Celestial Seasons

Celestial Seasons

By Olivia Martin
As we head into the Year of the Snake celebrations this week, New York gallery Barry Friedman Ltd gears up to present contemporary Chinese artist Wang Wusheng at a solo exhibition, "Celestial Realm," from March 7-April 27. Wusheng, whose work hangs in the Smithsonian, the National Art Museum of China, and others, currently splits his time between Shanghai and Tokyo for work.

The large-scale black and white photography focuses on China’s Mt. Huangshan mountain range, which Wusheng has shot for the past forty years. Located in the southern part of the Ahui province, with seventy-two peaks, it is one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. Wusheng, who grew up in the Anhui province near the Yellow Mountains, was inspired by his childhood memories, traditional Chinese ink drawings, and the concept of an "other" world.

Heart Dragon Pines Overlooking the Peak taken at Now-I-Believe-It Peak in 1975

In tandem with the exhibition, Abbeville Press will release a hardcover edition of Celestial Realm: The Yellow Mountains of China. The 240-page volume includes an introduction by art historian Wu Hung. An excerpt from it describes one of Wusheng’s photographs as "a symphony of dark and light and of substance and emptiness. The strange, vertical peak emerges from a gossamer mist that veils a deep abyss. Its impressive height is suggested by the silhouette of tall trees in the foreground, yet is dwarfed by the huge precipices looming above it. The image retains almost all the essential features and qualities of an immortal mountain in traditional Chinese art: a particular iconography of mountain peaks, the fundamental role of clouds and mist, a heightened feeling of mystery, and a sense of infinity generated by a mountain represented as both macrocosm and microcosm."

North Sea Guest House, taken at Lion Peak in 1984

Two Dragon Pines, taken at West Sea in 1979

Twin Bamboo Shoot Peak, taken at the Heavenly Sea in 1991

Disciples of Buddha and Stone Bamboo Shoot Bridge, taken at Now-I-Believe-It Peak in 1984

Twin Bamboo Shoot Peak, taken at the back slope of Turtle Peak in 1984

Sleeping Figure Peak, taken at Cloud Dispelling Pavilion in 1984

Wolf's Fang Stone in the West Sea Valley, taken at Cloud Dispelling Pavilion in 1994

Jade Screen Peak, taken at Heavenly Capital Peak in 1979


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