“Korean Artists Association in China” was established in Beijing on January 4, 2013. According to statistics, there are more or less 1000 artists that have studied arts or participated in art exhibitions in China after the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Korea. They have witnessed the tremendous changes in Chinese art over the last two decades, in order to show the collective creative look that promotes an active exchange with the Chinese art circle, expanding the field of cultural exchanges between the two countries, the association was established. The Established Exhibition was held at the Korean Cultural Center in Beijing, China, from March 29 – April 10, 2013. CAFA ART INFO took this opportunity to have an interview with Ryu-siho, Vice President of the Korean Artists Association.
Ryu-siho (Korean) was born in Jecheon, Korea in 1962, alias Gengmoxuanren, Youtang. He came to Beijing to pursue degrees at CAFA from 2004, he graduated from the Department of Chinese Painting, with a bachelor’s degree, under the tutelage of Li Tiesheng, Shi Guoliang, Tang Yongli, Cui Xiaodong, Yao Mingjing, Chen Ping, etc., and a master’s degree, instructed by Li Tieshen. Currently he is a PhD student instructed by Lu Yushun. He had five solo exhibitions in Seoul and Cheongju and Yangzhou. He participated in Xiangtan, China Qi Baishi International Culture and Art Festival and over 110 domestic and international exhibitions. He has been exhibited by the French Gallery Invitation displays personal works at Shanghai Art Fair. He won an award in the Central Academy of Fine Arts Graduation Exhibition and his works are often found in extensive collections.
Could you tell me what kind of media is used in your creations?
Currently I create in ink and wash paintings, mainly on landscape.
Could you tell us the reason why the “Korean Artists Association was established?
It is over two decades since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Korea. A collective art institution never appeared and most of the Korean artists in China create by themselves. As the communication and exchange with Korean artists was poor, I advocated the establishment of the Association and served as the vice president. It was started in September last year, and established on January 4. The first president of the Association is Jaerim Park, who has lived in China for six years. Park is a jewelry designer and teaches in Tokyo University of the Arts, Japan.
What do you think about the development of Chinese contemporary art?
Chinese contemporary art began to appear in the world art arena in the 1980s and 1990s, many artists of international influence were known, I still remember that, when I saw the works by Xu Bing and other Chinese artists in the Gwangju Biennale of the 1990s, I was really surprised.
I think there are a lot of possibilities for the development of contemporary Chinese art, at the same time there are some problems, firstly, many forms of art are prevalent in Chinese contemporary art that lack the character of the period and society, except for the odd forms, which often mislead the public understanding and acceptance of “contemporary art”. The main reason for appearing with this phenomenon originates from the misunderstanding and acceptance of Western art, caused by the lack of the education of Western art.
Secondly, I visited more than twenty pre-auction exhibitions and art fairs last year, finding that most of these institutions are dominated by noted star artists, on the contrary, little space was left for most of the artists. This phenomenon is the result of the competition of art institutions for the purpose of their own interests, which will become worse with time.
How do Korean artists living in China think about the local contemporary art in Korea?
I think the majority of Korean artists in China, both working in Chinese painting and oil painting, when in Korea, they are concerned with the development process of Chinese contemporary art. At the same time, they are not satisfied with local contemporary art in Korea, or think they need to develop, or think the scope of art is too small in Korea. China has already been the mainstream art area of the world, which is one of the reasons why they choose to engage in artistic activities in China.
What do you think about the current status in the development of local contemporary art in Korea?
As far as I know, Korean landscape painting uses a Western perspective, along with the study of Japanese painting techniques, similar to Western watercolor landscape, which is called “Real Landscape Painting” or “Landscape Painting”.
How many members are there in the “Korean Artists Association in China”? Who joins it and how can one join it?
There are more than 80 artists in the Association in Beijing, among 43 artists participate in the exhibition. We don’t restrict the eligibility for membership, currently the members are basically of a professional degree.
Could you introduce the source of funds at present? Is this a civil social organization? Is it administratively subordinated to the Korean Cultural Center?
The established exhibition and the related activities were supported by the Korea Foundation. In the future, we will collect funds through auctions, exhibitions and other artistic activities. “Korean Artists Association is a civil organization, an independent institute.
What does the Association provide for members? What obligations do members have?
The association provides various art activities, such as the Sino-Korea Art Exchange Exhibition, annual exhibition of the Association, and participation in a variety of artistic activities related to the development of Chinese art circles. About the obligations, as long as the artists persist in the individual creations, and participate in the annual exhibition of the members.
Has the Association established a relationship with the official art institutions in China?
We are in close contact with the China National Academy of Painting and Beijing Fine Art Academy, to establish more exchange opportunities.
Could you introduce the daily schedule of the association? What do you plan? Do you plan a long-term series of exhibitions?
The Association is newly established, and currently without any plan. However, we will open a door to collect all the opinions and suggestions. According to the Charter of the Association, we don’t only hold art activities, but also service in public welfare activities, such as visiting and taking care of people in orphanages, nursing homes, etc., or arranging artists to participate in a variety of environmental activities.
Journalist: Zhu Li,Transcripts: Yu Ya/ CAFA ART INFO
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO