Moving beyond the boundaries of traditional ink painting, Ink Asia 2023 is embracing new mediums of creation. In conjunction with this, Tai Kwun Contemporary presents a special screening showcasing artistic responses to ink art. Offering novel interpretations together with experimental explorations, the selected video works open up expanded visions of ink grounded in contemporary social, economic, and aesthetic concerns.
2014 | 8 min | B&W
Animated with traditional hand-drawn frames, Chaos Theory presents the order that is within chaos. Humanity, nature, sex, violence, destruction, and escapism merge in a succession of images, even fusing into a stream of consciousness. The fluid nature of ink is all the more magnified on the xuan paper, with a constantly changing flow of imagery, while the specially composed soundtrack underscores the emotional shifts in the narrative.
Morning and Dusk, and No More
2022 | 26 min | Colour | Chinese
Morning and Dusk and No More documents Liu Yi’s careful observations and memories of his artist residency in Cyprus many years ago. The animated footage traverses fact and fiction: from the attachments of love together with fetters in a family, to the youthful stories of a shepherd, from the farm life of an elderly person to the woes of folks in a village. Depicted with vivid, painterly colours and cinematic camera pans, such day to day scenes make for a heartfelt ink animation work.
The New Book of Mountains and Seas Part 3
2013–2017 | 30 min | B&W | Chinese
Inspired by the Classic of Mountains and Seas—an ancient Chinese compilation of mythic geography—Qiu Anxiong spent over ten years creating an ink animation trilogy that questions about the toll of rapid social and technological development on nature, traditional values, and indeed human civilisation. Featuring a non-linear narrative, The New Book of Mountains and Seas Part 3 portrays a post-apocalyptic future in which people are addicted to virtual reality. The bleak, absurd, almost sci-fi scenes offer a premonition of sorts: the blurred overlap of the real and virtual reflects a contemporary condition—even allowing our very real perceptions to be controlled by the virtual.
2016 | 12 min 44 s | Colour
With Mythological Time, Sun Xun transforms a series of classical ink paintings on bark paper into an animated journey, a journey that has as its destination Fuxin, the artist’s hometown in northeastern China. Once known for its coal mining industry, Fuxin has become a neglected backwater following its industrial decline. The animation draws attention to this sombre history through dark imagery that addresses folk legends, changing political ideals, and historical transformations.
Courtesy of SUN Xun and ShanghART gallery
Tears of Chiwen
2017 | 9 min | Colour | Chinese
Chiwen is an auspicious mythological beast that can be found perched on opposite ends of the ridges of roofs in the traditional architecture of East Asia. Portrayed as spouting waves into rain, the creature symbolises the prevention of fires and disasters. In this work, Sun Xun reflects on the modernity of East Asian culture within a global context, with various East Asian countries having diverged widely in how ethnic and national identities have formed, under the impact of the West. Tears of Chiwen combines ink, collage, newspaper, video, and coloured drawings with expressive brushstrokes, provocative imagery, and unexpected narratives to expand the possibilities of ink-based animation.
* This will be an open seating event. The films have not been classified yet. If they are subsequently classified as a Category III film, audience members must be aged 18 or above.