Perface by Curator Tony Chang
Through thousands of years of Chinese art, few accomplished a true Zen approach to painting like Bada Shanren in Ming Dynasty. His fish were both inspiring and absurd. His birds soared right through the heavens into our modern consciousness. How many artists are there today who can follow in his footsteps and revitalize the ancient idea of Zen?
Chen Qi has lived in Nanjing for many years, and is renowned for his water-based printmaking art. Whether making endless waves or single lotus petals, he finds enlightenment within the old mediums of ink and paper. He spends long periods closed off from the world as he carves out his images, his spirit wandering across the paper like a silkworm spinning silk, weaving dreams that stretch across the ages.
The drunken monk Yang Maoyuan began as an ambitious youth, crossing lands and seas like Tripitaka’s journeys through the spirit world, dodging demons in his quest for the Buddha. In recent years he has been devotedly honing his craft, his hands becoming covered in calluses and cracks like the leaf of the Bodhi tree. He sits alone on the high mountain peak, looking out across the moonlit land, seeking enlightenment through painstaking effort.
Then there is the reclusive scholar Huang Jing, he who stands against the wind with a clear and tranquil mind. From his brush flows the lush landscape of south-west China, creating beautiful, poetic scenes of this watery land.
Quiet Li Xin is silent like Bada Shanren, but just as sharp of mind. He is wholly absorbed in painting, and especially gifted at landscapes. Under his brush, the great northern wilderness emerges in all of its power, with the elegant vigor of Song and Yuan painting styles hidden just below the surface. It is stripped of any decorative flourishes, even the brush play of the literati painters.
The above are all highly refined and accomplished artists. To learn of their achievements one need look no further than their art, as it is beyond the power of words to describe. As the year draws to a close, I write these simple words to reminisce about the past and welcome the coming spring.
Courtesy of the artists and Amelie Gallery, for more information please visit longyibang.com
Date: October 13th, 2011–January 20th, 2012
Artists: Chen Qi, Yang Maoyuan, Huang Jing and Li Xin
Curator: Tony Chang
Venue: Amelie Gallery, Beijing, China