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Calligraphy-ism is the first exhibition of its kind in Canada. The art show and symposium bring together traditional and contemporary works that explore the concepts and elements of Chinese calligraphy. Works in the exhibition consist of traditional calligraphy, conceptual calligraphic art, installation and performance. Showcasing works by artists in Toronto and China, this event is a multi-perspective, intercultural forum that aims to introduce the creative approaches of Chinese calligraphy to the Canadian art world.

In the exhibition, works of traditional calligraphy will be shown alongside those that defy the aesthetic, cultural and social boundaries of the calligraphic artform and practice. While the works by Houston Lok and William Fahn best exemplify the essence of traditional Chinese literary culture, Sharon Cook questions the literary function of calligraphy in her interactive installation. Cook explores the cognitive power of words and non-words through experimenting with the transformative states of ice, water and ink. Through contemplating the work of an 11th Century Buddhist poet and calligrapher, Johnny Koo creates an installation to interpret the meditative quality of calligraphy in the 21st Century. Although David Cheung and Paul Wong's writings may seem offensive and nonsensical, the works play with the subversive power of calligraphic practice in public space. Henry Ho's outdoor installation of calligraphic inscriptions on long rolls of paper further questions the sign systems of Chinese writing. The 14 artists bring to this exhibition their unique interpretations of the rich tradition of calligraphy in Chinese culture.

The symposium aims to create an opportunity to inform and engage the artists, scholars and audience in dialogues on the aesthetic and philosophical concepts in Chinese calligraphy. Among the panelists of the symposium will be Professor Jay Goulding (York University), who will talk about the practice of calligraphy in relations to Chinese mind and body theory; independent scholar Dr. Lien Chao will discuss the connection between calligraphy and abstract painting. Also at the opening, Henry Ho and Houston Lok will collaborate on an interactive performance based on the somatic nature of calligraphy.

Media contact: Doris Sung, shufashu@gmail.com