22 Installation view of the “Artistic Conception of Human Settlements – Exhibition of Paintings, Calligraphy and Architecture Designs of Wu Liangyong”

On the morning of August 29, 2014, the press conference of “Artistic Conception of Human Settlements – Exhibition on Paintings, Calligraphy and Architectural Designs of Wu Liangyong” was held at the National Art Museum of China, Mr. Wu Liangyong, Director of the National Art Museum of China Fan Di’an, Deputy Director Xie Xiaofan all attended the conference, together with more than a dozen media representatives who were present at the conference to reflect on his attainments and achievements in painting, calligraphy and architecture.

The exhibition is jointly hosted by the National Art Museum of China and Tsinghua University, from August 29 to September 9, 2014. Exhibited works include more than 100 works of calligraphy and painting in a variety of stages by Wu Liangrong, as well as six architectural design projects of the new Juer Hutong Courtyard, the Confucius Institute, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Jiangning Imperial Silk Manufacturing Museum and Taishan Museum, fully reflecting his unremitting pursuit in art creation in the process of academic exploration.

Art Exhibition for an Architect

Wu Liangyong is neither a professional painter nor a calligrapher, but his architectural life is always accompanied by his love of painting art. Director Fan Di’an on-site briefed and reviewed the works by Wu and the exhibition at the press conference. When Mr. Wu adhered to the exploration and practice of architectural art over the decades, he never interrupted the creation of painting and calligraphy, invited by the Director of the National Art Museum of China, the exhibition collectively reveals Mr. Wu’s attainments in the art of painting and calligraphy and so on, at the same time, it chooses part of the architectural designs of a traditional cultural idea and Chinese aesthetic spirit to present them on the show, reflected his thinking and practice of human settlements. The exhibition is divided into three parts: painting, calligraphy, architecture, which are arranged integrally, like his artistic practices in three sections, mutually intertwined, and achieving mastery through a comprehensive study of the subject.

Wu Liangyong’s Environmental Science of Human Settlement

Mr. Wu Liangyong creatively proposed the idea of the environmental science of human settlement in the early 21st century, and advocated an integrated system of “big science, big art, big humanities”, and once wrote the following inscription: “Science is the pursuit of the true, humanities is the pursuit of the good, art is the pursuit of the beautiful, integration is important in human settlement”. He thinks that human settlement is the aesthetic appreciation and artistic creation centered around human life, therefore the beautyof the human settlement is a comprehensive integration of a variety of beautiful forms, including calligraphy, literature, painting, sculpture, craft arts, architecture, etc., and the key to the beautiful reflects the integral creation, the reason why many cultural sites are eternal, has always been praised and longed for, is not only because of the buildings, but through integrating buildings, landscape environment, literary creation, cultural feelings, etc., into a high – realm unity, to inspire the emotion of generations of people, creating a vitality and charm that penetrates time and space.

Three 30 Year stages of His Life

Mr. Wu told the media that his own life path was divided into three 30 years phases. The first 30 years is the stage of growth, from my childhood to being 28 years old, because the war cut through his period of study, he was urged to rebuild the homeland when he was young, so that he chose to study in the Department of Architecture of Central University in Chongqing when he was exiled to Chongqing together with his brother, and painting became a compulsory course, from then on, Wu studied painting and architecture at the same time, and was then influenced by some masters such as Xu Beihong, Fu Baoshi, Wu Zuoren, etc. In the second 30 years, he threw himself into the construction of the People’s Republic of China for 30 years, which started with working together with Mr. Liang Sicheng at Tsinghua University, and then he was introduced by Liang to go to America to study, at the end of 1950 he broke obstacles and succeeded in returning to China, to devote himself to the construction of the new China and his architectural educational career, to synchronously study the two art forms of painting and architecture, he attained a diversified development, focused on multidisciplinary and multiple visions. He practiced the concept of “human settlement” after the reform and opening up in the third 30 years, especially after his retirement, he began his own “second life”, “the second youth”. Over the 3 decades, he began to systematically comb through the theory and research of human settlement, urban planning and design, and practiced them himself. He devoted his life to Chinese architecture and a career focused around architectural education.

For the exhibition, Mr. Wu said, it was an inspection of the artistic creation that he adhered to over decades, in the process of preparing the exhibition he was continuously enlightened, urged on to keep being passionate continuing to move forward. As he wrote in the preface that, “When I check these ‘old’ works, as if looking back to the past experiences and moods, the turbulent rivers and treacherous shoals of the Three Gorges, boundless clouds of the mountains in the Yungui Plateau, the green forests of the Alps, the life and clothing of the southwest minorities……heaving in sight one after another. These works were carelessly drawn years ago, but bring me a new spiritual inspiration today, whether watercolor, sketch or calligraphy, they seem to have a common characteristic, which often has a close relationship with people’s life and the environment, bazaars, streets, courtyards, villages, and so on are all the subjects of the paintings. With a devout heart, I discover, comprehend and express the beautiful nature of life, although my skill is poor, works seem rough, the beauty of life is in the nature, the daily life environment, and this inspires my unlimited creative passion, so that I have to settle it with my brush.”

 About the exhibition

Hosts: National Art Museum of China, Tsinghua University

Duration: on August 29 – September 9, 2014

Venue: Hall 1, 8, 9 of National Art Museum of China

Journalist: Zhu Li, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO.

Photo: Quan Jing/CAFA ART INFO.

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