Throughout time, nature “has never increased and never vanished altogether,” according to the poet Su Shi (1037-1101). The natural world always remains unchanged, regardless of social and cultural transformations. Chinese literati and artists often conveyed their emotions through natural imagery, reconstructing their memories of social change and natural stability through poems and paintings. Separated by different dynasties, these poets and painters drew inspiration from similar landscapes, exhibiting different perspectives about nature and demonstrating the commonality of human experience through time and space.
Spanning across several centuries, these five works on exhibition explore the endurance of memories and the permanence of nature through different formats, influenced by Chinese traditional landscape paintings. Organized by chronological order, each pairing illustrates the influence of social and political disruption during the time of their creation, from the 14th century Mongol Invasion to the end of dynastic rule and the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution. Both tranquil and turbulent times impacted the poets and painters in this exhibition, fusing natural scenery with human emotions through these landscapes of memory.
Online Student Curatorial Team:
Ava Busto Schiff ’18, Xiaoqing Luo ’18, and Erin Sulla ’19