To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the reform and opening up, Jin Rilong’s solo exhibition is held, which is an opportunity for him to reorganize his own artistic exploration while showcasing his accomplishments. Although the scale of an exhibition is always limited, most of the works he presents in this exhibition are recent creations, behind them is a reflection of his art alongside his growth, or it can be put in another way, his recent works were born from his experiences and practices over years, as recent events are connected with the past ones, his new creations come from his accumulation of knowledge.
The epoch of reform and opening up is full of changes, and everyone who lives and grows in this epoch identified with it. For artists living and growing in this epoch, the transitions in the Chinese cultural environment which were brought by the reform and opening up, have directly provided opportunities and challenges. Among the trends of epochal culture, an individual’s exploration and pursuit cannot remain unfettered by external conditions, thus both the ideological concept and expressive language correspond to the “changing” trends. Jin Rilong has showed his artistic talent since he was young. He is a Korean and he used to live on the northeastern border. In such an area where artistic conditions were not sufficient, by virtue of his enthusiasm and passion for art, he was enrolled in the Central Academy of Fine Arts for his outstanding disposition in art and therefore he has become a member on the art road of reforming and opening up epoch; He studied in Studio I in the Department of Oil Painting, Central Academy of Fine Arts, under the influences of Western traditions of oil painting and realistic style, he has formed a comparatively solid ability in figurative modeling; Later he turned to research in design and he studied in art schools in Korea for a long time, after returning to China, he taught in design discipline and focused on design and media art. These “changes” among his individual research and creative experiences have enabled him to make great achievements in various fields which also reflected his “changing” career. Moreover his shift from the original realistic style to current abstract expression embodies a more obvious change. Martin Heidegger once talked about the changes of languages as the derivative of spoken expressions, and the essence of this change is the transformation in “being of Dasein.” By observing the artistic changes of Jin Rilong, it is not difficult for us to detect the influences of the changing world on an artist.
However, the most valuable quality of an artist does not lie in his changes in art styles, but in his constant spiritual pursuit. The relationship between “changes” and “conservation” is a dialectical organism and a dynamic form in the developments that they interact and mutually motivate. “Changes” are the appearance while “conservation” is the essence, therefore Jin Rilong’s art especially his large number of paintings with abstract forms, can be closely related to his artistic motives and the spiritual world. In the perspective of “conservation”, his art has at lest two distinct characteristics: first of all, his research on the regularities of visual modeling has deepened. From realism to design, and further to abstraction, among his expressions that span a broad scope, he always pays attention to the research of art forms, especially the forms of pivotal structure. Among the paintings he created in his early years, his ability to transform the images of his life experience into the structures of art compositions can be found. His works are always full of a strong sense of form, while combining the figurative realistic style with the beauty of the abstract form. The layout of images, the tones of black and white light and shadow, the distribution of points, lines and surfaces as well as other aspects in his paintings, reflect his explorations focused on forms, thereby he constructs the beauty of rhythm in his creations and forms innovations he conveys the artistic theme with a visual form. After turning to paintings in the abstract form, he further took the “construction” as his subject of exploration and research. He has tried a variety of media, thus he has either intruded on the different attributes of materials and made them become the carriers for his sensory feelings, or he has paid more attention to the diversified techniques in graphic performance with the combination of sensible portrayal and rational control. In terms of form and structure, he has remained flexible in various “manipulations”, they can be either comprehensively displayed, on a wide surface; or with dense lines which result in a tight texture; or through adjacent hues, forming soothing lyrics; or with contrasting colors to trigger strong tension. It is commendable that he pays attention to the interlaced texture within the structure, which means he does not only research the superficial forms of painting, he also stresses its deepening layers. He makes use of multiple level processing among thick and thin layers to achieve a rich and profound visual effect in his paintings. These explorations of formal languages have enabled him to accumulate sufficient visual experience to present his individual style with “conservative” significance.
Secondly, his pursuit of artistic quality has been constantly developed. The Central Academy of Fine Arts has a long history of education and it has a profound academic accumulation. The important traditions formed by generations of artists in epochal development, on the one hand reflect the reality of social life in ideology and on the other hand embody the outstanding quality of art noumenon. This quality is an accumulation of comprehensive cultivation as well as the benchmark of a visual experience. Whether with the inheritance of education or the common characteristics of creation, “quality” has become the self-consciousness and lifelong pursuit of artists from the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Jin Rilong has studied and taught art in such an academic atmosphere, thus he has naturally formed his perception, analysis and comprehension of quality. Although figurative work and abstraction seemingly belong to various language systems on morphology, for Jin Rilong, quality remains the authentic value of an artwork. He is keenly aware that abstract painting is not the eruption of enthusiasm, but the concentration, purification and sublimation of spirit in the state of freedom, and it enhances the altitude of character, taste and quality in the process of portraying. The quality of “taste” is the fundamental standard of an artwork. As he has a rich experience in realistic modeling, after he turned to abstract expression, he emphasizes both the gracefulness and clarity in painting structures, as well as the pure and advanced tones and colors in his pictures, furthermore he has formed an elegant style especially in the contrasting relationship between the brightness of colors and grey tones. Also, he pays attention to the rhythm of visual effects in controlling the material characteristics and brushstroke texture, so that his work has a fascinating artistic conception which is amenable to visual inspection. This pursuit of quality is exactly the goal that Jin Rilong has persisted in throughout his artistic career, which reflects his spiritual affiliation and conscious pursuit as an academic artist.
In regards to his works that are displayed in this exhibition, Jin Rilong’s artistic motives and creative themes are unique. Abstract painting has become a pioneering style in the developing process of modern Western art as it has its own academic context and is diversified in form. The abstract expressions of Chinese artists should be innovative and unique and they paved their own paths with an abstract style, which Jin Rilong has been intensely aware of. In my opinion, his work focuses on the concept of “Geschehnis” in Chinese art tradition. On the one hand, he takes the vitality of expressing “form” as the point of entry, such as the series of “Celebration and Sacrifice”, lines circle round in recurrences, in an overwhelming state, the unconscious flow of strokes and lines construct into an abstract structure, creating a vigorous vitality. The dynamic sense in his paintings might come from his dynamic perception in media art creation, or it can be taken as an abstract summary and symbolic expression of reality in the dynamic changes of the external world or it reflects the simultaneous resonance which his inner emotional rhythm responds to in the external world. On the other hand, he also connects natural life through meditation in the process of painting. Taking the life meaning of “form” as his starting point, he reveals this in his “Lotus Pond” series. Each of this series has its own tonality and the “images” in them such as the new green sprouts on the earth, blue elves in moonlit nights, a splendid jungle in the autumn wind…This figurative interpretation might constitute a misunderstanding footnote, but Jin Rilong has always had abundant and delicate feelings for things, and deep in this heart he retains a longing for natural life and modality, thus it is not hard for us to understand the motivation that impels him to portray the inherent relevance with the natural life and atmosphere. All of these aspects have been reflected his meditation on “changes” and “conservation” as well as psychological imprints in his pursuit and explorations. His art is the crystallization jointly” generated” by mental, emotional and life-concerned consciousness.
At the End of 2018
Courtesy of the artist | Edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO