Rid of Horror



Between 2013 and 2015, two of Tong Tianqing’s handmade books – The White Horse andThe Brine – were completed one after another, both reflecting the artist’s feelings about the reality in the form of every-day handwriting. Written and illustrated by himself, The White Horse is a container of Tong’s fear – the fear of the transient nature of mortal life. The Brine, on the other hand, mourns for the doom of the world itself with the artist’s landscape paintings. In 2017, Tong Tianqing turned his peculiar experiences during the past two years into a new book – Rid of Horror– the title of which invokes a line from the most popular Mahayana Buddhist scripture, The Heart Sutra, that “because there is no hindrance in their mind, they (the Bodhisattvas) are rid of horror”. To Tong, however, human beings are destined to live with “hindrances”. As long as one is still alive, there is the risk that he will be overwhelmed by horror at any minute. In this respect, to be “rid of horror” is just an illusion never to accomplish.