Guest Lecture and Multimedia Film: To The Moon

To The Moon 奔月

Speaker: Eugene Wang (Harvard University)

Date: December 22, 2019

Venue: Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts


In 1949, at the age of seventeen, artist Liu Guosong left his home in Wuhan, China during the panic and hysteria of the Nationalist exodus from the mainland. This historical epic, spanning wartime China to the moon landing, traces his spiritual journey through the tumult of the twentieth century. At the foreground of Chinese modernism, Liu was the leader of the Fifth Moon Group, the avant-garde collective that revolutionized Chinese painting in Taiwan.

Between 1969 to 1972, Liu produced over three hundred “space paintings” in the relentless pursuit to capture the enigmatic qualities of a limitless nature. In these ethereal Space Age landscapes—combining traditional Chinese ink medium with the techniques of abstract expressionism, minimalism, and Op art—Liu manifested the ethos of a changing era while reflecting cosmic themes of home, dislocation, solitude, and transcendence. The film tells the story of how one artist, searching for identity against a period of intense historical change, found a spiritual homeland in the cold, silent vistas of the moon.

CAMLab hosted a showcase of works-in-progress. This night of R&D, debuting at Harvard’s new Annex space, offered the public an exciting opportunity to peek behind-the-scenes into CAMLab’s cutting-edge experiments in multimedia, visual art, architecture, and design. To The Moon charted the spiritual journey of eminent 20th-century painter Liu Guosong. Occurring alongside a global revival of interest in Chan/Zen Buddhism, Liu’s work ushered Chinese landscape painting into the Space Age and a new cosmic dimension, pointing the way toward a distinct Chinese mode of abstract painting. Reflecting extensive archival research and interviews, a preview of “To The Moon” will screen in December at the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, accompanied by a lecture by Prof. Eugene Y. Wang.

About the Speaker

Eugene Wang (Ph.D. Harvard, 1997) began teaching at the University of Chicago in 1996 before joining the faculty at Harvard University in 1997. He was appointed the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Professor of Asian Art at Harvard in 2005. A Guggenheim Fellow (2005) and recipient of ACLS and Getty grants, he served as the art history associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Macmillan, 2004). His book, Shaping the Lotus Sutra: Buddhist Visual Culture of Medieval China (2005) received the Academic Excellence Award from Japan in 2006. His extensive publications cover the entire range of Chinese art history from ancient funerary art to modern and contemporary Chinese art and cinema. He serves on the advisory board of the Center for Advanced Studies, National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and the editorial board of The Art Bulletin.


Sponsored by the Glorisun Global Network for Buddhist Studies and CAMLab at Harvard University.

[Original event posting]