Fung Ming Chip: Shu-Fa Sutra
約翰百德 (John BATTEN)
at 3:25pm on 21st December 2015
1. Fung Ming Chip, Form Sand Script, Departure, ink on xuan paper, 124x183cm, 2015
2. Fung Ming Chip, Bold Black Script, The Rules, ink on xuan paper, 181x96.5cm, 2012
3. Fung Ming Chip, Landscape B, Multi-line Script, ink on xuan paper, 17.5x26.5cm, 2009
4. Fung Ming Chip, Music Script 3, Departure, ink on xuan paper, 138x69.7cm, 2013
5. Fung Ming Chip,Time Script, Departure, ink on xuan paper, 91x243cm, 2015
All images courtesy of Galerie de Monde, Hong Kong
(原文以英文發表，評論〈馮明秋 - 個人展覽〉。)
Hong Kong’s auction market has long been dominated by traditional/antique literati ink paintings, ceramics and furniture. Inevitably, this interest has expanded, extending into present-day ink art with galleries now specializing in contemporary Chinese art also exhibiting ink painting. This culminated in Hong Kong’s first dedicated ink art fair last weekend.
Appropriately, Galerie de Monde’s parallel exhibition with the fair is artist Fung Ming Chip, one of Hong Kong’s stalwart calligraphers. Fung explains that ‘shu-fu’ is writing as an artform, containing three parts. Firstly, it is the written character; second, the way of writing; and thirdly, “like the flower to garnish the dish”, is ‘zhuan-ke’ or seal carving, finally adhered to a painting to mark the presence of the artist.
Fung explains that as a young man, it was seal carving that initially held his excitement. Over the years, he has experimented with ‘mural’ sized wood blocks that extended the idea of seal carving. And his seals, chopped on paper in standard vermillion-red and also shown in the exhibition, are often non-traditional – a naïve carved word font, printed backwards, or containing just a single symbol or object, a rabbit or gourd, for example.
Fung is a playful calligrapher. His artistic interest is held by experimentation alongside the more formal struggle to find the aesthetic balance of text within the blankness of paper. He uses countless script forms, including impressions of musical notation, “multi-lined” or double-imagery as seen in a mirror, scattered text across the paper, some bold and others light-watered.
Fung’s calligraphy, but very subtly, also reflects landscape or religious iconography. In his large painting, Form Sand Script, Departure (2015, detail, illustrated), literati rock or hill formations are scattered amongst the text but are also part of the calligraphy. This sleight-of-hand is achieved by placing a template of the required rock shape over the completed lighter text, then a darker underlay and corresponding bolder text is painted within the template. The text is almost secondary to the landscape.
However, The Rules (2012), executed in a falling, increasingly bold black script, clearly state Fung’s thoughts, his striving for diversity, excitement and more: “What is love? / Expensive and meaningless / Ultimately a wave of emptiness / Yearning for something to bite….”
Link for further information:
'Shu Fa Sutra: Fung Ming Chip - Solo Exhibition' @ Galerie de Monde
A version of this review was published in the South China Morning Post, 22 December 2015.