Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens at China Institute Gallery, February 8 – December 2, 2018

Art of the Mountain: Through the Chinese Photographer’s Lens surveys work from more than 20 photographers. With over 60 photographs – many on view for the first time in the U.S – Art of the Mountain presents photographs that pay homage to the major mountain ranges of China.

In Chinese legend, mountains are the pillars that hold up the sky. Mountains were seen as places that nurture life. Their veneration took the form of rituals, retreat from social society, and aesthetic appreciation with a defining role in Chinese art and culture.

Art of the Mountain consists of three sections: The Revered Mountains of China will introduce the geography, history, legends, and culture that are associated with Chinese mountains and includes photographs by Hou Heliang, Kang Songbai and Kang Liang, Li Daguang, Lin Maozhao, Li Xueliang, Lu Hao, Zhang Anlu, Xiao Chao, Yan Shi, Wang Jing, Zhang Jiaxuan, Zhang Huajie, and Zheng Congli.

The renowned Chinese landscape painting aesthetic and its influence on contemporary photography is explored in the second section. Landscape Aesthetics in Photography will present work by Wang Wusheng (born 1945) who has spent much of his career photographing Mount Huangshan, also known as the Yellow Mountain.” — China Institute

Taca Sui, Mountains under the Sun, 2011. Platinum and palladium print, 39 1/2 x 39 1/2 inches

Yang Yongliang, Peach Blossom Colony, from the series: Peach Blossom Colony No. 1, 2011. Inkjet print, 33 3/8 x 92 1/8 inches

Yan Changjiang and Xiao Xuan’an, Return to Mountains 02, 2010. Inkjet print, 24 5/8 x 31 1/2 inches

Yao Lu, View of Autumn Mountains in the Distance, 2008. Inkjet print, 26 1/2 x 26 5/8 inches

Wang Jing, View from the Roof of the World, 2011. Inkjet print, 15 x 26 1/4 inches

Zhang Jiaxuan, Huangshan: Flower Blooming on a Magic Brush Tip, 2001. Inkjet print, 11 x 21 inches

Wang Wusheng, Huangshan A104, 1984. Inkjet print, 24 x 40 3/8 inches

Wang Wusheng, Huangshan A124: Disciples of Buddha and Fairy Maiden Peak, 2004. Inkjet print, 40 x 32 inches

Art of the Mountain articulates a vision of Chinese culture and documents its contributions to civilization,” said Willow Weilan Hai, chief curator of the exhibition. “The search for eternal happiness, a happiness of spirit that reflects harmony, where nature heals all, is an essential part of Chinese culture. Chinese artists are employing photography to depict nature – and man’s complicated relationship with it – often derived from Chinese philosophy about the natural world.”

The exhibition is curated by Willow Weilan Hai, Director, China Institute Gallery; Jerome Silbergeld, P. Y. and Kinmay W. Tang, Professor of Chinese Art History at Princeton University, Emeritus; and photography critic and photographer Jiang Rong.

All images copyright and courtesy of the artist.