回答:章水(Jonathan Kearney)


JK: I have always lived in cities but in Britain it is easy to visit the countryside. When I was a child, living in Liverpool, if the weather was good there was one place near where I lived, where I could see the mountains of north Wales. Often we would visit them and even if the weather was bad they were always spectacular.

JK: 我长期住在城里,但是在英国要访问郊区是很容易的。我很小的时候住在利物浦,有一个离我住地很近的地方,天气好时从那儿可以看到北威尔士的山脉,我们经常会去爬山,甚至天气不好的时候这些山看起来也依然是那样的壮观。


JK: I go often, I feel it is important to see the contrast between city and countryside. When I lived in Kunming we would often go to countryside areas and here in Britain it is also easy to get the coast and spend time beside the sea. It reminds me of how glorious creation is and how small and yet strangely significant one person is.

JK: 我经常去郊区,我觉得了解城乡之间的差异是很重要的。我住在昆明的时候会经常去农村,而在英国,去海滨消磨时间同样也很容易。这时刻提醒着我世间的创造是多么的辉煌,人的存在是多么的渺小,以及一个人的奇妙存在有着意味深长的意义。


JK: A few weeks ago I went with my family to a nearby river and rowed a small boat. Floating in nature is a wonderful experience.

JK: 几周前我和家人到附近的小河划船,漂流在自然当中是一种绝妙的体验。


JK: Dialogue often suggests words or verbal language, my own experience is much more a dialogue of silence. Dialogue also has to be 2 ways, it cannot be just one person communicating. I find that after being in the city it takes time to listen to nature and then join in with the dialogue, the real challenge is to carry that quiet dialogue back into the city.

JK: 提起“对话”,就会令人联想到书面语言或者口头语言,而我的个人体验更多的是一种寂静的对话。而且对话必须是双向的,单个人起不到交流的作用。我发现住在城里之后需要花更多的时间去倾听自然,才能融入到对话之中。而真正的挑战是我们如何将“寂静的对话”带回到都市生活当中。


JK: Yes it is valuable. As more and more people live in cities I think that a connection to the land will be become more important, one way this connection can be made is via art as most people will actually live in tall buildings literally disconnected from the earth. It is also increasingly important to understand the damage we are causing to creation and maybe landscape art can play a role in this. However it should avoid being didactic.

JK: 是的,这是很有价值的。我觉得当越来越多的人住进城市时,一种与土地的联系变得越发重要,当大部分人都住进高楼大厦直接和土地断绝了关系时,通过艺术建立起某种联系可以成为一个解决方法。这也能让我们越来越重视人对自然所造成的破坏,也许风景艺术能在这个中间起到一定作用。不过这必须避免说教的方式。


JK: Yes, it effects the way I see and also the rhythm of my work. In the city it seems that speed is important but nature has its own rhythm and I find my own work is simply observing that rhythm which is often much slower than modern day city life.

JK: 是的,这影响了我的观看方式和我的工作节奏。在城市里速度是很重要的,但自然中有它自己的节奏。我也发现我的作品是单单留意到那种节奏,就是很明显比现代都市生活更缓慢的那些事物。


JK: Of course being from Britain I must say JMW Turner! His ability to paint skies and seas was amazing and this reflects living in a small island country like Britain, the seascape is as important as the landscape. However, I also really enjoy ancient Chinese scholars and their landscape paintings, they challenge so much of western thinking it is very difficult to understand but at a heart level I somehow connect with them.

JK: 因为来自英国,所以我必须要提到透纳(JMW Turner)。他画天空和海景的能力是十分令人惊异的,海景和风景同样的重要,其作品反映着弹丸岛国的生活,如英国。然而,我还是特别喜欢中国古代文人和他们的山水画,他们对西方思维提出了如此大的挑战,以至于难以理解,但在心灵层面我莫名其妙地能理解他们。


JK: Audiences often see my work in ways I have not thought about and that enhances my own and the corporate experience. I simply observe and present those observations, I hope it gives people a different view of the world.

JK: 观众通常会用各种我未曾料到的方式看我的作品,这能加强我个人和观众互动的经验。我单单留意并展示那些观测的结果,希望通过这种方式给人以看待世界的不同视野。


JK: This is such a big question and it probably takes a whole lifetime to even begin to understand! The idea of stewardship is strong in the bible. The idea of the cosmos created by a good creator who describes it as good but then gives it to humans to steward, the adapt, to explore and play with. Stewardship carries the implication of improving and handing back to the owner in a better condition than when it was received. This is a daunting thought but with the biblical vision of ‘new creation’, a role of anticipating this future event in our present becomes clearer.

JK: 这是一个如此大的疑问,或许要花费一生才能开始有所领悟!《圣经》里有着很强的关于治理的理念,宇宙是由一位优秀的创造者创造并称为好的,然后它被交由人类管理、改建、探索和游戏。治理的职责暗示着这个世界必须得到改进,并以一种更好的状态交还给其创造者。这是一个令人生畏的想法,但却是圣经里关于“新造的人”的思想,期望这个未来事件的角色在我们当下变得越加清晰。


JK: The biblical narrative begins in a garden but describes a city as a goal of new creation. However, it is a city that integrates nature, with a remarkable river running through the centre and trees that produce fruit every month, with leaves that bring healing to the nations. Maybe this vision begins to describe my own thinking in answer to this difficult question.

JK: 圣经的叙述起始于一块园地(伊甸园),但以描述一座城邦作为“新造的人”的目标。然而,这座城邦融入了自然,有流过城市中心的具有标志性意义的河流,以及月月结出果子的树,还有能够治愈伤痛的树叶带给各国。在回答这个艰难问题的时候,也许这幅图景正开始描述我自己的想法。


JK: Again several biblical visions best describe my own dreams. Isaiah talks about mountains singing, tress clapping their hands and instead of weeds, beautiful trees (Isaiah 55). The writer also describes a wolf living with a lamb and concludes with a stunning vision of ‘the earth full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’. How can water cover the sea, the sea is water already?! It has to be a vision of overflowing abundance.

JK: 有好些圣经里的图景最能够描绘我的梦想。以赛亚先知讲到大山小山发声歌唱,田野的树木也都拍掌,而不是杂草和美丽的树(以赛亚书55章)。作者也写道豺狼与绵羊同居,并以一幅绝妙的画面结尾:认识上帝的知识要充满遍地,好像水充满洋海一般。海里不是已经满是水了,水又怎能充满海呢?它必定是一幅丰富满溢的画面。


JK: In English the words ‘sanctifying personality’ can be understood in many ways but in relation to previous answers, it appears that renewed creation is an achievement of one individual, the ‘Son of Man’ as Jesus described himself in the bible. It is this achievement that we now have the role of implementing, as stewards of creation, which of course includes all humans.

JK: 英语里“成圣人格”这个词可以有很多理解方式,但联系到先前的回答,它发生在“重新创造”已经完成了的个体身上,就是圣经中“人子”耶稣的自我描述。正是这种成就,我们现在获得履行“成圣人格”的角色,作为造物的管家,当然包括所有世人。


JK: Gerard Manley Hopkins, the English poet who first used the word ‘inscape’, never gave a precise definition of its meaning but we can say the term represents the individuality, or unique inner nature of any being or thing. He also used inscape as a form of prayer – the way every being and every thing gives praise to God even if they are unaware of it. If the English concept lacks a precise definition, for me as a foreigner with only basic Chinese language skills, the Chinese concept is even more imprecise. However, the pursuit of art is often about exploring the unknown, dealing with questions that might not produce clear answers. For me this is all part of the adventure of art.

JK: 杰拉尔德·曼利·霍普金斯是英文诗人里最早使用Inscape这个单词的人(注:“就地造境”翻译为Inscape On The Spot,Inscape被翻译为接近于“境界”概念的英文单词),他却从未给出一个精确的定义和意义,不过我们能说这个术语代表人格,或者任何存在或事物独一无二的内在自然景象。他也用Inscape作为一种祈祷形式,每一个人和事物崇拜上帝的方式,尽管他们只是无意识地进行。如果这个英文概念缺乏一个精确的定义,对我这个只会基本中文技巧的老外来说,中文概念可能对我来说更加不准确。然而,艺术的追求常常是关于对未知的探索,讨论的问题也可能不会产生清楚的答案。对我而言,这就是艺术的冒险经历。










章水: 我长期住在城里,但是在英国要访问郊区是很容易的。我很小的时候住在利物浦,有一个离我住地很近的地方,天气好时从那儿可以看到北威尔士的山脉,我们经常会去爬山,甚至天气不好的时候这些山看起来也依然是那样的壮观。











章水: 我经常去郊区,我觉得了解城乡之间的差异是很重要的。我住在昆明的时候会经常去农村,而在英国,去海滨消磨时间同样也很容易。这时刻提醒着我这个世界的创造是多么的辉煌,人的存在是多么的渺小,以及一个人的奇妙存在有着意味深长的意义。









章水: 几周前我和家人到附近的小河划船,漂流在自然当中是一种绝妙的体验。









章水: 提起“对话”,就会令人联想到书面语言或者口头语言,而我的个人体验更多的是一种寂静的对话。而且对话必须是双向的,单个人起不到交流的作用。我发现住在城里之后需要花更多的时间去倾听自然,才能融入到对话之中。而真正的挑战是,我们如何将“寂静的对话”带回到都市生活当中。









章水: 是的,这是很有价值的。我觉得当越来越多的人住进城市时,一种与土地的联系变得越发重要,当大部分人都住进高楼大厦直接和土地断绝了关系时,通过艺术建立起某种联系可以成为一个解决方法。这也能让我们越来越重视人对自然所造成的破坏,也许风景艺术能在这个中间起到一定作用。不过这必须避免说教的方式。









章水: 是的,这影响了我的观看方式和我的工作节奏。在城市里速度是很重要的,但自然中有它自己的节奏。我也发现我的作品是单单留意到那种节奏,就是很明显比现代都市生活更缓慢的那些事物。









章水: 因为来自英国,所以我必须要提到透纳(JMW Turner)。他画天空和海景的能力是十分令人惊异的,海景和风景同样的重要,其作品反映着英国这种弹丸岛国的生活。然而,我还是特别喜欢中国古代文人和他们的山水画,他们对西方思维提出了如此大的挑战,以至于难以理解,但在心灵层面我莫名其妙地能理解他们。









章水: 观众通常会用各种我未曾料到的方式看我的作品,这能加强我个人和观众互动的经验。我单单留意并展示那些观测的结果,希望通过这种方式给人以看待世界的不同视野。









章水: 这是一个如此大的疑问,或许要花费一生才能开始有所领悟!《圣经》里有着很强的关于治理的理念,宇宙是由一位优秀的创造者创造并看为好的,然后它被交由人类管理、改建、探索和游戏。治理的职责暗示着这个世界必须得到改进,并以一种更好的状态交还给其创造者。这是一个令人生畏的想法,但却是《圣经》里关于“新造的人”的思想,期望这个未来事件的角色在我们当下变得越加清晰。









章水: 《圣经》的叙述始于一块园地(伊甸园),但以描述一座城邦作为“新造的人”的目标。然而,这座城邦融入了自然,有流过城中心的具有标志性意义的河流,以及月月结出果子的树,还有能够治愈伤痛的树叶带给各国。在回答这个艰难问题的时候,也许这幅图景正开始描述我自己的想法。









章水: 有好些《圣经》里的图景最能够描绘我的梦想。以赛亚先知讲到大山小山发声歌唱,田野的树木也都拍掌(以赛亚书55章),而不只是些杂草和美丽的树。作者也写道豺狼与绵羊同居,并以一幅绝妙的画面结尾:认识上帝的知识要充满遍地,好像水充满洋海一般。海里不是已经满是水了,水又怎能充满海呢?它必定是一幅丰盛满溢的画面。









章水: 英语里“成圣人格”这个词可以有很多理解方式,但联系到先前的回答,它发生在“重新创造”已经完成了的个体身上,就是《圣经》中“人子”耶稣的自我描述。正是这种成就,我们现在获得履行“成圣人格”的角色,作为造物主的管家,当然包括所有世人。









章水: 杰拉尔德·曼利·霍普金斯(Gerard Manley Hopkins)是英文诗人里最早使用Inscape这个单词的人(注:“就地造境”翻译为Inscape On The Spot,此次展览中Inscape被翻译为接近于“境界”概念的英文单词),他却从未给出一个精确的定义和意义,不过我们能说这个术语代表人格,或者任何存在或事物独一无二的内在自然景象。他也用Inscape作为一种祈祷形式,每一个人和事物崇拜上帝的方式,尽管他们只是无意识地进行。如果这个英文概念缺乏一个精确的定义,对我这个只会基本中文技巧的老外来说,中文概念可能对我来说更加不准确。然而,艺术的追求常常是关于对未知的探索,讨论的问题也可能不会产生清楚的答案。对我而言,这就是艺术的冒险经历。

Creating Inscape On The Spot

Creating Inscape On The Spot
– On Art Exhibition “Inscape On The Spot”

Written by Luo Fei (TCG Nordica Gallery Director & Curator)

1. About Jingjie(1)

Traditional Chinese culture consists of three strands: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. These three strands share the same concerns about the existence and freedom of this life. They are concerned with the value and significance of the individual and their physiological needs, promising that any individual can be elevated through cultivation. The ‘jingjie‘ of life is the essential question, with other questions around it.

In modern Chinese language, the meaning of ‘jingjie‘ can be broken down into two parts. Firstly it has a physical dimension, i.e. the boundary between countries. Secondly it has a metaphysical dimension, it refers to a ‘realm of life’, it is the level or degree reached through meditation on morality, culture, psychology and beauty. By pondering on the cosmos, society and life, it suggests a departure from earthly values and a capturing of the wholeness of an internal exhilaration, described by Confucius as the act of ’sanctifying personality’. Unfortunately there is no equivalent in the English vocabulary for ‘jingjie’ which is the core concept of this exhibition. Therefore the author will use ‘inscape‘ to refer to the spiritual and artistical nature of the world and also to connect to the theme of landscape which is another vital element of this exhibition. ‘Inscape’(2) is an old English word which refers to the unique inner nature of a person or an object, especially when seen in a work of art.

In traditional Chinese poetry and painting, the theory of inscape took an important position as a definition of spirituality and exerted significant influence upon the thinking of Chinese language. As Wang Guowei, the famous ci poetry critic in the late Qing Dynasty, argued in his Renjian Cihua(also called The World of Poetry), ‘The most important thing in ci poetry is inscape. A high level of art is reached when there is an inscape… Some are focused on creating inscape, others writing inscape. This is the difference between idealism and realism.’

In the practice of writing inscape and the quest for creating inscape, literati use contemplation, meditation and spending time in gardens and amidst beautiful scenery. The attempt to ‘create inscape’ shows that they are unsatisfied with either the superficial depiction of natural landscape or the language game involved in its representation. Instead they aspire to bridge the outer world and their inner world of ideals. They aspire to transcend their feelings of loss, or joy, with the natural scenery before them, and to transform what they see into a symbolic schema to express the world of perfection as seen in their own mind. This process of transforming the scenes of nature into something that represents perfection is an attempt to reach the convergence of self and nature, a poetic contemplation of nature coloured with a hue of oriental mysticism. In fact, this vision of contemplation is not unique to the East, as ancient Greek Platonic philosophy also describes similar concepts and practices, which later evolved into an understanding of a personal divine being. However, in traditional Chinese culture, the contemplative view of nature does not lead to seeing the divine as an object of rational thinking. Instead, it defines subjectively that internal peace and pleasure is the possibility for a ‘completion inscape’ and is based in the viewer’s mind. Traditional Chinese culture objectively treats everything in nature as a source of universal revelation. A good illustration of such a contemplative view of nature is the traditional landscape paintings that are familiar to us all. Small figures together with overwhelming mountains and water, represent a convergence of humanity and nature, illustrating an inscape of serenity and unfettered freedom and an aspiration for perfect harmony between humans and nature. This reflects the quest of ancient literati in relation to the status of life and psychology, in poetry and painting, a schema and philosophy that had scarcely undergone any significant change during the long history of relatively self-sufficient Chinese culture.

This approach has led to what is called, ‘addressing every change with no change’. Although this attempts a definition of personality and also a definition of universal revelation and even though it outlines the concept of ‘completion inscape’, it does not address the source of nature or the divine. This inability to address these foundational issues, sheds light on the events of history. During recent periods of transition and hardship and the movement of Chinese society and culture towards modernity, there has been a lack of inquiry into truth, the absence of a transcendental dimension. The commitment to ‘jingjie, sanctifying personality’ has become an alien concept in a world where materialism and satisfying personal desires are the priority. Therefore ‘addressing every change with no change’ appears unable to deal with the modern world where the inscape of life gradually gives way to a pragmatic pursuit of success.

The heaven and earth that is left in the wake of the industrial revolution is not the heaven and earth described in genesis, where ‘God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good’(3). What is more, the intrinsic mission of art has evolved from exploring the concept of completion in the classic age to simply raising the consciousness of the problem in the modern age, with no attempt at offering a solution. As a result, today’s cultural and natural environment and the sentiment felt by artists when they consider nature are tremendously different from the ancient tradition. Now, it is much more effective to simply illustrate the problems themselves, to do no more than represent contemporary culture and current sentiment and couple this with personal experience. This approach is much easier than grappling with and attempting to create the inscape of completion.

Therefore, we are now in a world of competing contrasts; completion versus contemporary problems, idealistic sentiment versus present anxiety, the inscape of life versus fleshy desire. All these strains remind us of the stark gap between the ideal and reality, between tradition and modernity. However, there are artists whose work is still concerned with the natural landscape and who are exploring deeper thinking. Maybe they will lead the call for a new type of ’supreme completion inscape’ in these current ‘lost circumstances’.

2. The Context and Transition of Agrestic Art

As described above, nature has been the traditional object and theme for artists to express their ‘circumstances of mind’. In the early 1980s, the Southwest Agrestic Art began to emerge and much critical and academic study developed alongside. Both ‘Agrestic Art’ and ‘Life Flow’(4) and other later art movements, placed great importance on the influence of the geographic environment upon the spirit, style and schema of artists, believing that the nature of Southwest China and other social factors contributed to the emergence and thriving of ‘Agrestic Art’. However, with further urbanization and the advent of the age of globalization and the internet, ‘Agrestic Art’ and ‘Life Flow’ gradually withered and gave the way to the more representative style of ‘Chinese experience’. Despite losing widespread recognition and market opportunities, ‘Agrestic Art’ and ‘Life Flow’ nevertheless remain an enduring influence on many Yunnan artists, not least because of their close connection with local culture and the natural landscape.

In Yunnan where nature is rich and cultural traditions are diverse, many artists choose the expression of natural landscape as their principal form of art. Among them, there has been a unique phenomenon lasting for nearly half a century, which is characterized by the voluntary and persistent daily sketching of the landscape. This is illustrated by the enthusiasm for being integrated into and depicting nature by artists of the ‘Impressionist School’(5) and ‘Shen Society’(6) in the 1960s and 70s , also the ‘Life Flow’ movement in the 1980s and those artists today, old and young, who still go to the countryside to sketch from nature. Such a phenomenon stems from and reinforces two traditions. First is the academic tradition of landscape sketching which is about formal aesthetic feeling and technical practice consistent with a modernistic art tradition and epistemology. Second is the traditional contemplative view of landscape sketching which seeks to capture the sentiment and feeling of the individual, the ‘expression of feeling through the sketching of scenery’. The ‘Impressionist School’s’ and ‘Shen Society’s’ concern about the natural environment and countryside of Yunnan was essentially the expression and extolling of the minority cultures, through depicting scenes of countryside life with close attention given to the colouration. The ‘Life Flow’ school was committed to eulogising the free will and uniqueness of life when the ideology of collectivism was fading away. Today’s artists, when faced with the countryside landscape, have to consider problems such as the urbanization of the countryside and the modern pursuit of satisfying desires (fleshism). Consequently they turn to a different theme, one that considers the contemporary population’s mental circumstances. The Yunnan schools of art in the 1960s and 70s shaped their own art dialects, creating artistic forms and styles with provincial features, formed to some extent by their geographic environment. This led to widespread attention and a historical significance. However, as interesting as all this might be, is it enough to justify giving attention to a provincial cultural and art phenomena? At a time of accelerating urbanization, frequent migration to the cities and increased dialogue between diverse cultures, will the universality and transcendence of these themes, which we are referring to, become even more important?

In response I would like would like to introduce the concept ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’. This concept’s themes and symbolism originate from and yet transcend a provincial nature. It is activated by individual thinking but is projected towards the universal mentality of the human race. It is a call for change, to turn the external-internal inscape, whether complete or incomplete, into ‘Supreme Completion Inscape’.

At the foundational level, ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ is the technical ability to capture a scene from nature, at the highest level, it is a contemplative experience, a practice of artistic creation, an expression of the internal thoughts of an individual and the universal condition of humankind, all in the form of a landscape.

For this exhibition we choose the art works of 6 Yunnan artists, Lan Qingxing, He Libin, Guo Peng, Shi Zhimin, Sun Guojuan and Lei Yan, as well as a Guodong artist Mai Zhixiong, and Jonathan Kearney, a British artist with many years of life experience in China. They have been chosen as their work interprets this theme from various angles.

3. The Artists

The paintings of Lan Qingxing retain the feeling of agrestic paintings and internalise it into a ‘Transcendental Nostalgia’. In his oil painting ‘Landscape without People’, a wondering dog, a bizarre and thick withered tree, a distant chimney, together constitute a picture of sadness hinting at the strain between an agricultural setting and modern industrial development. In the long-frame sketch ‘Scheme’, there is a fragmented ‘home’ among weeds, bonfire, bed, dinner table, desk, coach, fridge, all scattering in the weeds. A man casually wonders about, without doing any serious business, simply killing time, with his posture reflecting the frustration of getting lost near his own house, all by himself, yet the shabby building nearby is irrelevant to ‘home’. The figures and animals in Lan Qingxing’s paintings show a sign of concentration, as though they are constantly thinking of the way back home no matter whether they are climbing, running, carrying things, laboring or having a rest. Yet the red-earth land, small roads and grass under the starry night sky provides suggest opportunity but also seems to cause more frustration. Ever since Adam stole the forbidden fruit, the voice asking ‘where are you?’(7) is lingering in the innermost mind. We may be absolutely certain of our geographic location, we may already be in our hometown, and yet we cannot get rid of a strange nostalgia, which originates not from a certain coordinate on the map, but from a calling in the depths of our spirit, a longing for an ultimate homeland – a ‘Supreme Completion Inscape’ as dwellers on earth.

The expression of ‘Transcendental Nostalgia’ is also salient in the oil paintings of He Libin. The series ‘Wasteland’ endows the wilderness and the void, as well as the little lonely figures in the picture, with the black and white expressionist style. Different from the contrast found in traditional Chinese landscapes, here the contrast between large scenery and small figures is not the serene ‘Completion Inscape’, but an inscape of sadness that highlights anxiety and void, in order to induce a cry for ‘Completion Inscape’. Here the smallness of the figure does not originate from the natural view of humility, but from the helpless view of life. The painter chooses wasteland and wilderness to highlight the dual loss of both body and soul of modern people. Physical and mental fatigue becomes evident against the void of wasteland and wilderness, while the aspiration to get rid of the void is exactly the vision needed by Kua Fu(8) when he was chasing after the sun.

Similiarly, Shi Zhimin from Dali also draws from the local nature in his homeland. The town of Dali, coupled with Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, are richly endowed by nature and is itself a town of wonder. When I first went to Dali this sense of wonder is exactly what I also felt. The natural characteristics are internalised by the artist giving a unique feeling to the series ‘Glacier’. A view of a glacier is characterized by seclusion, joy of life and super-realism. If nature has lost its ability to encourage inscape as a result of human’s crude plunder, the fragment of a still mysterious glacier may well hit at the existence of another poetic schema.

The majority of Guo Peng’s photography draws on the views found in gardens around Kunming. The scenery in Green Lake park, the lake’s surface, rock-work and bamboo forests. As described above, the concept of ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ at the base level is a practical approach, manifested by the technical ability to capture a garden view. It is an attempt to obtain an artificial miniature of the elegant ‘completion inscape’ by mimicking the natural landscape with flower pots, pools and rock-work. Garden design is used to provide a place of mental recreation and spiritual rest for the literati and officialdom, from official career to inner world, from reality to ideal, from clamor to serenity. On the other hand, the close and extravagant nature of gardens made it possible for the declining literati to escape from the reality and live a corrupted way of life in the backyard of leisure. Today, in a society where over-entertainment is rampant in urban life, and the protection and succession of elite culture is absent, gardens have turned into the People Parks for the entertainment of the general public. Here the manufactured landscape remains as it was, but the inscape no longer exists. Guo Peng attempts to present a colorful myth of the garden through the manipulation of colour, to fabricate an alienated backyard of literati, in an attempt to realise what Martin Heidegger called ‘the perch of poetry’.

Sun Guojuan’s ‘Sweetness Is Gone’ series is an interpretation of ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ by the use of brain teasers – mirroring on the spot. The artist, while holding a butterfly ornament in her hand, is lying tenderly in front of a mirror on the road side. The mirror is reflecting peach flowers in the park, with spring very much in the air. On the back of the artist is a pair of angle wings made of sugar, adding a playfulness and romance found in a child’s household game. Ornament, mirror and sugar wings reveal the stage property of Romantic Inscape. Sugar has been used as a metaphorical language in Sun Guojuan’s art works for years, symbolizing on the one hand women as the object of tasting in a male dominant society, and on the other, women’s attempt to retain their youth for ever by turning their bodes into sugar. Fictitious and fragile, the image of spring in the mirror and sweet fleshy body speak of the bankruptcy of women’s desire to retain youth forever. While the sweet feeling of the body is the only dignity and comfort alive, the sweet feeling of heart has been devoured by consumerism, the loss and fragmentation of humans cannot be saved by simple stage props. In No. 5 and No. 6 of ‘Sweetness Is Gone’, the dagger in the artist’s hand clearly indicates the anxiety and fear after the fragmentation of body and heart when ’sweetness is gone’.

Lei Yan’s photography continues the methodology of her ‘Freezing’ series. Elements raging from photographs of comrades in the army, to revolutionary articles, to images of the trenches are all put in ice cubes and photographed again, generating an archaeological memory of the image, while a woman’s career in the army is recalled in such a sad yet private way. In her work about her military career, Lei Yan reduces soldiers to men and women, the machinery of state to a school of childish faces, monument of hero to one tombstone after another, sacrifice to price, collectivism to mutual help and revolutionary romance to sentiments in the sealed history. The significance and nobility manifested by life itself are much more significant than any transient state in the long river of history, since life has soul and soul is immortal.

Mai Zhixiong’s ‘Sanctuary?’ series retains his simple style of object, scenery and colour and refined abstraction. However the artist has undergone a shift from his previous work and has rejected any possibility of symbolic construction. The scene in the picture in brightened, Beacon Mountain appears but the title is questioning sanctuary, showing the artist’s rethinking of symbolism. A sanctuary is considered a holy place in Judaism and Christianity, the innermost chamber of the Jewish temple was called the ‘Holy of Holies’, regarded as the dwelling place of the LORD God. Only the high priest could enter the ‘Holy of Holies’ once each year on the ‘Day of Atonement’. However, such a place built by human hands appears too small in front of the all-mighty God, hampering the relationship between humans and God. The curtain that blocked the ‘Holy of Holies’ from human access was ripped apart when Jesus died on the cross. Christianity holds that it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats to take away human sin, however, as is noted in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, ‘we have confidence to enter into the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus’. The quest for the sanctuary, however, is not for the beacon, nor for the holy mountain beyond, but as Jesus told the woman of Samaria, ‘a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth’.(9)

Whereas the 7 Chinese artists discussed above raise questions in their art as a cry for a ‘Completion Inscape’ or even ‘Supreme Completion Inscape’, the video work of British artist Jonathan Kearney, by focusing on the process of colours following across time, creates an image of ‘Completion Inscape’ in micro scale across a timeframe. If the other artists in this exhibition mainly draw their images from the location in which they are living, Jonathan treats the micro objects in his art as a kind of ‘local experience’. It is worth mentioning that Jonathan has also exhibited his art works via off-site live broadcast over the internet, a remarkable departure from the dependence on, and significance of, location when ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’. The advent of a digital, internet era makes concepts such as ‘on the spot’ and ‘location’ seem insignificant, maybe even redundant. The important thing is the presentation of ‘inscape’ itself.

4. Conclusion

To a great extent the art discussed in this essay provide justification for considering the landscape around us and comfort for our minds and inner self. They also challenge us with profound insights into culture and life.

Provincial, cultural and natural resources should not become the prerequisite for an art movement or artist to receive historical recognition. The reason why a geographic characteristic or ethnic culture is widely recognized is because it carries a fundamental reflection of self and maybe something universal for all humans. The concept of ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ and this exhibition are simply designed to introduce such a possibility. Just as the Southwest school of ‘Life Flow’ inevitably turned into the ‘Chinese experience’ movement, ‘Chinese experience’ will itself return to life.


(1) Jingjie: the degree or limit of boundary, country, or the accomplishment of people or artworks in spirit, culture or morality.

(2) Inscape: noun, poetic/literary, the unique inner nature of a person or object as shown in a work of art, esp. a poem. ORIGIN mid 19th cent. (originally in the poetic theory of Gerard Manley Hopkins). Know more about this word on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inscape

(3) According to Genesis, 1:31, On the the sixth day of Genesis, ‘And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good’.

(4) ‘Life Flow’ is a school of painting evolved from agrestic painting by some Southwest artists, originating from the expressionist style of life flow paintings by artists such as Ye Yongqing, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhou Chunya, Mao Xuhui and Pan Dehai. The artists choose the expression of their own life experience, internal journey and sentiment as the purpose of their artwork. This approach has gradually become a cultural tradition for contemporary Southwest art.

(5) Kunming Impressionist School: a school of artists, active in the streets and suburbs of Kunming and keen on the daily sketching of landscape in 1960s and 70s, formed a unique style of Yunnan oil painting characterized by gorgeous colours and strong expressive force. Its representatives include Pei Wenkun, Pei Wenlu, Jiang Gaoyi, Sha Lin and Su Xinhong.

(6) Shen Society: an art society formed in 1970s by artists such as Ding Shaoguang, Jiang Tiefeng, Liu Shaohui and Yao Zhonghua who were born in the 1940s. In 1980, Shen Society as a group held a exhibition
in Yunnan Museum, with their primitive decoration style starkly different from the revolutionary realistic style popular across the country. Later, Ding Shaoguang and Jiang Tiefeng emigrated to the U.S. and formed the ‘School of Contemporary Yunnan Heavy Colored Painting’, which has wide influence internationally.

(7) According to Genesis, 2:15 – 3:10, Adam and Eve, lured by the serpent, ate the forbidden fruit and hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden, ‘And the LORD God called
unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are you?’

(8) ‘Hai Wai Bei Jing’ in Shan Hai Jing recorded a tale that a man named Kua Fu exerted his utmost strength to chase after the sun but eventually died of thirsty and became a grove of peach trees. Based on this tale, He Libing drew an oil painting titled ‘Chasing the Sun’.

(9) Quoted from John, 4:21-24.



展览的题目“就地造境”是比较有趣的自造词汇,很多艺术家都能从中意会。然而这个题目的翻译却断断续续反反复复讨论了可以说一年多的时间,直到最近我才定下这个“Inscape On The Spot”作为各种翻译方案里最接近原意的一句,或许将来会有更好的翻译吧。其实仅仅是一个词的翻译倒是不难,难的是展览核心概念及其连带概念在评述文章里不同语境下的使用,为了让展览理念、相关概念、文化背景、文化理解能在英文里得到较好的阐述,确实折腾了不少精力。文章已发去翻译,等稿子回来后再看看效果。



“就地造境” 当代艺术展 公告



在这片自然资源丰富,人文土壤多样而温和的云南,有许多艺术家都充满着描绘自然风景的热情,创作出了大批优秀影响深远的艺术作品,形成云南近半个世纪以来独特的艺术现象。我将那些画面源于地域风景,与艺术家个人心境相结合,表达对人类普遍心灵境况这样一种主题性关怀,称为“就地造境”观。“就地造境”观在日常生活中最常见的就是园林景观“就地造景”的理念,但作为一种艺术创作,它以艺术家个人融入自然、与自然对话,并将艺术家内在心境与人类普遍境况进行景观化的表达。这里我们选择云南六位艺术家:兰庆星、和丽斌、郭鹏、石志民、孙国娟、雷燕,以及一位广东艺术家麦志雄,一位具有多年中国生活经验的英国艺术家章水(Jonathan Kearney)的相关作品为个案,从不同角度展开对该主题的探讨。



艺术家:郭鹏,和丽斌,雷燕,兰庆星,麦志雄,石志民,孙国娟,章水(Jonathan Kearney)


“Inscape On The Spot” art exhibition

From a humanistic perspective, the contemporary art exhibition “Inscape On The Spot” sorts the native artworks related to landscape and mentality, and with the artworks of 8 artists, 6 from Yunnan, one from Guangdong and one from Britain, as cases, analyzes the circumstances of mentality and reality of life of contemporary people, thereby reveals the concealment of pleasant mentality and harmonious homeland in vanity. The humanistic meaning of this exhibition involves the reflection of traditional culture, the accentuation of spiritual value, and the reminiscence of native humanistic history. The artworks on show include oil paintings, photography, video and installation, about 16 items in total.

Related essays:
Creating Inscape On The Spot“, written by Luo Fei
“Thirty Years of Landscaping “, written by He Libin

Curator: Luo Fei
Academic director: He Libin
Artists: Guo Peng, He Libin, Lei Yan, Lan Qingxing, Mai Zhixiong(Guangdong), Shi Zhimin, Sun Guojuan,Jonathan Kearney(UK)
Host by: TCG Nordica
Opening: 8:00 pm, 2009/April/3 (Friday)
Exhibition Duration: 2009/April/3-May/29
TCG Nordica opening time: Sunday:close, Monday:17:00-22:00, Tuesday-Saturday,10:00-22:00
Add: TCG Nordica. Xi Ba Lu no.101, Loft, Kunming
Tel: 0871-4114691,4114692
*Free Entrance*
联系邮箱/contact: luofei#tcgnordica.com(发送时将#改为@)
网址/website: http://www.tcgnordica.com



章水(Jonathan Kearney www.jonathankearney.com):英国艺术家,从事实验绘画、新媒体艺术以及艺术展览策划等工作。目前为英国伦敦艺术大学研究生导师,前任昆明TCG诺地卡画廊策展人。以下简称章。




在英文里我是这样表达神学和艺术的关系:神学穿过艺术(Theology throughs the art.),如同太阳光穿过月亮一样。在神学里面我教授什么呢,就是让人们学会用艺术来明白神学的道理。当我说到艺术的时候,它指的是一个非常宽广的领域,不仅仅是绘画,舞蹈,音乐,戏剧等等,它还包括很多很多,在英国,我想没有任何一个地方在教艺术的同时也在教神学。我跟很多人说“神学穿过艺术”,可是没有人明白这个道理,这很奇怪。





































有美名的”(good repute),不仅仅是指很出名,对于很多基督徒来说,他们往往关心一个艺术家是否是一个基督徒,如果不是基督徒他们就不认为他是好的艺术家,做的作品将不会好,在生活中也不会是很好,可是这只是其中一个评判标准,然而事实上也并非这样,比如毕加索,我们都知道他的艺术非常非常好,可是他对待女人却并不好,然而你不能说他的艺术不好。










在英国,我见到很多的艺术家,电影制片人,音乐人,艺术家,舞蹈家,他们都像先知一样的创作,他们能明确感受到未来的变化。在中国传统的艺术里,一样的有这 种先知的精神。从圣经上我们知道,所有的基督徒都有从上帝而来的恩赐,而先知也是一种恩赐,我们要去哪里?为什么走这边?我们应该怎么走?