While working in the Swiss Alps in the summer of 2011, Jennifer Wen Ma was struck by a particular patch of the Engadine landscape and forest, and its similarity with the well-loved painting Six Gentlemen by Yuan Dynasty artist Ni Zan. She sketched these trees on the inside of a catalogue, and it became the prelimiary drawing for the installation Who Would Have Expected to Encounter Ni Zan's Gentlemen in S-Chanf? commissioned by Arthub Asia.
The curators wrote this about the instalaltion: "Captivated by Chinese ink's resilience and simultaneous gentleness, Ma created a stunning new installation. Her fragile and poetic three-dimensional tableau vivant, inspired by traditional Chinese landscape, features three snow pines, painted black by the artist with 40 kilograms of Chinese mo, in an attempt to create an effect as powerful - if not more - than classic ink painting compositions. As Ma poetically transcends the traditional legacy of ink, her installation allows plants to grow in time, referring both conceptually and formally to the significant time component of the use of ink in Chinese painting."
Sketch for Who Would Have Expected to Encounter Ni Zan's Gentlemen in S-Chanf?
Ink drawing in booklet
8.25 x 11.5 inches