Art In America

Zheng Shengtian and Wang Dongling

at Chambers Fine Art,
512 W. 19th St.


"Avant-garde calligraphy" may sound like a contradiction in terms to Western ears, but that's exactly what's intriguing about this project. Bold, Ab-Ex-looking works on paper by master calligrapher Wang Dongling are shown along with his more ghostly transcriptions on canvas from a famous 5th-century text on landscape painting. The latter were executed at the direction of artist and scholar Zheng Shengtian, editor of Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art. Since the prepared canvas (a Western art material) does not readily absorb ink, the language of ancient aesthetic thought has faded to a series of irregular dots and pale traces-an implicit comment, perhaps, on the current state of critical dialogue between China and the Euro-American sphere.


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