05 Exhibition view of the Second Annual Exhibition of “Poem, Chinese Calligraphy and Painting – West Lake”

At 4 pm on November 20, 2015, jointly organized by CAFA, Inzone Art Museum, “Poem, Chinese Calligraphy and Painting” magazine, the Second Annual Exhibition of “Poem, Chinese Calligraphy and Painting –West Lake” kicked off at the Teaching Exhibition Hall of CAFA in Beijing, presenting three sets of works themed on West Lake, created by Wu Yi, including the oil paintings “The 15 Scenes of West Lake”, the ink painting “The West Lake Landscape Records”, and the engravings “The West Lake Character Records”. The exhibition continues to November 30.

The arrangement effect and the theme of the exhibition totally correspond to the temperament of the artist. The oil paintings “The 15 Scenes of West Lake” are placed in a darker exhibition hall, the application of the spotlights upon the screen is to highlight the meticulous description under the brush of Wu Yi. The ink paintings “The West Lake Landscape Records” and the engravings “The West Lake Character Records” are showcased in the form of a display window, so that the audience can closely appreciate them. The annual exhibition has been prepared for more than one year, and Wu Yi has spent a lot of time in fieldwork on West Lake, the viewers can look up the material, through the brush of the artist, as well as the elaborate presentation of the Teaching Exhibition Hall of CAFA, to comprehensively showcase the touching charm of West Lake.

“The 15 Scenes of West Lake” are the 15 paintings of the artists that depict the West Lake from different perspectives, which are like the real scenes but not the real ones. Each piece is named after the poems of the ancient people who described the landscapes of the West Lake, including “Beautiful Landscape of the Eastern West Lake where the White Sand Dike is hidden by the Shadows of Green Willows is My Favorite, and I have never tired of it”, “Huts are Found Everywhere in the Brook Mountain, and Feilai Peak in Linyin Temple is My Favorite”, “The Land is Glossy Dark Green by Spring Water, and the Newly Drawn Eyebrows Softly and Brightly are Reflected in the Mirror”, “Where the Clouds Dwell”… extracted from the great writer of the Northern Song Dynasty Su Dongpo, and the poet of Tang Dynasty Bai Juyi. Prof. Iwaki Michi from Kyoto University, Japan calls it the “Literati Oil Painting”, in these works, the western-style techniques of oil painting is converted to the techniques of the eastern literati painting. The artist Wu Yi realizes a dream, a dream of the West Lake… The West Lake in the dream exudes its ancient flavor, slightly touching the most soft pulse of my heart, and I slowly melt in this strange artistic conception of an empty and static beauty…

The ink painting “The West Lake Landscape Records” is a 10 meters long scroll that meticulously describes the evolution of the geological structure of various scenic spots of the West Lake in Hangzhou, with a literal statement. Through the evolution processes of the mountains of West Lake such as Mount Gem, Feilai Peak, Mount Green Dragon and so on, the formation of the Jade Spring, 9 streams and 18 ravines, etc. Wu Yi presents the mysterious process of the evolution of the West Lake over tens of millions of years in the paper, so that it does not only offer the audience an artistic visual enjoyment but it is also a baptism for us on the geological and scientific knowledge of West Lake.

In the engravings “The West Lake Character Records”, Wu Yi finished the line drawings of a lot of celebrities’ portraits, such as the White Snake, Chai Kung, Bai Juyi, Wen Shigao, Luo Bingwang, Su Dongpo…, and they were converted to prints again by the wood engraver Lu Ping. Through this transformation, the fresh engravings “The West Lake Character Records” were born at the right moment, while at the same time the works convey a more abundant humanistic spirit. Wu Yi writes in the preface that, “Looking up to and pursuing the predecessors’ footprints are still my dream, and I worship the precious and eternal schemas created by the sages, so that I have created a set of ‘The West Lake Character Records’”.

The artist Wu Yi aptly shows the three main themes that the people from ancient times have loved extoling in oil paintings, ink paintings and engravings: the scenic spots and historic resorts of the West Lake, the ancient sages and legendary characters who had historical origins within the West Lake. When the Director of Inzone Art Museum Tian Jun saw the work of Wu Yi, he was surprised, and he thought it was both understandable and accidental, the exhibition was a very important chapter in the process of the artistic creation of Wu Yi, which did not only lie in the rich artistic forms, but also in his special understanding and performance of the scenes of West Lake.

After the first exhibition which is held in CAFA, it will gradually be on show at the Art Museum of China Academy of Art, Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Japan, etc.

Text by Te Yuanfeng, Photo by Yang Yanyuan/CAFA ART INFO

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


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