Like most people, I was constantly admonished to “establish far-reaching ambitions”, “realize my self value” and “struggle to change my destiny” since I was a child. Full of fantasies about the future, I tirelessly strived for these goals. I had faith that all of my efforts would be rewarded one day.

Cai Zhisong' Studio

Cai Zhisong' Studio

In a time of great social flux, where decades of social upheaval have contributed to a frequently contradictory cultural identity, Cai Zhisong’s sculpture looks back to the stability of the past. His is not a banal reiteration of Chinese history however, but a reaffirmation of the past and its relevance to contemporary times. Cai entitles his series ‘Motherland’, a word which is synonymous with pride and nationalism. As we shall see however, the themes in his work cannot be limited to one nation and are universal in nature.Whether figurative or not, an ongoing concern with time pervades all of Cai’s works and is coupled with an awareness of the change that accompanies it. What is of particular interest to the artist, however, is that which does not change; the unerring presence of human emotion, and in particular the existence of suffering.

In looking at Cai Zhisong’s warriors one is given an immediate impression of the hardship that they appear to endure, this being particularly evident when gazing at the nude figures in the ‘Ode’ series. We see their strong, physical bodies being slowly crushed by an intangible, indecipherable weight. This inner torment is something that relates to all of us, as Cai states: “Pain is universal, no matter who you are, everyone feels pain at some point.” This has, of course, held true throughout history, with external phenomena constantly changing, but the same emotions continuing to exist. Cai is acutely interested in the individual’s response to emotional pain and the way in which the intensity of the emotion varies depending upon the manner that one chooses to deal with it. Certain situations, without doubt will cause negative emotions, but Cai argues that it is necessary for one to realise that no one event can be held responsible. As he sees it, the cause of significant pain is a collection of small events that combine to become forceful enough to have an adverse effect upon the subject. It is possible, therefore, to dismantle the causes that precipitate pain and observe them not as a severe whole, but as a gradation of lesser events. When this has been achieved, and the causes have been fractioned and worked into their smallest possible components, the events, now seen in isolation, appear insignificant enough to seem nonexistent. When it is also remembered that situations in the world are never constant, it is possible to perceive these negative feelings as being irrelevant. This process, although possessing the potential to relieve suffering, is not, as Cai states, one which comes naturally to people, and as such, many allow their suffering to consume them. This occurs when pain is left unchecked. It perpetuates itself, continuing in an unrelenting cycle that becomes increasingly difficult to break free from and as this happens, we become further removed from the foundations of our distress and are left only with the negativity that it has engendered. We can see this state, this continual cycle of torment, represented in Cai’s warriors who, like many others, are trapped in an interminable state of suffering.

Cai Zhisong' Studio 3

Cai Zhisong

Cai has given these theories on pain and its nonexistence much time and consideration, incorporating his ideas into his work and continuing to explore the theme in his various forms. They are ideas which were briefly touched upon by Confucius, but Cai is careful not to portray himself as a philosopher. Rather, he puts his care and attention into his painstaking processes, creating compassionate works that capture the innate suffering of the world. Our observations of his insightful and visually striking sculptures leave one feeling emotionally affected and contemplative. These reactions are brought about in such a subtle and gentle manner however, that one is never quite sure what it is that has touched them. In his finely articulated works we see Cai proudly but sensitively continuing the legacy of an ancient Chinese culture, whilst also reminding us of the universal qualities that tie everyone and everything, including the past and the present, together.

Cai Zhisong' Studio

Cai Zhisong' Studio

BIOGRAPHY

1972 Born in Shenyang, Liaoning, China

1997 Graduated from Central Academy of Fine Arts, Sculpture Department

2001 Obtained Post-graduate diploma from Central Academy of Fine Arts

1998-2008 As a teacher of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Sculpture Department

Solo Exhibitions

2003 Motherland-Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, Belgium Embassy, Beijing, China

2004 Motherland-Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, Art Scene Warehouse, Shanghai, China

2005 Motherland-Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, La Ke’er Art Center,Beijing, China

            Motherland-Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, Highland Gallery, Beijing, China

2006 Motherland-Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, SHiNE Art Space, Shanghai, China

2009 Motherland-Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, China Square NY, New York, USA

            Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, See+ Gallery, Beijing, China

2010 Motherland-Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, Ming Art, Taiwan

            Motherland and Rose- Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, Triumph Art Space, Beijing, China

2011 Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, National Museum of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia

           Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, Ode To Art Contemporary, Singapore

           Cai Zhisong Solo Exhibition, Regensburg Museum, Germany

Group Exhibitions

1998 The 1st Group Exhibition of Young Sculptors in Beijing, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

1999 Sculpture Exhibition of Eight Young Artists, Contemporary Art Gallery, Beijing, China

           The 9th National Art Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

2000 Invitational Sculpture Exhibition, Changchun, China

            55th Anniversary of Victory Against the Japanese, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

2001 Chinese Contemporary Art Touring Exhibition, Europe

            Exceptional Sculpture Exhibition of International Fine Arts Presidents

           Forum, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

2001 Westlake Invitational Exhibition, The Westlake Art Museum, Hangzhou, China

            Paris Autumn Salon, Eiffel-Branly, Paris, France

2002 Professor’s Sculpture Show, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

2003 Today’s Chinese Art Exhibition, China World Art Museum, Beijing, China

            Sculpture Exhibition, Beijing, China

            International Environmental Art and Sculpture Exhibition, Shanghai, China

           The 1st Beijing Biennale, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

          Changing Directions The 1st Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Chongqing Art Museum, Chongqing, China

          Multi-Focus, Art Scene Warehouse, Shanghai, China

2004 Young Professors Show, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China

            Middle Space Between the World and Paradise, Chongqing, China

           60s to 70s Group Exhibition of Outstanding Young Chinese Artists, Today Art, Beijing, China

           China, Imagination China Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition,

           Palaise Du Louvre Square, Paris, France

           Celebrating the 55th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China,

           National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

           The 10th Annual Art Exhibition, National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China

           La France Mandarine, Hong Kong, Shanghai, China. Paris, France

           Art Cologne 2004, Cologne, Germany

          Invitational Exhibition Asian Art Exhibition, Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco, USA

          Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Brussels, Belgium

2005 Installation & Sculpture Exhibition, Kennedy Art Center, Washington D.C., USA

           Open Spaces Sculpture Exhibition, Beijing LOFTEL, Beijing, China

           Cai Zhisong, Feng Feng Duo Exhibition, Art Scene China, Shanghai. China

          Group Exhibition Chinese Artists, Reed Savage Gallery, Miami, Florida, USA

          Open Spaces, CBD Art Space, Beijing, China

          Passion and Force Group Exhibition, Yan Club Art Center, Beijing, China

2006 1st China Document, China World Art Museum, Beijing, China

            China-Korea Art Exchange Show, 3818 Cool Galley, Beijing, China

            Chinese Contemporary Sketches Exhibition, Beijing/Hangzhou/Guangzhou/Shenyang, China

            The Red Flag, 798 Factory, Beijing, China

2007 Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary Sculpture, 798 Factory, Beijing, China

2008 The Return Imagination, See+ Gallery, Beijing, China

            The Floating Art, Beijing, China

            Changes, DR Gallery, Beijing, China

2009 CISAE 2009, Beijing, China

            The 1st Youth Art Biennale in Chongqing, Chongqing, China

            Revival of Tradition-Mountain and River/ Text/ Memory Frankfurt Book Fair, Frankfurt, Germany

            Print Exhibition of Chinese Contemporary Artists, Chongqing, China

           Our Love-Opening Show of Yan Gallery, Shanghai, China

          Northeast Hotpot-1st Show of ACEA 2009, La Ke’er Art Center, Beijing, China

2010 Sharing with Classic, Beijing China

            Passing Territory-Chinese And Foreign Masters Fine Print Exhibition

            798 Art Bridge Gallery, SanBan Studio, Beijing, China

2011 Chinese Pavilion at the 54rd Venice International Biennial, Venice, Italy

            Black white, 0 Zero Art Museum, 798 Factory, Beijing, China, Honor & Prize

1997 Obtained Gangsong Family Fund Award

2000 Obtained Gold Prize at the 55th Anniversary Exhibition of the Victory Against the Japanese

2001 Obtained the Taylor Prize at the Paris Autumn Salon

            Obtained Outstanding Work Prize at the Hebei International Invitational Sculpture Exhibition

2003 Obtained Outstanding Work Prize at the Fuzhou International Invitational Sculpture Exhibition

2004 Obtained the President’s Prize at Central Academy of Fine Arts

            Obtained Bronze Prize at the 10th National Art Exhibition

Public collections (partial)

China National Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of the China Centra Academy of Fine Arts

CNC (Chinanews)

He Xiangning Art Museum, Zhejiang Art Museum

Chongqing Art Museum

Changchun Sculpture Art Museum

People’s Government of Changchun Municipality

People’s Government of Shijiazhuang Municipality

People’s Government of Yantai Municipality People’s Government of Jiaozuo Municipality

Belgian Embassy

Peking University research center of aesthetics

Westin Shanghai Hotels

Deutsche Bank-China

Greek Museum

Regensburg Museum, Germany

National Museum of Indonesia

National Museum of Singapore

Newark Museum (U.S.A)

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