In September, 2012, two solo exhibitions of artist Kang Jianfei were launched respectively at Inside-out Art Museum, Beijing and Yibo Gallery, Shanghai. The Yibo Gallery of Shanghai displayed a group of works “Art as a Form of Media” and in the Inside-out Art Museum were a series of works “The Way of Looking at Black Birds “since 2006.
Kang Jianfei graduated from the Printmaking Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1997 and now teaches there. When he was still an undergraduate, his works were quite experimental and his graduation creation “Repetition and Combination” obtained acknowledgment from the then scholarship committee that he was able to teach in the academy. Kang Jianfei’s works belong neither in conservative “academea” nor “professional art” which stresses content and the shocking effect of forms. The two solo exhibitions held in September were to present the young academics with the nature of research. If we classify contemporary exhibitions into general categories, then compared with “mainstream art” and “professional art”, there are very few pure “academic art” exhibitions. Kang Jianfei’s two solo exhibitions in September will be representative of the latter kind of art.
In the exhibition “Art as a Form of Media ” at Yibo Gallery, what Kang Jianfei wants to present are not only the “real objects of work” themselves but also the “means” of creating works and his position in the “printmaking” in this era which proceeded from the “means”. Reflecting the overflow of the social “utility”, “investment” and “speculative psychology” through to the “current situation of printmaking”, the purpose of the exhibition is to increase people’s rethinking of the values.
The exhibition “The Way of Looking at Black Birds” at the Inside-out Art Museum, Beijing is more experimental and interactive. What Wang Jianfei wants to stress through the exhibition is that the essence of art should be unsure and full of change. What “The Way of Looking at Black Birds” represents is a process of never stopping and the unknown of the future. The interactive session reflects the unusual relationship between art and life.
Kang Jianfei once expressed that when he was an undergraduate, it was Tan Ping who influenced him to improve his working method to an important position in his abstract printmaking. From the angle of academic teaching, the real inflection point of treating printmaking as a kind of working method was the printmaking class that graduated in 1997. There is no doubt that Kang Jianfei is the leader among them. From 1997, the research in “the concept of printmaking” has become deeper and deeper. In today’s graduation exhibition from CAFA, “starting from printmaking” it has almost become the mainstream. From 1997 to now, Kang Jianfei’s artistic creation has always centered on “printmaking”, from the “instrumental”, “material”, “functional”, “identity” and “relationships between printmaking and society” in printmaking to its “applicability”. Therefore, except for the expression of individual emotions, what Kang Jianfei’s works reflect more is the artist’s research. From the perspective of art history, it is this kind of research spirit that really supported the development of art.
In recent years, Kang Jianfei’s artistic creations have gradually turned from the inward questioning to the outward thought provoking. He said that artists must be concerned about their lives with a kind of strong “problematic awareness”, they should never stop questioning society. False art of praised-style and mercenary art of market-style will lead to eventual demise. The noumenon of the artist is artistic creation, the way of concern for society is not only in the realism of the content and the function of art but also in praise and revelation, therefore, I would rather turn the reaction fromsociety into the nourishment of artistic research and turn the consideration of life and society into the base of artistic reflection.
From the point of artistic noumenon, what Kang Jianfei’s solo exhibitions present are not or not only the “real object of works” itself but are the means of creating works from which arise the artist’s thinking about the essence of art. Through the identity, works, working method of Kang Jianfei, we can see the present conditions of new academic art education, and probably, the transformation of times. From the current situation of printmaking, we can see poetry, literature, traditional drama and even traditional paper media exploring the characteristics of the universal social values.”Providing methods of art-creating for society” has added a new possibility to the relationship between art and society.
It is reported that the exhibition “Art as a Form of Media” will be in Shanghai until September 30th, 2012 while “The Way of Looking at Black Birds “in the Inside-out Art Museum will be in Beijing till October 14th.
Exhibition in Shanghai
Art as a Form of Media: Kang Jianfei’s Exhibition of Works
Venue: Yibo Gallery of Shanghai
Dates: September 7th, 2012–September 30th,2012
Exhibition in Beijing
The Way of Looking at Black Birds-Kang Jianfei’s Exhibition of Works
Venue: Inside-out Art Museum of Beijng
Dates: September 15th, 2012–October 14th, 2012