Chinese Art: Remix of Tradition & Modernity

Chinese Art: Remix of Tradition & Modernity

2022-11-23 by Wendy Lau


Pi Li, the M+ Sigg Senior Curator and Head of Curatorial Affairs, was invited as the guest speaker at the forum of “Art Hong Kong”. At the event, Pi Li presented some interesting clues on how Chinese Art has evolved into the Contemporary Art of today. Let’s check this out.

(source: YouTube) Pi Li, M+ Sigg Curator and Head of Curatorial Affairs

(source: Wikimedia) scenery of Que and Hua mountains by Zhao Mengfu (趙孟頫) (1254-1322)

When this comes to Chinese painting, we can’t help referring to the classical “Scenery of Que And Hua Mountains” by Zhao Mengfu (趙孟頫), an acclaimed painter and calligrapher of distant past. To Zhao, he seriously regards Art as an inheritance – the legacy we inherit from long past. Nearly 600 decades later, we can see Chinese Art has properly switched to the other side of “Tradition”, i.e., Modernity, with the passage of time.

We note, in the previous decade, Chinese artists seem to be at crosswalk between “Tradition” and “Modernity”. Chinese Art, Pi Li notes, has always been charming as it gives people the impression sort of revival after perish. In the realm of Contemporary Art, “Aesthetics” (美學)is, without doubt, a can’t-do-without element, however, this doesn’t mean “thoughts” (思考)are any less important, Pi Li added. 

(source: Hong Kong Literature & Art Circles Federation香港文聯) “Art Hong Kong” exhibition hall

(source: Hong Kong Literature & Art Circles Federation) “Plum and Bamboo” co-created by Xu Beihong (徐悲鴻) & Qi Baishi (齊白石)

Why Art used to (and still does) carry so much weight in our lives that it takes so much meaning? According to Pi Li, whenever our eyes meet Art, the same Art is no longer just a simple artwork, but a fusion of our old-self, our emotion, and our unique sensitivity, this becomes what we now call Art – a personal representation, a remix of Art and self.   At present, M+ still is the first Hong Kong-based museum of contemporary visual culture. As the wheel of time keeps turning, how could we prevent those contemporary works from decaying into obsolescence one day? Pi Li, speaks with plain honesty, that we can’t; we can’t imagine the world in decades, in our own capability. We’ve to leave this to the hands of later curators, and critics; we can only do the best we can, though, to preserve the works of culture and heritage.

(Source: Hong Kong Literature & Art Circles Federation)

Art and Culture Hong Kong“, hosted by Bauhinia Culture, was successfully held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, from 16th to 19th November. The activity, titled “Tradition and Modernity” has 3 sessions in it: exhibition, forum and contest; Pi Li, was honourably invited to speak at the forum. Highlights of the event also include exhibition of 6 acclaimed masters of Chinese Art, namely, Wu Guanzhong, Lin Fengmian, Xu Beihong, Chen Shuren, Fu Baoshi and Qi Baishi, together with creative works by 8 contemporary Chinese artists, including Lam Tianxing, and other artists.

(Source: Hong Kong Literature & Art Circles Federation)

(source: Takungpao) Wall-mounted Chinese Art