Wednesday, July 30, 2008

IVAM Presents Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibit Based on Traditional Techniques

IVAM Presents Chinese Contemporary Art Exhibit Based on Traditional Techniques

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Zhang Guiming, Lu Fusheng, Dai Mingde, Yang Yan, Consuelo Císcar, Yang Zhengxin, Cheng Jialig, Yang Jianzhong. Photo: courtesy IVAM.

VALENCIA.- This exhibition forms part of the agreement that IVAM and Shanghai International Culture Association subscribed, which last year presented at IVAM an exhibition of contemporary painting made by Chinese artists. This exhibition is a selection of 30 paintings made by 5 artists - Yang Zhengxin, Chen Jialing, Zhang Guiming, Dai Deming, Lu Fu Sheng- who, having been formed in the traditional language of the Shanghai school, have evolved to new forms of expression. In all of them the aesthetics and Chinese spirit has been constituted as the generating element of the transformation of their language. For example, the colors Zhang Guiming uses are derived from the masks the Beijing Opera uses, Chen Jailing has spent his life investigating paper and how it absorbs ink, Dai Ming De starts off into abstraction through Chinese calligraphy, Lu Fusheneng simplifies symbols and signs from the landscape to express silence and the essence of life, and finally Yan Zhengxin starts his renovation through the study of native Australian art. The catalog from the exhibit contains texts written by Chen Xiejun, director of the Shangai Museum; Lang Shaojun; Pan Gonkai; Wang Chong; Dong Lu; Pan Yuechang; Pen Lai; and a selection of brief texts made by Zhang Ping; Xie Chunyan; Zhang Piecheng, and Fan Jinyuan.

The drawings made with ink and watercolors occupy a distinguished placement in the world of painting. Maybe traditional ink and watercolors seem too static and isolated if they are compared with western oil paintings. Even then, at this moment, the world of ink and water is object of continuous praise and controversy.

Chen Jialing, Zhang Guiming, Yang Zhengxin, Dai Mingde and Lu Fusheng are five modern masters of the ink and water who reside in Shangai. Their works seem distant with respect to the traditional, brush strokes and distribution which remembered the traditional values which are deconstructed and reinterpreted from a totally new perspective, they are works that are inspired modern artistic forms.

The five artists in this exhibition have followed the same process of learning the ancient achievements for change. They use the same tools that their ancestors used (the brush, ink, and paper) but take on aesthetic culture with totally different ideas, methods and techniques.

Chen Jialing once said in an interview, “It does not matter if you drink from tradition or if you rise from tradition, the process is intense and difficult. Your worst enemy is yourself, because you have to conquer the way of thinking that was implanted with the education from the past, to abandon habitual techniques, and to experiment repeatedly before the light of success illuminates you.

Zhang Guimin’s innovation resides in the breaking away from the traditional starting from the distortion and decoration of classic elements to the reconstruction of a new scheme, in which he simplifies and signals the abstract ideas of painting through bright colors.

Yang Zhengxin, shows in his paintings, Majestic and mystical, with strong and bold brushstrokes, his explosive force. Under the premise of maintaining the essence of traditional Chinese painting with ink and water, part of western technique from the traditional enchantments arriving at the modern.

Lu Fushen allows us to see a modern and intellectual meditation in her works of art. The language and the figures that are represented in the paintings are the spontaneous expression of education, the tolerance and tastes of the artist.

If we look at the works of these five artists, we can clearly feel their meditation process and their rise to perfection, an artistically refined process that takes a long time, of a hard and complicated fight, from the purest and most humble scenes. It is not about only an accumulation of sensibility with ink and brush or of dexterity with the figurative languages, but also the importance of the mind and spirit.

The art of the ink and water has been one of the contributions of Chinese culture to the world, and also a characteristic of oriental civilization. Today, it has gone into the world of art, which contributes to the liberty and renaissance of the ink and the brush which elevates the history and culture to a superior level. It belongs to the Chinese nation, but it has also belonged to the world, and to all human beings.

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