Jizi and His Art in Contemporary China


  • David Adam Brubaker
  • Chunchen Wang

Part of the Chinese Contemporary Art Series book series (CCAS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Wang Chunchen

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
  3. David Brubaker

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. David Adam Brubaker, Chunchen Wang
      Pages 11-24
    3. David Adam Brubaker, Chunchen Wang
      Pages 25-38
    4. David Adam Brubaker, Chunchen Wang
      Pages 39-58
    5. David Adam Brubaker, Chunchen Wang
      Pages 59-72
    6. David Adam Brubaker, Chunchen Wang
      Pages 73-91
    7. David Adam Brubaker, Chunchen Wang
      Pages 93-108
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 109-155

About this book


This interdisciplinary study promotes the thesis that some contemporary Chinese ink artists succeed in using principles of traditional Chinese aesthetics to convey the union of self with nature, others and the universe. The investigation is a case study of the writings and paintings of Jizi, an ink-wash artist in Beijing, who combines images of icy mountains, Tibetan landscapes, cosmic vistas, and enclosures of personal existence. Jizi’s success in expressing the unification of these dimensions is confirmed by developing and applying an interpretation of Jing Hao’s classic description of the authentic image, which resonates with the vitality of nature. To find words for resonance with visible nature, the inquiry extends to such writers as Li Zehou, Arthur Danto and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.  In short, an account of authenticity in Chinese ink painting is offered experimentally as a means for assessing whether contemporary Chinese artworks are expressive of Chinese philosophy and culture.  The text includes stylistic comparisons with artists. The result is an appreciation of the healing influence of Chinese ink art in a global culture that is vibrant, complex, diverse and affirming of the present.


In this rigorous, far-reaching, and original analysis of contemporary ink art painting, Brubaker and Wang focus our attention  on the work of one independent painter, Jizi, whose work exemplifies an uncanny marriage between ink art and contemporary concerns. . In the central chapters, Brubaker persuasively argues that in this work Jizi captures principles essential to traditional Chinese aesthetics—articulated in terms of wholeness, emptiness, and visibility--that enable the works to express the unification of the self with nature and the universe as a whole. It does this through forms that are innovative and part of artistic practices and discourses that are becoming increasingly global.

Mary Wiseman,

The City University of New York


This important publication focuses on the evocative ink wash paintings of an artist who has, over the course of decades, demonstrated an unwavering commitment to exploring the technical, formal, philosophical and experiential dimensions of his chosen medium. The essays, commentaries and critical reflections collected in this volume present unique perspectives on Jizi's practice, significantly contributing to the growing body of scholarship on the continuing vitality of the ink wash tradition in the global contemporary.

Dr. Wenny Teo,

The Courtauld Institute of Art


Through an in-depth study of the ink painting practice of contemporary Chinese artist Jizi, the authors discover Chinese ink painting’s philosophical perspectives, cosmic foundations, and contemporary possibilities. They also uncovered a way to enter into the artist’s rich and profound spiritual world; through Jizi’s expansive visual patterning and refined spiritual imagery, he activates a long and great cultural tradition.

Yu Yang,

Central Academy of Fine Arts




Aesthetics and Picturing Unification Chinese Ink Art Circumstances and Self-Cultivation Contemporary Chinese Art Jizi and His Art Painting Heritages Red Flag Commune Sensuous Noumenon Unification and Uniqueness

Authors and affiliations

  • David Adam Brubaker
    • 1
  • Chunchen Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Art and DesignWuhan Textile UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.China Central Academy of Fine ArtsBeijingChina

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-3-662-44928-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-662-44929-5
  • Series Print ISSN 2199-9058
  • Series Online ISSN 2199-9066
  • Buy this book on publisher's site