00 featured image of the exhibition

Jointly hosted by the Suzhou Museum, “Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting” Magazine and Pan Gongkai Art Studio, the “The World of Combination: an Exhibition on the Work of Pan Gongkai” opened to the public in Suzhou Museum on March 26, 2017, going through to May 23, 2017.

From the 20th century, Chinese art and society have undergone tremendous changes. How to face the new world pattern, learning from the theory to interpret the value of traditional art, from the practice to explore the potential value, are the important tasks for modern Chinese artists. Pan Gongkai is both an artist and a theorist: in terms of theory, he began to think deeply about the future meaning of Chinese painting in the early 1980s and proposed that the Chinese and Western artistic systems “are complementary and coexisting, two-way penetrating”, the aim was to write a series of articles on the comparison of the Chinese and Western paintings and the essential values of the traditional Chinese painting which attracts wide attention from academia at home and abroad. He recently finished a book entitled “Chinese Brush and Ink”, it even has a macro historical study on the essential concept of Chinese painting and the basic concept of Chinese philosophy which fully implemented the inner spirit and the process of evolution, it stands to reason, it has sufficient grounds for the view and is convincing. At the same time with the practice of contemporary ink art Pan Gongkai is practicing his theory from the academic proposition, based on the comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the tradition of brush and ink, he insists on expressing his feelings using the brush and ink writing skills, to present the quality, which can be created in the large-scale works and seeking a traditional gentle and elegant subtle charm. Pan has in depth learning from the ancient and modern artists and an extensive Chinese and Western vision, which makes his ink paintings full of an elegant style and far-reaching mood of the traditional culture with a magnificent contemporary visual impact, it does not only inherit frankness and ingenious tastes but also forms a natural and appropriate integration and interaction with a contemporary cultural context, with an unique contemporary aesthetic taste and the tension of an artistic style, which is a valuable exploration and possibility for the large freehand Chinese painting in a contemporary development and transformation.

This exhibition takes “The World of Combination” as the theme and Han Bi serves as the academic chair, Yang Jie is the curator. It combines the historical context of Suzhou city and respects the original space and characteristics of the Suzhou Museum which was designed by Leoh Ming Pei, using the classical methods of “creating landscape” and “borrowing landscape” from the Suzhou Garden to separate the exhibition spaces, while some typical elements of the architectural style of the museum are integrated into the design of the exhibition, trying to break through the pattern of a conventional exhibition where it lacks the interaction between the works and the field situation. Through the presentation of Pan’s ink creation, installation art, cross-border design, etc., supplemented by multimedia images, theoretical literature and creative voice they are all interspersed and juxtaposed, really and vividly showing his academic research and results, revealing his individualized understanding and manifestation in his exploration of the relationship between the “inheritance” and “change” of the Chinese context, in a contemporary globalized context, and thus we can peer into what he has always adhered to in exploring the promotion of the transformation of Chinese painting from inside the Chinese culture, from the perspective of theory and practice and attempts to establish and develop the idealistic feelings of the unique ink style in this process of exploration.

Text and photo courtesy of the organizer

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

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