Articles and Reviews
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Splinters of Jade: A Postscript/ Professor Dr. Sthaneshwar Timalsina

玉屑集 · 跋 / Sthaneshwar Timalsina教授

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Manchas Taoístas​ / Rubén Pose

道之荫翳/ 鲁本·波塞

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Mengyun Han: In Between Islands / Jonathan Goodman

无定/ 乔纳森˙古德曼

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Whence things have their origin:​The meaning of abstract painting and In Between Islands / Chong Fu

但萬物由它產生——抽象繪畫的意義與《無定》/ 傅翀

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Elegies for Emptiness/ Jonathan Goodman

无之挽歌/ 乔纳森˙古德曼

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L’EXPOSITION PERSONNELLE DE MENGYUN HAN/ Helina Bastais

Splinters of Jade: A Postscript


by Sthaneshwar Timalsina



I recently chanced upon the art exhibition, Splinters of Jade by Han Mengyun, while in China. It was one of those unplanned unfolding of the sequence of events that culminated with me entering the One Thousand Plateau Art Space. I am subject to this Deleuze effect, that I get drawn into certain things being perplexed and magnetically driven, with the simple muse of Deleuzian words. Encountering the works of Han Mengyun is an experience of a different magnitude, a reward that came free of anticipation. 


In a rather small space, a thicket of totemic artworks filled the gallery. Consisting of a series of small cubical boxes that were perched atop metal stands, the resulting pieces were equal to my height, and each individual piece in the series of artworks shifts its appearance as the viewer approached closer. The immediate sense I had of the Splinters was of entering into manifold and endless forks within the Fold, as each art piece was circumscribed within box, delimiting space, that presented a total universe within itself. The way the exhibition worked added my visual perception to give dimensionality, but it was just a window to enforce what to expect, a multi-layered reality woven in the shades of grey, magically manifested with a single stroke of a traditional Chinese brush. 


Mengyun, to me, appeared as the voice of modern China. These small pieces distilled the narratives that fused Daoist and Buddhist cultures from two millennia ago and became the pulsation of Imperial China. I could see in the unfolding of the brush the serenity of the Buddha combined with the simplicity of Dao. But the artwork itself is not located in the past; this is not a simulacra of some ancient maṇḍala. This rather is a voice of modernity that seeks to root itself in its cultural backdrop. Meticulous abstraction combined with shades of impression altered the perspective in looking into simple Buddha images or the scenes segmented and assembled again from the Chinese landscape. This is not yet the masterstroke that melted my subjectivity and transformed my being into the work of art. What I found intriguing was the way she has used these expressions as if some museum-works. Seeing the heads of the Buddha echoing from Gandhara or the torso of Buddha from some second century Buddhist shrine, I was teleported to some museum during my gaze upon the simple brush, accomplished all with the simple use of dark and grey, giving rise to a moment of transformation. This is at this moment of aesthetic transformation that I was introduced to the artist. 


Both the polarity of the black and white and the use of empty space play central roles in the Daoist-Buddhist paradigm of the totality expressed within the dynamism of two opposite but complementary poles, and Shunyata or emptiness expressing the absolute. What is said, in this platform, is only the words that are never spoken. What is drawn, accordingly, is the empty horizon that speaks more loudly than the canvas that has been covered with ink. I believe Mengyun will build upon these accomplishments in the coming years, and the viewers like myself will be elevated to the highest experience, with or without any aesthetic gaze. And we all will encounter the simplicity of the empty space captured by the masterful stroke of Han Mengyun’s brush again. 



Dr. Sthaneshwar Timalsina (Professor, San Diego State University) works in the areas of Hindu and Buddhist cultures and philosophies. In his research, he explores the cognitive scientific and philosophical aspects to the esoteric visual culture. His recent publications include Tantric Visual Culture: A Cognitive Approach, and Language of Images: Visualization and Meaning in Tantras. 



玉屑集 · 跋


Sthaneshwar Timalsina



机缘巧合,最近我在中国参观了一个画展,韩梦云的《玉屑集》。从我步入千高原艺术空间开始,一系列计划之外的事情就在汇聚并依次展开,这就是其中一件。这种德勒兹效应支配了我,也就是说,某些被复杂化以及被强力驱使的事物吸引了我,通过这个简单的德勒兹式的词汇的启发。与韩梦云的作品的相遇是一种对不同的“量”的体验,是意外之所得。


在一个并不宽敞的空间里,一组图腾式的作品所构成的丛林将之填满。每一副画作都被放置在一个方形的木制佛龛中,其下用金属框架进行支撑,成型之后每幅作品都将近我站立的高度,随着观者穿行其间并逐渐靠近,每幅画作所呈现出的外观也会随之变化。我对《玉屑集》的直接观感是仿佛进入了四通八达并无穷无极的位于褶皱之中的岔路,因为每一副画都被一个木盒所框定,限定了空间,这样就得以在每件作品内部呈现一个完整的宇宙。这个展览的布置方式使得我个人的视觉感知可以参与对维度的扩充,但这种布置只是为了审慎地服务于画展本身所期待观众关注的内容,也就是在从黑到白的各种色度之间交织出的一个多层面相的实体,而这一实体的赋形则全部仰赖一支传统毛笔妙至毫巅的描绘。


韩梦云对我来说意味着当代中国的一种声音。道教与佛教在接近两千的历史中互相交融,成为了帝制中国的脉动,而韩梦云的这一系列画作则是对这一历史叙事的凝练。在画笔的游走中我得以目击佛陀的安详,交汇着道的至简。但这些画作本身却又并非落脚于历史;并非是对一些古老曼荼罗的临摹。相反,这是努力将自身建构在传统文化之上的一种发自于现代性的声音。周密的抽象与各种印象的结合,改变了凝视单纯佛像或中国传统山水画中重新分割与组合的场景的视角。这还并不归因于那种让我的主体性逐渐消解并将我的在场转化为与艺术品一道存在的特殊笔触。令我真正着迷的是她的表现手法让绘画所呈现的事物就如同是博物馆的藏品。在观看她绘制的回响自健陀罗的佛的头像,或者来自公元二世纪的佛窟中佛的躯干时,虽然我的视线所及只是简单的笔触,但我的意识会让我感觉自己置身于某些博物馆之中,而这一切的达成却也只是基于画家对黑白灰的精炼使用,但这就足以让这个意识转换的时刻得以诞生。而正是在我感受到这一美学上的转换的时刻,我被引介给了这位艺术家。


黑与白的对立,以及对空的使用,都对道-佛有关整体性的范式影响深远,而这种范式的表达则是通过相生相克的两极之间的动力,以及“空性”对绝对的阐释。在这样的纲领之中,被言说的是从未被宣之于口的语辞。相应地,被绘制的更是被留白的区域,而非被墨所覆盖的画布的范围。我相信在目前的成就之上,韩梦云在接下里的几年中会有更加精深的创作,会将如我一般的观者引领至体验的更高处,无论观画的人是否带着美学的目光。而我们也将会重逢韩梦云妙笔之下所捕捉的空的至简。


Sthaneshwar Timalsina博士(圣地亚哥州立大学教授)的研究领域是印度教与佛教文化与哲学。他从认知科学与哲学的角度专攻神秘主义视觉文化。他最近的学术著作有《密教视觉文化:基于认知的研究》与《语言与图像:密教中的视觉呈现与意义》。

Splinters of Jade: A Postscript/ Professor Dr. Sthaneshwar Timalsina

玉屑集 · 跋 / Sthaneshwar Timalsina教授