‘I am a Daoist. I believe in tian re he yi [the harmonious oneness of the universe and man]. We are all part of nature.’

Born 1979, Putian City, Fujian

Huang Zhen has long been fascinated by the “special spirit” of Chinese ink paintings. Landscapes, often more symbolic than realistic, were vehicles for reflection on man’s relationship with the universe. The masters of the xie yi, “idea writing”, style used spontaneous brush strokes to convey their inner state at the moment of painting. Huang Zhen wanted to take these traditions further and create “a 3D version of landscape painting”. To do so, he chose a material that seems distinctly unsuited to either “free expression” or the depiction of tree-clad mountains and valleys. Thin, stiff and wayward, steel wire could hardly be less fluid or voluminous. Yet the artist—wearing protective gloves and using pliers and clamps—learned over months of trial and error to twist it into the massive yet delicate forms he wanted. Doing so required him to control the wire, but also submit to its eccentric nature. “It’s hard to explain,” he says, “but sometimes the wire and my emotion just lead me and tell me what to do.”



 

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