China is the oldest surviving civilisation on earth and Chinese contemporary ink works, from calligraphy and paintings to photography and video, express the continuation of this vast past in ways that are meaningful for society today both in China and the West.
Calligraphy is the sublime and central achievement of China and has been practised for hundreds of years by literally millions of Chinese, for whom it is a method of achieving the harmonious integration of mind and body.
Painting, together with calligraphy, poetry and music, constitutes one of the four key traditional arts of China and is an extension of the art of calligraphy. It is, therefore, like calligraphy, linked to the sacred prestige of the written word.
Today's ink artists are deeply aware of the classical canon and its aesthetic and moral imperatives and have carefully studied the old masters - as Picasso and CÃ©zanne studied Raphael, Poussin, VelÃ¡zquez and others, in order to formulate their own pictorial revolution.
Very many different stylistic approaches have evolved over the past 30 years. Works now range from those that, at first sight, look quite traditional but in fact embody powerful, fresh aesthetic initiatives, via those poised delicately in an intermediate style, to those that are unambiguously avant-garde. But all of the best contemporary practitioners have a common purpose... to create works that do not jettison the great cultural legacy of the past in formulating a language that addresses the intellectual, cultural and social issues of today.