Niu Bo: A Black-hole Artist

2015年10月21日 // Sina Collection

Who is Niu Bo?Even his closest friends could not tell.

Sometimes standing high on the peak of the mountain...

Zen Master Lin Ji

Yang Lian, Gu Cheng, Niu Bo, Tang Xiaodu, Zhong Ming, Bei Dao

Niu Bo with artist friends

Niu Bo, Mang Ke

At the age 21, Niu Bo’s ink painting Yan Yang Tu ( Painting of Sheep and Rock Motif) showed at the 25th anniversary exhibition of Beijing Fine Art Academy and hence he became the youngest artist ever collected by the National Art Museum of China in history. At the age 23, he attended Qing Chun Shi She (Young Poets’ Society) and became a young advocate of Misty poetry.

Dao Zi, Niu Bo

Lin Mang, Yi Ping, anonymous, Niu Bo

“Modern Japanese Painting” Exhibition gained great support from Wang Zhen (王震), President of China Japan Friendship Association.

Age 25, Niu Bo staged a modern art exhibition in Capital Theater (Beijing). Afterwards he left for Japan. To express his gratitude for the Japanese Gallerist Kawakami who helped him in his destitution, Niu Bo curated the “Modern Japanese Painting” Exhibition in the Palace Museum (Forbidden City) in collaboration with Wang Meng (王蒙), then Minister of Culture, Wang Zhen (王震), President of China Japan Friendship Association, Ying Ruocheng (英若诚), Vice Minister of Culture and Director of the State Bureau of Cultural Relics. After achieving great success of the event, he stepped back from the affairs and began to concentrate on his modern art.

1991, China, Japan and America cooperated film Han Fang Dao (Tao of Chinese Medicine). Left 1, famous American actor Norman Reedus, left 3, screen writer and director Niu Bo.

1991, The Palace Museum, opening ceremony of “Modern Japanese Painting” Exhibition

famous Chinese actor Zhu Xu

Right, director Ying Da, early planner of the film Han Fang Dao

In 1992, Niu Bo cooperated with MITSUBISHI heavy industry, Honda Airways and JAXA and explored painting under the condition of zero gravity and the possiblity of outersphere creation. he got the US green card for this act and moved to New York. He draw with smoke in the sky above the Statue of Liberty in the work Smoke Signal (Lang Yan) by the end of 20th Century. At the same time, as it dawned on him that what matters was with one’s feet firmly on the ground, as shown in the work Focus on Your Feet (Zhao Gu Jiao Xia), he vanished from public view…

1992, Painting in the condition of zero gravity

1992, Galaxy, Shinjuku Tokyo

1993, Babel Tower, Tokyo Tower, Tokyo

1995, Focus on Your Feet, Boston City Hall

1995,Smoke Signal (Lang Yan), Statue of Liberty, New York

1995, Asking for Tao, Statue of Liberty, New York

Close-up of the Space Painting with diameters of 10 to 30 kilometers.

...sometimes traveling deeply under the sea.

Zen Master Lin Ji

From the age 36, 20 years have passed since Niu Bo went out of public eye. At the beginning, he planned to die a silent death in the forest, leaving several written works and ink paintings for cremation. But by way of a mysterious predestination, he had to leave the Zhodo Tidro Hermitage, left Zhong Nan Shan Mountain and went back to his birth place. In the subsequent two decades, he travelled to India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, measuring the lands by foot. He sojourned in temples in these countries, practicing meditation in movement. He visited WoLong Temple in Xi’an, the temple where Zen was originated in China, and became a lay disciple of Zen Master Ru Cheng. He sat quietly and meditated in the cave by the sea, there he experienced a close call from death. He wrote with self-made gold and silver powder coated paper and brush, recorded his inner experience—the experience he gained from stepping in and out of the demonic sphere.

In 1996, Niu Bo walked in the streets of Tibet and New York, carrying a mannequin to be his double, and explored how Christianity and Buddhism treated the relationship between body and soul, and how the two elements transformed.

In 1996, Niu Bo at the zhodo tidro hermitage. He smeared dead people’s flesh and blood on his body to practice gazing and experiencing life and death, first time treading the middle path.

1996, Niu Bo at the zhodo tidro, Bai Gu Guan (Bone Temple), Tibet.

In 2001, Niu Bo practiced Buddhism in the cave of Chiba Coast for 3 years, Japan.

2005, meditation in the cave.

2007, walking practice in Wu Tai Shan Mountain.

2009, practiced listening and smelling in Zhong Nan Shan Mountain.

2010, frequent recumbent samadhi in Zhong Nan Shan Mountain.

2011, took part in the Ordination of the Three Altars in Zhixiang Temple, place of origin for the Huayan School.

2011, the central figure at the Ordination of the Three Alters being Zen Master Ru Cheng, Abbot of Wolong Temple and master to Niu Bo.

The opening ceremony of the exhibition “Facing West, Looking East: 30 Years of Niu Bo’s Art” was held on September 24, 2015 in Tree Art Museum, Beijing. This is the first exhibition after his two decades of religious practice and show more than 100 sets of artworks. There are stories behind every piece of works and they are all records of Niu Bo’s 20 years of religious practice.

Speech by Liu Xia, producer of the exhibition

Speech by Niu Bo

Speech by Zhang Hang, director of Tree Art Museum

Speech by Dao Zi, poet, art critic, doctoral supervisor of Tsinghua University

opening ceremony

opening ceremony

guests group photo

Exhibition View

Exhibition View

Wen Xin, ink painting on paper coated with glue and powdered gold

Abstract Portrait of the Late Zen Master Zhi Tong, ink painting on paper coated with glue and powdered silver

Self Practice in Meditation, ink painting on paper coated with glue and powdered gold