26 Exhibition view of “The Temperature of History”

On July 22, 2016, planned by CAFA, “The Temperature of History: CAFA and Chinese Representational Oil Paintings” grandly opened in Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum. “The Temperature of History” was awarded the 2015 “National Arts Fund Dissemination and Promotion Project”, since the exhibition project started at the China Art Museum, Shanghai at the end of April last year, it has opened a national itinerant tour – from Ningbo Art Museum, Shandong Art Museum, Shijiazhuang Art Museum, to Hubei Art Museum, creating a climax in numbers of visitors in the major cities, breaking the record of audience-participation.

Academic Exhibition: Research of a Century’s Development in Chinese Oil Painting

At 9:00 am, the press conference was launched in the lecture hall of the Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum, and it was presided over by Zhang Xian, Director of the Promotions Department at Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum, leaders and honored guests from Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum and CAFA, as well as a variety of journalists from all over the country participated in it.

As the exhibition curator Prof. Yin Shuangxi said “The Temperature of History” was different from other exhibitions for two reasons, “Firstly, it is a thematic academic exhibition of representational Chinese oil paintings. Secondly, it has the characteristics of historical research.” In the view of Prof. Yin Shuangxi, the audience can clearly find a series of changes that emerged after oil painting was introduced into China from the exhibition, and it is relatively scarce in many current art exhibitions. Minister of Propaganda Department at CAFA Qin Jianping said that, The Temperature of History was an important part of the “Hundred Years of Glory” which was started in 2014, and it presented the outstanding achievements by CAFA in the developmental history of Chinese art in the 20th century, on the one hand, it paid tribute to the predecessors, on the other hand, it also hoped to be able to enlighten current artistic innovation.

Historical Shaanxi: “Our Base Area, and Our Home”

The opening ceremony was officially kicked off on the ground floor of the art museum. The honored guests including Senior Prof. Dai Shihe from CAFA, the former Party Secretary of National Art Museum of China Qian Linxiang, curator of the exhibition and Director of CAFA Editorial Yin Shuangxi, the exhibition director, Deputy Director of CAFA Art Museum Tang Bin, Minister of Propaganda Department at CAFA Qin Jianping attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition, and the honored guests from Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Department, Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, as well as the local media also witnessed the opening ceremony, which was presided over by the Deputy Director of Shaanxi Provincial Art Museum Ma Weimin.

Xi’an, the “Capital of the 13 Dynasties”, is a key station for the “The Temperature of History” touring exhibition in the northwest region. In ancient Shaanxi, many important artists and art events emerged in the area centered on Xi’an, such as Yan Liben, Han Gan, Zhang Xuan, Zhou Fang, etc., in modern China, “Yan’an Luxun Academy of Literature and Art” has profoundly affected the art of New China and the development of CAFA, as well as “Chang’an Painting School”, “Hu County Farmer Paintings”, etc. “The touring exhibition moved to Xi’an, where there is a very different meaning and feeling, namely the feeling of returning home.” Senior Prof. Dai Shihe from CAFA addressed the opening ceremony and said that, many teachers and students from a variety of faculties especially the Department of Oil Painting would choose the area of Shaanxi as a sketching base, “It is like our base area and home, while the great new cultural movement in Shaanxi has brought up the whole modern art and culture of China.”

“A part of our school’s predecessor was Yan’an Luxun Academy of Literature and Art, many senior teachers traveled a long distance to Yan’an from Xi’an, where they taught and learned.” The exhibition curator Prof. Yin Shuangxi also talked about the relationship between CAFA and Shaanxi culture. It formed the Xi’an art phenomenon that we can’t ignore, in the development process of Chinese art history in the 20th century and “The Temperature of History” presents more than 20 artists who are related to Xi’an with nearly 200 participating artists. The artists who were born, or grew up, or studied in Xi’an include: Chen Shudong, Sun Man, Luo Gongliu, Feng Fashi, Wang Liuqiu, etc. The artists that taught or engaged in some important events in Xi’an include Hu Yichuan, Wang Shikuo, Cai Liang, Zhu Naizheng, Jin Zhilin, Su Gaoli, Sun Jingbo, Wang Huaxiang, Sun Man, Xue Kun and so on.

In the one hundred years of Chinese oil painting, since the first public art school was founded in 1918, CAFA is about to celebrate it’s one hundred years anniversary. “The Temperature of History” is a review and thinking of one-hundred years of history of CAFA from the perspective of oil painting. The exhibition aims at: studying the history, inheriting the tradition, paying attention tothe contemporary, looking to the future. In order to establish the historic position of CAFA that promoted the development of Chinese fine arts in the 20th century and established the “CAFA Oil Painting School”.

Text and photo by Lin Jiabin/CAFA ART INFO

Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

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