News | Tai Xiangzhou - At the Exhibition Painted Screen: Tradition and Future at Suzhou Museum

On September 6, 2019, exhibition Painted Screen: Tradition and Future opened at Suzhou Museum. Two works of Tai Xiangzhou—Painting after Fan Kuan’s work Collected by MET (2017) and The Mountain of Gethsemane (2014)—are on view at the show. Renowned scholar and curator Wu Hung organized the exhibition, which includes both ancient and contemporary artworks.


Apart from Tai, other participating contemporary artists include Xu Bing, Xu Lei, Xia Xiaowan, Shang Yang, Zhan Wang, Shi Hui, and Yang Fudong. On September 7, 2019, Wu elaborated on his curatorial plan and the artworks in a lecture titled “Painted Screen: A Dialogue between the Past and Present.”


Through the lens of painted screen, Wu (Curator) hopes to establish a dialogue between the ancient and the contemporary and that between different media. At the opening ceremony, he said, “Painted screen plays a threefold role in ancient Chinese art. It is an important medium for painting, an object made of various materials, as well as an architectural component. It integrates image, space, and object —the three key elements of visual arts…Through this show, we hope to introduce a new perspective, with which we can approach traditional art in a new way. We want to rejuvenate ancient traditions, as well as to manifest its contemporary reverberations. ”


The two works on view show precisely the inter-textual nature of painted screens. Both works are based on Tai’s response to Northern Song paintings. His Painting after Fan Kuan’s work Collected by MET evinces the artist’s reflection upon Landscape in the Style of Fan Kuan (early 12th century) in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; The Mountain of Gethsemane is a response to Fan Kuan’s A Snowy Scene of Winter Woods (early 12th century) in the collection of Tianjin Museum. For Painting after Fan Kuan’s work Collected by MET, Tai aimed to bring back what Fan’s piece had originally looked like. According to some art historians, the landscape painting attributed to Fan Kuan at the MET was initially part of a painted screen. It was later cut from a larger painting and mounted into a hanging scroll. Based on this view, Tai created his triptych. He expanded the space portrayed in the Northern Song painting to the two sides, while eliminating details indicating human activity. This makes nature and the cosmological order nature represents the focus of the composition. For Tai, this fits the ritualistic function of painted screens in traditional households.


According to Tai, “Painted screens were not meant for everyday use. They were ritualistic…They connected the order of power of human society and the cosmological order of nature.” For contemporary audiences, works such as Painting after Fan Kuan’s work Collected by MET offers an alternative perspective rooted in ancient cosmology to approach nature. As the artist said, “The spatial order we have got used to in our civilized society and our ways of living are not the only ones. If we go back in time, we will be able to see a new space, a new landscape.”


Painted Screen: Tradition and Future

展期 | Duration

2019. 9. 06 – 2019. 12. 06

艺术家 | Artist

泰祥洲 Tai Xiangzhou

地址 | Address

Suzhou Museum

204 Dongbei St, Gusu, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China

时间 | Hours

周二至周日 Tuesday – Sunday

9 a.m. – 5 p.m.




Painted Screen: Tradition and Future

  • Suzhou Museum, China
  • Sept.06 – Dec.06, 2019
October 22, 2019