Contemporary Chinese Calligraphy at VGM Liverpool


Another exhibition which opened a while ago (around the time of Chinese New Year) that I’ve only just caught up with. It’s quite fascinating to see the traditional Chinese characters altered subtly or in some cases dramatically, in one case even turned upside down (‘Feeling and Passion’ by Wang Dongling pictured above).

Such radical experimentation is not something I’d normally associate with calligraphy – very refreshing.

Strokes of the Brush – Contemporary Chinese Calligraphy
12 February – 15 May 2010
at University of Liverpool Victoria Gallery & Museum

The exhibition, Strokes of the Brush, draws on a selection of works from the British Museum’s world-class collection to highlight the beauty and virtuosity that make modern Chinese calligraphy such an engaging and exciting art.

Strokes of the Brush covers the period from 1949 to the present day – the half-century that has seen China undergo an extraordinary transformation. In their works, the artists reflect the pain, the hopes, the sadness and the humour that accompanied this great period of change.

The British Museum’s collection of modern Chinese calligraphy owes much to the diplomat and Chinese calligraphy expert, Gordon Barrass, who started collecting calligraphy while serving at the British Embassy in Beijing (1970 -72). Later, during his frequent business trips to China in the 1990s, he met with many of the country’s leading artists, who helped him to understand how they had refreshed traditional calligraphy and created a new, Chinese form of modern art.

Related Events

British Museum Talk on ‘Strokes of the Brush’

Wednesday 21 April                                                                        1.00 – 2.00pm. Gallery 6. No booking required

Curator Mary Ginsberg from the British Museum discusses the calligraphy on display.

Family Saturday – Create a lucky scroll

24 April.  Leggate Theatre                                                                      Drop-in between 1.00 & 4.00pm. No booking required

Local calligrapher Cathy Wu will invite families to learn more about this ancient art and help them make their own calligraphy scrolls to take home.  Younger children can make colourful Chinese dragon drawings.

Traditional Chinese Music Performance

Saturday 24 April                                                                                  1.00 – 3.00pm. Waterhouse Cafe

Local Chinese musician Emily Xu will perform traditional songs on the Pipa – a popular Chinese instrument which has been played in China for nearly 2,000 years.  Emily was previously a member of an orchestra in Beijing.