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On September 10, 2015, the Ancestral Temple Art Gallery presented the first large-scale art event “The Temperature of History: CAFA and Chinese Representational Oil Paintings” after it formally started operations. It is jointly organized by the Central Academy of Fine Arts and Beijing General Labor Union and the exhibition presents more than 200 selected Representational oil paintings of the 20th Century, which mainly come from the collection of CAFA, to offer a feast of cultural and artistic life to the people living in the capital. The exhibition is open to the public from September 11 to October 11, the audience can stroll in between the red walls and ancient pine trees of the Ancestral Temple to appreciate the unique charm of Chinese oil paintings, feel the pulse of the times and historical heart.

Beijing General Labor Union, in cooperation with the Central Academy of Fine Arts, built the Ancestral Temple Art Gallery.

At 16:00 on September 10, the press conference of the exhibition was held in the Ancestral Temple. Honored guests who were present at the press conference included: Fan Di’an, President of CAFA, Han Shichun, Vice Chairman of Beijing General Labor Union, Yin Shuangxi, Secretary-General of Academic Committee of CAFA, Director of Editorial of CAFA, curator of the exhibition, Li Peng, Director of the Working People’s Cultural Palace. The press conference was presided over by Qin Jianping, Minister of the Propaganda Department, CAFA. The honored guests introduced the conditions of the collaboration to journalists that attended the conference, stating that between CAFA and Beijing General Labor Union, the preparatory process of the Ancestral Temple Art Gallery, the specific content of the exhibition and the significance of the holding of the exhibition in the Ancestral Temple and the planning of the Ancestral Temple Art Gallery.

It is the first large-scale exhibition for the cooperation between Beijing General Labor Union and CAFA. On April 26, 2015, Beijing Municipal Federation of Trade Unions, Working People’s Cultural Palace, CAFA jointly held the large-scale event “Serving the People, Creating Portraits of Model Workers” at the Ancestral Temple, which triggered a strong social reaction. The three parts signed an agreement on the same day, to constitute a management committee of the “Ancestral Temple Art Gallery”, and they are together responsible for the operational management of the art and cultural project of the Ancestral Temple. Henceforth, the three parts will also carry out a long-term cultural strategic cooperation, to hold more exhibition projects which bear excellent traditional cultures, carry forward the national characteristic, of high artistic value and extensive international influence for the future, to create the Ancestral Temple Art Gallery with distinct characteristics.

Art + Palace: The Cultural Landscape Reflecting the Ancient and Modern

At 17:00 on September 10, the opening ceremony of the exhibition was held in Xiang Palace in the Ancestral Temple in Beijing. Zuo Zhongyi, Party member, Vice Chairman and Secretary of the secretariat of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Wang Yamin, Executive Vice-President of the Palace Museum, Han Shichun, Party member and Vice Chairman of Beijing General Labor Union, Ha Jun, Head of Museum Division at the Beijing Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, Jin Shangyi, formal President of CAFA, Honorary Chairman of China Artists Association, Gao Hong, Party Secretary of CAFA, Fan Di’an, President of CAFA, Vice President of China Artists Association, Vice President of CAFA Su Xinping, as well as the leaders of Beijing General Labor Union, heads of part of the art organizations and art museums attended the opening ceremony. The opening ceremony was presided over by Vice Party Secretary of CAFA Wang Shaojun.

Fan Di’an addressed the opening ceremony and movingly said that the exhibition was a perfect combination of “art + palace”. The excellent art and the magnificent temple offered the public a new aesthetic cultural space. It reflected the process of oil painting which was introduced to China. With the efforts of several generations of artists, Chinese oil painting had the Chinese cultural attribute and the characteristics of the development of the times. Since it started, CAFA and Beijing General Labor Union would jointly build an academic portfolio for the Ancestral Temple Art Gallery in the future, it would continue to explore the advantage of the academic resources at CAFA, to make good use of the space of the Ancestral Temple, to perfectly combine the display of art and ancient buildings, providing better academic and artistic achievements for society. President Fan also told the honored guests and the media that, it would present an exhibition themed on “Silk Road” at the gallery after this exhibition.

CAFA and Chinese Representational Oil Paintings

Since the “School’s Centennial Anniversary” project started in 2014, CAFA comprehensively and systematically has sorted out the outstanding achievements of CAFA and its predecessor the National Beiping Art School for the recording of the development of the history of Chinese art in the 20th century. “The Temperature of History: CAFA and Chinese Representational Oil Paintings” reviews and reflects CAFA’s history over one hundred years from the perspective of oil painting. The exhibition is a systematic compilation of Chinese realistic oil painting in the 20th century, which is divided into five parts, including: New Learning Enlightenment (1900-1949), National Narrative (1949-1976), Ontology Careful Study (1977-1999), Contemporary Concern (2000-2014), Original Works and Copies of Foreign Representational Paintings.

“The Temperature of History” was first on show at China Art Museum in Shanghai on April 30 going through to August 2, this attracted an audience of more than 800,000. The Ancestral Temple is the second show for the exhibition project and it is the first show in Beijing. The organizer says that the exhibition will also be moved to art museums in many major cities in China in 2016.

About the exhibition

Title: “The Temperature of History: CAFA and Chinese Representational Oil Paintings”

Organizers: The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing General Labor Union

Undertakers: CAFA Art Museum, Ancestral Temple Art Gallery

Duration: September 10 – October 11, 2015

Text by Zhu Li, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo by Dong Huiping, Chen Yushu

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