Chinese lacquer is a gift from god, shining with splendor through history and coming to us from the Hemudu culture. The character of lacquer is deep and implicit, its life does not cease to exist as an utensil. The demands for lacquer will always be fulfilled even with the change of time and space Chinese lacquer, has existed from 7,000 years ago until today, it never lacks as an inheritance piece or an object of bearing.
Shen Kelong (b.1964) and his works are inherited using lacquer. It was better to say that the acquaintance of the Asia Art Center and Shen Kelong was fate not a coincidence. In this coming autumn, Asia Art Center (Beijing) will present “Contemplation on History– Shen Kelong Lacquer Art Exhibition”, and in the exhibition the artist will discuss the ancient and contemporary lacquer culture with us, making us feel the mild and exquisite texture of the lacquer.
Getting involved is a way that Shen Kelong expresses art; contemplation is a way of lacquer telling history. Learning calligraphy from a child, Shen Kelong uses literacy like the ancient literati, the dignity in the artistic temperature and refinement of the spiritual character, which makes him unique among contemporary artists and those engaged in lacquer art. Shen Kelong’s works are just like Tsao Hsueeh-Chin’s aesthetics view of “numerous but not boring, colorful but not annoying”. Shen Kelong uses lacquer as pure art to express his designs, taking the natural lacquer as the main media, and creating lacquer works rich in contemporary art. The works that will be exhibited in this exhibition are created by Shen Kelong spending plenty of time and vigor, including “Dream in the Deserted Garden” series, “Antique” series, “Buddha” series and the abstract works etc., and a large lacquer work will be shown in the exhibition.
Shen Kelong’s lacquer works, no matter plain lacquer paintings or solid utensils, contain the rich Chinese philosophy and aesthetics. Mounting the cloth, scraping the ash and the lacquer layer by layer creates concave-convex figures and gardens in the picture, and creates touching stories. In the depth of the courtyard, someone seems to be singing in a low voice; behind the rocky design, it seems lovers are whispering… “Dream in the Deserted Garden” was created by Shen Kelong with sincere hues and a simple technique, and we can’t help recalling its remote atmosphere and gentle temperament beyond description. The beauty of lacquer lies in its rich expressions and extensive inclusion with the special taste and romantic charm of the Orient. With linen as the conforming material, the negative form shows a proudly independent official hat chair, if standing beside it, you have to be serious. The heavy history digests the comparison of its texture – the exquisiteness of lacquer has plasticity and blends with the roughness of linen in competing and presenting the works’ internal oriental spirit. Meanwhile inheriting the tradition, Shen Kelong’s works also add to the mode of composition of modern painting: all the Buddha statues do not sit in the center of the picture, but show their Buddha’s light in the mist, or overlook the Buddhas in the cave across mountains and sea, seemingly the wall painting is stripped from the cliff then mottled and non-existent through 1,000 years, then become immortal.
It is better to say that lacquer is a mirror rather than a material, and in this mirror Shen Kelong sees his own reflection and the transformation of lacquer over many years, and the oriental spirit that finally precipitates through the long river of history. Involvement in lacquer made Shen Kelong walk in the long process of history and muse in it. Today, the changes of time come up with challenges to the cultural heritage, and Shen Kelong is still continually exploring how to blend historical details and contemporary presentations, creating works with spirits. From September 22nd, 2012, Asia Art Center (Beijing) invites you to walk into Shen Kelong’s lacquer art world, feeling the precipitation of the 1,000 civilizations and the new cognition and newly discover traditional culture.
About the Exhibition
Title: Contemplation on History: Shen Kelong Lacquer Art Exhibition
Duration: 2012-09-22 ~ 2012-11-18
Opening: 2012.9.22(Sat) 3:00pm
Venue: Asia Art Center (Beijing)
Address: 100015 No.2, Jiuxianqiao Rd., Dashanzi 798 Art District, Chaoyang District, Beijing, China
Courtesy of the artist and Asia Art Center, for further informaion please visit www.asiaartcenter.org.