Since China’s earliest dynastic period, the numinous of nature and the elements comprised within have been part of the culture. Mountains have a specific place in Chinese imagination: while we consider them in the West simply as a natural barrier for weather changes, here they are shrouded in mystery and mythology.
Considered as cradles for natural energy, providing a multitude of benefits: medicinal herbs, minerals with special attributes or fruits that legends have stated as having magical properties. Even the location of a mountain by itself has something unusual. If it pierced by a cave or a grotto, tales will refer to it as a gate or doorway to an other realm.
From the early centuries, archives refer to men wandering in mountains not only in quest of immortality but also to purify their spirit and find a new path. Daoist and Buddhist principles have consecrated mountains as a haven for meditation and mystical locations to establish temples.
No wonder why mountains have played such an important role in the arts, a recurring theme for many great talents: facing them we are overwhelmed by their beauty and yet, we fear them.
Poetic (Zhang Zhaohui), mystic (Wang Yong), raw (Dawn Csutoros), roaring (Not Vital), these four artists have all their own way of representing the essence of mountains. Here is an invitation to travel between rocks & clouds, between reality and the empty…because mountain.
By Jonathan Boehm, co-curator, Dec.2012, Beijing
Dawn Csutoros was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1960. She graduated from University of Tasmania in 1998. She currently lives and works in Melbourne though she regularly attends art residencies as in China (2013 and 2007), Italy (2012), France (2010). Csutoros’ long-standing interest in Eastern philosophy, dealing with the resolution of duality, is explored through formal elements and its relevance to the contemporary world. Past exhibitions include: Nu Yishu-Veriditas, Manningham Gallery, Melbourne, Imagine Gallery, Beijing & Redtory Art Centre, Guangzhou, China, 2011; Woman, Environment, Fashion, City, International Fashion Week, World Expo, Shanghai, China, 2010; Black Diamonds, Imagine Gallery, Beijing, 2009; Ink, Tea, Coal, Australian Embassy, Beijing, China, 2008; Dawn Csutoros, Genkan Gallery, Tokyo America Club, Tokyo, Japan, 2003. For more information, please click here.
Not Vital was born in Sent, Engadine, Switzerland in 1948. He studied in Paris and Rome before moving to New York in 1974. He currently lives and works in Sent (Switzerland), Beijing (China), Agadez (Niger) and NotOna (Chile). Embracing a fantastic variety of material and diverse cultures inspiration, Vital dove into the world of sculpture, traveling and exhibiting around the world; his nomadic lifestyle and artistic practice are inseparable. Past solo exhibitions include: Not Vital: 十 五, Sperone Westwater, New York, 2012; Not Vital: Sculptures, Diao Su, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France, 2011; Not Vital: Plasters, Akira Ikeda Gallery, Tokyo, Japan, 2011; Not Vital: Full On, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China, 2011; Not Vital, Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, 2010; Not Why, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing, China, 2009-2010; Not Vital: Schlafendes Haus, KÖR Kunsthalle Wien public space Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria, 2009-2010; Not Vital, The Arts Club of Chicago, Illinois, 2006; Not Vital: Agadez, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany, 2005; Plateau of Humanity, 49th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2001.
Wang Yong was born in Jiangsu, China in 1976. He graduated from Pengcheng University in 1997. He currently lives and works in Beijing. Wang Yong generates a contemporary, quiet, elegant and ethereal style using the penetration of water and ink, which conforms to the Daoism. Past exhibitions include: The second Linzhou ink painting Biennale, Linzhou, China, 2012, The first international ink painting Biennale, Shenzhen, China, 2012, History New Song Zhuang, Sunshine Museum, Beijing, 2011; About Love, Wang Yong Solo Exhibition, Les-Metamorphozes Gallery, France, 2010; China Contemporary Art Exhibition “60 70 80”, Musee du Chateau de Tours, France, 2009.
Zhang Zhaohui was born in Beijing, China in 1965. He graduated from Bard College, New York in 1998 and CAFA, Beijing in 2006. He currently works and lives in Beijing. He is a renowned art critic and curator besides being an artist. Zhang Zhaohui emphasizes light as a powerful catalyst, and paints landscapes that mirror the sense of infinity of the universe as well as the introspective human spirit. Awareness of the self, the space one encompasses, and a drive for simplicity and purity are the themes he draws upon in his ink paintings. Past exhibitions include: Zhang Zhaohui: Narcissus Beyond The Myth, Being 3 Art Gallery, Beijing, 2012; Biennale Italia-Cina, Milan, Italy, 2012; Going East-Traditional And Sharp Change Contemporary Chinese Waterink-Imagery Art Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum，Japan，2012; Serene Scent: New Ink Painting, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, 2012; Origin of Time, Ink Painting Art Museum, Shanghai, 2011; 10 Ink Painting Artist Story, Duolun Art Museum, Shanghai, 2011; Ink-brush Painting from China, Miami Art Fair, USA, 2011; Water & Color, Today’s Art Museum, Beijing, 2008.