Exhibition 'Qi Shi' Installation View
'FUNG DOES NOT DEPICT LANDSCAPES SO MUCH AS THE EMOTIONAL ESSENCE OF THE LAND'
Beyond Horizon, 1984, Ink and colour on paper, 59 x 62 cm
Fung’s ink painting is highly individualistic, as contemporary works responding to place and cultural contexts, but also to the long lineage of the refined poetic tradition. Horizontal and vertical spatial dynamics are expanded and emphasized echoing key tenets of the Chinese landscape genre. Breaking through conventions of the shanshui tradition, with its constant slow shifts over a thousand years since the Song dynasty (960–1279), Fung’s individual style contains legacies that he acknowledges such as the revered Ming master Shi Tao (1642-1707) and the modern painter Zhang Daqian (1899-1903), known for his flamboyant experimentation with the medium and expansive interpretation of landscape through splashes of colour and sweeping use of abstraction.
18 Shades in Ink series, 2018, Ink and colour on paper, 136 x 280cm
They breathe resonance into our world, in a reminder of how a deep connection of place gives rise to poetic visual expression. Perhaps Fung’s oeuvre brings us closer to understanding the universe in its evocation of the known and the unknown, the real and imaginary. His recent plea for respect of nature and its preservation adds a call to arms that is more than poetic appreciation, but also a kind of painterly activism. Fung’s humility and approach to art and life is an exemplary reminder of how the seemingly ordinary can become extraordinary and a moment can become timeless. Such visual expression was understood by the reclusive fourth century poet Tao Yuanming, who stated ‘I glance over the pictures of mountains and seas. In the space of a nod, I completely [comprehend] the universe.’