3812 Gallery is to present Raymond Fung’s first ever solo exhibition showcasing his contemporary ink landscapes in Europe. On display will be his newest series Breathing and Life, debuting in London from 2nd November to 7th January 2022. (Top of page: Raymond Fung, 18 Shades in Ink series, Ink and colour on paper, each 136 x 16.5cm)
Raymond Fung Wing Kee is a renowned artist and architect from Hong Kong whose works are included in significant collections such as the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, The National Art Museum (China Art Museum) and Hong Kong Museum of Art. Although he is extremely well-regarded in Asia, his works have not previously been extensively exhibited in the west. This exhibition presents the unique opportunity for new audiences to experience and understand Fung’s original combination of traditional Chinese ink painting with western abstract expressionism influences.
A new and largely unseen series, Breathing gives voice to Fung’s environmental concerns. It is a complex and abstract work that actualises the notion of breathing both in process and ideology. It is created through use of cling-film to wrap the ink painted surface, allowing the ink to meditate and breath under the surface. Fung is troubled by the worsening ecological climate and the impact of the Anthropocene on the landscapes of Hong Kong and further afield. He has a close personal relationship with nature and his environs, something channelled in his sparse style of architecture. His work looks to allow the viewer space to contemplate environmental degradation and the beauty of the natural world which requires protection.
Raymond Fung sees beyond Hong Kong’s skyscrapers and devotes his works to the local landscape of the city and its captivating colours and textures. Deviating from traditional ink methods, Fung experiments with rich coloured pigments and introduces contemporary materials to the surface of his Xuan (Chinese rice) papers. Fung’s many layers of water, ink and pigment, and are covered with fine plastic films, and over a period of time the ink and pigment are massaged, allowing them to breathe, whilst patiently waiting for the cracks to appear on the surface as they dry. The resulting paintings are textured and multi layered, glimmering and shining with mineral pigments and splashes of colour, over laid upon the underlying ink.
Equipped with an architect’s sense of space and composition, and the emotion that oozes from brush and ink, Fung’s works often take the form of tall, narrow polyptychs that draw the eye from one end to another – a rhythmic momentum that creates ‘windows’ in space through which to view his imagined landscapes. He takes substantial time over the curation of his shows, installing them with the same precision as he designs buildings.
Dr Malcolm McNeill, Director of the Postgraduate Diploma in Asian Art at SOAS, said: “The paintings are a micro illustration of the process by which human activity constricts and controls the flow of vital vapours in our natural environment.
Breathing is a meditation on the Anthropocene: our current geological period in which human action is the primary agent shaping the physical world.”
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