01 featured image of the opening ceremony

On October 17, 2017, hosted by the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Jingdezhen Municipal People’s Government, “Echo of Civilization: To Ingenuity” opened at Taoxichuan Art Museum, and Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, served as the academic director, Yue Jieqiong, Director of the Collaborative Innovation Office at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Prof. Lyu Yue from the School of Design, the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and Zhang Peng, Deputy Director of the Silk Road Art Research Collaborative Innovation Office at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, served as curators. The exhibition focuses on the creative transformation and innovative development of traditional artistry in the form of jade carvings, clay sculptures, Chinese zither, ceramics, batik, melting copper, clothing and so on, and it explains the perception and practice of contemporary art on the “spirit of artisan.”

“Echo of Civilization” is a series of exhibitions initiated by the Central Academy of Fine Arts, devoted to a discussion on the relationship between traditional cultural resources and contemporary art. In 2017, it launched the first grand show entitled “Echo of Civilization – Chinese Craftsmen”, bringing together the selected works by the ancient and modern craftsmen, with the display offering a comparison and clearly presenting a context on the heritage. On the basis of “Chinese Craftsmen” it further excavates the thematic connotation of the exhibition, refined and extended to the exhibition of “To Ingenuity”. Yue Jieqiong, the curator of the exhibition introduced the fact that the exhibition did not only showcase the work of 45 artists, but it also showcases their life experiences and the studies of traditional skills, among some exhibitors’ practices and thoughts of traditional crafts that have penetrated into daily life.

The spirit of the traditional craftsmen has always been the topic continuously attended by the field of art. As the academic director of the exhibition Fan Di’an said in the preface to the exhibition: the spirit of the artisan of Chinese civilization and cultural creation has a long history, with numerous profound thoughts, excellent ideas and exquisite skills, making an impressive sight for heritage. It is an important resource for contemporary art creation and cultural construction.

The artistic creation and craftsmen’s spirit & skill seem to not be the most important elements in the field of contemporary art, while the creation focuses on the visual presentation, the composition of ideas and the expression of concepts. Even in the field of public life, “ingenuity” has also been gradually digested by mass industrial production. In fact, in the early discussion on art, the art and skills were not separated, while artists and craftsmen also had the same identity connotation. But along with the continuous understanding and interpretation of the concept of “art”, especially when the mechanical reproduction, images, 3D technology are popular though at present, the “art” and “skills” are separated, and the skills are even considered insignificant, the discussions on the “spirit of artisan” and “ingenuity” also increasingly rests on the category of crafts and the folk. When the participating artist, senior producer of Chinese zither Wang Peng talked about culture, he said that “culture is to do the right thing in the right space at the right time with the right person”, “To Ingenuity” is the right thing that people should do now. This exhibition does not only reflect the contemporary artists’ attitude of making it better than the traditional skills of paper-cut, jade carving, pottery, but also reflects their transformation and exploration of an extension by combining it with the contemporary art context based on the skills.

This exhibition is an important part of the “2017 Taoxichuan Art Week”, which has also a special cultural significance and will be held in Taoxichuan of Jingdezhen. With a huge accumulation Taoxichuan has been rebuilding the ceramic industrial plants, so “To Ingenuity” is held in place and allows the millennial traditional culture to be full of vitality and wisdom in facing the present and future, which pays tribute to the spirit of the artisan of the predecessors and brings tradition into a contemporary context, profoundly presenting the core of life of the Chinese culture and the creation of context, in response to the requirements of the times, forging ahead to create a lofty spirit of the times and contemporary culture with a distinctive national style. The exhibition remains on view till December 17.

Text and photo by Zhang Wenzhi/CAFA ART INFO

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

About the Exhibition

Title: Echo of Civilization – To Ingenuity

Academic Chair: Fan Di’an

Curators: Yue Jieqiong, Lyu Yue, Zhang Peng

Organizers: The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Jingdezhen Municipal People’s Government

Co-organizer: Jingdezhen Taoyi Cultural Development Co., Ltd.

Undertakers: the Silk Road Art Research Collaborative Innovation Office at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Taoxichuan Art Museum


Ma Ke, Wang Chuan, Wang Shaojun, Wang Lei, Wang Peng, Wang Yingsheng, Lu Zhengyuan, Ning Gang, Lyu Jinquan, Lyu Pinchang, Lyu Yue, Lyu Xiongxin, Zhu Bingren, Zhu Jinghua, Qiao Cun, Qiao Xiaoguang, Wu Jian’an, Liu Xiangqun, Tang Zhiyi, Sun Yun, Li Dan, Li Qiang, Li Hongbo, Li Zhan, Wu Xiaohai, Qiu Zhijie, Song Hongquan, Zhang Fan, Zhang Wei, Zhang Ye, Zhang Defeng, Chen Liping, Chen Qi, Shao Fan, Lin Cunzhen, Ouyang Ningming, Zhuo Fan, Yan Feng, Xiao Li, Cao Liang, Zhang Yanzi, Liang Yuan, Sui Jianguo, Kuai Zhenghua, a creative team of murals (Sun Jingbo, Wang Yingsheng, Dong Zhuo, Yue Yang, Ma Xin, Liang Zichuan, Zhuang Yuan, Sun Minjie)

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