Auction | China Guardian (HK) Auctions Co., Ltd.
2023 Spring Auctions > Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art
Asian 20th Century and Contemporary Art

Shen Chang-Ming (b.1956)
The Greatest Virtue Is Just Like Water(Painted in 2020)

Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

162 × 112 cm. 63 3/4 × 44 1/8 in.

Signed, titled, and inscribed Chinese on the reverse
Private Collection, Asia

This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued and signed by the artist

The Greatest Virtue Is Just Like Shapeless Water, Wandering the Universe in the Spirit
Shen Chang-Ming: The Greatest Virtue Is Just Like Water

Born in 1956, Shen Chang-Ming entered the Tung Fang Design Institute in 1973, where he received solid artistic training. In the following year, Shen won his first prize in the oil painting category of the university’s art competition. He is always a devout Buddhist. After the loss of his son in 2006, he has been cultivating himself continuously to alleviate the grief. While studying Buddhist and Taoist theories, he discovered that the “phases” and “waves” that arise between the “quanta” that form the basis of the material world in science have a commonality with the “colour” and “emptiness” in Buddhism. Hence, he applied this as an inspiration for his paintings. Since 2013, Shen Chang-Ming, entitled “the pioneer of contemporary quantum art”, has been constructing his inner world with colourful and dense “quanta”, starting to paint the series Wandering of Quanta.

Shen Chang-Ming uses the medium of “gravel” to represent the interplay and stacking of quanta roaming around the universe at the same frequency resonance, forming Yin and Yang into images. The colourful landscapes combined with the particle-formed relief-like characters in the images, demonstrate his devout and spiritual artistic quest and the organic fusion of modern science and ancient philosophy.

To See a World in a Grain of Sand, to Hear a Clear Sound in Running Water

The inspiration for the work The Greatest Virtue Is Just Like Water comes from Lao Zi’s Tao Te Ching, “The greatest virtue is just like water. Nourishing all things and not contending with them; Dwelling in loathsome places and thus coming close to Tao.” In the centre of the painting, as the perspectives and light shifts, four powerful characters in ancient seal script, “Shang Shan Ruo Shui”, appear through the colourful dots shining like the galaxy, which can only be seen if the viewers are in an attentive mood.

Here the artist builds a “mental imagery” with gravel combined with acrylic. The peaks made with particles appear behind two gauzy clouds; silvery spring water plunge out of the mountain, nourishing the black pinewood and verdant grassland at the foot of the mountain, and eventually, ending at the ochre foreground riverbed. The interweaving, gently silvery-white waters wrap around fingers, forgetting its achievements and fame. The painting captures the charm of traditional Chinese landscape paintings, while the scattered particles add a wonderful dynamic to the scene, which is in line with the quantum theory and is full of characteristics of pioneering modern art. The combination of Shen’s seal scripts and the dynamic particles creates a “Cave Paradise” scene for spiritual cultivation, displaying its ever-changing magic from different heights, angles and lights.

Price estimate:
HKD: 90,000 – 120,000
USD: 11,500 – 15,300

Auction Result:
HKD: 168,000



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