Painting with Words, Painting with Ink: The Art of Gao Xingjian

“The human species does not necessarily move in stages from progress to progress … history and civilization do not advance in tandem. From the stagnation of Medieval Europe to the decline and chaos in recent times on the mainland of Asia and to the catastrophes of two world wars in the twentieth century, the methods of killing people became increasingly sophisticated. Scientific and technological progress certainly does not imply that humankind as a result becomes more civilized.” – From the 2000 Nobel Lecture by Gao Xingjian, Chinese-born French novelist, dramatist, playwright, critic, translator, author of “Soul Mountain,” celebrated painter, and recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize for Literature “for an oeuvre of universal validity, bitter insights, and linguistic ingenuity.”

“La Fin du Monde” (2006, Chinese ink on canvas)

From “Soul Mountain”:

“You should know that there is little you can seek in this world, that there is no need for you to be so greedy, in the end all you can achieve are memories, hazy, intangible, dreamlike memories which are impossible to articulate. When you try to relate them, there are only sentences, the dregs left from the filter of linguistic structures.”

“Habitat Montaguard”

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