Tranquility in Landscape
Works by Cheng Siu Chung
14/9/2016 - 19/11/2016
Cheng Siu Chung is a contemporary Hong Kong artist. He studied painting under the Lingnan School master Yang Shanshen and focuses on landscape painting. His works mainly portrays his command of ink washes and embrace both realism and expressionism. Cheng also experiments with the medium of porcelain, depicting landscape, bird and flower and figures.
This exhibition comprises over forty paintings and porcelain dishes by Cheng. It provides a comprehensive look at the artist’s exploration from landscape in ink to landscape on porcelain and introduces the dynamics between porcelain painting and painting.
Message from director
In the early 20th century, caught in drastic social upheavals, China was forced to open its gateway and thus susceptible to cultural clashes with foreign nations. This, however, provided opportunity to Chinese intellectuals to pursue studies overseas. Cantonese artists returning from Japan established the “Lingnan
School of Painting”. In fact, from the 19th century onwards, Japan had reformed its tradition so as to achieve parity with Western standard. Techniques from the West were introduced and fused into Japanese painting with the inflow of Western ideas. Consequentially, Lingnan artists were indirectly inspired by Western aesthetic theories. They fashioned traditional Chinese ink with modulation of various tonal gradation to project light and shade, perspective and stereoscopic effect of objects. The Lingnan artists successfully created the “New Chinese Painting”.
After the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), two prominent Lingnan artists emerged in Hong Kong, namely Zhao Shaoang (1905-1998) and Yang Shanshen (1913-2004). Both with numerous disciples, contributed significantly to the art world in Hong Kong. Cheng Siu Chung studied under Yang and his works are permeated with the characteristics of the “New Chinese Painting”.
However, Cheng’s “New Chinese Painting” does not imitate the style of his predecessors of the Lingnan School, the latter emphasising on realistic lifelike representation, and the effect of light and shade. Zhao, on the other hand, developed his unique colour application. His colours are vibrant, producing
astonishing variations in tonality. In contrast, Yang’s colours are more sedate with emphasis on skillful manipulation of ink tones, such that the paintings encompass both realism and nuance. Cheng’s works reminisce Yang’s style but place further intensity on brush techniques to capture the essence of the
From the 20th century onwards, “New Chinese Painting” evolved from initial emphasis on realistic depiction to a unification of realism and expressionism. To date, Cheng paints with realistic expressionism. His compositions are simple with nimble strokes and light colours. He primarily paints in ink wash and
colour with the occasional traditional stroke. Seemingly a realistic portrayal, the sceneries are not described in meticulous detail as Cheng focuses more on the poetic charm within the scene.
Recently, Cheng’s creativity has extended to porcelain art. Cheng replaces ink and colour with glaze to portray various themes such as landscape, flower-andbird and figures on porcelain dish. Supported by Yuet Tung China Works’ firing technique, Cheng has successfully opened up a new artistic path. Since a dish has limited space, the composition has to be ingenious to captivate. His painted scenery on the small dish exudes splendour as if from a huge painting. It truly demonstrates his artful mastery.
Viewing Cheng’s paintings of soaring mountains and plunging waterfalls does not necessarily evoke upsurge emotions. What transcends is a natural flow, a tranquil balance that soothes. This is the world of peace and harmony delineated by Cheng.
YEUNG Chun Tong
Editor: QIU Su Min
2016, hardcover, Chinese/English, 96 pages, 23.5 x 31 cm
A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue featuring 47 paintings on paper and porcelain dishes by CHENG Siu Chung, depicting landscape, bird and flower and figures.