New Beginnings’ puts a contemporary twist on Chinese calligraphy

A NEW art installation featuring Shū Fǎ (书法), Mandarin for Chinese calligraphy, is currently on show at ZHAN Art | Space, Petaling Jaya.

Titled “New Beginnings”, local artist mo4ji4 (picture) uses only four tools — the brush, ink, paper and plastic — to put a contemporary twist on Chinese calligraphy and transform the writing art form into an art installation.

Mo4ji4, whose actual name is Bryan Phua, explains that while this is not his first exhibition showcasing calligraphy in an art space, it is his biggest and most ambitious attempt till date. 

He hopes that by infusing and integrating the traditional element with a contemporary take, the audience will be engaged with his works and have a new regard for Chinese calligraphy.  

Shū Fǎ is a visual and literary writing art form which has been widely practised in China for centuries. It is considered one of China’s many cultural treasures and has been passed on through generations. 

As you walk in to the gallery, visitors will be enclosed by gigantic Chinese calligraphy written all over the walls and floors.  

Some of the 19 sets of couplets — which reflect the ideology of reset, reflect and redo — that are plastered all over the wall

The art installation has broad inky brushstrokes sweeping across the art space, a poignant reminder to society to regain its strength to combat the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, while moving forward into a state of healing and recovery. 

Nineteen sets of couplets — which reflect the ideology of reset, reflect and redo — are plastered all over the wall. 

The floor is filled with calligraphy wordings inspired by two famous songs, “The Road to Ordinary” by Pu Shu and “The Brightest Star in the Sky” by Escape Plan.  

ZHAN Art | Space founder Desmond Tong said the idea of showcasing Chinese calligraphy in the form of an art installation was something the gallery was keen to explore. 

“We hope to remove the stigma of Chinese calligraphy as an art form that only appears during the Spring Festival, and offer the audience a different perspective and appreciation of Chinese calligraphy.”

“New Beginnings” is on display from Aug 8 till Sept 25, 2022. 

The works on show are available for purchase and range between RM1,000 and RM5,000. — by TMR / Pics source: ZHAN Art | Space