Finally I managed to see the New Ink Art exhibition in the Hong Kong Museum of Art. I did enjoy a few pieces there such as those by old masters Ding Ying-yong and Luis Chan. Cai Guo-Qiang's explosive drawing was only a small piece. Perhaps it's difficult to borrow his master pieces for this exhibition which was regarded as international by the organizer. Obviously Cai's presence is an endorsement to be international.
Cai's work was categorized into the last section called "Is it Ink Art?" in which works made of materials beyond ink were included. The logic here apparently is that those work would be associated with conventional ink paintings or related interests. But then what is the sense of ink art if it's not confined by its medium? The term "ink art" actually reflects the good will of the curator to expand the realm of Chinese ink paintings but remains problematic as it asks us to identify the material but allows freedom to its form and approach. Then this last section tried to explore non-ink possibilities for "ink art". The whole foundation of this "new" concept of ink art suddenly falls apart as it's become paradoxical. As if an open question, the presentation actually referred to works that provoke a certain sense of Chineseness (traditional ink painting in particular) such that the curator can nationalized this universal medium. So on one hand everything goes but on the other side it doesn't.
I point to the sky and ask "is it ink art?"
One day I can make conceptual art without concept.