A continuous movement of the eyes, the head, of one’s body, one’s breathing. One feels weightless, able to climb steep pathways, inaccessible tracks that gouge high rugged mountains then plunge once more over rivulets and stretches of water, to observe the polymorphic silhouettes of dense trees and shrubs that appear to come to life. Then up again, ever upwards, suddenly propelled to walk on the clouds until they disperse into dazzling, pure white shreds.

This is what happens when confronted with ink brushstrokes that range from intense black to shades of grey – at times interspersed with marvellous pastel tones – to be then consumed in total white. Every work by Mao Jianhua implies an internal, metaphysical truth, combined and immersed in the experience of life. He is, in fact, a well-established entrepreneur with long-term international experience who embarked on the path of art a decade ago, intersecting ancient Chinese wisdom in the fields of medicine, martial arts, music, knowledge and practices derived from Zen Buddhism and Taoism. His art is linked to the literary tradition and the Shan shui (mountain-water) painting, which boasts more than fifteen hundred years of history. Trees and mountains – the damp Chinese mountains that exude melancholy – have always represented the ideal references for brushwork. Represented space can be understood intuitively and allows freedom of movement to the observer, adapting itself to the natural movements of the eye.

Like a dance whose movements we relive out of empathy, the brush immediately reflects the psychic state of the artist. The forces of yin and yang operate within a dialectical dynamism, they assume the appearance of the ink patterns – the sounds – and dance on the surface juxtaposing one another, merging with each other, until they find a vital balance that rewards us with the joy of the ‘zero time’ of creation: It is the time of birth and the time of death, the time of origins that invite a cosmic contemplation.