Artists: Lily & Honglei Art Studio (Xiying Yang, Honglei Li, He Li)
Year of production: 2015
Medium: Chinese ink painting on rice paper, video
A video excerpt is viewable at http://youtu.be/P9mf3GozppE
In the video Moon, the lunar phases are looked upon through a poetic lens. In Far Eastern culture, such phases symbolize the elusiveness of fate as well as both the separation and reunion of loved ones. By setting original ink painting works in motion, Moon presents a natural phenomenon in a manner that unveils an introspective human world – an approach is profoundly inspired by traditional Chinese poetry and art. A reflection upon humanity, conflict, loss, and hope is drawn through space and time as a dreamscape of inner emotions merged with the natural world. The film is comprised of a series of Chinese ink paintings on rice paper and could be projected on a variety of different surfaces such as a solid wall or a still pond of water. Both indoors and outdoors environments are fit within the scale of this project. (2016 © Lily & Honglei Art Studio. All rights reserved. )
A Flowery Moonlit Night on a Spring River (by Zhang Ruoxu, Tang Dynasty in China)
(Translation source: http://www.joyen.net/article/listen/2/201103/3975.html)
‘In spring the river rises as high as the sea,
And with the river’s rise the moon up-rises bright.
She follows the rolling waves for ten thousand li,
And where the river flows, there overflows her light.
‘The river winds around the fragrant islet where
The blooming flowers in her light all look like snow.
You cannot tell her beams from hoar frost in the air,
Nor from white sand upon Farewell Beach below.
‘No dust has stained the water blending with the skies;
A lonely wheel-like moon shines brilliant far and wide.
Who by the riverside first saw the moon arise?
When did the moon first see a man by riverside?
‘Ah, generations have come and past away;
From year to year the moon looks alike, old and new.
We do not know tonight for whom she sheds her ray,
But hear the river say to its water adieu
‘Away, away is sailing a single cloud white;
On Farewell Beach pine away maples green.
Where is the wanderer sailing his boat tonight?
Who, pining away, on the moonlit rails would learn?
‘Alas! The moon is lingering over the tower;
It should have seen the dressing table of the fair.
She rolls the curtain up and light comes in her bower;
She washes but can’t wash away the moonbeams there.
‘She sees the moon, but her beloved is out of sight;
She’d follow it to shine on her beloved one’s face.
But message-bearing swans can’t fly out of moonlight,
Nor can letter-sending fish leap out of their place.
‘Last night he dreamed that falling flowers would not stay.
Alas! He can’t go home, although half spring has gone.
The running water bearing spring will pass away;
The moon declining over the pool will sink anon
‘The moon declining sinks into a heavy mist;
It’s a long way between southern rivers and eastern seas.
How many can go home by moonlight who are missed?
The sinking moon sheds yearning o’er riverside trees.’
Since the years spent separately in Germany and China in the ’90s, we have been pondering on producing a contemporary piece based on Chinese poetry and ink painting traditions. Although many compositions were sketched around this idea, the complete piece had not been fully planned out until a discussion occurred in 2012 with curator Heng-Gil Han, who was then proposing a series of international exhibitions focusing on unification of Korea with his ambitious curatorial concept. Fitting the exhibition theme, video piece ‘Moon,’ inspired by Chinese shanshu (mountain-and-river) paintings and poems such as A Flowery Moonlit Night on a Spring River by Zhang Ruoxu, and Shui diao ge tou – Moon by Su Dongpo, was finally materialized.
Oakland Gardens & Alley Pond in New York, where we stroll on hilly forest paths discussing ‘Moon’-
Moon is commissioned by Korean Art Forum and will be presented at Common Ground exhibition in UK in 2014, curated by Heng-Gil Han.