U3 | Yaji Garden: Art Under the Sky | curated by Chang Tsong-Zung and Gao Shiming

Yaji Garden: Art Under the Sky

Curated by Chang Tsong-Zung and Gao Shiming

Artists: Ye Fang, Cai Xiaoyang, Chiu Kwong-chiu, Leung Kui-ting, Lin Haizhong, Wang Dongling, Xu Longsen, Yeh Wei-Li, Yeh Shih-Chiang, Ali Van


The ‘yaji garden’ is a physical embodiment of the traditional Chinese mode of art connoisseurship. Meaning literally an ‘elegant gathering’, it also has the implications of a ‘literati gathering’. Traditionally, the yaji is a communion of artistic friends and associates, who meet to enjoy art and performances in private gardens attached to private residences. The gardens typically contain artificial mountains and brooks, created in the spirit of Chinese landscape painting. Ideally, one would prefer to build a garden around an actual idyllic site in nature, instead of constructing artificial rockery. For a modern audience unfamiliar with the tradition, it is important to examine the questions of what precisely happens during the ‘literati gathering’ and what are its implications for the experience of art? Does literati connoisseurship as exemplified in the yaji practice have different expectations from both the encounter with art and the artworks themselves, than does the modern museum?



YE Fang

Mountain and Water

One video (15 minutes); and a sketchbook of design drawings


The video shows the construction of a garden, especially the building of its rockery. It contains also clippings of music performance and "Yaji” (artist-gathering) activities. The Yaji Garden is both a garden for art gathering and domestic pleasure; its aesthetics is based on the same principle as the art of “mountain and water” painting (landscape). Artist YE Fang is a landscape painter affiliated with the Suzhou Painting Academy, and a specialist in classical gardens.

Host: CHANG Tsong-Zung

Artist (Garden Design): YE Fang

Video: YANG Kai, GUO Yilin



CAO Xiaoyang, LEUNG Kui-ting, LIN Haizhong, WANG Dongling, XU Longsen

Story of the Stone: Chiseling At Emptiness

5 paper scrolls, one papier mâché sculpture, displayed as a constellation.


Concept by CHIU Kwong Chiu: Emptiness is not Void; it is the realm of potentiality. The Stone, or a drawing of the stone, emerges from emptiness to bring to life an ‘aesthetic realm’ by becoming part of a cosmos. A stone can merge with other stones to form a majestic mountain, or remain anonymous in the wilderness. Legend has it that the universe was formed when the goddess Nu Wo mended Heaven with a five-colour stone.

Paper comes from wood, a growing material that complements and 'adds' to the potentiality of Emptiness. The Stone represents the condensation of matter; its presence ‘reduces’ the potentiality of Emptiness. The calligraphic line draws the Stone as well as the Word; the line untangled undoes both the Stone and the calligraphic Word. In this constellation, scrolls, stones and ‘word-knots’ come together in various states of potentiality.

Host: CHIU Kwong-chiu

Artists: CAO Xiaoyang, LEUNG Kui-ting, LIN Haizhong, WANG Dongling, XU Longsen


YEH Wei-li & YEH Shi-Chiang

Illuminated Presence

Installation: one painting, 3 photographs, 2 vitrines.

‘Interaction’ with a deceased master through restoring his derelict studio and engaging his art and relics. The interpretative process transforms the old master into a contemporary presence. YEH Wei-li believes the practice of photography should be an active engagement with its subject matter. For this project he has renovated the old master’s derelict studio in order to bring it back to life for a series of photographs. He also selects and archives objects from the painter’s “relics” to give him a new “museum” presence.

Artist (photography and installation): YEH Wei-li

Artist (painting): YEH Shi-Chiang (1926-2012)





Eaves Dropping on Tree Spirit

A 20-meter long painting scroll

As a transplanted tree moves into the garden, spirits and living presences in a garden are invited to leave their shadows and memories in this work.

Artist: Ali VAN

Artist Statement: Les Titres De Vie

On Something like this           

something about the shards we cast

away with memories

a primitive eulogy, a collection of epitaphs

something about the “life span of things”

the wit of all thing recorded and kept

to live out their functional lives -                 

you start at the backdoor, guided by the beat of 8 sun men folk rusty clarity canvasing shoes to mount on hip back weight of your bark, your rope entangle, your archi-agri-cultural song. there is no water yet but soil and debris of new made man trees, pillars in tang, lacquer ready. you sense the south, the yin around you, yang sequestered to family air room, heirlooms upstairs. there is a man to the west resting, his force to guard change, practice, precise manifestation. the east marks market, meditation, sceptique neighbours watching you walk. your refuge in dim light, north where blossoms slip like silk to write eyes on pine. body silent, stirring, -speaking in-betweens. beyond the maingate we let your bike break root of rubber tree.