The tired eye and mind rest,
and suddenly the real beauty
of the piece emerges as a painting.
Also called Abstract Calligraphy 1, 抽象书法1 in the exhibition)
This is probably the best known, and also the most acclaimed, poem in Chinese history. Its poet is Yue Fei, perhaps the most famous patriot known to the Chinese. The poem’s nation-before-self ethos resonates deeply with Lim Tze Peng. It is a courageous call to unite against a common enemy of the country. The artist has written the poem countless times, but less often in hutuzi. Those familiar with Chinese characters may be able to recognise it as Man Jiang Hong (the river runs red), but will be hard-pressed to really read the poem.
The beauty of the piece lies in the strength of the random strokes. The signature Lim Tze Peng calligraphic lines, whether straight, crooked, curved, or bent, are all present in glorious chaos. The learned eye is always keen to make out the words, and just when you think you have figured it out, the mind wonders if another is buried inside, or is teasing by the side and so the guessing game continues. All part of the fun, but also part of the futility of trying. In the end, the tired eye and mind rest, and suddenly the real beauty of the piece emerges as a painting.