Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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The Suzhou Landscript

  • loan
  • Description

    There is an inscription running across all four prints in ‘square word calligraphy’, which reads (from left): I used my method to copy four hanging scrolls from the Suzhou Museum. The four paintings that I chose are themselves works based on earlier paintings, something that is made apparent in their titles. “Plagiarism” does not exist in traditional Chinese culture. Good poetry emphasizes use of the “canon,” the brilliant / poetry of earlier generations. If a good painting possesses “classical” qualities, it must reflect the brushwork of the ancients. Chinese painting emphasizes “paper copying paper,” and through these symbolized brushstrokes it is passed on from generation to generation. "The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting”, China’s most famous work of art instruction, compiles the brushstrokes – mountain strokes, tree strokes, rock strokes – from the paintings of old. It is a dictionary. Students need only memorize the / “radicals” to express everything existing in this world. In China, calligraphy and painting are a single action. Painting a mountain is writing the character “mountain”. The character “mountain” is the concept of “mountain”, and the pith of a mountain and also a copy of the image of “mountain” and how it has evolved. These four works nakedly exhibit and explore this tradition. Works of the Chinese literati are / born from feelings that develop between friends, over time, at gatherings, and outings. This group of prints, drafted over a period of ten years, are a record of a friendship. Xu Bing, September third, two thousand and eleven Chang Chun.

  • Details

    Associated place
    AsiaChinaHebei province Beijing (place of creation)
    2004 - 2012
    Xu Bing (born 1955) (designer)
    Jill Czarnowski (active c. 2012) (printer)
    Jason Miller (active c. 2012) (printer)
    Universarl Limited Art Editions (established 1955) (printmaker)
    Associated people
    Deuce II Editions (active c. 2012) (publisher)
    Material and technique
    924.4 x 386 cm approx. (height x width)
    frame 231.1 x 96.5 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Lent by Judith Goldman.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 28 February-19 May 2013, Xu Bing Landscape/Landscript: Nature as Language in the Art of Xu Bing, Shelagh Vainker, ed. (Oxford: Ashmolean Museum, 2013), no. 77a-d on pp. 140-141 & 145, pp. 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 77, 110, 117, 119, 129, 136, 137, 149, 158, illus. pp.141-145 fig 77a-d

Past Exhibition

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    • returned to owner

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