The exhibition will showcase the artist’s recent shanshui (landscape) paintings, including the new, monumental six-metre horizontal scroll, Contemplating Purity, that will have its first public viewing at the gallery. A selection of Xu Longsen‘s (b.1956, Shanghai) works will also be shown at the Hanart TZ booth at Art Basel Hong Kong.
Through his landscape practice Xu Longsen constructs his own primeval world: and even though the elements of nature illuminated within this world are part of a communal environment, Xu’s realm of landscape is completely different from those realms created by traditional landscape artists, which can be ‘roamed through and inhabited’. In contrast, Xu’s landscapes loom before the viewer as remote, amorphous scenes anchored in quiet and solitude: these are realms that do not invite entry.
Perhaps Xu Longsen‘s intention is to subvert the Confucian notion that ‘The wise love the the water; the benevolent enjoy the mountains’. Instead, perhaps what Xu seeks to create is a kind of response that is in keeping with the Daoist concept that ‘Heaven and Earth are not benevolent: they treat all creatures as straw dogs’ (i.e. insignificant) . The creative forces of Heaven and Earth follow the ‘method’ of Nature, and the ‘method’ of ‘Nature’ goes beyond ‘the joys of benevolence and wisdom’: it is no more nor less than the eternal cycle of birth and decay.