Tuesday, March 16, 2010

art of a thousand years

The task of "modernising the thousand years old tradition without compromising one's originality and independence" has been challenged by Chinese artists for generations. Many of them have found personal solutions to this dilemma, solutions ranging in efficacy from barely workable to brilliant. Among these, Qiu Deshu stands out as notably successful. Qiu has retained a firm, even tenacious hold on the one of the most unique and profound forms of Chinese art: seal carving. A master in traditional calligraphy and seal carving, Qiu's artistic theory and expression are anything but traditional.
"In the long tradition of Chinese painting, seals and seal carving are one of the most beautiful indigenous art forms. Yet, because of their practical attributes, they were confined to only peripheral significance in painting. In my recent works, I want to explore the full potential of the beauty of the seals. Thus its practicality and relationship with the ink and brush became the essence of my work."

Qiu's idea's on art and the universe are profound: he questions the limitations of illusionism and seeks a universal approach to solving the riddle of the nature of substance - it limitless and ever-changing quality. He draws ideas from Chinese philosophy as well as from Buddhist sources, just as he adapts ancient calligraphic and seal styles. "The images of the bodhisattvas, while blessed by worshippers for centuries, bring to modern mankind a sense of stability, independent, and supernatural effect."

Genesis, Evolution, Sublimation, 1996

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