Demonstration: Xu Longsen and His Landscape Art

Classes and Workshops


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For thousands of years Chinese artists have been inspired by humanity’s spiritual connection to the natural world. The traditional form known as shanshui, or landscape art, sought to capture this relationship in a unique aesthetic representation. This style of painting is about more than portraying our natural surroundings—these works aim to depict an inner space where the artist rests their heart and mind.

Born in Shanghai in 1956 and trained at the Shanghai Arts and Crafts College, Xu Longsen has been regarded as one of the most innovative of contemporary artists. His work is revolutionary not only in its sheer size, but also in how he combines traditional Chinese ink painting with public spaces. He created the Light of Heaven series specifically for the Art Institute of Chicago. Inspired by the mythological Mount Kunlun, believed to be the center of the world as well as the home of many gods and goddesses, this installation consists of a number of landscape paintings as well as pillars painted with layers of ink. In this presentation, Xu Longsen demonstrates his methods of using traditional painting tools and materials, as well as with videos and digital images.

Please use the Michigan Avenue entrance. Doors will open at 5:45.


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