Discover Chinese ink works in a “hidden” museum

Discover Chinese ink works in a “hidden” museum

Glimpse the past through Chinese ink paintings at the exhibition Chinese Ink Works From Lee Kong Chian Collection Of Chinese Art at the NUS Museum. 

The museum, which is tucked away in the National University of Singapore and open to the public for a fee, has a display of Chinese painting and calligraphy works which trace the history, tradition, and development of Chinese ink. The showcase includes classical ink works as well as modern and contemporary Chinese paintings by Singapore and Malaysian artists.

The exhibition is on until 17 Apr, and the collection can also be viewed online. Here are five not-to-be-missed works from the Lee Kong Chian Collection:

Victoria Falls Chinese Art

Victoria Falls by Huang Junbi
Chinese artist Huang Junbi travelled to South Africa in 1969 for an exhibition at the Cape Town Museum and chanced upon the magnificent scenery of the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. He applied his knowledge about European linear perspective to the viewpoint of the painting (above), showing his openness to exploring realistic representation in Chinese ink, even though he was often considered a traditionalist.

Landscape Gao Qifeng Chinese Art

Landscape by Gao Qifeng
Chinese painter Gao Qifeng picked up painting at an early age from his brother Gao Jianfu, an acclaimed painter. He later left for Japan to study with Japanese painter Tanaka Raisho. Gao’s vivid and realistic art style is a result of his successful fusion of the poeticism of Chinese paintings and Japanese plein air techniques. This undated painting (above) was painted in a manner of realism that captures the mist and rain that shroud the mountains.

Sunflower and bird Chinese Art

Sunflower And Bird by Zhao Shao’ang
A student of Chinese painter Gao Qifeng, artist Zhao Shao’ang adopted a painting style that has dominated the Hong Kong art scene for the last 40 years. He was meticulous when it came to capturing the subtle changes of colours, especially when depicting nature, including flowers, birds, and insects. He achieved this using the water infusion and powder infusion techniques of the Lingnan School of painting in Guangzhou.

Magpies Chinese Art

Magpies by Xu Beihong
In 1919, Chinese painter Xu Beihong won a scholarship at the prestigious National High School of Art in Paris, where he subsequently picked up oil painting. He studied and travelled in Europe for more than a decade, and after returning to China, he applied the techniques he learnt in Paris to Chinese ink painting. This scroll painting (above), depicts the interaction between four magpies, and although it has a traditional Chinese style, he integrated his Chinese brush and ink techniques with Western perspective and methods of composition.

Butterflies and Daylilies Chinese Art

Butterflies And Daylilies by Wu Kan, Guan Xining and Wang Shishen
This delicate ink painting was the result of a collaboration among three artists and friends in the 18th century. Chinese painter Wang Shishen inscribed a short verse in the top left corner of the scroll painting; Wu Kan, a specialist in painting butterflies, painted the winged creatures, and Guan Xining, renowned for his painting of flowers, added the daylilies.

Learn more about Chinese Ink Works From Lee Kong Chian Collection Of Chinese Art here.

(Photos: NUS Centre For The Arts)

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