On October 30, 2020, “New Dimensions: 2020 CAFA Chinese Painting Exhibition” was officially unveiled at Shandong Art Museum. The exhibition was hosted by China Central Academy of Fine Arts( abbr. CAFA) and co-organized by Shandong Art Museum, Shandong Artists Association, and School of Chinese Painting, Central Academy of Fine Arts. Fan Di’an, President of Central Academy of Fine Arts, served as the academic chair, and the exhibition was co-curated by well-known art theorist Prof. Yin Shuangxi and Prof. Liu Qinghe, Dean for the School of Chinese Painting.
At the opening, an academic seminar themed on “Advancing with the Epoch—Chinese Painting Education and Cultivation in Contemporary Colleges” was held. Professors, professional teachers and related art theorists from major art schools and departments of Chinese painting gathered to discuss topics such as the history and current situation of Chinese painting and calligraphy education in art colleges, new ideas for training Chinese painting and calligraphy talent in the new era, problems, explorations and countermeasures of Chinese painting and calligraphy teaching.
View of the Opening Ceremony
Group Photo of Honored Guests at the Opening
Fan Di’an, Chairman of the China Artists Association and President of Central Academy of Fine Arts, gave a speech
The Speech by Fan Di’an, Chairman of the China Artists Association and President of Central Academy of Fine Arts:
With the strong support from the Shandong Art Museum and the Shandong Artists Association, the exhibition was able to meet with the public in the spring city of Jinan in October. The scale of the exhibition is quite impressive, and it can be regarded as a great collection of Chinese calligraphy and painting contribution from Central Academy of Fine Arts. The exhibition can provide audiences with a great opportunity to appreciate and understand the research and creation of new scenes with Chinese painting and calligraphy in the art academy and it can also form academic exchanges with colleagues in the circle of Chinese painting and calligraphy to jointly promote the development of Chinese art in the new epoch.
The teaching of Chinese painting in CAFA has a history spanning over a century, and a large number of renowned artists and teachers have emerged from CAFA. They are important representatives of the transformation and development of Chinese painting in the modern era. Their academic achievements and artistic spirit have exerted extensive influence. Today, under the leadership of Dean Liu Qinghe, the team of School of Chinese Painting is determined to innovate the creations of Chinese painting by CAFA which have shown new vitality. Many of the works exhibited this time are new works by teachers in recent years, and many have also been specially created for this exhibition. The overall appearance of this exhibition is very rich. From the exhibition, you can find several salient features of the their creations: First, they strive to study the profound ancient traditions and modern experience of Chinese painting, perceive and recognize the tradition and cultural connotation of Chinese painting and calligraphy from a new perspective, and adhere to the spiritual value of Chinese painting and calligraphy; secondly, they try to experience the development of Chinese society and the changes in real life, grasping the opportunities of the epoch, consciously exploring life and reflecting on the epoch, thus themes of the works that are very rich; thirdly, they work hard to explore the innovation in artistic forms and brush and ink language, starting from different academic contexts, forming a variety of personal styles, and reflecting an excellent academic quality. It can be said that this exhibition has realized multi-dimensional expressions and demonstrated the pursuit of new dimensions.
The contemporary developments of Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting is in a new cultural context. We must strive to realize the creative conversion and innovative development of traditional resources, and stick to the main body of Chinese painting and calligraphy in the flourishing of new media and image culture. The iterative construction of ink and wash language forms a new look for the epoch that demonstrates the unique spiritual value of national art in social and cultural construction, and generates a dialogue energy with the ideological concepts and expressions of Chinese art via international exchanges. Teachers and artists from Central Academy of Fine Arts should have great ideals in the great epoch, uphold the great mind, work hard to solve the epochal problems and constantly move toward new academic heights.
The Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China indicated that our country is about to enter a new stage of development in the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist country, opening a new journey for the goal in next century, and a new history of the great rejuvenation for all the Chinese. We must strengthen our cultural ideals and cultural self-confidence, and make greater contributions to the continuous promotion of the prosperity and development of Chinese painting and calligraphy.
Ma Fenghui, Secretary General of China Artists Association and National First-Class Artist, delivered a speech.
Zhang Wang, Director of Shandong Art Museum and Chairman of Shandong Artists Association, addressed the opening ceremony
Liu Qinghe, Dean of the School of Chinese Painting, Central Academy of Fine Arts, addressed the opening ceremony
“Something New” in “New Dimensions”
Discussions on traditional culture and art and modern transformation methods have been very active. As an important representative of the national art category, Chinese painting has a long history. In the cultural context of the new epoch, how can Chinese painting with a profound academic system realize its contemporary transformation and form new cultural motivation and creative resources? How does the traditional painting category and the painting subject adapt to the spirit of the epoch to integrate into the cultural community of multiple values? These have all become the core topics confronted by the current Chinese painting discipline, Chinese painting teaching and art creators. This exhibition is also conducted within these backgrounds and the practice of “new dimensions” in “new concepts, new contexts and new explorations” is undertaken.
Returning to the theme of the exhibition itself, the theme setting of the “new dimensions” includes multiple levels of meaning such as a retrospective of tradition, examining oneself and wishing for the future. It is not difficult to understand that when people mention the concept of “new”, there is bound to be an opposition and transformation between the “old” and the “new”. The word “dimension” originally refers to “the number of independent parameters in mathematics.” From a philosophical point of view, the “dimension” emphasizes the “thinking perspective” through which people observe, think and express something. From this combination of the two, several important topics are derived from the theme and purpose of “new dimensions”, including new “thinking, academic achievements, creative exploration, teaching methods” and other aspects of excavation and exploration.
Exhibition View of“New Dimensions: 2020 CAFA Chinese Painting Exhibition”©CAFA ART INFO
“New Dimensions” is first of all noteworthy in the “new” way of thinking, which means tracing the past, looking to the present, and also emphasizing the demand for new ways, new paths, and new contexts. The profound teaching tradition and discipline are confronted with more new challenges and opportunities for transformation in the new era with technological development and lifestyle. The “new” concept does not mean abandoning the traditional spirit, but changes in the context of the current era, based on traditions, and looking for ways of thinking that fit contemporary life, new ways of artistic creation as well as exploration and practice are extended from the constantly updated ways of thinking. Moreover, returning to the teaching methods in schools and departments of Chinese paintings, thus new methods of teaching, exploration, and research have been produced, and a new round of continuation, inheritance, practice and innovation has been continued.
Exhibition View of “New Dimensions: 2020 CAFA Chinese Painting Exhibition”©CAFA ART INFO
Exhibition View of “New Dimensions: 2020 CAFA Chinese Painting Exhibition”
It is reported that the School of Chinese Painting holds an important school-wide exhibition every five years, such as the “For Chinese Painting: Teachers’ Works Exhibition of the Central Academy of Fine Arts” at the National Art Museum of China in October, 2010, which sorted out, summarized and presented the creative strength and teaching level over a certain period; in December 2015 at CAFA Art Museum, “For Chinese Painting (Second Round): Teaching and Creation Exhibition by School of Chinese Painting” was dedicated to more in-depth academic research on academic context and art classics, on the basis of adhering to and promoting the tradition of ink and wash art, the exhibition looked for an academic orientation in accordance with the epoch.
In 2020, the exhibition will also develop a brand new look and characteristics. First of all, rather than the familiar venue and environment, they chose a broader field, to accept wider exchanges and they hope to enhance exchanges and cooperation with other exhibition halls and venues; secondly, this exhibition also expands the range of participating artists. The exhibition has exhibited works by more than forty artists of Chinese painting which do not only include the works by staff members from CAFA School of Chinese Painting, it also covers the outstanding works of by teachers from other schools and departments in recent years. This is regarded as the most important academic review and exhibition in the field of Chinese painting in 2020.
Exhibition View of “New Dimensions: 2020 CAFA Chinese Painting Exhibition”©CAFA ART INFO
The works in this exhibition include figures, flowers and birds, landscapes, as well as calligraphy and seal cutting, and also experimental and exploratory works such as contemporary ink and wash. The exhibition environment of Shandong Art Museum is relatively open. The exhibition is mainly divided onto two floors. The dark space on the first floor is surrounded by a screen of “New Dimensions” hanging in the middle. Larger works are hung on the surrounding walls. The upstairs B4/B5 exhibition halls are decorated with white space as the keynote area. The exhibition space is tortuous and varied, with rich levels, the same categories but varied styles. These artists’ rich and diverse observation and expression methods are then presented and the rich visual landscape connects the cyclical rhythm of the exhibition.
Exhibition View of “New Dimensions: 2020 CAFA Chinese Painting Exhibition” ©CAFA ART INFO
As the curator Prof. Yin Shuangxi mentioned in the interview, “This exhibition looks like a display of Chinese paintings at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, but actually it is also a way to convey the ideas and achievements in the cultivation by the Central Academy of Fine Arts. You can see their comprehension of Chinese painting. The “new dimensions” can actually be understood as “new” developments of traditional Chinese painting in 70 years after the founding of People’s Republic of China, and today it has experienced reform and opening up and facing the West which is where its development may be headed, teachers from School of Chinese Painting have thought on it. This exhibition is very valuable for promoting Chinese painting teaching, that is, Chinese painting teaching in colleges and universities and the exchanges and interactions within the academic community. While the exhibition is presented at Shandong Art Museum, it will also bring a greater value of exchange and inspiration to the Chinese painting circle and the teaching of Chinese painting in Shandong.”
Exhibition View of “New Dimensions: 2020 CAFA Chinese Painting Exhibition”
“New Creations Emerge from Traditions, with the Integration of Chinese and Western Techniques”: Inheriting the Academic Thread, Ushering in an International Vision
The School of Chinese Painting at Central Academy of Fine Arts has a long history, and talented people come forth in large numbers. According to the review by Professor Yu Yang, Director of the Research Department of the School of Chinese Painting, in the article “New Era, New Dimensions, New Journey: Extension and Advancement of the School of Chinese Painting at Central Academy of Fine Arts since the New Epoch”, which reviewed the historical evolution of Chinese painting teaching and research at Central Academy of Fine Arts. After developments and changes in over a century, the teaching concepts, curriculum settings, and specific teaching methods of Chinese painting have undoubtedly undergone great changes, and a large amount of talent has been cultivated in the fields of teaching, scientific research and artistic creation.
View of the Seminar themed on “Advancing with the Epoch—Chinese Painting Education and Cultivation in Contemporary Colleges”
Different eras have different subject construction tasks and scientific research requirements in teaching. Under the current trends of major changes in the international cultural landscape and artistic ecological environment, teachers in Chinese painting also need to constantly sort out new teaching concepts and teaching methods, which are compatible with the national culture. The teaching of Chinese painting is also based on the standpoint of national cultural identity and then looks at new international trends, and strengthens international exchanges, discussions and dialogues in an artistic way.
These topics have naturally become the focus of attention at the seminar. Representative professors, scholars and artists from major Chinese painting schools across the country discussed Chinese painting education and other related issues. Based on the teaching practice and characteristics of Chinese painting discipline in each school, the guests in the seminar extended from the teaching requirements of traditional disciplines to new ideas, such as insisting on “tradition-life-creation” in talent training. And they put the emphasis on opening up the links between “painting, calligraphy, sealing” and other categories. They also expounded the steps of educational practice that may be pioneered in the future, such as setting up a special Chinese painting “teaching laboratory”, breaking down interdisciplinary barriers and enrichment of diverse courses are advocated. While keeping the traditional quintessence of the discipline spirit, they promote transforming new ideas, thus cultivating talent with a broader vision and then adapt to the new epoch.
Honored guests visited the exhibition
Liu Qinghe, Dean of the School of Chinese Painting, mentioned in the Preface for the Exhibition, “Opening up New Dimensions of Contemporary Chinese Painting Education”: “Under the background of the new era, what we will face is, on the one hand, always sticking to and inheriting the excellent traditions of Chinese painting in the progress of college education. On the other hand, in today’s diverse academic high-tech disciplines, the discipline of Chinese painting can not only retain a distinct national cultural identity and standpoint, but it also should have a voice that conforms to this era. For teachers in the field of Chinese painting today, this is the expectation of the epoch for us as well as an opportunity and responsibility. We believe that this exhibition will not only reorganize the context and development track of the School’s teaching and art practice in recent years, but it also clarifies the future path of the development in Chinese painting education.”
This “New Dimensions” exhibition is not only a concentrated display of the works by teachers from the School of Chinese Painting, Central Academy of Fine Arts in recent years, but it also presents the developing status and academic ecology of contemporary Chinese painting teaching, creation and research among the Chinese higher art education system. What’s more important is to open up new requirements and goals for the future development path and discipline of Chinese painting.
Fan Di’an, President of CAFA, also highly summarized beautiful wishes in his speech: “The contemporary development of Chinese calligraphy and Chinese painting steps into a new cultural context. We must strive to achieve the creative conversion and innovative development of traditional resources. We need to adhere to the essence of Chinese painting and calligraphy in the upsurge of new media and images and further, form a new look of the epoch in the iterative construction of artistic forms and ink and wash language, thus the unique spiritual value of national art in the construction of social culture can be demonstrated and the ideas and concepts of Chinese art in international exchanges can be highlighted and generate a new strength. Teachers and artists of Central Academy of Fine Arts should have great ideals in the great epoch, uphold the great mind, work hard to solve the epochal issues and constantly move towards new academic exploration.”
Text (CN) edited by Zhang Yizhi, translated and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
In addition to photo by CAFA ART INFO, Photo Courtesy of the Organizer