姬子画分为笔墨山水、冰雪风光、墨道山水四个时期和项目,即画出道宝鸡道中景

  至少就在世的现身姿态而言,与道相遇后,老子对世界的拒绝可谓众所周知。现代的西方例子是维特根斯坦,他的《逻辑哲学论》见道后,当即脱离罗素、凯恩斯诸精英名流圈,跑到偏远山村作小学教师、作教堂园丁有十五年之久。在这次墨道法相姬子个展(2009年6月27日)之前,作为个体生命,姬子先生于世界已隐没近70年;作为丹青生涯,姬子于画坛也已沉默了近50年!这种传奇、荒唐,听上去少不了悲壮凄美的命运,正是一位有所托命的画者的天然标记。

  初识姬子(王云山)先生,即被其仁厚广博的胸怀所触动;再观其画,畅神与载道并重,这里的神是山川宇宙亘古激扬的风采,而非文人取象简略的即兴与闲适,也非笔墨游戏中的逃逸与自赏;这里的道既是天地之道,也是人格的铸造,画中无人,却处处跳动人本的力量,此力量外化为自然山川或荒寂、或广漠、或雄奇的状貌,营构出崇高而略带悲壮、神秘而发人幽思的山水世界。

  三、超越绘画的渐进层次

  与先人李聃,西人维氏的鲜明差别是,作为画者的姬子的隐没,更多带有时代国家与民族的强制性与悲剧性。在1976年唐山大地震、毛泽东谢世之前,包括画家在内的中国知识分子只有三种方式可选择:当(毛的)学生,作(国体)奴役和藏世隐没或思想烈士。个人独立的文化生命是谈不上的,画家也是首在异乡,胡涂乱抹,丹青梦破。姬子先生选择的是生存隐没:一来是底层布衣,固无话语权的炫耀,也躲了异化性的灾难;二来是画海初渡,渐涉世相,浮云苍狗,笔墨之决定性的矗立尚在未来的地平线。即便如此,早期不多的作品也让他自己斟酌再三之后,自行完全销毁了。这不也是一种自杀么?这是一种有别于老舍、傅雷放弃生命的另一种文化自杀。老舍、傅雷等中国知识者没有熬过来,姬子先生等中国知识者则熬到了1977年之后,熬到了科学的春天,也熬到了艺术的春天。

  姬子先生生活在塞外燕山脚下,几十年浸透在豪迈博大的山水环境中,其山水创作出神入化,在文化精神和中国艺术本体上达到了令人惊讶赞叹的高度。几次登门拜访姬子先生在北京的寓所,都深深感动于他的那种艺术执着,敬佩于他的绘画的那种酣畅淋漓、满目浩瀚之气。

  由于中国绘画理论并不是以绘画能力的高低来界定作品的品次,而是以作品所达到的精神内涵境界之高低品评作品的品次,因此,境界说乃是中国艺术所特有的理论。宗白华先生论述中国画境界时曾说:中国艺术家何以不满足于纯客观的机械式模写?因为艺术意境不是一个单层的平面的自然的再现,而是一个境界层深的创造。从直观感相的模写,活跃生命的传达,到最高灵境的启示,可以有三层次。(《直观艺术境界之诞生》)

  20世纪80年代是中国社会的分水岭,在姬子先生也是。在80年代中期之前,是他绘画的第一阶段,即笔墨山水期。雪域牦牛,崇高与优美兼名,气势与情韵融和,为传统写实力作,更是姬子的精神自画像。黑褐作底的基色格调,表现的是悲惨时代的黑暗记忆(黑)和温暖尚存的人性憧憬(红)的精神图式。画的顶部,是云山相接的雪域灵光(白);画的底部,是伫立雪地的高山牦牛。毋需多言,相约在此,神契在此;其中的一头牦牛将向山顶的灵境进发!太多的苦难,太深的磨砺,也太厚的积贮,使姬子既无法停留于纯粹优美的性灵故乡,也无法满足于横眉冷对的艺术指控;既有别于那些甜美俗气的具象国画,也有别于那些波诡云谲的抽象丹青。姬子像那头已至山麓脚下、雪地尽处的高山牦牛,目光只神往着已经密嘱印心的山顶灵境。

  早在南北朝时,宗炳就曾论到:夫圣人以神法道而贤者通,山水以形媚道而仁者乐。传统山水画价值判断的视点从一开始就奠基于道这一形上学的追求。有形仅是为了媚道,在对道的体证中达到自我的愉悦,因为道的抽象与混沌,由于媚道这一文化定位的制约,传统山水之形在保持一定程度的可辨识性的基础上只能是画者用笔墨符号组合堆砌的、主观化的虚拟时空,固定的图式、程式化的手法、相对稳定的价值取向成为传统山水画的显着特征。限制与约束虽然保证了传统山水画系统的完整与纯粹,使得古人能在范山模水中抒写胸中逸气,在超以象外的画境中体证悟道,但相对成熟的系统也会呈现出相对僵化的视觉语言。如何在这一悖论中寻找突破,不仅是传统山水历时性发展中的内部要求,在近现代中西文化碰撞与挤压中更凸现出变革的紧迫。

  姬子先生总结自己的艺术历程,把自己的创作分为三个递进性类型:延续型,再生型,开拓型。所谓延续型指的是在继承传统的基础上,通过深入生活进行写生,同时参照某些当代有成就的画家的作品,深入领会,逐步探索形成个人的笔墨风格。用一句常说的话概括便是继承传统而不囿于传统,深入生活融各家之长,形成自己的风格面貌。在这一层次所追求的是以自己的笔墨技法表现真山真水,即眼中山,眼中景,属胸有丘壑的范畴,其基本精神是现实主义的。所谓再生型指的是以自我情怀为主体,创造出超于现实实景的表现意境。为实现这一目标,必须在技法上突破前人,进行别开生面的探索创造。这一层次的创作精神是发我之肺腑,揭我之须眉,纵使笔不笔,墨不墨自有我在。追求的不是纯客观的再现而是要画出心中山,心中景是一种创境,属心有丘壑的范畴,所以个性就特别鲜明,其基本精神是浪漫主义的,同时与表现主义有某些相近之处,但仍没有超出常规理性绘画的范畴。所谓开拓型指的是要从立意上超越表像界,向本体界升华,创造出超于象外,得其环中表现宇宙大道精神,集具象,抽象,意象,心象为一体的,音乐般效果的宏观悟境。为实现这一目标,就需要从思维到构架,从技法到表现等方面进行全方位的开拓创造。这一层次的创作精神是澄怀观道澄怀味象,以道论画,以画体道,缘道求法,缘道立象。追求的是超越表像山水形迹,实现道境的物化,即画出道中山道中景。

  告别笔墨山水之后,在所谓的冰雪山水时期,姬子主题型选择的自然物象有两个:燕地长城和雪域藏天。选择这两大物象至少有三重机缘:其一,燕地长城是姬子的地望故乡,具备生存论上的前定遭遇;其二,千里冰封,万里雪飘,望长城内外,惟余莽莽(毛泽东《沁园春。雪》),作为文化视野的最高境界象征,具备历史学的现实接受性;其三,长城逶迤燕山,有着时间性的本体论地位与道路象征。这也意味着,画家义无反顾地告别了优美性灵私享的圆满性与可能性,而将自己置于重新出发、再造乾坤的崇高举意与纯粹境界。《燕塞凛姿》与《大浪淘沙》便是这种举意境界的表达见证。《燕塞凛姿》,长城万里逶迤,其尽头在哪里呢?《大浪淘沙》,山海云浪滔天,其停泊在何处呢?雪域藏天应缘而至,云落笔际。第一,雪域藏天无论就外在地理还是内在灵性,都是神秘与神圣的一隅;第二,在冰雪山水期,姬子选择雪域藏天再自然不过了;第三,藏天雪域以其神秘性与神圣性而言,具象性回答了尽头与何处停泊的精神家园。如果说,故乡燕地的长城是时间的笔墨符号语言与象征,浪涌滔天的云山是跌宕人生的艺术表现与概括,那么,远方雪域的藏天就是空间的笔墨符号语言与象征,是具象性的精神家园。燕地藏天分别是时间与空间、道路与归宿的具象符号,也是最后诀别的符号具象。由燕地藏天的具象符号时空合一,走到《乾坤氤氲》与《大牝》代表开始的本体论上的宇宙合一,画家便由冰雪山水走到了墨道山水,由审美的崇高气势来到了灵智的神秘法相,墨与道完成了最终的相遇、互现与澄明。美乃真理(道)在世的栖居方式。由于道的栖居,姬子的笔墨敞出无比的纯净、辉煌与神远。中国画一千年来,形成了构图范式的三远说:即平远法、高远法与幽(深)远法。平远法使用最多,高远法次之;幽(深)远法有此一说,实际画作凤毛麟角、基本阙如。姬子先生的墨道山水,基本上都是幽(深)远法构图,形成范式,填补空白,堪为宗师。筚路蓝缕,以启山林,有开创者之劳绩;乾坤氤氲,法相庄严,有集成者之富贵。

  已近古稀之年的姬子先生在五十余年的求艺悟道中,深刻感受到这种时代的焦虑、艺术发展的彷徨与困惑,他以仁立基,养浩然之气,在天道、地道、人道之间架构出自己的哲思,正如所说浩然之气,乃是天地之间的正气,它赋予人的是真善美的高度统一以及崇高、悲壮、凛烈、刚正和安详。艺术家的有为之作品,要体现无为之精神,即宇宙精神,亦即大道精神。艺术家不只是天道、地道、人道和谐相处的体悟者,而且也是倡导者,同时又是宇宙意识的追求者。姬子先生严秉这样的艺术追求,其作品正是此责任承载的具体体现,故名其山水为墨道山水。从下面一段话可看出其自律的追求,看我的画,产生不了愉悦的快乐,轻松的消遣或内行人对传统正统笔墨的鉴赏,但却能进行严肃的思想交流以及作品引发的方方面面。我的画,不是文人画的那种笔情墨趣、诗情画意,把玩戏墨、愉悦惬意的抒发心中逸气式的作品,诸如山居图、隐居图。袅袅炊烟,蒙蒙细雨,片片小舟、春柳轻拂、河鸭淌漾、鸳鸯戏水、芭蕉仕女等等。我画所迸发的是宇宙生命的不息运动及顽强地挣扎抗衡和深沉地呐喊。我力求用我的艺术语言洗刷人的压抑与困扰,谋求宇宙生命的真正含意。

  姬子先生几十年如一日锲而不舍地探索,早年他曾把自己的一角天地命名为苦兰斋枯寒吟馆可见其起步的艰难。正是在这苦与寒的境遇中他刻苦地学习前人,打下了坚实的传统基础。从六十年代末开始探索自己的笔墨风格,白天工作,夜晚则要静下心来钻研艺术,困难重重,艰难不易。七十年代初他从切身的体验出发,把自己的一角天地命名为不易斋,正是在这艰难不易的环境中,他探索形成了自己风格的笔墨山水,继而又创造出了表现北国冰封雪飘,凛冽悲壮的燕山冰雪山水。八十年代末随着商潮的冲击,很多搞艺术的纷纷下海,他却遵循着致虚极,守静笃的古训,把自己的一角天地更名为定斋,继续进行深入探索,终于试验出墨道山水这一艺术表现形式。知不易者不易也,知不易而易其志者多矣,知不易而不易其志者尤不易也。这是其《不易斋记》中的警句,然而不易其志而能定者,几近于崇高。这正表现出姬子艺术升华必依的深层精神本质。

  这也许并不偶然。从艺术哲学角度看,平远法、高远法更多地依赖着人的眼睛和外部视知经验,分别满足静的优美韵味与动的崇高境界这两大人文诉求。幽(深)远法则不然。它与人的眼睛和外部视知经验不能说无关,但却首先依赖的是人的灵智和内在超验直觉。平远法、高远法更多外师造化,幽(深)远法更多中得心源。这对画者的要求无疑太高。千年画史,能中得心源者寥若晨星,又多是石涛诸高僧逸笔(黄宾虹)。姬子画出,在很大程度上改变了中国画的这一历史格局。姬子画分为笔墨山水、冰雪山水、墨道山水三个时期和类型,从创作范式讲,恰对应了中国画传统所谓的平远、高远与幽(深)远三法。特别是他的墨道山水,其对幽(深)远法的运用实践,虽然影响了姬子本人如石涛、巴斯卡尔式的彼岸性宗教高度,却在创作心态和画面境界两方面实现了中国绘画对于最高灵境的追求(姬子),诚然是中国画的重大收获与福音。墨道法相:姬子个展的命名与主题,贴切地概括了这一中国绘画的最高灵境与画作境界。在文化传统上,中国思想精神是儒释道三足之鼎;墨道法相:姬子个展的命名本身,已见全鼎的深沉斑斓。在具体的展览作品方面,也许是因了主题缘故,作为画家前期重要跋涉的笔墨山水和冰雪山水一概未收;展出的三十作品,全部是近几年的墨道自然与构成水墨系列作品。面对宁静澄明、神远天成的作品,评论家多年难见的热忱被激发出来了,这是一个现代山水画家返回观道原点后创造出来的新图式、新境界(贾方舟),这里有宇宙和人类的前世今生(殷双喜),与自然所隐藏的神秘(丹托)。墨道,从姬子的一人心源终究来到了普世的澄明境域!世界对于它的忠诚的画者,在长期的巨大检验之后,终于有了最起码的正式礼节。这会被看作标志性的,它也的确具备象征意义。

  艺术语言作为一种方式而非表达的目的,其根本在于述说什么、怎样述说,东西方传统艺术都各自有着自己的语言体系,但我们却能从这种差异中看到艺术精神的一致性追求。姬子先生的山水画正是带着如此的历史观、时代感以及强烈的使命感来锤炼自己的艺术语言,既深入传统山水画语言的纵向脉络,又对西方艺术进行横向剖析,在纵横择决中,为自我体貌开拓出一片新境。

  通观姬子的艺术历程及其作品,其笔墨山水所追求的境界与当时的钱松岩、宋文治诸家属于同一范畴,其冰雪山水的独创,抓住了经典山水画在表现雪山冰封方面的薄弱点,创出了如雪麻皴、雪劈皴、雪坡皴、雪窝皴等独特的技法。但这两个类型的作品,是其进一步探索墨道山水的坚实基础。由于其墨道山水不仅延用了笔墨山水,尤其是冰雪山水的表现技法,融有独特造型的内在因素,承接了冰雪山水重在表现肺腑情怀的心源优势,而且通过思维的拓展,画面构成的重组变形,追求超越表像再现。

  如仅就具体的时间性而言,姬子的墨道,大致上与21新世纪同步来到我们的大地世界。最近两年的着色、几何符号以及构成水墨并非墨道的开始,而是墨道内部的应缘而出,因境而生与调整变化;再具体说,是从墨道山水转向墨道法相,是从法相初显渐臻法相庄严。局外不谙,问题与误解便由此产生。

  缘道立象心源造境

Ink Paintings: Existence and Transcendence

  其一,面对画家姬子墨道法相的现代性与构成系列,有朋友说谷文达、赵无极等画家已探索表现过了。余答之曰,作为手法,构成性是人类的逻辑元项;作为玩法,孩童的摆积木最直观生动;作为画法,在毕加索立体主义(构图)和奥地利新表现派(色彩),都有丰富前例,中国皆后继;作为道法,吾未见别人有如姬子的墨道法相和法相庄严。姬子《构成水墨系列》的副题,即与道对话。姬子是本体论上的因境而生、随缘构成,而非技能画法游戏,问题与误解可思过半矣。现代性呢?既太丰富也太含混。姬子的墨道法相无疑是极大地提升了中国水墨的现代性,而丝毫不会含混于其他画家的现代性。身处国运底层,超然孤独于世,如果姬子的创作果然与哪位画家雷同了,那只能解释为天意奇事。

  象是视觉艺术之根本,不同的山水形象有着不同的趣味与境界。董其昌的南北宗论着眼于平淡天真的文人审美以及笔墨的独立意味来抑北扬南,在发展文人笔墨的同时却丧失了山水真景之美,且为图式的雷同与陈陈相因埋下了伏笔。南北有别,自山水画发展之初就已体现出来,但这首先基于造化之功,不同自然条件当有不同的地貌特征,荆、关领衔的北方山水画派与董、巨所开的南方山水画派庶优庶劣?这样的辨识并无多大意义,北地多豪气,南人多柔婉,审美取向的差异并不能直接说明其高下。姬子先生生于北地,自然受这方水土滋养,无论其冰雪山水、墨道山水还是后来渗透宇宙意识的自构新境,都显然源于北方山水。当然,个人际遇只是外部因素,心源和具有历史穿透力的文化认识才是姬子先生的内在驱动。

--A Review of Jizis Art(three )

  其二,燕观藏天在画家姬子也是双重性的。画家姬子的燕观藏天,无论在审美性还是本体论上,都具有合理性与合法性。倒是墨道法相上的燕观藏天,对画家姬子个人而言,是否必然值得呢?倒真值得深思。

  姬子先生敏锐地抓住了传统绘画的超越性精神本质,继承了澄怀观道澄怀味象的思想,思考中国画所追求的最高境界究竟是什么。他从儒、道、释各家中吸取文化精神营养,体悟原天地之美而达万物之理、大象无形、大音稀声、视之无形,听之无声,于人之论者谓之冥冥的道的超然境界,并把道的狭隘理解推演开来,赋以时代的活力,他统称禅、儒、道的精神为大道精神,这种大道精神既是人格修养的有机内容,也是向自然投射的情怀,并最终以超越自然的象呈现出来。

  3. Progressive Levels of Transcendental Paintings

  仅就外部文明生态而言,整整20年前,海子作为天才诗人,在与道相遇哪怕仅仅是审美(主体)性上之后,就在燕地长城卧轨自杀了。孔子活到70古来稀,寿终正寝,于《论语》也坦言朝闻道,夕死可矣。从笔墨山水,到冰雪山水,从冰雪山水到墨道山水,姬子为自己而在;既与道相遇,从墨道山水到墨道法相,姬子已在为别人而活。别人又在怎么活呢?拜物、金钱、享乐、权力的奴隶且不论,况以法相为天职的监院也杀害了自己的同道方丈!姬子仍苦口婆心,被褐怀玉,以墨道法相,以笔显道境,使工具性的笔墨有了本体论上的法相、道境与家园!就艺术本体论而言,笔墨的道境,即绘画的澄明之境。从庄子先有真人,才有真知的思想原则,中国绘画的澄明之境,必然依赖画者本人抵达澄明之境。澄明之境,是现代西方艺术的基本问题和关键性概念。海德格尔曾明言,就澄明之境这一关键性问题而言,荷尔德林诗歌与他的存在之思有着非此不可的关联。隐没50年之久,终于将墨道带入了澄明之境的姬子绘画,与问道为责的中国现代学术中的本体之思,在根本程度上也有着某种非此不可的存在关联。姬子以大师的墨道自由精神,和光同尘,慈悲劳作,绽出孩童的赤诚与纯真;最新的《构成水墨系列与道对话》又见其劳绩、情怀和收获。

  在其早期的冰雪山水中,多以西藏雄壮而神圣的山川和长城内外燕山山脉为主,经过主观的裁减,又幻化为带有普遍意义且气势空阔的景象,其中的典型藏区古庙和蜿蜒长城,是人类自身力量的显现,也成为画面的视觉中心;以连绵起伏的崇山峻岭为主体,崔巍雄奇、云层环绕、激荡翻腾,以静屹的建筑形成画面中的反动力,内蕴中迸发出极大的张力。肃穆圣洁的雪山,幽深诡秘、变幻多姿的云雾,庄严深邃的古庙,厚重沉闷的喇嘛长号,浓郁的宗教氛围,博大精深的民俗风情这种奇绝的自然风光、神秘远古的人文景观、厚重的文化积淀,向人类昭示着永恒的魅力和神秘的诱惑。墨道山水及其后带有宇宙精神的新构,进一步提炼出超越时空的山川景象,既像远古的溶洞、又如未知的外太空,各种山形交错、挤压,并与圆形相互层叠,形成多维的意象,具有强烈的象征意味,正如姬子先生所言:我所探索的山水画,画中的山水已不是自然界中用肉眼所看到的山,也不是其它山水画中对自然界山的摹仿化、装饰化、风景化的再现。而是一种符号,一种尽可能有意味艺术化的象征符号,我要借用这符号表现我主体思想深层的意识,使我的深层意识通过画中物,尽可能直觉把握地溢出来。他把传统山水画创作过程中的天人合一心理状态,通过直觉把握,直观地在画面表现出来,成为可视的审美对象,这种迹化的道境给人以神秘玄妙、崇高悲壮、圣洁之感。张力之大,境界之宽给人心灵震撼,灵魂似乎得到了一种超拔的净化。

  Due to the fact that the theory of Chinese painting most definitely does not take the ability to paint as the measure of a paintings value, but rather evaluates a painting by the level of its spiritual meaning, so for this reason the theory of realms, that is the realm a painting attains, is a special feature of Chinese art theory. The contemporary artist and critic Mr. Zong Baihua (1897-1986), when discussing realms in Chinese painting, has said: Why are Chinese artists not satisfied with purely objective, mechanical drawings? Because the realm of Chinese painting is not a single plane of natural reproduction but rather the creation of realms of painting, with each realm having a deeper level. In all, there are three levels: the drawing of an object as directly perceived through the visual sense; the conveying of the dynamism of life; and the revealing of the highest spiritual realm. (Zong Baihua The Birth of Realms in the Visual Arts)

  个体性灵乎?天道使命乎?

  局部塑形整体重构

  In summarizing his own artistic process, Mr. Jizi divided his creativity into three progressive genres: continuation, rebirth, and pioneering. By the continuation genre, Jizi means that, on the basis of continuing traditional painting, and by means of deeply investigating life in order to make progress in sketching, while at the same time consulting the works of contemporary artists of merit, he obtained a profound understanding of painting, and gradually formed his own brush and ink style. Using a familiar adage to sum this up, we can say that Jizi: continued the traditional but was not confined by tradition, deeply investigated life to blend the strong points of different artists, and so formed his own style. What Jizi was seeking in this genre was to use his own skills with brush and ink to express real mountains and real streams, that is the mountains and the scenes that one sees with ones eyes. These belong to the category of scenery that one already sees physically and emotionally, and the basic spirit is Realism.

  如果选择朴素也是真挚的方式,姬子就是一位画者意义上的画者,为我们真正复活了一位画者的本来形象及其工作意义。就历史意识而言,至迟它是为唐、朱景玄《唐朝名画录》画者圣也,盖以穷天地之不至,显日月之不照就讲清楚了的。就我们刚渡过的二十世纪来看,恢复圣也的画者形象及其工作意义,其挑战是前所未有,没有天道的托命与襄助完全难以想象。也只有在天道托命与襄助的存在氛围中,才可以悟入姬子作为一位终生与道为伴的画者,他对墨道的依恋、苦守与最终澄明。对于科技昌明而日益沉沦的外部世界而言,姬子及其墨道法相无疑是当代绘画文明的奇迹,至少是难得再见的视觉福祉。同门为朋,同道为友,作为相识既久、相知日深的朋友与道之倾听者,我个人虽略存隐忧,对姬子的绘画事业和天命,内心深处总引以为幸福与荣耀。

  勾、皴、擦、点、染是传统山水画笔墨表现的基本方式,或按照作画流程单独使用,或灵活套用;对于山石的表现,也大多石分三面,勾线后稍加皴、染,分出阴阳,从不同的山水地貌中提取并最终形成多种程式化的手法,如斧劈皴、披麻皴、折带皴、荷叶皴、马牙皴、米点皴等等,实际上是以线为单位或缩短为点、或扩展为面,形成了点、线、面三个不同的皴法集合。由于造象的独特性,姬子先生针对传统山水画在表现冰雪天地方面的薄弱点,创出了如雪麻皴、雪劈皴、雪坡皴、雪窝皴等独特的技法,体现为以面为塑造的基本单元,面里透线,灵动而不乏墨趣,形成斑驳沧桑的山石质感,颇为符合现代审美视觉;面与面之间的前后关系利用一定的明暗手法,既有体块的份量感,又暗合传统山石阴阳转化层层推进的平叠法。北宋的全景式山水不仅注重近取其质,追求局部山石的精微,从中体证物理,而且远取其势,在整体气势中透射出山水永恒之道。姬子先生充分吸收了宋人山水画中的理法观念,在局部塑形充分的基础上,整体上采用大架构,虚实相济,动静相参,满布画面的云气流荡在群山之间,多用层层积染的手法,既厚重淋漓,又小心留白,保持云气不可测其端倪的外形,显然是借鉴了西方风景画中白云的处理方式;同时,为了增强视觉上的对比度,在全景画中把握节奏感与兴奋点,姬子先生还巧妙的利用光的作用,最黑与最白的物象并置对比,视觉张力突显。

  By the rebirth genre, Jizi means using principally his own sentiments in order to create an expressive realm that surpasses Realism. In order to achieve this goal, Jizi had to break through the techniques of previous artists, and proceed to explore and create the breaking of new artistic ground. His creative spirit in this genre was, in the words of Shi Tao: from the depths of my heart, using my own abilities, I will decide how to use the brush and how to apply the ink. What Jizi was seeking in this genre was not a pure, objective reproduction but rather the ability to paint a creative realm of the mountains and scenes in ones mind that belong to the category known as having ones mind set in a profound artistic mood. In this genre, the artists individuality is particularly distinctive and the basic spirit is Romanticism. While this genre is close in several aspects to Expressionism, it still remains in the category of conventional, rational painting.

  2009年7月2日长安终南山

  传统山水画在构图上讲究布置与经营,更多体现出一种平面的意味,尤其是两宋山水画之后,空间感已逐渐消退殆尽,三远法也更多独立运用,引人入胜的山水空间不再可居、可游。视觉上的贫乏,自然不会激起内心的震撼,姬子先生在墨道山水系列中,完全打破了传统的程式化构图,进行立象重组,深邃而神秘的空间将人们带出现实的纷乱与困扰,进入玄远幽思的心灵圣地。为了布局的展开、景物的拓宽,道境的把握,他在继承传统的散点透视法,也即面面观的基础上,创造了四维空间以上的透视法,他称这种透视法为多维透视法。他说:宇宙至深至极,其时空没有方位、方向。尽可能地扩大作品表现形式的有限度和体现作品精神境界的无限。同时,改变了传统的虚实关系,一反传统的虚无淡化,融会贯通了西画的虚实关系,大大加强了作品的张力,并溶合版画的黑白关系,光效应,大胆启用被传统视为的死墨,加强画面的整体纵深感。同时也借鉴了平面构成的某些因素,光圈与山石透叠穿插,其明暗效应如同时空隧道般不可捉摸。

  By the pioneering genre, Jizi means that conceptually he wanted to go beyond the physical realm that simply shows images, and advance to the metaphysical realm. In this genre, the artist wants his creations to express the universal spirit of the Tao that is beyond the image, but obtained from what the Tao encompasses. To accomplish this, the artist collects all the images - the abstract, the concrete, and the mental - and gives them a macro realization that has a unified, music like effect. In order to obtain this goal, the artist must proceed with a full range of exploration and creation from thought to framework, from technique to expression, and other such aspects of painting. The creative spirit in this genre is described variously as: a pure mind glimpsing the Tao, a pure mind getting the sense of an object, using the Tao to discuss art, and using art to embody the Tao; and seeking method and image from the Tao. What the artist is seeking in this genre is to transcend just showing the features of mountains and streams in order to realize the materialization of the realm of Tao, that is to paint mountains and scenes in the Tao.

The Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects- On Jizis Paintings

  庄严崇高幻化光辉

  For several decades Mr. Jizi persevered in his explorations. In the early years, he called his own little corner of the world such names as The Bitter Blue Studio, and The Studio for Chanting in the Withering Cold, and hence we realize just how difficult it was for him in the beginning. It was just in this bitter cold period that he assiduously studied previous artists, establishing a solid foundation in traditional painting. From the end of the 1960s, he began to explore his own style. He worked during the day while at night he calmed his mind in order to delve into art, but it was a difficult time nonetheless. At the beginning of the 1970s, he started from personal experience and called his corner of the world The Not Easy Studio. It was just in these difficult circumstances that his explorations took shape as ink and brush landscapes painted in his own style. He continued his own style creating his manifestations of the frozen ice and fluttering snows of the North Country, the biting cold and tragic majesty of the Yan Mountain ice and snow landscapes. At the end of the 1980s, following the impact of the rise of business in China, one by one artists began to engage in business, but Jizi continued to abide by the ancient Taoist precepts of extreme emptiness and guarded quietude (i.e. remaining unperturbed by what others do and concentrating instead on quietly honing a skill).

Gao Congyi

  我的画,不是那种只停留在愉悦心情、陶冶情操的层面的东西(当然也包含这些)。我也不要求看我画的人都懂,我只求看我画的人的初始感觉,通过初始的直觉,进入理性思考,通过思考得出自己的认识,我想这种认识,不管以什么角度,都会和我的深层意识有关系。我力求这种关系的震撼力以及对于心灵的撞击与洗涤。姬子先生极为明确自己艺术的终极关怀与追求,他概括为诗的哲学化境界以及高度的人文精神境界,哲学的深度思考使其作品带有强烈的精神穿透力,甚至如宗教一般动人心魄。

  At this time, Jizi changed his studio name to The Determined Studio, and continued his profound exploration. These explorations finalized in the experimental paintings that became the artistic expression known as the Tao of Ink Landscapes. The dictum for Jizis The Not Easy Studio was: It is not easy for those who know the difficulties, but there are many who, because they know the difficulties, lower their expectations. It is thus especially not easy to know the difficulties but still not lower ones expectations. Thus for one who does not lower his expectations but instead makes them definite, then such a person is really noble, and this nobility represented that profound spiritual essence necessary to advance Jizis art.

  At least as far as the stance that the ancient Daoist philosopher Laozi took in the world after he realized the Way (dao), as everyone knows, was a rejection of the world. A modern Western example would be Ludwig Wittgenstein who, after his Tractatus Logical-Philosophicus saw the Way (dao), left the elite celebrity circle of Bertrand Russell, John Maynard Keynes, and others, and ran off to a far away mountain village to become an elementary school teacher and church gardener for more than fifteen years. Before his 27 June 2009 exhibition The Way of Ink and Dharma Objects - a Jizi Exhibition, Mr. Jizis individual life had already been hidden from the world for almost 70 years. As for the contributions of his artistic career, Jizi had been painting in silence for almost 50 years! After hearing this marvelous absurdity, one cannot but feel that it was a tragic and poignant fate, a really telling sign of a painter who has given his life to art.

  宗教作为一种信仰,其最大特点也许正体现为精神的超拔性和纯粹性。姬子先生说的好艺术的宇宙精神,不是宗教,却有着宗教性的精神。他的冰雪山水本就多描绘圣地气象,在荒寂苦难的雪域高原上,踽踽独行的牦牛、巍巍静谧的宗庙、供于膜拜的石上牛头都是宗教力量的集中体现,苦难与崇高、肃穆与庄严,人文生命与自然精神在共鸣同振中指向永恒。在西方绘画中,光是上帝力量的象征表现,上帝如是说:我在云层中放置彩虹,作为我和大地之间契约的证明。中国传统绘画摒弃这种外在显现的方式,而回归于内心的平静与自我调适,即使画面产生一定的明暗关系,也并非西方绘画的外光描绘,多主观处理。当西方绘画作为重要参照体系在20世纪涌入并挤迫中国画发展之际,许多中国画家开始采用光的表现形式,如黄宾虹灵动的内光、李可染厚重的逆光感,使传统绘画的形态语言得到新的拓展。姬子先生用光有着自己的特点,一是形象塑造时略参明暗法,增加局部体块的质量感,此用光方式可称为轮廓平光;二是出于画面构成的整体考虑,在物象重构中以光来界形,并统摄整个画面的节奏与对比,此用光方式可称为内结构光。两种用光方式的最大特点则是幻化不居,神圣光辉得以在每一个地方闪耀。

  In a comprehensive view of the course of his art and his artworks, we see that the artistic realm that Jizi was seeking in his brush and ink landscapes belonged to the same category as the works of the contemporary artists Qian Songyan and Song Wenzhi (mentioned above). The originality of Jizis snow and ice landscapes is that he understood the weak points of classical landscape painting in displaying snowy mountains and frozen peaks, and hence created such special techniques as the rough, choppy, slanting, and hollow brush methods for showing the textures of snow and ice. These two kinds of artworks, Jizis brush and ink landscapes and his snow and ice landscapes, however, formed a solid foundation for Jizi to proceed to explore his Tao of Ink Landscapes. Because his Tao of Ink Landscapes were not just an extension of his brush and ink landscapes, but in particular were the expressive techniques he used in the snow and ice landscapes, they incorporated inner elements that made for unique modeling, and captured the snow and ice landscapes emphasis on expressing the artists heartfelt sentiments. By means of expanding his thinking and restructuring and modifying the configuration of the paintings, moreover, Jizi sought to reproduce a painting that surpassed merely showing an image.

  A sharp difference between Jizi and his ancestor Laozi and the Westerner Wittgenstein is that the disappearance of the artist Jizi carried with it much more of being enforced and the tragedy of the nation and its people during that era. At the time of the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, just before the death of Mao Zedong, Chinas intellectuals, including artists, had only several modes to choose from: they could be (Maos) students, (state system) slaves, hide from the world, or become martyrs to their own ideology. One could not talk about an independent cultural life, and artists were the first to inhabit this strange world, painting chaotically and indiscriminately, their dreams of making artistic contributions sabotaged. Mr. Jizi chose to survive by disappearing: on the one hand, he wore commoners clothes, absolutely did not flaunt his right to speak, and avoided making his alienation a calamity. On the other hand, he crossed over to doing paintings of the sea, gradually realizing that worldly appearances are like watching clouds form white garments that then became black dogs. The towering decisiveness of his brush and ink were still on the distant horizon. Even so, the paucity of artworks in his early period allowed him, after weighing the matter over and over, to destroy these works voluntarily. Isnt this also a kind of suicide? This was a kind of cultural suicide different from the suicides of the novelist Laoshe (1899-1966) and the translator and art critic Fu Lei (1908-1966) who took their own lives. Chinas intellectuals like Laoshe and Fu Lei did not endure, while Chinas intellectuals like Mr. Jizi endured until after 1977, endured until the science spring and endured until the art spring.

  孔子曾提出人生自我修炼的方式志于道,据于仁,依于德,游于艺,在姬子先生这里,艺非仅游,而是承道、传道、体仁的不二选择,艺术便是其整个的生命。天行健,君子以自强不息,刚健的生命当使这位仁者的艺术自由无疆,其艺术爆发力将会持久地回响在悠远深长的中国艺术文脉中,特别是在中国当代艺术发展的整体格局中,中国的传统水墨艺术如何发展是一个重大文化选择问题,传统的并不是固守不变的,而如何变是一个艰难困苦的实践,多少画家都为此付出一生的心血。对此,我们要说姬子先生的绘画艺术创作实践为我们提供了研究当代中国水墨转型的良好个案,去读、去看将引发我们深入思考在当代艺术历史节点中的中国艺术,所谓大器晚成永远都是中国美术史的迷人课题。

  The 1980s were a watershed for Chinas society and also for Mr. Jizi. Just before the middle of the 1980s was the first period of his painting, the period of brush and ink landscapes. Snow Yak, a name that combines the noble and the beautiful, that harmonizes dynamism and sentiment, a masterpiece of traditional realism, was even more a self-portrait of Jizis spirit. Dark brown as the substrate of the style of primary colors displayed the dark memories (black) of the tragic period and a spiritual schemata of the warm and surviving human vision (red). The top of the painting has mountain clouds in contact with the snowy aura (white); in the middle of the painting, high mountain yaks stand in the snow. There is no need to say more, an agreement is here, a spiritual binding. In the painting lone yaks have embarked for the spiritual peak! Too many hardships, too well honed, too thickly accumulated caused Mr. Jizi not only to be unable to remain in a pure and beautiful spiritual homeland but also unable to be satisfied with just treating with contempt the strictures on art. He was not only different from those national artists who painted sweet and vulgar figures but also different from those bewildering abstractionists. Mr. Jizi was like that high mountain yaks who had arrived at the foothills where the snow ends and whose eyes longed for the summit, a secret admonition to climb to the summit engraved in his mind.

  

  After departing from the Brush and Ink landscapes, during his so-called Snow and Ice landscapes, Jizi had two natural objects for his choice of themes: the Great Wall in northern Hebei Province, and the snow regions of Tibet. Selecting these two great objects was at a minimum the result of three bits of good luck. First, selecting the Great Wall in Hebei was for Jizi, a Hebei native, looking homeward, a predetermined existentialist encounter. Second was the lines from Mao Zedongs poem Snow : The vast frozen land is covered with ice. And the snow flits far-flung in the sky. On both sides of the Great Wall. The empty wilderness survives. This poem is a symbol of the highest cultural vision, and it prepared the way for the acceptance of realism in historical studies. And third, the Great Wall meanders through the hills of Hebei, and possesses a timeless ontological status and is a symbol of the Way. The Great Wall also signified that the painter was crossing a Rubicon, bidding farewell to the success and possibility of private enjoyment, and instead making himself set out again to create from heaven (qian) and earth (kun) a realm of noble intentions and purity. The two works Snow on the Great Wall and Waves Breaking on Shore are expressions of and witnesses to this realm. In Snow on the Great Wall the Great Wall meanders, but where does it end? In Waves Breaking on Shore the sea of mountains and the waves of clouds are frightful, where can we find a mooring? The Tibetan snow region arrives responding to karma and says put brush to paper. First, the Tibetan snow region has mysterious and sacred aspects; second, in his snow and ice landscapes period, Jizis choice of the Tibetan snow region could not be more natural; and third, the image of a hidden, snowy region that is too mysterious and sacred provides the symbolic answer to the questions where does it end and where can we find a mooring. If for example we say that the Great Wall of homeland Hebei is a brush and ink symbolic language for time, and the surging and frightening cloudy mountains are an artistic representation and generalization of lifes quirks, then the far off snowy regions of Tibet are the brush and ink symbolic language for space, a figurative representation of a spiritual homeland. The distinction between the Hebei Great Wall and the Tibetan Snow Regions is time and space, the symbolic image of the road and the destination, and also the symbolic image of the last farewell. From the unification of time and space in the symbolic imagery of the Hebei earth and the Tibet heaven, to the two paintings titled Mixing Heaven (Qian) and Earth (Kun) and the Great Herd that represent the beginning of an ontology in which the universe is one, the artist then goes from snow and ice landscapes to the Dao of Ink landscapes, from an aesthetic momentum to arriving at the spiritual wisdom of the mysteries of dharma objects (fa xiang). Ink and the Way (dao) complete their final encounter as mutually presented and clarified. Beauty is the way that truth (dao) dwells in the world. From the dwelling of the Way (dao), Jizis brush and ink open out on an incomparable purity, glory, and spirituality. For the past thousand years, Chinese painting formed a composition paradigm known as the three distances : the level distance (drawing an extensive space both horizontally and laterally); the high distance (looking from the base of a mountain to the peak); and the deep distance (glimpsing other mountains from atop a mountain). The level distance is used the most with high distance second. While there is this third method, the deep distance, it is rarely used and basically absent from paintings. Mr. Jizis Dao of Ink Landscapes fundamentally uses this deep distance method for construction, for patterns, and to fill a void. We can say he is the Master of this deep distance method. The method is an arduous one that opens up mountains and forests so merit goes to the pioneer. The mixing of heaven (qian) and earth (kun) and the solemnity of the dharma objects (fa xiang) are the wealth and honor of he who integrated them.

The Benevolent Person is Boundless, His Artworks Impressive and Natural

  This is no accident. From the perspective of the philosophy of art, the above described level distance and high distance methods rely even more on a persons eyes and external visual experiences to discriminate between two great humanistic aspirations: the graceful and lasting appeal of quietude, and the lofty realm of movement. The deep distance method is quite different. Although we cannot say that the deep distance method has no relation to a persons sight and external visual experiences, deep distance first and foremost, however, depends on a persons spiritual wisdom and inherent transcendental intuition. The level distance and high distance methods are more about leaning about painting from natures creations while the deep distance method is much more about finding the source for a painting in your mind. This without doubt puts quite a demand on an artist. In thousands of years of art history, the artists who could find the source for a painting in their minds are few in number. Many of them were Shi Taos (1630-1724) eminent monks who excelled with the brush (according to Huang Binhong 1865-1955). Jizis paintings to a great extent changed this historical pattern of Chinese painting. Jizis paintings encompasses three periods and styles: brush and ink landscapes, snow and ice landscapes, and the Dao of ink landscapes. Speaking from a creative paradigm, Jizis paintings exactly correspond to what traditional Chinese painting calls the three methods of level, deep, and high distances. Jizis Dao of ink landscapes in particular use and practice the deep distance method. Although Jizi himself was influenced by the religiosity of the other shore philosophies of Shi Tao and Blaise Pascal (1623-6162), with respect to the two aspects of creative mentality and the general appearance of paintings, Jizi still implemented the pursuit of Chinese painting for the highest spiritual realm (according to Jizi), and without doubt this is a significant gain and good news for traditional Chinese painting. The name and the theme of The Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects appropriately epitomizes the highest spiritual realm and the realm of painting. In Chinas traditional culture, the spirit of Chinas thought is pictured as an ancient cauldron with three legs representing Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. In the The Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects name itself we can see the deep colors of this cauldron. Faced with vast and profound art works, the critics approved: these paintings are by a modern landscape artist who, after returning to the concept of insight into the Dao, has created new graphic representations and a new realm (said Jia Fangzhou); these paintings give new life to the universe and mankinds past (said Yin Shuangxi); and these paintings have mysteries that nature hides (said Danto). The Dao of Ink, from the source in Jizis mind, has finally arrived at a universal pure realm! With regards to this loyal artist, after a long period of great testing, the world finally pays him some small formal courtesies! This will be seen as iconic but it has symbolic significance.

-A Discussion of the Essentials of Jizis Landscape Paintings

  If we are only talking about the specific time, Jizis Dao of Ink came into our world along with the 21st century. The trends of coloration, geometric symbols, and construction and ink of the past two years were not the start of the Dao of Ink but rather they derived from an internal response to the Dao of Ink. These trends sprung from the Dao of Ink realm and adjusted and changed to it. To be more specific, these trends appeared as the Dao of Ink landscapes changed to Dharma Objects, and from the initial emerging, these dharma objects gradually approached their grandeur. Beyond this, we are not well versed and this is where questions and misunderstandings arise.

Deng Feng

  The first of these questions and misunderstandings is that, when some of our friends are faced with the modernity and the composition series of Jizis Dharma Objects, they say that Gu Wenda (born 1955), Zhao Wuji (1921-2013), and other artists have already explored and presented this. My response to these friends is that, as a technique, composing is a key logical element for mankind. As game playing, childrens toy blocks are vivid and intuitive; as painting, there are extensive precedents in Picassos cubism (composition) and Viennese Neo-expressionism (colors), and China was a successor to these. As for the method of Dao, I have seen none who can compare to Jizis the Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects or his Grandeur of Dharma Objects. The subtitle of Jizis Composed Ink Paintings is a dialogue with the Dao. Jizi is the product of an ontological realm and he composes by following his karma, not by playing with drawing techniques, and this should make us feel remorse for half the questions and misunderstandings. Modern? This is both too rich and also too vague. There is absolutely no doubt that Jizis Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects enhances the modernity of Chinas ink painting but does not in the slightest blur the modernity of other artists. As a person from the lower ranks of the nations fate, who was aloof and alone in the world, if Jizis creations are really similar to some other artist, then this can only be explained as a providential wonder.

  When I first got to know Mr. Jizi (Wang Yunshan), I was moved by his broad mindedness and compassion (ren). After viewing his paintings, I felt that both their uninhibited spirit and their ability to carry the Dao were equally important. By spirit here I mean the talent aroused in artists since ancient times by mountain, rivers, and the universe, not the impromptu and leisurely images of the literati, nor the escapades and self amusement of those who merely play with brush and ink. By Dao here I mean both the Dao of Heaven and Earth, and also the Dao that molds character. Even if a painting does not have people in it, still that painting pulsates with human strength. This strength is externalized as natural landscapes, some of which are desolate, some wild, and some magnificent. These paintings construct a world of landscapes that are sublime and also slightly tragic, and so mysterious that they cause people to meditate on them.

  The second of these questions and misunderstandings is that Observing Tibet from Hebei is for the artist Jizi a duality. It does not seem to matter that, from an aesthetic or an ontological perspective, the artist Jizis Observing Tibet from Hebei is reasonable and legitimate. Actually, with respect to Jizi himself, whether or not the Observing Tibet from Hebei in the Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects was necessarily worth it, is something really worth pondering.

  Jizi lived beyond the Great Wall at the foot of Mt. Yan. For several decades he was steeped in a bold and broad environment of mountains and rivers. His remarkable landscape creations have reached new heights in the cultural spirit and main body of Chinese art, a cause for both admiration and surprise. I visited Jizis apartment in Beijing several times and was always moved by his artistic dedication, and admired the delightful vitality and vast spirit of his paintings.

  Speaking merely of an external civilized ecology, a full twenty years ago, the talented poet Zha Haisheng (1964-1989), known as Haizi, after his encounter with the Dao - even if it was only aesthetics (theme) - laid down on a track near the Great Wall in Hebei and committed suicide. Confucius lived to the seldom seen age of 70 and died in his sleep. In the Analects of Confucius, he stated quite frankly that Having heard the Dao in the morning, one may die without regret that evening. From brush and ink landscapes to snow and ice landscapes, and from snow and ice landscapes to the Dao of Ink landscapes, Jizi did all these landscapes for himself. Now that he has encountered the Dao, from the Dao of Ink landscapes to the Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects, Jizi is living for others. And for what do those other live? We wont mention the slaves to consumer fetishes, money, enjoyment, and power, or those monastic managers who take the Dharma Objects as a bounden duty to destroy their fellow monks! Jizis earnest remonstrations, his poor dress but rich spirituality, his use of ink to channel (Dao) Dharma objects, his use of the brush to reveal the realm of the Dao, and his brush and ink tools have an ontological view of Dharma objects, a Daoist realm, and a homeland! Speaking from the perspective of an art ontology, the Daoist realm of brush and ink is a realm of clarity for painting. From the ancient Daoist philosopher Zhuangzis ideological principle that first there must be authentic people only then can there be authentic knowledge, Chinese paintings realm of clarity must perforce rely on the artist himself attaining to the realm of clarity. The realm of clarity is a fundamental issue and key concept in Western art. Heidegger has made it clear that, as far as this key concept of a realm of clarity goes, the poems and songs of the German poet Johann Holderlin (1770-1843) and his existential thought cannot but be associated with it. Jizis paintings, hidden for a long fifty years, finally took the Dao of Ink paintings and brought them into the realm of clarity, and to a basic extent this also has a certain cannot but be associated with the ontological thinking in modern Chinese academic thought that claims a responsibility to enquire about the Dao. Jizi has a Great Master of the Dao of Inks spirit of freedom, aloofness, and labor of love that burst with a childlike sincerity and purity. Jizis new work continues, fully indicating his merits, sentiments, and results.

  As early as the Northern and Southern Dynasties, Zong Bing had already theorized that: Sages use their own intelligence and wisdom to realize the Dao; worthies clarify their minds to savor artistic images that emerge from the Dao; in this way, both sages and worthies comprehend the Dao. Landscape painting uses forms to adorn and embody the Dao, allowing the benevolent (ren) to rejoice at finding enlightenment among landscapes. From the beginning, traditional landscape painting based the viewpoint for its value judgments on this metaphysical quest for the Dao. Thus forms adorned the Dao, and were physical signs of the Dao that provided pleasure to viewers. Because the Dao is abstract and primeval, and due to the constraints of the cultural position of adorning the Dao, the forms of traditional landscape painting, on the basis of maintaining a certain degree of identity, had the artists using accrued combinations of brush and ink symbols; a subjective, virtual space-time continuum; fixed drawings, stylized techniques, and an orientation toward relatively constant artistic values - all of which became the significant features of traditional landscape painting. These limits and constraints, although they assured the completeness and purity of the traditional landscape painting system, and allowed the ancients in the midst of their ability to model mountains and mold rivers to describe the unaffected spirit in their bosoms, and in the realm of going beyond the image to embody their intuition of the Dao, nevertheless, this relatively mature system also presented a relatively rigid visual language. How to breakthrough this paradox was not only an internal requirement in the historical development of traditional landscape painting, but also an issue that is now even more urgent in the face of Western cultures impact on and penetration into Chinese culture in the contemporary and modern periods.

  An individual soul? A heavenly task?

  In the more than fifty years that Jizi, who will soon be seventy years of age, has pursued the arts seeking the Dao, he has deeply felt the anxieties of the present age, and the anxieties and confusion in the development of art. He uses benevolence (ren) as his foundation, nourishes his vast, flowing passion nature, and structures his philosophy from the Dao of Heaven, earth, and man. As the poet said: The vast, flowing passion nature is just the sense of righteousness that exists in the world. What this sense of righteousness confers on humanity is a highly integrated sense of truth, goodness, and beauty, and of the noble, tragic, strong, upright, and serene. The artworks of artists are the products of the artists taking an action (youwei) but their artworks should also embody a spirit of taking no action (wuwei). Taking no action is the spirit of the universe, the spirit of the great Dao. Artists are not only understand the harmony among Heaven, earth, and man, but also are proponents of this harmony, while at the same time they seek a cosmic consciousness. Jizi strictly grasps this type of artistic seeking: his artworks are concrete manifestations that he bears responsibility for this seeking for a cosmic consciousness, and for this reason he named his landscapes the Dao of Ink Landscapes. From the following quote from Jizi, we can see his self-disciplined pursuit of this goal: Viewing my paintings is not a cheerfully pleasant experience, a relaxing pastime, nor an experience that experts on traditional and orthodox brush and ink paintings relish, but rather an experience for those who can exchange serious ideas on all aspects of the artworks. My paintings are not the brush and ink works that the literati delighted in painting, they are not poetic paintings, and they are not paintings that play with ink, or that joyfully satisfy the artists wish to express his carefree spirit like all those paintings of mountains and recluses. My paintings do not have spiraling smoke, drizzling rain, floating boats, weeping willows, dripping ducks, matching pairs of Mandarin ducks, or Ladies Among the Plantain Trees. What my paintings set out to do is express the endless movements, tenacious struggles and rivalries, and the loud screams of life in the universe. I strive to use my artistic language to wash away humanitys depressions and troubles, and to seek the true meaning of life in the universe.

  If we select a simple and sincere manner of description, then Jizi is a painters painter who has really revived for us the original image of the artist and the significance of an artists work. As for historical awareness, it was no later than the Tang dynasty when Zhu Jingxuan, in his Record of Famous Paintings of the Tang Dynasty, said: The painter is a sage who surpasses at finishing what heaven and earth cannot, and displaying what the sun and the moon do not illuminate, thereby stating the matter quite clearly. Looking from the perspective of the just passed twentieth century, the challenges for reviving the image of the artist as sage and reviving the significance of his work are unprecedented, and unless there is natural intervention and help, the revival is very difficult to imagine. And it is only in the atmosphere of natural intervention and help that we can become enlightened about Jizi as a painter who all his life has made the Dao a companion, and his attachment and loyalty to, and clarity about the Dao of Ink. As to the external world in which technique flourishes even as art itself is degraded, without doubt Jizis Dao of Ink and Dharma Objects is a marvel of contemporary art and civilization, and at a minimum a visual happiness that we will find difficult to view again. That people from the same house are friends while people going the same way (dao) are companions has long been an axiom. I myself have slightly hidden those friends whom I daily get to know better and with whom I bend my ear to the Dao; but as for Jizis painting career and destiny, in my heart of hearts, I have always considered them a blessing and an honor.

  The goal of artistic language is producing a mode of expression about art, rather than the purposeful expression of art. The fundamentals of this artistic language are what is being described and how it is being described. The traditional art of the East and the West each has its own artistic language system; nevertheless, we can see among the differences a consistent pursuit of the artistic spirit. Jizis landscape paintings use just such a historical view, a sense of the times, and a strong sense of purpose to perfect his own artistic language in order, not only to penetrate the vertical image sequence in the language of traditional landscape painting, but also to carry out a horizontal dissection of Western art, so that in making decisions about the vertical and the horizontal image sequences, the artist opens up a new realm for his own paintings features and figures.

  1.The allusion to clouds changing their transitory semblance from white garments to black dogs is taken from a poem by the Tang dynasty poet Du Fu (born 712).  2.Translation of Maos poem Snow is by Paul Wood, 1993, Tianjin Peoples Publishing House.  3.Qian and Kun are the two lines, solid and broken respectively, that represent heaven and earth and make up the eight trigrams that, in ancient China, formed a basic schemata for the universe.   4.Dharma objects is a key concept of the Buddhist Consciousness-only School whose major tenet is that nothing exists independently of mind.

  The Dao Inspires Creation of the Image; Mind is the Source for Creating the Artistic Realm

  5.The word Dharma stands for all past, present, and future things and events while objects describes the result of the interaction between those things or events and mind.  6.The method of the three distances, level, deep, and high distances, is an artistic theory formulated by the Song dynasty artist and scholar Guo Xi (1023-1085).)  7.Learning about painting from natures creations, but finding the source for paintings in your mind is an artistic theory formulated by the seventh century Tang artist and scholar Zhang Zao.

  The image is the basis for the visual arts, and different landscape images present different artistic interests and realms. In his Discourse on the Northern and Southern Schools, Dong Qichang emphasized a plain and innocent literati aesthetic and, by stressing the independent nature of ink and brush paintings, Dong restricted the Northern School and raised the Southern School. At the same time that Dong was developing the literati style of brush and ink painting, he was also forfeiting the true beauty of landscape painting. By insisting on using similar graphic modes and following the same painting routine, Dong in effect waylaid creative use of the brush. The Northern and the Southern Schools have their differences, something already evident from the earliest development of landscape painting. But does this initial basing of landscape painting on creative accomplishments and on the different natural conditions of different landscape features allow us to say that the Northern School led by Jing Hao and Guan Tong was either inferior or superior to the Southern School established by Dong Yuan and Ju Ran? This type of differentiation is really rather meaningless. Northern places produce a bold people while southerners are more gentle, and differences in aesthetic orientation alone do not allow us to directly declare one superior and the other inferior. Mr Jizi was born in the North and was raised amidst northern lands and waters. All of his landscape paintings - no matter whether his Snow and Ice Landscapes, his Dao of Ink Landscapes, or his later landscapes of self structured scenes that permeate the cosmic consciousness - all these landscape paintings have their origins in Northern landscapes. Of course, an individuals encounters in life are external factors, Jizis inner drive comes from finding the source for paintings in ones mind as well as a cultural knowledge powerful enough to penetrate history.

  Jizi has astutely grasped the transcendent spiritual essence of traditional painting. He has inherited the ideology of purifying the mind to glimpse the Dao, and purifying the mind to get the sense of an object. He has thought deeply about what after all is the highest realm that Chinese painting wants to attain. He has drawn cultural and spiritual nourishment from Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, and realized that transcendent realm of the Dao where the sages trace out the beauty of the universe, and comprehend the myriad of things in the universe; where great images have no forms, and great music uses sound sparingly; and where looking for it, there is no form; listening for it, there is no sound; and men who discuss it find it abstruse. Jizi has taken the narrow definition of Dao and extended it, endowing it with the vitality of the times. He collectively designates the Confucian, Daoist, and Chan Buddhist spirits as the spirit of the great Dao. This spirit of the great Dao is not only the organic content of personal cultivation, but also the projection of ones sentiments onto nature, both of which ultimately emerge as images that transcend nature.

  In the Snow and Ice Landscapes of his early period, Jizi primarily took Tibets majestic and sacred mountains and rivers, as well as the Yanshan mountain range both within and without the Great Wall, as his themes. After these themes underwent subjective cropping, they metamorphosed into scenes of universal significance and broad grandeur. Among these are scenes of traditional Tibetan temples and the meandering Great Wall, manifestations of humanitys own strength that are also the pictures visual centers. With the undulating, mighty mountains as the central subject, the magnificent towering mountains, surrounded by clouds that surge and billow, provide a counter force to the buildings on the towering, motionless mountain peaks, and to the great tension that lies hidden inside these mountains. The solemn and sacred snow mountains that are deep and secretive change into varied clouds and mists, while the deep and solemn temples, the thick and dull Lama trombones, the strong religious atmosphere, the broad and intensive folk customs - these kinds of wonderful, natural scenery and mysterious and ancient cultural landscapes are a profound cultural heritage symbolizing for humanity an eternal allure that is charming and mysterious. The Dao of Ink Landscapes and the later new compositions that permeate the cosmic consciousness have both advanced the refinement of depicting scenes of mountains and rivers that transcend a space-time continuum. These landscape paintings have images that not only appear to be ancient caves, but also some kind of unknown outer space where various types of mountainous forms interlock, extrude, and mutually overlap with round forms to create a multi-dimensional imagery that possesses strong symbolic significance. Just as Jizi himself has said: In my explorations of landscape painting, the landscapes in the paintings are not composed of mountains that one can see in the natural world with ones own eyes, nor are they reproductions of the imitated, decorated, and scenic natural mountains in other landscape paintings. Rather, the landscapes in my paintings are symbols that as much as possible signify art. I borrow these symbols to express a deep awareness of my primary ideas so that this deep awareness, by means of the objects in the paintings, can as much as possible overflow with intuitive understanding. Jizi has taken the state of mind where Heaven and humanity are one, a state of mind that exists in the traditional landscape creative process and, by means of intuitive comprehension, visually expressed this state of mind in the paintings, painting it as visual, aesthetic objects. These traces of the realm of the Dao give people a sense of the mysterious, the sublime, the tragic, and the sacred. The paintings great tension and broad realms give people a spiritual shock that seems to be a kind of transcendental purification of their souls.

  Partial Remodeling and Total Reconstruction

  Delineation, light ink strokes, rubbing, spotting, and staining are all basic brush and ink strokes and methods of artistic expression in traditional landscape painting. Some painters, based on their painting process, use these methods independently, while other painters apply them flexibly. As for displaying mountain rocks, most rocks have three tableaux: a rock is first delineated, then light ink strokes and staining are used to distinguish lightness and darkness. The brush strokes used for this were developed by painting different landscape topographies. Ultimately, the brush strokes become various types of stylized techniques. These stylized brush techniques have names such as: the axe swing stroke, the wrinkled stroke, the folded band stroke, the veins of the lotus leaf stroke, the horse teeth stroke, the dense dotting stroke, and so on. In fact, the artists used lines as units and either shortened the lines to dots or extended them for a tableau. These then became a collection of three different brush strokes: the line, the dot, and the tableau. Due to his unique way of creating images, Jizi, in connection with traditional landscape paintings display of snow and ice landscapes by using the brush to produce weak, pale spots, created unique brush techniques such as the coarse snow stroke, the split snow stroke, the wrap around snow stroke, the nest of snow stroke, and so on. These brush stroke techniques embodied the use of tableau as the basic creative unit; within the tableau, lines appear that are agile and use ink in interesting ways. These brush stroke techniques display the mottled changes in the textures of mountain rocks that are quite consistent with the modern aesthetic vision. The textual relationship among tableaux utilizes certain shading techniques that not only have a segmental sense of weight, but also coincide with the overlapping method brought about by the layered changes that traditional landscape painting used to display the shaded (yin) and lighted (yang) aspects of mountain rocks. The panoramic landscapes of the Northern Song not only emphasized having the painting show its essence when viewed close up, by which they meant pursuing a subtle view of local mountain rocks that embodies the physics involved, but they also emphasized having the painting show its power when viewed from afar, that is that the imposing manner of the whole painting radiate the timeless Dao of landscape painting. Jizi fully absorbed the Song landscape artists concepts of artistic rules and reasons. On the ample basis of partial remodeling, Jizi uses great architecture throughout his landscape paintings in which the real and the theoretical are equal, the dynamic and the static participate equally, and the clouds that completely cover the painting wander among the mountains. Jizi frequently employs the layered accumulation of ink technique that not only drips ink thickly, but can also be used to apply white carefully to maintain an outer appearance of the immeasurable traces of clouds and mists. Jizi has obviously learned from the approach to clouds in Western landscape painting, while at the same time, in order to enhance contrast, he has grasped the sense of rhythm and excitement of the whole panorama. Jizi also cleverly utilizes the role of light: the blackest and whitest physical images are juxtaposed for contrast, highlighting the visual tension.

  In composition, traditional landscape painting stressed arrangement and management so that traditional landscape painting could give even more expression to, and derive more meaning from, a planar surface. Especially after the landscape paintings of the Northern and Southern Song Dynasties, however, the spatial sense gradually became faded and exhausted. The method of the three distances became even more independently applied, and one could no longer dwell or roam in the fascinating spaces of landscape painting. The lack of a visual sense could not of course shock a viewers inner mind. In his Dao of Ink Landscape Series, Jizi completely broke with the traditional stylized composition and advanced his restructuring of images to establish a deep and mysterious space that made people realize the reality of chaos and distress, and that led them into a holy land of the soul that is mysterious, distant, and profound. In order to expand the layout, broaden the scene, and comprehend the realm of the Dao, Jizi carried on the traditional scattered perspective method, which is also the foundation for a panorama, and created a perspective on space of four or more dimensions that he named the multi-dimensional perspective. He said: The universe is extremely deep and profound, and its time and space have no location, no direction. . . . As much as possible, I expand an artworks limits on the expression of forms, and give expression to the artworks unlimited spiritual sphere. At the same time, Jizi transformed the traditional relationship between the real and the false to counter the tradition of putting less emphasis on emptiness. He also mastered Western arts relationship between the real and the false, thereby greatly strengthening the tension in his artworks, and fusing the paintings black and white relationship and the optical effects, boldly utilizing a black color that traditional landscape painting called dead black, thereby reinforcing the paintings overall feeling of depth. At the same time, Jizi learned from factors used in plane surface composition such as apertures with mountain rocks overlapped and interspersed. His shading effects are as intangible as a time tunnel.

  A Solemn Sublimity, An Illusional Brilliance

  My paintings are not the kind of paintings that stop once they have reached the level of providing the viewer with a pleasant mood or some character cultivation (although they often include these). Nor do I require that viewers completely understand my paintings. Instead, I only require that the initial feelings that people viewing my paintings have, by means of a first intuition, cause them to reflect rationally on the paintings and, by means of this reflection, come to their own understanding. I believe that this type of understanding, no matter the point of view, enables them to relate to the deepest layers of my mind. I strive to create the power to shock, and to impact and cleanse the viewers soul. Jizi is extremely clear about the ultimate concerns and pursuits of his art. He sums up that a philosophical realm of poetry and the height of a realm of the humanist spirit are the profound philosophical thoughts that give his artworks a strong, spiritual penetrating power that moves peoples souls in an almost religious manner.

  Religion is a type of belief, and the greatest feature of religion is perhaps that it embodies a spirit of transcendence and purity. Jizi puts it well: The universal spirit of art is not religion, but it has a religious ethos. His Snow and Ice Landscapes depict a sacred atmosphere: the desolate, melancholy, snowy plateau; the solitary yak walking alone; the towering, quiet temple; a cows skull placed atop a rock for worship

  • all of these are concentrated expressions of misery and nobility, solemnity and dignity that resound and resonate with humanitys cultural life and natures spirit pointing to eternity. In Western painting, light symbolizes the power of God, and God Himself said: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Chinese traditional art discarded this mode of outward manifestation, returning instead to a calm and self-adapting inner mind that in paintings produce a definite relationship between light and dark that is most definitely not Western paintings depiction of outer light, but a much more subjective process. Western arts importance as a reference system in the 20th century, however, squeezed into and pressed against the development of Chinese art, and a good many Chinese artists began to utilize light as a form of artistic expression. For example, Huang Binhongs agile use of inner light, and Li Kerans sense of heavy backlighting provided a new broadening of traditional paintings morphological language. Jizis use of light has its own distinguishing features. One feature is his strategic use of shading when creating an image so that the shading increases the qualitative sense of partial segmentation, a use of light that we might call silhouetted light. Another feature springs from overall consideration of the paintings composition where, in the reconstruction of the images, light is used as a boundary for form, and to unify the rhythm and contrast of the entire painting surface, a use of light that we might call inner structure light. The greatest characteristic of these two modes of using light is an illusionary arrangement where a holy brightness radiates from every place.

  Confucius previously proposed this formula for self-cultivation: Set your will on the Dao; be in accord with virtue; depend on benevolence (ren); take pleasure in the arts. In Jizis works, not only does art give pleasure, but art is also the best choice for carrying the Dao, for transmitting the Dao, and for embodying benevolence (ren). Art, in other words, is Jizis whole life. The noble-minded person, like Heaven itself, continues to advance with a lofty fortitude. An energetic life has caused the art of Jizi, this benevolent (ren) person, to be free and boundless. The explosive force of his art will have lasting repercussions in the context of a long ago and remote Chinese art form, and especially in the overall pattern of the development of contemporary Chinese art. How Chinas traditional ink art should develop is an issue that presents a major cultural choice. Traditional art is most definitely not something that is fixed and unchanging, but how it should change and how to put the change into practice are difficult issues, and many artists have given a lifetime of effort to this issue of how best to change tradition. With regards to this issue, we can say that the creative artistic practices of Jizis paintings have provided us with a good case to research the transformations in contemporary Chinese ink art. Studying and viewing his art should provoke us to think deeply about Chinese art at this point in contemporary art history. That a great talent takes time to mature has always been a fascinating theme in the history of Chinese aesthetics.

  (The author is a research fellow at the National Art Museum of China.)

  Translated by E. F. Connelly, PhD