describes this work as a cinematic poem where language is dispensed. This film is similar to his other film Silhouette / Shadow, but language is totally dispensed with, and the six dancers and actors in this film do not utter any words or dialogue. The black-and-white paintings serve as background to the scenes, and the performers perform before a screen onto

which the paintings are projected. Apres le Deluge is essentially a black-and-white film, and it is only at times when a consciousness of life reawakens that a small amount of pale colour is added.

This film was unexpectedly corroborated by the 2008 earthquake (9.00 on the Richter scale) in Japan’s Miyagi County coast; unlike disaster films, Apres le Deluge constitutes painting and performance and is devoid of reality. The narrative structure is abandoned, each scene is viewed either as painting or photograph linked only by movements and/or sounds.

Gao moved to France in 1987 and became a French citizen in 1997. He currently lives and works in Paris.


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