About this artwork
A mesmerizing and sweeping composition of monochromatic ink on silk, Celestial Chaos No. 1 is among Tai Xiangzhou’s finest paintings. One of today’s leading Chinese artists, Tai is part of a generation that is working to reinvigorate tradition by embracing new ideas and techniques. Although fluent in styles of classical painting and calligraphy, he has in recent years developed an original approach that imbues traditional materials—brush, ink, paper, and silk—with a combination of highly expressive brushwork, abstraction, and monumental scale.
This painting embodies the basic ideas of Chinese cosmology, which views the world as a complete and complex organism in which the intrinsic nature of things is to move and change. Within this cyclical universe, humans are able to discern consistent patterns by observing the seasons and celestial realms, practicing dream divination, and manipulating the hexagrams of the I Ching. In this work, Tai captures that principle movement—atmospheric forces clashing and meteorites surging through mist and clouds—and organically merges the classical conception of the cosmos with his distinctively expressive style. The result is spontaneous, mysterious, but above all, beautiful.
A scholar of art history and theory, Tai has asserted that “to present landscape painting that meets modern tastes, we must start from the experience of modern society—by properly accessing the living spirit of art, researching the materials, techniques, medium, and modern time-space experience. In short, we should not only keep alive traditional art, but also the tradition of art.”
Currently Off View
- Arts of Asia
- Tai Xiangzhou
- Celestial Chaos No. 1
- Made 2014
- Ink on silk
- 139.1 × 294.6 cm (54 3/4 × 116 7/8 in.)
- Estate of Walter Aitken
- © 2014 Tai Xiangzhou. Courtesy of the artist and Paul Kasmin Gallery.