BLOG   ·  March 23, 2020

Chu Chu: The Juxtaposition of Forms

Since the 3rd century BCE, the craft of calligraphy has been considered supreme among the visual arts in China. Out of the Shadows artist Chu Chu integrates the art of calligraphy into her photographic works in Whispers of Trees.

Chu Chu, Tea – Book of Odes, 2010-2019, photography, calligraphy and Chinese ink on paper mounted to silk hanging scroll. © Chu Chu.

Chu Chu told MOPA about her unique hybrid expression.

“Photography is a passionate affair for me. Realized in the instance of a click, it has the sensation of immediacy. On the other hand, when I do calligraphy, I get to express myself and slowly place or hide the written words within the composition.”

Calligraphy not only requires immense skill, but it is also regarded as uniquely revealing of the artist’s character and cultivation. In Whispers of Trees, Chu Chu’s calligraphy is hidden throughout tree branches.

“This act of hiding entrails the act of searching. As you hide your treasure, you also conceal your meaning,” she told the auction house Christie’s in a 2017 video interview.

“I want to seek the origins of Chinese culture through this process– a kind of culture of keeping things hidden,” she said. “In the process of discovery, we can feel the depth and the ideas behind this culture.”

Step into Out of the Shadows: Contemporary Chinese Photography through January 2021 at MOPA. The show also includes work by artists Shi Guorui, Yang Fudong, Lang Jingshan and others.

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Check out more photography resources, including our Photo 101 video on Symbolism in Contemporary Chinese Photography.

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