Date of Award


Document Type

MA Project - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Project Type

MA Project - Curatorial Proposal

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Hongzheng Han

Second Advisor

Agnes Berecz


Reviving Ink Art: An Innovative Transition of a Legacy concerns how contemporary Chinese artists successfully transformed traditional ink art to fit in with the contemporary art world and to continuously prosper on a global stage by incorporating contemporary art forms, aesthetics, and ideas. This exhibition features eleven artworks from seven Chinese contemporary artists and six Chinese ink art masterpieces from centuries ago. Comprising calligraphy, painting, photography, installation, and video, the exhibition embraces internationalized and modernized presentations of Chinese ink art. The proposed venue is the Asia Society Museum in New York City, as the mission of Asia Society aligns with the objective of this exhibition, which is to promote Chinese culture and art to a larger and more diverse group of audiences. The proposed opening date for this exhibition is June 28, 2024, and will last until January 6, 2025. Ink art is a traditional art form that emerged over two millennia ago in ancient China and has been well-developed in other East Asian countries over centuries. It used to be considered a high form of art in which visual aesthetics was given a high value by society and artists at that time. However, in this fast-evolving contemporary art world, being critical and conceptual is essential for art creation, and cultural communication and exchange become ordinary. Traditional ink art, which values form-likeness greatly and has such a strong bond with the Chinese language system and Chinese culture, has been facing the risk of being eliminated, as it does not fit in with this contemporary art world and is having difficulties integrating with and to be understood by other cultures. The exhibiting artists are established contemporary artists born in mainland China who were either leading figures in the 85 avant-garde movement or were significantly influenced by the 85 avant-garde movement, which symbolized the period in which traditional art forms and 2 contemporary art confronted and marked the beginning of Chinese contemporary art. The masterpieces of traditional Chinese ink art, borrowed from The Palace Museum and National Palace Museum, represent various styles in vogue in different dynasties and also provide audiences with an overview of the past glory traditional ink art has achieved. At the same time, these masterpieces offer a contrast with other contemporary pieces, generating an interesting dialogue across centuries. The chosen contemporary artworks represent the artists’ various approaches towards modernizing ink art. Xu Bing’s works challenge the basis of traditional ink art, which is the Chinese language system; Wang Tiande and Zheng Chongbin experiment with art materials used in ink art. Exhibiting works from Qiu Zhijie and Qin Feng question the aesthetics in traditional ink art, integrating Western art ideologies such as abstract expressionism and conceptual art. On the other hand, as younger-generation artists, Sun Xun and Yang Yongliang incorporated high technology in ink art, producing stop-motion animated films and composite photography. Having the courage to break the old and the ability to embrace the new, through continuous experimentation, contemporary Chinese artists successfully helped ink art break through the barriers it faced as it transitioned into a fast-evolving contemporary art world and helped it win a space in the international contemporary art world.