Dawo ZHANG, Life Archeline n120
EXHIBITION | Saint-Gilles


13/06/2019 à 18:00

Open Writing

From 14/06/2019 to 20/07/2019

In residency at ODRADEK, the famous Chinese calligrapher Zhang Dawo presents a retrospective of his work and a series of calligraphies made in Brussels. For forty years, Dawo practices the art of the brush stroke. The use of ink on paper constitutes the essence of civilization. He adheres to this century old inscription process that he further developed in his « Dawo » way. The writing of Dawo is thus researching the Dao of the writing! Dawo can be translated as big (da in mandarin) and me (wo in mandarin). Building on this strong personality, the writing of the « big me » seeks the vital energy that feeds all things and that contains the nature in itself. This writing makes us sensitive to the art of the line and brings us beyond the decoding of ideograms.

The exhibition of the artist’s work in Brussels aims to reveal the foundations of the Chinese spirituality and to bring them into dialogue with contemporary challenges, here and now. Dawo’s way of expression belongs to the use of the brush soaked in ink that he thereafter, by means of his « empty » wrist,[1] uses to trace ways linking the human with the cosmic dynamic. The artist makes the bet of writing without direct visibility that then enables the line to makes it way in the « open ». To the lines proposed by the movements and the rhythms of nature corresponds a writing that is constituted of lines that appear without academic constraints. This showing of uninhibited signs-lines results from a bitter negotiation with the tradition. It reveals the quality of the contemporary calligraphers because nothing is more difficult than to exceed the mastership of the ancients. Dawo thus takes on a huge challenge. Within a contemporary practice freed from the academic and bureaucratic constraints, he has to release the lines of power and genius of the Chinese writing. Dawo is not alike an imperial clerk or scholar; he positions himself as free and open. With his hand dancing on paper, he creates lines of an universal language. Those invite us to celebrate and to share the dynamic of the nature. The use of ink reminds us through the stroke of the brush that we are still connected to the world. Despite our independence, the need for freedom and the use of abstraction, we remain incorporated into a vital process that Dawo emphasizes with every stroke.

Note :
[1] The empty wrist is a Chinese expression that emphasizes the link uniting the artist with nature, that is the link that helps the artist to participate in the becoming of nature. The movement of the painter is an act of communion with nature and its vital organisation.