THE ART OF BAMBOO
from Qilin to Contemporary Art
THE ART OF BAMBOO
The exhibition “The Art of Bamboo: from Qilin to Contemporary Art” aims to showcase an important element essential part of Chinese culture and intangible heritage.
Bamboo is an essential element of Chinese art and culture. The plant embodies a number of values sought after by Chinese literati and philosophers: its suppleness and flexibility, as bamboo does not break. It embodies humility; while standing straight erect, its evergreen vividness projects its ability to survive under different climates and conditions, exuding both strength and elegance.
Bamboo is also used as a construction material, to build the stages of traditional performances or as scaffolding for building or renovation.
This exhibition focuses on the work of one artist Louis To (杜煥), whose works enables this traditional craft to evolve into the contemporary art scene.
The exhibition comprises three parts. It starts with the Chinese mystical animals Qilin and Chiwen, which are Louis’s classical works, and features a giant “Flying Qilin” floating over the gallery, allowing visitors to walk underneath its body and to discover its intricate internal structure. It is purposefully covered and decorated only partially so as to reveal the different stages of its fabrication process.
The artist then takes us on the journey of the use of bamboo crafts in our daily lives, from the part played by bamboo used in building scaffoldings, to bamboo props used for various rituals and which evolved onto the stage during dance and drama performances.
The exhibition concludes with how the artist is able to blend and evolve further this ancient Chinese craft of bamboo sculpting with Western modern art. The highlight of this section is when Louis showcases in his contemporary bamboo sculpture, integrating the multiple angles and various perspectives, to evolve a two- dimensional contemporary painting into a three-dimensional artwork.
Included in the exhibition is a documentary video, giving a glimpse into the art of making such delicate yet strong sculptures, and how the artist has carved a path towards the future of the art of bamboo, evolving it an ancient craft to contemporary art, and with the hopes to inspire young people and aspiring artists to take up this art form to make it their own.
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Louis To (杜煥) is a self-taught artist. He learnt through studying on his own other masters’ artworks, from candy to bamboo sculpting.
A very versatile artist, his works ranges from Chinese to Western painting to sculpture in the Fine Arts, to candy and bamboo sculpting in the traditional crafts that he explores in contemporary ways. Louis started his career in the mid 1990’s. He studied painting under Wong Pui Kong (黃配江), an extremely well-respected artist born in Macao (1931). His master created and taught art in the philosophy of the I Ching.
Louis’s paintings have received awards and he was notably the winner of Phillippe Charriol Foundation Competition three years in a row. He exhibited at the Hong Kong Museum of Art for the Contemporary Art Biennale in 1996 and 1998. His first major solo show was held in 1998 at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. In 2000 he was part of the “Inside Out: New Chinese Art” show in New York PS1. He also had several shows in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhongshan, and some of his paintings were collected by the Bahamian Embassy.
Louis also dedicated himself to mastering and preserving two ancient crafts of intangible Chinese cultural heritage, including candy sculpting and the traditional bamboo sculpting. He was commissioned from 2013 to 2019 to create the leading Qilin of the Cheung Chau Bun festival (also known as the Tai Ping Ching Chiu) . As it rains quite often during the festival, in 2015, he invented a method to make the painted paper covering the bamboo sculpture entirely waterproof. In order to test this technical breakthrough, he swam with the Qilin in the sea. Subsequently, he went on to introduce the ritual dancers to perform sea ceremonies.
“THE ART OF BAMBOO” exhibition showcases various exhibits to highlight the essence of bamboo artworks, from Chinese mystical animals to how bamboo crafts are practised in daily lives, and how it evolves into the contemporary art scene. Upon conclusion of the guided tour conducted by our docents, participants will have a hands-on experience on bamboo crafting, creating their own unique night lamp using bamboo strips as souvenir. Register now and enjoy a fun weekend with your child!
SCHOOL GUIDED TOURS
Specially curated guided tours are provided for local schools during the exhibition period. Conducted by GalaxyArt docents, tours will be arranged according to your students’ ages; transportation allowance is also available.
Available time slots for school guided tours:
Monday to Friday – 10AM to 10PM
Saturday – 10AM to 1PM
Primary 4 students or above
(853) 2822 8160 GEG Foundation (Ms Lo / Ms Chiang)