“He has been devoted to art, and he has made folk art become more proficient in the field of fine arts.” On October 17, 2021, the 2021 National Art Collection and Donation Program sponsored by Ministry of Culture and Tourism: “Artistic Quest—Exhibition of Donated Works by Yang Xianrang” commenced at the National Art Museum of China. It showcased over 160 artistic creations by Yang Xianrang, which were divided into four sections: printmaking, painting, mixed media, and folk art. Yang Xianrang denoted 30 prints and colorful paintings that he created in various stages to the National Art Museum of China for the permanent collection by the country.
View of the Opening Ceremony
Prof. Yang Xianrang, born in 1930, belongs to the first generation of art workers cultivated in the People’s Republic of China. He is regarded as one of the founders for the Folk Art Department at China Central Academy of Fine Arts. He is not only an active practitioner of the fine arts in New China, but he has also experienced a century of Chinese art history. His artistic life is closely related to the development of New China. From the art editor of the People’s Fine Arts Publishing House to the professor of the Printmaking Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, further to the inception of the Folk Art Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Yang Xianrang has centered his work around the artistic concept of “art for the people” and been dedicated to various fields of printmaking, New Year pictures, colorful painting and folk art. He is over 90 years old now and still has a passion for life and art. His donation to the National Art Museum of China for the permanent collection records the profound memories of the epoch, while depicting a colorful life, and reflecting his sincere love for art.
Jin Shangyi, Honorary Chairman of China Artists Association and former President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, delivered a speech.
In his speech, Jin Shangyi, Honorary Chairman of China Artists Association and former President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, recalled the experience when they studied together at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He thought that Yang Xianrang’s creations exhibited in this exhibition were both unique and rich in changes, which did not only demonstrate his extensive knowledge and lively art forms, but they jointly reflect the characteristics of a generation of artists cultivated in the early days of the founding of People’s Republic of China.
Fan Di’an, Chairman of China Artists Association and President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, delivered a speech.
Fan Di’an, Chairman of China Artists Association and President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, commented that Prof. Yang Xianrang was such an important art master and teacher who has made great contributions to the development of fine arts and art education in the People’s Republic of China. His development in art is closely connected with the history of New China. For decades, he has always devoted himself to creation, research and teaching with enthusiasm and he has also made diversified creative achievements using his unique characteristics.
Fan Di’an also talked about how Prof. Yang’s thoughts and feelings reflected the precious qualities generated by the senior generation of Chinese artists. He has always adhered to the original intention of art in serving the people, resonating with the people’s feelings in artistic creation, and embodying a noble ideological realm in praising people. Prof. Yang has a superior cultural awareness and cultural self-confidence. Along with the reform and opening up, when Chinese art and foreign art react with each other in the art world, Prof. Yang has tried his best to find a path for the development of Chinese art and further enable it to become a new theme. Prof. Yang has insisted on basing himself on the land of China and heading towards the native land. Despite the difficult conditions, he traveled many times along the Yellow River to conduct field investigations and cultural tracing, he investigated and discovered the treasures of ethnic folk and their cultural heritage, and published his “Fourteen Trips Along the Yellow River” on the basis of collecting a large amount of material, which has attracted the attention from the academic circles to the folk art of the Yellow River Basin. His comprehensive education, artistic feelings and abundant creativity have constituted to his abundant art world, which makes us deeply impressed.
Wu Weishan, Director of the National Art Museum of China and Vice Chairman of China Artists Association
Wu Weishan, Director of National Art Museum of China and Vice Chairman of China Artists Association, expressed in his speech that Prof. Yang Xianrang was a great artist who has absorbed studies of fine art from the East and the West, especially absorbing Chinese folk art. He is a representative artist focusing on the themes of revolutionary construction and reform and opening-up. He established the Folk Art Department at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, and brought folk art into the highest chamber of Chinese art education so our art education developed in a healthy and abundant way while combining the nourishment of national culture with a Western teaching system as well as the reality of Chinese education. Such an exhibition is not just a homage paid to the older generation of artists, but it conducts a complete review of fine arts in the 20th century, which is worth learning for the younger generation of artists.
Yang Xianrang, Artist and Professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, expressed his gratitude to the guests who participated the opening ceremony.
Text edited by CAFA ART INFO
Photo by Zhao Guochao
Image Courtesy the National Art Museum of China.