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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Culture
Pioneer of Modernity A Centennial Retrospective of Guangdong Fine Arts
    2017-August-22  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Wang Haiying

why.art@163.com

AS a pioneer in the modern transformation of fine arts in the 20th century, Guangdong is one of the several leading provinces which contributed greatly to the development of modern Chinese fine arts.

Presenting an outline of the evolution of Guangdong fine arts in the past 100 years, a large exhibition entitled “Innovative Creation: A Centennial Retrospective of Guangdong Fine Arts” is currently on display at the Guangdong Museum of Art until Sept. 5. The exhibition showcases several hundred Guangdong classics, which occupy all 12 halls of the museum and are on loan from the collections of more than 40 museums in China including the National Art Museum of China. Highlighting 21 great masters of Chinese fine arts in halls 1 and 2, the exhibition comprises the following three major periods of the past 100 years.

Absorbing Western techniques

(1916-1949)

From the late 19th to the early 20th century, most of the Chinese artists who studied abroad were Cantonese such as Chen Shuren, Gao Qifeng and Guan Liang. Among them, Li Tiefu was the first returned Chinese student. He studied Western oil painting in Britain in 1887 and was regarded as “Father of Chinese Oil Painting.” With superior skill in classical oil painting, his masterpiece in the above exhibition “Head Portrait of a Musician” presents the profound wisdom of a musician using concise brushstrokes which show Li’s mastery of oil sketching.

As oil sketching is a fundamental tool of oil painting, Gao Jianfu, founder of the renowned Lingnan Painting School, innovatively absorbed the approach of oil sketching in traditional Chinese ink wash painting so as to realistically portray current national events, and initiated the modern transformation of traditional Chinese painting. Proposing the idea of “saving the motherland with modern painting,” Lingnan Painting School became the most revolutionary and influential Chinese painting school at the time.

Compared with oil and ink wash, woodcuts are a most efficient way during wartime to arouse the public’s enthusiasm to changing the motherland’s destiny. In response, the great Chinese writer Lu Xun advocated a modern woodcut movement, and more than half of the members were Cantonese. Among them, Li Hua established the Modern Prints Society in 1934 in Guangzhou, which became a center of modern printmaking in China. Combining both the accuracy of Western print and the simplicity of ancient Chinese art, Gu Yuan, Lai Shaoqi and many other Cantonese members of the Modern Prints Society produced numerous brilliant modern prints. For instance, “Eight Hundred Heroes” by Hu Yichuan not only accurately depicts the fighting soldiers but also emphasizes their bravery via the painting’s simplified forms.

Beautiful new forms

(1949-1977)

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, many artworks began to focus on demonstrating the greatness of heroes or people. Depicting scenes of one or a group of people required advanced printing techniques. To solve these technical difficulties, Yang Zhiguang, Luo Gongliu, Huang Xinbo, Pan He and other Cantonese artists assimilated Western techniques to produce many masterpieces in visually-pleasing new forms in areas such as ink wash, oil, print and sculpture respectively.

At the same time, Cantonese artists gained a reputation of excelling at creating beautiful new forms. One of these representative artists is Wang Zhaomin, the greatest Chinese watercolor master. Another representative is Lin Fengmian, who was the first Chinese to propose the idea of “assimilating modern Western elements in Chinese styles.”

As a pioneering modern master, Lin created many brilliant works in varied modern styles with concise shapes, elegant colors and harmonious compositions. For instance, employing skillful brushstrokes and concise shapes which are reminiscent of ancient Chinese fresco paintings, his famous masterpiece “Lotus Flower” splendidly conveys the elegance, mildness and infinite inner beauty of Chinese women.

Diverse individual styles

(1978-2016)

Influenced by Lin Fengmian’s diversity, many Guangdong artists began to produce extraordinary works with distinguished individual styles, showing the true spirit of modernity and winning numerous national awards. For instance, with a charming style, Lin Yong’s ink wash “Pakistani Bride” illustrates the bride’s fascinating beauty. With a grand style, Li Jinkun’s ink wash “Great Desert” depicts the breathtaking vastness of the desert. With unique sculptural shapes, Song Guangzhi’s print “Bank” demonstrates the great confidence of female fishermen crossing the sea. Adopting geometric forms, Xia Tian’s sculpture “Zhang Qian” presents the solidarity of ancient soldiers.

The centennial retrospective was staged in Beijing last month, where it was highly appreciated by local art circles and attracted large audiences each day. “The retrospective shows that Guangdong artists have created the best works in almost all areas of fine arts and in all the main periods of the past 100 years. So the exhibition is also an epitome of Chinese art history in the 20th century,” said Wang Yong, researcher of China Art Institute in Beijing at the symposium of the exhibition.

(The author is a researcher at Guangdong Museum of Art.)

Innovative Creation:

A Centennial Retrospective of Guangdong Fine Arts

Venue: Guangdong Museum of Art

Add: 38 Yanyu Road, Ersha Island, Guangzhou

Dates: Now through Sept. 5

Time: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Mondays

Tel: (020) 8735-1468

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