Master of the big picture

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-21 07:21

Master of the big picture

A painting of lotus created in 2017 by Pan Gongkai in freehand brushwork style.[Photo Provided to China Daily]

"I'm very busy. But I do like all my work, the writing, the lecturing at universities, the designing and the painting," Pan says.

Another "huge project" Pan is passionate about is his ambition to explain the culture and ideology behind Chinese ink and brush painting through a series of books. The project involves cooperating with the Philosophy School of Fudan University in Shanghai.

The first book of the series Brush and Ink in Chinese Painting was published earlier this year in both Chinese and English.

"My painting is a kind of practice for my research on the ideology behind ink and brush painting," he says.

Pan's paintings focus on flowers and birds, a genre developed from literati painting, which dates back to more than 1,000 years and was mainly done by scholar-painters.

For hundreds of years, works by scholar-painters were a way to show their erudition emotions, or in other words, a way for self cultivation. They (the works) are different from those painted by craftsman or full-time painters funded by royal families, says Pan.

"That's the reason why many foreigners don't understand Chinese ink painting," he says.

The artist says that ink painting will be never done by robots or artificial intelligence because robots can't experience self-cultivation.

Pan admits that his dream as a child was to become a scientist rather than a painter. He still buys science magazines and pays much attention to quantum physics.

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