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  在中国传统山水画中,姬子先生严秉这样的艺术追求

时间:2019-12-23 19:05

  自南朝宗炳在《画山水序》中提出含道应物,澄怀味象,言象之外,畅神而已的美学观点,中国的山水画创作就沿着感性思维和意象表现的道路代代相传,涌现了许多杰出的山水画大家。所谓含道应物,是指一种审美创造的精神状态,通过对道的观照,进入一种心接万象,神游万物的自由状态。通过与自然界山水的目视心接,感受天地四时的宏观变化,体味山川万物的生生不息,从而澄怀观道,认识宇宙万物的本体与生命,感受到有无相生,虚实相依的形而上的根本境界。

  初识姬子(王云山)先生,即被其仁厚广博的胸怀所触动;再观其画,畅神与载道并重,这里的神是山川宇宙亘古激扬的风采,而非文人取象简略的即兴与闲适,也非笔墨游戏中的逃逸与自赏;这里的道既是天地之道,也是人格的铸造,画中无人,却处处跳动人本的力量,此力量外化为自然山川或荒寂、或广漠、或雄奇的状貌,营构出崇高而略带悲壮、神秘而发人幽思的山水世界。

  在中国传统山水画中,道是通过象而为我们所感知的,我们只能通过具体的视觉形象去体味象外之境,通过超以象外的形而上的表现,进入无限时空,感受人生、历史、宇宙的永恒。归根结底,中国山水画所追求的,正是一种达到精神自由的畅神境界,同时在与自然的目识心会过程之中,体味人生的有限与无限,获得一种前不见古人,后不见来者的苍茫的人生感与历史感。

  姬子先生生活在塞外燕山脚下,几十年浸透在豪迈博大的山水环境中,其山水创作出神入化,在文化精神和中国艺术本体上达到了令人惊讶赞叹的高度。几次登门拜访姬子先生在北京的寓所,都深深感动于他的那种艺术执着,敬佩于他的绘画的那种酣畅淋漓、满目浩瀚之气。

  友人向我推荐姬子先生的水墨佳作《墨道自然系列》,观后颇以为然。姬子先生的水墨,出自传统,但又不拘传统,来自自然,但又超越自然。在笔墨方面,他能够自由运用积墨皴染,表现出生动大化的云水形象,元气淋漓。但在构图方面,他却超越了时下山水画以自然山水丘壑为构图模版的写实路线,而是自由组合山川万物,疾云劲水,冰川荒漠,其中有日月若出其里,有异光照亮洞穴,有石柱自天而垂。不仅使我感受到亘古洪荒的苍茫之气,而且还产生了现代科幻大片那种宇宙寂寥。间或有鲜艳的斑驳彩色和神秘的线条纹样出现在其中,于不和谐之中令人悚然。总之,我感觉到的姬子先生的作品,其美学意趣显然不是中国传统山水画以人为视觉主体的中观山水或近观山水,而是蕴含了现代人对宇宙认识和反思的宏观山水。进而他的意趣不在山水,而是借山水以澄怀观道,反思宇宙和人类的前世今生。这使我想到85时期的著名艺术家任戬的《元化》和谷文达的一系列抽象水墨作品。这一类作品在那个时期超越了一般意义上的社会学反思,而是将当代艺术的触角伸向远古,伸向人类面对大自然时的感叹生命的哲学反思,因此被一些评论家称之为宇宙流绘画。我个人对姬子先生的作品深感奇特,觉得他的作品既传统又现代,既与我们的时代保持了距离,又切入了现代人只重物质,精神虚无,淡漠历史,不思来路与去处的生存现状。

  早在南北朝时,宗炳就曾论到:夫圣人以神法道而贤者通,山水以形媚道而仁者乐。传统山水画价值判断的视点从一开始就奠基于道这一形上学的追求。有形仅是为了媚道,在对道的体证中达到自我的愉悦,因为道的抽象与混沌,由于媚道这一文化定位的制约,传统山水之形在保持一定程度的可辨识性的基础上只能是画者用笔墨符号组合堆砌的、主观化的虚拟时空,固定的图式、程式化的手法、相对稳定的价值取向成为传统山水画的显着特征。限制与约束虽然保证了传统山水画系统的完整与纯粹,使得古人能在范山模水中抒写胸中逸气,在超以象外的画境中体证悟道,但相对成熟的系统也会呈现出相对僵化的视觉语言。如何在这一悖论中寻找突破,不仅是传统山水历时性发展中的内部要求,在近现代中西文化碰撞与挤压中更凸现出变革的紧迫。

  在今日物质至上、功利盛行的社会环境中,姬子先生的作品似乎不是那么时尚,也许不如那些批量生产的中国符号和大头傻脸能在市场上大行其道。但姬子先生的作品自有其道,这个道就是人的生存尊严,它表现为人对自然的亲近和对生命的敬畏。道法自然是艺术家对自然的体验过程中所生发的广阔、灵动、生生不息的精神空间,它与西方哲学家伯格森的思想相暗合,即将现实看作本质上是一个变化过程,是一种永无止境的绵延和生命冲动,是对有限空间的超越,只有领悟了道法自然的真谛,才能给山水画以富于生命力的境界,同时也是具有历史感的世界。

  已近古稀之年的姬子先生在五十余年的求艺悟道中,深刻感受到这种时代的焦虑、艺术发展的彷徨与困惑,他以仁立基,养浩然之气,在天道、地道、人道之间架构出自己的哲思,正如所说浩然之气,乃是天地之间的正气,它赋予人的是真善美的高度统一以及崇高、悲壮、凛烈、刚正和安详。艺术家的有为之作品,要体现无为之精神,即宇宙精神,亦即大道精神。艺术家不只是天道、地道、人道和谐相处的体悟者,而且也是倡导者,同时又是宇宙意识的追求者。姬子先生严秉这样的艺术追求,其作品正是此责任承载的具体体现,故名其山水为墨道山水。从下面一段话可看出其自律的追求,看我的画,产生不了愉悦的快乐,轻松的消遣或内行人对传统正统笔墨的鉴赏,但却能进行严肃的思想交流以及作品引发的方方面面。我的画,不是文人画的那种笔情墨趣、诗情画意,把玩戏墨、愉悦惬意的抒发心中逸气式的作品,诸如山居图、隐居图。袅袅炊烟,蒙蒙细雨,片片小舟、春柳轻拂、河鸭淌漾、鸳鸯戏水、芭蕉仕女等等。我画所迸发的是宇宙生命的不息运动及顽强地挣扎抗衡和深沉地呐喊。我力求用我的艺术语言洗刷人的压抑与困扰,谋求宇宙生命的真正含意。

  2009年5月25日于中央美院

  艺术语言作为一种方式而非表达的目的,其根本在于述说什么、怎样述说,东西方传统艺术都各自有着自己的语言体系,但我们却能从这种差异中看到艺术精神的一致性追求。姬子先生的山水画正是带着如此的历史观、时代感以及强烈的使命感来锤炼自己的艺术语言,既深入传统山水画语言的纵向脉络,又对西方艺术进行横向剖析,在纵横择决中,为自我体貌开拓出一片新境。

THE DAO MODELS ITSELF ON NATURE

  缘道立象心源造境

A Critique of Jizis Paintings

  象是视觉艺术之根本,不同的山水形象有着不同的趣味与境界。董其昌的南北宗论着眼于平淡天真的文人审美以及笔墨的独立意味来抑北扬南,在发展文人笔墨的同时却丧失了山水真景之美,且为图式的雷同与陈陈相因埋下了伏笔。南北有别,自山水画发展之初就已体现出来,但这首先基于造化之功,不同自然条件当有不同的地貌特征,荆、关领衔的北方山水画派与董、巨所开的南方山水画派庶优庶劣?这样的辨识并无多大意义,北地多豪气,南人多柔婉,审美取向的差异并不能直接说明其高下。姬子先生生于北地,自然受这方水土滋养,无论其冰雪山水、墨道山水还是后来渗透宇宙意识的自构新境,都显然源于北方山水。当然,个人际遇只是外部因素,心源和具有历史穿透力的文化认识才是姬子先生的内在驱动。

  Yin Shuangxi

  姬子先生敏锐地抓住了传统绘画的超越性精神本质,继承了澄怀观道澄怀味象的思想,思考中国画所追求的最高境界究竟是什么。他从儒、道、释各家中吸取文化精神营养,体悟原天地之美而达万物之理、大象无形、大音稀声、视之无形,听之无声,于人之论者谓之冥冥的道的超然境界,并把道的狭隘理解推演开来,赋以时代的活力,他统称禅、儒、道的精神为大道精神,这种大道精神既是人格修养的有机内容,也是向自然投射的情怀,并最终以超越自然的象呈现出来。

  Zong Bing of the Southern Dynasties in his Preface to Landscape Painting first raised the aesthetic concept that: The sage responds to things by keeping with the Dao; worthies clarify their minds to appreciate images. Apart from discussing images, art is just a matter of an unimpeded spirit. Chinese landscape painting followed this sensuous way of thinking and displayed combinations of the objective image and subjective perception of the image from generation to generation, producing a large number of landscape painting Masters. The saying that the sage responds to things by keeping with the Dao indicates an aesthetically creative state of mind: by reflecting on the Dao, the artist enters a state of freedom where his mind accepts a myriad of images and his spirit wanders freely among them. By means of visually perceiving and mentally connecting with natural landscapes, an artist experiences the macroscopic changes of Heaven and earth and the four seasons, and savors the perennial nature of the life of the myriad of things. From this, the artists purifies his mind to glimpse the Dao, acknowledges the ontological nature and life of the myriad of things in the universe, and experiences a fundamentally metaphysical realm where being and non-being mutually arise, and unreality and reality are mutually interdependent.

  在其早期的冰雪山水中,多以西藏雄壮而神圣的山川和长城内外燕山山脉为主,经过主观的裁减,又幻化为带有普遍意义且气势空阔的景象,其中的典型藏区古庙和蜿蜒长城,是人类自身力量的显现,也成为画面的视觉中心;以连绵起伏的崇山峻岭为主体,崔巍雄奇、云层环绕、激荡翻腾,以静屹的建筑形成画面中的反动力,内蕴中迸发出极大的张力。肃穆圣洁的雪山,幽深诡秘、变幻多姿的云雾,庄严深邃的古庙,厚重沉闷的喇嘛长号,浓郁的宗教氛围,博大精深的民俗风情这种奇绝的自然风光、神秘远古的人文景观、厚重的文化积淀,向人类昭示着永恒的魅力和神秘的诱惑。墨道山水及其后带有宇宙精神的新构,进一步提炼出超越时空的山川景象,既像远古的溶洞、又如未知的外太空,各种山形交错、挤压,并与圆形相互层叠,形成多维的意象,具有强烈的象征意味,正如姬子先生所言:我所探索的山水画,画中的山水已不是自然界中用肉眼所看到的山,也不是其它山水画中对自然界山的摹仿化、装饰化、风景化的再现。而是一种符号,一种尽可能有意味艺术化的象征符号,我要借用这符号表现我主体思想深层的意识,使我的深层意识通过画中物,尽可能直觉把握地溢出来。他把传统山水画创作过程中的天人合一心理状态,通过直觉把握,直观地在画面表现出来,成为可视的审美对象,这种迹化的道境给人以神秘玄妙、崇高悲壮、圣洁之感。张力之大,境界之宽给人心灵震撼,灵魂似乎得到了一种超拔的净化。

  In traditional Chinese landscape painting, we perceive the Dao by means of the image, as we humans are only capable of appreciating the realm beyond the image by means of a specific visual image. By means of the metaphysical expression of what is beyond the image, we enter an infinite space-time continuum in which we experience the timelessness of human life, history, and the universe. Ultimately, that which Chinese landscape painting seeks is the realm of an unimpeded spirit which achieves spiritual freedom while, at the same time, in the process of the eye recognizing and the mind knowing nature, we appreciate the limited and unlimited aspects of human life, and we obtain a sense of human life and history as boundless and unprecedented and unrepeatable.

  局部塑形整体重构

  A friend recommended to me Mr. Jizis masterpiece The Dao of Ink Nature Series that, after I viewed it, I felt really was a masterpiece indeed. Jizis ink paintings are traditional but are not confined to tradition; they derive from nature but they also go beyond nature. With regards to the brush and ink aspect, he freely uses brush strokes tinted with accumulated ink to express images of clouds and waters undergoing vivid transformations and exuding vitality. With regards to his compositions, he surpasses the realistic representations of present day landscape painting that uses natural mountains and rivers, hills and valleys, as templates for composition. Instead, he freely assembles mountains, rivers, and the myriad of things, vigorous clouds and robust waters, glacial streams and desolate deserts, that seem to have an inner sun and moon illuminating caverns with an unusual light, and that have stone pillars hanging vertically from the heavens. Not only did Jizis landscape paintings cause me to experience an ancient and primitive boundless energy, but they also produced that kind of universal solitude that one finds in modern science fiction films. In between some of the spaces in the paintings are bright spotted colors. Mysterious linear patterns appear among these colors, making a person feel disturbed by the chaos.

  勾、皴、擦、点、染是传统山水画笔墨表现的基本方式,或按照作画流程单独使用,或灵活套用;对于山石的表现,也大多石分三面,勾线后稍加皴、染,分出阴阳,从不同的山水地貌中提取并最终形成多种程式化的手法,如斧劈皴、披麻皴、折带皴、荷叶皴、马牙皴、米点皴等等,实际上是以线为单位或缩短为点、或扩展为面,形成了点、线、面三个不同的皴法集合。由于造象的独特性,姬子先生针对传统山水画在表现冰雪天地方面的薄弱点,创出了如雪麻皴、雪劈皴、雪坡皴、雪窝皴等独特的技法,体现为以面为塑造的基本单元,面里透线,灵动而不乏墨趣,形成斑驳沧桑的山石质感,颇为符合现代审美视觉;面与面之间的前后关系利用一定的明暗手法,既有体块的份量感,又暗合传统山石阴阳转化层层推进的平叠法。北宋的全景式山水不仅注重近取其质,追求局部山石的精微,从中体证物理,而且远取其势,在整体气势中透射出山水永恒之道。姬子先生充分吸收了宋人山水画中的理法观念,在局部塑形充分的基础上,整体上采用大架构,虚实相济,动静相参,满布画面的云气流荡在群山之间,多用层层积染的手法,既厚重淋漓,又小心留白,保持云气不可测其端倪的外形,显然是借鉴了西方风景画中白云的处理方式;同时,为了增强视觉上的对比度,在全景画中把握节奏感与兴奋点,姬子先生还巧妙的利用光的作用,最黑与最白的物象并置对比,视觉张力突显。

  In short, I felt that Jizis artworks and his aesthetic interests quite clearly differed from Chinas traditional landscape paintings that use intermediate or close view landscapes with humans as the visual subject. Jizis artworks are instead macroscopic landscapes that imply modern humanitys understanding of and reflections on the universe. Further, Jizis interest is not in landscapes per se, but in borrowing landscapes to purify the mind and glimpse the Dao, and to reflect on the past and present of the universe and of humanity. This made me think of the famous artists of the 1980s, Ren Jian with his Creations and Gu Wenda with his series of abstract ink artworks. These kinds of works during that 1980s surpassed the general sense of social thinking, and stretched the tentacles of the art of that period back to the ancient, back to a time when philosophical reflections on humanity in the face of nature struck a chord. For these reasons, the works of Ren and Gu were labelled by some critics as cosmic flow paintings. As for myself, I deeply felt the uniqueness of Jizis artworks, and I believe that his artworks are not only traditional but also modern. They not only maintain a distance from our own times, but also cut deeply into our modern existence where people only emphasize materialism, are spiritually empty, indifferent to history, and think about neither what came before nor what lies ahead.

  传统山水画在构图上讲究布置与经营,更多体现出一种平面的意味,尤其是两宋山水画之后,空间感已逐渐消退殆尽,三远法也更多独立运用,引人入胜的山水空间不再可居、可游。视觉上的贫乏,自然不会激起内心的震撼,姬子先生在墨道山水系列中,完全打破了传统的程式化构图,进行立象重组,深邃而神秘的空间将人们带出现实的纷乱与困扰,进入玄远幽思的心灵圣地。为了布局的展开、景物的拓宽,道境的把握,他在继承传统的散点透视法,也即面面观的基础上,创造了四维空间以上的透视法,他称这种透视法为多维透视法。他说:宇宙至深至极,其时空没有方位、方向。尽可能地扩大作品表现形式的有限度和体现作品精神境界的无限。同时,改变了传统的虚实关系,一反传统的虚无淡化,融会贯通了西画的虚实关系,大大加强了作品的张力,并溶合版画的黑白关系,光效应,大胆启用被传统视为的死墨,加强画面的整体纵深感。同时也借鉴了平面构成的某些因素,光圈与山石透叠穿插,其明暗效应如同时空隧道般不可捉摸。

  In todays social environment where materialism reigns and the utilitarian prevails, Jizis artworks do not appear fashionable, and perhaps they are not as good as the mass produced Chinese symbolic and big and dumb paintings that are so popular in the art market. Jizis artworks, however, have their own Dao. This Dao is the dignity of human existence, an expression of humanitys closeness to nature and reverence for life. That the Dao models itself on nature refers to the vast, lithe, and perennial spiritual expanse that comes from the process of artists experiencing nature. This spiritual expanse coincides with the thought of the Western philosopher Bergson in that it takes reality as essentially a process of change, a kind of never ending duration and life force that transcends the limits of space. Only an artist who realizes the truth that the Dao models itself on nature is capable of giving landscape painting a realm full of vitality that at the same time is a world with a sense of history.

  庄严崇高幻化光辉

  25 August 2009, the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing

  我的画,不是那种只停留在愉悦心情、陶冶情操的层面的东西(当然也包含这些)。我也不要求看我画的人都懂,我只求看我画的人的初始感觉,通过初始的直觉,进入理性思考,通过思考得出自己的认识,我想这种认识,不管以什么角度,都会和我的深层意识有关系。我力求这种关系的震撼力以及对于心灵的撞击与洗涤。姬子先生极为明确自己艺术的终极关怀与追求,他概括为诗的哲学化境界以及高度的人文精神境界,哲学的深度思考使其作品带有强烈的精神穿透力,甚至如宗教一般动人心魄。

  Translated by E. F. Connelly, PhD

  宗教作为一种信仰,其最大特点也许正体现为精神的超拔性和纯粹性。姬子先生说的好艺术的宇宙精神,不是宗教,却有着宗教性的精神。他的冰雪山水本就多描绘圣地气象,在荒寂苦难的雪域高原上,踽踽独行的牦牛、巍巍静谧的宗庙、供于膜拜的石上牛头都是宗教力量的集中体现,苦难与崇高、肃穆与庄严,人文生命与自然精神在共鸣同振中指向永恒。在西方绘画中,光是上帝力量的象征表现,上帝如是说:我在云层中放置彩虹,作为我和大地之间契约的证明。中国传统绘画摒弃这种外在显现的方式,而回归于内心的平静与自我调适,即使画面产生一定的明暗关系,也并非西方绘画的外光描绘,多主观处理。当西方绘画作为重要参照体系在20世纪涌入并挤迫中国画发展之际,许多中国画家开始采用光的表现形式,如黄宾虹灵动的内光、李可染厚重的逆光感,使传统绘画的形态语言得到新的拓展。姬子先生用光有着自己的特点,一是形象塑造时略参明暗法,增加局部体块的质量感,此用光方式可称为轮廓平光;二是出于画面构成的整体考虑,在物象重构中以光来界形,并统摄整个画面的节奏与对比,此用光方式可称为内结构光。两种用光方式的最大特点则是幻化不居,神圣光辉得以在每一个地方闪耀。

  孔子曾提出人生自我修炼的方式志于道,据于仁,依于德,游于艺,在姬子先生这里,艺非仅游,而是承道、传道、体仁的不二选择,艺术便是其整个的生命。天行健,君子以自强不息,刚健的生命当使这位仁者的艺术自由无疆,其艺术爆发力将会持久地回响在悠远深长的中国艺术文脉中,特别是在中国当代艺术发展的整体格局中,中国的传统水墨艺术如何发展是一个重大文化选择问题,传统的并不是固守不变的,而如何变是一个艰难困苦的实践,多少画家都为此付出一生的心血。对此,我们要说姬子先生的绘画艺术创作实践为我们提供了研究当代中国水墨转型的良好个案,去读、去看将引发我们深入思考在当代艺术历史节点中的中国艺术,所谓大器晚成永远都是中国美术史的迷人课题。

  

The Benevolent Person is Boundless, His Artworks Impressive and Natural

-A Discussion of the Essentials of Jizis Landscape Paintings

Deng Feng

  When I first got to know Mr. Jizi (Wang Yunshan), I was moved by his broad mindedness and compassion (ren). After viewing his paintings, I felt that both their uninhibited spirit and their ability to carry the Dao were equally important. By spirit here I mean the talent aroused in artists since ancient times by mountain, rivers, and the universe, not the impromptu and leisurely images of the literati, nor the escapades and self amusement of those who merely play with brush and ink. By Dao here I mean both the Dao of Heaven and Earth, and also the Dao that molds character. Even if a painting does not have people in it, still that painting pulsates with human strength. This strength is externalized as natural landscapes, some of which are desolate, some wild, and some magnificent. These paintings construct a world of landscapes that are sublime and also slightly tragic, and so mysterious that they cause people to meditate on them.

  Jizi lived beyond the Great Wall at the foot of Mt. Yan. For several decades he was steeped in a bold and broad environment of mountains and rivers. His remarkable landscape creations have reached new heights in the cultural spirit and main body of Chinese art, a cause for both admiration and surprise. I visited Jizis apartment in Beijing several times and was always moved by his artistic dedication, and admired the delightful vitality and vast spirit of his paintings.

  As early as the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Zong Bing had already theorized that: Sages use their own intelligence and wisdom to realize the Dao; worthies clarify their minds to savor artistic images that emerge from the Dao; in this way, both sages and worthies comprehend the Dao. Landscape painting uses forms to adorn and embody the Dao, allowing the benevolent (ren) to rejoice at finding enlightenment among landscapes. From the beginning, traditional landscape painting based the viewpoint for its value judgments on this metaphysical quest for the Dao. Thus forms adorned the Dao, and were physical signs of the Dao that provided pleasure to viewers. Because the Dao is abstract and primeval, and due to the constraints of the cultural position of adorning the Dao, the forms of traditional landscape painting, on the basis of maintaining a certain degree of identity, had the artists using accrued combinations of brush and ink symbols; a subjective, virtual space-time continuum; fixed drawings, stylized techniques, and an orientation toward relatively constant artistic values - all of which became the significant features of traditional landscape painting. These limits and constraints, although they assured the completeness and purity of the traditional landscape painting system, and allowed the ancients in the midst of their ability to model mountains and mold rivers to describe the unaffected spirit in their bosoms, and in the realm of going beyond the image to embody their intuition of the Dao, nevertheless, this relatively mature system also presented a relatively rigid visual language. How to breakthrough this paradox was not only an internal requirement in the historical development of traditional landscape painting, but also an issue that is now even more urgent in the face of Western cultures impact on and penetration into Chinese culture in the contemporary and modern periods.

  In the more than fifty years that Jizi, who will soon be seventy years of age, has pursued the arts seeking the Dao, he has deeply felt the anxieties of the present age, and the anxieties and confusion in the development of art. He uses benevolence (ren) as his foundation, nourishes his vast, flowing passion nature, and structures his philosophy from the Dao of Heaven, earth, and man. As the poet said: The vast, flowing passion nature is just the sense of righteousness that exists in the world. What this sense of righteousness confers on humanity is a highly integrated sense of truth, goodness, and beauty, and of the noble, tragic, strong, upright, and serene. The artworks of artists are the products of the artists taking an action (youwei) but their artworks should also embody a spirit of taking no action (wuwei). Taking no action is the spirit of the universe, the spirit of the great Dao. Artists are not only understand the harmony among Heaven, earth, and man, but also are proponents of this harmony, while at the same time they seek a cosmic consciousness. Jizi strictly grasps this type of artistic seeking: his artworks are concrete manifestations that he bears responsibility for this seeking for a cosmic consciousness, and for this reason he named his landscapes the Dao of Ink Landscapes. From the following quote from Jizi, we can see his self-disciplined pursuit of this goal: Viewing my paintings is not a cheerfully pleasant experience, a relaxing pastime, nor an experience that experts on traditional and orthodox brush and ink paintings relish, but rather an experience for those who can exchange serious ideas on all aspects of the artworks. My paintings are not the brush and ink works that the literati delighted in painting, they are not poetic paintings, and they are not paintings that play with ink, or that joyfully satisfy the artists wish to express his carefree spirit like all those paintings of mountains and recluses. My paintings do not have spiraling smoke, drizzling rain, floating boats, weeping willows, dripping ducks, matching pairs of Mandarin ducks, or Ladies Among the Plantain Trees. What my paintings set out to do is express the endless movements, tenacious struggles and rivalries, and the loud screams of life in the universe. I strive to use my artistic language to wash away humanitys depressions and troubles, and to seek the true meaning of life in the universe.

  The goal of artistic language is producing a mode of expression about art, rather than the purposeful expression of art. The fundamentals of this artistic language are what is being described and how it is being described. The traditional art of the East and the West each has its own artistic language system; nevertheless, we can see among the differences a consistent pursuit of the artistic spirit. Jizis landscape paintings use just such a historical view, a sense of the times, and a strong sense of purpose to perfect his own artistic language in order, not only to penetrate the vertical image sequence in the language of traditional landscape painting, but also to carry out a horizontal dissection of Western art, so that in making decisions about the vertical and the horizontal image sequences, the artist opens up a new realm for his own paintings features and figures.

  The Dao Inspires Creation of the Image; Mind is the Source for Creating the Artistic Realm

  The image is the basis for the visual arts, and different landscape images present different artistic interests and realms. In his Discourse on the Northern and Southern Schools, Dong Qichang emphasized a plain and innocent literati aesthetic and, by stressing the independent nature of ink and brush paintings, Dong restricted the Northern School and raised the Southern School. At the same time that Dong was developing the literati style of brush and ink painting, he was also forfeiting the true beauty of landscape painting. By insisting on using similar graphic modes and following the same painting routine, Dong in effect waylaid creative use of the brush. The Northern and the Southern Schools have their differences, something already evident from the earliest development of landscape painting. But does this initial basing of landscape painting on creative accomplishments and on the different natural conditions of different landscape features allow us to say that the Northern School led by Jing Hao and Guan Tong was either inferior or superior to the Southern School established by Dong Yuan and Ju Ran? This type of differentiation is really rather meaningless. Northern places produce a bold people while southerners are more gentle, and differences in aesthetic orientation alone do not allow us to directly declare one superior and the other inferior. Mr Jizi was born in the North and was raised amidst northern lands and waters. All of his landscape paintings - no matter whether his Snow and Ice Landscapes, his Dao of Ink Landscapes, or his later landscapes of self structured scenes that permeate the cosmic consciousness - all these landscape paintings have their origins in Northern landscapes. Of course, an individuals encounters in life are external factors, Jizis inner drive comes from finding the source for paintings in ones mind as well as a cultural knowledge powerful enough to penetrate history.

  Jizi has astutely grasped the transcendent spiritual essence of traditional painting. He has inherited the ideology of purifying the mind to glimpse the Dao, and purifying the mind to get the sense of an object. He has thought deeply about what after all is the highest realm that Chinese painting wants to attain. He has drawn cultural and spiritual nourishment from Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, and realized that transcendent realm of the Dao where the sages trace out the beauty of the universe, and comprehend the myriad of things in the universe; where great images have no forms, and great music uses sound sparingly; and where looking for it, there is no form; listening for it, there is no sound; and men who discuss it find it abstruse. Jizi has taken the narrow definition of Dao and extended it, endowing it with the vitality of the times. He collectively designates the Confucian, Daoist, and Chan Buddhist spirits as the spirit of the great Dao. This spirit of the great Dao is not only the organic content of personal cultivation, but also the projection of ones sentiments onto nature, both of which ultimately emerge as images that transcend nature.

  In the Snow and Ice Landscapes of his early period, Jizi primarily took Tibets majestic and sacred mountains and rivers, as well as the Yanshan mountain range both within and without the Great Wall, as his themes. After these themes underwent subjective cropping, they metamorphosed into scenes of universal significance and broad grandeur. Among these are scenes of traditional Tibetan temples and the meandering Great Wall, manifestations of humanitys own strength that are also the pictures visual centers. With the undulating, mighty mountains as the central subject, the magnificent towering mountains, surrounded by clouds that surge and billow, provide a counter force to the buildings on the towering, motionless mountain peaks, and to the great tension that lies hidden inside these mountains. The solemn and sacred snow mountains that are deep and secretive change into varied clouds and mists, while the deep and solemn temples, the thick and dull Lama trombones, the strong religious atmosphere, the broad and intensive folk customs - these kinds of wonderful, natural scenery and mysterious and ancient cultural landscapes are a profound cultural heritage symbolizing for humanity an eternal allure that is charming and mysterious. The Dao of Ink Landscapes and the later new compositions that permeate the cosmic consciousness have both advanced the refinement of depicting scenes of mountains and rivers that transcend a space-time continuum. These landscape paintings have images that not only appear to be ancient caves, but also some kind of unknown outer space where various types of mountainous forms interlock, extrude, and mutually overlap with round forms to create a multi-dimensional imagery that possesses strong symbolic significance. Just as Jizi himself has said: In my explorations of landscape painting, the landscapes in the paintings are not composed of mountains that one can see in the natural world with ones own eyes, nor are they reproductions of the imitated, decorated, and scenic natural mountains in other landscape paintings. Rather, the landscapes in my paintings are symbols that as much as possible signify art. I borrow these symbols to express a deep awareness of my primary ideas so that this deep awareness, by means of the objects in the paintings, can as much as possible overflow with intuitive understanding. Jizi has taken the state of mind where Heaven and humanity are one, a state of mind that exists in the traditional landscape creative process and, by means of intuitive comprehension, visually expressed this state of mind in the paintings, painting it as visual, aesthetic objects. These traces of the realm of the Dao give people a sense of the mysterious, the sublime, the tragic, and the sacred. The paintings great tension and broad realms give people a spiritual shock that seems to be a kind of transcendental purification of their souls.

  Partial Remodeling and Total Reconstruction

  Delineation, light ink strokes, rubbing, spotting, and staining are all basic brush and ink strokes and methods of artistic expression in traditional landscape painting. Some painters, based on their painting process, use these methods independently, while other painters apply them flexibly. As for displaying mountain rocks, most rocks have three tableaux: a rock is first delineated, then light ink strokes and staining are used to distinguish lightness and darkness. The brush strokes used for this were developed by painting different landscape topographies. Ultimately, the brush strokes become various types of stylized techniques. These stylized brush techniques have names such as: the axe swing stroke, the wrinkled stroke, the folded band stroke, the veins of the lotus leaf stroke, the horse teeth stroke, the dense dotting stroke, and so on. In fact, the artists used lines as units and either shortened the lines to dots or extended them for a tableau. These then became a collection of three different brush strokes: the line, the dot, and the tableau. Due to his unique way of creating images, Jizi, in connection with traditional landscape paintings display of snow and ice landscapes by using the brush to produce weak, pale spots, created unique brush techniques such as the coarse snow stroke, the split snow stroke, the wrap around snow stroke, the nest of snow stroke, and so on. These brush stroke techniques embodied the use of tableau as the basic creative unit; within the tableau, lines appear that are agile and use ink in interesting ways. These brush stroke techniques display the mottled changes in the textures of mountain rocks that are quite consistent with the modern aesthetic vision. The textual relationship among tableaux utilizes certain shading techniques that not only have a segmental sense of weight, but also coincide with the overlapping method brought about by the layered changes that traditional landscape painting used to display the shaded (yin) and lighted (yang) aspects of mountain rocks. The panoramic landscapes of the Northern Song not only emphasized having the painting show its essence when viewed close up, by which they meant pursuing a subtle view of local mountain rocks that embodies the physics involved, but they also emphasized having the painting show its power when viewed from afar, that is that the imposing manner of the whole painting radiate the timeless Dao of landscape painting. Jizi fully absorbed the Song landscape artists concepts of artistic rules and reasons. On the ample basis of partial remodeling, Jizi uses great architecture throughout his landscape paintings in which the real and the theoretical are equal, the dynamic and the static participate equally, and the clouds that completely cover the painting wander among the mountains. Jizi frequently employs the layered accumulation of ink technique that not only drips ink thickly, but can also be used to apply white carefully to maintain an outer appearance of the immeasurable traces of clouds and mists. Jizi has obviously learned from the approach to clouds in Western landscape painting, while at the same time, in order to enhance contrast, he has grasped the sense of rhythm and excitement of the whole panorama. Jizi also cleverly utilizes the role of light: the blackest and whitest physical images are juxtaposed for contrast, highlighting the visual tension.

  In composition, traditional landscape painting stressed arrangement and management so that traditional landscape painting could give even more expression to, and derive more meaning from, a planar surface. Especially after the landscape paintings of the Northern and Southern Song Dynasties, however, the spatial sense gradually became faded and exhausted. The method of the three distances became even more independently applied, and one could no longer dwell or roam in the fascinating spaces of landscape painting. The lack of a visual sense could not of course shock a viewers inner mind. In his Dao of Ink Landscape Series, Jizi completely broke with the traditional stylized composition and advanced his restructuring of images to establish a deep and mysterious space that made people realize the reality of chaos and distress, and that led them into a holy land of the soul that is mysterious, distant, and profound. In order to expand the layout, broaden the scene, and comprehend the realm of the Dao, Jizi carried on the traditional scattered perspective method, which is also the foundation for a panorama, and created a perspective on space of four or more dimensions that he named the multi-dimensional perspective. He said: The universe is extremely deep and profound, and its time and space have no location, no direction. . . . As much as possible, I expand an artworks limits on the expression of forms, and give expression to the artworks unlimited spiritual sphere. At the same time, Jizi transformed the traditional relationship between the real and the false to counter the tradition of putting less emphasis on emptiness. He also mastered Western arts relationship between the real and the false, thereby greatly strengthening the tension in his artworks, and fusing the paintings black and white relationship and the optical effects, boldly utilizing a black color that traditional landscape painting called dead black, thereby reinforcing the paintings overall feeling of depth. At the same time, Jizi learned from factors used in plane surface composition such as apertures with mountain rocks overlapped and interspersed. His shading effects are as intangible as a time tunnel.

  A Solemn Sublimity, An Illusional Brilliance

  My paintings are not the kind of paintings that stop once they have reached the level of providing the viewer with a pleasant mood or some character cultivation (although they often include these). Nor do I require that viewers completely understand my paintings. Instead, I only require that the initial feelings that people viewing my paintings have, by means of a first intuition, cause them to reflect rationally on the paintings and, by means of this reflection, come to their own understanding. I believe that this type of understanding, no matter the point of view, enables them to relate to the deepest layers of my mind. I strive to create the power to shock, and to impact and cleanse the viewers soul. Jizi is extremely clear about the ultimate concerns and pursuits of his art. He sums up that a philosophical realm of poetry and the height of a realm of the humanist spirit are the profound philosophical thoughts that give his artworks a strong, spiritual penetrating power that moves peoples souls in an almost religious manner.

  Religion is a type of belief, and the greatest feature of religion is perhaps that it embodies a spirit of transcendence and purity. Jizi puts it well: The universal spirit of art is not religion, but it has a religious ethos. His Snow and Ice Landscapes depict a sacred atmosphere: the desolate, melancholy, snowy plateau; the solitary yak walking alone; the towering, quiet temple; a cows skull placed atop a rock for worship

  • all of these are concentrated expressions of misery and nobility, solemnity and dignity that resound and resonate with humanitys cultural life and natures spirit pointing to eternity. In Western painting, light symbolizes the power of God, and God Himself said: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Chinese traditional art discarded this mode of outward manifestation, returning instead to a calm and self-adapting inner mind that in paintings produce a definite relationship between light and dark that is most definitely not Western paintings depiction of outer light, but a much more subjective process. Western arts importance as a reference system in the 20th century, however, squeezed into and pressed against the development of Chinese art, and a good many Chinese artists began to utilize light as a form of artistic expression. For example, Huang Binhongs agile use of inner light, and Li Kerans sense of heavy backlighting provided a new broadening of traditional paintings morphological language. Jizis use of light has its own distinguishing features. One feature is his strategic use of shading when creating an image so that the shading increases the qualitative sense of partial segmentation, a use of light that we might call silhouetted light. Another feature springs from overall consideration of the paintings composition where, in the reconstruction of the images, light is used as a boundary for form, and to unify the rhythm and contrast of the entire painting surface, a use of light that we might call inner structure light. The greatest characteristic of these two modes of using light is an illusionary arrangement where a holy brightness radiates from every place.

  Confucius previously proposed this formula for self-cultivation: Set your will on the Dao; be in accord with virtue; depend on benevolence (ren); take pleasure in the arts. In Jizis works, not only does art give pleasure, but art is also the best choice for carrying the Dao, for transmitting the Dao, and for embodying benevolence (ren). Art, in other words, is Jizis whole life. The noble-minded person, like Heaven itself, continues to advance with a lofty fortitude. An energetic life has caused the art of Jizi, this benevolent (ren) person, to be free and boundless. The explosive force of his art will have lasting repercussions in the context of a long ago and remote Chinese art form, and especially in the overall pattern of the development of contemporary Chinese art. How Chinas traditional ink art should develop is an issue that presents a major cultural choice. Traditional art is most definitely not something that is fixed and unchanging, but how it should change and how to put the change into practice are difficult issues, and many artists have given a lifetime of effort to this issue of how best to change tradition. With regards to this issue, we can say that the creative artistic practices of Jizis paintings have provided us with a good case to research the transformations in contemporary Chinese ink art. Studying and viewing his art should provoke us to think deeply about Chinese art at this point in contemporary art history. That a great talent takes time to mature has always been a fascinating theme in the history of Chinese aesthetics.

  (The author is a research fellow at the National Art Museum of China.)

  Translated by E. F. Connelly, PhD

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