Ink Art, Past as Present in Contemporary China


Zhang Huan, Family Tree, 2001. Nine chromogenic prints, each 21” x 16.5” (53.3 x 41.9 cm)

Exhibition, The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, until 06 April 2014.
Presented here are 70 works by 35 contemporary artists active in China and abroad during the past three decades. Organised into four thematic groupings —the written word, new landscapes, abstraction, and beyond the brush, the exhibition seeks to demonstrate that China's ancient cultural pattern of seeking renewal through the reinterpretation of past models remains a viable creative path. Much more than a continuation of earlier art forms, this process embraces radical abstractions, subversions, or reinterpretations of traditional idioms as viable ways to define artistic identity that are quintessentially Chinese. Although the artists concerned have all transformed their sources through new modes of expression, one may recognise thematic, aesthetic, or technical attributes that have meaningful links to China's artistic past.