Water • Fire Series
In Water–Fire, Zhang Jian-Jun juxtaposes two circular forms. To make the upper circle, he set fire to black ink on the painted surface of the paper and painted the lower one with a diluted ink wash that looks wet even after it dries. The two circles clearly evoke the Daoist concepts of yin and yang in Chinese cosmology: two conflicting yet complementary elements that cannot exist without each other and at the same time are mutually transformative. In Chinese philosophy, water and fire are two of the five major elements, known as wu xing, that comprise the life-force called qi; the other three are earth, metal, and wood. Zhang’s experimentation with ink is also shown in a sculpture, Ink Rock, made of solid black ink, on view in the Arts of China galleries.
Chinese ink, water, fire on paper
Gift of Zhang Jian-Jun in honor of the new Chinese galleries
This item is not on view
Zhang Jian-Jun (Chinese, born 1955). Water • Fire Series, 1992. Chinese ink, water, fire on paper, 30 × 22 in. (76.2 × 55.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Zhang Jian-Jun in honor of the new Chinese galleries, 2018.44. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: , CUR.2018.44.jpg)
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
© Zhang Jian-Jun
The Brooklyn Museum holds a non-exclusive license to reproduce images of this work of art from the rights holder named here.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email email@example.com
and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.