If Spring Comes, Can Winter Be Far Behind？
Hi Art, May Issue, 2011
Change of seasons is a rule of the nature, just like no matter you are great or small, you must eat and go to toilet and no one could bear to stop any of them. Shi Tao has ever pointed out his aesthetic thought “unity of heaven and man” in his Analectic of Words on Painting, through this, he expressed his recognition that everything of the nature is harmony, integral and united into one. It appears that one must obey the rule and understand well if he wants to draw well. A minion drawing oil painting would never surpass Giuseppe Castiglione however much effort he made and a fool drawing ink and wash painting can never do better than Tang Bohu.
The relationship between the four seasons, spring, summer, autumn and winter of a year is that of accumulation and result, of with the purpose is to circle and circle again endlessly. At the best this is rehabilitation, on the negative side this is great weaves sweeping the sand.
An artist creating art is just like a crime in the police station, polices would try all means to ask your motive and they only want to know the relationship between what you are doing and what would be the result, in order to prove whether what you are doing is reasonable or not.
Artists today are all very clever. They almost stuffed all the holes. Some even read through the history of art and adds whatever is lacked in this history of China. This addition would never be useless and what has been done by these artists would quickly be written into the Chinese contemporary art history that is being published every 5 or at most 10 years. Or even once an artist put down his chopsticks, someone would be able to forecast the shape of this artist’s feces that would be shit later right away; such a speed is far quicker than Japanese people’s forecasting of seaquake after their earthquake. There are two kinds of views in Chinese contemporary art today: one is that the boosting of Chinese contemporary art is influencing the world. Another is that Chinese contemporary art is a mad and chaotic phenomenon. Actually, to say Chinese contemporary art is influencing the world, one is referring to the speculation of auction price which should owe to the fast uprising of Chinese economy; Yet today Chinese people spend even much more money on car, house and bag, the price is not really related with artistic achievement at all. And it’s not at all mad or chaotic, too. If one day European artists turn to learn from Shi Tao, Zhu Da, Qi Baishi, Tang Bohu, Fu Baoshi, Li Keran and cannot open their mouth without talking about whether ink and brushwork equals to zero, would you still think Chinese contemporary art is chaotic or mad?
Recently two exhibitions worth seeing; one is the “From the Collections of Uffizi Gallery” exhibition at the gallery of Central Academy of Art at Wangjing area, another is the “The Art of Enlightenment” at National Art Museum of China, on which we could see masterpieces from three national museums of Germany.
Masters from the 15th century to the 20th century are collectively shown on the “From the Collections of Uffizi Gallery” exhibition and after seeing this exhibition, you would feel that oil painting was born in Europe and in the blood of every European people. In oil painting figures could be depicted deeply, exquisitely and vividly; the 700 years history of oil painting is a process of scientific development and many points are worth learning for us. We should make great effort to catch up with them. This exhibition was held in a university which emphasizes modeling and achievements on technique, so it is a good chance for students to improve, of course, this is also a good exhibition for artisan-painters.
Comparing to the stated above one, the art exhibition that has been planned for ten years with arts from National Museum of Dresden of Germany, National Museum in Berlin as well as the Bavarian State Painting Collection of Munich has a much higher level and is what Chinese need most today. From mid-18th century onwards, the enlightenment of Europe has continued all along. The ultimate question of Enlightenment Movement is: How human be human. Nearly 600 pieces of works divided into 9 parts are displayed on this exhibition and all of which are answering the same question. Among which we could see the “A Portrait of Heinrich· Danker” by Fredrik Hick, which was created in 18?2 and was the first painting in which common people became the hero in an artwork. A television in the exhibition pavilion is looping Beuys’s conceptual work about his only one time trip to America: “I love America and America loves me”; in this work he elaborated his alertness for the fast progress of society. Because this exhibition is held in China, certainly many Chinese elements would be involved and among which the most eye-catching is the original edition of the copper etching work belongs to Qianlong Dynasty titled “”. This work was a memorial copper etching created by Giuseppe Castiglione and Wang Zhicheng under Emperor Qianlong’s order, who had just pacified Xinjiang; in which 16 sets were included and scenes like warfare, accept the surrender, triumphant return and others. When sketches were finished, they were sent to Paris of France for production and cost 11 years to be finished. When in 1900 the joint forces of the eight imperialist powers invaded Beijing, these works were grabbed off and now they are collected in Berlin National Museum, one of the organizers of this exhibition.
It’s the proper time for “The Art of Enlightenment” to come to China when today Chinese are in urgent need of artistic and ideological enlightenment. Art of enlightenment originated from the enlightenment of art. We never have any lack of painters and craftsman, but masters come from crowds that have been enlightened. The rule in the development of art is the same with season changes of the nature; there is causation in it.
Sunday, April 17, 2011