2005/10/04

Back from Beijing (2)

We landed in Beijing on September the 8th and went straight to the Vinciland Gallery that is located in Zone A of the East-End Art district of Beijing. What followed were really hectic days shared between family, visitors to the exhibition and professionals of the Chinese art and auction world.

What I retained from those days are lively discussions that somehow comforted me in thinking that I'm on the right track. Those of you who have been reading my posts with some regularity know by now my vision of art and more particularly of the visual arts. The discussions that I refer to were dwelling into the arcanes of that vision.
In sumary I think that art is nothing more than an illustration of reality, as it is perceived by the men of knowledge of the day, at the attention of all the members of society.

My idea that modern science somehow confirms the underlying principles espoused by Chinese traditional philosophy generally came as a total surprise for my Chinese friends. But their surprise fast transformed into interest. They never had thought indeed that modern science would one day come back confirming the axioms of their civilization.
From that point our discussions focused mostly on the intersection between the visions of scientists and the visions of philosophers, more particularly the visions of traditional Chinese philosophers.

Basically the Chinese understand that reality is not the image that our eyes are given to see but well a vast ensemble made of a complex set of factors interacting upon themselves that in finale power a chain of events precipitating change. As such they understand reality as the principle of change itself... Xieyi painting, for thousands of years, has been an exercise at rendering in visual terms the internal mechanism of the process of change particular to their subjects. But change was understood in abstract philosophical terms (civilizational axioms) while nowadays science allows to understand the physical realities that underpin those abstract principles. Herein lies, I believe, the essential differentiation with the past in terms of our present capability at understand reality.

As Xieyi painters needed to be well versed in philosophy modern painters do too, but they can not escape the necessity to be well versed also in science, for, out of science they exclude themselves from the worldview of the leading men of knowledge of the day, the scientists.
My Chinese friends generally came to agree with me, unfortunately, I can not say as much of my Western friends!

Keywords: art modern art art theory visual art power society

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