Wilfried Seipel
(Generaldirector of Kunsthistoreschen Museum Vienna)

        18 April 2000

18 April ~ 18 June 2000
Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography

Dr. Wilfried Seipel
Generaldirector of Kunsthistoreschen Museum Vienna

   The idea of sponsoring a photography exhibition of Wang Wusheng at our Museum in 1998 came from the art exhibition 。ーThe Gravity of Mountains。ア at Kunst Halle Krems in 1997.I was greatly touched at the time by Mr. Wang。ッs works, which had left me such a strong impact.I was determined without any hesitation to sponsor a large-scale exhibition in Vienna that the artist deserved.

        Mr. Wang is an overseas Chinese residing in Japan.His style and inspiration derived from China.In 1994 and 1995,Mr. Wang had two exhibitions held respectively at the China Art Museum in Beijing and at the Shanghai Art Museum in Shanghai.He was born in Wuhu in the mountainous Anhui province, which is to the west of Shanghai.The area of this province is larger than that of the whole country of Austria.He grew up at the foot of Mt. Huangshan, a chain of mountains and ridges stretching as long as 250 kilometers with seventy-two peaks having an average of 1000 to 2000 meters above sea level Wandering in such a fairyland, the sensitive photographer interacted strongly with the grandeur and beauty of clouds, cliffs and pines, just as the romantic complex of the Europeans derived from their attraction to the mountains.

        Through his delicate inspiration and rich representations as well as the perfect composition and touching drama, Mr. Wang。ッs photography not only fully displays his talent and insight as an outstanding artist, but also forcefully and directly conveys to the audience the spirit and rhythm of the scenery in its best form (such as the exhibition of 。ーCelestial Mountains,。ア which of course only presents a small part of the grandeur) using a unique language of image with his artistry.This directness, I think, generates huge impact on Western viewers.In his works displayed at the Celestial Mountains exhibition, contradictions exist everywhere; the unity of opposites reflected in the interaction between the mountains and clouds, movement and stillness as well as light and shadow makes every work of his a valuable token, manifesting the conflict and at the same time unity of human spirit merging with nature in its broadest sense.

        Photography used to be a field belonging to us Europeans.In this sense, Wang。ッs works were influenced by European art history, yet they also embrace the essence of art history and the spirit and charm of landscape of East Asia as seen in the form of Chinese ink painting.Undoubtedly, the photographer。ッs original intention was much related to the motif of Chinese traditional ink painting.Wang。ッs works provide association with Chinese ink painting, but what wins people。ッs great admiration is the artist。ッs creative intention and his quest for perfection.The beauty of landscape stuns him urging him to search for a superb artistic expression.He not only searches for the beauty of landscape, but also for the artistic beauty of his own aspiration.His works demonstrate a quest for aestheticism that transcends time and space.They are also imbued with an understanding of Buddhist and Daoist philosophy.The tranquility of Buddhist realm provides him with inspiration, thus his ideological tendency towards the Chinese idea of consummation that 。ーnature and man are one.。アThe photographer has been immersed in the beauty of Mt. Huangshan since childhood.The fairylike charm of Mt. Huangshan poses an eternal attraction to him.An ideal paradise cherished by Asians emerges amidst clouds floating in a sea of misty mountains in willful indulgence.

       There is no question that such beauty transcending time and space is an eternal beauty that contains a constant pursuit of the realm of 。ーnature and man are one.。アThe photographer searches for his artistic prototype in this landscape otherworld.What is more important is the spirit one feels in the landscape than the landscape itself.The mountains and waters interact with heaven and immortals as described in Asian fairy tales.Look!The clouds are floating gracefully in the boundless universe.Such interpretation of Mt. Huangshan landscape as fairyland has enabled many Chinese to look up to it as a celestial terrain.The world of rocks, clouds, fogs, waterfalls and pines offers an excellent milieu for traditional ink painting.All of this is fully represented in Wang Wusheng。ッs works in his style of originality and persuasion.

       Today, Mt. Huangshan has become a tourist site crowded with visitors.Manmade stone steps and cable cars can be seen everywhere.The facade of Mt. Huangshan seems shallow and insignificant.The contrast our photographer presents against the superficial produces everlasting charm to his works.They demonstrate the artist。ッs deep understanding of the essence of Mt. Huangshan.With the traditional Daoist philosophical spirit permeated in his works, the mountains become a path leading to the search of personal identity。ュ.All these concepts may be found in the Catalogue.

       Wang Wusheng has materialized an in-depth perception of a civilization, for which we may get some idea from his dialogue with the literary critic Mr. Tang.I believe this exhibition will provide a great opportunity for us to understand an otherworld.

       The exhibition we held in 1998 with Chinese landscape as its theme was unprecedented in the history of our Museum.I hope this exhibition will not only enable us to appreciate the unique scenes that seem so far away from us, but also convey to us something fresh and new.It is incredible that Mr. Wang Wusheng is able to make the scenes presented in his works seem mystic yet intimate at the same time.

       I also believe it is important to point out that representation of the beauty of Chinese traditional landscape ink painting through photography is new to us Europeans.We will have a feast to our eyes by appreciating a Chinese artist。ッs artistic approach and feelings, his self-consciousness and his association with oriental philosophical ideology through his extraordinary skills.

       Finally, I hope the creative spirit I felt deep down in my soul from the artist。ッs ideal celestial will bring about resonance in people。ッs hearts.I wish the exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography great success.Thank you