Tian Xu Tong


Tian Xu Tong, born 1962 in Beijing, graduated from the Central Academy of Craft and Design in 1985 specialising in ink painting.

Tian takes great inspiration from the paintings of the Song Dynasty.  In recent times, Tian has relentlessly explored and adapted the most simplified of symbols, just as in the paintings of the Song Dynasty, to further represent the stillness, perfection and the co-existence of everything as expounded by Zen philosophy.  The result is Tian’s masterpiece paintings of bold and spontaneous brushstrokes that resonate minimalism but yet reflect profound meanings of peace and oneness.

Tian has over 30 publications to his name and has exhibited his artworks in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and USA.  His paintings have received very positive comments from professional art critics in China, Britain and Hong Kong, and this consequently has made his works more widely and internationally recognised, loved and acquired by art collectors.

In Tian’s own words:

“The Door to Inner Peace ….. It is said that understanding Zen is like appreciating tea as Zen consists of varying flavours as well.  And this applies to painting too.  Since my deviation from using colours abstractly and densely thin black and white lines in 2000, I have been exploring how to express the meaning and my interest in Zen.  When it comes to Zen, people tend to think of it as consisting of lofty words with profound meaning, mysterious and difficult to understand and that its meanings can be found everywhere.  However, Zen is neither faith nor religion, or a quick solution to any problem.  It is, in fact, a kind of mental state and contains such clear wisdom in which one ‘sees colours amongst distant mountains and hears no sound when beside a flowing stream’, and ‘enters the woods without disturbing the grass or the waters without causing any wave’.  I enjoy viewing paintings from the Song Dynasty as they seem to have been painted with the artists going deeply and disappeared naturally into a world full of mountains, water, flowers and birds.  They were not reclusive but they changed a certain perspective of thinking, emphasised a sort of connotation through a distinct manner and contemplated all things in a seemingly tranquil world.”

– Tian Xu Tong, Beijing, March 2007