Old is new again at Beijing art museum

Updated: Oct 29, 2020 By Yang Xiaoyu Print
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Painter and sculptor Shao Fan’s Circle & Chair: Circleon show at The Revival of Tradition: Another Approach to Contemporary Chinese Artat the Song Art Museum in Beijing on Sept 26, 2020. [Photo by Yang Xiaoyu/]

Painter and sculptor Shao Fan's Circle & Chair: Circle appears to be a wooden round-backed armchair but is without a seat. It's part of the artist's conceptual series of reconstructed Ming Dynasty furniture, whose design, as the artist revealed, contains the essence of Chinese philosophy.

For example, the design of the round-backed armchair represents "a round sky over a square earth", an entrenched view of the universe in ancient Chinese societies.

Calligraphy, one of ancient Chinese intellectuals' most cherished pursuits, is also heavily featured at the exhibit.

Liu Jianhua's Trace is an eye-catching example. It is a series of wall-bound black porcelain pieces, which transforms a wall on the gallery's second floor into a large sheet of blank paper dotted with ink drops. Liu said he was inspired by wu lou hen (rain stains on the wall of a leaking house), an expression in Chinese calligraphy, where ink strokes are compared to shapes of water stains.

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