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3 Oct - 2 Nov, 2013
Ai Xuan

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Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery is proud to present Colours from Ink, the first exhibition of ink paintings by Ai Xuan from 3rd October to 2nd November 2013, displaying 30 of Ai Xuan’s latest selection of ink paintings. It is the first ever exhibition for a large collection of Ai Xuan’s ink paintings in Hong Kong. 


Concurrently, a total of seven Ai Xuan’s classic Tibetan-themed paintings will be presented by Kwai Fung Hin Art Gallery at Fine Art Asia 2013 (Booths F2 & F6) from 4th - 7th October.



" In 1973, for the first time I entered the Tibetan-inhabited area in western Sichuan. I was around twenty years old. At that time I was very curious about Tibet. This grassland and the Chengdu Plain were simply two different worlds. All fields of vision there, the sky, the land and the people, created extremely great contrasts with those from the area three thousand meters below. I have almost gone crazy being stimulated by those contrasting new things. Everyday from dawn to sunset, I captured almost everything I could see with a pencil to fill my appetite. But at spiritual levels I was on a sleep mode. That “first-time” exotic feeling turned me into a “perpetual motion machine” that replicated everything that had happened.



Things had started to change in the early 1980s. My deep intellectual thoughts on Tibet were awakened. Perhaps that was related to my adventures in early years. I had encountered many times of mountain collapses, mudslides, fallen rocks and a few times of car crash in remote places and uninhabited wetlands of very poor natural conditions in western Sichuan. My view on the meaning of life and the relationship between human and nature had gradually changed. Especially when you see the endless and majestic skyline, the extremely cold and remote snowfield, the colorless, dull snow slopes, snowy weeds that were trembling violently under the pressure of strong winds, the people who struggled through the snow with their closing eyes, the robust winds sweeping in the wilderness ruthlessly, the lightning at the bottom of those rainy clouds below the distant horizon, and the thunder from the cloud burst, the shepherds wrapped with leather jackets confronting the hail storm calmly, and also the motionless yaks……an inexplicable sadness started accumulating deep in my heart.


Since 1982, I endeavored to express through my works the insignificance and vulnerability of human beings in the face of nature and the shortness of life. In the lonely, empty world, human beings are solitary and helpless. Basically I tend to use a blue-gray tone to convey a melancholic mood. This is what I considered as the so-called beauty of suffering, beauty of cruelty, beauty of hopelessness. A sense of hopelessness popped up in my head when I saw again the face of a lovely little girl whom I first encountered a few years ago had become so rough and unrecognizable due to the impact of alternative intense sunlight and strong blast. Thus I felt interminably sad and sympathized.


Works produced in post-1990s era required a higher level of personalization. I started thinking from the spiritual level and then seeking the materials needed from the material world. This kind of creative approach was formed at that time which is still in use today. I emphasize on personal spirits and subject matters through which I look at the relationship between human and nature, cycles of human fates, reflections on personal experiences and the helplessness in the face of the future unknowable world. The visual characteristics of all kinds of natural phenomena and things are thus to be screened by such a “spirit-led” approach.


Since there were some fundamental changes in the way of how I deal with questions, what I could see: the mountain, the sky and the every-changing clouds, the wetlands, the strangers who stared at you or the people who simply ignored you, could all be beautiful or not beautiful. This does not matter at all. But these are likely to be what you need. In other words, the presence of what kind of subject matters has great significance to the meaning of my painting. Perhaps these visual forms could be boring, dull, and appear to be negligible to other artists. This shows that our different demands on spiritual needs will lead to a completely different orientation of subject matters."


Excerpt from Walking into Wilderness, Ai Xuan