LIU KUO-SUNG [GUOSONG] (CHINESE B. 1932)
Metamorphosis of the Moon, circa 1970
ink, color, and collage on paper
22.5 x 28 cm (8 7/8 x 11 in.)
signed middle left
Acquired by a Private American Collector at a retrospective solo exhibition of Liu Kuosung's works in London circa 1971
Initially considered as a political subversive due to the westward leaning language of his work, Liu Guosong [Kuo-Sung] has since come to be seen as a major contributor to the development of 20th century Chinese art and even as the "father of modern Chinese painting." Stressing the importance of experimentation, Guosong`s work embodies the fusion of eastern and western traditions, at once recalling Tang Dynasty landscapes and the work of Abstract Expressionists. As the artist famously put it: To imitate the new cannot substitute for imitating the old; and to copy the West cannot substitute copying the Chinese.
Guosong`s paintings have an undeniable presence that is in no small degree due to the materiality of their surface. During the 1960s the artist developed a style utilizing bold gestural brushwork and eventually embraced surface manipulations -- applying collaged elements as well as removing fibers directly from the surface to mimic brush lines and create a delicate sculptural quality. This approach lends itself to the otherworldly, diaphanously textured landscapes that have made Guosong famous -- often featuring rocky terrain and orbs representing the moon, Earth and sun, in part inspired by the photographs taken during the 1968 Apollo Space Mission.