Water Stains on the Wall
Choreography: LIN Hwai-min
Music: Toshio HOSOKAWA
Lighting Design: Lulu W.L. LEE
Costume Design: LIN Ching-ju
Projection Design: Ethan WANG
Set Design: LIN Hwai-min
Co-productions National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Center, R.O.C. (Taiwan);Esplanade—Theatres on the Bay, Singapore Premiere November 19, 2010 at the National Theater, Taipei
Covered with white Marley, the entire set looks like a blank piece of rice paper traditionally used by Chinese calligraphers and painters, onto which negative images of drifting clouds in different shades of black are projected. With movements reminiscent of free-flowing ink, these ever-morphing clouds create exquisite spaces that are constantly shifting, bringing Chinese landscape ink painting to life on stage.
Accompanied by the renowned contemporary Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa’s Zen-like music using traditional Asian instruments, Cloud Gate dancers whirl and leap high on the slanted space with deceiving ease. Firmly grounded on the ramp at a height of 1.25 meters, yet appearing to be floating all the time, the dancers give the illusion of clouds and water as their light skirts are frequently “dyed” black by the projected shadows and reappear in shining white light.
The title of the work derives from a legendary conversation between two of the most respected Chinese calligraphers from the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907):
“Where do you get inspirations for your calligraphic style?” asked Yen Chen-ching, whose signature style of Kai script brought Chinese calligraphy to a new height.
“I observe summer clouds that resemble mountains with spectacular peaks,” replied Huai Su, the young monk who later became the most renowned master of wild cursive style. “The most exciting parts remind one of birds flying out of woods and snakes slithering into bushes… .”
“How about water stains on the wall?” asked Yen Chen-ching.
“Right on! You old devil!” exclaimed Huai Su.
In reality, water stains on the wall are the result of a long process of natural, organic, and fluid evolution. The legend of the conversation established “water stains on the wall” as a popular metaphor that represents the highest aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy. Inspired by this metaphor, Lin Hwai-min and Cloud Gate dancers create an abstract work of spellbinding beauty and breathtaking technique that stands sublimely on its own. via: cloudgate.org