Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Celestial Realm


Eighteen Disciples of Buddha by Wang Wusheng, 1984
 Eighteen Disciples of Buddha by Wang Wusheng, 1984

"Dogen, one of Japan’s foremost medieval Zen masters, wrote in the "Sansui-kyo" chapter of the "Shobogenzo" that “to view sansui (Chinese style mountain-water landscape painting), is to meet yourself before you were born.”

The self before birth is a self beyond time and space. Dogen, wrote that this self is a ‘formless self’ no one has ever seen. This yet unformed self is the essence of sansui. A depiction of something beyond time and space whose appearance is yet unformed.

A dark mass of mountains is not dead space but the very soul of the living mountains. The white sky in his photographs is not an empty sky  but a sky shown after the passing of a raging storm, now bathed in sunlight."  - Seigo Matsuoka in "Photographic Sansui"

Wang Wusheng was born in 1945 in the city of Wuhu in Anhui Province, China. He graduated from Anhui University's School of Physics. Beginning in 1973, Wusheng worked as a photographer for a news magazine in Anhui Province. He studied at the Art Institute of Nihon University in Japan beginning in 1983 and studied for three years at the Tokyo Arts University. Wusheng currently works as a fine art photographer in Tokyo. 

Peaks and Clouds, by Wang Wusheng, 2004
Peaks and Clouds, by Wang Wusheng, 2004

For more than three decades, Wang Wusheng has been captivated by the beauty of Mount Huangshan, also called Yellow Mountain. Located in the southern part of the Anhui province in northern China, Mount Huangshan has often been described as the world's most beautiful and enchanting mountain. Over many centuries, this mountain, with its seventy-two peaks, has been the subject of Chinese landscape painters, whose singular works are so haunting make it appear impossible for these mountains to exist in nature. Inspired by the legacy of these paintings, Wusheng has sought to portray Mount Huangshan in his own way, expressing his "inner worlds" through this scenic wonder.

Wusheng captures mist-shrouded granite peaks emerging from an ever-changing veil of clouds, sculptural craggy rocks on lofty cliffs and weathered, oddly shaped pine trees. He records the appearance of Mount Huangshan in all seasons and at various times of day. As one critic says, "Wang's pictures are gorgeous, but their beauty does not come directly from the natural scenery. Rather, the mountain's natural wonders have been transformed into artistic spectacles through the artist's commitment to the medium of black-and-white photography, his insistent pursuit of dynamic movement and metamorphic images, and his deep emotional engagement with his subject. His mountain peaks are often densely dark -a kind of velvet darkness that seems full of color."




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