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02 Nov 2016 - 08 Jan 2017

The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG) of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) will collaborate once again with the Chinese Modern & Contemporary Art Document Research Centre and ZArt to present Nostalgia for Ancient Times: Contemporary Chinese Art from November 2, 2016 to January 8, 2017. This innovative exhibition of contemporary Chinese ink paintings presents recent works by six young, established artists: Cheng Bao-zhong, Hao Liang, Kang Chun-hui, Liu Qi, Peng Jian and Qin Ai.

When viewed as a group, the exhibiting artists refer to a shared nostalgia that each expresses through ink on paper. Whether it is Cheng Bao-zhong’s finely rendered landscapes, Hao Liang’s depiction of a scholar or Peng Jian’s boldly coloured scholars’ books, the theme suggests a melancholic return to the past. Kang Chun-hui’s bird painting and Liu Qi’s “bamboo” further underline the contemplation of traditional painterly topics. In so doing, the painters appear to long for ancient times, as they depict some of the best-known and most celebrated motifs of bygone eras.

This development is no isolated phenomenon, but rather a more general trend as Chinese cultural practices are being re-explored more broadly, and artists—both nationally and internationally—have taken creative inspiration from China’s continuum of traditional arts. In the tradition of scholar artists, this young generation of highly skilled talent is steeping itself in the system of applied materials and techniques while moving forward through modes of self-cultivation and reflection.

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