My studio is located in Tiantai Mountain, the holy land of Buddhist origin. Looking outside the window, I see the continuous, overlapping mountains and the wreathing misty clouds. I understand the meaning of the clouds. My works, such as “Clouds Mirror”, “Clouds”, “Star Calendar” and “Mending the Sky”, document my inner experience and reverie during my contemplation of the clouds.
(I) Cloud Mirror (The performance art of contemplating in front of Wise Master’s pulpit)
Loop of silk,
Trace of breath,
Floating across the sky,
Burden of lightness.
Bright Cloud Mirror,
Reflecting the blood and breath of earth，
Ladders of clouds emerge abruptly,
Looking down on the stress and the crowds of the city
Meet or break,
And beyond their deep
The silver blue sky.
Apparently, the East and the West have written different civilizations according to respective logic - history, science, religions, and humanity. The East takes “qi” (breath, the vital force) as “dao” (the universal law), while the West regards “shu” (the concept to measure things) as the origin. Nevertheless, both “qi” and “shu” points to emptiness and clearness when they encounter each other in the limits of art.
I meditate the words of Laozi’s “there is an image in the blurry sight” (恍兮惚兮，其中有象) and “if you empty your mind, your heart will be embraced by tranquility and peace” (致虚极，守静笃), as well as Zhuangzi’s “empty room creates enlightenment” (虚室生白).
I taste the poetic elegance and laid-back composition of the ink and wash painting of Chu Ta, the famous Chinese painter and calligrapher in Qing Dynasty.
I study the signal of loneliness in Giorgio Morandi’s paintings, and the sense of oppression in the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti.
I comprehend the power of technological rationality in metallic geometric sculptures of Donald Judd and Richard Serra, as well as the alienation engendered by Western Extremism。
I wait, perceive, and explore the limit and emptiness that radiate pleasant natural breath and warmth. I insist on creating my own spiritual universe which connects the 21st-century biology with human emotions and actions. Ever since 1989, I have started my silkworm rearing experiment and have tried to “view science from the perspective of art, and art from the perspective of life”. I find that each cocoon is a celestial body, while the silkworm spinning is the gasification of life. The artistic weaving of life demonstrates circles of silk traces, which embodies the meaning of clouds. Yet when the blue sky is reflected by the mirror covered with silk traces, the floating clouds surge in the gaps of silkscreen, unfolding a four-dimensional space. The profundity of the installation is thus turned into thinness and the freedom for limitless expansion. The silk clouds and floating clouds are born together and form an illusive dual mirroring - the blending of physical space and mental space.
(III) Hometown of the Clouds
Martin Heidegger once said, “poem is a form of measuring; returning home is the poets’ bounden duty.” Here I change the word “poem” (诗shi) into the word “silk” (丝 si). “Silk is a form of measuring; silk is a way of returning home.” When the clouds move, the silk waves. When the clouds stop, the silk (thinks about - si 思, the poetic - shi 诗) returns home.