2017 was the 100th anniversary year of the birth of Zong Qixiang. It was a year in which the academic community has gradually begun to pay attention to Zong Qixiang and his artistic achievements. Since this year, the public can understand Zong Qixiang more comprehensively through various exhibitions. During this year, three exhibitions were open to the public, namely, “Harmonized Beauty: The One Hundred Anniversary of the Birth of Zong Qixiang” held by CAFA Art Museum from June to August, “Extraordinary Splendour of Art: Zong Qixiang Centenary Birthday Exhibition” held by Jiangsu Art Museum from September to October, and “Born for Painting: Art Exhibition Celebrating the Centenary of the Birth of Zong Qixiang” held by the National Art Museum of China from November to December.
These three exhibitions systematically documented Zong Qixiang’s artistic career and gradually realized the fullness of the image of Zong Qixiang via not only introducing his motifs of art creation regarding his home country, the society and art itself but also involving a glance of his life stories and experience.
2019, based on the academic achievements of exhibitions in the CAFA Art Museum and the National Art Museum of China, the two publications—“Harmonized Beauty: The One Hundred Anniversary of the Birth of Zong Qixiang” and “Born for Painting: 20th-Century Chinese Painting Master Zong Qixiang”, showcase the success of the whole series of anniversary events of Zong Qixiang’s centenary birthday. At 10:00 am, 8th of September, 2019, “Born for Painting and Harmonized Beauty—the Launch Event of Zong Qixiang’s New Publications” was held in Shixiang Space.
Yu Yang, Director of the Chinese Painting Research Department at CAFA and Deputy Director of the National Thematic Art Creation Research Center, Wu Xueshan, Professor of the School of Humanities at CAFA, Li Yaochen, Director of the Collection Department at CAFA Art Museum, An Yuanyuan, Deputy Director of the National Art Museum of China, Wang Xiaomei, Former Director of the Collection Department of the National Art Museum of China, Gao Lizhi, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Beijing Publishing House and Editor-in-Charge of “Harmonized Beauty: The One Hundred Anniversary of the Birth of Zong Qixiang”, Bai Xue, Editor-in-Charge of “Harmonized Beauty: The One Hundred Anniversary of the Birth of Zong Qixiang”, Li Geng, Artist and Dean of Li Keran Academy of Painting, Wang Hongxun, Chinese Ink Painter and Former General Manager of Rong Bao Zhai Auction, Zhou Zhilong, Member of the Chinese Artists Association, Researcher at of Li Keran Academy of Painting and Professor at National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, Fu Yixin, Professor of Art Research Institute at Minzu University of China, Member of the Chinese Artists Association and Consultant of China Landscape Art Academy, Qiu Zhaoming, Director of the Chinese Painting Society at the Chinese Artists Association, Director of China Female Artists Association, Researcher of the Chinese Ink Painting and Calligraphy Department at the Chinese Literature and History Museum and Editor of the People’s Fine Arts Publishing House, Wu Lizhu, Art Editor and Member of the Chinese Artists Association, Wu Pingmei, Zong Qixiang’s wife, Zong Haiping, Zong Qixiang’s son, and Li Dajun, Founder of Shixiang Art Space, attended the launch event and the seminar.
The participating guests exchanged ideas regarding Zong Qixiang and his artistic and educational achievements roughly from three perspectives. Specifically, the academic circles explored Zong Qixiang based on his artistic features, motifs and subjects of art creation as well as his life and study experience. In addition to the formal academic research on Zong Qixiang and his art, the family members and students of Zong Qixiang recalled the memories in terms of the details of daily life and school days in a more sensible way. Those vivid stories in the past enable the image of master Zong Qixiang to be integrated. Furthermore, two editors from the Beijing Publishing House represented the ideas from the perspective of normal spectators and readers. They believed that apart from academic research outcomes of Zong Qixiang’s art, the efforts on collecting and organizing Zong Qixiang’s life stories and sayings could help the public to understand Zong Qixiang and his art world to a great extent, which echoed the speeches of Zong Qixiang’s students in the seminar.
Under such a trend, taking these three significant exhibitions related to Zong Qixiang in 2017 as the background, and with the two latest publications as an opportunity, Shixiang Space will jointly present the exhibition “Continuous images: Art Dialogue Between Zong Qixiang and Zong Haiping”( “映像绵延——宗其香与宗海平艺术对话展”) with Zong Haiping, the son of Zong Qixiang. In this exhibition, Zong Haiping will focus on the landscapes represented by Zong Qixiang in his paintings and have a conversation with these original works from the perspective of photography.
The promotion of Zong Qixiang’s art will never end, and the research on Zong Qixiang as an individual will be conducted further deeper. Zong Qixiang inherited the art features from his supervisor Xu Beihong. However, in a certain stage, he broke the framework of Xu Beihong’s style, and even surpassed Xu Beihong in some aspects. All these breakthroughs were observed by Professor Wu Xueshan in the 2017 exhibition of Zong Qixiang at CAFA Art Museum, which presented his imitating works of Paul Gauguin.
Through the deepening process of research, the continuous occurrence of exhibitions and the constant presentation of original works, Zong Qixiang will be introduced to an increasing number of people not only as of the one who inherited and practiced Xu Beihong’s notion of “the integration of western art into Chinese art”. Moreover, his personal strength and artistic spirit are expected to keep active and continue to inspire successors.
Text by Emily Weimeng Zhou
Edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Photo Courtesy of the Organizer
About the Upcoming Exhibition
“Continuous Images: Art Dialogue Between Zong Qixiang and Zong Haiping”
Curator: Yu Yang
Venue: Shixiang Space, E2 GIRI Beijing International Art Zone, No.6 Jinjiacun Middle Street, Gaobeidian, Beihuayuan, Chaoyang District, Beijing