In order to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (abbr. CAFA), it started the “Hundred Years of Glory” project, which has continuously launched exhibitions and seminars by Xu Beihong, Dong Xiwen, Wang Xun, Luo Gongliu, etc., to research and investigate the artistic spirit of our ancestors. Coinciding with the 90th birthday of Wu Biduan, CAFA presents “Incised Traces: An Exhibition in Honor of Wu Biduan’s Ninetieth Birthday”, which features the works of printmaking, ink and color, oil painting, gouache, watercolor, manga comics, literature illustration, drawing, sketches and so on. This is the first exhibition comprehensively displaying the integral situation of his practice and creations to date.

On September 5, the opening ceremony of the exhibition was held at the CAFA Art Museum, a lot of classmates, colleagues and students of Wu Biduan flocked to congratulate him, some of the guests are over ninety or even nearly one hundred, the senior artists who attended the opening ceremony include Zhou Lingzhao, Huang Yongyu, Lin Gang, Yang Jun, Hou Yimin, Deng Shu, Shao Dazhen, Zhan Jianjun, Zhong Han, Song Yuanwen, Li Hongren, Yang Li, Du Jian, Saone Chang, Sheng Yang and so on. In addition, the Honorary Chairman of the China Artists Association, former President of CAFA Jin Shangyi, President of CAFA, Vice-Chairman of the China Artists Association Fan Di’an, Director of the Academic Committee of CAFA Xu Bing, Vice Chairman of China Artists Association, President of Beijing Fine Art Academy Wang Mingming, Party Secretary of China Artists Association, the Secretary-General Xu Li, Vice President of China National Academy of Arts, Dean of Chinese Academy of Oil Painting Yang Feiyun, Deputy Director of National Art Museum of China Xie Xiaofan, Deputy Director of the National Museum of China Xie Xiaoquan, Vice-Chairman of China Artists Association Wu Changjiang, the former party secretary of CAFA Yang Li, Director of Literature and Arts Division at the Ministry of Culture Liu Dongyan, son of Wang Qi, former Chairman of China Association of Printmakers, former Chairman of the China Association of Calligraphers and Painters Wang Wei, well-known composer, Prof. Du Mingxin from Central Conservatory of Music, Honorary President of China Elderly Cultural Exchange Association Gu Jinming, Prof. Qiu Sha from former Central Academy of Art and Design, researcher Chen Peng from China National Academy of Arts, former Deputy Dean of the School of Animation and Digital Art at the Communication University of China Zhang Jun, etc., in addition to many leaders, honored guests from the art circles and art education circles, as well as representatives of the teachers and students from CAFA attended the opening ceremony. Deputy Party Secretary of CAFA Wang Shaojun presided over the opening ceremony.

President of CAFA Fan Di’an delivered a speech at the opening and said that, the teachers and students of CAFA are familiar with the respected artistic mentor Wu Biduan, who had made contributions to Chinese printmaking and education. In considering, Wu’s art, Fan thought he was a generalist, involved in printmaking, illustration, watercolor, oil painting, ink and color, in the creation of different artistic languages, he had always focused on the needs of the time and people. As an educator, Wu spared no effort in developing the Department of Printmaking at CAFA, actively encouraging the innovation and exploration of teaching, and promoting the establishment of various categories, boldly establishing the studio of serigraphs and the teaching of printmaking at CAFA was an important experience for the development of Chinese education in printmaking.

As a student of Wu Biduan, Director of the Academic Committee of CAFA Xu Bing delivered a speech and said that, Wu had never taken “his art” as extremely important but closely linked it with the nation and country. Xu Bing also mentioned that Wu’s exhibition and his art put forward a question to us on how to promote the art to the extreme in the limited space and we should reflect on this. At the opening ceremony, Wang Wei delivered a speech on behalf of Wang Qi.

Although Wu Biduan calls himself the “man of the past” and CAFA’s teaching has had many changes along with the times, but he still hopes CAFA’s students are cultivated to create the works that people are happy to see. At the opening ceremony, Wu selflessly donated nearly 100 works including representative works of all printmaking categories, as well as the works of ink and color, oil painting, watercolor, 6 sets of original representative works and 102 sketches, which are in the permanent collection of CAFA Art Museum.

“Incised Traces” presents the key notes of the artistic career of Wu Biduan in the time order and it is divided into seven sections: “Engaged in the Revolution (1941-1949)” section presents the early woodcuts, cartoons and drawings created as revolutionary propaganda; “War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-1951)” section features the battle scenes depicting the Korean War by Wu who was as a war correspondent; “Teaching in the Countryside (1950-1976)” section features the creative materials of Wu Biduan who led students to sketch in the countryside while he taught in the Department of Printmaking, CAFA; “Studying in the Soviet Union (1956-1959)” presents the prints created when he studied overseas in the Soviet Union; “Engaged in  Printmaking (1960-2016)” presents the creation and teaching contribution in the field of printmaking after he came back to China; in the “Literature Illustration (1950-2000)”, it displays the achievements in the field of illustration by Wu Biduan, such as the illustrations of literary works “Василий Иванович Чапаев” and “The Iron Flood”, at the same, under his proposal, CAFA established the specialty of illustration, which became the first instance for the discipline of illustration in China; “My Mind in Ink and Color (1960-2016)” showcases another side of Wu Biduan who was as an artist of ink and color, these works reflect the ideological changes accompanying the reform and opening up, as well as the social transformation.

The exhibition also received the Ministry of Culture of China’s 2016 National Art Collection and Donation Award and financial support as well as receiving the support of the Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the art institutions such as China Artists Association, National Art Museum of China and National Museum of China. The exhibition continues to September 25.

Text by Zhang Wenzhi, Photo by Hu Sichen/CAFA ART INFO

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

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