LondonT'ang Haywen: Inks
HdM GALLERY presents “Inks”, the first exhibition of Chinese-born painter T’ang Haywen in London. This is the second exhibition of T’ang Haywen at HdM GALLERY since the 2018 show in Beijing. The exhibition showcases 23 work on papers from the 1960s – 1980s.
An important figure of Modern Ink, T’ang belongs to the group of Chinese painters who settled in Paris after World War II. This background is reflected in his works, which straddles the two cultures – amalgamating traditional Chinese ink painting and Western Abstract Expressionism.
The “abstract” concept of Western Art and aesthetics of Oriental Art
“Ink” and “brush” is the basic language of Chinese Ink – and its essence is to emphasize the expression of the spirit, but to give ample consideration to both form and emotion. Most traditional ink paintings before T’ang were figurative representations. T’ang and his contemporaries, such as Zao Wou-ki and Chu Teh-Chun, were the first to combine the “abstract” concept of Western Art with the aesthetics of Oriental Art. T’ang is considered to be one of the pioneers that brought Chinese Abstract Ink to the world stage.
The Taoist Influence
Briefly trained in Figurative oil painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, T’ang strived to move away from the former elements of his earlier works to become more abstract. He defined his intention ‘to go beyond the conscious world, to identify with the forces of nature and materialise them through painting’. The artist seeks to capture emotional expression – rendered in a few brushstrokes. T’ang’s works are the reflection of the Taoist ideal – of one’s life in complete harmony with the universe. The unpretentious simplicity in T’ang’s works came from his unrestrained inner- energy and state of calmness. It is intensely personal – T’ang’s works are a testament to his belief that ink painting is the embodiment of energy: dynamic, spontaneous and natural.
About the Artist
Born in 1927 in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China, T’ang’s early education was influenced by his grandfather who ingrained in him an understanding of the principles of both Taoism and traditional Chinese calligraphy. In 1948, T’ang moved to Paris, initially to study medicine. He then became passionately immersed in the cultural environment of the time when studying French Civilisation, Classical texts and the works of Western masters. In 1950, he began to take some drawing lessons at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and spent most of his time visiting museums and galleries. Unlike his contemporaries Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun, who formally studied under Lin Fengmian – a Chinese painter and art educator that wanted to reconcile Chinese traditional art with Western Modernism, T’ang was a self-taught painter that combined Eastern Taoist tradition with a more lyrical Western aesthetic – producing homages to artists amongst whom were Cezanne, Monet, and Turner – while continuing to exemplify the simplicity and elegance typical of the Chinese artistic style.
T’ang has been widely exhibited – in 2002, two solo exhibitions of his works were held at the Musée Guimet and the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chambery, France. In 1999-2000, his works were included in a joint exhibition with artists Zhang Daqian and Zao Wou-ki at the Musée de Pontoise in France. His works have also been collected by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, Paris City Museum (Paris), the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago), Cernuschi Museum (Paris), Guimet – National Museum of Asian Art (Paris), the M+ Museum (Hong Kong)…
Gallery Notice: In light of the fast development of the COVID-19 situation, we regret to announce that our London space will temporarily close. If you are interested in seeing more work, please follow the link: bit.ly/2Uu5XbR
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)
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