Contemporary Ink Art demonstrates the versatility of a simple medium with complex applications. It is a platform for collectors worldwide seeking an art medium that expresses a facet of contemporary art in Asia today.
Over the past century, artists grounded in traditional ink painting and calligraphy have actively explored the ink medium’s infinite possibilities. Working on paper or silk or in combination with acrylic, pen, photography, video, or printmaking, artists working in global contexts provoke a dynamic dialogue with tradition, challenging viewers’ expectations about the nature of ink painting. The geographical boundaries and formal definitions of ink art are increasingly blurred, and this emerging category broadens the contemporary art market with outstanding works that draw on the rich medium of ink.
Sotheby’s has played a pioneering role in introducing Contemporary Ink Art to the international marketplace through multiple selling platforms and thematic sales. Selling exhibitions in the S|2 galleries began in New York and have continued in our Hong Kong gallery. In the Hong Kong Contemporary Literati auctions, Sotheby’s first introduced the calligraphic works of Japanese painter Inoe Yuichi at an international auction in 2014 and subsequently set a world record for the artists in 2017. In April 2016, Sotheby’s presented the first single-owner collection of contemporary ink art at auction – The Origo Collection, which achieved an over HK$43.5 million / US$5.5 million in total sales. This auction also established multiple artist records for works by Wucius Wong, Wang Dongling, Liu Dan and Zheng Chongbin.
More recently, in 2017, a highly successful selling exhibition was held for Wucius Wong, the trail-blazing modernist of ink painting. Over 30 works spanning six decades of his career were presented in our S|2 Gallery demonstrating his masterful synthesis of traditional Chinese aesthetics with western culture and contemporary design. On the auction side, for the first time in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s sold paintings by notable modern masters such as Hans Hartung and Krishen Khanna, whose works are distinguished for their use of ink, brush, and calligraphic principles.
Shuimo / Water Ink: Chinese Contemporary Ink (2013, New York)
Labyrinths - Contemporary Ink Paintings By Zeng Xiaojun (2013, Hong Kong)
Shuimo / Water Ink: Enchanted Landscapes (2014, New York)
Xu Jianguo: Metropolis Reimagined (2014, Hong Kong)
Roots of Pleasure: Recent Paintings and Sculpture by Li Jin (2014, Hong Kong)
Shuimo: Ten Thousand Blossoms Spring (2015, New York)
Crossroads: Wei Dong (2015, Hong Kong)
Two Generations: Ink Art by Peng Xiancheng & Peng Wei (2015, Hong Kong)
The Literati Within (2015, New York)
Zheng Chongbin: Structures (2016, Hong Kong)
Different Paths: Explorations in Ink (2017, New York)
Perception: Cai Xiaosong (2017, Hong Kong)
Li Jin: A Devout Foodist’s Journey to the West (2017, Los Angeles)
Eternal Water: Wucius Wong (2017, Hong Kong)
Morita Shiryu: Bokujin (2017, Hong Kong)
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