At 3:00 pm on March 16, 2018, “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project” was unveiled at Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. This exhibition is the latest achievement in the case study series of Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, and it is also the final chapter of Qiu Zhijie’s series of exhibitions on “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project”. The honored guests from China Minsheng Bank, Central Academy of Fine Arts, academia, art circles, the business circles and the related major media attended the opening ceremony. Zheng Wanchun, President of China Minsheng Bank, Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Prof. Craig Clunas from the Department of Art History, Oxford University, Zhou Xujun, Director of Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Xu Zhengfu, Chairman of Guan Xiang Art Gallery, Director Zhang Ziqian, and artist Qiu Zhijie all delivered speeches at the opening ceremony.
At the opening ceremony, Zheng Wanchun, President of China Minsheng Bank, firstly paid tribute to Qiu Zhijie’s academic spirit and originality in the project over the decade. Zheng Wanchun said that it was the 10th anniversary of the China Minsheng Bank “Minsheng Culture and Public Welfare”, recognizing it as an important platform for Minsheng Bank’s culture and public welfare commmitment, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum has played an active role in popularizing public cultural education, enhancing the cultural quality of citizens, and promoting the development of culture and art. He hoped that the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum would be at the forefront of the new era of culture. In the future, they would insist on the direction of the development in contemporary art, allowing more artists and spectators to enter the museum and truly play with the value and charm of art.
Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, extended his warm congratulations to the success of this exhibition. Fan Di’an said that Qiu Zhijie’s creation of “The Colorful Lantern Scroll” did not only stay in a knowledge system, but it tried to establish a graph and world of visual images, and it was a challenge for the ancient knowledge and grammar logic system, as well as being a contemporary creation that continuously developed in depth. With the efforts of the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum and the support of various parties, this exhibition fully demonstrated Qiu’s methodology in contemporary Chinese art.
Prof. Craig Clunas from the Department of Art History, Oxford University, addressed the opening ceremony and said that it was an amazing exhibition. It started with an ancient painting of the Ming Dynasty, and created a number of imaginative works that demonstrated the talent of the artist Qiu Zhijie and the power of Beijing Minsheng Art Museum. As a scholar who studied the art history of the Ming Dynasty, he also enjoyed the artistic atmosphere together with the public. He sincerely congratulated everyone on the success of this exhibition.
Zhou Xujun, Director of the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, expressed her sincere thanks to the honored guests who participated in the exhibition. Zhou Xujun said that Qiu Zhijie, as an important artist in the case study series of contemporary art in the Museum, always regarding tradition as an important source for his contemporary creation, diligently drawing nourishment and methods from the tradition, and applying Foucault’s “The Archeology of knowledge” while activating cultural genes and inheriting cultural veins from a contemporary perspective, to make Chinese contemporary art’s voice heard by the world and developing it, with his impressive diligence and refinement. At the same time, Zhou Xujun also said that the exhibition has entered a new era so the culture and art community could consider and practice the topic of “How does contemporary China build the cultural confidence and promote cultural prosperity in a new age?” The exhibition is exactly the inspiration needed for this topic, and it is worth continuing the discussion and reflection for everyone.
Xu Zhengfu, Chairman of Guan Xiang Art Gallery, has shared the stories that he collected ancient painting entitled “The Colorful Lantern Scroll” with the audience. Xu Zhengfu said that Qiu Zhijie was an energetic and thoughtful contemporary artist and he admired Qiu’s enthusiasm for art and the tireless teaching status. He also thanked China Minsheng Bank and all honored guests for their support in making this exhibition a perfect presentation in Beijing Minsheng Art Museum.
At the end of the opening ceremony, the artist Qiu Zhijie shared the idea of performing at the opening ceremony with the public, and described his fate with the ancient painting “The Colorful Lantern Scroll”, he interpreted the origin and purpose of his creation of “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project”. Qiu stated that he created the “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project” in order to place it with traditional changes, rather than putting his seal on this ancient painting. This piece helped him to understand what China was, what Chinese art was, and what Chinese artists were. The creation of “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project” has also brought him many wonderful causes. Qiu Zhijie expressed his sincerest thanks to the supporters of the exhibition.
The “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project” is a large-scale comprehensive art project. It started from “The Colorful Lantern Scroll”, including a series of art forms such as writing, painting, installation and theater performances. The precious ancient Chinese city genre painting entitled “The Colorful Lantern Scroll Project” was drawn by an anonymous artist in the middle or late Ming Dynasty. It depicts the landscapes of the downtown area in Nanjing in the Ming Dynasty during the Lantern Festival. A variety of lanterns in the painting have created a lively atmosphere during the Spring Festival. The scholars, businessmen, citizens and so on are lingering in the painting. A variety of buildings, artifacts, and scenes are plentifully and vividly drawn. It has high historical and material values in art, folklore, and technology. The famous calligraphy and painting connoisseur Xu Bangda wrote in inscriptions of the scroll that “The Colorful Lantern Scroll” is comparable to a “Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival”. They are both an invaluable proof of the prosperity of ancient Chinese cities, reappearing with a richness and harmony of life in ancient Chinese cities.
Qiu Zhijie has been focusing on researching the “The Colorful Lantern Scroll” since 2009, and his achievements have gradually formed “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project”. Starting with the 2010 Shanghai Biennale, they have been displayed around the world for a dozen times, and the works, styles, and themes are varied. In this series of works inspired by “The Colorful Lantern Scroll”, Qiu has always reinterpreted such a social genre painting themed on the city of the Ming Dynasty from a contemporary perspective, trying to extract the hidden genes of Chinese culture and to find the suitable contemporary characterizations, deducing a large framework of research, creation and theme. It is like describing the historical novel and genetic graph through the narrative of Chinese history.
It features more than 170 pieces (groups) of work, covering “Qiu’s Notes on the Colorful Lantern Scroll Project”, “Jinling Theater Embroidered Portraits” and “Jinling Theater” installation series, as well as “No Night”, “Historical Drama Interpretation”, “History Drama Deduction” and so on. At the opening ceremony of the exhibition, a wonderful performance of “Antique Market” was presented.
The exhibition remains on view from March 16, 2018 to May 5, 2018, and many public education events will be held during the exhibition.
Photo and text courtesy of the organizer
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO