Frog King Turns 70, Experiments in Ink Since the 1970s
Hong Kong artist Kwok Mang Ho, better known as Frog King celebrates his 70th birthday with a new exhibition at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Frog King turns 70, Experiments in Ink since the 1970s. The exhibition opens on 28 September, 2017 from 6:30-8:30pm with a live performance by Frog King at 7:30pm. This exhibition will explore the many ways in which Frog King has developed his ink practice over the last 50 years, having started in 1967.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Throughout his career, Frog King has been working with ink in myriad ways. He began his artistic practice as a traditional ink painter under the guidance of Lui Shou-Kwan, who was known as Hong Kong’s new ink painting master during the time of his tuition in the 1970s. However, he quickly broke tradition and started to experiment with ink in more conceptual ways.
Frog King's use of ink includes performance, daily practice of painting calligraphy expressing his innovated “Sandwich Font” merging Chinese characters and Western writing, graffiti, collage paintings and screens that layers his many methods of ink practices, one-second painting performances, sculptural works and installations, as well as signature Frog King ink chops among many other techniques.
Frog King's motto, “Art is life, Life is Art” is something that we see not only appearing within his works but is something he lives by. He works constantly on his artworks, usually waking in the early hours to paint or sitting in Hong Kong cafes brush and paper in hand. Frog King says that he feels totally free working on his ink paintings into the night as if his mind is lost in his work.
Katie de Tilly, Director of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery comments, “to discover Frog King’s art is multilayered, the depth and thoughtfulness of his practice as an ink painter is something that few take note, focusing too much on his colorful persona and spirited performances. Frog King’s artworks are refined, innovative and groundbreaking and he continues to explore and progress his practice throughout the years. We hope in this exhibition to invite the audience to a new level of understanding of the work of the wonderful Frog King.”
ABOUT FROG KING
The eccentric and vibrant Frog King in an indomitable Hong Kong artist and is one of the most important figures in the history of contemporary art in Hong Kong. He was a pioneer to experiment in performance and conceptual practices in Hong Kong as early as the 1970s. Kwok Mang Ho was born in Guangdong China in 1947 and grew up in Hong Kong.
Oscar Ho, former Director, Hong Kong Arts Centre wrote, “During the late 60s and 70s, he worked on a broad spectrum of artistic experimentation, ranging from photo collage, installation, happening environment arts, conceptual art, to ready-made objects, which were foreign to many of the local audience. At a time when the art scene was dominated by the Modern Water and Ink movement, Kwok was a lonely and forceful voice sounding out another possibility.”
In 1980 until the mid 1990s, Kwok moved to New York, where he took on the Frog King name and persona within the pulsating New York graffiti and performance art scenes happening at the time, he was in the middle of it all. During this time he started the Kwok Gallery in the Lower East side of Manhattan. Artist and professor Ming Fay, wrote, “During this time, Kwok kept a pot of black ink alive and everyday he did something with it. I call this his Ink Pond Period.”
Inspired by the Fluxus art movement where the persistent goal of most artists was to destroy any boundary between art and life. The movement relied heavily on chance for the outcome. Frog King has embodied this concept and has been developing it through his Froggy “happenings” (Hark Bun Lum) focusing on cross-cultural harmony ever since.
Frog King has won several awards, including the Hong Kong Arts Development Council Emeritus Fellowship in 1998. He started the “Frog King Kwok Museum” project in 2001. In 2011, Frog King was selected as Hong Kong‘s artist for the 54th Venice Biennale.