Shan Shui Reboot: Re-Envisioning Landscape for a Changing World

China Institute Gallery in New York City — renowned for its world-class exhibitions of exceptional Chinese art — presents new, contemporary work in Shan Shui Reboot: Re-Envisioning Landscape for a Changing World, on view through July 7. The exhibition showcases an emerging generation of artists who are reinterpreting traditional Chinese landscape painting in the context of the current climate crisis. Shan shui refers to the painting of scenes from nature with brush and ink — with an awareness of inner spiritual philosophy.

Shan Shui Reboot features more than 40 works made by artists born between 1974 and 1992, including Lam Tung Pang, Yi Xin Tong, Kelly Wang, Peng Wei, Fu Xiaotong, Yang Yongliang, and Ni Youyu. From site-specific, immersive digital media experiences to highly tactile paper installations, the art in this exhibition challenges conventional ink expressions and takes the essence of Chinese landscape to new dimensions, showcasing diverse international artistic voices. Many of the works are being shown in New York for the first time.

Shan shui translates to “mountain-water,” and refers to the way in which artists understand and commune with the natural environment. An ancient art form first developed in China during the Six Dynasties period (third–sixth centuries), shan shui is considered a cultural legacy and visual language.

Lam Tung Pang “The Dictionary of Landscape (West-coast Loop)” (2024), charcoal, acrylics on plywood, and print on aluminum, 2 x 3 meters, (three panels, each 2 x 1 meters), depth 5 centimeters (image courtesy the artist and the Kao/Williams Family Collection)

“In an era when humans have a direct impact on the Earth’s climate and are leaving distinctive marks on the geological record, possibly even to the point of extinction, these artists adopt the Chinese tradition of shan shui to conjure metaphoric, rather than purely descriptive representations of nature — visions that address contemporary life and society,” said guest curator Tiffany Wai-Ying Beres.

Since 1966, China Institute Gallery has presented more than 100 exhibitions across all art forms including calligraphy, painting, ceramics, bronzes, jades, decorative art, folk art, architecture, photography, textiles, and contemporary art. Covering 5,000 years of Chinese history from the Neolithic period to the present day, China Institute Gallery is the only non-commercial exhibition space solely dedicated to Chinese art in New York and the United States. The gallery is part of China Institute, an internationally renowned United States nonprofit organization dedicated to deepening the world’s understanding of China through programs in art, business, cuisine, culture, and education.

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Cloud Dragon Collage 6 2023
Kelly Wang “Cloud Dragon Collage 6” (2023), cloud dragon paper, ink, pigment, acrylic, stainless steel fiber and resin on aluminum, 43 inches diameter
Animalistic Punk Fish 2019
Yixin Tong “Animalistic Punk – Fish” (2019), jacquard tapestry, galvanized metal tube, steel eye bolts, 63 1/2 x 134 x 3 inches, tapestry size: 63 1/2 x 125 inches
The Falls 2023
Yang Yongliang, “The Falls” (2023), 4K video, 8 feet, dimensions variable

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