Exhibitions/ Art Object

Printing on Water (Performance in the Lhasa River, Tibet, 1996)

Song Dong (Chinese, born Beijing, 1966)
Chromogenic prints
Images: 61 x 40 cm (24 x 15 3/4 in.), each
Credit Line:
Promised Gift of Cynthia Hazen Polsky
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Song Dong
Not on view
Song began his career as an oil painter, but in the years after 1989 he increasingly shifted his focus to installation and performance art.
These iconic photographs capture Song’s most famous performance, in which he sat in the Lhasa River in Tibet for an hour repeatedly stamping the water with a large wood seal carved with the Chinese character for water (shui 水). The piece is, among other things, a meditation on the evanescence of inscribed language. As Song has said, “I exerted great force [in stamping the seal on the water], but in the end left no trace.”
Inscription: Most prints inscribed with number on verso in blue ink.
Song Dong; [AW Asia, New York]; Cynthia Polsky, New York

Hearn, Maxwell K., and Wu Hung. Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013. pp. 64-65, fig. fog. 45.

Karlsson Kim, and Alexandra von Przychowski. Magie der Zeichen: 3000 Jahre chinesische Schriftkunst. Zurich: Museum Rietberg, 2015. no. 26, pp. 58–61.

Related Objects

Rock in the form of a fantastic mountain

Date: 20th century Medium: Taihu limestone; epoxy stand Accession: 2011.575.1a, b On view in:Gallery 216

Three Women In A Country Funeral, Long Xian, Shaanxi Province

Artist: Liu Zheng (Chinese, born Hebei Province,1969) Date: 2000 Medium: Gelatin silver print Accession: 2011.555.4 On view in:Not on view


Artist: Andrew Bush (American, born 1956) Date: 1993 Medium: Chromogenic prints Accession: 1993.195a–s On view in:Not on view


Date: 1900–1975 Medium: silver Accession: 2002.318a, b On view in:Not on view

Brush holder with gardenia, butterfly, and dragonfly

Artist: Xu Subai (Chinese, 1901–1975) Date: dated 1961 Medium: Bamboo Accession: 2008.421 On view in:Gallery 219