“I have been exploring how to express the meaning and my interest in Zen. When it comes to Zen, people tend to think of it as consisting of lofty words with profound meaning, mysterious and difficult to understand and that its meanings can be found everywhere. However, Zen is neither faith nor religion, or a quick solution to any problem. It is, in fact, a kind of mental state and contains such clear wisdom in which one ‘sees colours amongst distant mountains and hears no sound when beside a flowing stream’, and ‘enters the woods without disturbing the grass or the waters without causing any wave’.”
Tian Xu Tong graduated from the Central Academy of Craft & Design in Beijing in 1985 with a major in ink painting. His work has become synonymous with ‘Zen’ and for his distinctive black and white ink paintings of monks meditating on the land and sea. Tian’s bold but simple brushstrokes evoke a feeling of calm in their simplicity.
Tian’s work has been exhibited in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the USA and he is now an art Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing.