Saturday, February 20, 2016

Views of Time & Space

“For art to be great, it must possess the following three qualities:
Accuracy, Realism and Freedom.”
Zhong Biao

The Chinese artist Zhong Biao’s journey to achieve this goal is based loosely upon the philosophical teachings of Zen Buddhism.

As he told Art Depot’s Yin Sugiao “I am definitely influenced by Zen teachings, although I have never made any research into that area. 

Zhong is actively concerned with expressing the duality of reality that he labels as State and Form.

About which he says “Form is visible, State is invisible, Form is the appearance of State, State is the source of all Form. Whether you are in commerce, politics or arts and culture, it is essential to grasp the ever-changing idea of State, and to allow it to be revealed. If you are in commerce and you are able to grasp the situation, revealing the situation will bring about business opportunities. In politics, if you know the broad tendency of development and move in accord with it you will achieve greatness. In the same way, in the world of art, when an artist’s work manages to accurately reveal that State and its form of development in a certain time and place, that work will touch the collective subconscious of its audience, it will be opportune within its own time.  If you think that an accurate revelation of form is the truth, then you’re wrong! Because State changes with the passing of time, to attain new forms, if you fail to return constantly to the State and move in harmony with it, your artwork will be locked forever in the time in which it was born.”

To which he adds that the present is invisible “Owing to the greatness of distance, however fast the speed of light is, it still takes eight minutes and nineteen seconds to travel from the sun to the earth. The sun which we see is always to sun of 8.19 minutes ago. In that case, the moon that we see is the moon 1.28 seconds ago, and what we see one kilometer before us is what was there 3.34 microseconds ago, and when two people are face to face, no more than a meter apart, what they see is the other person as they were 3.34 Nano-seconds ago. No matter how close we come, what we see is the past, we will never see the true face of the present.”

As Chinese contemporary art critic Paul Manfredi wrote in an essay for Zhong’s current exhibition: “The blend of figural and abstract is broadly emblematic of Zhong's work, both as a painter and a thinker. His goal is to use painting to challenge the limits of space and time which frame our experience.”

Whilst the philosophical underpinnings of Zhong’s paintings drive his vision he is content to let his audience define their own meaning.

As he told My Modern Met’s Eugene Kim "I don’t want to force my own understanding or interpretation of my paintings on the audience. The mixture of images within each of my paintings is like a combination of controversial elements in life. We don’t have to understand everything we see in each painting. Like life, we cannot understand everything that we have seen or experienced. In my paintings, Eastern and Western, historical and modern opposites coexist, reflecting the reality of today’s lifestyle."

Zhong’s current exhibition The Other Shore is on show at New York’s Klein Sun Gallery until the 19th of March. 

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