From the Abstract to VR, toying with theories, The Jinan Exhibition

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While preparing this blog and reading through the artists’ statements below there has been a lot of reference to constructing and perceiving reality which puts in mind the subject big data and VR, huge phenomena of our time. When symbols such as words fade away to be replaced by shared knowledge of communication, such a shared virtual reality, it can alter how we live and behave. We now exist in a very different space and time and it is the abstract form of art which points out to us a few basic building blocks.  


This exhibition curated by Ma Yiying opens up a dialogue and considers where the abstract form is positioned within a global context. The exhibition is held in the beautiful garden grounds of Yongquan, Jinan. The two week event is a response to earlier exhibitions held in the US (April 2018) one in the United Nations in NYC and the other in Michigan.  Of course it would be difficult not to notice the big international masters names Joseph Beuys, Antoni Tàpies and CY Twombly and others alongside renowned Chinese abstract artists whom I had the pleasure to meet in Jinan such as Deng Guoyuan, Wang Yigang, Meng Luding, Gu Liming, Yuan Hailong, and Liu Yingqing .

Participitaing Artists:

Joseph Beuys(Germany), Antoni Tàpies(Spain), Cy Twombly(USA), Girar Bourriau(France), Niamh Cunningham(Ireland), Carl Janes(USA), 邓国源Deng Guoyuan, 马路Ma Lu, 谭平Tan Ping, 王易罡Wang Yigang, 孟禄丁Meng Luding, 顾黎明Gu Liming, 袁海龙Yuan Hailong, 刘影青Liu Yingqing

Considering I am unable to speak to the great masters from “the other side “ I have found some relevant quotes on line for Beuys, Twombly and Taipes  which  I hope match their work in this exhibition.



Joseph Beuys(Germany), 


School is universal. That means, on the street – when you talk about these things with people at the grocer’s; the school is at the grocer’s at that moment….I just want to encourage everyone to take this into their own hands, the educational process.. .We don’t need a brilliant talent somewhere. Precisely the ability that one has at the moment must be put to work. Talks at Documenta 5′, 1972


The first classroom at Confucius followers palace at Qufu city Shandong where we visited after the exhibition opening. 







Cy Twombly(USA),

Commissioned for the Winter 1984 Olympics 

What the artist said: Quote of Twombly in ‘Writings’, Flash Art International, Laura Cherubini, October 2008 (translation from Italian: Beatrice Barbareschi)

Each line is now the actual experience with its own innate history. It does not illustrate — it is the sensation of its own realization. [a written art note by Twombly on a painting he created in 1957].


Antoni Tàpies (Spain)

What the artist said: Quote from A Report on the Wall, Antoni Tàpies , text translated from Catalan: ‘Comunicació sobre el mur’, in ‘La pràctica de l’art’, Barcelona: Ariel, 1970

..the wall, the window or the door — and so many other images that parade in my canvases — are indeed there and I am far from trying to hide the fact. …..My walls, windows or doors — or at least my suggestions of them — do not avoid their responsibility and hold their full archetypal or symbolic weight.


Liu Yingqing刘影青 (USA) 

What the artist says:

The process of one’s life is like a poem. The mood I felt when I painted this work at that time was an expression of attitude, fragment in time and emotion in life… one of my goals is to capture the rhythmic and poetic aspects of life.



Carl Janes (USA)

What the artist says: 

Anything that is created fundamentally alters the fabric of reality. My work attempts to break through constraints and result in an object that is in itself a key to unlocking a new freer present.


Gu Li Ming , 顾黎明












What the artist says:

I explore the two relationships between man and nature through Jing Hao’s “Shan Shui Fu”, both the semi-hidden and half-present relationship between human beings on the natural environment. This process incorporates collage and the folk art of tearing paper. Whether it is the image of a mountain or the rhythm of water, inspiration and nourishment is sourced by the traditional Chinese culture and art. In the interlacing of lines and colors, the inner soul of the paper is triggered by the brush stroke and the color, and the multi-intentional switching space is generated.  These traces can evoke our attachment to historical feelings, and they can also reflect our realities.


Meng Liu Ding 孟禄丁

What the artist says:

For this work the sense of radiance is related to my production method and language, because it is extracted into existence by the high-speed rotation of the machine yielding this state of natural tension The abstract language itself is the pursuit of spiritual expression, spiritual art itself, naturally with a sense of timelessness and infinity. So abstract art itself has this characteristic, and the visual representation of the human spirit and the world of thinking tends to be a sense of eternity beyond reality.


Wang Yi Gang王易罡

What the artist says: 

The biggest enemy is “self”. The first thing to subvert and target is yourself. Especially for artists, the first thing to do in the studio is to cut your hands and feet and cut off the extra things. I recently listened to a novel called “Happy People”, in which a protagonist called Huang Wei, he learned a kind of kung fu called “reinforcement of the meridians.” He first destroyed his own meridians and then reconnected them, and each time he reshaped it would become even stronger. The same is true in painting, destroying oneself and re-birth, that is what renews a fresh life. Your confidence will grow stronger and stronger in countless destructions, and your claims will be more clearly expressed.


Deng Guo Yuan

What the artist says :

The Garden series confronts nature in a way that is oscillating between imagery and abstraction.   The fast strokes are merely rough shadows, some with soft light whites and then other ambigious areas that absorb the base of the paper. From a distance the viewer can identify the language like nature of Chinese painting but the closer the viewer gets the further the departure is from that origin. This exploration of the viewing process is also of interest, while interpreting abstract symbols, the eyes have to refocus repeatedly, just like an ancient scroll, and the whole image gradually emerges as it is – viewing as a reading act as an interpretation in the viewing process.



Yuan Hailong 袁海龙



Niamh Cunningham 瑞莲

What the artist says: 

The sucrose series explores loss and reclamation through process and materiality. It involves a sequence of multiple interventions and explores how the physical matter itself can continue to push the creation event. Some of the interventions include sewing, ‘burning off’ the digital image from the surface, adding colour and of course the crystalisation process of sugar. Once I am finished working on the ‘sugar painting’ the process of crystalisation may continue to transform and obliterate. 


“Refined through a century of development abstract art has evolved considerably’ said curator Ma YiYing.  “There are qualitative changes in the human cultural such as artistic concepts triggered by the Internet and AI and other scientific and technological achievements, abstract artists are also reflecting on and challenging themselves to seek the possibility of responding to the times and constantly surpassing themselves.”


Media Links 

Link 1

Link 2 


Sincere thanks to curator Ma YiYing, to the Federation of Literary and Art Circles of Jinan City and Management committee of Nanshan District, and to Yuan Hailong and the Jinan Yongquan Academy . 

I would also like to personally thank Ma Yiying and his wife Xiao Xu for the action packed adventures exploring  the Confucius city of Qufu  and the mountain of Taishan. Also thanks to artists Liu Yingqing and Carl Janes for the enlightening chats and wonderful company. 




Her Name Penninsula Art Museum Weihai, Shandong 16 July- 22 Oct 2021
Linear….. showing at LangKong Art Museum (朗空美术馆) 07.7-30.7.21
Currently Showing in Suzhou Couples Retreat Gardens
The Second Step – mini solo of 18 portraits in HouHai from 6.6 tp 8.8
Astro World Exit Tourism – Group exhibition June 2021
Recently ART Beijing 2021 Booth B28 Irish Contemporary Art
Niamh Cunningham- Bio 。。。个人简介-倪芙瑞莲
Current Events 正在展出



2021年3月4月 ART Beijing 2021









202012 艺术推动可持续未来” 中国企业社会责任国际学术研讨会, 北京泰富酒店




20207  “沉默的爆破”,无锡外滩美术馆,江苏无锡, 7月11日至31日



2019年11月”中国 爱尔兰  MUSEu&m , 上海

*2019年11月装置中国—红房子首届国际户外装置创作营在乐山沙湾红房子开营 …开始阶段

*2019年8月*Gobi Heaven- August 戈壁。天堂-八月

*2019年7月”1919″ 爱尔兰  Sligo -Hamilton Gallery  

*2019年5月“胜日寻芳“ 山东济宁市泗水等闲谷艺术粮仓美术馆

2019年5月-16 爱尔兰大使馆布卢姆日的展览

20195-6  《一张棉花纸》   在宋庄东区玖层美术馆展出



*2018年11月-12月“地图与疆域”国际艺术邀请展 北京吉利学院


*2018, 10月中欧国当代艺术全球巡展·上海

2018, 9月-10月“纸上·至上”展览,沈阳市拓•空间,

2018, 6月-11月诗人叶芝日,爱尔兰,斯莱戈(SLIGO),汉密尔顿艺术画廊

*2018年8月 淮阴艺术馆提名展,淮安市

*2018, 8月 “纸上·至上”展览, 鄂尔多斯,

*2018 , 6月30日 济南“国际抽象艺术展”

*2018 , 6月17 日 纸上•至上2018 在青岛,

*2018 , 5月20 日存在-国际女性艺术展,湖南长沙,

*2018 , 4月21 日延缓的时间,4月21日-29日,红门画廊,798艺术区

*2018 , 4月20 日 挖掘,,和画廊,来鹏高尔夫俱乐部

*2018年4月-12日 挖掘, , 展览,悦美术馆,北京798艺术区




*2017年12月末至2018年1月末, 《时间之外》主题艺术展, 北京中关村融科资讯中心

*2017年12月, 形质与叙事, 形质与叙事, 东岳美术馆

 *2017年12月,广州新造当代艺术中心,纸上·至上 纸艺作品群展.

Upcoming Exhibitions

* AstroWorld Kun Art Museum June 5

*Portraits (solo) Joybeans  Hou  Hai 6.6-8.8

*River things  Suzhou Zhenyuan garden UNESCO world Heritage Training and Research centre June 12 th

Current Exhibition


Recent  exhibitions:

*Art Beijing  2021 Booth B28  Garden of Friendship

*“Art promotes a Sustainable Future” China CSR international symposium Dec 2020.

*Silent Explosion, Wuxi Bund Art Centre, Jiangsu,  July 11-31 2020

* Sculpture project in HongFangzu , Shawan, Sichuan , begining phase Nov 2019

Current Exhibition

*China Ireland exhibition at MUSEU&m, near the Bund , Shanghai, Nov 29th 2019

* Sculpture project in HongFangzu , Shawan, Sichuan , begining phase Nov 2019

*1919 – Group Exhibition (Hamilton Gallery) in New York, Irish Consulate

*1919 – Group Exhibition Hamilton Gallery , Sligo , Ireland July – September

*Gobi Heaven Art Festival , Inner Mongolia , August 2019

*A piece of Cotton Paper  9th floor gallery Songzhuang June 15th

*”Winning the Day ‘ Granary Art Centre,  SiShui , Shandong, May – June 2019

*Beyond the form of Art , Wick Art Centre , Budapest, Hungary may 2019

*Odyssey The Return ; group exhibition at Dong Yue Art Museum, Beijing  in April

Map and Territory Art IRRCA at Beijing Geely College Nov 20- Dec 20 2018

*Thousands of Sprouts, an experimental online exhibition – by Elizabeth Ross  Nov 2018

* On Paper Supreme, Gwangju Art Museum Beijing Creative Centre Songzhuang Nov- Dec 2018

*China Europe Internaitional Contemporary Art Global Tour Shanghai Oct 2018

*An Irish Airman foresees his Death – Hamilton Gallery Sligo, Ireland June – Nov 2018

*On Paper Supreme, Extension Space, Shenyang, Liaoning,  Sept 16th – Oct 21st  2018

*Artist Nomination Exhibition, Huaiyin art gallery, Huai ‘an shi, Jiangsu, July-Aug 2018

*On Paper Supreme, Ordos Culture and Art Centre , Inner Mongolia , Aug 17th – Sept 10th  2018

*International Abstract Art , ChungChuen College, Jinan, July 2018

* On Paper Supreme, QingDao , Tiantai Art Centre, June 2018

* Existence , International Feminist Art Exhibition,  Mezzi Bookstore Art Space , Changsha

* Excavations 20 April-4th June  He Gallery, Golf Club.

*’Mortgaged Time’ 21st- 29th April at Red Gate Gallery , 798 Beijing  April 21st

*’Excavations’ 12-18th Enjoy Museum 798,  Beijing   preview 5 pm 12th April

* 5 week residency at Guanlan Printmaking base , Shenzhen (Feb-March 2018)

*Lunar New Year theme exhibition “Red Fruit” showing at Raycom IT centre, Zhongguancun,  28th Jan continues to March 3rd, organised by RoveArt , supporting the Female Protection Fund.

*Chinese & Foreign Visual Arts Hunan,  at the Meixi Academy Book Complex, Changsha Dec 26th to Jan 26th 2018.

* ‘Beyond Time’  Raycom IT Centre, Zhongguangcun, Beijing Dec – Jan 27th  2018

*”Qualitative Phase and The Narrative” Beijing Film Academy Triennial Exhibition at Dong Yue Art Museum, Beijing, curated by Li Zhen till Dec 18th 2017…………………………………………….


由此及彼——中(国)爱(尔兰)女艺术家邀请展 The Pattern That Connects Sept 2020
Wuxi Bund Art Centre “Silent Explosion”
My interview with Today Art Museum and Today Art Media on the COVID era

Recent Interview , click on above image April 2020

Link to newspaper coverage -Carlow Nationalist (click on image)

In Her Eyes, F&E 100x100cm acrylic on canvas, 倪芙瑞莲Niamh Cunningham 2019

Silent Explosion
‘China-Ireland’ exhibition Shanghai Nov 29th 2019

China Ireland exhibition at MUSEu&m, Shanghai , opening Nov 29th

Early stage – Sculpture project HongFangzi ShaWan Sichuan
‘Whirls in the Old’ in New York at the exhibition ‘1919’

1919-Whirls in the Old Terezin acrylic on canvas 30x30cm Niamh Cunningham 2019

Gobi Heaven Art Festival August 2019

Participating in the International Artists program for this exciting event in the Gobi Dessert

Jul.Aug 2019 Group Exhibition , Hamilton Gallery , Sligo, Ireland and also Sept 2019 at the Irish Consulate Offices , Park Ave NYC
Granary Art exhibition SiShui Shandong June 2019

Granary Art Exhibition SiSHui , Shangdong June 2019 click on image

Swim Duck Video …30 sec clip of original work recently shown at Bloomsday event at Embassy of Ireland Niamh Cunningham 2019
clip from Swim Duck video Niamh Cunningham 2019

Clip from 'Swim Duck' Video by Niamh Cunningham 2019

Group exhibition in Sishui, Shangdong 正在展出

Granary Art Museum , Sishui, Jining , Shandong

April /May 2019 in Budapest 近期展出匈牙利

Currently showing in Budapest Aprli- May 2019

Wandering Rocks series of portraits 游岩系列
Talk on James Joyce at Bookworm with prof Fu Hao 乔伊斯座谈会
Aritst Talk on James Joyce at Beijing Bookworm

Talk on James Joyce at Bookwork Beijing April 2019

RTE interview on preparing for upcoming group exhibition 2 min clip
Web Of Fabulous Grass – Sucrose Series Click on image for Artist Profile English &简体中文
Artist talk at Beijing Geely College Dec 11th 2018
Map and Territory project Nov -Dec 2018 at Beijing Geely University
Map and Territory

Map and Territory

-.On Paper Supreme made its final exhibition for 2018 in Beijing Songzhuang opening Nov 16th
Group exhibition Hamilton Gallery, Sligo
Hamilton Gallery Sligo - Lonely Impulse 2

A response to WB Yeats poem 'An Irish Airman Foresees his Death'

Group show Oct 27th Shanghai Bund 27 The House of Roosevelt House , the Bund Shanghai
Recent ‘At your Leisure’ Summer exhibition Jiangsu “悠游“——淮阴艺术馆
exhibited in Jinan curated by Ma Yi Ying
With curator Guo Zhen at the opening of Existence in Changsha , exhibition continues till end of July 2018


简体中文Artist Interview & Profile for the Art Project ‘Existence’
Group exhibition at Red Gate in April 2018 focussing on antiwar poet Ingeborg Bachmann
Niamh Cunningham 'Bachmann Girl' 2017

Artwork for poster is 'Bachmann Girl' 100x100cm Acrylic on Canvas by Niamh Cunningham 2017

Excavations showing at Enjoy Museum 798 April 2018

Excavations , a cross collaborative exhibition showing contemporary art by Chinese and Irish artists , showing in Enjoy Museum, 798 , 2018.4.12

Very honoured to have Irish Ambassador Eoin O’ Leary visit Chinese New Year exhibition “Red & Fruit”

Irish Ambassador Eoin O'Leary with subway paintings at Raycom Centre exhibition Feb 2018

Stay updated with Niamh’s work and her trips around Beijing

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