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Inside the White Cube: New Moroism

31 May 2023 - 9 September 2023



White Cube Hong Kong is pleased to present ‘New Moroism’, a group exhibition which brings together four artists who seek to expand the parameters and ideation of figuration in painting.

Part of a generation of artists emerging from Asia in recent years, Chris Huen Sin-Kan, Timothy Lai, Su Yu-Xin and Michael Ho reflect a new approach and sensibility, responsive to the trans-regional and ethnic shifts on the continent. Embracing the concept of ambiguity within their paintings, the artists each explore Moroism, an aesthetic paradigm which is derived from the ‘mōrōtai’ style (mōrō literally translated as ‘vague’ or ‘indistinct’) that emerged in Japan of the late Meiji era (1868–1912), also found as a pictorial intention originating in traditional Chinese painting theory.

Determined by the artists’ shared East Asian heritage, the works in this exhibition are grounded in personal narrative. Chris Huen Sin Kan’s large-scale oil paintings feature a recurring cast of characters including his wife, son, daughter and dogs. Painted directly from memory, the artist places life’s fleeting moments at the core of his work.

Incorporating a palette of gradated skin tones and elongated, distorted brushstrokes, Timothy Lai examines the ambiguity and tension of his pan-Asian identity and considers the increasingly complex interplay between nationality and race within today’s global society.

Su Yu-Xin’s dynamic landscape paintings are a testament to her meticulous practice. Inspired by the traditional ‘boneless’ method of Chinese brush painting, the artist creates her own hand-made pigments from collected natural materials, which she applies to the surface in layered washes to construct nebulous, multi-perspective horizons.

Employing a similarly rigorous process, Michael Ho adopts a unique painting technique which involves pushing paint from the back of the canvas and superimposing images on the front. A second-generation Chinese immigrant, this method serves as a parallel to Ho’s quest for duality.

Informed by the artists’ individual experiences, ‘New Moroism’ is unified by a shared state of indeterminacy, reflecting the complex and rapidly accelerating nature of our global reality. This exhibition is part of the ongoing ‘Inside the White Cube’ series, which profiles artists at the forefront of global developments in contemporary art who have not previously exhibited with the gallery.


31 May 2023
9 September 2023
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