Naked Calligraphy (2003)
It is rare to be able to mount an exhibition that represents a perfect union of hearts, minds and artistic ideals. “Nudes and Naked Calligraphy” is such an exhibition. Deceptively simple in concept, it is the result of a single idea brought to fruition in a lifetime shared. That idea is the rather classical one of giving two dimensions the illusion of three.
Jean and Sun-chang Lo have been considering this concept ever since their student days. Trained in fashion design and architecture respectively, the ability to envisage in three dimensions has always been paramount to visual artists. That this husband and wife partnership has achieved the elusive goal of distilling this value in their work is remarkable.
In Jean Lo’s images of the human form, a dense fleshiness is conjured despite a strict economy of line. But this minimalism comes secondary to a sense of motion and energy, or “qi”, that is embodied in the lines; an energy that is beyond the reach of all but the most experienced or gifted of practitioners.
More revolutionary are the experimental works that Jean and Sun-chang Lo call “naked calligraphy.” These represent an entirely new way of viewing and interpreting perhaps the most revered Chinese art form of all. For some they may even seem a touch profane. However, the artists seem to have overcome the boundaries of tradition in the process of selecting, dividing and, most of all, re-forming the finest calligraphy into abstractions that transfer definition from words to form. Through the process of deconstructing the original, the calligraphy is stripped bare, releasing its elemental and dynamic power. Through re-formation, a new layer of beauty emerges where a cast of characters, both human and animal, frolic about in a thick landscape of ink. Naked calligraphy will challenge us all to rethink the importance of form in seeking meaning.
The University Museum and Art Gallery is pleased to present and support the artistic endeavours of these two talented members of our University community.
Tina Yee-wan Pang
University Museum and Art Gallery
The University of Hong Kong