‘Walasse Ting: New York, New York’ to be Inaugural Exhibition for Alisan Fine Arts Gallery in the U.S.

 

 

 

Walasse Ting, Reclining Nude Beauty Watching Love Birds, 1990s; Chinese ink & acrylic on rice paper; 96 x 179 cm, Courtesy Alisan Fine Arts

Alisan Fine Arts, a stalwart of the Hong Kong art scene since its establishment in 1981, is proud to announce the opening of a new gallery location in New York City’s Upper East Side on November 30th, 2023. Known for its dedication to Chinese diaspora artists and contemporary Chinese ink art, Alisan Fine Arts continues its legacy of bridging East and West with this exciting expansion.

Walasse Ting, Three Drifting Dragonflies in the Wind, 1990s; Chinese ink on rice paper; 45.5 x 60.5 cm. Courtesy Alisan Fine Arts

The inaugural exhibition at the New York location will pay homage to Walasse Ting (1928-2010), a celebrated Chinese-American artist known for his vibrant and expressive works. Ting’s longstanding relationship with Alisan Fine Arts dates back to his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong in 1986, organized by the gallery just five years after it opened its doors. Since that time, the gallery has mounted 11 solo exhibitions for the artist and has been instrumental in introducing Ting’s exuberant and colorful style to Hong Kong audiences, helping to establish him as a significant figure in the Chinese art diaspora. Alisan Fine Art’s inaugural exhibition in New York therefore seeks to not only showcase Ting’s unique artistic style—a fusion of Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, and traditional Chinese ink techniques—but also to celebrate the enduring connection between the artist and the gallery.

Walasse Ting: New York, New York installation view. Image courtesy of Alisan Fine Arts. Photo credit: Jordan Tinker

Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu, Ting briefly studied at the Shanghai Art Academy in the 1940s before leaving for Paris in 1948 at the age of nineteen. There he became associated with artists belonging to the avant-garde group CoBrA. In 1957 he traveled to New York, where would end up spending the bulk of his artistic career. Ting participated in the Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism movements, and his closest associates were artists Sam Francis and Joan Mitchell members of the second generation of Abstract Expressionist painters. In the mid-twentieth century when Greenwich Village was the creative hub of the New York School, the close proximity and frequent exchange between artists opened up dialogues between the artists and resulted in much creative synergy. Two works from this period are featured in the exhibition at Alisan, black and white abstractions that seem to have underlying symmetry, and yet their structures are being swept out beyond the edges of the canvas.

Walasse Ting, Wistfulness, 1990s; Charcoal on Arches paper; 44.5 x 33 cm. Courtesy Alisan Fine Arts

In 1964, Ting published a collection of poetry titled One Cent Life, in which he included prints from 68 celebrities of the contemporary art world, including Sam Francis, Antonio Saura, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and Andy Warhol, a testament to his highly impressive artistic network. The works by this vivacious postwar artist have since been collected by over forty international art museums and foundations, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the New York Metropolitan Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, London’s Tate Gallery, the Guimet Museum of Asian Art in Paris, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

Walasse Ting: New York, New York installation view. Courtesy of Alisan Fine Arts. Photo credit: Jordan Tinker.

After 15 years of abstract painting, Ting’s interest in the body and his exploration of sexuality led him back to figuration in the 1970’s. Several of the works on view at Alisan reveal this thematic shift: Warm Sunshine (1974) is a quintessential example of Ting’s abstract period, filled with bold dripping brushstrokes mixed with bright acrylic pigments, but by the later part of the decade Ting began experimenting with figures, developing the distinctive style that we are so familiar with today. I Want to stay Home Tonight (1974) and Kiss me Kiss me (1976) are emblematic of this style. Reevaluating the notion of the female body, Ting’s work became more subjective, personal, and radical in his expression of emotion through figurative imagery.

In 1977, Ting won the Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his drawings. Employing charcoal and graphite on Arches paper, his works Wistfulness (1986) and Missing (1986) are poignant, contemplative pieces that capture human emotion in simple lines. As he moved into the 1990s, Ting began to integrate traditional Chinese materials into his work. His compositions appear flatter, and his colors brighter; these paintings are a sheer testimony to love, life and beauty. His depictions of women, flowers, fruit, cats, fish, and horses, as seen in Peek Through the Curtains (1990s) and Two Beauties with a Green Horse (1990s) are painted in a rich palette of bright acrylics on rice paper, layered with powerful effervescent brushstrokes in Chinese ink.

The exhibition in New York coincides with Walasse Ting’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Walasse Ting: Parrot Jungle, which opens on November 10, 2023 at the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. The museum exhibition, featuring an extensive collection of Ting’s works, serves to reintroduce audiences to the artist’s captivating universe and underscores his role as one of the most unconventional and independent figures of his era. It bridges the gap between ancient Chinese aesthetics, European avant-garde movements, and American Pop Art.

Walasse Ting: New York, New York installation view. Courtesy of Alisan Fine Arts. Photo credit: Jordan Tinker.

Daphne King, the director of Alisan Fine Arts, shared her thoughts on this dual celebration of Walasse Ting’s legacy: “We are thrilled to open our New York gallery with an exhibition that not only honors Walasse Ting’s extraordinary contribution to art but also coincides with his first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. This synchronicity highlights the extent of Ting’s impact on the art world and reinforces the gallery’s commitment to promoting artists of Chinese descent internationally. We invite everyone to join us in celebrating Walasse Ting’s vibrant legacy and exploring the artistic dialogue between East and West that he so brilliantly embodied.”

Ting’s works have been collected by prestigious institutions worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London.

Walasse Ting, Three Oriental Beauties with a Green Horse and a Green Parrot, 1990s; Chinese ink & acrylic on rice paper; 181.6 x 95 cm; 181.6 x 95 cm; 181.6 x 98 cm (three panels). Courtesy Alisan Fine Arts

As Alisan Fine Arts opens its first location in the US, the gallery is committed to working with Chinese American and other Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) artists, continuing its mission of promoting cross-cultural dialogue and fostering a global appreciation for diverse artistic expressions. The gallery’s New York venture provides a unique platform for showcasing the richness of Chinese diaspora artistry, with a special focus on artists who, like Walasse Ting, have made significant contributions to both their heritage culture and the American art scene.

The New York City location aims to bring these conversations to a broader audience and create a space where Asian art can further dialogue with international trends and movements. The gallery will be headed up by Daniel Chen, previously the director of Chambers Fine Art. “I am thrilled to be a part of this new chapter for Alisan Fine Arts”, says Chen. “This is a gallery that has been at the forefront of Asian art for over 40 years, and it’s exciting to be able to broaden its legacy here in the center of the contemporary art world.”

Alisan Fine Arts is excited to open its doors in New York City, bringing a piece of Hong Kong’s art history to a new audience while continuing to honor the artists that have shaped its legacy. Please join us for the opening reception on Thursday, November 30th as we celebrate this new chapter and the vibrant legacy of Walasse Ting.

Walasse Ting, Walasse Ting in his studio, 1980. Photo by Pierre Alechinsky.

About the artist ~ Born in Wuxi, Jiangsu, Ting briefly studied at the Shanghai Art Academy in the 1940s before leaving for Paris in 1948 at the age of nineteen. In Paris, he became associated with artists belonging to the avant-garde group CoBrA. In 1957 he traveled to New York, where he spent the bulk of his artistic career. Ting participated in the Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism movements, and his closest associates were artists Sam Francis and Joan Mitchell—members of the second generation of Abstract Expressionist painters.

In 1964, Ting published a collection of poetry titled One Cent Life, in which he included prints from 68 celebrities of the contemporary art world, including Sam Francis, Antonio Saura, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, and Andy Warhol, a testament to his impressive artist network. After fifteen years of abstract painting, Ting’s interest in the body and sexuality led him back to figuration in the 1970s, where he developed his distinctive style that many are familiar with today. Reevaluating the notion of the female body, Ting’s work became more subjective, personal, and radical in his expression of emotion through figurative imagery. In 1977, Ting won the Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his drawings. In the 1990s, Ting began to integrate traditional Chinese materials into his work. His compositions appear flatter, and his colors brighter; these paintings are a sheer testimony to love, life and beauty. 

Works by the vivacious postwar artist have since been collected by over forty international art museums and foundations, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, the New York Metropolitan Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, London’s Tate Gallery, the Guimet Museum of Asian Art in Paris, and the Stedelijk in Amsterdam.

Walasse Ting: New York, New York will be on view to February 16, 2024 at Alisan Fine Arts, 120 East 65th Street, NYC.