Interdisciplinary artist Guy Laramée’s most recent project pays tribute to the legendary hermit Chinese poet Han Shan.
Collectively known as “Han Shan,” Laramée has carefully sculpted cliffs and caverns reminiscent of the Chinese mountainous landscape into hardbound encyclopedias and other books.
Laramée introduced Han Shan as a poet who penned his work on trees and rock, which the villagers collected and are known today as the Cold Mountain Poems. His poems were said to have inspired many, including members of the Beat Generation and, of course, Laramée himself.
Deeply touched by Han Shan’s poetry, I humbly tried, not to illustrate them, but to paint and carve from the very place where he stood. Han Shan showed me that every place can be a Cold Mountain, every person a hermit and every moment a moon light party.
Laramée interpreted Han Shan’s poetry as something that “…appears to celebrate a free life style, the life style of a hermit who abandoned all ties to the world.
“But this is only the surface. When one scratches a bit, one finds a concrete description of the mind state of someone who is, indeed, free from the world, not because he is living in these cold mountains all by himself, but rather because he got a direct insight into no-mind, what people use to call ‘awakening’,” the artist was quoted to have said.