Brushing up

During my brief stay in Adelaide I visited the Art Gallery of South Australia to see a ‘mini’ exhibition of calligraphic works on display in their Asian galleries. The exhibition, Brush and Ink, Contemporary Asian Calligraphy, displays large scale calligraphic works from China, Japan and Mongolia.

Japanese artist and commercial designer, Hiroko Watanabe’s installation takes up the end wall of the room. According to the room notes the 3D nature of this work is reflective of her work making commercial light-boxes to be placed on buildings. I always like to see ‘gesture’ in drawing and this work has it in bucket loads. I gather from the various reviews of this work that it was actually made during a performance with the group Above the Clouds, as part of the OzAsia festival. An interesting review of Watanabe’s performance can be found here.

"The value of the so-called invisible wind", Hiroko Watanabe, ink on Japanese paper (washi), 2014

“The value of the so-called invisible wind”, Hiroko Watanabe, ink on Japanese paper (washi), 2014

The Mongolian calligrapher’s were a revelation, quite literally I have never seen any of this calligraphy before and I only recently learned that there was a Mongolian script. This plaque attached to the Yonghe (Lama) Temple in Beijing is written in 4 distinct scripts from left to right as you see it Mongolian, Tibetan, Chinese and Manchu.

Inscription on the Yonghe Temple Beijing in  four scripts, (l to r) Mongolian, Tibetan, Chinese and Manchu.

Inscription on the Yonghe Temple Beijing in four scripts, (l to r) Mongolian, Tibetan, Chinese and Manchu.

The exhibition room notes say that ” calligraphers from Mongolia often describe the physical act of writing from the top down in one fluid motion, ‘as a man riding a very fast horse’, or like a falling coin'”. I can only concur as the overwhelming sense I had of these works was of their dynamic motion. This ceiling to floor work by D Ganbaatar is a case in point.

"Mongolian Pride" , by D. Ganbaatar, 2013, ink over 6 sheets of papyrus

“Mongolian Pride” , by D. Ganbaatar, 2013, ink over 6 sheets of papyrus

I’m still trying to understand how this work “Aspiration”, by Lkhagva Tuvshinjargal, has been made (apologies for the light reflections in the photo, they were unavoidable). I couldn’t tell if this was white ink on a previously prepared paper or some type of reductive technique, like bleach taking colour out of a dark cloth. If anyone knows how this technique is achieved I’d be interested to find out.

"Aspiration", by L

“Aspiration”, by Lkhagva Tuvshinjargal, 2013, ink on papyrus

If you would like to see more of  Lkhagva Tuvshinjargal work I found some on this Hungarian blog (Google translate works well as my Hungarian is non-existent).

I also enjoyed this small collection of calligraphy on ceramics, from the AGSA’s own collection, also on display as part of the exhibition.

Ceramics by Shoji Hamada and Milton Moon (and possibly another artist who's name I've forgotten)

Ceramics by Shoji Hamada and Milton Moon (and possibly another artist who’s name I’ve forgotten)

Additional images of Mongol calligraphy can be found on the following sites:

Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery – calligraphy

Mongolian Calligraphy on Facebook

 

Advertisements

Thanks for commenting, I like to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s