Feiyi Wen, Wood Water Rock (background)

The second chapter of the work: Wood, Water, Rock is a continuing exploration of interpretations of landscapes from different cultural perspectives with an emphasis on the discussion around metaphor, symbols and juxtaposition of specific elements found within nature. I combine found image, objects, and my own photographic work. This looks into the concept of ‘landscape’ with a toolkit of references in the literature tradition. It concerns the nuances and differences on the representation and interpretation of landscape in a cross-cultural context. This different way of looking is based on the philosophical position of a non-Western view on the dichotomy of subject-object relation. Through challenging the bifurcation of the mind-body dualism, it provides us with a way to reach a place of in-betweeness where we can re-evaluate and re-examine the existing paradigm.   

As one of the characteristics in East Asian literature and aesthetic tradition, the emphasis placed on this intertwined existence of human and nature, Qing jing jiao rong which describes the fusion of emotion response and natural scenes. This core idea of non-dualistic philosophical thinking which creates the ambiguity of the experience and perception. The atmosphere created in the photographic image is something which cannot be deciphered but only be felt.

Furthering my research into the concept of landscape in Chinese and Japanese art history I have been strongly drawn to the idea of how the historical decorative artifact embedded the essence of natural landscapes. Looking into the traditional cultural practice of Bonsai (Japanese)/ Penjing (Chinese) and Gongshi (Chinese, scholar’s rocks)/ Bonseki (Japanese, try rocks), etc. The search of these aesthetic traditions has strongly formed my approach of image-making.                      

By mixing with different material and printing techniques, I have developed a particular interest in the fluidity of context and its originality, which also reflects my emphasis on the non-specificity of the landscape and its relation to Chinese painting. Through the juxtaposition of the images, it depicts and questions the understanding embedded with the layers of languages, translations and cultural traditions.