Sun Ziyao featured in AFR, featured image
Sun Ziyao featured in AFR
Sun Ziyao featured in AFR, featured image

“His textures are very rich and the works are very contemporary,” says Yeqin Zuo, founder and director of Vermilion Art. “But you can still see the influence from the past. He leaves quite a bit of space in his work which draws on the traditional technique.”

Monkey magic: Sun Ziyao’s ink art mixes modernity with tradition

by senior writer Lisa Murray

Mixing ink with oil, wax and pencil to bring his images to life, Chinese artist Sun Ziyao’s works are a modern take on traditional Chinese ink art.

“His textures are very rich and the works are very contemporary,” says Yeqin Zuo, founder and director of Vermilion Art. “But you can still see the influence from the past. He leaves quite a bit of space in his work which draws on the traditional technique.”

This mix of modern and traditional is not just in Sun’s methods, but also his content. The artwork Sun Wukong and White Dragon Horse is a contemporary take on the 16th-century Chinese novel Journey to the West.

A monkey in human form chats casually to someone in a horse mask and both are dressed in contemporary street fashion. They represent key characters in the novel – Sun Wukong or the Monkey King, who may be known to Australian audiences from the 1970s TV series adaptation Monkey, and the white horse belonging to Buddhist monk Tang Sanzang.

Sun grew up in the coastal city of Dalian and a number of his works focus on sharks and whales.

Zuo singles out one of his recent ink paintings, Body, for its raw and touching human quality. “It expresses passion and sensuality.”
Sun lives and works in Beijing, but recently completed an international artist residency program at the TWT Creative Precinct in St Leonards, Sydney.

Zuo was first introduced to Sun’s work by Chinese-Australian artist Guan Wei, who had come across the young artist in a group show in Beijing.

“People are drawn to his art because it is unique and it doesn’t imitate anyone else’s work,” says Zuo.

https://www.afr.com/life-and-luxury/arts-and-culture/monkey-magic-sun-ziyao-s-ink-art-mixes-modernity-with-tradition-20191119-p53buu

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