“The Black-and-white East and West: Research Exhibition of the Art Thoughts and Experiences by Zhu Naizheng” was opened at the CAFA Art Museum on the afternoon of December 15, 2012. Different from any former exhibition, it has a critical feature that Zhu Naizheng, a famous oil painter with a high calligraphy skill, is combining oil painting and Chinese calligraphy to discover that oil painting has a Western essence, while the Chinese character is Oriental, and Chinese calligraphy is the essence of Chinese art, while literati believe that painting theory is the essence of Chinese art theory. Thus, transforming Chinese calligraphy into oil painting is what he contributes and creates for oil painting.
The press conference of “Research Exhibition of the Art Thoughts and Experiences by Zhu Naizheng” was held at the VIP Hall of CAFA Art Museum at 14:30 pm. Tang Bing, Vice Director of CAFA Art Museum presided over the conference, he said, it was fortunate to encounter the snow, inadvertent but exactly resonates with “The Black-and-white East and West” exhibition by Mr. Zhu Naizheng. Then he introduced the guests presented at the press conference: Jin Shangyi, Professor of CAFA, Honored President of Chinese Artist Association, Zhu Naizheng, Professor of CAFA, and Director of Art Committee of Oil Painting Affiliated to Chinese Artists Association, Ms. Cao Xingyuan, Professor of the Department of Art History, University of British Columbia, and the curator of the exhibition, and Hong Ling, Deputy Professor of the Department of Oil Painting, CAFA. All the guests had respectively recounted their thoughts and views on the exhibition.
Initially, Jin Shangyi introduced Zhu Naizheng and his works. Zhu Naizheng is one of the first graduates since the major of oil painting was established in CAFA, and has worked in the Tibetan Plateau for 21 years, since he was assigned to Qinghai Province in 1959. His art was concerned by society in the 3rd National Art Exhibition, his works are decorative and with an effect similar to a mural, a very novel form in the 1960s. At the beginning of the 1980s, after the Cultural Revolution ended, he was teaching in the Department of Oil Painting when the teaching of CAFA was restored. He was a former Vice President of CAFA. When Chinese art started to change after the Cultural Revolution, modern paintings were transforming, Zhu Naizheng created a large number of paintings and his works “Spirit of the Nation·Ode to Qu Yuan” won the Bronze Award in the 6th National Art Exhibition. Because of his study at CAFA and living in the Qinghai district, his style is of an obvious geographical characteristic, together with more new explorations after the reform and opening up. Mr. Jin emphasized that the paintings of Zhu Naizheng were very romantic, and it was his solid foundation and active thought that helped his art develop comprehensively, from which people could understand tradition and the accomplishment of Chinese culture.
As a student of Professor Zhu Naizheng, Hong Ling said that they sincerely hope the senior artists could release their energy to the new CAFA with the relocation. The exhibition by Zhu Naizheng plays the role of continuity and nourishing of the temple, with extraordinary significance. Hong Ling stated that Zhu Naizheng was a cross-Western-and-Oriental artist, and they had learnt , studied, drawn, and drunk together for 25 years, establishing a deep affection between teacher and student, he said: “when it comes to education, I remember Mr. Zhu telling me ‘freedom but not random’, when drawing the human body, I think this sentence originated from calligraphy, only a teacher of calligraphy attainment would say such words to his students, I have relived and I experienced this sentence, ‘freedom but not random’ is a philosophical proposition, deserving study all through life.” Subsequently, Ms. Cao Xingyuan gave a general introduction of the exhibition on some aspects such as curatorial, fusion of Chinese and Western paintings, as well as Mr. Zhu Naizheng’s painting features. In this exhibition — “The Black and the White, the Orient and the Western”, the Orient is on behalf of the Chinese painting, while the Western is on behalf of the Western oil painting. There was a reason to invite Jin Shangyi to the exhibition, she said, because the two old artists had very different features in their paintings. While Jin Shangyi was a representative of the classical school, pushed to the summit in China by his effort, Mr. Zhu was transforming the Chinese tradition into oil painting, and his figures were full of Chinese styles. He had fully expressed Chinese feelings through his landscape paintings… Ms. Cao Xingyuan put forward two core points on the planning aspect of the exhibition: firstly, understanding the artist and his art, secondly, how to display the understanding of the artist through an exhibition, and to share it with others. She emphasized that it will be a successful exhibition, if these two points are fulfilled. In addition, Professor Cao has also talked about her understanding of Zhu Naizheng’s art features, and she thinks she can briefly summarize them into two parts: the first one is study, and the second one is life, and giving detailed discussion on his double features.
The opening ceremony was officially held at 16:00 pm, presided over by Prof. Xu Bing, Vice President of CAFA, and the guests included: Hao Ping, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, and President of the Foundation of UNESCO in China, Feng Yuan, Vice Chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, and Deputy Director of the Research Hall of the Central Institute of Culture and History, Wu Changjiang, Secretary of CPC and Executive Vice President in the Chinese Artists Association, Gao Hong, Secretary of the Committee of CPC of CAFA, Jin Shangyi, Professor and Former President of CAFA, Honored President of the Chinese Artist Association, Ma Shulin, Deputy Director of the National Art Museum of China, Cao Xingyuan, Professor of the Department of Art History of the University of British Columbia, Canada, the artist Zhu Naizheng, Professor of CAFA, and Director of the Art Committee of Oil Painting Affiliated to the Chinese Artists Association, as well as artist’s friends and relatives, etc. Jin Shangyi, Gao Hong, Cao Xingyuan, and Zhu Naizheng gave their speeches respectively.
Gao Hong said in his opening speech that Zhu Naizheng offered respect to the old artists and educators of CAFA. The exhibition not only reflected his creations and successful art educational practice, but also showed his artistic exploration, thinking and practice. He summed up the exhibition’s meaning into three points: firstly, it focuses on the high artistic level of “thinking” by Zhu Naizheng’s art, diligently striving forward. Secondly, it focuses on his dedication to “practice”, constant innovation, meanwhile, displaying the rich and colorful life and society with the use of the theme: “black” and “white”. Thirdly, it focuses on showing an academic spirit advocated by CAFA: calming down to teach and create. He stressed that, it was the persistent study and creation by senior artists that the valuable spiritual wealth left.
In addition, a media group interview on “The Black-and-white East and West: Research Exhibition of the Art Thoughts and Experiences by Zhu Naizheng”, organized by the Department of Oil Painting of CAFA and CAFA Art Museum, was held at the VIP Hall of CAFA Art Museum on December 9, 2012. Zhu Naizheng answered the questions put forward by the media, someone asked “white and black” were both the main parts of composition in Chinese painting and Western drawing, then how did he perform “white and black” in his painting? He answered: “There are many similar places between them, but Western drawing is about a fixed pattern, emphasizing the visual effect, it is in the mastery of techniques that the only way to continue his/her art creation. But, ink and wash is alive, it is free from the frame. There’s a correlation between drawing, and ink and wash in my works, which will gradually merge together through the exploration. Someone asked, there is innovation and repetition of their old works in artists’ creations, how did he think about this phenomenon? He said: there’s no artist that innovates a works without repeating the old one, and repetition is a way of accumulation, promoting the works towards maturity. But the repetition without change is a way to kill his/her own artistic life. There is no art mode, so that it requires adjustment and judgment by the artist.
“The Black-and-white East and West: Research Exhibition of the Art Thoughts and Experiences by Zhu Naizheng” aims to explore some issues such as what Chinese painting features, the differences between Chinese and Western paintings, as well as the Chinese local cultural spirit which Zhu Naizheng has melted into his oil paintings through his brushes by a number of black-and-white artworks from Zhu Naizheng. In addition, a related discussion was held at the Lecture Hall of CAFA Art Museum on January 18, 2013.
This exhibition will be on view at CAFA Art Museum until February 15, 2013.
Text by Gao Sisi and Photo by Hu Zhiheng/CAFA ART INFO
Translated by Chen Peihua and Edited by Sue Wang/CAFA ART INFO