“The legacy of Intangible Cultural Heritage and relations between contemporary art and traditional culture currently remain at the crux of the constructions of art and culture. This is a comprehensive, research and creative project, aiming to explore the possibility of relevancy between these two topics, through the exhibition of the ancient text of “The Tale of the White Snake” and the contemporary presentation, it proves that traditional art and contemporary art can integrate and motivate each other, reaching the realm of ‘transformation,’” explained CAFA President Fan Di’an.
Directed by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Culture, jointly organized by the Management Center of Prince Kung’s Palace Museum and CAFA, “Transformation: A Tale of Contemporary Art and Intangible Cultural Heritage” was unveiled at Prince Kung’s Palace Museum on August 18, 2015, Fan Di’an, President of CAFA and Sun Xuguang, Director of the Management Center of Prince Kung’s Palace Museum serve as the general curators. It is the first thematic exhibition to research and practice the theme of “contemporary art involving in the intangible cultural heritage study” in the “Chinese Traditional Skills Exhibition” for the Chinese intangible cultural heritage productive protection series events, through a combination of display, play and research and mutual promotion to present the achievements and practice exploration.
As Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts addressed the audience at the press conference, “in the global context of cultures, how can an artist utilize his national culture in his creations, get nourishment from the artistic traditions in China, turning the Chinese traditional art concepts and methods into his own creative language and how to get through the barrier and bridge the concepts which remain an important theme for study.”
The exhibition is entitled “transformation”, aimed at through the presentation of more than 140 treasured shadow puppets of the Donglu Shadow Play in Shaanxi “The Tale of the White Snake” and the work of contemporary art “New Interpretation of the ‘Tale of the White Snake’” created by the young artist Wu Jian’an, to create a multiple correlation between the ancient version and present one of “The Tale of the White Snake”, to unfold a “hyperspace” dialogue between Chinese local cultural tradition and contemporary visual art; by shuffling texts and graphics, the documentary section reviews the changes and promotion influence of traditional productive skills, aesthetic style and mode of transmission of shadow puppets in the 10-year cooperation between Wu Jian’an, the state-level master of arts and crafts Wang Tianwen and his disciple, mutually refer to the works, on the one hand, it combs through the deep rooted relationship between contemporary Chinese art and traditional culture in the aspect of ideology, style and language, on the other hand, under the “transformation” of contemporary art creative thinking and aesthetic style, the ancient cultural heritage coruscate gives “life” in the new era, the contents of the three sections mutually echo each other, to build a multiple significance for the two dimensions of contemporary art and intangible cultural heritage protection.
In the “New Interpretation of the ‘Tale of the White Snake’”, Wu Jian’an used 7 paintings made up of 186 little images of various identities and names to form a large-scale work for the new interpretation and “mythic reengineering” of the classic story “The Tale of White Snake”, these images are shuttling and overlapping between each work, to constitute seven individual complete artistic images in the form of “homogeneous and heterogeneous”, to form a corresponding relationship with the inner structure of the classic text in the way of terms, to develop more possibilities for the reading of original plots and figures in the content, after widely dabbling in, deeply studying, summarizing and experiencing traditional culture, he started from the “conceptual” level to make a “transformation” of the local tradition; at the same time, he combined the shaping of line drawing and shadow puppets, allowing the traditional artistic style to intersect and integrate with the Western plastic language and contemporary artistic aesthetic form, to transform shadow puppets, the endangered folk tradition in contemporary society, to an important resource of visual creation, and it is an experiment of “transformation” starting from the “form-quality” level.
Opon the opening, Duofu Xuan courtyard-the representative place of “Fu culture” of Prince Kung’s Palace Museum launched a gathering for the exhibition opening and the first show of the Donglu Shadow Puppet in Shaanxi “The Tale of the White Snake” was on display. During the exhibition period, there will be many performances of the shadow play, traditional skills will be shown, while academic seminars and other cultural educational events will be successively held, in order to hold the cultural activities while organically combining a lot of content, to promote a win-win co-existence of contemporary art and traditional skills.
Directed by Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Ministry of Culture
Hosts: Management Center of Prince Kung’s Palace Museum, CAFA
Organizers: Organizing Committee for Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage Productive Protection Series Activities, Research and Protection Center for Chinese Traditional Skills
Academic Supports: Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage and Traditional Skills Research and Teaching Steering Committee, International Heritage Society, Silk Road Arts, Art Research and Innovation Center at CAFA
In cooperation with China International Cultural Association, the editorial department of “Chinese Traditional Skills”, the School of Experimental Art, CAFA, Intangible Cultural Heritage Research Center in Shandong, Beautiful Asset Culture Industry Co., Ltd. In Beijing
General Curators: Fan Di’an and Sun Xuguang
Duration: August 18 – September 9, 2015 (closed on Mondays)
Opening: August 18, 2015 16:30
Venue: The Exhibition Hall of Chinese Traditional Skills Prince Kung’s Palace Museum
Courtesy of the artist and CAFA ART INFO.