My Heart is the Universe

c. 2000

Irene Chou 周綠雲

(Chinese, 1924–2011)
Overall: 63.5 x 95.9 cm (25 x 37 3/4 in.)
Location: not on view
This artwork is known to be under copyright.

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Did You Know?

Chou applied her so-called impact textural strokes (jixian cun) by hitting a wet brush against a rod to splatter ink on the silk painting surface.


This painting belongs to a series of Irene Chou’s late work, inspired by two lines of the Southern Song idealist and neo-Confucian philosopher Lu Jiuyuan: "The universe is my mind, and my mind is the universe."

The background of ink wash is suffused with a brilliant green to create a depth of infinite space—"the symbolic depth, the depth from one’s heart and mind," as Chou says. In the midst of this infinite space is a small modulated sphere, her "inner self." The sphere echoes with the red disc and red lines of veins, which are the abstract symbols for the artist’s communion with the cosmic system. This painting communicates an exuberant joy and absolute freedom, as Chou searches for mystical oneness with the universe.
My Heart is the Universe

My Heart is the Universe

c. 2000

Irene Chou

(Chinese, 1924–2011)

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