Monday, July 09, 2018

(Not All) Ten Views of a Lingbi Stone at LACMA

David Brody's May 26th article, A Tunnel of Roses on the Lower East Side: Justen Ladda and His Scholars Rocks (Link) inspired me no end, not only for Ladda's ongoing cultivation of a Chinese garden in the middle of New York but the exhibition mentioned--Ten Views of a Lingbi Stone--on view at LACMA . 
Strolling Ladda's garden, I admired the subtle relationships and scale between the rocks Ladda sent from China and the plants and flowers surrounding them.
The garden is on Allen St.

Traveling to LA, I was able to see Ten Views of a Lingbi Stone on its final exhibition day.  Museum Link

These strange spirit stones, like scholars rocks, emblematize landscapes as scholars rocks do at larger scale.
"Winds give birth to stone grottoes,
Clouds arise from the foot of mountains"
is inscribed on this stone. The poem is by Six Dynasties poet Yu Xin (513-581). 

One gets lost in athe cumulus clouds of summer,  hiking, landscape...

Taihu Stone, by Tang dynasty poet Bo Juyi (722-846)
From afar one sees the crests of old peaks,
up close one sees cliff's strange ridges.
Its lofty height--eight to nine feet!
Its deep, empty valleys like the Cave of Floriate Yang,
Layer upon layer, like the peaks of Lofty Mount Lu.
Remote! Separated like the Immortal's Palm,
Ha! Yawning wide as Sword Gate.
Its form spans present and past,
Its vital energy penetrates to the clear sky.
When Autumn approaches, one hears the soughing of the wind,
When rain approaches, it's dripping wet!
Its natural beauty truly extraordinary,
(Yet) its usefulness cannot be employed.
For sharpening knives, not as good as a whetstone;
For fuling silk, inferior to a fuller's stone.
So what must the owner be thinking,
Valuing it as worth ten thousand in gold?
And how it is that its Creator (the Dao)
Alone can understand my heart?"

Trans. Stephen Little, from LACMA Didactic panel
1945, Leung Kui-ting--Guangdong Province. Zak Zak Zen, 2007, ink on silk
Wu Bin's Ten Views of a Lingbi Stone, handscroll, 1610, comprising ten views of a the unusual stone owned by collector Mi Wanzhong. Wu Bin was a celebrated landscape painter, according to the didactic panel.
Much like unfurling a scroll, the various perspectives on one object reveals variable interstices and spaces.

More info about the stone and its story is linked here: About the project and the book - LINK
Yau Wing-fun, b. 1990. Clouds Enveloping Strange  Peaks, 2014.
Portrays the 'three distances' of horizontal, high, and deep distances elucidated by Song dynasty painter Guo Xi (1020-1090). The painting possesses Guai, or strangeness, prized by Chinese literati, according to the didactic panel.
Zeng Xiaojun, b. 1954, Beijing. Untitled, 2012. Zeng uses traditional materials to depict old trees, stones and landscapes and collects stones and scholars objects. This one-room exhibition was beautiful and I feel so fortunate to have read David Brody's article and discovered its fortuitous timing.

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