LEARN FROM MASTERS, as Collateral Event of the 56th International Art Exhibition-la Biennale di Venezia, will open at Palazzo Bembo, on May 8, 2015. On the afternoon of April 21, 2015, the organizer of exhibition launched a press conference at Today Art Museum, announced the basic idea and exhibition framework of the collateral event to the public, Wen Quan, General Manager of Beijing Zhenghecheng Culture Development Co., Ltd., and the producer of the exhibition, curator Yang Jie, Gao Peng, Director of Today Art Museum, Chen Weiping, the director of exhibition design, and Chen Yiming, deputy editor-in-chief of Artron.net., attended the press conference.
Curated by Dr. Yang Jie, from CAFA, China, LEARN FROM MASTERS focuses on the thousand-year evolution of Ink Art from China, which entitles “气韵非师” in its Chinese version, as a quote from Experiences in Painting (An Eleventh Century Art History of Chinese Painting) by Kuo Jo-Hsu, as a connoisseur and art historian and critic from Song Dynasty (1021-1100 B.C.), means “everything but Spirit-resonance (Qi Yun) can be mastered by learning”, indicates the Spirit-resonance, as the highest realm of art, is to be achieved via individual’s mind practice towards the joint personality ideal shared among Literati community, rather than seeking knowledge from master, that is, the most respected art can hardly achieved by learning. At the conference Yang Jie expounded that, although the Chinese and English versions seemed to opposite to each other, it actually discussed two aspects, on the one hand, to trace the original spirit of “Spirit-resonance” in traditional Chinese ink painting, on the other hand, also thinking about how to salute to and learn from masters.
Chinese Ink Painting, created a brilliant history independently in its own evolvement, has a developing context different from the Western civilization, represented by Europe. Chinese Painting is known for its “ink as material” and “brushwork”, with a more than two-thousand year long intellectual tradition, to construct an unbelievably subtle, complex, rich and profound cultural system, which extends into today still with infinite vitality and possibility, as well as rich value in futurology terms. In this way, Chinese painting featured as “Ink art” has academically received international attention. However, due to the rupture of tradition, mishap in communication, misreading in cultures, a number of problems and misunderstandings are still to be clarified in acknowledge and practices in Chinese paintings. Besides this, refer a two-thousand years of tradition of Chinese painting as merely “Ink Art”, would be truly superficial and narrow, and leading to inevitable misunderstanding and misleading. Thereon, Chinese painting as one of the canons in Eastern art, its core value and essence calls for further research, interpretation and reiterate, which is the right instinct.
The exhibition presents six masters since ancient time till today in each of their own “restored” study, where the original pieces presented together with videos. Visitors present oneself in each of these studies to experience historical change and the contributions by these masters, while position oneself also in d’écart via the dialogue between the living artist (Pan Gongkai) with the 5 passed masters(Gu Kaizhi, Fan Kuan, Ni Zan, Zhu Da, Wu Changshuo). With the assistance of d’écart, visitors may develop some reflection on the changed and unchanged in the two thousand years of Chinese painting, as well as the spiritual dimension valued in Chinese painting tradition which indicated by LEARN FROM MASTERS, or “Spirit-resonance cannot be mastered by learning”, to further explore the core value of ink painting’s Spiritual Dimension and reflect its potential inspiration to Global Contemporary Art.
The exhibition employs interactive digital video to have visitors experience the change and unchanged in the two-thousand years of Chinese painting, the Spiritual-resonance all through a variety of visual expressions, as well as the dialogue with masters based on this, to interpret the efficiency of filter “Liveness: On epic duration” in framework of the theme “All the World’s Futures” by tracing, analyzing, and presenting “Ink Painting”.
The final part of LEARN FROM MASTERS is New Ink by contemporary artist Pan Gongkai, who generates contemporary and Chinese art by positioning himself in d’écart of Chinese and Western cultures, to continue essence of traditional Chinese literati painting while referring to the context of Western contemporary art. By presenting this newly generated art in d’écart with artist Pan Gongkai’s cultural self-consciousness and independence, to contribute a possibility and reference of d’écart on confronting the common dilemma of all human cultures, via which we may have a chance to peep at All the Worlds’ Futures.
The exhibition will last from May 8 to November 22, running through the Venice Biennale. In addition, the exhibition team will also have a thorough cooperation with Today Art Museum and Artron.net., to fully use and promote the idea of the exhibition as the “collateral event”, which is about to launch the “Today Couch Tour” project at Today Art Museum when Venice Biennale officially opens on May 9, and will launch the “curating online” project, aimed to breaking the concept of space and time in traditional exhibition, to make full use of modern technological means and conditions, striving to comprehensively show the happening in the exhibition, so that the public can appreciate and discuss it.
Text and photo by Zhang Wenzhi, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO