Both China and Mexico have a long historical and cultural tradition, and the communications between the two countries have a long history, the cultural interaction enhances the friendship and makes their cultures more dynamic. In the globalization of today, the art exchange between the two countries is more conducive to the exploration of the cultural relationship between global and local culture with contemporary characteristics of artistic creation.
“The Art from the National Art Museum of China” series of projects consists of three exhibitions, “Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting and Sculpture Art Exhibition” and “Contemporary Chinese Printmaking and Sculpture Art Exhibition”, is a new presentation of creative form and ideas of the art of contemporary Chinese ink painting, sculpture and print. It is grounded in the exploration of the “contemporary” transformation of the “spirit of freehand brushwork” in the traditional Chinese aesthetic thought. Contemporary Chinese artists are no longer constrained by traditional aesthetic thoughts, but by exploring new forms of language and the expression of ideas in the context of globalization. They also increasingly pay attention to the start from the historical context so as to generate Chinese art, to study the characteristics and origin of freehand brushwork, which is the spirit of Chinese culture of a magnificent poetic style, whose presentation is the process of the creation for intellectual creation, to narrate and carry forward an old and new life experience.
Ink painting is the artistic language rich in Chinese cultural characteristics and the exhibited works in ink painting typically showcase the contemporary creation of ink painting art, reflecting the diverse perspectives of the artists in feeling real life and a strong individual consciousness, to show the multivariate meteorology of the times. Chinese sculptors are also aware of the contextual extension between modern and traditional and they have gone deep into the ontology of traditional Chinese sculpture, comprehended the rules and aesthetic spirit of traditional shaping, to make a new exploration for the contemporary transformation of traditional sculpture. Modern Chinese freehand sculptures place the freehand spirit in traditional Chinese sculpture and the perfect mental and shaping presentation in Western realism, as well as the creative form of abstract and expressionism in the same cultural space, searching for the spiritual expression of “speaking with one voice” in the modern discourse, to exquisitely create a balance between spirit and shape, both possessing a national artistic spirit and human feelings.
The contemporariness of printmaking doesn’t only refer to the contemporary form of language, the key is to transcend the limitations of language and directly think of the contemporary spirit. The creation of contemporary Chinese printmaking, presents a trend of returning to the traditional and ontology and then it found the images and abstract corresponding to the achievements of the visual art revolution in the 20th Century: through the freehand language of poetic prints to expand the new horizon, through diverse techniques and schemas to present the vivid artistic conception, searching for a “minimalist” and “surreal” contemporary image.
Different from the former two parts that focus on the present creative situation of Chinese contemporary art, the third part of the exhibition entitled the “Chinese Mask Art Exhibition” pays attention to the vigor and vitality of the traditional Chinese folk art. The former two parts are a kind of consciousness of elite culture, while this part is the description of faiths and aesthetic ideas from the Chinese folk lives. The exhibited masks and facial makeup in operas come from different places and different cultural types in China, through which we can feel a spiritual sense that corresponds with the folk culture in China and Mexico, presenting different aesthetic meanings in different cultural traditions and abundant anthropological information to some extent.
Through the exhibition, Mexican people can grasp the “Chinese spirit”, “Chinese image” and “Chinese style” in the works, understanding that the artists have made an effort to deeply explore the contemporary value of traditional Chinese cultural thought, that Chinese national cultural genes have become the spiritual nectar, life cells for the individual artist. Contemporary Chinese art and folk culture constitute a dual dimensional historical space, it is also looking forward to the Mexican people who see a rich Chinese cultural ecology through these works. It is an open time and we expect to contribute ourselves to the progress of human culture.
Wu Weishan, Director of National Art Museum of China
May 8, 2015
About the Exhibition
Organizers: National Art Museum of China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico, Bureau of Culture in Veracruz
Venues: Diego Rivera Art Museum in Xalapa, Mexico, Xalapa Contemporary Art Museum, Xalapa Municipal Culture Center