Thousands of South Mountains
Chinese give the intellectuals very broad moral requirements. Even if an intellectual cannot make positive contribution to the society, only can he just do not associate with evil political forces and provide a relatively lofty example in the ethos of scrambling for and being attached to power, he shall be counted a good man.
Chinese call the intellectuals who pursue liberation of individuality and freedom of thoughts and refuse to conspire with political groups hermits. The spirit of hermit contains idealism of away from the secular impurity and pursuing personal interests, contains attitude of yearning for nature and a quiet life; Of course, it also contains implication of avoiding persecution and preserving themselves. Meanwhile, though most of the hermits have lost interest in politics, in occasions that they must express opinions, they are able to keep their outspoken true colors.
Historically, most intellectuals choose to become hermits because of the frustrated officialdom, or being fundamentally unable to get the opportunity to participate in political life. With the progress of times, the proportion of people with knowledge in the society improves rapidly, but the centuries-old traditional feudalistic centralization of China still has influence so far, and the channel in which citizens can participate in the political life is far from open. No matter how the current political situations in China, the world has become an endless South Mountain for Chinese to practise resignation.
Landscape painting is the awareness when Chinese facing natural. Standing in front of the ever-lasting mountain and water, people understand lonesome desolation and solemn peace. Within the much-in-little landscape painting, the natural ideal is agglomerated as a place feasible to watch, to travel, to tour and to live, as a hermit spirit not to associate with tyranny. The intellectuals in China are longing for a spiritual pure land where their soul can be accommodated. And now, the landscape which is overcrowded of Chinese hermits has already become no longer quiet.
NOTES: This passage is the translation of the words which is the left part of the work.
Non-cooperation, Hand Scroll, Literati Arts
"Let those who comply with me thrive and those who resist me perish", all Chinese intellectuals in previous dynasties have to face such thought of dictatorship. After all, it has been a country with a tradition of centralization of power. Facing lure and threat, the only political attitude can I choose neither losing my dignity nor violating the values yet keeping freedom and life is non-cooperation. They never give up their own will, sacrifice their dignity, or participate in political activities. Confronting with social and political problems, they insist the freedom to speak and make sure all the judgments must be made by rationality and conscience, refusing to play a harnessed political tool.
The scroll of "Thousands of South Mountains" is my work created in 2010. This work has adopted the form of traditional ancient Chinese "hand scroll", which is the mounting mode of the traditional Chinese painting, naming after its form of which can be hold in hand and read sequentially. A hand scroll includes pictures rendering thoughts, essays or poetries expounding thoughts. This is a way to put pictures and essays together to form a new work. "Thousands of South Mountains" consists of three parts: 1, with the feature of Chinese landscape painting of Song dynasty, it is a mosaic composed seemly without traces by patches of ancient paintings, with 42 consciously chosen patches of over 100 cottages among the mountains, along with a deliberately arrange extremely tight layout, all these rendering an abnormal spiritual sojourn world of Chinese hermits. 2, the essays discussing Chinese hermits and political situation, set in traditional Chinese reading habits of calligraphy. 3, titled from the beginning in the order of Chinese calligraphy, starting from right to left, read as "Thousands of South Mountains".
There has been a tradition of literati arts in ancient China, which possesses literariness, philosophy and lyricism, focusing on expressing intellectuals’ thoughts, rather than just skill, style or the theme of artistic creation. Literati arts are often inhabited by a anger of love for ethnic oppression or decayed politics. I'm not sure if there is certain inherent relationship between the works that I apply modern technology to accomplish and the ancient Chinese intellectuals, but I believe that our pursuit of art never stops at the place where artistic language terminates.
Fang Shengyi’s official website:www.fangshengyi.com