Drop in the Ocean -- Art Exhibition of Liu Haisu Kicked off at NAMOC
On November 3, 2017 at 10 o’clock, the “Drop in the Ocean -- Art Exhibition of Liu Haisu” was unveiled in the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC). Hosted by NAMOC, Publicity Department of Jiangsu Provincial Party Committee, Changzhou Municipal Party Committee and People’s Government of Changzhou Municipality, the exhibition gives credit to the Publicity Department of Changzhou Municipal Party Committee as the organizer, with co-organizing efforts going to Nanjing University of the Arts, Changzhou Municipal Bureau of Press, Publication (Copyright), Radio and Television, Changzhou Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Liu Haisu Art Museum (Shanghai), Liu Haisu Art Museum (Changzhou), Liu Haisu-Xia Yiqiao Art Museum (Changzhou) and Liu Haisu Art Museum Branch (Shanghai).
Director Mr. Wu Weishan gave a welcome speech to all his colleagues at NAMOC and guests coming for the show. He said that “Remember your mission and don’t forget why you started,” the phrasing put forward at the 19th National Congress was inspirational to the fine art circle. Especially with the “don’t forget why you started” part, it was meant that we need to comb, study the skills, the thought and the contributions previous artists had made, to inherit, carry forward and develop innovatively. He hoped that through this exhibition, Mr. Liu Haisu’s unique aesthetic spirit and his career life process would produce impact to the next generation. He also announced in advance that there will be a grand scale exhibition show on Xu Beihong during the Spring Festival as an effort to communicate those who have contributed to the development of China’s fine arts, the development of fine arts as a whole.
Mr. Liu Haisu (1896-1994), whose original given name was Pan, courtesy name Jifang, was a native of Changzhou, Jiangsu Province. He was a pioneer of Chinese modern art, one of the founders of Chinese fine art education. He was not confined to conventional rules, a high personality. His daring to be the first helped him with a lot of his glorious achievements. Artistically, he was a keen explorer, integrating the west and east. He contributed tremendously to Chinese painting, calligraphy, poetry and art theory. He is the most influential maestro of modern Chinese painting, noted all over the world. In his later years, Mr. Liu Haisu visited overseas, giving lectures and doing exhibitions, to communicate Chinese civilization and friendship. Upon his return to China in 1993, with support from his family, his children, he donated all his collections of ancient paintings and calligraphies and his main lifelong creations to the country free, which is a much eulogized patriotic feat.
The exhibition is sectioned in three chapters over 101 pieces of his works that have long been away from public sight. The first chapter is devoted to “I Want to Mount Clouds to Heaven,” exhibiting 28 if his works based on Mount Huang (17 splash-ink and splash-color works and 11 oil paintings). He integrated the Mount Huang in his eyes, under his brush and in his mind, displaying an air of vigorous magnificence, forcefully expanded the visual space and expressive level of Mount Huang themed drawings.
Chapter two, themed “Today Lotus is Particularly Red,” shows 34 traditional Chinese paintings and two pieces of calligraphy of Mr. Liu Haisu. The traditional Chinese paintings were mostly drawings of flowers, birds, and natural water and mountain sceneries with adopted techniques including Chinese ink painting, light purple-red painting, splash-ink and splash-color. The highlight of this section falls on the amazing giant hand roll named Pine Tree: Delicate & Grotesque vs. Strong & Unconquerable, depicting a tree standing the air, looking a bit fragile and yet it has been there for years and years against all bad weathers and has never submitted to any of them, appeared in entirety in NAMOC’s Hall 8. It sure would help bring visitors new understandings towards the artist’s queer and forceful, deep and lively, strong and vigorous, wild and simple ways of Chinese drawings.
Chapter three, themed “China in Colorful Mist,” puts on show 37 oil paintings of Liu Haisu, mainly depicting landscapes across China. Mr. Liu Haisu had always advocated traveling in the nature for drawing productions, emphasizing "Art comes from life, but it also needs an artist's inspiration and creation to make it a better piece of art." According to him, the creation of art should echo various natural landscapes. He successfully fused the relevant essence of western fine arts into his exploration of Chinese art style and form, seeing no signs of cut and polish. It is a must see you shouldn’t miss.
The exhibition is showcased in Hall 1, 8 and 9 of NAMOC and will last till November 26 (not open to the public on Mondays)