Venue: Gallery I, Art Museum, Institute of Chinese Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Calligraphy being emblematic of the traditional Chinese literati and a mark of their fundamental cultivation, China has had no lack of painter-calligraphers whatever the age or time. Nowadays, the revolution in writing implements and the fine division of disciplines mean that traditional literati, or scholars who are at the same time competent painter-calligraphers, are few and far between, not to mention literati paintings and calligraphies. The calligraphic works of Professor Sheung Chung-ho (1937-2010) can best be viewed in this light. Although a graduate from a modern university, Sheung studied literature, painting and calligraphy as a young boy just as any traditional literatus did. In this light, the genre of calligraphy is where the essence of his art lies and his lifelong diligent practice has earned him a rightful place in the local calligraphic scene. To gain glimpses of his spiritual world, one needs look no further than his attitude, perception and interpretation of traditional calligraphy. His artistic path and experiences are also good references for revisiting literati calligraphy and for pinpointing its contemporary relevance. The Chinese University of Hong Kong was where he spent the best part of his life and made immense contributions. It was here that he was provided with a cultural atmosphere that was conducive to his art, which is firmly rooted in Hong Kong. As such, there is a special meaning to exhibiting his works at the Art Museum.
In recognition of Sheung’s learning, Liu Haisu (1896-1994) presented him with a four-character calligraphy that highlights the depth and breadth of his erudition. In consideration that the apothegm best summarizes the diversity of his calligraphy as well as the artist’s life and scholarship, it was decided to make it the Chinese title of the current exhibition that features a critical selection of 52 of his calligraphic works in various scripts and formats, some of which are on display for the first time. It is our hope that the show will serve as a gateway to the late professor’s spiritual world and a footnote to his significance in the calligraphy of Hong Kong.