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.
Portrait of a horse by ink artist Sun Hao.