I recently did a lot of research on traditional Shanshui painting and contemporary Shanshui paintings. Chinese traditional Shanshui was never merely about holding up a mirror to the landscape in keeping with prevailing aesthetic tastes. It was always about reflecting on and negotiating the artist’s own positioning relation to the world- for centuries one with a majestic and sublime nature of which humans were but a small and insignificant part.
I am fascinated by the energy behind traditional landscape painting, but I know I can not think and draw like the ancients. However, with the change of humanities and the prevalence of contemporary art today, the artist is no longer just an insignificant part but made themselves the centerpiece of nature.
This phenomenon makes me think about how I deal with the relationship between nature and me? I respect tradition, but also like some contemporary art mode of thinking.