Walasse Ting: Thousand Mountains Long Journey
The Flower Thief All Landscapes
To honor the 90th anniversary of Walasse Ting’s (a.k.a. The Flower Thief) birth, Longmen Art Projects | Shanghai is pleased to announce a specially curated exhibition this fall titled: Thousand Mountains Long Journey – The Flower Thief All Landscapes. Presenting the first exhibition in Mainland China of a rare collection of landscape paintings on rice paper by the brilliantly versatile artist/poet, who is renowned for his paintings of flowers and beautiful women.
Walasse Ting was born in 1929 in Shanghai within a family originally from Wuxi. His pure landscape paintings date back to 1970, when he donated dozens of rice paper works to the Cernuschi Museum in Paris - the works were created between 1968-1970 to celebrate his 40th birthday. With the exception of two lightly colored paintings of plum blossoms, the collection consists solely of black and white ink-wash landscape paintings featuring mountains, waters, human figures, flowers, birds, and saddled horsemen.
Although Walasse Ting was admired in international contemporary art circles since the 1950s and took part in several Western art movements during his Shanghai and Parisian years, as well as his New York period from the 1960s-1970s, the embers of traditional Chinese paintings still flickered within him, revealing a secret paradise hidden deep within his heart. Following his Red Mouthseries of the 1970s, which featured beautiful western ladies in fluorescent hues, Ting’s post-1980 landscapes took another leap forward, much like the acclaimed collection of rice paper paintings featuring magnificent Chinese ladies published in the album, Rice Paper Painting, 1984.
In his dedication within Ting’s self-published album, The Flower Thief, 1984, Pierre Alechinsky (Ting’s close friend and famous post-war contemporary artist) wrote:
The painting of Walasse Ting is a mountain. Many were able to perceive its sunny side with all the blubs and flowers – whose beauty hides a threat. On the more secret, shady side, he won’t be so keen on us following him. And, yet a path not so much conventional as unexpected has emerged at the bottom of a valley of shadow where in all seasons there flows a stream if ink – a serpent of a capricious black reaching out from spot to spot market with the red signet, to the vast, virgin and vivid snows of Chinese paper.
Mael Bellec, curator of Chinese and Korean collections at the Cernuschi Museum in Paris commented on the Chinese inspiration behind Walasse Ting’s creation:
Some compositions, which became dominant from the mid-1970s and have antecedents in the works of Fan Kuan (active c. 990-1030) and Chen Shuren (1884-1948), assert their contemporaneity by confronting the viewer with grandiose, stylized reliefs in swaths of ink and vivid colors.
Mr. Gong Yunbiao, renowned art critic, on Ting’s philosophy in terms of landscape paintings and its contemporary value:
Ting ventured into a new visual horizon that no landscape painter had ever fixed their eyes upon. The cascading momentum, the writing-like structure reinforced by the colors and lines, and the plane composition of large color blocks, trace his interaction with nature. They transform into a unique and pure presence in his landscape paintings, the ‘meaningful form’ of the inner spirit, the symbol of emotions. The layout is never short of elements of surprise, unexpected yet reasonable, almost cliff-hangingly wonderful. It has, therefore, achieved a unity of opposites and a dynamic harmony.
Walasse Ting had only one exhibition of pure landscape paintings in his lifetime - Mountains and Rivers of Walasse Ting, Taipei 1991, which was held in Taipei Lung Men Art Gallery. Now, Longmen Art Projects | Shanghai is pleased to present Walasse Ting’s second show of landscape paintings; Thousand Mountains Long Journey – The Flower Thief All Landscapes, on view from October 14thto December 31st, 2018.
Thousand Mountains Long Journey – The Flower Thief All Landscapes
Opening Reception: October 14th, 2018 (Sun) 3-6pm
Exhibition Duration: October 14th – December 31th, 2018, Tue-Sat, 10:00am – 6:30pm
Venue: Longmen Art Projects | Shanghai: Suite 102, Tian An Centre, No. 338 Nanjing West Rd., Huangpu District, Shanghai, PRC 200003
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