Editor’s Word: The Art of Soulful Living
British Canadian poet Atticus once remarked: “The biggest luxury is to be able to revive someone’s soul and make them realize their worth.” This sentiment rings especially true in a time of material abundance and excess. Luxury becomes more than just about possessions; it transforms into a profound internal journey that reaches the depths of the soul.
Such a renewed appreciation for life’s finer aspects underscores the theme of this issue, “The Art of Soulful Living.” Drawing from the Treatise on Superfluous Things by ancient Chinese scholar Wen Zhengheng, a centuries-old tome that advocates celebrating objects for their cultural and aesthetic merits, our Magnifissance team strives to offer readers curated narratives and artworks infused with an appreciation for visual design, culture, and spirituality.
In the dense pine forests and misty valleys of Vietnam’s Lam Dong Province lies XQ Village, an embroidery studio founded by two artists, Vo Van Quan and his wife Hoang Le Xu. Alongside the studio, the couple has built an opera house, embroidery museums, libraries, botanical gardens, and a café said to be “the best in the world.” Here, Quan and Xu elevate embroidery from craft to soul-stirring art. Among fragrant flowers and canopying trees, embroiderers work in sync with nature’s rhythm, weaving their emotions into distinctive artworks, one thread at a time.
In a darkroom softly illuminated by a faint red light, photographer Chang Chih-huei gives form to the landscapes he envisions. Unmoved by an era dominated by digital devices, Chang remains steadfast in his dedication to film photography. Within the darkroom’s confines, he orchestrates each step—from the camera setup to the enlarging, washing, drying, and pressing of the film—thus empowering him to capture the intricacies of light and shadow. The result is a symphony of landscapes where subtle tones resonate with the collective energy of artistic creation.
Japanese artist Hiroki Yamamoto creates hyper-realistic paintings of young women that captivate viewers with their dream-like elegance. His work skilfully juxtaposes elements from the present, the past, and the imagined future. A millennial, Yamamoto nonetheless has a deep appreciation for the power of hand-painted art. Its finely layered texture and lustrous subtleties, according to him, “possess a unique charm that can’t be fully perceived on a monitor.”
A closer examination of Taiwanese artist Chiu Su-mei’s collection of Gongbi paintings reveals evocative poetry and tranquillity, characteristics that have long been sought by ancient Chinese literati. With over three decades of painting experience, Chiu remains dedicated to replicating the works of old masters, building her patience, and sharpening her ability to discern beauty.
Japanese entrepreneur Kazuo Inamori once stated, “Life isn’t a material feast; it’s a spiritual practice.” While our lives are necessarily embedded in the material environment, we can often decide our surroundings and influences, a process that ultimately shapes our identity. Be it a thought-provoking painting, an uplifting book, or an affecting piece of music, artistic creations rich in cultural and emotional value add depth to our existence.
Through thought-provoking narratives and captivating artworks, this edition aspires to leave an enduring impression and a rich experience that lingers long after the final word has been read.