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八大山人 Bada Shanren ( Zhuda, 1626-1705) 's painting is relational at it's foundation, where traditional Chinese Painting is about the relationship between the blank space and the brush strokes, thus creating resonance with each other, creating a infinity outside the frame, it is also a relation between ink, water and paper, making infinite possibilities of combination in greyscale, shapes, gradation and  techniques. From Ba Da's painting you can see the precise yet powerful play with his strokes and the composition. Composing both the fragility and the strong view, a state of discrete existence in the world. The concept of traditional Chinese painting is very different to classic western painting, where it is not about inside the frame, the foreground and the background. It is about opening up the space, extending to infinity, a resonance of relations between strokes and blank space. 

Lee Ufan studied taoist philosophy and was heavily influenced by the exiled royal Zhu Da then Taoist Bada Shanren. He is fond of Zhu Da's painting and deeply resonates with them. Lee's painting work are a adapted concept of Zhu Da, in a modern era context. He's painting are about the basic ontology of painting, to do one stroke write, to place them on the write place on canvas, making conversation with the blank space, and carefully, precisely placing other strokes in relation to each other as well. Lee called his painting similar to the resonance of hitting the bells in Buddhist temple, the sound resonate with each other and expands endlessly. From both Ba Da and Lee Ufan the canvas space are all open, they are not enclosed within the frame, instead they are all extending out, making them not isolated from the world but branching out, the after ryhme of the painting that surround us viewers.

Bada Shanren


Lee Ufan


with winds, 1991

oil, stone pigment on canvas,



correspondance, 1992

oil, stone pigment on canvas

227 x 182cm


Correspondance, 1995

oil on canvas,

218 X291 cm


From point, 1978,

Glue, stone pigment on canvas,

182 X 227 cm


Correspondance, 1990

oil on canvas

291 x218 cm

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