Learning from the Literati 3
September 5th, 2012 - October 10th, 2012
“The core deficiency of the secret of life at this day and age is that it cannot be tweeted.”
With this statement regarding his latest video work, Shanghai-based Italian artist Girolamo Marri presents an interesting critical angle on the “Learning from the Literati” concept – positing the idea that the modern world has little time for poetry, art, or complex philosophical concepts, those key elements which provided sustenance for China’s ancient literati scholar painters.
In the frenetic thump of everyday life, we use this annually recurring exhibition as an opportunity to pause and examine the beliefs of the literati, their roles in the community, and their engagement with the classics of Buddhism and Taoism. Each year we ask artists to take an expedition into the past to unearth relevant concepts and ideas, dust them off and create something new.
This year features a range of mediums from video to sculpture to paper-cutting, with works examining issues such as our contemporary lack of introspection, the class structure of ancient China and issues of moral and cultural leadership. Artists also explore how the requirements of human survival have forced an erosion of classical virtues such as etiquette and wisdom, and confront the contradictions between the literati’s respect for nature and our current disregard for the natural environment.