Throughout history, in ink and wash paintings the guqin has always been present together with human figures and the natural world, either with someone playing the instrument, or a gentlewoman or pageboy carrying one.

However, with the guqin as the focus, what Tay wants to express is a kind of absence or a metaphor – the artist’s way of re-embracing a traditional image across the gap of time and space and through many cultural filtrations and processing. 

As a symbol of absence in the artist’s life and in his heart, he is ironically compelled to place the guqin in the centre of his works, and to constantly explore its significance and the possibilities contained within it. Therefore, looking at Tay’s displaced guqin, with only the dust and a console table left as evidence of its past presence, with no accompanying human figure or scenery, maybe we can understand that under a contemporary artist’s brush, the guqin can only exist in simple, minimalist form. It is a reinterpretation of the guqin painting discourse created from the prevailing tones and basis of modern life.

~ Chow Yian Ping, “From A Distance” (excerpt) in From A Distance exhibition catalogue, 2016





~周雁冰,《隔帘看月• 隔水看花》画册序文, 2016年