‘Exhibition of 13 Hong Kong Famous Artists, Nagoya’ by Kan Tai-Keung

‘Exhibition of 13 Hong Kong Famous Artists, Nagoya’ is a good example of the type of style and finesse that artist Kan Tai Keung involves in his work. It is not clear who his client was for this painting, likely for an art exhibition in Japan, regardless this design in particular was created in 1989. In this painting you see an ink stone with a brushstroke striking through the middle of it, creating the symbol for China. You also notice the red dot underneath which likely symbolizes the rising sun of the Japanese flag to represent Japan. There is a common theme in some of Tai Keung’s pieces with the addition of an ink stone within the painting. He often displays the duality of solidity and invisibility which is evident in this piece as well. I find it interesting how he made the “zhong” symbol of China so bold and the circle representing Japan a lot less so. I believe it is because the exhibition was showcasing Hong Kong artists, not Japanese artists, therefore the Chinese part is more bold. You could also analyze it in a way that the ink stone symbolizes creativity, which would further the notion of representing those artists. Simplicity goes a long way in these paintings, which is a staple for Tai Keung. It is not like traditional Chinese ink work to overdo the visuals. The ink stone is also seen floating in blank space, almost hovering in a way compared to the rest of the elements in this piece. It could be to represent the seemingly floating or uncertain identity of Hong Kong which was a prevalent theme during the 80s and 90s.


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Tong, Nora. “Familiar Pattern: How Tradition Has Influenced Artist Kan Tai-Keung.” South China Morning Post, 21 Nov. 2012, www.scmp.com/lifestyle/fashion-watches/article/1075322/familiar-pattern-how-tradition-has-influenced-artist-kan.