On the morning of July 14, 2017, co-hosted by Publicity Department of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee, Guangdong Provincial Department of Culture, Guangdong Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles and National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) and co-organized by Guangdong Provincial Artists Association and Guangdong Museum of Art, “Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts” raised the curtain in NAMOC. This exhibition enjoys great support and guidance from Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, the Ministry of Culture, China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and Chinese National Artists Association.
Xu Qinsong (Vice Chairman of Chinese National Artists Association, Chairman of Guangdong Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles and President of Guangdong Art Institute), Wu Weishan (Director of NAMOC and Vice Chairman of Chinese National Artists Association), Liu Dawei (Chairman of Chinese National Artists Association) and Shen Haixiong (Member of Standing Committee of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee and Head of Publicity Department of the CPC Guangdong Provincial Committee) delivered opening speeches for this exhibition, respectively.
Mr. Xu Qinsong introduced exhibition profile at the opening ceremony of this exhibition. According to him, in order to eulogize glorious achievements of Guangdong Arts, cherish the memory of masters and stimulate later generation of people, on the basis of selected works, Judging Panel of “Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts” recommends about 20 Guangdong artists (such as Li Tiefu and He Xiangning) with outstanding achievements and significant influence in the Chinese art history. The modern and contemporary art history is shone by Guangzhou artists like a galaxy of bright stars. These masters with centennial reputation are highlighted because their arts become forerunner of the times in creative and ideological manner, and their extraordinary accomplishments promote the development of art history at the key turning points.
Mr. Wu Weishan said in his opening speech: “In retrospect to Guangdong Arts in the past century, inheritability lays a solid foundation of profound legacy; revolutionariness is the ideological background of spiritual connotation; compatibility is fountain of outreach and innovation; epochal character is major unique feature; and innovation is endless driving force for prosperity. For a century, Guangdong Arts world is brimming with talents coming forth in large numbers. They keep abreast of current situations with keen insights, and passionately create paintings. They never wait and never blindly follow suit. No matter where they are, they always take firm pace to overcome difficulties, break new ground, achieve the lifetime goals with down-to-earth attitude, and impress the people with epoch-making classics with new ideas, new languages, new contents and new savors. ‘Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts’ gives systematic display for plentiful fruits of Guangdong Arts in centurial path. Therefore, almost all exhibition halls are earmarked for this grand event. Shortlisted by NAMOC, more than 100 NAMOC collectibles, which are created by Guangdong artists, are all deserved to be wonderful treasures!”
Then Mr. Wu Weishan continued: “All-round prosperity of Chinese culture depends on prosperity of various regional cultures. As a national art palace and public cultural service platform, NAMOC invites nationwide sectors and regions to kick off brilliant exhibitions like ‘Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts’.”
Mr. Liu Dawei commented: “The centurial history of Guangdong Arts can be described as magnificent chronicle. As an important component of human civilization, fine arts witnesses collision between the modern Eastern Civilization and Western Civilization, New Cultural Movement, the New Democratic Revolution, Founding of the New China and new period of China’s reform and opening up. Until now, arts undertaking never stops development pace and advances together with the times. Guangdong, a famous reform hotbed, is always closely associated with arts.”
In the opening speech, Mr. Shen Haixiong pointed out: “‘Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts’ is an event of Guangdong Province to implement General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speeches in the literary and art work symposium, Opening Ceremony of the 10th National Congress of China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and Opening Ceremony of the 9th National Congress of Chinese Writers Association and General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions for Guangdong Province to achieve “Four Adherences, Three Supports and Two Forefront Roles”, herald the success of the 9th National Congress of the CPC and celebrate the 40th Anniversary of reform and opening up. Through this large-scale exhibition, it is expected to better promote creative transformation and innovative development of the excellent Chinese traditional culture, infuse new vitality into prosperity and development of Guangdong culture and art, and scale the new heights of Lingnan Culture.
Large-scale “Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts” unveils 554 classical works mobilized from Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai and other places, which are on exhibit under six themes, i.e., “Bravely Riding the Wave— Western Painting Movement in Guangdong”, “Art Revolution—Lingnan Painting School and Chinese Painting Research Society”, “Dagger and Throwing Spear—Emerging Wood Carving Movement and Comics”, “Passionate Years—Dedication to General People and Ode to the Great Times”, “Pacesetter and Banner Holder—Guangdong Arts in the Process of Reform and Opening up” and “Blooming in Beauty—Innovation and Creation Towards New Peak”.
This exhibition covers almost all exhibition halls on Floor 1, Floor 3 and Floor 5 of NAMOC. As chief curator, Mr. Xu Qinsong described that Guangdong Arts is characteristically born with innovation. In the past century, Guangdong artists tower in the forefront of the times. Whenever they are challenged by cultural invasion or a variety of cultural trends, they can always digest and achieve mastery. Guangdong Arts roll out the new artistic expression contents and styles in highly creative and forward-looking manner, and form unique features distinguished from other provinces. “As the theme of ‘Devoting to Innovation’ suggests, innovation spirit of Guangdong Arts is confidently demonstrated.”
Huge photos of 21 “Guangdong Masters” with brilliant achievements in the history of Guangdong Arts, who are selected by this exhibition, are hung in Round Hall of NAMOC. For the first time NAMOC does so. When visitors enter Round Hall, they raise heads to look up at these huge photos of these masters. Such strong visual impact impresses all visitors with power of arts.
Yang Xiaoyang (President of China National Academy of Painting and Vice Chairman of Chinese National Artists Association) was impressed by the section of “Guangdong Masters”. “This exhibition vividly introduces the case history of these masters to visitors so that people marvel at group portrait of Guangdong Masters in the past century.”
21 Guangdong Masters are enumerated as follows: Li Tiefu, He Xiangning, Gao Jianfu, Chen Shuren, Gao Qifeng, Lin Fengmian, Guan Liang, Fang Rending, Situ Qiao, Zhao Shaoang, Li Hua, Wang Zhaomin, Hu Yichuan, Li Xiongcai, Guan Shanyue, Liao Bingxiong, Lai Shaoqi, Huang Xinbo, Luo Gongliu, Gu Yuan and Yang Zhiguang. They mark the summit of the times with sparkling creativity and great ideology.
In this exhibition, visitors can appreciate Flames over Eastern Battlefield (Gao Jianfu), Put down Your Whip (Situ Qiao), The Green Great Wall and The Great Wall under Morning Glow (Guan Shanyue), Protecting Forests (Li Xiongcai), Sending Meal at Snowy Night and For The First Time at One’s Lifetime (Yang Zhiguang), Rough Years (Pan He), Eternal Light of Yan’an Spirit (Lin Yong) other famous works of Guangdong Arts. In order to showcase works by Lin Fengmian (a master making contribution to modern transformation of Chinese painting), organizers especially borrow about ten works (such as Lady in Cyan Dress and Fish Hawk on the Water) from NAMOC, Shanghai Artists Association, China Art Museum of Shanghai and other institutions.
Moreover, NAMOC presents its 91 (sets of) collectibles created by Guangdong artists as a tribute to this exhibition, and even some masterpieces have been never exhibited for many years. In addition, National Museum of China, the Chinese People’s Revolutionary Military Museum, Chinese National Academy of Arts, China National Academy of Painting, the Great Hall of the People, He Xiangning Art Museum, Guangdong Museum of Art, the Guangdong Provincial Museum, the Guangzhou Museum of Art and other institutions also contribute to this exhibition. Some artists’ family members and descendants also actively root for this exhibition. For example, Lai Shaoqi’s descendants present Crystal Snow under Moonlight and Desolate City in the Sunset.
This exhibition is also in conjunction with publication of Works of Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts, 21 Masters of Centennial Guangdong Arts, Chronicle of Major Events for Guangdong Arts, Research Articles on Centennial Guangdong Arts and Works of Guangdong Art Centennial Exhibition. These publications give comprehensive, vivid and systematic demonstration for brilliant creation achievements of Guangdong Arts in the past century.
In addition, a variety of audio-visual approaches are adopted to showcase the classical works. Exhibition space is limited so that not every work is attached with brief introduction. In this exhibition, visitors can scan QR code through their mobile phones to know about relevant information on masters and work description. In addition, VR and AR technologies are also applied. After scanning these works, visitors can watch lifelike animations which appear vividly. When visitors return home, they also gain insights into these paintings by using mobile APP. In addition, “Virtual Exhibition Hall” helps people enjoy panoramic view for this exhibition at home.
“Devoting to Innovation—Century Exhibition of Guangdong Arts” is the first-ever large-scale exhibition held by Guangdong Province to conduct comprehensive summary of the centennial Guangdong Arts, fully demonstrates development process of Guangdong Arts characterized by fashion setter, era leader and reform path blazer, eulogizes Guangdong Arts workers taking root in local fertile soil, and faithfully records the vicissitudes of society changes. On the afternoon of July 14, 2017, “Seminar on Centennial Guangdong Arts” was also simultaneously held.