Mar 28, 2014

Observe in Silence(paintings)

Long Museum West Bund

Re-View——Opening Exhibition part of Ancient•Contemporary

Classic Chinese painting and and interpretation, which echo calligraphy have their own traditions of and requirements for appreciation, observation the forms in which paintings and calligraphic works are presented, for example, hanging scrolls (lizhou), hand scrolls (shoujuan), album leaves (ceye), and fan surfaces (shanmian) as well as hall paintings (zhongtang), stripe scrolls (qintiao) and screens (pingfeng). The hand scroll is a typical example, as one can unfold it slowly and appreciate the details. There are notions such as "the shape of the mountain changes step by step,"“[…]can travel, wander, and can dwell," and "cavalier perspective." The audience encounter and play with art by letting their eyes ramble slowly across a work, thus savouring its "form and spirit" (xingshen), "brush and ink" (bimo), "artistic realm" (yijing), and "character" (pingxing). Therefore, it is the "subtlety" and “transcendence" that classic Chinese paintings and calligraphic works emphasize. "Hall paintings" and "screen paintings" are associated with the setting where ancient people appreciate art, for example, a study or a hall, while "fan surfaces," "stripe scrolls," and "album leaves" are related to the way of living or the Four Arts exercised by Chinese literati (which include the seven-stringed musical instrument qin, the board game weiqi or go, calligraphy, and painting, namely qin, qi, shu, and hual. Another requirement by ancient people is that one should bathe oneself and burn incense with qin music before appreciating a painting or a calligraphic work. It would be better if there is also a fair landscape with mountains, water, and flowers. The purpose of all these is to help the viewer enter an undisturbed artistic state of mind so that he or she can relish and contemplate on the masterly use of brush and ink, the philosophy in the artistic realm, as well as the ambience in a quiet and elegant setting. This is what people call "observation in silence." Times and circumstances may differ. So may one's own state of mind. However, classical works and cultural heritage that ancient people created will shine through ages. We should try our best to concentrate on and "observe in silence" the works and their spirit, as well as their connection to our inner selves. Both of the ideals: "to purify one's mind in order to comprehend a philosophical concept" lchenghuaiguandaol and "to be enlightened and to grasp the spiritual essence of art" (wuduitongshen) originate from "observation in silence." As a matter of fact, whether one is to "converse with delight" or to "interpret the subtlety," what counts is "observing in silence," which is the prerequisite for any delight or interest. Only by doing so can we possibly read the mind of ancient people, apply its use to the reality, spirit, mindset, and thinking in the contemporary world, and "set our eyes and minds free" to complete a spiritual odyssey.
Superadmin Long Museum West Bund 龙美术馆西岸馆
Credits: Story

Director:Wang Wei
Curator:Wang Huangsheng,Cao Qinghui,Guo Xiaoyan

Credits: All media
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