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Drifting Cloud, Flowing Water
Artistic Journeying by Jose S. S. Yu

15/9/2020 - 28/11/2020


Born in Shishi of Fujian Province in 1937, Jose Yu relocated to Hong Kong in 1951. He later founded the Hong Kong International Knitwear Manufacturing Company which has evolved into the multinational conglomerate HKI Group. A well-established entrepreneur, Jose has cultivated an ardent passion for art, particularly photography and Chinese calligraphy. Through his lens, Jose captures mesmerizing sceneries and moments; through his brush, he pours out his thoughts and convictions. The exhibition presents Jose Yu’s photographs and calligraphy of the last two decades, inviting a glimpse into his unparalleled life experience and sensibility.

Artistic Journeying by Jose S. S. Yu

Jose S. S. Yu is a well-established entrepreneur and an eminent member of the Hong Kong society with achievements that are not confined to industry nor commerce. Cultivating his passion for the traditional Chinese culture, Jose collects antiques as well as artworks and has progressively become steeped in art. He delves into art creation and is most intrigued by Chinese calligraphy and photography.

Calligraphy and photography seem to parallel one another: the former is traditional and oriental while the latter is modern and western. There are a number of affinities between the two artistic practices. Calligraphy is defined by the configuration of black lines against a white background. From the traditional Chinese perspective, white space denotes light while black space suggests shadow; representing the yang and yin forces respectively. Seen from another frame of reference, white symbolizes emptiness while black conveys substance. The arrangement of light and shadow together with emptiness and substance is a crucial skill set of a calligrapher; it is principally a compositional skill. Similarly, photography requires compositional arrangement and light manipulation. Additionally, it entails the synthesis of various tones and shades.

Jose is adept at writing in the running script. He structures each character immaculately, articulating each stroke in its most fitting thickness. He captures the dynamics of light and shadow as well as emptiness and substance, hence fostering the interaction of yin and yang. Each character is so animated that it appears to be dancing on paper. Such vividness bestows a special charm upon his entire script.

It is difficult to master the regular script. Jose has grasped its characteristics and is capable of churning out characters with distinct strokes and of a square form. Unlike his running script, his calligraphy in the regular mode emanates a different sense of elegance.

In Jose’s photographic works, one can observe a variety of compositions. There are both symmetry and asymmetry, the latter to accentuate the contrast between emptiness and substance; to enhance the sense of three-dimensionality, Jose manipulates brightness to portray multiple layers of a subject. He is particularly fond of capturing colourful images to highlight the vibrancy and share the gaiety witnessed through his lens.

There are two major types of photography. One is known as “candid photography” in which a shot is taken spontaneously without staging the scene. The other is termed “staged photography” where a photographer is allowed more autonomy to document a staged scene. Comprehensibly, different skill sets are required. In “candid photography”, a photographer monitors constant changes of a scene and captures a good shot within a time constraint, whereas in “staged photography”, recording characteristics of a scene is the prime purpose. Jose has attempted both types; testifying to his passion for the art of photography.

A person’s cultural refinement is conducive to his creative power. Through practising calligraphy, Jose devotes himself to the mastery of art materials and the structuring of composition: how to integrate his brush and ink, how to create resonance between diverse dots and strokes, and how to make the characters flow. These skills have certainly played a significant role in enhancing his creativity which is essential for his business development planning. In capturing the most magnificent or critical scene in a fleeting moment, Jose has honed not only his photography skills but also his astuteness; after all, photo-taking and business decision-making are not so different from one another.

Jose is yet to be a professional artist. He maintains that one shall not impose his or her own wishes upon others but shall let things flow naturally. His conviction is manifested in his art where Jose pursues a seemingly effortless, natural style; akin to drifting clouds and flowing water that continue to flow or pause according to their circumstances. Jose’s achievements exemplify the importance of art in attaining prosperity; demonstrating how knowledge of art and art creation nurture one’s studies, career, and daily life.

YEUNG Chun Tong
Director, Sun Museum


Exhibition Catalogue

Editor: Rachel LEUNG
2020, hardcover, Chinese/English, 176 pages, 26 x 27 cm
ISBN: 978-988-78197-4-5

A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue featuring 48 pieces of calligraphy and about 100 photographs by Jose S. S. Yu.

Price: HKD$120

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