Sound waves of contemporary music become traditional Chinese landscapes in Du Kun’s scroll paintings

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#audio #landscapes #painting

Detail from “登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (paint), 51 × 836 centimeters (roll), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

“Playing music is my only hobby,” says artist Du Kun, who combines his long-standing passion for auditory art with the traditional Chinese landscapes his father taught him to paint as a child. This compilation takes shape in its sprawling, layered scenes that follow lush groves and craggy rock formations through rolls of silk spanning nearly nine meters. Each of the natural features is the artist’s translation of a sound wave, which transforms an eccentric set of tracks into vast, serene landscapes.

In a short video detailing his multifaceted process, Du (previously) strums an acoustic guitar and types percussive rhythms that he then digitally manipulates to form arched bridges or a whimsically rendered cloud that blows the length of the roll. It combines multiple instruments and tracks for greater perspective and depth than a single recording would provide, producing rich works that transform sung melodies into birds and clouds or the repetitive rhythms of electronic music into segmented architecture.

“电 音 云龙 图 (Cloud Dragon in Electronic Noise)” (2020), scroll, ink and color on silk, 70 × 860 centimeters (paint), 75 × 1172 centimeters (scroll), 82 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor box in wood)

There is an implicit conversation between the visual and the audio, explains Du, describing how he uses “the ambience of the painting as the initial guiding basis to break away from conventional routines of musical arrangement.” Painting styles typically associated with the Song Dynasty and contemporary audio converge in the works in a seamless blend of temporal and sensory experiences, which he explains:

Using paint to influence the music, the elements of the music are transformed into these landscape paintings, becoming a new type of musical score. This series of works brings together traditional Chinese paintings and modern music, where “static” and “noise” are simultaneously present in the works, causing mutual influence, interdependence and translation with each other. Just like two people who speak different languages ​​but find a special way to communicate with each other.

The works presented here are part of Du’s solo exhibition entitled Dozens of landscapes, which is on view in person and virtually at the Mizuma Gallery in Singapore until July 18.

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Detail from “登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (paint), 51 × 836 centimeters (roll), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

“临江 听 筝 (Listening to Guzheng while overlooking a river)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 27 × 150 centimeters (painting), 33 × 180 centimeters (silk), 39 × 186 × 5 centimeters (framed)

Details of “三 远 即兴 (Sanyuan Improvisation)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 19 × 136 centimeters (painting), 25 × 180 centimeters (silk), 30 × 186 × 3 centimeters (framed)

“三 远 即兴 (Sanyuan Improvisation)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 19 × 136 centimeters (painting), 25 × 180 centimeters (silk), 30 × 186 × 3 centimeters (framed)

Detail from “登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (paint), 51 × 836 centimeters (roll), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

Detail from “临江 听 筝 (Listening to Guzheng while overlooking a river)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 27 × 150 centimeters (painting), 33 × 180 centimeters (silk), 39 × 186 × 5 centimeters ( box)

“登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (paint), 51 × 836 centimeters (parchment), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

#audio #landscapes #painting

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