致敬中国艺术家:
您希望选择目标以下哪种方式创造最佳的发展道路?
  • 选择永远留在画室创作
  • 选择走出画室,寻求优秀的销售平台
  • 选择进入美国大学,中小学讲堂,传播您的艺术哲学
  • 选择进入西方博物馆
  • 选择进入世界顶级画廊

 

什么艺术家可以进入这个平台?

中国当代艺术研究中心挑选条件极为严格,艺术家必须具备国际水准且其作品具独创性,有着深厚的文化底蕴和内涵的当代艺术作品。我们更关注非传统媒介的艺术作品。我们之所以对艺术家苛刻挑选,是因为我们仅与世界最高层级的博物馆和画廊谈判推荐优秀艺术家,我们会努力向世界推广所选中的艺术家。

 

该平台的服务费用是多少?

中国当代艺术研究中心的咨询费:$37, 000.00美元/页面。首付 $12,000.00。

该平台为艺术家提供哪些价值的服务?

中国当代艺术研究中心提供的服务如下:

  • 终身会员;

  • 制作和翻译英文版一页网页;(不包含视频制作费用)

  • 代表艺术家与世界一流画廊进行沟通谈判,推荐艺术家以及英文网页;

  • 向全球定期传播艺术家网页;(这需要日常管理每个艺术家的信息流)

  • 组织艺术家赴美进行大学巡展、大学讲座与讲学等;(巡美大学展览与大学讲座另外收取相关服务咨询费用)

  • 邀请艺术家参加海外相关学术研讨会、论坛、画展等。

该平台服务的期限有多久?

中国当代艺术研究中心服务的期限由双方协商决定。通常是2年为一期服务。

该平台有名额限制吗?

中国当代艺术研究中心每年仅提供3位艺术家名额,目的是为确保服务质量。

点击标题了解详情

 

三十多年前,中国的美术教育还没有当代艺术这一领域。到了今天,中国经历了深刻的社会经济变革,艺术亦然,艺术界呼吁重新审视艺术,重新考虑和重新定义艺术的概念。从而出现了众多不同形式的当代艺术,艺术家在继承传统的同时,也在学习、模仿西方的现代艺术流派并试图有进一步的发展。我们这里邀请并介绍了几位中国当代的著名艺术家,希望通过这些艺术家的艺术语言让世界了解中国当代艺术的发展。

Over the past three decades China has experienced profound socioeconomic changes that have prompted calls to revisit, reconsider, and redefine the nation’s identity. Although there remains a strong local understanding of Chinese history and heritage, the homogenization of the country’s urban geography and the rapid dissipation of rural life have dramatically altered the cultural landscape. Future Returns: Contemporary Art from China explores the impact of these transformations by bringing together works by contemporary Chinese artists that address China’s metamorphosis from a traditional society into an ultra-modern nation-state.

III. Zen and Contemporary Western Art 禅与当代艺术

Artists and philosophers have long been faced with the problem of what is expressed in a work of art (or, put in another way, what is created in a work of art). At the beginning of this century many Western artists found traditional answers to this problem unsatisfactory, being disturbed by the difficulty in pinpointing meaning as felt by different audiences. The same work of art, they found, was likely to instill quite different feelings in any two audiences, both of which may be opposite to the artist's intention; the question then arises: who is right? is anyone right? The plethora of aesthetic theories resulting from this soul searching resulted in general agreement on the side of formalism as opposed to referentialism. In music, formalism means that the music is thought of as not expressing or meaning anything outside of itself (except through specific learned habit responses); music cannot refer to a specific external happening or emotion; however there remains disagreement as to the exact nature of this internalized musical expression. Stravinsky holds that music cannot express anything but music: we follow the evolution of a musical idea with purely intellectual interest (Stravinsky 1956). Leonard Meyer posits a semiconscious level of emotional affect caused by basic psychological responses to musical sound terms (Meyer 1956). The differences between Meyer and Stravinsky are not so great, however, as those between the formalists in general and the recent group of musicians under the intellectual leadership of John Cage. Cage says:

 

. . . the support of the dance is not to be found in the music but in the dancer himself, on his own two legs, that is, and occasionally on a single one

 

Likewise the music consists of single sounds or groups of sounds which are not supported by harmonies but resound within a space of silence From this independence of music and dance a rhythm results which is not that of horses' hooves or other regular beats but which reminds us of a multiplicity of events in time and space--stars, for instance, in the sky, or activities on earth viewed from the air.

 

We are not, in these dances and music, saying something. We are simpleminded enough to think that if we were saying something we would use words. We are rather doing something. The meaning of what we do is determined by each one who sees and hears it. At a recent performance . . . a student turned to a teacher and said, "What does it mean?" The teacher's reply was, "Relax, there are no symbols here to confuse you. Enjoy yourself! I may add there are no stories and no psychological problems. There is simply an activity of movement, sound, and light ... (Cage 1961: 94 96).

 

I have quoted Cage at length, because of his nearness to Zen aesthetics, and the clarity with which it is expressed. Cage's conception of music differs from that of the formalists in that he does not feel the need for any musical idea as such. The sounds themselves are to be listened to aesthetically. The difference between noise and music is in the approach of the audience. Roughly stated, noise is heard, music is listened to; this is not a general definition, but the subjectivism should be clear.

 

"There are no symbols here to confuse you" Just the aesthetic object, to be contemplated for its own sake.

 

When we read Cage's manifesto on music, his connection with Zen becomes clear:

 

nothing is accomplished by writing a piece of music

nothing is accomplished by hearing a piece of music

nothing is accomplished by playing a piece of music (Cage 1961:xii)

 

This reads as if a quote from a Zen Master: "in the last resort nothing gained." (Fung, 1952: II, 401). Cage studied Zen with Daistez Suzuki when the master was lecturing at Columbia University in New York. Thus we see that Cage has consciously applied principles of Zen to solve his personal aesthetic problem. He does not try to superimpose his will in the form of structure or predetermination in any form.

 

Cage has, in fact, created a method of composition from Zen aesthetics. It was originally a synthetic method, deriving inspiration from elements of Zen art: the swift brush strokes of Sesshu and the sumi-e painters which leave happenstance ink blots and stray scratches in their wake, the unpredictable glaze patterns of the cha no yu potters, the eternal quality of the rock gardens, the great open spaces in the paintings of Wang Wei and Mu Ch'i. Then, isolating the element of chance as vital to artistic creation which is to remain in harmony with the universe, he selected the oracular I Ching (Classic of Changes, an ancient Chinese book) as a means of providing random information which he translated into musical notations. Later, he moved away from the I Ching to more abstract methods of indeterminate composition: scores based on star maps, and scores entirely silent, or with long spaces of silence, in which the only sounds are supplied by nature or by the uncomfortable audience. "Just let the sounds be themselves."

 

Many young composers and painters have followed in Cage's footsteps, and the school of chance art found the necessity of setting up categories to properly delimit the various types of chance composition. These categories are at present three in number and are described as follows.

 

1) Music indeterminate of composition. This category includes pieces created through the use of some random system which effectively isolates the composer's will from the final manuscript. The piece, as notated by the composer is then performed, as accurately as possible, by the

 

2) Music indeterminate of performance. This category includes pieces which make use of improvisation, and has taken much from Jazz. The performer is given freedom in interpreting the score.

 

3) Combinations, in varying degrees, of categories 1 and 2. The third category is the most recent, and the most populated. As might be expected, violent reactions have issued from conservative quarters, and Alan Watts was moved to protest (1959:11 14):

 

Today there are western artists avowedly using Zen to justify the indiscriminate framing of simply anything--blank canvases, totally silent music, torn up bits of paper dropped on a board and stuck where they fall, or dense masses of mangled wire. The work of the composer John Cage is rather typical of this tendency. In the name of Zen, he has forsaken his earlier and promising work with the "prepared piano," to confront audiences with Ampex taperecorders simultaneously bellowing forth random noises. There is, indeed, a considerable therapeutic value in allowing oneself to be deeply aware of any sight or sound that may arise. For one thing, it brings to mind the marvel of seeing and hearing as such. For another, the profound willingness to listen to or gaze upon anything at all frees the mind from fixed preconceptions of beauty, creating, as it were, a free space in which altogether new forms and relationships may emerge. But this is therapy; it is not yet art ....

 

Just as the skilled photographer often amazes us with his lighting and framing of the most unlikely subjects, so there are painters and writers in the West, as well as in modern Japan, who have mastered the authentically Zen art of controlling accidents . . . The real genius of Chinese and Japanese Zen artists in their use of controlled accidents goes beyond the discovery of fortuitous beauty. It lies in being able to express, at the level of artistry, the realization of that ultimate standpoint from which "anything goes" and at which "all things are on one suchness." The mere selection of any random shape to stick in a frame simply confuses the metaphysical and the artistic domains; it does not express the one in terms of the other.

 

"Methinks he doth protest too much." How does Watts know the extent to which accidents are "controlled" in Zen art? How is it possible to control an accident? Is the accident desired, or accidental? What quality is more admired, the "fortuitous beatuy" or the accidental ness? And how to relate the kunstgewerbe of the potters to the sumi-e. These and similar questions must remain unanswered for the present. Cage simply answered Watts's diatribe (1961:XI):

 

What I do, I do not wish blamed on Zen, though without my engagement with Zen (attendance at lectura by Alan Watts and D. T. Suzuki, reading of the literature) I doubt whether I would have done what I have done. I am told that Alan Watts has questioned the relation between my work and Zen. I mention this in order to free Zen of any responsibility for my actions. I shall continue making them, however.

 

From recent statements, it is certain that Cage still considers his actions experimental; however, he stresses the need for subjective aesthetic appreciation of these actions. The haiku poet can imbue any landscape with poetic feeling, once that landscape has been appreciated aesthetically. The admission of aesthetic contemplation seems to be a mellowing in Cage's approach to music, but there certainly remains one element of traditional Zen arts missing in his work. And that is the concept of essence or eternal quality. Cage does not attempt to suggest, nor to restrict his means or materials. He has escaped so far from discipline that his chance elements more often than not operate in a completely free field, with no external restrictions whatsoever.

 

This is not Zen, because basic to Zen art is the restriction of means to an absolute minimum. Cage is admittedly eclectic; he feels no need to adopt an entire system of aesthetics for the sake of a few of its principles. He has thus taken the "anything goes" freedom of Zen and Zen arts and combined it with sensuous means surpassing the Wagnerial orchestra. The only self restriction is that of disallowing the composer's will to influence the choice of sounds. Thus, the all overimpression of Cage's aesthetics has the hydraulic flavor of classical Taoism rather than that of Zen.

 

The most important question at this point is: will Cage move in the direction of "musical patterns," or will he continue taking from Zen and find some way to "express the most with the least." It would seem that either direction is possible, but because of Cage's predilection against "patterns" (implying "meaning" and "symbol"), economy of means would be more probable. One can only wait and see.

Transcendence zen buddhism in Wang's Art?

王勇的艺术中,其具有对禅的超越吗?

Whatever you think Wang's art is nothing, or something, does or not make any sense, or it is true that Transcendence zen buddhism in Wang's Art, it all depends on perceptions from beholder's share. This is all about eurobiology of the Beholder’s Share and the Mystery of the Ordinary, as the most famous art historian and art critic Alois Riegl (14 January 1858, Linz – 17 June 1905, Vienna) said: "Art has to be with science, otherwise, it will die", and he also said: "An artwork is not completed without beholder's share". His theory on Beholder's Share was tremendously developed by his disciple Ernst Gombrich. Meanwhile, Anais Nin's quote on art is also phenomenal, she said: "We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are."

English translation is the key and the problem.

文化传播翻译的关键点与问题

Properly interpret the art philosiphy of an artist in the target language is the key to start quality conversations with the world. Most of Chinese artists and their agents don't sense going global is very important for artists' future and successfulness. There is an old Chinese saying goes: 坐井观天, which a huge barrier to allow the world to not to recognize the value of Chinese artists overseas, meanwhile, these people complained a lot that their art is not noticed by the West. 

I would say: Thinking professionally, globally, and follow the game, all depend on how you play. Most of time, Derrida, French modern philosopher plays a double game inside of philosophy. Play your Game, which is your intiutions on art development and recognition using proper interpretation to introduce your philosophy of art to the WORLD not just in CHINA!

Is Wang's work Abstract expressionism?

王勇的作品是抽象表现主义吗?

 

No! Abstract expressionism at its most intense is the opposite of the above. Writing in the 1950’s Harold Rosenberg described abstract expressionism as an act and the painting itself as a moment, for 王 the painting was inseparable from his life and 禅. The syntax of abstract expressionism is almost always explicit, and therefore clues to the first traces of an idea are apparent in the finished work. Through this the viewer is witness to the methods that brought the painting into existence. 

 

不! 最强烈的抽象表现主义与他的作品相反。 在20世纪50年代写作的哈罗德 · 罗森伯格将抽象表现主义描述为一种行为,将绘画本身描述为一个时刻,对于王勇而言,这幅画与他的生活和禅思哲學是不可分割的。 抽象表现主义的語序是明确的,因此在其創作工作中直至完成,起初的一个想法和第一思考到的线索痕迹和作品結束和完成是一樣的,此是显而易见的。 通过这一点,观者见证了這個绘画方法,使之成为现实。

So, not at all, minimolists fighted abstract expressionists...they are enemies. Wang belong to the team of Vija, Bill, Jo and Raymond, etc.

Defining Wang's style from the Western stand point.

以西方艺术角度,定义王勇的风格与流派

Academic side: 学术 (简)

My first perception, Reflexion(反身性) is that I determined it is zen abstract minimalism, zen idealism, more than Gustav  Klimt...and more...

Scientific side: 科学 (简)

Opennessuniverse, I consciously see what I unconsciously perceive. 

 

注:OPENNESS: 开放性,开放性是心理学人格理论“五因素模型”中的一个因素,是指具有想象(FANTASY)、审美(AESTHETICS)、情感丰富(FEELINGS)、求异/尝新(ACTIONS)、创造/思辨(IDEAS)、智能(INTELLIGENCE)、和价值观(VALUES)等特质。

Wang's work meditate my soul. I perceived Robert Ryman, I even perceived Michelangelo‘s philosiphy in creating his art with the principles of traditional classic realism, which are simplified object, and conceptulized figative object, but here, Wang's philosiphy of art transmitted to his own traditional thoughts, which is not expressible in words or conceivable through the Eastern irrlogical process of tradition, very idealism.

***Perceive, a scientific term. 

I like to use Anais Nin famous quote: "We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are." Wang, Zenism, the pieces are meditative quietness, empty mindfulnees, contemplative ink and brushstrokes, trying not to try, contradictory, but harmony and balance. Ink wash painting is vital eternal, it plays well, it washes noisy world away.

Go BIMOCHism...

Anais Nin说的好:“所见非所象,乃求心境之感知“。 (Anais Nin隐墨,禅宗主义至上,一位信徒,使人进入冥想,空灵,填满;努力,再放弃,矛盾的平衡乃无为;水墨画是永恒,清洗污染的世界!

笔墨驰(BIMOCHism),艺术永恒之道。

Conclusion 结束语:

You know what I am saying...

Congradulations on your initial solo exhibition in Beijing!

王勇 WANG YONG

 

Chinese freelance contemporary Zen ink artist, resides Song Zhuang Art District in Beijing. His art philosophy specializes in Zen Buddhist hidden calligraphic inscription. 

January 12, 2019, Charlotte, NC.

2019年1月12日 北卡州

Copy Rights Reserved/©️文章版权所有,未经允许不得使用!

Word/字数: 6300

Wang's Zen Art in the Westerner's Eye of View.

西方人看王勇隐墨藝術中的ZEN (禅)

- 一種哲學與科學的思考

By John Morgan/Weihong Yan

科学最让人兴奋的地方,就在于交叉领域的研究。

The most exciting scientific reearch is the interdisciplinary studies.

Overview: 提纲:

  1. Clarification of Zen/Zen in the West 澄清-禅宗在西方

  2. Definitions 禅的定义(字典定义,学者定义)

  3. I. Basic Principles of Zen 禅的基本原则

  4. II. Zen and the Arts 禅与艺术

  5. III. Zen and Contemporary Western Art 禅与当代艺术

  6. Transcendence zen buddhism in Wang's Art? 在王勇的艺术中,其具有对禅的超越吗?

  7. English translation is the key and the problem 文化传播翻译的关键点与问题

  8. Is Wang's work Abstract expressionism? 王勇的作品是抽象表现主义吗?

  9. Defining Wang's style from the Western stand point 以西方艺术角度,定义王勇的风格与流派

Clarification of Zen/Zen in the West

禅宗在西方

I surprised to see Wang's Zen Art at an opening ceremony of Peiwen Characters Research Center at Beijing University. Zena leased Japanese word in English language. 

 

Lot of Chinese scholars misunderstood  that Zen is the English translation of Chinese Chan(禅), which is a mistake between English word "meditation" and zen.

 

Chinese Chan (禅) originated from Sanskrit (梵语) dhyāna ‘meditation’. Japanese Zen was adopted from Chinese Chan (禅) - Sanskrit/dhyāna, Chinese Chan/quietude, then Japanese Zen/meditation, Chán (선) is Korean from Chinese The English meditation is derived from the Latin meditatio, from a verb meditari, meaning "to think, contemplate, devise, ponder". In the Old Testament, hāgâ (Hebrew: הגה) means to sigh or murmur, and also, to meditate. When the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, hāgâ became the Greek melete. The Latin Bible then translated hāgâ/melete into meditatio. The use of the term meditatio as part of a formal, stepwise process of meditation goes back to the 12th-century monk Guigo II.

Guigo II 

- Monk

Sōen Shaku

January 10, 1860 – October 29, 1919

Hildegard_von_Bingen_Liber_Divinorum_Ope
220px-Soyen_Shaku.jpg

Zen (Chinese: 禪; pinyin: Chán; Korean: 선, translit. Seon) is a school of Mahayana Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty as Chan Buddhism. It was strongly influenced by Taoism and developed as a distinct school of Chinese Buddhism.

Sōen Shaku, a very important figure that I have to mention, as he dedicated his Zen life in the America. He (釈 宗演) was the first Zen Buddhist master to teach in the United States. He was a Rōshi of the Rinzai school and was abbot of both Kenchō-ji and Engaku-ji temples in Kamakura, Japan. Soyen was a disciple of Imakita Kosen.

1906 train trip across the United States, giving talks on Mahayana. One of his book written in English entitled Zen for Americans has been a huge impact in the US in the past century. Zen Buddha studies spread the campuese over the whole country in the US during the 50's to 60's.

Definitions 禅的定义

In popular usage, the word "meditation" and the phrase "meditative practice" are often used imprecisely to designate broadly similar practices, or sets of practices, that are found across many cultures and traditions. What is considered meditation can include almost any practice that trains the attention or teaches calm or compassion.

Dictionary definitions 字典定义

Definitions in the Oxford and Cambridge living dictionaries and Merriam-Webster include both the original Latin meaning of "think[ing] deeply about (something)"; as well as the popular usage of "to focus one's mind for a period of time," "the act of giving your attention to only one thing," and "to engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one's breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness."

 

Scholarly definitions 学者定义

Criteria for defining a practice as meditation "for use in a comprehensive systematic review of the therapeutic use of meditation" were identified by Bond et al. (2009), using "a 5-round Delphi study with a panel of 7 experts in meditation research" who were also trained in diverse but empirically highly studied (clinical or Eastern-derived,) forms of meditation;

 

three main criteria as essential to any meditation practice: the use of a defined technique, logic relaxation, and a self-induced state/mode.

 

Other criteria deemed important [but not essential] involve a state of psychophysical relaxation, the use of a self-focus skill or anchor, the presence of a state of suspension of logical thought processes, a religious/spiritual/philosophical context, or a state of mental silence.:135

 

It is plausible that meditation is best thought of as a natural category of techniques best captured by 'family resemblances'  or by the related 'prototype' model of concepts.":135

The paragraph below is from Fredric Lieberman. Here is what he says about Zen:

I. Basic Principles of Zen 禅的基本原则

      ZEN IN CHINA shared much with the Taoism of Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu, so much that it is difficult to determine how much of Zen has Buddhist origins, how much Taoist. It is important to remember, in this connection, that we are speaking of the so-called "philosophical" Taoism and Zen, as opposed to the later "degenerate Taoism" and "institutionalized Zen" of more recent times.

 

      The basic premise that the highest truth, or first principle, or Tao, is not expressible in words or conceivable through logical thought is common to both Taoism and Zen. Both hold, moreover, that an intuitive understanding of the first principle is possible, and this is called enlightenment. The enlightened Taoist sage is considered to have gained some special knowledge, coupled with arcane skills, and thus becomes somehow removed from the world, but the Zen Master gains nothing other than the realization that there is nothing to gain, and is thus more than ever in the world.

 

      Whereas Lao-tzu poetically says "The Tao that can be named is not the real (eternal) Tao," the Zen Master takes this for granted; if questioned on the subject his answer will most likely be a non sequitur, or he might scream "kwatz!" or strike the disciple. This is not Taoistic quietism (wu-wei) but action where words will not do. The effect is to force the student back into his own mind, rather than to foster a dependence on teachers.

II. Zen and the Arts 禅与艺术 (此处的艺术指多学科)

Many scholars have ventured general comparisons of Eastern and Western Art. Suzuki (1957:30) suggests that Oriental art depicts spirit, while Western art depicts form. Watts (1957:174) holds that the West sees and depicts nature in terms of man-made symmetries and super imposed forms, squeezing nature to fit his own ideas, while the East accepts the object as is, and presents it for what it is, not what the artist thinks it means. Gulick puts it this way:

 

Oriental artists are not interested in a photographic representation of an object but in interpreting its spirits . . .  Occidental art . . . exalts personality, is anthropocentric . . . . Oriental art . . . has been cosmocentric. It sees man as an integral part of nature . . . . The affinity between man and nature was what impressed Oriental artists rather than their contrast, as in the West. To Occidentals, the physical world was an objective reality--to be analyzed, used, mastered. To Orientals, on the contrary, it was a realm of beauty to be admired, but also of mystery and illusion to be pictured by poets, explained by mythmakers, and mollified by priestly incantations. This contrast between East and West had incalculable influence on their respective arts, as well as on their philosophies and religions. (1963:253-255).

 

Art in the West has developed a complex linguistic symbolism through which the artist manipulates his material to communicate something to his audience. Art as communication is basic to Western aesthetics, as is the corollary interrelationship of form and content. Music is considered a language of feeling (Hanslick 1957) and consists of"sonorous moving forms." A landscape painting in the Western tradition is not merely an aesthetically pleasing reproduction; the artist uses his techniques of balance, perspective, and color, to express a personal reaction to the landscape--his painting is a frozen human mood. The aesthetic object is used as a link between the audience and the artist's feelings. And the artist's technique is used to create an illusion of the forms of reality.

 

The Zen artist, on the other hand, tries to suggest by the simplest possible means the inherent nature of the aesthetic object. Anything may be painted, or expressed in poetry, and any sounds may become music. The job of the artist is to suggest the essence, the eternal qualities of the object, which is in itself a work of natural art before the artist arrives on the scene. In order to achieve this, the artist must fully understand the inner nature of the aesthetic object, its Buddha nature. This is the hard part. Technique, though important, is useless without it; and the actual execution of the art work may be startlingly spontaneous, once the artist has comprehended the essence of his subject.

 

Belief in the superiority of spiritual mastery over technical mastery is evidenced by numerous stories of bushido matches (Japanese sword fighting) in which untrained monks defeated trained samurai because they naturally comprehended the basic nature of the bushido contest, and had no fear of death whatsoever.

 

A Chinese painter was once commissioned to paint the Emperor's favorite goat. The artist asked for the goat, that he might study it. After two years the Emperor, growing impatient, asked for the return of the goat; the artist obliged. Then the Emperor asked about the painting. The artist confessed that he had not yet made one, and taking an ink brush he drew eight nonchalant strokes, creating the most perfect goat in the annals of Chinese painting.

 

The style of painting favored by Zen artists makes use of a horsehair brush, black ink, and either paper or silk. It is known as sumi-e. The great economy of means is necessary to express the purity and simplicity of the eternal nature of the subject, and also because it is a generalizing factor. Zen art does not try to create the illusion of reality. It abandons true to life perspective, and works with artificial space relations which make one think beyond reality into the essence of reality. This concept of essence as opposed to illusion is basic to Zen art in all phases.

 

An interesting example of the varieties of approach to artistic representation is that of dance gesture in Asia.

 

Indian dance gestures, called mudra, have developed from a simple representative system to a highly abstract linguistic symbolism which can express non physical states of being; this development is remarkably similar to that which occurred in the history of Chinese writing: the slow development from pictographic to ideographic characters. The mudra are not immediately recognizable in most cases, and must be learned. A mudra might represent the beating of a drum with nearly imperceptible fingermotion, or perhaps a matching body motion. There is no drum, no physical activity of actual beating.

 

The contemporary opera of China (Peking Opera) is a relatively late development. Little is known of the earlier forms of Chinese opera in relation to their actual performance, though many texts are still extant. Dance gesture in Peking Opera is part of a bewildering gamut of highly stylized gestures, costumes, masks, and properties, all of which lead the initiated to immediate recognition of the characters and story being presented. Most dance gestures, though imaginative and graceful, are easily recognizable without instruction. When beating a drum, the hands and body move as if beating a drum: no drum is used, but even the uninitiated cannot mistake the meaning of the action. The gestures of Peking Opera are pictographic rather than ideographic, and are greatly stylized by convention.

 

In Japanese no drama, a Zen inspired form, the gestures have been abstracted by simplification, rather than imagination. As in sumi-e painting, the barest possible means are employed. But the aesthetics demands that we do not violate the basic nature of no: that it is a drama. It is not reality, nor does it attempt the illusion of reality: rather, it suggests reality in its essence. If completely imaginative gestures were used, one would be impressed with the skill of the performer in conjuring up before our eyes invisible drums or boats or swords. Our thoughts would be bound up in the intricacies of technique, rather than free to comprehend the underlying eternal truth. No, reality is not imitated in no drama: the essence of reality, that which is eternal, the Buddha nature in its general and particular forms is depicted.

 

Therefore, when a drum is to be beaten, an elaborate (but not too elaborate) toy drum is used as a prop, usually very small, and the performer beats upon it without sounding, and in a visual rhythm completely free of the accompanying music! We cannot possibly imagine that a real person is playing a real drum; we are forced beyond the surface of reality into the emptiness of essence, the just being so.

 

This forced abandonment of external reality is everywhere obvious in no. If a boat is called for in the story, an imaginary boat would let us imagine our own private imitation of reality: the no prop is a simple, open bamboo frame, wrapped in white paper: a public denial of external reality.

 

To complete the cycle, we must consider the proletarian theater of Japan, the kabuki. Here the aesthetic demands utmost imitation and dramatization of reality. Revolving stages and painted sets reproduce to the letter any city or country scene (and occasionally even ocean scenes). When a drum is to be beaten in kabuki, a real drum is really beaten. The overly dramatic quality of kabuki is most unZen, perhaps even antiZen. Today kabuki is vastly popular with all classes of people in Japan, but no remains an aristocratic, highly specialized art, inaccessible to most of the population.

 

It is strange that the peculiar nature of Zen aesthetics created a dramatic form, the no, which is so isolated from the main stream of social arts, while at the same time fostering a poetic form, the haiku, which has become immensely popular.

 

The haiku, as developed by Basho, and to a lesser extent by Issa, was couched in the popular idiom and avoided literary sounding phrases. It is poetry which celebrates the commonplace.

Gazing at the flowers

of the morning glory

I eat my breakfast. --Basho

Within the highly restrictive verseform of seventeen syllables, the haiku presents a precisely chosen objective slice of nature, and its earthiness is accessible to all who can read or hear it read; it carries out in poetry the ideals of Hui Neng, the Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism, who democratically held that every man has the same ability and opportunity to become enlightened regardless of education or status.

 

The aesthetic of haiku is not far removed from that of sumi e or no. The basic principle is still: the most of the essence with the least possible means. One must work within only a few syllables, and eschew the high-flown dramatic language typical of other genres.

 

Zen music is more difficult to discuss. A discussion of no music in detail would become overly technical, therefore this section shall be confined to a few general remarks of an introductory nature, to provide a basis for later discussion.

 

The Japanese have long been aware of the sounds of nature and have identified these with music. The Chinese have been a bit more hesitant to identify music as being those sounds produced by nature. In The Tale of Genji, music of nature plays at least an equal part with human music. Thus, in Zen-influenced music, one might expect to find an aesthetic situation similar to that in the other Zen arts: the essence of the sounds of nature suggested by the least possible means. Or, in further abstracted form: the essence of sound itself suggested by the least possible means. Both have a part in Zen music. It is first necessary to determine, then, the nature of sound as the Japanese heard it.

 

Sound exists in opposition to silence, and music must reflect this basic fact. Sounds take their being from silence and return to it. The inner nature of sound seems to be connected in some mysterious fashion to its transitory character. There is also in sound a sense of continual change, a "becoming," an inexorable leading from tone to tone and finally back into silence.

 

Western music aesthetics is based upon the concept of a discrete tone as a building block of larger forms, which are in turn combined at various architectonic levels to create a movement or complete piece (for instance, the notes C,E,G may sound simultaneously as a chord, or sequentially as part of a melodic phrase; the chord or phrase may be combined with other chords or phrases to produce harmonic or melodic sections, which are in turn combined to produce sub divisions of movements, et cetera).

 

However, Zen music refuses to establish fixed pitch levels as building blocks, rather connects sounds together which are continually becoming one another, coalescing. From these sounds, longer melody lines are developed, but there is never a sense of architectonic structure, always free movement from idea to idea.

 

In no music, which is primarily composed of utai or singing and hayashi or orchestra, the rhythmic element is the underlying key. And the rhythm of no music is constructed in a fashion similar to that just discussed in connection with pitch level organization. Rather than a series of rhythmic building blocks on a fixed time constant as in Western music, no music utilizes a continually varying time structure, which effectively suggests varying degrees of kinetic tension. Each sound has its own rhythmic point in space time, and is not thought of as part of a pattern based on fixed clock time; it is itself and not related to any imaginary superimposed pattern.

 

Another genre, the music of the shakuhachi fits this aesthetic perfectly. It is primarily a melodic instrument (an open, vertical flute) and is extremely difficult to play; the performer gently coaxes the tones out of the instrument, producing an incredible variety of timbre and pitch gradation. The Chinese predecessor of this instrument (hsiao) was considerably easier to play and could manage discrete tones without any trouble. The influence of Zen on the nature of this instrument began when it came to Japan.

Notes from Overseas 海外评论:

每日有新的评论上传......

Robert Heartwell (佛罗里达州立大学心理学教授)

Again, I have read your articles. Perfect working process in your brain, Dr. Kandel must be interested in this critic. He would love your share if you contact him. 

His pieces are very peaceful, which it could be the enlargement of Zen, yet very ambiguous language. 

还是老话,阅读过你写的很多文章,你的感知很完美,建议与哥伦比亚大学埃里克 · 坎德尔教授有个沟通,他一定会很喜欢你的大脑工作状态。

作品安静,感知到了禅-启蒙的心态,富有激情的艺术语言。

Angelica Docog (美国国家学术博物馆学会主席, 得州州立大学校长助理)

I love your Wang's works. His works give allow me to be in a state of calmness. Art should touch beholders' heart.  Well written, beyond the articles I have read by Chinese art critic. 

我喜欢王的艺术,进入平静的感觉,艺术的功能本应撞击旁观者的心。好文!比我读到的大陆艺术评论好!

Dr. Krishnan Venkatesh (剑桥大学莎翁学专家)

We had meditation many centuries ago, as your article mentioned that it is from Old Testment, later on, it became very logical thinking, but it is more mentally and spiritually thought in the East, better they could combine. Lovely work.

西方早有禅,为meditation,正如你文章提到,出自《纽约全书》,后来西方的禅是理性的,东方的是精神的,二者兼有最佳。作品不错!

Dr. Bill (芝加哥大学博物馆) 

Great artworks,with marvalous critic angles, you guys need to lecture in American campuese and musuems. 

​好作,好文,好角度。你們一定要來美國校園和博物館演講!

Leah 律師(北卡州)

Professor Yan, Zen has been discussing for decades, and in terms of zen art, I never heard, but zen is such a popular lifestyle, I believe Sotheby's focuses on Zen subject through my friend, you know them well, I learned. You may need to talk to them? Just a thought. 

閻教授,禪在美國很流行,第一次聽到禪藝術,但,如此優雅的生活方式,喜歡!索斯比有我朋友說,禪文化是他們所專注的藝術,可以和他們談談,您也和他們認識!

​约翰 · 摩根简历 BIO OF JOHN MORGAN (Weihong Yan)

  • 艺术评论人、策展人、美中教育、中国文化海外本土化及高级商业咨询顾问。

  • 现任美国世界中国学研究学会首席执行官;休 • 麦考(银行家,收藏家,前美国银行行长)当代艺术中心国际委员会主席,美国高等教育禅学会会员和北京外国语大学中国文化研究院研究员。

  • 2006~2017年,美国北卡州费佛尔大学文学院教授、中国学研究中心主任、美方孔子学院院长。

学术研究方向:

  • 中国文化国际传播学、中西美学与跨文化比较研究与推广。

  • 汉字书法文化与美国STEM/STEAM教育研究。(Science科学、Technology技术、Engineering工程、Art艺术和Mathematic数学)

  • 汉字书法文化与脑可塑性研究。

John Morgan(Weihong Yan), American curator, author, US-China education, culture and Business Senior Consultant and strategic specialist and research professor of Chinese studies in Beijing Foreign Studies University, China. He is also the chief executive officer of the World Association Chinese Studies.

Academic:

1. International relations focus on Chinese studies.

2. Chinese and Western aesthetics and cross-cultural research.

​3. Interdisciplinary studies of Chinese calligraphy and neuroplasticity. 

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Contact Info:

Weihong Yan

brmorganleeeann@gmail.com

86-13903511910 (China)

704-164-1616 (USA) 

Add: 4736 Hedgemore Dr. Unit P, Charlotte, NC 28209, USA.

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