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More Than Words - Visual Playground of Chinese Characters



Having evolved thousands of years ago, and used by nearly one-quarter of the world’s population today, Chinese characters (“Hanzi” in Chinese, “Kanji” in Japanese, or “Hanja” in Korean) constitute the oldest continuously used, and one of the most widely adopted writing systems in humanity. The square-block characters, which originally derived from pictures and signs, possess an innate aesthetic quality that has long attracted extensive appreciation and artistic pursuit.

Self-taught artist Sun Chan is an admirer of Chinese characters since childhood and believes that the millennia-old logograms can take on new alternative expression. He transforms the writing of his mother tongue with clean lines and vibrant colors into kaleidoscope-like motifs that are reminiscent of geometric abstraction.

This exhibition features motif artwork from Chan’s Huàn Xíng (幻形), Sān Jiǎo (三角) and Lè (樂) series, as well as derivative patterned artwork that his architect daughter Hikoko has created in tribute to his work. Chan’s hand-painted motifs juxtapose with his daughter’s cognate patterns made with digital media and industrial methods, which forge a dialogue that reveals a special bond between the two generations. Sun and Hikoko’s works can be appreciated purely for their visual appeal, yet the embedded words engage viewers who read Chinese characters, in word-guessing games, while their exotic nature sparks curiosity and evokes imagination in others.

“With a childlike heart, Chan breathes new life into Chinese characters.”
Chen Yongqiang
Director of Chinese Artists Association;
Curator of Memorial Hall of Ling Nan School of Painting; Vice-chairman of Guangdong Artists Association

“Like the Alice in Wonderland story coming alive before my eyes, except it is a wonderland of Chinese characters!”
Dr. Leo Ou-Fan Lee
Professor of Chinese Culture of Faculty of Arts, CUHK; Academician, Academia Sinica Taipei

“Mr. Sun Chan’s work is a wonderful integration of art, script and riddles.”
Mariana de Brévannes
Countess of Brévannes, France

This event is made possible by:

Presenter: Artwow Group Co., Ltd.
Chief Sponsor: Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Singapore
Venue Support: The Arts House
Event Support: Promote Mandarin Council


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