“Visionary: Contemporary Fine Art from China Central Academy of Fine Arts” brings together the new works by faculty from the School of Plastic Arts, CAFA –one of the most important art education institutions in China, held in the University of the Arts London in UK. Since it is an academic exchange exhibition organized by the art education Institutes, it embodies the thought and practice of art and education of teachers from the frontline of education.The research topic of “Visionary” is put forward through this exhibition. What is “visionary”? Let’s start from “image”. “Image” is an important term in “Zhou Yi/ I Ching/ Book of Changes”. “Zhou Yi/ I Ching/ Book of Changes • Xici Biography”: “Create the image in the heaven, and create the shape on the earth”. We often refer to “the Eight Diagrams’s images/ eight possible trigram images” “Yao Positions” images/ Positions of horizontal Lines images”, because “All the bodies are shaped differently and naturally, the saint created trigrams to describe the images in nature”, that is “creating images through imitating objects”, such images of trigrams and the positions of horizontal lines emerged. The so-called “image”, is not referring to “shape”, but is a spiritual and cultural “image” that goes beyond the physical “shape”. It is the very source of the “Yixiang/imagery” that Chinese artists diligently strive for.
In most of the arts, “visionary” is related to “the visual plastic”. Vision is a physiological function, but also a cultural one, people continuously learn and improve their visual capabilities in the process of cultivation and training, there are profoundly different meanings of “look” and “see” in the visual observation, at the same time, they may have different responses and results for the visual acquisition. “Plastic” is also a process of learning, cultivation, training and creation, and an art practice, and what level of “see” and “hand” an artist has, leads to what level the “plastic” his/she produces. In the long term, the process and purpose of Chinese modern art education focuses on the training of the capabilities of artists’ “eye” and “hand”. But it’s certainly that “eye” and “hand” are not the only dimensions, and “thinking” has been emphasized as important as “eye” and “hand”, being an important dimension, transcends the concepts of “object” and “shape”, having traditional Chinese ways of cultural observation, thinking and expression, the “Image” deserted from the so-called “expresses his thought in literary works when seeing the image of heaven and feeling its breath”, participating and constructing together with the new cultural appearance of contemporary art creation and art education, thus leading to our new thought. “See image” is proposed in this level of thought.
A saying of the interpretation of “Image” from “Qian Trigram” is that: “Heaven evolves, gentleman is unremitting by self-improvement”. “Image” not only refers to “thinking”, “imagery”, and the image of “beyond”, but also is an important proposition of educational practice.
Split across WIMBLEDON space and Art@GoldenSquare, Visionary presented over 70 recent works by 25 artists of China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) from September to October. The artists are teachers and professors from the departments of oil painting, printmaking, Chinese painting and experimental art. Consequently, this exhibition, spans a range of media, reflects the range of artistic thinking and practices within fine art and art education in China today. It was praised and welcomed by the teachers and students from the art schools and art circles in UK. Today it is back and is continuously showing at CAFA Art Museum, and we hope to discuss a new way of looking at Chinese contemporary art with the different perspectives of China and UK.
Text by Wang Huangsheng, Director of CAFA Art Museum
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Duration: December 25, 2012 – February 22, 2013
Venue: 2B Exhibition Hall of CAFA Art Museum
Hosts: CAFA, University of the Arts London, Camberwell College of Arts, CHELSEA College of Art and Design and Wimbledon College of Art
Organizer: School of Plastic of CAFA, CAFA Art Museum, Wimbledon College of Art affiliated to University of the Arts London
Curators: Su Xinping, Wang Huangsheng, George Blacklock
Artists: Xu Bing, Yuan Yunsheng, Guang Jun, Pan Gongkai, Su Xinping, Liu Xiaodong, Cao Li, Lu Shengzhong, Chen Wenji, Li Xiaolin, Wang Yuping, Shen Ling, Yu Hong, Li Fan, Wu Yi, Yang Hongwei, Wu Hong, Wang Changxing