Beijing Rocks On The Move

exhibitions photos hans fonk in beijing and gudong art museum guangzhou

beijing rocks on the move

With two major exhibitions in Art Space 55 in Beijing and the Guangdong Museum of Art in Guangzhou, Hans Fonk has hit a sensitive string in China. Organized and curated by Cora Feng and Liu Shan, the photographsof the Beijing rocks stunned the visitors of both events. The famous painter and writer Wei Xi wrote the amazing text accompanying the exhibitions.

Wei Xi: “The scholars’ rocks, with its spirit of tranquility, inspiration, insight, and litheness, are celestial. The scholars’ rocks in Hans Fonk’s photography are also celestial. They are not limited by gravity or stereotypes, as they only exist in a secluded and infinite realm. 

Apparently, he understands the connection between the oriental scholars’ rocks and the metaphor they carry to mimic the clouds. He is also keen in revealing the sacred links among the scholars’ rocks, the universe and the ultimate wisdom of human race. 

Hui Chong, as portrayed in The Record of Illustration and Traditional Chinese Painting, is said to have an “unrestrained and carefree spirit”. Being a monk, Hui Chong’s unrestrained spirit here is not about letting his soul go wild; instead, it implies that Hui Chonghas the vision to always look beyond any factual restriction in the world, which is the true meaning of the “carefree spirit” in ancient Chinese culture. In this context, “spirit”, refers to neither a pure abstract concept nor a concrete entity. Similarly, though Taihu rocks may have various shapes, their spirit still lays along with an identical attitude of being carefree.” 

“Rocks captured in the recent photography work by the Dutch photographerHans Fonk also possess the spirit of being unrestrained, faint but perceptible. It is fascinating to discover a foreign artist who could comprehend such a subtle spirit like the oriental artist. The reason behind, as I take a wild guess, might be due to the modern knowledge of the universe and the micro substance that he has obtained.”

“Interestingly, one way that an ancient Chinese scholar would appreciate the rocks is to use the most exquisite and porous rock as the incense burner called Fushan Censer. When the scholars immerse themselves in the cloud of smoke surrounding the rock, enjoying the spiritual journey, the atmosphere would go quite well with the beats of the modern electronic music from the Western culture. Hans Fonk might have no knowledge of such a way for rock appreciation, but it is possible that he has sensed the similar spirit whether he is a fan of electronic music or not.”

“As an ancient Chinese saying goes: “The wise man finds the pleasure in water while the virtuous finds it in mountains.” But the scholars’ rocks are beyond water and mountains, and therefore it is the combination of the wisdom and the virtue. This understanding is essential for the appreciation of rocks and the aesthetics of agnosticism. The Chinese scholars love their rocks. They collect them, appreciate them and are obsessed with them. Through those practices, the scholars discover their identity, cultivate their temperament, and gain inspiration from the rock’s spirit. Any foreigners who have visited the Suzhou Garden or the study of Chinese literati would sense the strong aesthetic emblem of those scholars’ passion for rocks.”

“Although Fonk may not know the anecdotes from Song Dynasty of Mi Dian’s admiration towards rocks nor Emperor Zhao Ji’s special boat for transporting exquisite rocks, but I would not be surprised if he had seen the Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock by Wu Bin from the late Ming Dynasty, devoted to the owner of the Lingbi rock, Mi Wanzhong. Hans Fonk’s photography work and Wu’s painting are uncannily parallel in the way of expressing the spirit of scholars’ rocks: its vagueness and impermanence, just like the collected or scattered clouds, are apparent in their works. Both artists choose the background that is neither foggy nor smoky, but appearing as the mist wreathing the rocks.”  



Poster for the exhibition of the Beijing Rocks by Hans Fonk exhibition at Art Space 55 in Beijing, China.


Hans Fonk