REASON'S CLUE EXHIBIT AT QUEENS MUSEUM OF ART
by Mike Wood
Flushing Meadows Corona Park / Queens NY / September 28, 2008. I had the good fortune to meet Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director of the Queens Museum Of Art [QMA], who allowed me to preview an upcoming exhibit titled ‘Reason’s Clue”, which is now showing at the QMA in Flushing Meadows Park.
Reason's Clue Art Exhibit - Introduction
Reason’s Clue, features eight artists: four from the island of Taiwan and four from main land China. I met, interviewed and photographed some of the artists while they were in the process of installing the exhibits. The theme of the exhibit refers back to the teachings of Lao Tzu, who was an ancient Chinese philosopher and the leading proponent of Taoist thought in and around the 6th century. It was during this time that Taoist thought came together as a complete philosophy.
Taoist Thought Runs Through Queens Museum Of Art Exhibit
The core concept of Taoist philosophy focuses on yin and yang. Yin and yang are opposites. According to Taoist thought there are four basic tenets which guide opposites: 1) opposites attract, 2) inherent in every opposite is their opposite, 3) one cannot exist without the other, therefore opposites complement each other and hence make up a whole, and 4) opposites are in a continual state of transformation.
Confusing or Confucian? Pardon the pun, but it shouldn’t be either. It’s Chinese philosophy, the profundity of which, takes a long time to comprehend. Ancient texts say that it takes a life time or longer. But let’s move on and take a deeper look by seeing the artists work and hearing what they had to say.
Meet The Artists At The Queens Museum Of Art
Mainland Chinese Calligraphy - Art From Nature At QMA
Cui Fei was the next and last artist with whom I had the opportunity to interview. She’s been living in the U.S. for about ten years, so I had to opportunity to converse with her directly. Her work is called “Manuscript Of Nature V” [please note that the V stands for roman numeral five]. She’s originally from Shan Dong province, which is about three hours south of Beijing on the Chinese main land.
It’s important to understand Fei’s background since her work speaks to it, and about it. All around her, Fei sees change. Her home country in China has undergone a huge transformation over the course of her lifetime, and it has evolved into something very different from the country in which she originated.
Since her departure from China some ten years ago, she has had many experiences that have changed her. Hence, like her country, she has evolved into someone different, than she was just ten years ago. Hence all the world is changing around her, within her, so Fei seeks to find something constant – something universal – in her work. The timeless value of universal truths was something taught by the Chinese ancients, such as Lao Tzu.
Fei draws reference to Chinese calligraphy, which has been fairly constant for many thousands of years. She uses vines, which are all natural, and hence universal, to represent Chinese calligraphy. She notes that vines can be found here, as well as in China, which lends a universality to them – like a universal truth. She looks at me, wondering if I understand what she's trying to communicate.
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