How to open an art museum with an exhibition, how to use a museum to awaken a city, this is the significance of the opening exhibition for Jining Art Museum. On May 1st, 2019, the opening ceremony at the Jining Art Museum opened the “Spirit of Ink Art: New Creation from Traditional Thoughts and Wisdom”. The exhibition strives to show the creation of new ink paintings from traditional Chinese thoughts and wisdom. The Jining Art Museum, designed by Japanese architect Ryue Nishizawa, is inspired by Confucius’ hometown and presents the collision of Jining’s nature, history, culture and modern architectural aesthetics.
The exhibition was co-sponsored by the Publicity Department of CPC Committee of Jining City, Jining Bureau of Cultural and Tourism, Jining Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and Jining Chengjian Investment Co., Ltd., and undertaken by Jining Chengjian Investment Culture Tourism Industry Co., Ltd. The exhibition is the opening exhibition of the Jining Art Museum and it is also included in the series of exhibitions organized by Jining Art Museum to promote Chinese culture. Dr. Wei Xiangqi who also serves as associate research librarian for the National Art Museum of China, is the curator of this exhibition. 42 masterpieces by a total of 23 renowned artists have been included in the exhibition and they cover calligraphy, sculpture, installation and video. The exhibition showcases the new creations by artists with traditional thoughts and wisdom in a comprehensive and multi-dimensional way.
Jining Art Museum is located in Taibai Lake New District, Jining, Shandong Province. It is the first art museum designed by world famous designer and Pritzker Prize winner Ryue Nishizawa in China. It takes three years to accomplish the construction and the Museum is operated by Jining Chengjian Investment Culture Tourism Co., Ltd. which is affiliated to Jining Chengjian Investment Co., Ltd.
The opening ceremony of the exhibition as well as the art museum was hosted by Zhou Changzheng, Chairman of Jining Federation of Literary and Art Circles, designer Ryue Nishizawa, artist representatives Yuan Wu and Li Yi, and curator Wei Xiangqi, delivered speeches during the ceremony. Liu Chunguang, Party Secretary, Chairman and General Manager of Jining Chengjian Investment Co., Ltd. and Sun Aimin, Deputy Director of the Propaganda Department of Jining Municipal Committee, gave speeches respectively. Artists Qiu Deshu, Zhu Jianzhong, Li Yi, Yuan Wu, Wang Shuye, Xiang Yang, Zhang Quan, Chen Lin, Du Xiaotong, Ye Jianqing, Dang Zhen, Wu Qiang, Song Hui and guests from the Jining Municipal Committee, the Municipal Government as well as journalists from all over the country attended the opening ceremony.
At the opening ceremony, Ryue Nishizawa gave a speech. He was first honoured to be able to design an art museum in Jining, and he expressed thanks for the support and assistance for this project from the Jining Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government to Jining City Investment. Regarding the design concept of the art museum, Nishizawa hopes to show openness and freedom in the space. He hoped that visitors can enjoy and experience the beauty of the museum from different perspectives while enjoying the freedom of walking around the gallery as well as the beauty of the works in the museum. At the same time, Nishizawa said that he had devoted himself to the traditional architectural elements of China in the design. Under the lotus-shaped, free-floating roof, 800,000 blue bricks were used as decorative materials for the building, which perfectly interpreted the relationship between profound Chinese cultural traditions and modern innovative civilization.
Secondly, the artist Yuan Wu addressed the audience. He congratulated the assembly on the success of the exhibition and believed that the Jining Art Museum is a high-standard professional art museum. The exhibition is also a high-standard academic exhibition. The perfect combination of the two benefits from the new demands of China’s economic and cultural development. He expects the Jining Art Museum will uphold its own cultural and academic concepts, to put forward more exciting academic exhibition projects, and establish its own professional brand of art museum.
Then, the participating artist and researcher Li Yi gave a speech. As a native of Jining, he was proud that his hometown was able to have such an excellent art museum and further to hold such a great exhibition with a high academic pursuit. He believes that the design of the Jining Art Museum and the natural integration is very comfortable and “suitable”, which is very contemporary. The exhibition of “Spirit of Ink Art” has a special academic concept, which is very appropriate for the humanistic context of Jining as the hometown of Confucius and Mencius.
Dr. Wei Xiangqi, Curator of the opening exhibition and Deputy Research Librarian of the National Art Museum of China, expressed his gratitude to the Jining Municipal Government and the Jining Art Museum for their work. He also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the participating artists for their large-scale boutique works for this exhibition. He paid tribute to the concept of the Ryue Nishizawa in designing an art Museum, “Jining Art Museum is an art museum with international foundation and an international ability. We hope that the ‘Spirit of Ink Art’ can convey the new charm of Chinese culture today.” Regarding the theme of the exhibition, he said that, “Ink art is important and spirit is more important. Spirit is built by the integration of the individual and the country: artists’ wills and intuitions, reflect the Chinese cultural development in the new epoch!”
Later, Liu Chunguang, Secretary of the party committee, Chairman and General Manager of Jining Chengjian Investment Culture and Tourism Industry Co., Ltd, spoke. He talked about Jining Chengjian Investment will also increase the operation of the museum and introduce more high-level cultural and artistic activities in the future. Meanwhile, the increasing integration of culture and business, will meet the diverse needs of the citizens, achieve complementary cultural and commercial activities and promote the sustainable and healthy development of the museum.
Finally, Sun Aimin, Executive Deputy Director of the Publicity Department of CPC Committee of Jining City, delivered a speech. The successful opening of the museum is a major event in the development of Jining’s cultural undertaking. From the design concept to the architectural style, to the opening exhibition, the Jining Art Museum reflects the contrast between traditional culture and modern art, reflecting the vitality of traditional culture in the contemporary era.
This exhibition consists of five sections, namely Between the Landscape, Light of Memory, Script of Glowing Demeanor, Peace of Mind, Qi of the Ethereal. It stages a wonderful tour for visitors to immerse themselves in the profound and extensive history of China’s cultural spirit and communicates with its vitality and immensity.
The visual form of ink and wash painting is defined by fluidity. The landscape painting through the Five Dynasties to the Song Dynasty (the Northern Song Era and Southern Song Era) captures the magnificence and elegance of the landscape; into the Yuan Dynasty, it is fabulous and simple at the same time; the calligraphy of Wang Xizhi tells of an utmost fascination and expressive force, while Yan Zhenqing’s script emphasizes strength and grandeur. All of which unveils the inherent vitality of the traditional Chinese art language. Nonetheless, it is the profound connotation of Chinese cultural spirit that empowers the incredible creativity. Apparently, these artists explored the visual art language, but more than the art forms, they further gaze into the spirit of man beyond earthly life. The instinctive introspection is deeply rooted in the cultural attributes and temperament of our nation. In addition, these artists can think and feel beyond the boundaries of countries and nations. They set out to contemplate the shared ideological dilemma of man with a pure heart.
We believe this exhibition will convey a message to visitors—traditions and modern art and local and international languages are all a closely interwoven complex. The spirit of ink and wash painting denotes not only the language of the art form per se but also the Chinese aesthetic spirit at large that overrides the art language. We believe every great artist is informed by his original cultural background. What makes them so distinctive is their innovative spirit and aspiration as well as their open academic vision and cultural sentiment which expands their cultural cultivation and ideological horizon.
Instead of rigidly upholding of the patterns of traditional Chinese landscape painting, these artists inherit the essence of this art form, dedicate themselves to an innovative exploration of visual language, and have thus fostered the charm of contemporary Chinese fine art in a new era. Shandong province, and in particular the city of Jining in Shandong, is an important foothold of traditional Chinese culture. Seeking creative development and stimulating the inherent vitality of traditional culture while celebrating traditional culture that will breathe new life into the ancient land—the development of Jining, Shandong would be inconceivable if it could not find its way into the entire Chinese and world cultures. Jining Art Gallery is going to take on the responsibility of fostering the confidence of Chinese cultural spirit in a new era, promoting interaction and integration of various cultures and revitalize the spirit of traditional Chinese culture. It aims to achieve mutual learning that travels between ancient and modern times and China and foreign countries.
Text by Lin Lu, translated and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Photo Courtesy of the Organizer