At 6:00 pm on May 20, 2014, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Academic Committee series lecture was in the fourth round “Yan Peiming’s History of Art” and held in the Auditorium of CAFA Art Museum. The lecture was hosted by Professor Liu Xiaodong, addressed by Yan Peiming. The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Academic Committee series lecture which aims to spread to the academic forefront, and promote academic discussions. After introducing the artistic background of Yan Peiming, the host Liu Xiaodong expressed that it rarely launched the academic committee series lecture, because it only invited the most outstanding people, which shows the highest respect for them.
Yan Peiming was born in Shanghai in 1960, and in 1980 he left Shanghai for France to study art, currently he is a Professor of Ecole Superieur des Beaux-arts de Dijon, he has won several awards at home and abroad, participated in a large number of international exhibitions such as Venice Biennale, Lyon Biennale, Busan Biennale, he is a Chinese contemporary artist who was the earliest to enter the world famous art museums and institutions and he still receives a high international reputation today. In the lecture, Yan combined the photos of the works of the various periods to explain his individual creation, and exchanged the presented students with his artworks in the section of Q & A.
In 1988, Yan Peiming attended the exhibition “Studio 88” at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Paris, his work began to pay close attention to the issue of death, as he joked that it is because of his strong hope for survival. It was the first time he appeared in Paris, at the same time, the anti-portrait monochromatic giant portraits also attracted Western art. From 1993 to 1994, Yan Peiming’s creation was given priority for sketching portraits in black and white, Yan said the painting always had the shadow of early artists of the time, and was also influenced by impressionism. In addition, because he is short of knowledge in color, his easel paintings are mainly black and white, rarely a colored one appeared. As Yan explained, because he had never studied color in France, so he escaped it, and focused on the creation of black and white, so he found the creative methods and the special artistic performance.
Yan Peiming successively participated in various international exhibitions, while each exhibition presented Yan’s new works, under his brushes there were not only historical characters, political leaders and celebrities, but also anonymous soldiers, criminals, female prisoners, orphans and the artist’s father and himself. Yan said that every solo exhibition made him constantly think, and he hoped to present different content for the audience, and to seek the new breakthrough in language and content of art.
In the last section of the lecture, Yan Peiming introduced the new works exhibition “Die in This Way, Live in This Way”, opened in the new gallery of the Beijing Center for the Arts in Yuhe Road, in the afternoon of May 18, and showcased the photos of the works. In addition to the single portrait paintings, which is Yan’s symbol, the exhibition showcases the paintings depicting animal, landscape, still life, mother, etc., which is the first time to completely present the lifelong discovery of theme “life”. The exhibition will continue until July 27.
In the lecture, Yan Peiming rarely talked about his rough experiences in France, except for telling the audience when he returned China in 1991, Yan was too poor to bring back home anything but a catalogue, while the overseas Chinese people usually brought the most exotic home appliances such as color televisions and refrigerators. Even after Yan became famous, he was always blocked and even reviled due to his paintings being a touch sensitive with political issues, but he said the difficulties could inspire his new ideas. For Yan Peiming, it is lucky for him to paint because painting is the best way for an inarticulate person to express ideas.
In the Q & A section, Yan Peiming said he was interested in the international situation and the social trends, while his identity was as an artist, regardless of the nationality, his borrowing of these phenomena to express his feelings. He wasn’t confined to stay in the studio to find an inspiration and to create, but often created large scale paintings by using photos, and believing that the realistic portrait was different from the value and significance of the photography.
Yan Peiming finally warned the present students that they could like an artist but they shouldn’t worship one, because the worship would blind one’s eyes so that they couldn’t find themselves; in addition, students shouldn’t be obsessed with training skills, or they couldn’t find their individual expression. Yan learnt the capability to express in France rather than the skills of drawing and use of color, and he believed that it was ok for an artist to learn the skill when he needed it in the process of creation.
Selected exhibitions of Yan Peiming:
2010 Children of Shanghai, Pavillon Francais, Expo Shanghai
2009 Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing China
2009 San Francisco Art Institute, CA, United States
2009 The Funeral of Mona Lisa, Musée du Louvre, Paris, France
2007 Istanbul Biennale, Turkey
2006 Sevilla Biennale, Spain
2003 Venice Biennale, Italy
1995 Venice Biennale, Italy
Journalist: Ye Yuanfeng, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Photography: Yang Yanyuan/CAFA ART INFO