00 Exhibition view of “Mentality”

On the afternoon of February 22, 2017, “Mentality – Wang Shaojun 2016 Watercolor Art Exhibition” opened at the Words of Wisdom Art Space in Beijing. The exhibition showcases about 50 works of watercolor created by Wang Shaojun, a famous artist and Deputy Secretary of CAFA Party Committee when he visited the United Kingdom (Britain), as well as some ceramic works. The exhibition can be regarded as a new extension of the “Mentality” series of exhibitions following the “Mentality – Wang Shaojun Art Exhibition” in 2015, and it is a “periodical summary” of the artist.    

The opening ceremony was presided over by He Xuan, the curator of the exhibition and Deputy Director of the Work Department of the Art Committee at China Artists Association. Wang Huaxiang, Director of the Department of Printmaking, CAFA, Wang Qijun, a professor of CAFA, Director of Watercolor Art Committee at China Artists Association, Zheng Yi, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, Wang Zhong, Dean of the School of Urban Design, CAFA, Guo Cuiping, Chairman of Beijing Huiyu Culture Communication Co., Ltd., an entrepreneurial director of Chinese Economy 50 Forum respectively delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. Honored guests talked about the understanding of Wang Shaojun from different perspectives, that his artistic experience both absorbs the classics of academy education and also meets the artistic exploration and experimental contemporary trends and it is the mentality that stands between the times and reality, going beyond the trend and fashion, making the work have its own form of language. The exhibited works showcase Wang Shaojun’s attempt and expansion in the conversion from the three-dimensional sculpture to the two-dimensional watercolor, and the leisure image of “Character (Jue-er)” created by the artist has never changed.

Wang Shaojun addressed the opening ceremony and said that the creation of the works mainly came from the experience of traveling in the U.K. last year, which was an observation and perception of life. “Character (Jue-er)” is an image continuously created by Wang Shaojun – a bald man dressed in green, Wang Shaojun said that he used the image of “Character (Jue-er)” to express feelings and thinking on life. There are two meanings of “Character (Jue-er)”: on the one hand, it refers to the bald man in green with a high degree of personalization and identification that has been created recently by the artist, the “Character (Jue-er)” is like an actor who can continue to play a variety of “roles”, and it is a true portrayal of all living things in society; on the other hand, it tries to convey the artist’s view of life, view of art – when he faces the requirements of the outside world, he is able to be instinctively detached, holding himself aloof from the world, as if there is a physical and mental separation. Wang Shaojun said that, “Life is like a play where I am living, but I have never felt it is important to enter the role.”

In 2015, Wang Shaojun first presented an exhibition with the concept of “Mentality” at the CAFA Art Museum. President of CAFA Fan Di’an considered his state of creation as a “new state of the literati”, which is summarized as “mentality” – it reveals the necessary mentality of the artist who perfects himself, improves himself and realm in numerous cultural environments. Although the show still applies the concept of “mentality”, most of his works are small-scale watercolor paintings, and the most well-known sculptural works are not shown. Curator of the exhibition He Xuan said that, whether his sculptures or watercolor paintings, ceramics or seals, Wang Shaojun has always placed himself in his own unique observation dimension and appears to have a free state of mind, while returning to a spiritual home that balances the ontology of the artist and the external environment, “the uncertain state of the absence of creation is precisely a reflexive narrative, and also his self-confidence in himself and his own culture, the practice of a cultural worker, it is of great meaning for enlightenment in the current real context of expectation of returning to the traditional Chinese road.

The exhibition remains on view till March 28, 2017.

Text by Lin Jiabin, Photo by Hu Sichen/CAFA ART INFO

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

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