Interview with Giacomo Bruni: the Harmony Between Humans and Nature | Rise Art

Giacomo Bruni has recently joined the platform, bringing his beautiful Shanshuihua 山水画 or Mountain and water painting to the platform. He is an Italian painter who traveled to China to study this ancient craft of using brush and ink along with many other techniques to create detailed and abstract works that represent the natural environment.

Flowing Waters, 2022, xuan paper, Chinese ink, natural colors, 35 x 25cm


How would you describe your artistic style?

I use Chinese painting and calligraphic techniques to create detailed and abstract works that represent the natural environment, using brush and ink on paper, focusing on the expressions of the lines, strokes and ink washes. I also use different printing techniques like Chinese rubbing, linocut, xylography, and sometimes reuse old materials in the printing process. 

In addition, I do not refer to my paintings as “landscape” paintings, because a landscape is a portion of land selected by us, I try to focus on the endless growth and changing of nature, by entering in resonance with it, therefore, I refer to it as it’s called in Chinese, Shanshuihua 山水画 or Mountain and water painting.

Linocuts, woodblock prints and small paintings


What messages or themes do you want to communicate with your work?

I would say it’s mostly about viewing things from a non anthropocentric perspective, or moving towards the harmony between humans and nature with the use of multiple perspectives. By doing this, we avoid the reproduction of an artist’s visual point of view, enabling the eyes of the viewer to roam along the painting, guided by the matter and the void. Woyou is a concept in Chinese aesthetic, meaning a journey within the mind or the ability to estrange the mind from the physical body, and create a connection with the self and nature. 

The use of non-western techniques and aesthetic ideas merged with my cultural background also creates a dialogue between two different cultures, which is truly important in this contemporary globalised world. A world where we might get the illusion of knowing everything and anything just by surfing the web, by grasping superficial information without really understanding the value and the richness of other cultures. By seeing things from a different point of view, it would boost our creativity, grow new ideas and give us new tools to understand and analyse our own culture.

Flying waters, 2020, fine print, 170 x 50cm


How has your practice evolved over the years? Have you always worked in an abstract style?

I started as a photographer, I then moved on to practicing Chinese calligraphy, which is a form of abstract expression. The calligraphic techniques helped me to form my pictorial style, through the use of abstract pictorial elements such as dots and lines to represent the forms of nature. This practice evolved along with my relationship with nature, refining the language that I use to express my inner world.

Flying waters, 2022, xuan paper, Chinese ink, natural colors, 205 x 57cm


What’s an average day like in your studio? 

My time is half spent in the studio and half in the wilderness amongst trees, mountains, rivers and lakes. I do quick sketches while I roam about and in the studio I use them for my creations using brush and ink, merging them with my mind and emotions, as my goal is not to represent the external appearances of things, but to express their beauty from an intimate and spiritual perspective.

Giacomo sketching in the wilderness

Giacomo working in the studio


What/Who are your key influences?

I would say Chinese painters of the tradition, in particular those from the Yuan dynasty, like Wang Meng (1308-1385)  and Huang Gongwang (1269–1354), and of course the nature. 

Furthermore, theoretical texts about painting and aesthetic of the west and the east, like Georg Simmel, the environmental aesthetic thinking of Arnold Berleant, the painting conceptions of Guo Xi (1020-1090) and Shitao (1642-1707) or the revolutionary thinking and editorial activity of Gao Qifeng (1889-1933) also played an important role in influencing my thinking.

Solitary mountain, 2020, fine print, 177 x 57cm


Who are some Rise Art artists with work you’re enjoying at the moment?

Markus Krug, Daniel Nagy, and Heidi Thompson to name a few.

Stone fores, 2022, xuan paper, Chinese ink, 136 x 89cm


Are you currently working on any exciting new projects?

 I have been working on spreading the knowledge of the East, through a free digital magazine called Shan Shui or Mountain and Water, workshops and exhibitions. As for my artistic productions, I’m currently working on two exhibitions, aimed at creating a language that could form a bridge between different cultural expressions.

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