Exhibition Review

Keep Pace with the Times – Artworks for the 100th Anniversary of CAFA...


Chief Director: Fan Dian Art Director: Zhang Zikang Curator: Wang Chunchen To commemorate the centennial celebration of Central Academy of Fine Arts, the exhibition “Keep Pace with the Times – Artworks for the 100th Anniversary of CAFA”, hosted by CAFA and organized by CAFA Art Museum, was opened to the public on the second floor of CAFA Art Museum on March 22, 2018. The exhibition features more than 140 classic artworks, covering Chinese painting, oil painting, prints, and sculptures. Based on the collection of CAFA Art Museum, it selected representative artworks created by the teachers and students from CAFA during different periods over the last one hundred years, such as the period of Beiping Art School, the period of Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Yanan and the period of the founding of New China, etc. By combing through CAFA’s history of artistic creations, the exhibition aims to exhibit the visual forms that can best reflect the revolutionary spirit of the 20th-century, to present a whole picture of Chinese art history and to show CAFA’s unique temperaments developed over the last century. More

Xu Beihong: Living Art Forever | Special Exhibition for the Centennial Celebration of CAFA...


2018 is the 100th anniversary of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. In this important historical moment, it was of both historic and realistic significance to have a comprehensive and systematic sorting out of the remarkable and irreplaceable contributions made by the CAFA with its predecessor, the National Beiping Art School, in the development process of Chinese art in the twentieth century. While combing through the president Xu Beihong’s historic contributions thoroughly was very important to the CAFA itself, it also had a profound meaning to the clarification of the historical context of Chinese art in the twentieth century as well as the development of contemporary Chinese art. The exhibition brought together more than 200 important paintings of Xu Beihong and showed a variety of precious documents for the first time. Most of them were carefully selected from the collections of nearly 3,000 works belonged to Xu Beihong Memorial Museum, covering almost all the representative works of different periods throughout Xu’s life, including those well-known paintings, especially the most treasured painting collected by Xu Beihong – The Scroll of Eighty-seven Immortals, also regarded as “Beihong’s life”. More

Is It Simply Sketching? A Case Study of Ye Qianyu Part I...


Ye Qianyu was a renowned artist and art educator, whose achievements were reflected in many aspects, especially in comics, Chinese painting and sketching. This exhibition selected nearly 180 works to present the essence of Ye Qianyu’s sketching, providing us with opportunities to have an in-depth understanding of his artistic contributions. More

Prometheus in Printmaking: A Li Hua Retrospective on the 110th Anniversary of His Birth...


This exhibition is themed with the concept of “Hua Zhu 桦烛,” which originally means “a kind of candle coiled with birch bark,” symbolizing the brilliant candlelight and its beautiful reflections. Literati and poets of many dynasties have used it in their poems. A poet of Tang Dynasty, Shen Quanqi (沉佺期) wrote in “A chat with Mr. Cui on the night of Cold Food Day”: “[n]o bother to take a birch bark candle, for there is a bright moon in the south (无劳秉桦烛,晴月在南端)”, while Lu You (陆游), a poet in the Southern Song Dynasty, wrote the “Nostalgia on A Snowy Night”, which has “[t]he birch bark candle in Jang Yue pavilion gave off a pleasant smell, and the walking mule on the Long Men plank road let out a long bell ring (江月亭前桦烛香,龙门阁上驮声长)”. There are many other examples with similar usage of “Zhu Hua(桦烛).” More

Project Space Young Curators Lab-New Stele School 3:Confucianism and Realism...


It will be one-sided if we equate realism in traditional Chinese modern art with that in the western world, as they have different orientations. In the face of modern challenges, Chinese invented their realism by incorporating traditional Chinese civilization with their perceptions of an authentic, powerful and modern China. Realism occurred after two major changes in the history of Chinese arts. The first change refers to the Stele Movement that Kang Youwei advocated. Kang believed that realism is the foundation of western art. Xu Beihong, one of his followers also highly valued neoclassical school represented by Jacques-Louis David and initiated its aesthetic education in China. The second change came at a time when Chinese artists sought to introduce western art to China. Because of that, the socialist artistic tradition with realism was challenged and began to acquire new meanings. Such fields as conceptual painting, experimental video, social art, and theater performance have all been influenced by the change. In these two changes, different types of modernism appeared as a rival of realism. The first type is modernism featuring self-discipline initiated by Paul Cézanne, while the second refers to Enlightenment Modernism characterized by "cultural zeal." Here in China, realism is more like a painful exploitation made by Chinese people to overcome its historical constraints than a mere copycat from the western world. To overcome one certain type of outdated historical view, we have to learn to create a new one, even if sometimes the old has taken the form of realistic oil painting. As the forerunner of realism in China, Kang Youwei, influenced by the Gong-yang School in the Qing Dynasty (a subfield of Confucianism), was maybe the last self-revolutionist in Chinese classical civilization. Spring and Autumn Annals, one of the six classics of Confucianism, is seen as a book that embodies the supreme wisdom of the Chinese people in reflecting on their history. Historical reflection is not only what Confucianism excels Daoism and Buddhism. More importantly, it is also an advantage boasted by the Chinese civilization. It's not commonly seen in the time-honored world history that a civilization can keep a record of its history for such a long and consistent time at such an amazing scale. Among all the commentaries on Spring and Autumn Annals, Gongyang Zhuan stands out as it is precise and science-based. Kang Youwei succeeded in injecting new ideas into the book by applying it to the real world where he lived, leading to revolutionary changes in such areas as politics, academia, arts, and education. Meanwhile, he also managed to envisage a future world where the concepts of Gongyang Zhuan can truly turn into reality. He expressed his ideas in his masterpiece Da Tong Shu. Liang Qichao, one of his followers, then inaugurated Chinese Futurology and Science Fiction Art. It is unthinkable what would happen to China's cultural and political practice if all the concepts of Gongyang Zhuan, including ideas like “Bo Luan Fan Zheng” (a political term, bringing order out of chaos), “Xiaokang Society” and “Tong San Tong” (three laws for governors) failed to win their due place. All these concepts prove that the wisdom of Gongyang Zhuan has never been left unrecognized throughout Chinese history. Also, these concepts also serve as important pillars of Chinese contemporary art. Realism is a backbone of arts in the new era, rather than a loser in a modern art movement. About the Stele Study Exhibitions Stele Movement is a political and aesthetic movement starting from late Ming Dynasty to late Qing Dynasty. As the last important art and cultural movement of classical China, it also represents the epilogue of modern Chinese political and artistic trends. This movement, commonly known as a calligraphy trend, actually exerts a much broader impact on the Chinese society. On the one hand, it added fresh ideas to the traditional Confucianism, as evidenced by new philosophical systems established by Ruan Yuan and Kang Youwei, two famous Chinese thinkers. On the other, global awareness emerged at the end of Qing Dynasty. Artists who influenced by the trend, such as Xu Beihong, eventually shaped contemporary Chinese culture and academic system. Stele Movement can help us in identifying the relationship between ancient Chinese civilization and a globalized world. Through discussion, we hope we can learn more about the Chinese history while engaging in art creation. To reinterpret Confucianism and sharpen global awareness, which explains the reason why we would like to revitalize the stele movement, has been a key trend of modern China. Stele movement offers us the best way to understand many concepts in a Chinese context rather than Dao and skills, rule and arts, sacrificial ware and etiquette. More

International Grand Exhibition for Wood Engraving and Historical Archive ...


This is the first international large-scale exhibition about the traditional technique - wood engraving's development in the contemporary era. There are about 200 artworks, wood engravings and books created by 100 artists, involving classical, modern and contemporary sections. More

Pranks in the Moonlight: Torsten Jurell...


Torsten Jurell is an interdisciplinary and talented artist. In the past eleven years, he has stayed in China for his creative works and settled in Jingdezhen – an ancient porcelain city with a glorious history of handcrafts for thousands of years. In the energetic and vibrant environment of contemporary art, the artist created the ceramic sculpture works for this exhibition - “Pranks in the Moonlight.” More

Paradigms of Art – Contemporary Art from Germany...


By showing the public the history and latest development of German art since the 1950s, Germany's profound cultural traditions and the zeitgeist spirit of innovation will be fully presented. More

Weingart Typography China Touring Exhibition 2017· Beijing...


Wolfgang Weingart of the Swiss school is a landmark figure in the history of contemporary graphic design. His outstanding achievements are embodied in many aspects such as design practice, design teaching, and design ideas. While injecting great vitality into modern Swiss font design, he also played an important role in the history of design globally. His design style still exerts the profound impact on graphic designers and students around the world. More than 260 graphic design works, including a large number of personal works donated by Mr. Wegener to the museum and representative works of his outstanding students from all over the world, reproduced the essence of the “New Wave Typography” in the 1970s. More

Sailing off the Edge: Gillian Ayres' Abstract Painting, 1979 to the Present...


This is Gillian Ayres's first exhibition in China and it comprises a large number of large-scale paintings (240cm x 240 cm) from 1979 onwards, borrowed from private collections as well as the artist's own studio. As museums around the world reflect on the importance of artists who are women (look at MOMA's recent show 'Women Artists and Postwar Art'), Sailing Over the Edge: Gillian Ayres' Abstract Painting 1979 to the Present offers China an opportunity to see the complex and sensuous art of a woman who was the first female Head of Painting at a British art school, and the only woman in the most important postwar exhibition of British art, ‘Situation’, 1960, and who has invented and reinvented her art over sixty years. More
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