The Garden: most beautiful daughter of Suzhou City, which perfectly epitomizes the classic aesthetic of the Chinese traditional cultural city and the romantic perceptions of ancient literati. The Classical garden and Suzhou’s unique culture are closely intertwined. “Time and the Mind: The Garden and the Imperial Court” is Suzhou’s call to the outside world, combining with Garden owners’ spiritual take on space and time, while also embedded within history and the cultural codes of the city.
“Close Encounters with the Garden: a Contemporary Art Exhibition” together with “The Multiplicity of Time”, offers a new view of global history revisited in the Suzhou Garden. It goes back to the source of the daring endeavors and spiritual power of the Garden owners; it engages with the flux of historical time, grounding Suzhou culture in a subtle, imperceptible way, then reflecting upon its existence through distinguished personalities, including the literati through the ages.
The exhibition also and more importantly aims to re-encounter history and to discover crossovers and extensions across time. The representation and exploration of Garden will connect, fuse and disperse the relationship of Suzhou Time, Imperial Time and Global Time. As the implications of the Suzhou Garden spread, along with its owners’ sprits, their conscious wandering through the river of time, their unconcscious dreams and the pride and wisdom of Zen are concealed in the name of the Garden – up to the present. Such subtle elements feed into an endless resource for history — versus the revelation of now, the sudden moment, under today’s sun. Just imagine what would happen if we put similar mental strength, similar creativity into world history, global time and space. What kind of shining glory would be revealed? What historical moment would explode ?
“Close Encounters with the Garden: a Contemporary Art Exhibition” is part of the first “Suzhou Documents” exhibition of 2016. With contemporary art perspectives and ways of thinking, the artworks here invite the the viewer to revisit the Twin tower, Pu Garden and other private gardens. With “The Multiplicity of Time” as the theme and method of the exhibition, contemporary artworks meet the ancient Garden. In the area which has witnessed a thousand years of Suzhou’s history, developments and vicissitudes, an unfamiliar “present” is beginning to surface. Various forms and media encounter the ancient Garden as they collide, activate and indeed greet each other in this snapshot of times.
Great Heat in Beijing, 2016
Stone in the shape of a lion head
Site of the Arhat Hall: stone terraces
Site of the Arhat Hall: stone pillars