Originally There Was Nothing; Where Can The Dust Settle 本来无一物,何处惹尘埃, 2015

Hong Kong 2016
Pigments and acrylic on canvas
100.0 x 100.0 (cm)
39.4 x 39.4 (inch)
Tay explores the depiction of one of China’s oldest stringed instrument; the guqin a seven-stringed zither, viewed as a symbol of Chinese high culture and the most expressive of the essence of Chinese music. The guqin portrayed in his paintings provide a side or front view of the outline of the musical instrument on a console table, with the center of the body of the guqin hollowed out and only a few geometrical lines remaining. The guqin has been frequently referred to as the preferred instrument of the sages and literati. In imperial China’s past, monks, scholars and ladies of the elite society were supposed to master the four traditional arts, and one of them is qin, for the purposes of enriching the heart and elevating the human spirit. In this work, why has the dust been disturbed? (Benlai wu yi wu, hechu re chen’ai), there is no physical guqin on the console table, only an imprint left in the dust after it has been taken away.