Zhan Jianjun, “Five Heroes on Langya Mountain”, oil on canvas, 185 x 200 cm, collection Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution

Zhan Jianjun, “Five Heroes on Langya Mountain”, oil on canvas, 185 x 200 cm, collection Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution

As a representative figure of the third generation of Chinese oil painters, Zhan Jianjun was a talented artist that dominated a period of Chinese modern art, while “Zhan Jianjun’s Documentary Art Exhibition” not only combs through the art life of this older artist, but also intends to be a cross-section to show the entire process of Chinese modern oil painting. The documentary show takes time as the main clue with important works of various periods as the junction points, from period to production, through the works, especially the related sketches, drawings, and drafts, as much as possible to reproduce the artist’s art creation process, this is supplemented with historical objects and photographs to render a three-dimensional image of Zhan Jianjun, as an artist, teacher, and creator of oil painting.

Zhan Jianjun’s portrait

Zhan Jianjun’s Portrait

Zhan Jianjun was born in Shenyang in 1931, moved to Beijing along with his father during his childhood, as a teenager he went to Beiping “Xuelu Painting Club” to study traditional Chinese meticulous figure painting. In 1948, Zhan Jianjun was admitted to the National Beiping Art School to study Western painting, under the tutelage of Xu Beihong, Wu Zuoren, Ai Zhongxin, etc. He studied in the Department of Colored Ink when he was a master student, following the “Dunhuang Art Investigation Group” led by Ye Qianyu, going to the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang to copy ancient paintings. Following this he studied in the Soviet Union’s expert Maksimov’s oil painting course, held at CAFA where he began to focus on a systematic study of oil painting. In 1957, he taught in the academy after graduation, serving in the 3rd Studio directed by Dong Xiwen.

Zhan Jianjun created “Start” in Beijing

Zhan Jianjun created “Start” in Beijing

Zhan Jianjun,  “Start”, oil on canvas, 140 x 348 cm, 1957, Collection of CAFA Art Museum

Zhan Jianjun, “Start”, oil on canvas, 140 x 348 cm, 1957, Collection of CAFA Art Museum

Zhan Jianjun, Heroes on Langya Mountain, drawing

Zhan Jianjun, Heroes on Langya Mountain, drawing

Throughout Zhan Jianjun’s history of art, he moved several times between Chinese and Western art, and constantly colliding and creating fusion, accumulating diversified artistic ideas, profound artistic techniques, and unique artistic characteristics. “Start” the graduation works in the Maksimov’s oil painting course, won the bronze award of the Sixth World Youth Festival International Art Competition, which made the graduated young artist famous. Although “Five Heroes in the Langya Mountain”, a creation themed revolutionary history, is a “proposition works” created for the Museum of Chinese History (now named National Museum of China), the successful exploration of artistic language makes it a representative work which is full of enlightened meaning of the time.

After the Cultural Revolution, it was a time when it’s urgent to remove the erosion of “red, light, bright” politics into art, Zhan Jianjun went to Qinghai, Gansu , Yunnan, Sichuan and so on, and deep into the lives of citizens, using plenty of outside light in sketches to seek an artistic sense which was close to nature and reality.

Zhan Jianjun, “Ling Ni”, oil on canvas, 117 x 91 cm, 1983

Zhan Jianjun, “Ling Ni”, oil on canvas, 117 x 91 cm, 1983

Zhan Jianjun, “Female Nude”, 1985; oil on canvas, 80 x 112 cm

Zhan Jianjun, “Female Nude”, 1985; oil on canvas, 80 x 112 cm

“Song of the Plateau”, the representative work of this period shows the thaw and recovery of culture, the fresh air cleaned the domestic art world, and won widespread sympathy. In the late 1980s, the art subjects of Zhan Jianjun gradually shifted from the figure to landscape, ancient Chinese painting focused on an expression of ambition by borrowing things, his works of landscape also convey a strong sense of subjectivity, lyricism. Those populus diversifolia, horses, new vines express the artist’s unwavering, independent and uninhibited, flourishing and tenacious spirit. From Realism to Impressionism, strokes are more sophisticated, and colors are more sensual, of an increasingly calm and wanton emotion.

In addition to deepening the self artistic exploration, as a teacher, Zhan Jianjun has always held a tolerant academic mind and equal academic attitude to accept the artistic experimentation of the young artists. He led the 3rd Studio of CAFA, which fostered a lot of talents, such as Liu Xiaodong, Yu Hong, Xie Dongming, Hong Ling, forming their own artistic looks with his inclusion, affirmation, and encouragement.

In 1985, Zhan Jianjun was elected as the Director of Oil Painting Art Committee of Chinese Artists Association, and served as the President of China Oil Painting Society in 1995. As the most influential practitioner of “China School” in Chinese oil painting circles, one of the leaders of Chinese oil painting circles, Zhan Jianjun has made an outstanding contribution in promoting the development of contemporary oil painting, in January 2013, he was awarded “Chinese Art Award • Lifetime Achievement Award”, jointly by the Ministry of Culture, China Federation of Literature & Art Circles, and Chinese Artists Association.

About the exhibition

Duration: September 27 – October 7, 2013

Venue: Poly Art Museum

Opening Reception: 16: 30 pm, on September 27, 2013

Address: Cloud Building F6, New Poly Plaza Chaoyangmen North Avenue No.1, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China

Host: Poly Art Center

Organizers: China Oil Painting Society, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, Beijing Poly International Auction Co., Ltd.

Tel: 010 -64082564

Contact E-mail: ddyh@polyauction.com

Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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