Zee Stone

"Lost Horizon"

- Paintings by Bo Yun

17 - 31 October 2003

Zee Stone Gallery is proud to present the first exhibition in Hong Kong of landscape paintings in oil on canvas, and ink and colour on paper, by the Chinese artist, Bo Yun (Li Yongcun).

Bo Yun’s vertical diptychs in ink and colour on paper, like ancient Chinese scrolls, are microcosms of the universe, encompassing earth, water and sky. At the same time, his semi-abstract, free painting style shows the influence of Western Abstract Expressionism. This is even more true of his landscapes in oil on canvas which have drawn comparison with Zao Wouki (b.1921), a master who has succeeded in fully integrating Western and Oriental painting styles. In whatever medium, Bo Yun’s paintings express a joy in nature and particularly in the spiritual essence of the landscape.

Born in China in 1948, Li Yongcun graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing in 1980. After four years’ hard labour during the Cultural Revolution, Li joined the “Stars”, a group of young artists who in 1979 made history by hanging their politically “incorrect” paintings and sculptures on the railings outside the China Art Gallery. This act of defiance, the first unauthorized exhibition of Chinese art since 1949, set the stage for an era of liberation for future artists. During this first Stars exhibition, Li used the pseudonym Bo Yun to conceal his identity from the police and he has kept it ever since. Many of the group subsequently left China, but Bo Yun remained in Beijing, where he is now a professor at the Tsinghua University

Bo Yun was not a revolutionary, merely an advocator of greater artistic freedom, and his independent, expressive nature is still evident in his work. His landscapes at dawn or dusk have a tranquil, dreamlike serenity as well as a shade of pathos. Large areas of light and heavy ink and mist and clouds dominate the paintings, setting off the vastness of the land and sky. At the same time, his free brushwork gives a sense of dramatic energy. Bo Yun aims above all at a sense of balance and, following the philosophies of the Chinese scholar Lao Zi, to express a unity of self with the natural world.