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今天的水墨需要气势和力量,姬子和其他选择中国笔墨绘画媒介的画家

时间:2019-12-23 19:08

  水墨精神永远是凝固在坚实的山体中。题记

今天,中国的当代艺术呈现出多种形态。也许当下在西方圈子内最熟悉的面孔是岳敏君作品中的戏剧化卡通笑脸,像佛陀的笑容,它们第一次出现在20世纪90年代,还有是毛泽东的政治图像,如董希文的作品《开国大典》。岳敏君的绘画超越了传统,旨在寻求新的艺术身份。他的作品没有多少传统文人画的痕迹。毛泽东在世时以及去世后出现了大量他的图像,安迪沃霍尔在1972年和1973年创作了著名的作品,使得它们超越了中国的地理与文化界限,进入到了西方,它们标志着毛在20世纪中叶的中国政治与社会演化中所扮演的独特作用。再一次,许多不同的艺术家对毛的描绘和中国的传统艺术没有一点关系,因为他们都主要依据中国社会现实主义或某些波普艺术形式,这可能与中国民间艺术传统有关联。

  在上个世纪,中国的水墨绘画遭遇了很多的挑战,这种挑战和疑问,甚至那种革命性话题,至今仍然没有消失的迹象。比如一个论断认为,中国的水墨不符合时代精神,不能反映现代人的感知或体验,将水墨的创造能力与社会变迁等同起来,认为水墨已经不在当代艺术史的视野之内,这是其一;另一种论调认为,中国水墨经过一千多年的发展,已经没有可以挖掘的深度和可能性了,所有该被探索的水墨创造力都已经被前人做过,也就是今天再也无法在笔墨的形式上超越前人。

姬子属于中国当代艺术完全不同的方面。中国当代艺术不知不觉地采用了受西方影响的艺术方法,显得相当浮华。姬子和其他选择中国笔墨绘画媒介的画家,都积极地去探索传统哲学-艺术方法与当代经验之间的有意义的联系。这并不意味着仅仅按照过去的大师的方式去创作绘画。相反,姬子的绘画通过探索画面空间的描绘、多样的墨彩和笔法,获得了它们自身的一种独创价值。他的媒介是笔墨绘画,或是某种建构形式的变体。

  在这种情况下,以现代艺术理论或当代的艺术理论为根据,对水墨作为绘画的合法性产生了质疑,虽然说仍然有大量的水墨画家继续在从事绘画,但无助于艺术史的撰写,也无助于从新的艺术理论去阐发它。结果,水墨在当代的艺术空间里、在人们的印象里,水墨不再当代,不再具有艺术的当代价值。水墨因此在中国的当代处境里显得很尴尬,一方面作为中国文化的载体,或曰传递强烈中国文化因素的水墨绘画却在今天的语境里得不到广泛的学术关注,而如果仅仅停留于古典的样式或因循守旧,总不是令人满意的结果,我们所说的水墨创造力并不指一种业余式的墨戏。

我第一次接触姬子的绘画,是在2007年11月去访问他的工作室,那次是到北京在北京二外、中央美院、北京大学和中国社会科学院进行学术讲座。在我最初对姬子的绘画的印象中,我感受到了一种强有力的视觉冲击,感受到那种出自杰出艺术家之手的形式力度和表现力。深邃的墨很仔细地染了几层,唤起空间图式,其特征显现了强劲的形状、微妙的黑色调、灰色调直至白色调,间或有些红色、蓝色色块,产生一种画面的视觉、心理秩序感。他的绘画的最深刻的印象是,空间的超常深度,含有几层的强度。图像只能全凭想象去阅读,因为它们不是基于任何真实的世界事件或对象的再现作品,而是想象的产物,旨在更加激发观众的想象力。

  那么,水墨该如何具有再延伸、再推陈出新的可能呢?对此的回应有不同的策略,有的延续古典章法,细敲慢打,希望从古人的笔意中得一二真传;有的另辟蹊径,在媒介的转换上下足功夫,让水墨作为媒介与其负载的文化内涵分离;有的从现代主义艺术的形式革命上寻求水墨的笔墨革命,或曰水墨实验,希望走出另一条新路来;有的融入欧式画法,改造水墨绘画语言的胫骨,等等。在这样的局面下,对于艺术,个性永远是最具有意义和价值,个性是特殊观念的视觉化,个性既可能带来视觉经验的陌生化,也可能引起观念的冲击。就水墨而言,如何延伸水墨,不仅仅是笔墨构成的熟悉,而且也是一种艺术境界的磨炼。它应当超越于自娱自乐之上。今天的水墨需要气势和力量,需要阳刚的壮烈,而非阴柔的秀气。画家应该有大法度气象,如果中国水墨有所绘画力量的回归,应该强化那种大气派、大境界的雄壮绘画。宋人格调的山水为什么成为永恒的经典,依然是今人向往的境界?这里面是一种内敛的气质使之然,如果今天应该提倡或可以让水墨复兴其原本的创造力与力量的,就是这种豪迈的气势和雄浑的伟岸。如果中国水墨美术史还要续写,就应该关注那些坚持水墨内在逻辑发展的艺术家。

所以,姬子的水墨绘画主要是基于内在的情感或想法,而不是依赖实际的自然的观察,如中国传统山水画。他的图像激发了视觉感,以期将画面的节奏感转换到观众的内心中。在思索这些作品的过程中,就可以想象自由的形式,如风吹着云、山、溪流,或山石激荡,打乱了另一个世界的秩序,声势浩大。但是,也可以在他的构图中偶然找到一些象征性的结构形式,或甚至是象征性的动物形象,被置于旋动着的抽象形式中,富于幻想。人们甚至可以想象某些作品中有动物形象的眼睛。但是,其要点是在于去体验作品是某种视觉沉思,富于深刻的精神与文化内涵,也许根植于道家学说的哲学理解中。

  如何回应这百年来对水墨的挑战,是要看水墨新的创造力能做到怎样的程度。理论上可以论证很多批评的理由,实践上也要拿出应有的东西,使水墨显现为一种有生命力的独有艺术。

姬子就像他的许多其他同辈艺术家一样,不得不经受文化大革命的挑战,期间他被剥夺了就读正式美术教育的机会。他的艺术教育是通过他坚持不懈的创作实践、娴熟掌握笔墨而获得的。他的艺术创作的发展历程皆赖他的勤奋自学、阅读艺术着作、参学其他艺术家以及观摩北京各个美术馆藏大师作品,所有这一切又都是在姬子从事其他职业之余完成。20世纪80年代以来,他全身心地投入到艺术创作中。

  画家姬子从20世纪50年代末开始学习、创作中国山水画,经历了水墨绘画在50年代的国画现实主义运动,也经历了80年代现代主义对水墨的改造,也关注了90年代实验水墨的风风火火。姬子面对这些水墨的发展,不希望走重复或别人的路,而是要奋力画出自己的语言面貌来。姬子几十年沉浸在这种独立的探索中,以画不惊人死不休的戏言激励着自己,与水墨的本体生命守候在一起。对于笔墨存亡的争论、对于笔墨逻辑是否回归古典的倾向、对于水墨在当下凸显自身文化价值的热议,姬子都细心审视和思考,因为这些问题都是水墨画家安身立命的基础,如果没有清醒的认识和立场,作为画家将无以开展自己的艺术追求。鉴于此,他将自己的创作称作墨道山水,就是意在强化山水艺术的内涵和精神,继续以东方特有的眼光和思维来突出艺术个性,以今天的视觉经验来深化水墨的潜力。同时还不能落入原有的理论窠臼中,把笔墨当作评判的唯一标准,而是思考如何让水墨体现一种精神。这种精神永远是凝固在坚实的山体中,让识读者面对氤氲的大自然,生发出一种文化精神的共鸣。姬子希望这些自然之境被赋予一种超验的内在属性,使读者体验到来自于大自然的精神力量,而不是简单地画一画风景图,只有形式、没有内涵。所以说,墨道山水对于姬子就是探索水墨之道,探索水墨绘画在今天如何延展与深化的精神内涵问题。

姬子的绘画处在中国当代艺术这个大画卷中的什么位置呢?他属于中国当代艺术中关注中国绘画的构成内涵以及构成当代水墨绘画的内涵的主流运动中。这些争论关注了这种媒介涉及的传统观念以及现代抽象与表现理论的影响。这种传统继续着,尽管在事实上,水墨画的物质媒介与今天的媒体艺术的复杂格式相比,显得安静、温和。本质而言,水墨绘画狭义上讲,指的是用墨和笔作的画,但是广义上讲,它意味着黑白关系,单色调的绘画。它的成就几乎在于哲学与美学的理解及技法,这些都需要个体的艺术家来掌握。从事水墨绘画的艺术家都有一种愿望,就是创造的艺术要扎根在中国的文化传统中,而是努力去创建今天的新中国的有意义的生活符号。

  从语言上,姬子力图从作品图式上打破传统的程式化构图,一方面继承部分的传统散点透视,一方面也组合多重的视觉透视关系,让布局展开、景物拓宽,以改变传统的虚实关系,一反传统的虚无淡化,而把西画的虚实关系融进去,以加强作品的张力和一种版画效果的黑白关系、光效应。姬子还大胆使用黑墨,用构图的对比关系来加强画面的整体纵深感。在形迹语言方面,姬子追求自然的大笔无痕即有痕的境界,多采用积墨法,层层积染,浑厚天成。这些笔法既脱胎于水墨的经典语言,也是姬子经年累月进行实践的结果。画无常法、定法,唯有不断思考、勇于探索,才可以获得水墨绘画的积累和成绩。

中国当代艺术中的笔墨绘画的重要性可以用这个事实来证明:今天的核心艺术家都从事这种创作。如谷文达、徐冰。谷文达合作写了一本21世纪中国水墨绘画的书,是由上海美术出版社出版的。这两个艺术家都参加以笔墨为主的展览。

  从东方人的角度去看待山水,常常本能地联想到天人合一这样的文化理论。至于是否具有这样的品格,或者当代水墨是否能够传达这样的境界,则大有疑惑,不可以想当然地认为任何的笔墨绘画都具有这样的特点。因此,天人合一在阐释当代的东方水墨绘画时就陷入了怪圈,把本应该研究的目标当作自然的结论,套在许许多多的水墨山水上。在这一点上,姬子的主旨不是简单地贴标签,他不希望用一种已经虚化、用滥的语言来描述自己的作品。相反,在今天的东方人看来,他们对大自然、对于环境应该具有更多的理解和文化思考,换言之,要用今天的知识理解去看待通过水墨表达出来的绘画境地。理解决定了人们的视觉经验,而水墨在当代仍然需要理解和阐释,而且需要用今天的眼光深入到绘画的本体与超验中。

目前的兴趣产生了一系列针对当代笔墨绘画的展览。这些旨在扩大笔墨在当代艺术中的艺术可能性的实践,在最近时期的许多展览都有体现,如纽约大都会美术馆的笔墨:中国的书写艺术、北京当代艺术馆组织、在美国哈佛大学举办的进化中的当代艺术以及深圳美术馆策划、在美国费城Drexel大学展出的墨非墨展览。中国和其他地方都有很多这一起题材的展览。姬子的水墨绘画展在798艺术空间举办,也意味着参与到了建立笔墨绘画在中国的当代艺术世界的重要地位的现实对话中。

  姬子再访水墨历史的创造力,就是要从水墨媒介与文化质素中深究其内在的可能性,让水墨的历史脉络不断延展新的视觉经验与心理感应,焕发水墨创造力的新机。艺术是限制之下的自由拓展,只有冲破水墨历史积累的限制才能再次将水墨的表现力提升,这不仅是水墨绘画的重大课题,也是艺术在当代转型的重大机遇。

[美]柯提斯卡特系国际美学协会主席、美国Marquette University美学教授

REVISITING THE CREATIVE POWER OF INK PAINTING

Jizi: A bridge Between Chinese Traditional Art and The Present

-- Regarding Jizis the Dao of Ink Paintings

Curtis L. Carter

Wang Chunchen

June 21, 2009

  The spirit of ink paintings is forever set in the solidity of mountains. - Inscription

Today, the faces of Chinese contemporary art appear in many forms. Perhaps most familiar in Western circles at this moment are the theatrical caricatures of the Buddhas smile as in the works of Yue Minjun which first emerged in the 1990s, and the political renderings of Mao Zedong, for example Dong Xiwens painting Mao Declaring the Peoples Republic from Tiananmen (revised ca. 1980). Yue Minjuns painting stretches beyond the roots of tradition in search of a new artistic identity. His work leaves few traces to the literati of traditional Chinese art. The familiar images of Mao emerged during his lifetime and beyond, extending beyond the geographic and cultural boundaries of China into the West thru Andy Warhols famous rendering of Mao, 1972, 1973, mark his unique role in the political and social evolution of mid-twentieth century China. Again, the many different artists renderings of Mao bear little relationship to traditional Chinese art, as they are grounded mainly in Chinese Social Realism or some form of Pop Art, with the possibility of connections to Chinese folk art traditions.

  In the last century, Chinese ink painting encountered many challenges. These challenges and doubts, even concerning certain types of revolutionary themes, still show no signs of disappearing even today. For example, one judgment holds that Chinese ink paintings do not accord with the spirit of the times, and are thus incapable of reflecting the perceptions and experiences of people today. If we equate the creative ability of ink painting with the changes in society, we will recognize that ink painting is already missing on the art history horizon. This is one view. Another argument states that Chinese ink painting has undergone more than a thousand years of development, and there is no longer any depth or possibility left in it. All of the creative explorations that had to be made in ink painting have already been made by our predecessors. That is to say that there is no way today for us to surpass our predecessors in the forms of ink painting.

Jizi (1942-) belongs to a very different aspect of Chinese contemporary art that is fermenting quietly alongside other more flamboyant western-driven approaches to art. He and others who chose to work in the medium of ink brush paintings are engaged in a search for meaningful connections between traditional philosophical and artistic means and the present day experience. This does not mean simply painting in the manner of previous masters. Rather Jizis paintings achieve their own sense of originality through experimentation with renderings of pictorial space, varied ink colorations, and brush strokes. His medium is brush and ink painting, or some variation in the form of constructions.

  Under these circumstances, and based on modern or contemporary art theory, using ink for painting has raised questions of legitimacy. Although there are still a great many artists who continue to paint using ink, they make no contributions to the writing of art history, or to the theories of art that elucidate art history. As a result, in the contemporary art scene, and in the impressions of the public, ink painting is no longer contemporary and no longer has contemporary value. For these reasons, ink painting in the contemporary Chinese scene, cuts an awkward figure. On the one hand, it is a bearer of Chinese culture, and some say that ink painting, although a strong transmitter of Chinese culture, nonetheless, in todays context, does not receive broad academic attention. But, if we merely remain in place as preservers or followers of the ancient style, that result will please no one, because the creativity of ink painting that we are discussing is not just amateurs playing with ink.

I first became acquainted with Jizis paintings during a visit to his studio in November, 2007 during a visit to Beijing to lecture at Beijing International University, the Central Academy of Fine Art, Beijing University, and the China Academy of Social Sciences. In my first impressions of Jizis paintings I experienced a powerful sense of visual energy, driven by the formal rigor and expressive force of the masterful hand of a gifted artist. Dark inks carefully layered to evoke spatial patterns marked by energized shapes, subtle tones of black to gray to white, and with occasional daubs of reds, blues giving a sense of visual and psychological order to the painting surfaces. Most impressive in his paintings is the extraordinary depth of space with multiple layers of intensity. The images can only be read imaginatively, as they are not representational works based on any real world events or objects, but products of the imagination, intended to activate in turn the imagination of the viewers.

  Well then, what is the possibility for ink painting to come up with something new, something that will allow ink painting to continue? Those who respond to this question employ different tactics. Some want to extend the ancient method and carefully scrutinize it in the hope of obtaining a truth of two from the intent of the ancient ink painters. Others want to take a new path by exerting efforts in changing ink paintings mediums to allow ink painting to separate its medium from the load of cultural connotations that it bears. Others are searching the revolution in modern art forms for a brush and ink revolution in ink painting, while others talk about ink experimentations hoping to find a new road out. Still others integrate European style painting methods in order to transform the language of ink painting at its base, and so on.

The ink brush paintings of Jizi are thus mainly based on inner feelings or ideas rather than observations of actual scenes of nature, as is the case with traditional Chinese landscape art. His images evoke visual sensations that function to transfer the rhythmic patterns endowed in the paintings surfaces to the mind of the viewer. In the course of contemplating these works it is possible to imagine the free forms as wind driven clouds, mountains, streams of flowing water, or the clashing of rock formations that might generate powerful disruptions of the underworld. However, it is not out of the question to find in his compositions occasional symbolic architectural forms, or even symbolic animal figures placed quixotically in the midst of swirling abstract forms. One can even imagine the eye of a monster figure in some of the works. However, the main point is to experience the works as visual meditations with deeply spiritual and intellectual connotations grounded most likely in a philosophical understanding of Taoism.

  As for art in such a situation, only individuality will always have significance and value. Individuality is the visualization of special concepts. Individuality not only can bring with it the unfamiliarity of visual experiences, but it can also bring about an assault on our concepts. As for ink painting, how to extend the life of ink painting is not merely a matter of familiarity with brush and ink composition but rather a honing of an artistic realm. Ink painting must surpass being an amusement. Todays ink painting demands momentum and strength, audacity not delicacy. Painters must paint the imposing appearance of a great moral standard and, if Chinese ink painting is to revive its artistic vitality, then we must strengthen that school of painters and that realm of magnificent paintings. Why did landscape paintings in the style of the Song painters become enduring classics and are still the realm of painting for which people today long? Because in these paintings there is a type of restrained quality that made them so. Today, we must encourage or allow ink paintings to revive their original creativity and creative strength, and this then requires heroic momentum and vigorous commitment. If we are to continue to write the history of Chinas ink paintings, then we must turn our attention to those artists who adhere to the development of the internal logic of ink paintings.

Like many other artists of his generation, Jizi had to work through the challenges of the Cultural Revolution, which deprived him of the opportunity for a formal education in art. His education in art was acquired by persistence toward mastery of the brush and ink medium through unrelenting practice. His practice was augmented by diligent self-study, reading books on art, consulting with other artists, and observing master paintings in the museums and galleries of Beijing. All of this while working at various jobs including carpentry and designing art- craft works. Since the 1980s, he has devoted full time to his art.

  How to respond to the past hundred years of challenges to ink painting means seeing how far the new, creative ability of ink painting extends. In theory we can demonstrate the reasons for so much criticism, but practically we also have to grasp what is necessary to ensure that ink painting appears as a unique, viable art form.

Where do the paintings of Jizi fit into the larger picture of contemporary Chinese art? He belongs to a mainstream movement in Chinese contemporary art concerned with what constitutes Chinese painting, and ultimately, what constitutes contemporary ink painting. (Pi Daojian). The debate takes place in reference to both traditional ideas with respect to this medium and the influences of modern theories of abstraction and expression. This tradition persists despite the fact that the material medium of ink painting itself is quite, modest when compared with the complex formats of the media arts of today. Essentially, Ink painting in a narrow sense means literally painting with ink and brush, but in a broader sense it means black on white, painting of monochromatic palette. (G. Y. Wu ) Its success depends almost entirely on the philosophical and aesthetic understanding and skill possessed by the individual artist. These artists who choose to practice ink brush painting share a desire to create art that is grounded in the cultural traditions of China, while establishing meaningful symbols for life in the new China of today.

  The artist Jizi started to study and create Chinese landscape paintings from the end of the 1950s. He experienced the 1950s movement for realism in traditional Chinese painting, and he also experienced the 1980s modernist alterations to ink painting. Likewise, he closely followed the 1990s abrupt and reckless experimentation with ink paintings. Jizi confronted all these developments in ink painting, but he did not wish to duplicate a path or follow another but rather to struggle to paint with the features of his own artistic language. For several decades, Jizi immersed himself in independent explorations and inspired himself by quipping that unless the paintings amaze people, I will not rest even after death, while he waited together with the fate of ink painting itself.

The importance of brush and ink paintings in Chinese contemporary art is attested to by the fact that leading artists of today are involved in the practice. Among these are Wenda Gu and Xu Bing. Wenda Gu co-authored a book on Chinese Ink Painting in the Twenty-first Century published by Shanghai Fine Arts Press. Both artists have participated in exhibitions featuring ink and brush paintings.

  With regard to the controversies over the fate of brush and ink painting, over whether or not brush and ink painting has a tendency to return to the classical form, the heated debates about ink painting at present highlighting its own cultural values, Jizi carefully examined and pondered these issues as they formed the foundation for the careers of artists who painted with ink. If an artist did not clearly comprehend and take a stand on these issues, then as an artist he would have no way to develop his own artistic pursuits. In light of this, Jizi called his own creations the Dao of Ink Landscapes with the intention of strengthening the meaning and spirit of landscape art. Jizi continued to use the Easts unique vision in order to highlight his artistic individuality and to use todays visual experiences to deepen the potential of ink painting. At the same time, Jizi did not fall into the stereotypes of the original theories, but made brush and ink the sole criterion for judging, and pondered how best to allow ink paintings express a certain kind of spirit. This spirt is forever set in the solidity of mountains; it allows the audience to come face to face with nature; and it brings forth a sympathetic response to the spirit of a culture. Jizi hoped that these natural environments would be imbued with intrinsic properties that were transcendental, and that would allow the audience to intuit a spiritual energy that derives from nature. Jizi was not simply painting landscapes that only had form and not content. For this reason we say that for Jizi the Dao of Ink Landscapes were explorations of the Dao of ink painting, explorations of the issue of how todays ink paintings could extend and deepen their spiritual content.

The current interest has generated a series of exhibitions devoted to contemporary ink and brush painting. These efforts to extend the artistic possibilities for brush and ink into contemporary art have been documented in numerous recent exhibitions including the exhibition, Brush and Ink: the Chinese Art of Writing, at the Metropolitan Museum of art in New York (2007), Contemporary Art in Evolution organized by BJMOCA, Beijing, with venues at Harvard University (2008, 2009) in the USA, and Ink Not Ink, organized by the Shenzhen Art Museum and presented at Drexel University in Philadelphia, USA in 2009. Numerous exhibitions on this subject have taken place in China and elsewhere. The exhibition of Jizis brush ink paintings opening in Beijings 798 Art Space (June 2009) joins the on-going discourse to establish the importance of brush and ink painting in the contemporary art world of China.

  From the aspect of artistic language, Jizi strove in his artwork drawings to break with traditional stylized compositions. On the one hand, he continued a portion of the traditional scattered perspective, while on the other hand, he combined many kinds of visual perspective relationships, allowing the layouts to expand and the scenes to broaden in order to change the traditional relationship between the abstract and the concrete. Jizi opposed the traditional de-emphasizing of the abstract, instead he merged it with western paintings connection of abstract to concrete in order to strengthen the artworks surface tension and the printmaking effect of the black and white relationship, as well as its optical effect. Jizi also boldly uses dead black, and uses the contrasts between patterns to strengthen the paintings overall feeling of depth. As to his artistic sign language, Jizi seeks the natural realm where the great brush leaves no sign and that is its sign. Jizi often uses the accumulation of black method: layers of stain accumulate so that depth is naturally achieved. These brush strokes are both born out of the classical language of ink painting and also are the results of Jizis long years of practice. The paintings have no permanent, set method, but are the result of constantly pondering and boldly exploring. And only after this pondering and exploring could Jizi obtain his accumulated experiences and achievements in ink paintings.

  Looking at landscape paintings from the perspective of an Easterner, I often instinctively associate landscapes with the cultural theory of Heaven and man united. As to whether or not landscape paintings possess this characteristic, or whether or not contemporary landscape paintings are capable of achieving this kind of artistic realm, this is quite doubtful, and we cannot assume that every brush and ink painting has this feature of Heaven and man united. For this reason, when we use Heaven and man united to interpret contemporary Eastern ink paintings, we are caught in a vicious cycle where we take what should be the object of research and make it into a conclusion, and use that conclusion to cover a great many ink landscape paintings. On this point, Jizis theme is not simply a matter of labeling, as he does not expect to use a language that is already empty and overused to describe his own artworks. On the contrary, in the view of contemporary Easterners, we need more understanding of and cultural thinking about nature and the environment. In other words, we should use contemporary knowledge and comprehension to regard the realm of paintings that are expressed via ink. Comprehension decides peoples visual experience, and ink painting in the contemporary period requires comprehension and explanation. It is necessary, moreover, to use todays insight to penetrate the ontology and transcendence of paintings.

  Jizis revisiting the history of the creative power of ink painting is in-depth research, from ink painting mediums and cultural qualities, on ink paintings inherent viability. This research allows ink paintings historical context to expand continuously to new visual experiences and psychological responses, and it allows ink painting to shine with new opportunities for ink paintings creative power. Art develops freely but with restrictions, so that only by breaking through the accumulated restrictions of the history of ink painting are we able once again to promote the expressive power of ink painting. This is not only an important issue for ink painting but also a significant opportunity for the contemporary transformation of art.

  Translated by E. F. Connelly, PhD


1.Truth here is zhendi, a Buddhist term that means the genuine truth of a sage or person of insight in contrast to sudi, the vulgar truth, the truth of appearance, not reality.2.This sentence is a play on a famous line from the Tang Dynasty Poet Du Fu: Unless the poems amaze people, I will not rest even after death.3.In his Compilation of Jizis Aphorisms on Art, Jizi explains that, unlike what artists call false black, dead black has no transparency whatsoever.4.Heaven and man united (tian ren he yi) is a Chinese philosophical principle common to both Confucianism and Daoism.

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