OPW hosts the “Beyond the Three Perfections” at Dublin Castle’s Coach House. In China the “Three Perfections” are poetry, painting and calligraphy.

5 October 17


The Office of Public Works (OPW) is delighted to host the “Beyond the Three Perfections” Exhibition at Dublin Castle’s Coach House (Friday, 6th October).  The “Three Perfections” as they are known - poetry, painting and calligraphy - have a long and uninterrupted history of cultivation in China.  The OPW will be donated 3 artworks as part of this collaboration from Wei Ligang, Eric Pearse (representing Patrick Scott) and from Patty Hudak.

The tradition of uniting them in a single art work captured the collective imagination during what was arguably the most culturally brilliant era in imperial Chinese history, the Song dynasty (960 - 1279 AD).  The inception of the Three Perfections can be traced to the eminent poets Li Bai and Du Fu who first instigated the inclusion of poetry into painting in the preceding Tang dynasty (618 - 907 AD).  The practice was cemented in the successive Song dynasty by prolific poet, painter, calligrapher and theorist of the arts, Su Shi. The imperial court system then ensured the anchoring of poetry, painting and calligraphy within the education system through the syllabus of The Imperial Painting Academy.  Notably, in the context of this exhibition, to be a Prime Minister in ancient China, it was requisite that one also be an accomplished poet. 

As a result of the converged art forms, the expression “The Three Perfections” emerged. It is the concept of convergence that was the incentive behind this exhibition, not as a unified work of art but as cross-pollination of ideas across culture and genre.  The exhibition explores the artistic evolution that arose from distinguished Irish painter Patrick Scott’s early discovery of Zen philosophy in the mid-1950’s in Ireland to that of Irish-American artist Patty Hudak’s ink and wash paintings inspired by President Higgins’ poetry created on her journey through Asia today. The exhibition is concerned with the convergence of art forms, but also the convergence of ideas from East-West.


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Exhibition:          Beyond the Three Perfections

Location:             The Coach House, Dublin Castle, Dame Street, Dublin 2

Dates:                  Saturday, 7 October – Friday, 8 December 2017

Times:                 10.00am – 5.00pm - Daily

Website:              http://www.dublincastle.ie

Admission:          Free

Notes for Editors

This Exhibition at Dublin Castle's Coach House features the work of Patricia Hudak, Patrick Scott, Wei Ligang and Wu Weishan and the poetry of President Michael D. Higgins.  It is curated by Emily de Wolfe Pettit.  The exhibition is proudly supported by The Office of Public Works, Kildare Village, Lian Cultural Foundation and Peking Art Associates.


Photos Attached by Julien Behal:

Photo 1 - Artist Wei Ligang with his painting at "Peacock Full Pond". 
Photo 2 - Artist Patty Hudak with her paintings "In the Forest I, variation and Woodblock with Sumi ink on Kozo Paper". 

Beyond the Three Perfections


Further high-quality photos images are available Julien Behal: julienbehalphotography@gmail.com


The works have been donated to the State.


Patricia Hudak is a modern-day artist wayfarer who began exploring the relationship between poetry in painting whilst living in Beijing in the early 2000’s, where she also studied the arts of calligraphy and ink brush painting. From 2014 to 2015 Hudak created a monumental twenty-five meter installation of acrylic on voile based on W. B. Yeats’ “Sailing to Byzantium” which was exhibited at various locations in Beijing. Of Irish decent, Hudak has latterly created a series of monochromatic works in ink on paper based on President Michael D. Higgins’ episodic poems “In the Beginning I and II” and “In the Forest I and II.” These series shall be displayed alongside Hudak’s installation “Sailing to Byzantium”. Hudak is based in Vermont and New York.


The influence of Zen Buddhism on the great Irish modern artist Patrick Scott is a lesser-known but pivotal chapter of the artist’s evolution. Scott was first introduced to Zen in 1955 by the Abstract Expressionist Morris Graves, who lived in West Cork, in Skibbereen. For Scott, who was still working on figurative depiction at the time of encountering Morris Graves, Zen’s lesser concern with doctrine in favour of direct understanding through a tranquil, self-controlled state of mind dovetailed with Abstract Expressionism’s emphasis on process and moreover, direct, unmitigated process, to make a deep impression on the young Scott. Beyond the Three Perfections features previously unseen works by Scott that mark this period of his development, alongside his Gestural Drawings and Tangram series.


Wei Ligang is one of China’s leading contemporary calligraphers and the founder of a school for calligraphy in Beijing. Just as Patrick Scott was one of Ireland’s great trailblazers in developing his own artistic language of abstraction, Ligang is one of China’s pioneers in exploring how written language may give rise to abstraction. Like Scott with an architectural background, Wei Ligang too has enriched his practice through an indirect approach. A gifted mathematician who entered the distinguished Nankai University in Tianjin at the age of seventeen, where he served as President of the University’s Calligraphy Association, the creativity that mathematics demands at a pure level has fed Wei Ligang’s imagination for creating new artistic equations to encourage lateral over applied connections for the viewer of his work. A respected innovator of cursive script, Wei Ligang has said: “If one writes tidy, rule-bound calligraphy exclusively, one can’t feel the dragons and snakes... I enjoy being set adrift in a mirage, in an abyss. Cursive script is about the strange and unexpected rather than legibility.”


Wu Weishan is the Director of the National Art Museum of China and a hugely prolific sculptor. Known for pushing the boundaries of Expressionism, Wu has now created almost five hundred sculptures, most for public commissions. Secular sculpture, heavily Western-influenced, is a relatively new introduction to the art academies of China, namely the year W. B. Yeats published “Sailing to Byzantium”, in 1928. Half a century later and the same year China was fully opening to the West in 1978, a young Wu Weishan began his study of clay sculpture in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. Unlike the abstraction that each of the painters featured in this exhibition have made the focus of their artistic calling, the genre that always held the most appeal to Wu Weishan has been figuration; moreover, how the most fabled of figures in Chinese history might be de-mystified and how those figures so ancient that only anecdotes of their personae and achievements remain today may be brought to life. Beyond the Three Perfections features his sculptural gift Wu presented to President Higgins at their meeting in Beijing in December 2014 of the ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi.