Following Giacometti’s figurative expressionism, Szeto Lap believes that paintings are intuitive views of true nature and he continues to examine and verify the truth of this theory from multiple perspectives like creation, theories and education.
The exhibition showcases 11 oil paintings, 5 charcoal on paper works, 2 watercolors and 1 set of contour works of Szeto Lap, which represents the artist’s development and changes from 1996 to 2017.
Szeto Lap’s still life paintings always give the feeling of “Being silent, my heart is tranquil; watching the paintings, my mind is enlightened”. The space in the painting reveals indefinite quietness and purity. In his landscape paintings, mountains and trees stretch to the horizon. Endless sentiment and unworldly nimbus of the mountains are revealed by the artist’s steadily applied colours and natural, smooth strokes. Szeto Lap’s employment of technique makes use of the antinomy of extremes like existence and nihility, brightness and darkness, to portray the dominance-subordination relation of different things and place them in co-existence.
In recent years, he has even given up completely any subjective expression, allowing nature to reveal, by phenomenological intuition, itself as it is, thus his paintings are full of the beautiful perpetual movement of the subjects in stillness.
Born in Guangzhou in 1949, Szeto Lap has settled in Paris since 1975. Apart from painting, he has specialized in art theory research and has published over 25 articles and papers since 1981. He is now the Guest Professor and the PhD Tutor at the China Academy of Art, and the Editorial Executive Member of the “Twenty-First Century” Bi-monthly Magazine of the Institute of Chinese Studies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. He was the Director of Institute of Phenomenology of Art at the Academy in 2010.
Since 1979, he has held exhibitions at important museums and galleries in France, Italy, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, including the Grand Palais in Paris (1980), Lubiam International Exhibition in Italy (1981), “In Situ” exhibition at Centre Georges Pompidou (1982), “Brilliant Tranquility – Szeto Lap” touring exhibition at National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Guangdong Art Museum, China Academy of Art and University Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong (2003-2004), “Painting of Being There – 20 Years of Figurative Expressionist Painting in China” at China Art Museum (2014).
He received Italian painting award Prix Lubiam (1981), the Fénéon Prize from the Paris Academy (1982), the Grand Prize of Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts Institute of France (2000). He was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres awarded by the President of the French Republic (2004), and the Friendship Award by the Chinese Government (2014) for his artistic and cultural contribution.