00 Poster of “Inheritance of Brush and Ink – Four Decades of Zhang Lichen’s Teaching”

Celebrating the 75th birthday of Zhang Lichen, “Inheritance of Brush and Ink – Four Decades of Zhang Lichen’s Teaching” exhibition opened at CAFA Art Museum, on the morning of September 29, 2013, to be one of the most important projects in “Celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the Establishment of CAFA”. The exhibition started on the opening day going through to October 16, presented on the ground floor hall and gallery 3B, CAFA Art Museum, underground teaching exhibition hall.

Ahead of the opening of the exhibition, the press conference of the exhibition was held at the VIP room of CAFA Art Museum, presided over by Professor Li Yang, Deputy Dean of the School of Chinese Painting, CAFA, Professor Tang Yongli, Dean of the School of Chinese Painting, CAFA, Doctoral Supervisor, Liu Jian, Head of the Art Branch of Higher Education Press, publisher of six articles on the exhibition, all addressed as representatives of art institutes. Professor Zhang Lichen subsequently shared his decades of sentiment and understanding for the development and teaching of Chinese painting with the media, in addition, he referred to the part of student exhibition showcasing “the combination of Chinese traditional teaching methods and the teaching methods of the academy”, as well as “the combination of the record of formal schooling and education without degrees”, and the whole exhibition aims to ask questions, to discuss the development and teaching of Chinese painting.

When the opening ceremony officially began at half past ten, the scene was crowded and roaring. The opening ceremony was presided over by Tang Yongli, Dean of the School of Chinese Painting, CAFA, presented a large number of honored guests, including the teachers and students of CAFA and the China Academy of Art, veterans of fine art circles, noted Chinese painters, artistic insiders, etc. Pan Gongkai, President of CAFA, Wang Zan, Vice President of China Academy of Art, Feng Yuan, Deputy Director of Central Literati and History Hall, Liu Jian, General Secretary of China Artists Association, representative of Zhang Lichen’s students, etc. respectively gave a speech. Finally Zhang and his wife Hu Ping came to the stage and thanked the guests.

Zhang Lichen is an outstanding representative of contemporary large freehand paintings of flowers and birds, educator of Chinese painting. Fisher, Heyiyutong/Seclusion Fisherman as his style names, Zhang was born in Pei County of Jiangsu Province in 1939. He graduated from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts in 1965, once cultivated by Pan Tianshou, etc. later he was appreciated and promoted by Li Kuchan, Jiang Zhaohe, Liu Haisu, Li Keran, Ye Qianyu, Wu Zuoren, Liu Lingcang, Qi Gong, Xu Linlu, Cui Zifan, Zhu Qizhan, Cheng Shifa, Hua Junwu, Tian Shiguang, etc., integrating the southern and northern advantages, to become an eclectic artist. He taught at the CAFA in 1977. Currently he is a doctoral tutor of CAFA and a member of the Discipline Committee of the School of Chinese Painting, CAFA.

Zhang Lichen has made a great contribution to the education and curriculum development of Chinese painting. In the 1980s, there was an idea to negate the value and existent meaning of traditional Chinese painting appearing in the art world, facing the fashion of the time, Zhang insisted on tradition, as well as innovation of brush and ink. Zhang published “Brush and Ink Structure of Chinese Painting” in the “Art Research” magazine in 1983; the second draft of “Discussion of Brush and Ink Structure of Chinese Painting” was published in “China Fine Art News” in 1989, throughout the article, he talked about the characteristics, performance methods, modelling methods, as well as language of ink and wash in Chinese painting, to explain the freehand features of Chinese painting, emphasizing the aesthetic value and aesthetic significance of Chinese painting. Zhang’s morality and creation, as well as the outstanding achievements he gained in the Chinese painting teaching field over the decades, has always been respected, embraced and identified in painting circles. Through his writing and teaching, we see that he has a strong self-conscious and sober value judgment to the Chinese traditional culture, as a practitioner of the creation of Chinese Painting.

This exhibition aims to showcase Zhang Lichen’s educational ideas, teaching methods and achievements over the four decades of his teaching career. The exhibition makes use of the architecture of academic literati, containing literature, works of the teacher and his students. In the text part, the use of historical materials such as painting quotations, pictures of art life, videos and records, etc, visually shows the inherent context of Zhang’s artistic creation and teaching trajectory – that is his strong advocacy of “Spirit of China” and “Spirit of Freehand”. In the section on teacher and student’s works, it features more than 200 Chinese paintings of representative meaning, by about 150 artists, three-dimensionally rendering how Zhang and his students adhere to traditional pen and ink in Chinese painting, and search for innovation and change. Through a rational arrangement, there are three alternated exhibition spaces for the showcase: ground floor hall: text materials; gallery 3B: Zhang’s art life, the artist and parts of his students’ works; underground teaching hall: his students’ works.

At 14:00 on the opening day, discussions of the “Inheritance of Brush and Ink – Four Decades of Zhang Lichen’s Teaching” was held at the Audio-Visual Lecture Hall at Building 5, CAFA, where the atmosphere was warm and lively.

About the exhibition

Duration: September 29 – October 16, 2013

Venue: ground floor hall and gallery 3B, CAFA Art Museum, underground teaching exhibition hall

Opening Time: 10:30 am, on October 29, 2013

Host: CAFA, China Academy of Art, the Central Literary and History Museum, China Artists Association

Organizers: School of Chinese Painting, CAFA, CAFA Art Museum

Curator: Wang Huangsheng

Executive Curators: Tang Yongli, Li Yang, Chen Ping, Yu Guanghua, Yue Qianshan, Guo Huang, Tang Shu-an, He Wenlong, Zhu Zhenzhong, Wu Peng, Li Wei

Photo: Hu Zhiheng, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO.

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