This minimalist painting along with the two adjacent works come from Qiu’s on-going series in which barely detectable traces of imagined landscapes only reveal themselves incrementally upon sustained observation. Executed in oil—often on unprimed canvas—each image is created through the application of many layers of dilute, semitransparent paint until the underlying landscape details that Qiu has painted in black or colors all but vanish in the overall whiteness of the composition. Never titled, Qiu’s paintings remain purely visual experiences that are evocative of the aesthetic of “serene blandness” ( pingdan), highly prized in the traditional literati canon. Here, one may detect the dimpled slope of a mountain rising steeply from a level foreground.
Acquired directly from the artist in 1996 by the current owner, Uli Sigg, a Swiss private collector.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China," December 9, 2013–April 6, 2014.