Opening: Gaze into Illusions – PAN Hsinhua Solo Exhibition

Gaze into Artist PAN Hsinhua’s Illusional Mindscape
During the Shanghai Expo 2010, a digital version of “Along the River During the Qingming Festival” was created for the China pavilion, attracting massive crowds in long lines just to get a glimpse of its splendor. The classical Chinese painting “Along the River During Qingming Festival” shows a traditional riverside village full of people going to market, drinking, boating and fishing, and is considered to be the most renowned work among all traditional Chinese realistic painting art.
However, due to the gradual social, economic, and cultural changes, more and more men of letters began to take up painting, and literature came to exercise an ever-increasing influence on painting. By the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368 A.D.), the court style of realistic painting declined and the “literati” school of painting entered the main-stream. Therefore, for most people, their impression of Chinese ink painting remains the black-and-white landscape that reflects the artist’s state of mind.
PAN Hsinhua, renowned contemporary ink painting artist, re-explores the use of colour in Chinese traditional realistic painting, believing that it can depict our surrounding environment more precisely than ink and wash painting. Building upon this realization, Pan develops a series of deformed contemporary objects in his composition, inducing a dialogue between Chinese traditional narrative language and contemporary lives, projecting before us imageries both familiar yet illusional. Gaze into Illusions – Pan Hsinhua Solo Exhibition will be on display at Asia Art Center Taipei II until November 17th, 2013.
Pan Hsinhua is currently an eminent professor of Taipei National University of the Arts Department of Fine Arts, besides his extensive research and knowledge on Chinese contemporary art, the artist has never ceased to pursue his artistic achievement. The artist’s growing maturity in technique and diligent attitude towards exploring tradition is made evident by his recent artworks. On the opening day, collector who has been following Pan’s artistic creation pointed out: “Looking at Pan Hsinhua’s creative path, one sees significance progress every two years.” Other art lovers who attended the opening were also fascinated and enchanted by Pan’s imageries including modern houses, chameleon, foot massage path, one aged Shiba Inu at the corner, and more. Furthermore, some journalists observed it was a whole new experience to look at the works onsite as one continues to discover exciting new elements. When talking about this series of work, the artist explained that the little boy in the middle of the painting is a reflection of his own childhood, and objects from his life’s story. Pan is also known for making authentic looking paper by applying special treatment with alum.
“Contemporary ink painting” raises not only issues about art forms, but also cultural and national identity, and therefore enjoys a unique reputation in the international art scene. In recent years, this subject matter has been highly discussed among art circles, along with sales hosted by major auction houses and academic forums. While in college, Pan studied mainly ink and wash painting; however, with the rising popularity of contemporary art and marginalization of traditional ink painting, Pan soon realized the limitation of this art form in terms of vividly depicting life around us. When asked why Pan gave up on literati painting and turned to realistic painting of court art, the artist explained it was out of his confidence for the possibility of “contemporary ink painting” and its potential: “I expect the new generation of ink painting artists to continue exploring the textural possibility of different traditional medium. In order to achieve this, discussions on ink painting should remain active to push forward positive cultural exchanges. Traditional realistic technique provides an effective medium in expressing our present life and thus a field worthwhile developing!”
On the inheritance of Eastern culture and spirit in today’s global context, the artist remains optimistic: “With the rise of Chinese economic dominance, the national identity is growing stronger. More and more Chinese artists have decided to return to their cultural root for inspiration. Chinese contemporary ink is bound to flourish; however, its sophistication only comes with a strong, comprehensive knowledge of tradition and mastering of medium language.
“Since I live in the present, my work should reflect the present time.” – inheritance, yet surpass tradition, is the artistic integrity of Pan Hsinhua. In a time when the West seems to dominate the aesthetic orderings, the artist insists on searching for possibilities in Eastern traditional forms, allowing us to “gaze into” the artist’s “illusional landscape” of his mind, as well as his virtuous character of complete dedication in art.