Present occasion and history

Some general concerns of time in literati art:
  • Finding means to mark with exactitude and delicacy a particular moment in time. An interest in gesture and the marks of the hand in crafting as visceral signs of present time that can be imaginatively recreated in later viewing.
  • The past as a repertoire in which one finds useful precedents to apply to present circumstances. Freshly made art may be combined with appropriation and reference to any source, distant or historical. Aesthetic practice is also focused on reception - is more like cooking a meal – attentive to the tastes and preferences of convives.
  • Awareness that one is engaging in matters where others have done so before or done so differently. Psychologically and philosophically, one trims one's vanity in the face of the long duration of time and the scale and scope of social life.
  • Imaginatively linking contemporary individual lives with historical time and trans-generational narratives. Foreseeing the present as the past of the future.
 DING Yunpeng 丁雲鹏(1547-1628)
Signature in archaic style
Vimalakirti Teaching (detail)
Hanging scroll
Ink and color on paper
133.7 x 60 cm
Private collection

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