(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
In connection with the Louisiana Museum of Art's major exhibition last year on new architecture and China, Chinese architect Wang Shu states that the landscape has always been the focal point of the Chinese view of life. At a time when China's explosive urbanization is eroding land and leaving traces of cheap concrete construction everywhere, Wang Shu counteracts this tabula-rasa idea by weighting the local, including recycling materials from old buildings that Chinese authorities systematically tear down in both land and city.
Wang Shu's studio, Amateur Architecture Studio, rethinks life and living form based on the Chinese understanding of landscape and nature. A system critical practice that emphasizes simple functionality over spectacular form, restoration over new construction, tradition over modernism. All of this goes back to an understanding of landscape and nature that has been dominant in China for centuries, but which, with the rapid urbanization of these years, is under pressure.
Landscape and human vision
In a new powerful book, French philosopher Francois Jullien maps both China's historical view of nature and landscape, and partly a philosophy of life as modern Chinese and we in the West can be inspired by. In China, landscape and nature occupy a unique position dating back to the year 1000. In Europe it is first in that 16. century, that landscape painting emerges as a special subject for painters.
We see that natural understanding and philosophy of life have no need for the self and the world.
The reason for the difference must be sought in the fact that nature throughout most of European history is considered a hostile power, a side of existence that had no place within the Christian church while in Taoism was perceived as the highest manifestation. But our view of the landscape is also a human view, which Jullien emphasizes: In the West we perceive the landscape as a horizon, as something we observe, something we look at, a place, a resource for the visual eye, beauty the cult of unity. Renaissance painters and the subject of science – object division meet here. The landscape is "out there". In Juliet's words: "The landscape has ended up as a fold of ourselves." And thus carte blanche for predation and consumption and possession.
In China, on the other hand, the landscape is an event, that which causes man to think. The landscape is not a fold of ourselves, but an outside that can "liberate" a vision, a thought, a feeling. Nature is an opportunity for an effect of ourselves that creates a reversal of the near and far. We find that the outside is closer to an inner world, putting this world in vibrations, in movement, in tension.
The understanding of landscape and nature that has been dominant in China for centuries is under pressure with rapid urbanization.
In Chinese poetry as well as architecture, the landscape is both "a moving emotion" and "a moving feeling in the landscape". Landscape in Chinese is called shan shui, meaning mountain-water. In painting, architecture and poetry, the landscape is a modulation of thrust, such as mountain water; Haja € "Low; afstand € "nÃ|rhed; Flode € "tine; meandering – just enough; bend forward – create a foundation for. The landscape becomes a condensation and condensation for seeing and hearing the game of the wind, the mountain by the water, the path across the house – the thought like dao, which can fill one and make one empty . There is no form that is not subject to the fundamental law of the universe: the law of disappearance. Every form lives and dies every day. Awareness of this creates humility and openness. We see that understanding of nature and philosophy of life have no need for the self and the world.
Philosophy of life and morality
Jullien's thoughts on landscape and nature point back to his earlier works on Chinese philosophy, including the difference between the West and the East, especially Vital Nourishment. Departing from Happiness (2007) and A Treatise on Efficacy: Between Wester and Chinese Thinking (2004). The difference between the West and China's philosophy must be found in the fact that in China, caring for the self takes precedence and has a higher priority than the value problem, which is always to some extent an external matter. Contrary to many self-development philosophies in the West that make self-development a realization of opportunities and thus an economic way of thinking and a burdensome choice, self-care in China is a preparation for thinking and for managing one's place in the cosmos. In order to abolish self-sufficiency, morality must take precedence over written norms and depend on the qualification of experience, of man as the source of life. Living is about studying life, a life that nourishes, not my body and my soul for its own sake, but as an energetic adaptation to the cycle of life.
While the West aims for happiness, goals and finality, Chinese view of life is an ongoing «decanting of energy». Happiness as a category has no place. The Chinese concepts of body and soul are concepts of energy. Man's task in all aspects of life is to "sweep the street" in front of him, to make room for movement. The good shepherd is the one who allows the flock to move at its own pace. To downplay the will helps to free man from the bonds that create addiction and negative energy. But it also helps to liberate the "vision" and the thought that nourishes life in daily life, in art and philosophy.