The first lecture in the 2020 Sydney Asian Art Series.  Delivered on Thursday, 17 September 2020.

In this lecture, Lisa Claypool explores paintings of a mountain dissected into terraces by rails, wires, and excavators (described by the artist Fu Baoshi as a ‘naked mountain’), focusing on the question of how to paint a mountain as it was being exposed to and was disappearing from view. Such a conundrum asks us to reflect on the poetic and scientific realms of lived experience to which art can only gesture. The lecture considers the question: Just what does the painting of a coal mine reveal about the nature of Fu’s encounter with what is hidden beneath a rocky surface – and the technology above it that gets us there? Are there ecocritical lessons we can learn from the artist’s reconciliation of what he calls ‘visual excavation’ and ink painting through the technological sublime?

About the speaker

Lisa Claypool teaches and curates Chinese art at the University of Alberta. She writes about science and art, interculturalism and visuality, and exhibitions in modern and contemporary China. She recently completed her first book manuscript, titled Boundary Forms: Design and Science in Modern China. She is currently curating a forthcoming exhibition, ecoART CHINA, which will be held in 2021.

Image: Fu Baoshi. Flying waterfall at Jingbo Lake 镜泊湖飞泉. Detail. 1962. Hanging scroll, ink and pigment on paper; 117.9 x 70.1 cm. Nanjing Museum.