Jia Haoyi @ Luxe Art Museum, Singapore

Jia Haoyi, Men of Hulunbe'er

Luxe Art Museum has just opened a restrospective of Chinese artist Jia Haoyi‘s inks on paper. The artist is regarded as one of the major ink painters working in China whose style embraces something of both the formality of ink’s traditions and the free expression that is most closely related to Western abstraction.
The depiction of horses galloping has a long tradition in Chinese painting and artists have often striven, through outlines, ink and color, to portray the physical manifestation of the horse. In contrast, Jia Haoyi uses ink more to express an essence. His forceful brushstrokes convey action and momentum—his horse lives and move— but at the same time, his use of very thick ink and wild, random strokes seem to communicate an outpouring of emotion.

On the Grassland

Jia Haoyi was born in 1938 into a poor rural family in north China’s Hebei Province. Bored by the unceasing scrutiny and appraisal of man made machine parts, he dropped out of a mechanics school and joined the Beijing Art Normal College in 1958.

After graduation, he worked as a grassroots artist at the Chaoyang Cultural Hall. He remained there for 17 years. In the 1970s, he shifted to the Beijing Art Academy where he learned the skills of ink traditions and the importance of positive and negative space in creating balance in a painting.

The Magnificent Rider
In the late 1970s, Jia developed his own free style, refusing to paint like his teaches flowers and birds repeatly. It evolved toward more abstract work, and the freedom of his galloping horses can be seen as the artist's answer to the Cultural Revolution's rein in on freedom in expressions or creation.

Jia also embraced Western abstract expressionism with the Chinese calligraphy in his artworks, where he creatively adopts the cursive freestyle strokes in Chinese calligraphy into with his paintings. The subjects in his artwork, be it a horse or ox, become a form of calligraphy.

Women of the Grassland