Whisper of Stars《星星細語》- A Group Exhibition

A Group Exhibition by 7 prominent contemporary artists

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Venue: iPreciation (誰先覺), 50 Cuscaden Road, HPL House #01-01, Singapore 249724

Private Preview: Thursday, Jan 13, 2022  (By Invitation Only)

Exhibition Opens to Public: Jan 14, 2022 – Jan 29, 2022 (Due to social distancing, prior viewing arrangement is recommended. Please cal6339 0678 or email Brian at brian.foong@ipreciation.com)

To welcome the start of 2022, iPreciation is delighted to bring to you 35 pieces of important recent works by 7 prominent contemporary artists from China and Singapore, namely Wang Dongling, Wang Jianan, Zhang Jian-Jun, Wang Tiande, Han Sai Por, Zhuang Shengtao and Oh Chai Hoo. All the artists have received formal academic art training with a solid foundation and later carved out a path like no other. These groundbreaking works are testaments to their tireless search for originality and creativity in their thinking process and symbols of a distinctive identity.

Wang Dongling (b. 1945, Jiangsu, China)

Arguably one of China’s greatest living contemporary artists, Wang Dongling is best known for his groundbreaking Chaos script, a signature style that has broken free from the rigidities of traditional calligraphy, yet with its roots firmly anchored in the fertile soil of the ancient art form. Wang often adopts excerpts from Buddhist scriptures and Chinese classics in his creation process, yet his expressions would turn these texts into unrecognisable, thoroughly flipped the functionality of words. Characters traditionally to be read and fed to the receivers are now abstract forms to be felt and contemplated by the receivers themselves instead. Apart from his unusual calligraphic visuals, Wang also experimented with a variety of mediums, such as using acrylic on acrylic board, acrylic on stainless steel, pigment on coloured paper and even bamboos. Over the past six decades, Wang’s modernistic approach has expanded the frontier of calligraphy and no doubt, he will continue to open up room for universal interpretations. His recent creations using ink or pigment on coloured papers have brought in a fresh look to the old art form and certainly leveraged on the untold possibilities colours offer.

Wang has been invited to demonstrate his monumental calligraphic works in prominent institutions including Stanford University (1989), Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (2009), Brooklyn Museum (2015), British Museum (2016), The Imperial Ancestral Temple, Beijing (2016), Art Institute of Chicago (2017), Asia Society New York (2017) and National Gallery of Singapore (2019). His works are in the private collections of collectors worldwide, as well as the permanent collections of museums and institutions such as The British Museum, London, UK, The Palace Museum, Beijing, China, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China, Zhejiang Art Museum, China, Yale University, USA, University of California Berkely, USA, North Dakota Museum of Art, USA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, USA, and Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong.

Wang Jianan (b. 1955, Heilongjiang, China)

Wang Jianan who is having his first group exhibition in Singapore is a prominent artist most known for his ink paintings characterised by heavy use of pigment and majestic landscape. Born in 1955, the Heilongjiang native studied at Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and upon graduating in 1982, he later migrated to London in 1987 where his artistic career took flight. His brightly coloured works have brilliantly weaved in cultural influences and characteristics of Western paintings. Insistent on using mineral pigments to preserve the texture and translucency of traditional Chinese ink paintings, Wang’s works are rich in hues, yet placed within the most unexpected setting — tranquil landscape more likely found in Tang and Song Dynasty paintings. Bearing the influence of dunhuang art and its distinctive colour scheme, which he has a profound understanding of, Wang has constructed a wholly different visual realm that is bound to revitalise the rich traditions of Chinese paintings. Filling his lush forests and mountains with a myriad of colours, occasionally adding traces of living, Wang’s Colour Landscape Series going on display stands at the cusp of a fairyland fantasy and reality.

The winner of the 1989 British watercolour prize at the Royal Academy of Art, the first Chinese artist to receive such an honour, has had his works well collected by museums and institutions such as National Art Museum of China, Henan Art Museum, The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, Xi’an University, China, The British Museum, London, UK, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, UK, and The Olenska Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland.

Zhang Jian-Jun (b. 1955, Shanghai, China)

A pioneer of chinese abstract art and one of the most gifted contemporary Asian artists of our time, Zhang Jian-Jun has certainly showcased his multi-disciplinary talents through a fascinating collection of oil, watercolour, installation and photography art. The Adjunct Professor at the Fine Arts Department of New York University Shanghai consistently awes viewers with his profound understanding of and manipulation of existence, time and its realisation. Currently living and working in both Shanghai and New York, Zhang often weaves in his observations of the society, and his reflections on the ephemerality of modernity. In his Ink Rock Series, he created doppelgängers of scholar’s rocks that Chinese literati once prized in their gardens, tediously and delicately casting them in ink, giving the nature feature a modern spin. To date, his study on the fluidities present in our lives is still ongoing and his works shall continue to discuss the evolution of time and what dissipates along with it. Featuring Ink Rock this time, we invite you to question what constitutes our cultural identity in modern times though the ornamental ‘rocks’ Zhang has brilliantly engineered.

Zhang has held many solo exhibitions and over 100 group exhibitions in China, the United States and other parts of Asia and Europe. His works are collected permanently in JP Morgan (Hong Kong), International Artists Museum, Lodz (Poland), Shanghai Art Museum (China), Shenzhen Art Institute, Shenzhen (China), Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (China), the Dow Jones Company, New Jersey (U.S.A.), Djerassi Foundation Collection, California (U.S.A.), Yuz Museum, Shanghai (China), Frederick R. Weisman Foundation of Art, California (U.S.A.), Brooklyn Museum, New York (U.S.A.) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (U.S.A.).

Wang Tiande (b. 1960, Shanghai, China)

Born in Shanghai in 1960, Wang Tiande is widely regarded as one of the leading figures in contemporary Chinese ink of our time. His reinvention of Chinese landscape painting by substituting brushes with incense has seen him catapulted into international fame and Wang’s creative explorations continue to receive critical acclaim worldwide. His iconic works bear resemblance to the conventional landscape paintings from afar, then upon closer look, surprise viewers with his layered textures and refined visuals — as the burned landscape layered on top reveals another inked landscape underneath, both existing as individual pieces yet generate synergies as one. Wang sometimes fuses his creations with original manuscripts or rubbings of stelae and seals from his collection, in the hope that he could establish a dialogue between the past and his modern practices. Some of his recent works, after his trip to Singapore in 2020 has expanded to imbue elements of the sunny island and Southeast Asia. As the cultural gap continues to widen,  these new works are part of the contemporary space Wang has created and they highlight the possibility to inherit, yet not be bounded by the traditional Chinese culture. 

Wang has held solo and group exhibitions in prestigious museums, galleries and institutions across the globe. His works have been included in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Chicago Art Institute, the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the British Museum, and the National Art Museum of China.

Han Sai Por (b. 1943, Singapore) 

Regarded as one of Asia’s most prominent living sculptors, Han Sai Por is widely recognised as a driving force for the local sculptural art scene. Han who became an artist by chance certainly has established her presence over the past fifty years, clinching numerous prestigious awards internationally and locally. A recipient of Singapore’s Cultural Medallion Award (1995), the second female to have received such recognition after Georgette Chen, is known to create simplistic and elegant organic works that evoke the alluring charm of nature. Han embarked on her artistic journey with stones, and after all these decades, even when natural materials of such (including marble and granite) are hard to find in Singapore, she has not strayed from her path. With exquisite, smooth, flowy lines derived from the energy of the natural world, her works on display — Seed Pod Series, Flora Series and Tropical Leaf Series are honest yet graceful commentaries on the significant loss of organic forms in modern society. Though presented with a clean and neat aesthetic, Han’s remarkable oeuvre carries a lot of weight, literally and figuratively. 

Han has participated in numerous international exhibitions around the world. Her works can be found in many private collections, international and local institutions, and public spaces including; National Museum of Singapore, Suzhou Centre in China, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore National Art Gallery, China National Museum in Beijing, Portland Sculpture Park in England and World United Nation, New York Singapore office building.

Zhuang Shengtao (b. 1944, Guangdong, China/ Singapore)

Singapore’s pioneer contemporary ink artist Zhuang Shengtao is a modern literati artist. Now residing in Suzhou, Zhuang indulges himself thoroughly in the serene landscape the ancient city offers. It does not take much to notice, the spirit of times present in the ‘Venice of China’ is well embraced in Zhuang’s bold and zestful strokes. Remaining vivacious in his swings and sways, his daxieyi (freehand brushwork) works have pushed the boundaries of calligraphy further to one that transcends distinguishable forms. The heavy layering and swashing of ink across jumbo size rice papers have had an effect on the visual dimension — pockets of white peeking through the varying degree of dark washes, much like the dappled shade, movements of his expressions are amplified at a scale, drawing viewers further into his poetic world. Look out for his abstract and free-spirited compositions in Emptiness Series, Zhuang’s introspective strokes are a fresh interpretation of contemporary ink and have cleverly imbued classical Chinese poetry within.

Zhuang has participated in solo and group exhibitions in Singapore, China, the USA, Australia and other parts of Asia, including Journey of Ink (Singapore National Museum Art Gallery, 1993), Power and Poetry – Monuments and Meditations in Chinese Contemporary Ink Paintings (Singapore Art Museum, 1998), 5th International Ink Painting Biennial of Shenzhen (Shenzhen, China, 1999), shuimo yuehui (True Colour Art Museum, (Suzhou, China, 2009) and The Ink Art of Zhuang Shengtao (iPreciation Gallery, Singapore, 2017). His works are also in the permanent collection of the National Gallery Singapore.

Oh Chai Hoo (b. 1960, Singapore)

A well-respected Singaporean artist who wears many hats — painter, calligrapher, ceramist, Oh Chai Hoo works extensively with various mediums and is well admired for his fearless experimentation and exploration with different materials. Deeply intrigued by the work of nature, Oh is particularly fascinated with rock structures, which has led to an oeuvre of extraordinary ink works that have captured the powerful movements of natural forces on magnificent mountainous, cliff-like forms. Over the years, he has continued to expand his visual language by exploring dialogical and collaborative works, bringing in surprising elements that certainly hint at his free-spiritedness and adventurous personality. His recent paintings bring forth a juxtaposition of ink and calligraphy resulting in a collage-like effect, where works are torn and pieced up, and writings are scattered all around (see Cherries from Previous Lives and The Dream of Landscapes). The spontaneous assemblage resulted in texts and motifs interacting non-linearly on the plane, as well as torn edges and spaces leaving rooms for imagination, leading viewers into a heartfelt conversation with the narratives presented. 

Since graduation from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore in 1982, Oh remains an active member of the local arts scene. The vice-president of Singapore’s Siaw-Tao Chinese Seal-Carving Calligraphy & Painting Society had held various exhibitions locally and abroad. His works are well collected privately and are also permanently collected by the National Museum of Singapore and The Istana, Singapore.


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