Thursday, August 31, 2006

AIC: calligraphy of Xugu




The story on Xugu (1823-1896) is that he was an army officer who became a Chan monk and made a living as a popular painter in Shanghai. Did the Taipei rebellion/disaster have any connection to this career change ? I don't know -- but thanks to this temporary exhibit of these items from the AIC basement, I do know that Xugu was a wonderful painter.

The use of light-versus-heavy brush strokes to create illusions of space in a human-size vertical, rectangular box --- well -- it's so delighful -- and just about impossible to reproduce on a computer monitor - even if I had a good camera -- and even if the illusion was not destroyed by glare from the protective glass.

But I could shoot the calligraphy -- and that is such as wonderful and ideosyncratic -- a world away from the rigid, boxed-in characters that are found so frequently.




Something about his painting -- and his calligraphy -- just makes me long for a night of food, music, and pleasure.

Maybe that was the purpose.

4 Comments:

Blogger Gawain said...

i dont love it, either

September 01, 2006  
Blogger chris miller said...

Did I express myself poorly ? I DO LOVE Xugu's calligraphy -- but as new brush paintings go up at the museum, I'll try to find and show some examples that you might find more pleasing. (btw -- I'm really enjoying the photos of clouds you've put on flickr)

September 01, 2006  
Blogger shilgia said...

And I don't love it either! It is the visual equivalent of writing on a whiteboard with dried-up pens; including the high-pitched screeching sound.

(And I think Gawain means that he doesn't like the calligraphy any more than the paintings.)

September 03, 2006  
Blogger chris miller said...

I saw several examples of Chinese and Japanese Calligraphy yesterday at the Smart Museum -- including some of the big-letter ones that were meant for decorative display -- but, camera-in-hand, I just couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger -- none of them seemed worth it to me. But don't worry -- I'll keep on looking.

Maybe I'm the only one who likes Xugu's loose, painterly style of calligraphy. Maybe if I practiced the art myself , like Sir G. does, I'd have a different opinion.

September 03, 2006  

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