On 24th November, 2021, co-hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Austria in China and Central Academy of Fine Arts, “Mozart-Gene: Li Jiwei Solo Exhibition” was launched in CAFAM. The exhibition displays 17 works by the artist Li Jiwei, which were specially created by the artist for this show. Li Jiwei experimented with transparent material and acrylic ink.Through the magical effects of light, he transferred the spirit of Mozart’s music into the melody and poetry of vision. Through an abstract art form, the artist not only displays music as it is, but also conveys the idea that people and music are united into one. Using the concepts of deconstructionism and spirit of Chinese painting, he symbolically suggested the meaning of going beyond belief, pursuing freedom and returning to nature in Mozart’s music. Li Jiwei’s works are also a contemporary response to an important question: How do we deal with the relationship between Chinese traditional art and western cultural heritage?
Fan Di’an, President of China Central Academy of Fine Arts delivered a speech at the opening ceremony.
Fan Di’an, Chairman of China Artists Association and President of China Central Academy of Fine Arts delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. He stated that this exhibition presents a special meaning: first of all, it is one of the programs to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Austria. Secondly, it is the first exhibition of Li Jiwei returning to his alma mater. At the beginning of 1980, Li Jiwei was admitted to CAFA, majoring in traditional Chinese painting. Later, he moved towards the world and created works with more contemporary consciousness. His artistic path reflects the process when Chinese artists cross the boundary between diverse cultures after the reform and opening up in China.
In this exhibition, Li Jiwei took “the cultural gene and music theme of Mozart” as his creative motivation, which is precisely compatible with the friendship between Chinese and Austrian cultures. Moreover, it showcases the cultural traditions of Austria. The red light shining from Li Jiwei’s work remains for the spectators of Mozart’s “heart.”“Azure blue”, the most representative symbol in Li’s creation which represents the blue Danube and indicates the cultural gene of Austria as well.
Andreas Riecken, the Austrian Ambassador to China, gave a speech at the opening ceremony.
Andreas Riecken, the Austrian Ambassador to China stated that the year 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Austria. In the past 50 years, the cooperative relationship between the two countries has reached a long-term firm development. Nowadays, cultural exchanges between the two countries have been established and a stable relationship regarding artists and art lovers formed. Art can grow in a soil that is fertile, embraces and is curious to unfamiliar things, which gathers people’s stories and transforms them into artworks. Being the artistic bridge and bond, Mr. Li Jiwei is precisely an outstanding representative showcasing the importance of such a cultural exchange. As an Austrian artist from China, he studied traditional Chinese painting, and also studied European abstract painting at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna). What is particularly special is that he tells a silent story through art installations and the use of materials and colors, allowing the spectators to feel and experience the story in the CAFAM in person.
The artist Li Jiwei delivered a speech at the opening ceremony.
While the artist Li Jiwei offered a retrospective of his artistic journey in the opening ceremony. At the beginning of the 1980s, he studied in the experimental class supervised by Mr. Ye Xianyu in the Department of Chinese Painting in CAFA. The teaching method “studying and browsing eruditely” practiced by Mr. Ye Qianyu allowed Li Jiwei not only to explore Chinese traditional painting in-depth but also to study western art, which further developed his profound interest in the relationship between Chinese ink painting and western abstract painting. In the late 1980s, he came to the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wie (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna) to study abstract painting. The ubiquitous music and artistic life in Vienna made him fully aware of the natural existence of humanity and the spirit. The essence of abstract painting might be to create freely. Immersed in such an atmosphere, Li Jiwei considered representing Mozart, a musical genius, using contemporary visual languages, oriental artistic conception and a western abstract notion—“Music, Humanity and Space”, which is also the origin of the exhibition “Mozart-Gene”.
Zhang Zikang, the Director of CAFAM, hosted the opening ceremony.
There is plenty of history between Li Jiwei and CAFA. After studying thoroughly the Chinese art at CAFA, Li went abroad to study at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. His creative practice is an example of the many Chinese artists who have expanded their stage from China to the world. For decades, Li creatively mixed the elements and aesthetics of China and the west. He broke down the boundaries between the traditional and the contemporary, and his canvas changed from two-dimensional to three-dimensional, and even kinetic art, in this way he extended the expressiveness of ink and wash painting. In his cross-cultural journey, Li Jiwei has continuously explored and reflected upon culture and art, which makes his work a symbol of humanity that is beyond borders.
View of the Opening Ceremony
It is reported that the exhibition will close on 9th, January, 2022.
Edited by CAFA ART INFO
Courtesy of the organizer
As one of the programs to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Austria, CAFA is grateful in being able to co-host the “Mozart-Gene: Li Jiwei Solo Exhibition” with the Embassy of the Republic of Austria in China. The exhibition is a new venture in cultural communication between the two countries, showing the effort of Mr Li Jiwei as he created works especially for this exhibition, and also shows the good wishes for the bright future of the diplomatic relationship between China and Austria.
Mr. Li Jiwei embarked on the road of art in the era of China's reform and opening up. His art is representative of the experience of a generation of Chinese artists going out from China to the world. As an alumnus of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, he once studied traditional Chinese art, and his studies in Austria and Germany enabled him to enjoy a broad study of western art, and moreover, to integrate himself into the development of international contemporary art. His outstanding artistic talent and passion for exploration are fully reflected in his decades of creation. In large-scale public art, in the use of new media and new materials, in the “cross-border” integration and innovation, he has produced many works full of romantic imagination and visual poetry. His works are the combination of the traditional Chinese philosophical concept of “the unity of nature and man” and the “creation” method, and are also the conceptual outcome of the awareness of people and the world, life and destiny in contemporary art. It can be said that he is an outstanding artist who interweaves Chinese and Western art elements into a visual spectacle on a cross-cultural journey.
In the exhibition “Mozart-Gene”, we can see Li Jiwei's typical language in art. He calmly controls the material as a medium, turning the sculpture-like objects into a magical wizard using a light effect, as well as the sound of music into a visible melody, showing the transcendence of faith, the pursuit of freedom and the yearning for nature in Mozart’s music. With the theme of Austria’s cultural pride and the music of Mozart as loved by the Chinese people, Mr. Li Jiwei’s new work is an artistic commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Austria.
The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic around the world has brought severe challenges to mankind. It has made us mourn the lives that have passed away and cherish the value of life. The Embassy of the Republic of Austria in China, the International Office of CAFA and my colleagues in the CAFA Art Museum have all provided a strong support so this exhibition can be held in Mr. Li Jiwe’’s alma mater at this time. We all believe that excellent art can heal people’s psychological trauma, give people warm comfort and hope, just like the deep humanitarian spirit in Mozart’s music as an important cultural gene, and always offering people the courage to look forward to the future.
Chairman of China Artists Association and President of CAFA
Early winter, 2021
About the artist:
Li Jiwei was born in Beijing in 1960. From 1980 to 1984, he studied at the Department of Chinese Painting at CAFA. He taught at the Department of Fine Arts at the Beijing Film Academy from 1984 to 1988. From 1990 to 1993, he studied under the supervision of Professor Markus Prachensky at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. He participated in the Abstract Painting Masterclass, and won the Masterclass Award and a scholarship. By the time he graduated with a master degree in Fine Arts, he was also awarded a Goldener Fügerpreis. In 1994, Li joined the Austrian Professional Artists Association. He traveled and lived in the US and Canada (in cities and regions like New York, Washington, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal). From 1999 to 2001, he studied multimedia art at the Universität der Künste Berlin. He has been living in Berlin and Beijing since 1996.
Li Jiwei is a student of Mr. Ye Qianyu. Under the guidance of Mr. Ye’s idea of "Learn widely and see widely", Li Jiwei studied in depth the tradition of Chinese art in his days at CAFA, while thinking non-stop about how to break from the tradition and create works of his time. During his study in Austria and Germany, he systematically studied the history of western art, especially the development course in contemporary art. From large-scale public art, to installations and canvas paintings, Li’s works have always been a creation across the traditional and the contemporary, a mixture of east and west, and a new and unique visual language created using new media and materials.
About the exhibition:
MOZART-GENE：LI JIWEI SOLO EXHIBITION
Exhibition Duration: Nov. 24, 2021 – Jan. 9, 2022
Venue：Lobby Space, CAFA Art Museum
Organizers: Embassy of the Republic of Austria in China, Central Academy of Fine Arts
Presented by: CAFA Art Museum