On Oct. 20th, during the days when the whole nation celebrates the successful opening of 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, three exhibitions hosted by National Art Museum of China were solemnly opened including “Chaotic Brightness --- Liu Jude Art Exhibition”, “Seeking and Retrieving to Nature --- Zhong Shuheng Painting Exhibition” and “Paint As I Want --- 2017 Dai Shihe Oil Painting Freehand Exhibition”. These three exhibition projects were all “Academic Invitation Series Exhibition of National Art Museum of China” and also “Funding Projects of China Art & Literature Foundation”, which received strong support from Ocean-wide Foundation and China Art & Literature Foundation.
The exhibitions mainly reflected recent creation status of three artists. Although there were differences in creation ideas to some extent, “the spirit of freehand” with Chinese cultural content was still the core thought thread through them. In the era when General Secretary Xi Jinping advocated the renaissance of Chinese traditional culture, artistic exploration of Liu Jude, Zhong Shuheng and Dai Shihe revealed us continuous reproduction of inner vigor in Chinese culture. In addition, at the same time of looking back traditional cultural spirit, the three artists also integrated their profound experience of human beings, time, life and the universe in creation. As a result, we can feel strong life consciousness and grand momentum of time spirit in the exhibition.
“Academic Invitation Series Exhibition of National Art Museum of China” aims to reveal the creation results of contemporary Chinese artists who walk in the forefront of academy with innovation, exploration and achievements to initiate new trend. There are altogether six artists in this series exhibition this year. Except for Liu Jude, Zhong Shuheng and Dai Shihe, Yan Ping, Wang Keju and Lu Qinglong are also included. Revealing vivid academic orientation and strong individual characteristics, all of their works expand and carry forward in three dimensions: depth of historical research, breadth of social life and vivid artistic language style. Together with “Art & Collection Activation Series Exhibition”, “Donation & Collection Series Exhibition” and “Individual Exchange Series Exhibition” independently planned by National Art Museum of China, this series exhibition becomes a new act for promoting the development of Chinese contemporary artistic creation and cultural undertakings.
“Chaotic Brightness --- Liu Jude Art Exhibition” was held in No.1, 8 and 9 Exhibition Hall on the first floor, co-hosted by National Art Museum of China, Tsinghua University and Chinese Artists Association, co-organized by Academy of Fine Arts of Tsinghua University, “Seeking and Retrieving to Nature --- Zhong Shuheng Painting Exhibition” was held in No. 7 Exhibition Hall. Over 100 new works of Mr. Liu Jude and over 50 representative works of Ms. Zhong Shuheng in the past years will be exhibited. Both of them teach in Academy of Fine Arts of Tsinghua University and they are a couple who concentrate on artistic exploration. Mr. Liu Jude, of the Mongol nationality, was born in Wulanchabu League of Inner Mongolia in 1946. He graduated from Central Academy of Art and Design in 1970, and worked as an art editor of Yunnan Art Publishing House in 1973. In 1978, he was admitted as a graduate student learning after Professor Pang Xunqin, launching a comparative study between Chinese traditional decorative art and western modern art. He stayed in the school to teach after graduation and served as Vice President of Academy of Fine Arts of Tsinghua University. Now he serves as professor and doctoral supervisor in Academy of Fine Arts of Tsinghua University as well as director of China Artists Association. Ms. Zhong Shuheng, of the Manchu nationality, was born in Liaoning province in 1946. She graduated from the attached middle school of Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1965 and School of Decoration Arts in Central Academy of Art and Design in 1970. She taught in Art Department in Kunming Normal College of Yunnan Province from 1973 to 1979. In 1979, she was admitted as a graduate student learning after Professor Wu Guanzhong in Central Academy of Art and Design. She stayed in the school to teach after graduation and serves as a professor in Academy of Fine Arts of Tsinghua University.
When Wu Weishan, Director of National Art Museum of China, wrote the preface for Liu Jude and Zhong Shuheng’s exhibition, he said that, Mr. Liu Jude was “the expectation from hometown of parent body to the hometown of childhood and then to the hometown of culture till the hometown of the universe in order to achieve the leap from material life to spirit and soul. His poetic words expressed the inner pursuit: ‘I’m a handful of earth eager for the arrival of dream seed which smashes the shell and sprout in the land. The seed contains bright water and sparkles...’” He used “poems and dreams rely on the performance of art. The initial thing is feeling which is produced in the heart. And the heart is expressed by ‘objects’. His objects are not only boundless grasslands, desert and camels, mountains and horses, flowers in the schoolyard, waterfall in Yellow River, clusters and rare birds, but also the supernatural encounter of surging thoughts and nature as well as the integration of poetic expression and formal creation. Thereof, he waves his homemade long brush to mark the touch of life, which links the heaven and earth in the plane. In the subjective order of point-line-plane and colors, the historical vague and confused world is full of tension like sounds of nature. With a little bit enlightenment, it will be filled with form, connotation and spirit...”
For Zhong Shuheng, “years for using heart and ‘mind’s eye’ to catch the overall beauty of the object. The shape can be formed in momentary sparkling color and accidentally germinated sculpt expectation. It is possible to see reality in simpleness and to refract rational brightness in emotional appearance. Through grafting and transplanting, she recombines the nature and generates conception beyond the image. Her heart and eyes are dedicated to the picture with lasting appeal in charm. The appeal originates from her inner quality like jade. She gains the basis of the nature in subtle consideration but firmness and persistence in her character make her take delight in subjective exaggeration and self-expression. Through interactive radiance and beauty between color lumps and lines, she makes time and space remain for people to touch the thickness of levels and feel the movement of lines. Beauty of rhyme corresponds to the abstraction of shape, making spiritual power stand out in the comparison between profoundness and elegance.”
At the same time, co-hosted by National Art Museum of China and Central Academy of Fine Arts, “Paint as I Want --- 2017 Dai Shihe Oil Painting Freehand Exhibition” was held in No. 13-17 Exhibition Hall on the third floor, over 100 recent sketches and creation works of Mr. Dai Shihe will be exhibited. Mr. Dai Shihe was born in Beijing in 1948 and successively graduated from Beijing Normal College and Graduate Class of Central Academy of Fine Arts. In 1988, he served as senior visiting scholar to engage in advanced studies in Russian Repin Academy of Fine Arts. He was once the Director of Fashion Academy in Central Academy of Fine Arts and now he is a professor in it with additional posts of member in Oil Painting Committee of Chinese Artists Association, member in Chinese Oil Painting Academy and chairman of Chinese Mural Society etc. The exhibited works are all painted and created by Mr. Dai Shihe in Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, coastal areas in Zhejiang and Bohai Gulf as well as provinces in northwest and central regions. Multiple styles are included like figure, landscape and scenery etc., which will three-dimensionally present his new expression in exploring sketches and freehand painting.
Director Wu Weishan wrote in the preface for exhibition that in Mr. Dai Shihe’s on-spot sketches, “his works always contains plentiful enthusiasm and energetic interest to reflect things not appeared before in ordinary themes. He ceaselessly opens up new language styles to refuse following others and routines. During painting, he pays more attention to observe and feel. Treating nature as the master, he believes that the feeling of artists is the bridge to link vision and mind up. Therefore, his sketches achieve a kind of upper level that it is not only realist painting but also multifarious images, which generates innovation point in research.” In addition, Director Wu Weishan specially mentioned “freehand painting spirit” in Mr. Dai Shihe’s works. He is “exploring a special kind of freehand painting to make the pictures filled with revolving rhythm of life. Without any decoration or modification, oil painting language is just like life itself which generates and grows constantly everywhere. Works are “diaries” or “reading notes” of the artist. Even if the content is short, it is attractive because of its meaningful implication, direct point at public feeling and enlightenment.” as a result, in “freehand painting” advocated by Mr. Dai Shihe, the value of “free” lies in irreplaceable life experience of modern Chinese people borne in our heart.
It is impressive that Liu Jude, Zhong Shuheng and Dai Shihe voluntarily donated their own master works to National Art Museum of China. Among them, Mr. Liu Jude donated 10 works including Earth in Hometown, Rear Grassland, Barren Grassland Slope, Yellow Grassland, Spring of Clips (Four-block Painting), Yellow Soil (Four-block Painting) and Highland Road (Three-block Painting). Among those works, Light of Life, a huge Chinese ink painting with the height of 2.49 meters and length of 26 meters, was elaborately created by Mr. Liu Jude in three years. Ms. Zhong Shuheng donated 2 works including Goodbye, Ocean (Five-block Painting) and Malacca Alley. Those chivalrous action genuinely interpret the main idea and connotation of “people’s artists” for us.
As the only national art museum, National Art Museum of China is a public cultural platform for popularizing aesthetic education and is responsible to promote the development of Chinese art through collection, exhibition, research and education. Trough hosting “academic invitation series exhibition”, it is believed that cultural spirit and artistic creation direction advocated by National Art Museum of China can be revealed more accurately and instantaneously. Works of Liu Jude, Zhong Shuheng and Dai Shihe live up to the era and to people. Their adherence to Chinese traditional culture and ideological spirit make us feel the strong voice of cultural confidence in this era. With work exhibitions of these artists with both professional excellence and moral integrity, National Art Museum of China will encourage all literary and art workers to make unremitting endeavor for “Chinese Dream” of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation under the guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s “speech spirit in Forum on Literature and Art”.
The exhibition will be sustained into October 29th (not open to the public on Mondays).