I like Chinese classical gardens, and I also enjoy designing them and working along with the artisans to make them. One cannot actually “design” a garden so to speak; there are changes at every angle, and the making of a classical Chinese Garden is very similar to the making of a painting. You place a rock at one place, and then you will know the other kinds of rock and tree that can go along with it. It is about choosing the angle to view the scene, and if you look at it from another perspective you will get a different impression of the scene. Morning light rises from the east, the place where the shadow casts changes throughout the day and throughout the four seasons. When the leaves have fallen from the branches, one must also consider the arrangement of the branches and the rocks; the changes are infinite, and that is why I like classical gardens and enjoy having a courtyard with a studio where I can observe the changes that take place over the four seasons.
Sometimes when I see snow accumulated on a black branch, the aesthetic quality of the black and white contrast moves me tremendously. But that does not mean that I need to paint it at the time. May be in two or three or five years will it eventually and unconsciously surface from my hands. I do not record it down, or formulate some kind of plan for it. I do not plan. I just let it enter my body and into my blood and allow it to surface naturally.
YUAN Museum is the embodiment of an artist’s persistent exploration of China’s art spirit, a presentation of his inner passion as well as ardent wishes. Today, museums have attained a commanding height of contemporary urban spirits. A museum’s documenting, investigating and exhibiting contemporary social culture; soulful communications amongst human beings and inspirations on creativity; experiences of new technologies and interdisciplinary practices… all are offering a multidimensional stage where opportunities are countless. As a result, to comprehend the museological forms and features that ought to exist in a given society is an exciting yet serious subject of discourse. The YUAN Museum Preparatory Committee was established with such an attitude, and it carries multiple responsibilities in the infrastructure, managerial procedure, operational pattern, content production, public administration, social researches, theoretical studies and so forth. It bears the complexity of constructional technology as well as the specificity of our temporal and social context; the theoretical system and aesthetic values it intends to rebuild require efforts of several generations to practise and explore.
As a member of the on-going process of practice, Mr. Zeng Fanzhi presents to us fine, romantic and natural expressing of emotions in the Oriental aesthetics, through his depiction on details in life. Perhaps we cannot accurately verbalise who we are, what we do or why we do; nonetheless, if one day all those issues “integrate into our bodies and blood to be liberated”, they get realised.