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Water And Stone: On The Role Of Expression In Chinese Art

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Chapter Summary

A look at the experimental art being made by Chinese artists in the light of classical Chinese theory of art demonstrates two things: first, that the current art exemplifies the six techniques of painting laid out by Hsieh Ho in the fifth century - hence its Chineseness - and, second, that the new art celebrates the materiality of the world, reigning as it does at the level of the body and its gestures, which is the level at which matter and energy interact. To show this, the author discusses two classical writings, one contemporary essay, and two contemporary exhibitions. The classical works are Hsieh Ho's fifth century Six Principles of Chinese Painting and Shih-t'ao's seventeenth century An Expressionist Credo. Contemporary are "The Watery Turn in Contemporary Chinese Art," an essay by David Clarke in Art Journal and The Real Thing: Contemporary Art from China, a 2007 exhibition at Tate Liverpool.

Keywords: An Expressionist Credo; Chinese art; Hsieh Ho; Shih-t'ao; Six Principles of Chinese Painting



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