On the occasion of the Asian Cultural Council (ACC) Hong Kong’s 30th Anniversary, Alisan Fine Arts is delighted to be hosting the ACC Fellows first Annual Showcase fundraising event at our Central Gallery. J D Rockefeller III established the ACC in 1963 with the mission of promoting international understanding through meaningful, immersive cross-cultural engagements. Our relationship with the ACC dates back to 1986, when our Gallery Founder Alice King joined a group of friends to establish a Hong Kong branch of the New York-based ACC. She then served as the Vice-Chairman of the Friends' Committee for the ACC supporting the award of fellowships for cultural exchange in the arts between the United States and Asia. Similar to ACC, Alisan Fine Arts was founded upon the principle of fostering East-West cultural exchange. Grants from the ACC have enabled thousands of artists to participate in unique international experiences that have widened and enriched their respective practices. The art on display in the ACC Fellows Annual Showcase testifies to the vibrancy and talent fostered by the support of the ACC; these are works that challenge, motivate and inspire. A portion of sales will directly benefit the ACC Alumni Fellowship Program to ensure its continued support of artists and art professionals.
Growing up with a latent interest in the artistic process, the well-known and beloved local artist Chu Hing Wah (b. 1935 Guangdong, China) in fact chose to train professionally as a psychiatric nurse. These two seemingly incongruent strands (artist and nurse) came together when, enrolling in an evening course of art and design, Chu found his psychiatric patients to be a natural subject for his paintings. Their social isolation and mental anguish are captured in scenes of folk-like simplicity and stark poignancy. Since retiring from the nursing profession in 1992, Chu has chosen to concentrate on capturing the realities of Hong Kong life, including the effects of urbanisation in regions like the New Territories. This exhibition features Chu Hing-wah's latest works, which build upon his life-long pre-occupation with the relationship between individuals and their environment.
Chu completed his degree in Psychiatric Nursing at Maudsley Hospital in London in 1965 and worked as staff nurse in Castle Peak Psychiatric Hospital from 1968 to 1989. After completing a Certificate course in Art and Design at the Extra-mural Studies of the University of Hong Kong, he proceeded to become a member of the Visual Arts Society in 1974 and the Hong Kong Sculptors Association in 1982, and was appointed Chairman of the Visual Arts Society from 1983 to 1986. He received the Urban Council Fine Arts Award in 1989 and was awarded 'Painter of the Year' by Hong Kong Artists' Guild Association in 1992. In 1994, he was granted a scholarship for art research in New York by the Asian Cultural Council. Recent exhibitions include Reunion, Rotunda, Exchange Square (2017); Artmatch 22nd Annual Exhibition, Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre (2017); Ink Asia: Chu Hing Wah Charity Exhibition, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (2015); and Hong Kong, Hong Kong: Works by Chu Hing Wah, The University Museum and Art Gallery of the University of Hong Kong (2011).
Lam Tung Pang (b.1978, Hong Kong) is a mixed-media artist primarily known for his large-scale paintings and drawings on plywood. A founding member of the Fotanian artist collective, which includes his contemporaries Chow Chun-fai and Wilson Shieh, Lam’s work addresses the challenges of surviving as a creative force within a commerce-driven Asian metropolis. Using materials both traditional (oil, acrylic, charcoal, pencil) and non-traditional (nails, sand, plywood), Lam explores unconventional relationships between objects and materials. The plywood painting in this exhibition, similar to the piece showcased at Art Basel 2018, blends styles of East and West and, through the rawness of the "dead" material, comments viscerally upon human destruction of the natural world.
Lam received the ACC Fellowship in Visual Arts (2012), Best Artist Award from the Hong Kong Arts Development Awards (2013), the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Award (2009) and the Sovereign Asian Art Prize (2006). His work has been the subject of major solo shows including I was once here, Klein Sun Gallery, New York, NY (2016); Play, Espace Louis Vuitton, Hong Kong (2014); The Curiosity Box, Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA (2013); Past Continuous Tense, Goethe-Institute, Hong Kong (2012) and Lam Tung Pang: First Step, Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK (2006). He has also exhibited in group shows worldwide, including: Artistree, Hong Kong (2013); Tate Modern, London, UK (2010); Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China (2010); and Royal College of Art, London, UK (2005). His work is collected by M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; K11 Art Foundation, China; and Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, Germany.
Originally trained in mathematics and Chinese calligraphy, Wei Ligang (b. 1964, Datong City) has undoubtedly tapped into his analytical genius to revolutionize traditional calligraphy. Initially playing with the traditional rules and structures of classic calligraphy, Wei has since pushed past textual playfulness into a purely abstract form. He is well known for his “Wei squares” formula in which individual characters are deconstructed and reformed within the boundaries of a square (or circular) shape, resulting in the abstraction of traditional forms, while maintaining their roots in Chinese culture. Recently he has been experimenting with new materials like lacquer and propylene, attempting to bridge the divide between avant-garde calligraphy and Western art forms.
A recipient of the 2005 Asian Cultural Council Fellowship for Visual Art, Wei Ligang was featured in the solo shows China in Ink & Wash: Exhibition of Wei Ligang’s Works, at the Shanghai Art Museum (2006), Shanghai, China, followed by Wei Ligang Calligraphy Art at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China (2007). His works are in the collections of the British Museum; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle; Cernuschi Museum, Paris; François-Henri Pinault Family, France; National Art Museum of China and National Museum of China, Beijing; among others. We have worked with Wei Ligang since 2004 and have held two solo exhibitions for him (2006, 2015). Alisan included his works in the ACC Fellows group show in 2011, Ink Asia in 2015, and three times at Art Basel Hong Kong (2013, 2015,2018).
One of Hong Kong’s leading sculptors, teacher and artist Fiona Wong is known for her contemporary ceramic designs. Working with a medium that is rooted in the Chinese tradition, Wong stretches its limits, incorporating other disciplines such as tailoring, cobbling, and lamp production. She has recently honed in on replicating natural forms through the physicality of clay. Inspired by the geographical landscape of Hong Kong and the two-dimensional mountains seen in traditional Chinese paintings, Fiona created the series Emerging Mountains. In the sculptures displayed here, organic, snowy, amorphous mountains are contained within the squares of a wooden shelf, providing a contemplative and contemporary 3-D vision of Chinese landscape. Fiona Wong graduated from the University of East Anglia and later obtained her MFA degree at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1997. In 2000 she received the Starr Fellowship award from the ACC and, in 2012, an invitation to participate in the Hong Kong Eye exhibition held at Saatchi Gallery in London. In 2013 the designer brand Lanvin featured Wong's sartorial ceramics in their Hong Kong Flagship Store. She has been invited to various artist-in-residence programs held in Australia, Germany, America and Taiwan; and her works have been widely exhibited and collected by museums and private organisations around the world, including British Museum, UK; Heritage Museum, Hong Kong; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong; Sovereign Art Foundation, Hong Kong. Fiona is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics in Geneva and currently teaches at The Hong Kong Art School.
Zhang Jianjun (b.1955, Shanghai) is an abstract artist preoccupied by the themes of existence, time, space, and transformation, and their effects on individuals and culture. He began to pursue abstract painting in the 1980s, with the Chinese ink and mixed media paintings from his 1985 Existence series typifying the ‘rationalistic painting’ of the Chinese avant-garde movement. He gained recognition for the oil painting Human Beings With Their Clock (1986), depicting human confrontation with the limitations of existence within the space and time continuum. Zhang furthered his studies in the United States in the 1990s and has since shifted his focus to installation art and an exploration of cultural differences between East and West. Zhang graduated from the Shanghai Theatre Academy’s Department of Fine Arts in 1978 and received the ACC Visual Arts Fellowship in 1987. Currently, Zhang is a professor at New York University and divides his time between Shanghai and the US. His work is included in major collections such as the Brooklyn Museum, New York; San Francisco Asian Art Museum, California; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Guangdong Museum of Art, China; Shanghai Art Museum, China; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China. Zhang Jian-Jun has held solo exhibitions in New York, Germany, Japan, Singapore, and China, including at the Shanghai Art Museum, Harvard University, Guangdong Museum of Art, and Pace Prints in New York. Group exhibitions include Ink Worlds at the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University (2018); Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (2013), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Flowing River: 30 Years of Chinese Oil Painting (2005), National Art Museum of China, Beijing; International Arts Festival Dusseldorf (1995); and ’83 Experimental Painting Exhibition (1983), Fudan University, Shanghai.