Tuomusi was born in 1932 in Tumed Left Banner, Inner Mongolia. He is the professor at the Art College in Inner Mongolia Normal University and enjoys a special government allowance. During his long-term art practice, he has devoted himself to explorations of nationalization and modernization of oil paintings. He led a group of young artists to jointly promote the formation of “Prairie Painting School” (草原画派), which pioneered the Inner Mongolia School of Painting.
From Tuomusi’s perspective, he was deeply influenced by his supervisor Luo Gongliu to practice Chinese-style Oil Painting when he did his post-graduate course in China Central Academy of Fine Arts in the 1960s. He divided his art career into several stages:
In the 1960s, Tuomusi started a job and was excited about everything. He had numerous ideas to experiment with. In this case, during these years, he practiced various styles and motifs. However, due to the social situation in China, the works of this period were inscribed with the profound fear of political situation. Although he has tried various art languages and absorbed some concepts of traditional Chinese paintings, he mainly created artworks based on the method of “all-original”(全元素) at this stage. He also explored the light and color relationship in certain circumstances as his primary means to create artworks.
In the 1970s and 1980s, he plunged himself into the countryside and pastoral areas to revolt against the themed art creation in China. He created a number of small-scale landscapes and figure oil paintings. He painted from real life while considering the direction of his painting in the future. In 1981, based on his accumulation of materials and ideas, he created more than 100 paintings, which mainly expressed his life experience and feelings. After the mid-1980s, Tuomusi made two visits and inspections abroad. He was able to absorb nutrition from a number of classic works in European museums. Thus, he consciously explored his own artistic language. He clearly doubted the trendy notion of “conceptual determinism” in the art world at that time. He believes that in any art creation, concepts can only be placed in vivid and accessible visual art forms.
In the 1990s, Tuomusi presented a distinct shift and became increasingly mature in his art creation. He created more than ten paintings with the theme of “Mongolian Women and Horses”. As artistic symbols, women and horses developed their own meaning in his paintings.
With the advent of the new century, he began to use comprehensive techniques. He still utilized oil pigments to accomplish his work. With the increasingly abundant materials he was able to practice in many forms, such as pigments of gold and silver, as well as propylene, his resulting paintings are far away from the light and shadow effect.
During many years of exploring changes, Tuomusi realized the key to “establishment” and “transformation” lies in the artistic taste, which determines the appearance and spirit of one’s work. He believes that it is not necessary to deny one’s own foundation and ultimately change to another style. Instead, insisting on everyone’s specific condition to develop and explore artistic changes can eventually make progress.
In professor Shao Dazhen’s perspective, in the field of contemporary oil painting, Mongolian painter Tuomusi is a maverick artist who has realized a great achievement in art. It is nothing about his reputation as the most famous Mongolian painter, it is his unique understanding and cognition of art that counts. During his long-term artistic practice, he explored and developed a route that suits his personality. The style is not seen in his predecessors nor in artists of the same generation. The appearance of this style enriches the content of Chinese contemporary oil painting and supports our research regarding the principles of art creation. It also helps us to deal with the relationship between art creation and daily life and the method to extract art from life.
Most of Tuomusi’s paintings are quiet as he believes that paintings in silence are lyrical. He is free to walk ahead on his own path which shows his artistic style in the direction of his choice.
Text edited and translated by Emily Weimeng Zhou, edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Photo courtesy of the artist