How calligraphy collides with Kunqu opera

Opera music

What happens when traditional calligraphy collides with Kunqu opera? Artist Huo Guoqiang gives his answer in a solo exhibition at the Liu Haisu Art Museum until August 3.

Traditional calligraphy and Kunqu opera are ancient forms of Chinese art. In 2001, UNESCO classified Kunqu as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Born in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province – the birthplace of Kunqu Opera – Huo grew up in an environment filled with the essence of traditional Chinese art.

The exhibition features nearly 100 calligraphy and ink paintings created by Huo which reveals that all of his inspiration comes from the Kunqu opera.

Dating from the end of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Kunqu opera is one of the oldest forms of opera still extant in China. It is recognized as an elegant opera in terms of music, recitation and movement, and acclaimed for its sweet tunes “watermill songs”.

Huo finds the curves and twists of his art similar to the rhythm and movement of the Kunqu opera, and tries to reflect their intangible connections.

“In Huo’s works, spectators can silently hear the sweet tunes of Kunqu opera,” said Bao Weihua, director of the Liu Haisu Art Museum.

Ti Gong

“From the Peony Pavilion” by Huo Guoqiang

Exhibition information

Date: until August 3 (closed Mondays), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Liu Haisu Art Museum
Address: 1609 Yan’an Rd W.