Songs of Nature

Songs of Nature

On Paintings by Cao Jun
John Sallis
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Format: Hardback 32 color illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-04660-4
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This latest philosophical text by John Sallis is inspired by the work of contemporary Chinese painter Cao Jun. It carries out a series of philosophical reflections on nature, art, and music by taking up Cao Jun's art and thought, with a focus on questions of the elemental. Sallis's reflections are not a matter of simply relating art works to philosophical thought, as theoretical insights and developments run throughout Cao Jun's writings and inform many of his artistic works. Sallis maintains abundant points of contact with Chinese philosophical traditions but also with Western philosophy. In these reflections on art, Sallis poses a critique of mimesis and considers the relation of painting to music. He affirms his conviction that the artist must always turn to nature, especially as reflections on the earth and sky delimit the scale and place of what is human. Full-color illustrations enhance this provocative and penetrating text.

Author Bio

John Sallis is Frederick J. Adelmann Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. He is author of more than twenty books, including Light Traces and Logic of Imagination.

Cao Jun is one of the most notable Chinese painters today. There are four museums devoted entirely to exhibiting his work, including one in the center of Beijing. He is engaged in discussions with Chinese philosophers, Xia Kejun and Yang Guang, both of whom spoke at a recent exhibition of Cao Jun's work in the US.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations

1. Retrieve

2. Spaces

3. Vision

4. Silent Music

5. Musicality

6. Hermeneutic

7. Earth