Contemporary Chinese Ink on Paper

May 11 – June 26, 2011

Press Release

Klein Sun Gallery is pleased to present "Contemporary Chinese Ink on Paper,” an exhibition featuring new works by Li Jin, Liu Qinghe, Wang Jinsong, Wei Dong, Wu Yi and Zhu Wei.

The artists gathered in this exhibition have a distinct rationale for choosing ink. It goes without saying that the medium holds very particular connotations. For a general audience, Chinese ink painting means elegant calligraphy and profoundly subtle landscapes. It suggests moral overtones, and often represents a mythic Chinese proximity to the spiritual. This show has gathered artists who, to different degrees, exploit the classic nature of the genre known as ‘ink painting,’ and who create visually engaging and often humorous works of art.

For some artists, the sentimentality of traditional ink painting is a spark for their sardonic wit. Li Jin mythologizes the everyday in a series of works. Referencing the illustrations of traditional Chinese literature, he replaces the heroic journeys of antiquity with irreverent anecdotes about domestic life. Wu Yi also subverts the romance of tradition, whose quiet, novel scenes belie darker themes that hint at revolutionary politics.

Several artists challenge one’s formal expectations of the medium. Liu Qinghe and Wang Jingsong’s compositions capitalize on the ink’s watery nature and its capacity to render energy and movement. Wei Dong, on the other hand, bypasses ink almost entirely. Vaguely rendered ink landscapes serve as backdrops to surreal erotic apparitions painted in acrylic.

Still other artworks transcend the tenuous relationship between tradition and modernity to address sociopolitical issues. For Zhu Wei, ink painting is overtly presented as an imprint of Chinese culture. His artistic witticisms derive their power from revolutionary politics, namely the propagandistic tenets of Social Realism. 

This exhibition will be on view at Eli Klein Fine Art from May 11 through June 26, 2011. The opening reception will take place on Wednesday, May 11 from 6 – 9 PM. For further information, please contact the gallery at (212) 255-4388 or