“无为”张永正纸本艺术展

“无为”张永正纸本艺术展

展览开幕酒会:2012年4月6日晚8点
展览时期:2012年4月6日——5月26日(周日闭馆)
展览地点:TCG诺地卡画廊(昆明市西坝路101号创库艺术社区内)

品鉴会:2012年5月12日,14:30——16:00
品鉴会地点:昆明顺城K座5楼味彩顺城“框余画廊”

策展人:罗菲
学术主持:和丽斌
特邀评论:安德士(瑞典)
翻译:马睿奇
展览助理:沙玉蓉,朱筱琳
联合主办:TCG诺地卡画廊,框余画廊
电话:0871-4114692
网址:www.tcgnordica.com

甘肃籍画家张永正于2004年移居昆明,全职从事艺术创作。云南的气候和文化对他的艺术产生了深刻影响,开始了名为“过程”系列的抽象艺术创作,同时也一直从事大量的纸本即兴绘画。

张永正的纸本即兴绘画以线、绳、抹布、衣物、刮刀等材料沾墨或水在纸面上鞭打、滴洒、拓印,通过对纸本的“行动”来留下痕迹,形成线或块面互为交错、对冲、叠加关系,画面形象具有升腾、下坠、周旋等奔放的运动效果,注重颜料水墨的表现性,和绘制工具生动的灵性状态。画面率性洒脱、洗练、充满动感和幽默趣味,犹如道家哲学中道作为形上实体在宇宙间生生不息、毫无阻拦、无微不至地运行一般。

张永正曾于2005年在昆明TCG诺地卡画廊举办过首次画展,反响强烈。时隔7年张永正再次在TCG诺地卡画廊集中展示他从2004年至今创作的从未公开过的纸本即兴绘画,精选其中约50幅精品与大家分享。展览名为“无为”,意在呈现道家“无为”思想与抽象绘画的暗通。

此次展览由TCG诺地卡画廊和框余画廊联合主办,为大家带来云南罕见的抽象艺术视觉体验。展览将于2012年4月6日晚上8点在西坝路101号创库艺术社区TCG诺地卡画廊举办开幕酒会,展览将持续到5月26日。

相关阅读:
道:生生不息——关于张永正的纸本即兴绘画(文/罗菲)
日行千里路(文/安德士)
张永正访谈(文/和丽斌) 
张永正访谈(文/马睿奇)

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“Wu Wei” Zhang Yongzheng Paper-based Improvisational Painting Exhibition

Exhibition Opening: 8pm, April 6th, 2012
Exhibition Duration: April 6th–May 26th, 2012 (Sunday Closed)
Exhibition Address: TCG Nordica Gallery, Chuangku, Xibalu 101, Kunming

Art Tasting: 14:30–16:00, May 12th, 2012
Art Tasting Address: Kuangyu Gallery, 5th floor, Caiwei Shuncheng, K, Shuncheng, Kunming

Curator: Luo Fei
Academic Host: He Libin
Invited Writer: Anders Gustafsson (Sweden)
Translator: R. Orion Martin (US)
Exhibition Assistants: Sha Yurong, Zhu Xiaolin
Co-hosted by TCG Nordica Gallery and Kuangyu Gallery
Tel: 0871-4114692
Website: www.tcgnordica.com

Gansu Artist Zhang Yongzheng came to Kunming in 2004 and has been making art here ever since. Yunnan’s climate and culture have left a deep impression on his art, particularly on his “Process” series of abstract works. At the same time he has been engaged in a great number of paper-based improvisational works and it is these that will be exhibited in the upcoming exhibition.

Zhang Yongzheng’s paper-based improvisational works are made with materials such as string, rope, rags, clothing, and palette knives. These he wets with ink in order to whip, rub or drip the image onto the paper. The paper, having gone through these “actions,” carries the vestiges that are left behind in the form of lines or shapes. These forms are related in the way they crisscross, hedge, and superimpose upon one another. The shapes on the page rise, fall, and interact, resulting in a feeling of unrestrained movement. They emphasize the expressiveness of the paint and ink while exposing the vividly spiritual nature of the tools. The works are unaffected and nimble, brimming with dynamism and humorous delight. They are reminiscent of the metaphysical view in Daoist philosophy that an entity in the universe is ceaselessly growing and multiplying, unstoppably, meticulously in motion.

Zhang Yongzheng held an exhibition in TCG Nordica Gallery in 2005 that had profound repercussions. Now, after seven years, he returns to TCG Nordica Gallery to collect and display the paper-based improvisational works he began making in 2004, works which until now have never been displayed. 50 works have been specially selected to share with the public in this special exhibition. The exhibition has been named “Wu Wei”, in reference to the Daoist concept of active inaction and its close relationship to abstract art.

This exhibition has been organized by the combined efforts of TCG Nordica and Kuangyu Gallery in order to present a rare chance to experience the works of this abstract artist. The exhibition opening will be held on April 6th, 2012 at Xiba Road 101, Artist Loft, TCG Nordica Gallery, and the exhibition will continue until May 26th.

Related Articles:
The Dao: To Ceaselessly Grow and Multiply(Luo Fei)
Travel 1000 li in one day(Anders Gustafsson)
Interview with Zhang Yongzheng(He Libin)
Interview Zhang Yongzheng(R. Orion Martin)

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山景•各从其类

山景•各从其类
瑞典艺术家乔纳斯•波顿(Jonas Böttern)与艾米莉•孟娜达(Emily Mennerdahl)的“山坡艺术项目”

展览开幕式:2012年4月6日晚8点
展览档期:2012年4月6日—5月1日
地点:TCG诺地卡-UP画廊空间,昆明市西坝路101号创库艺术社区内
电话:0871-4114692

山景•各从其类 – 艺术家自述

“山景•各从其类”项目是对中国西南地区山脉的研究。这项研究涉及三个部分:植物、动物和地理。这个项目通过人造环境来描绘自然景观中的环境元素来表达了人与自然的关联。它质疑并挑战关于人造景观与“自然”的概念。

我们的主题专注于植物园、动物园和山脉主题的明信片,使之带有本土特性或政治、文化色彩。当这些事物离开它们的原产地,处于人为的环境中,这些经过雕琢和搭建的“新家”清楚的表明出人类如何看待自然、与自然相处。因此自然和人造景观的界限变得模糊。尽管这源自一个充满好奇和意义的课题,但我们尽可能让事物从时空中隔离出来,简化它们存在的具体地点。

植物园

植物园的“自然景观”是一个有组织有系统的自然。它通常由树的科学研究性或娱乐性构成,当然或者两者兼具。这是一种使得自然变得亲近和温顺的景观理念。在“山景•各从其类”项目里我们学习和记录了植物园里的五棵树。蓝桉树是一种有着银绿色树叶的大型树木。多叶的特性使得它总是投下斑驳的影子。高大壮丽的它于1896年被引入中国。它在新中国建立初期被大量种植于大型农场。今天的它在中国出口业里扮演了重要的角色。这个系列的另一种树是三棱栎,它的树叶很脆弱,是一种互生叶,即便在冬季也不会掉落。它是一种常青树,但在栖地流失过程中导致濒危。它原产于气候温和的低纬度高海拔地区。现在它被保护在植物园的大墙内成为了自然历史档案的一部分。

“景观(风景)是历史性构建各地区社会、经济、文化状态的一面‘镜子’”1

动物园

在一个显眼的位置上,一匹狼被收关在玻璃墙里。一棵干焦的树倾斜在透明的墙上、岩石散布在水泥地上。这匹狼,野性的象征,被供养在一个专门将野生动物展示给公众的系统中。这种系统——动物园,通常被认为人能够在这里理解自身与动物的关系。仅隔一道栅栏、一条浅壕沟或一面玻璃墙就产生的分隔,观众可以平静地站着观赏“野生动物”。作为动物研究的一部分我们拍摄了这匹狼的三种姿势,它在洞穴边被抓拍,凝固在时间里。然后我们用油画颜料去除原始图像的背景,狼被孤立并被从它的环境里抽离出来。狼被剥夺了先前的条件,被标记在一个空无的空间里徘徊。之后我们再通过涂画、消除的方式加工,这其实并没有拒绝空间,而是更增强了空间感,虚空正象征着现实的模糊性。

山地覆盖了中国西南的广大地区。这些山脉在延伸了很长后突然戏剧性的急转向南。在东方,山总是被视为神圣的,而在西方,直到18世纪山还被认为是丑陋和危险的。在工业时代和浪漫主义时期人们的观点开始发生转变,人们突然产生了一种对至高点的着迷。在白雪皑皑中沉浸于炫目的白色,同时又有令人怯步的巅峰,在恒久的努力登峰过程中遇见广袤的风景。在这种追求过程中,山便对象化了,一个有待被攻克的对象。为了到达顶峰,它的周围环境和文化都被忽略。

我们展示了十张有关山作为对象的明信片。我们用了在植物和动物研究的作品里相似的工作方式:涂白。留下的只有一个形状奇怪的物体;它抽象得几乎只剩下形状,在这个过程中风景被具体化和拆分。我们不再知道事物如何,以及怎样存在。事物进入了一种介于真实和想象的状态。

“我们阅读风景,换句话说我们根据我们自己的经验、记忆和我们共同的文化记忆来阐释它们的形式。”2

1, Robert Macfarlane, ”Mountains of the Mind”, page 18, Granta Books, 2008
2, Zhang, P. G. Shao, D. C. Le Master, G. R. Parker, J. B. Dunning Jr. and Q. Li, “China’s Forest Policy for the 21st Century”. Science 288.5474 (June 23, 2000): p2135.

A Categorisation of a Mountain Landscape
HILLSIDE PROJECTS – JONAS BÖTTERN AND EMILY MENNERDAHL

Exhibition Opening: 8pm, April 6th, 2012
Exhibition Duration: April 6th – May 1st , 2012
Add: TCG Nordica-UP Gallery, Xi ba lu 101, Kunming

A CATEGORISATION OF A MOUNTAIN LANDSCAPE – ARTIST STATEMENT

A Categorisation of a Mountain Landscape is a detailed study of a mountainous region in South-western China. The study involves three parts that examine flora, fauna and geology. Using artificial environments to depict elements from the natural landscape the project concentrates on the correlation between man and nature. It questions and challenges ideas surrounding the artificial and “the natural”.

Focusing on an arboretum, a zoo and found postcards of mountains we are working with subjects that are either native to the region or play a significance politically or culturally.
Removed from their natural habitat, the subjects now dwell in man-made environments. These sculpted and architected new “homes” articulate how humans look upon and relate to nature. The boundaries between the natural and the artificial become blurred. Although continuing to be a source of wonder and meaning the subjects are reduced to exist in places isolated in time and space.

The Arboretum

The “natural landscape” of the arboretum is an organisation and systemisation of nature.
It consists of a living collection of trees grown for scientific observation, for pleasure, or both. It is a conception of a landscape where nature can become both accessible and compliant.
In A Categorisation of a Mountain Landscape five trees from an arboretum are studied and documented. Eucalyptus Globulus is a large tree with fine silver green crowns. Fully leafed, the trees shade is characteristically patchy. Towering and majestic it was introduced to China in 1896. At the foundation of the People’s Republic of China the tree was applied for use in large-scale plantations. Today it plays a major part in China’s export industry. Another tree in the series, Trigonobalanus Doichangensis, appears delicate yet its alternate leaves remain despite winter. An evergreen, it is threatened by habitat loss. It is native to a climate tempered strongly by low latitude and high elevation. Now contained within the walls of the arboretum, the tree is part of a historical record in an archive of nature.

“Landscape is the historically constructed “mirror” of social, economical and cultural conditions in each area.”1

The Zoo

In a place seemingly remarkable and impressive, a wolf is collected and contained within walls of glass. Against invisible partitions lean brittle trees, rocks are spread out on a cement floor. The wolf, a symbol of the wild, subsists in an institution in which wild animals are kept and exhibited to the public. It is suggested that this institution, a zoo, is a place in which humans can come to understand their relationship to animals. With only a fence, a shallow moat or a wall of glass that separates, the viewer can stand in peace as he looks into the “wild”. As part of the study of fauna we photographed the wolf in three different positions. Captured in its den the animal becomes frozen in time. By then physically removing the original image’s background using oil paint, the wolf is isolated and taken out of its context. The wolf lingers in an empty space destitute of earlier conditions and signifiers. The application of paint as an act to erase is not a renunciation of space but rather an encouragement of space. The void comes to symbolize the ambiguity of the real.

The Mountains

In South-western China the mountain range spreads over massive areas. Having travelled from a far, it dramatically changes direction as it stretches south. In the East, mountains have always been seen upon as sacred. In the West, up until the 18th century, mountains were considered as something ugly and dangerous. In the era of industrialism and romanticism people’s views began to change. Suddenly there was an obsession with experiencing the sublime. To be immersed in blinding whiteness whilst accompanied by daunting peaks. Encountering vast landscapes in a continuous strive for a summit. In this pursuit, mountains become objectified; they become entities to be conquered. Surroundings and culture are disregarded in an attempt to reach the top.

Displayed on a table ten postcards describe mountains as objects. Conducted in a similar manner to that of the studies of flora and fauna, white paint erases whatever information is left of the surroundings in which the mountains rest. What remains is a strangely shaped object; almost abstract it is devoid of any meaning other than its form. In the process of categorising a landscape we objectify and take apart. We no longer know how or where things exist. The subjects come to remain in an indeterminate state, somewhere between the real and the imaginary.

“We read landscapes, in other words we interpret their forms in the light of our own experience and memory, and that of our shared cultural memory”2

1, Robert Macfarlane, ”Mountains of the Mind”, page 18, Granta Books, 2008
2, Zhang, P. G. Shao, D. C. Le Master, G. R. Parker, J. B. Dunning Jr. and Q. Li, “China’s Forest Policy for the 21st Century”. Science 288.5474 (June 23, 2000): p2135.

Thirty Years of Landscaping

Thirty Years of Landscaping
The roadmap of landscape in contemporary Yunnan art
written by He Libin

The year of 1979, was an important one for many Chinese. With the People’s Republic of China witnessing its first year of opening-up and its 30th anniversary, the government’s cultural and art policies began to loosen up. This year, artists working in Kunming, Yunnan, such as Ding Shaoguang, Jiang Tiefeng, Yao Zhonghua, Wang Jinyuan, Liu Shaohui and Wang Ruizhang formed an artist group named “Shen Society.” They  chose the name “Shen Society” for several reasons: first, 1979 was the Year of Monkey in Chinese Lunar Calendar, and one meaning of “Shen” in Chinese language was “monkey;” second, the Monkey King was a popular figure among Chinese; and third, they wanted to express the desire to pursue freedom and truth and uplift social justice, as “Shen” can also mean “uplift.” This group of artists often got together to discuss art, and chose to learn the idea and style from Cubism and Fauvism in modern Western art and to pursue the language of formal beauty in art. In 1980, Shen Society organized an exhibition of 120 artworks from 23 artists in the Museum of Yunnan Province. In the following two years, they organized some artists to hold exhibitions in Beijing and Hong Kong. Their paintings in the main have a tendency of flat painting and decoration deformation, characterized by gorgeous colors, and, through the portrait of the life of minorities in Yunnan, exhibits an aesthetic style featuring intertwined illusion and emotion, exoticism and imagination. The new style, just like a fresh breeze in China’s painting community, at that time still imbued with the style of revolutionary realism in the Cultural Revolution, together with the contention about the style and subject of the fresco1 in Capital Airport, triggered a massive debate about formal beauty across the country, the first nationwide sensation started by Yunnan art. At that time, some younger Yunnan artists were still in college, such as Mao Xuhui in Yunnan College of Art, Zhang Xiaogang and Ye Yongqing in Sichuan College of Art, and Mao Dehai in Northeast Normal University, who asked his university to assign him to a job in Kunming after graduation. These young people, active in thinking, got together naturally, maintained correspondence with each other at college, and went together in Kunming during vacation to watch exhibition, go out for living sketch or discuss art all day and or night. Similarly, they also drew nutrition from Western modernism. But unlike the artists of Shen Society, they accepted the cultural heritages such as expressionism, surrealism, symbolism and existential philosophy. Undergoing the adolescent frustration and rash, they found the Western modernistic ideas and philosophies, particularly those after the impressionism, somehow consistent with their mentality. At that time, artists such as Zhang Ding, Wu Guanzhong and Yuan Yunsheng frequently went to Yunan to sketch, hold exhibition or give lecture. Young artists like Mao Xuhui were also influenced by the concept of “formal beauty2″ raised by these artists. But when they saw the exhibition of German expressionism in the summer of 1982 in Beijing, they were tremendously excited and shocked, realizing that it was expressionism that was the right approach to express their feeling and mentality. Another trace was their experience of traveling to Guishan Mountain several times for live sketch. In 1979, Mao Xuhui, Zhang Xiaogang, Ye Yongqing and Yang Yijiang, still college students, went to Guishan Mountain to sketch. Guishan, which they long yearned for, was a village of minority Sani people located about 100 kilometers away from Kunming, a pastoral place very much resembling the scene in the paintings of 19th century French Barbizon School artist Jean Francois Millet. Before them, many senior artists also went there and portray Guishan with the Soviet realistic approach and expressionist language of light. Mao Xuhui and his colleagues also used similar language in their expression, but they always had a feeling that those splendid portraits somehow fell short of their feelings. In the following several years, they went to Guishan several times and gradually found the language that suited their feelings. Mao Xuhui’s “Mother of Laterate: Guishan Series” accentuated the tremendous energy concealed in the red soil, and the people, the trees and herds growing from the red soil are gushing, flushing and erupting, with burning primitiveness and lust everywhere. Zhang Xiaogang’s “Behind Mountain” and “Evening Breeze” exhibit the blunt and rough touches like Van Gauge, portraying the primitiveness and hardship of life in a mountainous village. Ye Yongqing drew upon the composition principles of Western classic fresco in his “Sani Sisters in Shepherd Village,” “Sheep Killed by Wolf in Front of Village,” “Blind Girl Going Home” and “Startled Bird” etc, and sketched a series of pastoral lyric pictures by setting some narrative details and scenes. It was the landscape of Guishan that shed some light onto and awakened their mind long sealed in urban life, and presented a stark contrast with their status and mentality in the city. Back in city, Mao Xuhui finished his artworks like “Red Volume” and “Private Space,” depicting a moving volume struggling to shake off the outside shackles and pursuing the true self when running, reflecting the fact that the confrontation against social ideology is evolving to resistance to everything outside self. Life and dream, reality and illusion, intertwined in his chaotic think, are scarcely distinct from each other. In June 1985, Mao Xuhui, Zhang Xiaogang, Pan Dehai and Zhang Long brought their artworks with them and held an exhibition named “Neo-figurative” in the Art Gallery of Jing’an District, Shanghai. What is “neo-figurative”? Mao Xuhui explained in the introduction of the exhibition: “…the concept of ‘neo-figurative’ is devised in an attempt to transfer art away from a vulgar sociological tool and the whole set of false models and social interests that are resulted and to art itself, and to free artists from the position of dependent and slave and restore them to the height of noumenon of man.” Thereafter, the neo-figurative school held several exhibitions in Nanjing, Kunming, Chongqing and the U.S., and later launched activities like “Southwest Art Study Group,” until the full stop when the majority of the members of “neo-figurative” participated in “China Modern Art Exhibition” in 1989.

After 1990s, the artists returned to the status of everyday life, when Mao Xuhui painted “Everyday Epic” series and “Patriarch Series: Vocabulary about Power,” Zhang Xiaogang began to work on “Big Family” which later attracted wide attention, and Ye Yongqing was drawing “Big Poster.” In addition, a school of even younger artists began their journey with a range of exhibition activities: “1992 Painting Exhibition,” “Present Status,” “Individualism,” “Types of Life,” “Urban Personality,” “First Exhibition of Oil Painting Society” etc. Landscape was presented in their artworks with characteristics different the “neo-figurative” school in two ways: first, the anxious sentiment was manifested, and man appears confrontational with landscape; second, the identity of self was blurred, lost, and drifting in weightlessness. In 1992, Zhu Fadong carried out his action of “Notice Seeking Lost Person” in Kunming by looking himself by posting notices seeking himself all over the city in order to express his generation’s feeling of the loss and seeking of self identity in early 1990s. Zeng Xiaofeng’s “Electric Saw and Landscape” juxtaposes electric saw, a symbol of modern industry, and landscape in the same picture, in which the savage electric saw is ripping and devouring ancient architecture and natural landscape, thereby exhibiting fierce clashes between industrial and natural landscapes. Luan Xiaojie in his “Trunk and Branch Series” treats human and tree as a whole body, producing a Delvaux-style grotesquery and surrealistic scene. The objects in the picture, resembling both amputated limbs and muscles, stack in the ambiguous space, glittering with queer shine, while the shallow trunks and branches appear illusive and fragile. Wu Jun’s “Dusk Shadow in Wind” portrays blurred human figure floating above a dilapidated city, with the picture pervaded by endless anxiety. Duan Yuhai’s “Beauty and Limousine” puts a pretty woman, limousine and cosmetics in the same picture, presenting the new orientations and changes in the Chinese society after the 1990s. Li Ji’s “Fashion Girl” also employs the language of gaudiness and juxtaposition by putting a woman with heavy makeup and her pet in a single picture, erotic yet exotic, just like Yamato-e in modern time. In their artworks, everything from the confrontation between humans and their surroundings to drifting in weightlessness is illustrating a kind of potential anxiety and anguish, collectively reflecting the chaos of value, loss of individual identity and the spiritual journey to regain it, juxtaposed by China’s faster process of market reform and urbanization as well as aggravated destruction of natural environment after the 1990s. Their artworks were a reflection of that generation of artists’ collective experience of urban life, and directly heralded the look of the artworks of artists born in the 1970s and 1980s.

After 2000, consumerism and fashion have become the mainstream value in urban life, and the modern popular culture, involving film, magazine, web, cartoon, pervasive advertisements, has constitutes the daily environment for urban dwellers. Artists grown up in such an environment are clearly split in aesthetic approaches: some inherit the scene of anxiety from the previous generation of artists, reflected in their artworks by the tendencies of self-ostracism and anti-metropolitan; others uphold and practice the aesthetics of transient coolness, clamor and popularity, in order to acquire new inspirations and art resources by plunging themselves into the scene of metropolitan consumerist culture. Whether they are anti-metropolitan or putting themselves in metropolitan, landscape exhibits a tendency of virtualization and patching up. Since 2003, several important art events heralded the début of post-1970s and 1980s artists. Exhibitions such as “Health Checkup,” “Sheep Is Coming,” “Altitude Sickness,” “Ultraviolet Radiation,” “Entertainment Is Paramount” etc. on the one hand highlighted the young artists’ sensitivity to and concern about
the relationship between their growth and changes of their surroundings, and on the other hand reflected the divergence of the above-mentioned aesthetic perspectives. In 2003, He Jia began to draw his “Balloon Man” series, which portrays a range of human-like figures without clear identity or complexion, with shining colors all over, drifting or walking in the city or amidst natural sceneries which are thin and transparent, beautiful but illusive just like these balloon men. Zhang Jinxi’s “Glass Man” series exerts the beauty of transparency to the utmost, whereby the body of the glass man reflects the surrounding landscape, which together with the man presents a sense of illusive yet transient vanity. Guo Peng recorded the landscape in Kunming Park with his camera and endowed strong colors to these traditional garden views with manual rendering. Nevertheless, these pictures look in every way like frames of exotic images imbued with a smell of decadence and mustiness. Yu Hua creates an image of a rabbit mingled with man, placing themselves in a metropolitan like a fairy tale, consciously getting lost in the urban labyrinth. Contrary to these artists, some others followed the tradition of expressionism and deliver a primitive and remote flavor with conflicting and turbulent pictures and heavy yet provocative colors. In Zhao Leiming’s paintings, men are always placed in closed space, where even natural landscape appears suffocating, and distorted human body locked in the space is like imprisoned beast struggling. Lan Qingxing’s “Crazy Talk,” “Wind Talk” and “Wind and Rain” portray weeds, starry sky, red trees and red human body to express the desire of man to leave the clamorous urban and return to simple nature. However, would therefore going back to the past be meaningful? He did not give an answer. Shi Zhimin went further with his “Glacial Epoch,” where there is no civilization, no urban, nor the natural landscape today, but the extinction of everything, cold and silent.

As a cross section, the artworks of the above-mentioned artists represent the true situation of post-1970s and 80s artists. Overall, they are more diversified, and values individual difference and experience more, and their artworks also exhibit diversity and new aesthetic tendencies. But this group of artists also generally manifests a tendency of vanity. Whether they are committed to this country or ostracize themselves to somewhere far away, would such approaches actually solve the conflicts and dilemmas in the real world, and deliver an everlasting value to lend the artists experience and enlightenment? Answers to these questions are expected only after necessary observations.

Time keeps on changing, and each generation has their own dilemmas and problems to face and solve, and to confront with the perpetual beings in nature; what the Yunnan artists in the 1940s saw were beautiful landscape and Eden-like minority culture, in which they were enchanted; what the artists in the 1950s saw were the perching images in their inner feeling, where they found their mother of spirituality; artists of the 1960s held themselves slightly aloof when faced with the nature; the disruptive situation of the artists of the 1970s had them see nothing but a realm of vanity whether they placed themselves in urban or returned to nature, whereas artists in the 1980s were lost and enchanted in the landscape of alienation….Facing the eternal nature, what insight do the artists arrive at? Could they acquire from the nature a fundamental wisdom that cuts across everything in the universe, so as to provide mankind today and tomorrow with an enriching and meaningful way of migration in this world? This should be the shared mission and direction for several generations of Yunnan artists.

March 9, 2009 at Yun Yi Xuan, Kunming

Notes:

1. Capital Airport fresco: On September 29, 1979, then China’s largest modernized airport – Capital International Airport, was completed, when 7 giant frescoes in its lounge were also unveiled to the public. Among them was a 27 meters long and 3.4 meters long fresco titled “Water-splashing Festival – Paean of Life” drawn by Yuan Yunsheng, portraying the scene of Dai people (a minority ethnic group living in Southwest China, particularly Yunnan) celebrating their Water-splashing Festival. The fresco consists of two parts: on the front side of the wall was scene of Dai people carrying water, splashing water and dancing; on a smaller wall to the east were scenes of bathing and courting. Because of nudity in this bathing part, the fresco was covered with a curtain several months after it was unveiled for show. On the eve of China’s National Day on October 1, a grand ceremony of completion was held for Capital International Airport, one of the key national construction projects shortly after the Cultural Revolution. The frescos in the lounge unveiled at the same time became a sensational event for China’s art community that year. Among all these frescos, “Water-splashing Festival” was the largest one, and the first artwork appearing in public space with nude human body ever since the People’s Republic of China was found in 1949, triggering widespread debate in media at that time.

2. Formal beauty: In 1981, artist Wu Guanzhong published an article titled “Content Determines Form?” in the 3rd issue of the journal Art that year, for the first time raising the question of “formal beauty” in art. Wu argued that in artworks, the form could came to existence before the content, a proposition that retorting the principle of “content determines form” in art in the Cultural Revolution and triggering a nationwide debate about content and form.