Wang, Wusheng(Afterword of “Artistic Interpretation of Huangshan Mountain”)

July 31, 1994

Afterword of
。カArtistic Interpretation of Huangshan Mountain。キ

        I paid my last visit to the Huangshan Mountain in 1979 before I went abroad. It was late August. The sunset-bathed mountain decorated by red leaves greeted the eye; it was a brilliant sight. But my heart was sobbing. Oh, Mt. Huangshan, I can't tear myself away from you How I expected to put all my emotions, energy and deepest love into my photographic creations on Mt. Huangshan at a time when I was eager and full of strength and spirit to work, letting my love for Mt. Huangshan flow out of me freely, like singing love songs. But-it was because of my love of it that I had to keep my emotions inside me and separate myself from Mt. Huangshan and from my motherland, too. I chose a long, zigzagging and risky road, going abroad.

        Now, 15 years later I have come back with my condensed love, with my songs, to, Mt. Huangshan and to the country.

        I have spent 20 years on my photography l still like to call my works my songs. Every hour of the day when I was abroad, I worked hard just to compose these songs, which encouraged me and gave me confidence, energy and hope. My desire for a photographic career helped me to overcome problems one after another. Now, finally, I can let myself sing these songs with all my voices I sing them in Japan and am going to sing them in Europe and in other parts of the world. But the most important thing for me is to sing them to my dear motherland and to Mt. Huangshan. This book is dedicated to my beloved country where l was born and nurtured, where my thoughts and spirit, love and hope for Mt. Huangshan have been fostered, and my sentiments and inspiration for beauty have been enriched.


Chance Meeting Set My Destiny


       Though I heard about it a long time ago and knew it was in the same province where I lived, l did not have the chance to visit Mt. Huangshan until 1974. However, it struck me just as I met a young girl with whom I fell in love at first sight. It seemed there was a magical power leading me into the deep valleys and pushing me to reach the highest peaks. When I reached the Celestial Capital Peak. I was completely absorbed, speechless and moved. A strong feeling affected my flesh and heart.

       Here is a peculiar piece of land naturally carved with peaks. Neither the structures nor the veins and colors of the rocks differ from those in the surrounding mountains. There are innumerable peaks and ranges scattered throughout the region of more than 1 50 square kilometers. The peaks and ranges, each with their own elegant characters, form a magnificent scene; a sea of peaks. They look close to each other but still there is quite a distance between them. Each peak is covered with wonderful pine trees and gnarled rocks, like quiet, beautiful poems or three-dimensional pictures in which you can get lost. The most wonderful thing is the swift changeable sea of clouds on Mt. Huangshan. It looks like a clear spring winding slowly through the ravines and valleys at one moment, and then like surging waves rushing down a thousand-Li mountainside the next. It touches your face now, like a length of misty soft gauze, setting off the natural rocks and uneven peaks above the rosy clouds and then changes into a vast cloud sea, submerging the entire mountain range and joining heaven with a boundless cloud sea.

       It seems to me that the inspiring grandeur before me is a creative work of God, who, using a supernatural brush and using the universe as a piece of canvas, paints all my thoughts, expectations and illusions, happiness and sadness, quietness and excitement, sentiment and exertion All these pictures in my mind fill me with joy as never before.

       Climbing to the summit of a 1,800-meters high peak and standing on a convex rock, I stare out at the mist and cloud floating beneath my feet, and where the mist is thinnest, I can gaze down into the valley thousands of miles below and see, though only occasionally, the hair-thin paths, streams, arbors and people, all as small as a needle's eye. Looking into the distance, I can see the mountain peaks set off by mist and cloud; looking up, it seems that heaven can be touched just by raising the arms And all around is the thundering sigh of the wind in the pines, the birds' singing and the cries of apes and monkeys.

       Every time I am in this situation, I feel so strongly that it seems I could stay far, far away from the human world and live at the center of this universe There is no pollution in this world, Everything is clean, pure, fresh and harmonious, l feel the magnificence and boundlessness of the cosmos. Compared to it, I realize how paltry, pitiable and worthless are the feelings of greediness, selfishness and even disharmony among human beings. I feel the permanency and the perpetuity of history, in which the life of a man is but a twinkling of time. I feel that my mind has never been so broad as when I am in the mountains: my soul is so pure and heart so peaceful. In a moment, all of my anxieties and mental anguish vanish, I am immersed in a state of quiet and my heart is filled with love. The same feeling re-emerges every time I visit Mt. Huangshan, I forget everything just standing still for five or six hours, tasting and enjoying the feeling I am overwhelmed and my eyes water In the quiet, it seems that a voice says to me: "Here is the source of your photographic art Here is the place for your lifetime career."

Before I went abroad, I visited Mt. Huangshan twice a year, at least for two weeks OT even two months at a time. Unfortunately I was not satisfied with most of the photos taken during this period They showed nothing of my emotions or my feelings for ~/It. Huangshan, regardless of my hard work and excitement every time I photographed in the mountains I tried several ways to take the pictures I shot young grass, dewdrops, colorful veined stones, paths on drizzling days, peaks at dawn and pine forests bathed in the setting sun, I photographed the many changes and detailed richness of light and shadow. However, such pictures can be taken anywhere. What [s the true image of Mt. Huangshan in my mind? I have asked myself this question and have tried to find my own way to discribe the mountain.

The More National, the More International

       Boldly, I call my works "mountain and water photographs," to differentiate them from common landscape photos.

       Doubtless to say, each medium, in the aesthetic culture, falls under the influence of the regional or national aesthetic point of view. Compared with other media, such as painting, photography has a history of on[y 150 years. However, it has developed quickly since the time of the great findings by the French Scholars' Institute On Science in 1839. The technique first spread among the European countries, then to Asia, China and Japan. Photography can be considered a culture that Is owned by the entire world.

       In Asian countries, especially in China, the literati's painting is characterized by the concept of depicting naturally vivid expressions and bold outlines It pursues artistic conception and an excellent likeness and the integration of subjective expression with objective reappearance. How to display the peculiar Asian aesthetic point of view in photography? In order to show the landscape of the utopian paradise which has been rooted in the deep heart of the Asian people, and at the same time express the photographer's own value and interests, China's veteran photographers have made unremitting efforts and I myself have been probing the style of mountain and water photography for 20 years.

       Early one morning, a long distance call reached me at my Tokyo residence, saying that a German couple wanted to visit me after seeing my photos of ~/It. Huangshan. A week later I met the couple in the luxury suite of a hotel. They were very excited about seeing me and thought highly of my photos taken of Mt. Huangshan, They told me that they had visited Mt. Huangshan and had also seen many Photos and paintings of it. But when they saw my works, they praised them as true art and thought they should be introduced in Europe. They chose more than ten selections from my photo file. Later, l was told the German man was from a wellknown, noble family and is an industrialist and a famous art collector.

       The matter itself was indeed something for me. I had long been-though only vaguely-told that my works might be appreciated by Westerners. But I had never been to Europe. What was in my mind was only a sort of "self-confidence " The couple's visit, to a certain degree, proved my vague, original ideas and strengthened my self-confidence.

       I was met with the same situation in the United States The head of the Oriental Art Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art told me that he and his colleagues held their breath as they looked through my album. They were planning to hold an exhibition of traditional Chinese mountain and water paintings and include my Photographic works.

       In San Francisco, the manager of the Asian Arts Museum became excited as he spoke to me about my photographs, and said he hoped to ho d an exhibition for me.

       The editors of "Life" magazine in the United States also planned to publish an article about my work.

       The Japanese like my photographs taken on Mt. Huangshan, I believe this is because the Japanese culture has been widely influenced by the Chinese culture. As a result, they may find the same oriental utopian paradise through looking at my photographs.

       l began to think about why Westerners, who have an absolutely different cultural background and aesthetic view, also like my works This, l think, proves my longtime belief that there are no boundaries for true art; the more national, the more international.



       l have walked a rough road and have experienced many misfortunes. I have paid for each step forward I have taken, I may have been born stubborn because the more hardships I have met, the more determined I have been to go my own way Of course this brings me more difficulties Fortunately, whenever I meet with a problem, there are friends who help me I must say that with their help I have been able to continue to achieve They brought me glasses of clear springwater on hot summer days, they gave me a coat in the biting winter, shelter in the desert and a boat to shoot the rapids When I was hurt and walked haltingly, they gave me a walking stick; when I was hungry they gave me something to eat; a light was sent to illuminate the darkest night.

       Some of these people are my bosom, lifelong friends; some are strangers whom I have come across; some are good friends, despite the great differences in our age; some are innocent youngsters Some are my countrymen with blood ties and some are the Japanese with whom I stayed for more than 10 years.

       l have been busy all of these years and, have left them without even bidding them farewell However, their kind help has warmed my heart and has given me courage, strength and hope for the future I am profoundly grateful to them and will never forget their kindness Now here is a book-the fruit of their great help-and I will work even harder on my photographic creations and hope to publish more good books in the future, to repay the kindness of all my friends.

Wang Wusheng
In Kinshi Park in Tokyo
July 31, 1994