On October 25, 2015, “The Temperature of History: CAFA and Chinese Representational Oil Paintings” had a grand opening at Jinling Art Museum in Laomendong Culture Area, Nanjing, and it is the third stop for this exhibition following Shanghai and Beijing. It is jointly hosted by CAFA and Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting, Television, Press and Publication, co-organized by CAFA Art Museum, Nanjing Academy of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy (Jinling Art Museum), curated by Prof. Yin Shuangxi from CAFA, to showcase more than 200 Chinese representational paintings, most of which are in the collections of CAFA Art Museum, the exhibition researches the centurial history of the development of CAFA and Chinese painting. Compared with the first two exhibitions, this exhibition has slightly adjusted the exhibited works and the structural details according to the special cultural characteristics.
“The Temperature of History” is a major part of the Hundred Years of Glory Program, the exhibition aims at “studying the history, inheriting traditions, paying close attention to the contemporary, looking to the future”, relying on the profound series of this collection, it emphatically researches CAFA’s cultural responsibilities in the process of hundred years of development of oil painting, from the perspective of the development of oil painting. Since the exhibition started, it has received extensive attention in Shanghai and Beijing and the Shanghai show attracted 800,000 visitors. When it was moved to Nanjing, CAFA, Jinling Art Museum and the related cultural department in Nanjing attached great importance to the event and the President of CAFA Fan Di’an personally wrote Chinese characters for the exhibition themed on “The Temperature of History”, which was shown at the opening ceremony, Xu Yaoxin, Director of Jiangsu Provincial Cultural Department, Xu Ning, Nanjing Municipal Committee and Minister of Propaganda Department, Hu Wanjin, Deputy Major of Nanjing, Diao Renchang, Director of Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting, Television, Press and Publication, Deputy Party Secretary of CAFA Wang Shaojun, Gu Xiaorong, Deputy Director of Nanjing Municipal Bureau of Culture, Broadcasting, Television, Press and Publication, Inspector Xu Kaili, Ma Lu, Dean of the School of Plastic Arts, CAFA, Curator Prof. Yin Shuangxi from CAFA, Qin Jianping, Director of the Propaganda Department at CAFA, Zhang Lujiang, Director of the Department of Fundamental Education for Plastic Arts, CAFA, Deputy Director of CAFA Art Museum Tang Bin, Liu Hongpei, Executive Vice President of the Nanjing Academy of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy (Jinling Art Museum), etc., attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition.
The Centurial Academy and Centennial Oil Paintings
One hundred years in the building history of CAFA and an hundred years of teaching exploration of oil painting corresponded to the hundred years of development of Chinese oil painting, it is a systematic research of Chinese realistic oil painting in the 20th century from “New Learning Enlightenment”, “National Narrative”, “Ontological Careful Study”, “Contemporary Concerns”, “Original Works and Copies of Foreign Representational Paintings in the collection of CAFAM” in chronological order: “New Learning Enlightenment” starts from the old oil paintings in the late Qing and early Republic of China，including the “Portrait of a Half-Naked Women” by Li Shutong, as well as the selected works by many other important predecessors of oil painting such as Li Yishi, Wu Fading, Wei Tianlin, Wang Linyi, Chang Shuhong, Xu Beihong, Wu Zuoren, Xiao Shufang, etc. “National Narrative” showcases that CAFA actively promoted the realistic socialist art of Chinese art since the forming of the People’s Republic of China, especially using major national historical themes as the main body, to build the historical narrative and collective memory of new China. The exhibition presents the works by Wang Shikuo, Wu Zuoren, Dong Xiwen, Xu Xingzi, Jin Zhilin, Gao Hong, Hou Yimin, Zhan Jianjun, Sun Zixi, Wei Qimei, Luo Gongliu, Li Tianxiang, Zhao Youping, Lin Gang, Pang Dao, Yu Yunjie, Du Jian, Wen Lipeng, Ma Changli, Yuan Yunsheng, etc.; the works exhibited in “Ontological Careful Study” reveal the political, economic, cultural reforms and that opening-up played an important role in the development of Chinese art, this part presents the works by Chen Danqing, Sun Jingbo, Chao Ge, Yang Feiyun, Wang Yidong, Sun Weimin, Ding Yilin, Shen Ling, Wang Yuping, Mao Yan, Chen Wenji, Ma Baozhong, Xia Junna, etc., including “A Young Woman Singer” of the young Peng Liyuan, created by Jin Shangyi in 1984, which was one of the important “neoclassical” works. “Contemporary Concern” which does not only showcase the innovative works by the famous old professors of CAFA, such as Zhong Han, Jin Zhilin, Yuan Yunsheng, Sun Weimin, Wen Guozhang, Lin Gang, Dai Shihe, but also the representative works by the middle-aged and young teachers, such as Ma Lu, Su Xinping, Liu Xiaodong, Yu Hong, Zhang Lujiang, Li Ronglin, Lu Liang, in addition to the works by students, these works have a diverse formal language and expressive skills which showcase the broad cultural vision of contemporary painters, while it also maintains the profound humanistic care in contemporary society thus expressing the complex reality of contemporary China and the rich psychology of people. The exhibition also presents a series on the copying of classical Western oil paintings, which is the epitome of Chinese oil painting that draws lessons from the West during the last century.
Nanjing Realistic Oil Painting’s Homecoming
President of CAFA Fan Di’an said: “As the center of modern Chinese art and art education, Nanjing once trained many emerging masters of oil painting.” The exhibition presents more than 20 masters of oil painting who had a close historical relationship with Nanjing.
Presenting the Precious Documentary, to Review the Theoretical Framework of the Early Realism in Oil Painting
Different from the shows held at China Art Museum and the Ancestral Temple Art Gallery, the show at Jinling Art Museum adds a precious documentary in the first section “New Learning Enlightenment”, to totally showcase more than 40 precious books in the collections of CAFA Art Museum, these books were originally textbooks of the National Beiping Art School, and the prerequisite books for the study of drawing, color and anatomy. These books were edited by the masters including Chen Baoyi, Ni Yide, Feng Zikai, Chen Zhifo, Zhou Bichu, Wu Mengfei, and even the lecture notes at that time, based on these techniques and theoretical literature, Chinese oil painting gradually became grown up and more mature. Through the show of original pieces in cooperation with this documentary, the audiences can also clearly and theoretically understand the development process of Chinese realistic oil painting.
“The Temperature of History” in Nanjing continues to December 25, and then it will be moved to a display in Shandong, Guangdong, Hubei and other places across the country.
Text and photo by Zhang Wenzhi/CAFA ART INFO
Transalted by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO