Hors­ing around

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By LIN QI linqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ink artist Sun Hao, 36, has es­tab­lished him­self as a master at dra­mat­i­cally por­tray­ing his fa­vorite an­i­mal — the heroic and loyal horse.

Ink artist Sun Hao is drawn to things and peo­ple that evoke hero­ism and pathos: His fa­vorite films are Leg­ends of the Fall, Brave­heart and The Dark Knight, and he loves Lud­wig Beethoven’s Sym­phony No 9 in D mi­nor and the works of Li Bai, an 8th-cen­tury Chi­nese poet.

As for an­i­mals, he says he is moved by the horse be­cause for him it sym­bol­izes hero­ism and loy­alty.

The 36-year-old Bei­jing­based artist is known for his paint­ings of horses.

In his works, Sun places the an­i­mal against a back­ground of dark­ness and some­times he puts a huge red cape on its back, by which the horse is made to look like a tragic hero de­picted in a lit­er­ary work.

Sun’s cur­rent ex­hi­bi­tion at the Na­tional Art Mu­seum of China in Beijing, Time as a Fleet­ing White Horse, has a lot of his horse works.

By paint­ing the an­i­mal, he says, he is de­pict­ing peo­ple and their states of mind.

“I feel that in­side each one of us there lives a horse. It­may be quiet, de­pressed, high-spir­ited, in­dus­tri­ous or grace­ful,” says Sun.

While por­tray­ing a horse, Sun says he shows dif­fer­ent things — a spirit that an­tic­i­pates bright­ness silently in the dark­ness: The flared nos­trils and glar­ing eyes sug­gest anger; the small and sharp ears show it is not afraid to fight, and the blood ves­sels on its face re­veal an in­ner surge of ex­cite­ment.

“I very much like the lines of Gu Cheng (a fa­mous mod­ern Chi­nese poet) which say: ‘ The dark night gave me black eye­balls. I, how­ever, use them to look for light’.”

For the ex­hi­bi­tion, Sun ex­e­cuted two 10-me­ter-long paint­ings.

One paint­ing, ti­tled As Vast as the Sea and Sky, shows a gal­lop­ing winged horse and a bare­headed fighter.

Sun says the work is a tribute to his fa­ther, who sup­ported his dream to be an artist.

“He re­mains in my heart, but not as a sym­bol or for re­mem­brance. He be­comes a part ofme as a com­bi­na­tion of weak­ness and strength,” he says of his fa­ther who died of can­cer many years ago.

In the other paint­ing, Be­tween Si­lence, he recre­ates, us­ing ink strokes, clas­si­cal Greek sculp­tures housed at the Perg­a­mon Mu­seum in Ber­lin that he vis­ited ear­lier this year.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will run through Sept 11.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Por­trait of a horse by ink artist Sun Hao.

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