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National Gallery of Victoria reopens its Asian Art temporary exhibition gallery with new display
Wu Zuoren, Pandas and bamboo 1964. Album: ink on paper, 8 paintings, cardboard, paper, silk and gold leaf on concertina glued binding, 31.7 x 22.0 cm (image and sheet) (each) 31.8 x 22.6 x 2.0 cm (closed) 31.8 x 45.2 x 1.0 cm (open). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Gift of an anonymous donor, 2007.
MELBOURNE.- The National Gallery of Victoria reopened its Asian Art temporary exhibition gallery with an exploration of the interconnections between poetry, calligraphy and painting in Chinese art. Three Perfections: Poetry, Painting and Calligraphy in Chinese Art features exquisite paintings and calligraphy drawn from the gallery’s Asian Collection, presenting works dating from the fourteenth century to the present that highlight the contrasts and continuity in traditional and current Chinese art.

Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV, said, “Three Perfections: Poetry, Painting and Calligraphy in Chinese Art will present poetic works by significant Chinese artists who uniquely combine calligraphy and poetry. We are very pleased that this will be the first exhibition to go on display in the newly reopened Asian Art temporary exhibition gallery, a space which will host a rotating program of Asian Art exhibitions.”

Painting became closely equated with poetry in the 11th century during the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) when Chinese artistic expression underwent an evolution from formal representation to self-expression. Scholars and scholar-officials were taught the ‘arts’ of poetry, painting and calligraphy, which were used as intricate vehicles of expression. In China, calligraphy is regarded as the highest art form; with artistic and expressive qualities that are independent of written words meaning. Paintings are regarded as ‘soundless poetry’ which captures an artist’s mood and portrays narratives and emotions with heightened feeling.

The exhibition features beautiful and intricately detailed traditional Chinese paintings using calligraphic brushstrokes on paper and silk, many of which have been mounted as hanging scrolls. It features works by artists including Huang Shen (1687 – 1768), Wu Changshuo (1844 – 1927), Bi Haizhous (1954 – present), You Si (1954 – present) and the work of Kim Hoa Tram (1959 – present) who is currently working in Australia.

Three Perfections: Poetry, Painting and Calligraphy in Chinese Art will be on display at NGV International (180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne) from 6 December 2013 until 9 June 2014. Open 10am – 5pm, closed Tuesdays. Free Admission.

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