Jamilee Lacy will undertake research for Digital Rivers, Burning Mountains (working title), a multi-component exhibition slated to open at Providence College Galleries in late 2023. Her research will inform the project’s unique curatorial format, wherein artists and scholars will co-organize thematic exhibition sections that position the East Asian tradition of Shanshui as a global contemporary art genre. Referring literally to the art of water and mountains, ancient Shanshui involves applying a brush loaded with ink to rice paper to trace a landscape. Moreover, the practice of Shanshui is to connect oneself to the intense visuality of the landscape and its image, and to nature as both tangible thing and philosophical notion. In recent years, artists have evolved Shanshui into various forms of metaphysical cultural activity that encompass the joys and challenges of a 21st-century life spent mostly within built environments saturated by technology. Rooted in these historical and contemporary contexts, Digital Rivers, Burning Mountains will explore questions such as, how does Shanshui persist in the Anthropocene epoch, when climate change, environmental degradation, and ecological destruction are inevitable? What happens to Shanshui if artists’ aesthetic and intellectual connections to rural and natural landscapes become entirely mediated? Research will commence with interviews and studio visits in London and Los Angeles with key artists whose work relating Shanshui to East Asian diasporic cultures will be central to the exhibition. Lacy will then travel to additional sites to meet with critical masses of contemporary artists, scholars, and institutions working with Shanshui, including Kyoto, New York, San Francisco, and Shanghai.
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The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts