Ariane Kiechle (Mィケnchen/ Germany)

August 9th 1998

Total artistic creation aspired

Ariane Kiechle (Mィケnchen/ Germany)

Born in the town of Wuhu in the Chinese province of Anhui, his youth was dominated by the rough years of Cultural Revolution, which perhaps awakened a contrary need for all that had been forbidden in those years.In the beginning of the Seventies he started his career as photographer, and the mountains of Huangshan in his neighbourhood - still more picturesque than the mountains of Guilin,wellknown to many Western tourists-soon became the favourable subject of his artistic work. In the Eighties he continued his studies in Japan,1990 in New York. Meanwhile he had become famous by his exhibitions in China and Japan. When in 1997 some of his work was shown at the exhibition "Die Schwerkraft der Berge" ("The gravity of the mountains") in Krems/Austria, the director of Kunsthistorisches Museum.Wien decided to arrange a complete exhibition only for him in Vienna, which now, under the title "Mountains of Heaven" was shown there from May 5th up to August 9th 1998.

Some of his pictures have the size of Chinese-Japanese wall-screens (fusuma) by 2,5-5 m. Most of the others are special gelatine-silver-copies of sizes of about 1,5 x 2,5 m, in black wooden frames. Mostly large white moving seas of clouds or fog banks predominate, out of which the bizarre mountain summits emerge and are set apart like in ink-painting.The decently elegant rooms of Palace Harrach and the twilight create a suiting surrounding, in which the richly-shaded"three-dimensionality" of the pictures significantly comes to live.

In China this kind of "landscape painting" is called "mountain-and-water-pictures", "shanshuihua", they "borrow the landscape" to express the deepest feelings of the contemplating artist. They have a tradition of more than 2000 years there and they also have much influenced the Western style of painting since the 19th century. However it is new that WWS by means of the modern tool of photography creates similar, yet different, pieces of art, which create, by the special technique of gelatine-silver-copies, surprising effects of illusion, which are imparted directly on the viewer without any mediation. Printed copies hardly reproduce this special kind of aesthetics, as the nevertheless impressive, catalogue shows.

These photographs mediate utopia visions of a longed-for eternity, which have their roots in the deepest hidden parts of the soul and can therefore always be experienced. Very old imaginations of Asian shamanism, as of Taoism and Zen-Buddhism, too, have always conjured up this experience of unity with the Universe. Even amid the tremendous chaos on earth a temporary entry into this timeless eternity is obtainable. According to WWS, especially today man feels enclosed in an extremely regulated, technically dominated world and therefore feels an even stronger nostalgic longing for an entry into this utopia paradise. A successful artistic work demands flowing and harmonious vibrations between the artist and his creation.

He believes that mankind is not adapted to modern civilization and so permanent conflict is implemented. It should be the aim of a postmodern civilization of the 21st century to consider nature? no longer as an object of exploitation, but as a space of new life-experience. Only the restoration of that unity between man and nature could grant the material as well as the spiritual? survival. Therefore the 21st century will not only be determined by technology alone, but will also be a very vital era filled with unlimited spirituality.

PostScript, february 2000:
One month after this exhibition I have climbed onto the summits of Huangshan with a friend of mine (unfortunately without any clouds!) and one year later we have toured again Japan.And there we have found this spirit of nature and this eternal feeling, too (although, in Japan, it is not so easy to discover, as it is hidden behind the surface of modern life, and you have to go to remote places or temples and gardens to find it). But not often reality showed this deep expression of mystery, as we can find in Wang Wusheng。舖 pictures! So it is true that art can give us a new experience of the "world behind the world"...!