Building utopia: unlocking the secrets of Chinese landscape art


Kate Bryan, the Fine Art Society's head of contemporary, visits artist Xu Bing at his Beijing studio.

The artist and his team have created a three dimensional representation of a Chinese landscape painting, based on a 4th Century Chinese fable, Tao Hua Yuan or Peach Blossom Spring. This story about creating a paradise in perfect harmony with nature is the inspiration for Travelling to the Wonderland, created in the gardens of the V&A to accompany a major exhibition of Chinese art.

Xu Bing explains explains how Chinese landscape art seeks to represent nature, rather than portray it realistically as in Western painting. He also discusses how the Chinese artistic sensibility as seen in the art of the past, particularly in landscape paintings, demonstrates Chinese philosophy and the belief that people should work in harmony with nature.

Travelling to the Wonderland is at the V&A's John Madejski Garden until March 2014. Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings: 700-1900 is at the V&A in London until 19 January 2014.

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