Wednesday, October 15, 2008

let they show you the loneliness

Mao Xuhui(1956—)
Born in Chongqing, he is the member of Yunnan Oil Painting Arts Committee and Vice President of Yunnan Oil Painting Society. He graduated from the Fine Arts Department of Yunnan Arts College majoring in oil painting in 1982.

Personal exhibition: “China Modern Art Exhibition” in Beijing in 1989, “I don’t Want to Play Cards with Cezanne” in Asia Pacific Art Museum of the US in 1991, “Guangzhou First Biennial 1990s’ Art Exhibition” in Guangzhou in 1992, “Quotation Marks -Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibition” in Singapore Art Museum, “China!” Exhibition in Germany, Austria and Poland in 1996, “The Reality: Today and Tomorrow - 96 Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibition” in Beijing, “Avant-guard Arts of China since 1979 - From the Middle Country” in Spain in 1995. Group exhibition: “Open Reality - New Arts of China” in New York and San Francisco of the US in 1998, “1999 Contemporary Chinese Arts” in Limn Gallery, San Francisco in 1999, “99 China-Japan Modern Arts Exchange Exhibition” in Liu Haisu Art Museum, “Topics of Two Cities - Contemporary Arts of Asia” in London in 2000, “From Depth to Surface - Exhibitions of Mao Xuhui and Ye Yongqing” in Kunming Shang-he-chuang-ku in 2001, and “Modern Chinese Arts” Exhibition in Duisburg, Germany in 2002.

The first 30 years since the adoption of REFORM AND OPENING UP POLICE is also the period during which artists in China localized foreign art forms in order to express their own thoughts. Among those artists, Mao Xuhui is the most radical one. His works evolves from impressionism and expressionism and finally found his end-result in abstract art. His principle is “respect life, respect the instinct and poetry in art”.

As we can feel in his painting, Mao doesn’t like to express objects and emotion tenderly even the common things such as stairs and bicycle, men and women. His brutal but rough character can be dated back to the day when he pursuit his study in Yunnan Art College. Painting provided him with a feeling of alive rather than a way of surviving. So he just painted whatever he wanted and alleged that he hated aestheticism. The tragic power in the criticism was and still is his favorite. But on the other hand, he refused to paint realistically as many artists of criticism school did. When he found it was difficult to combine criticism and abstract way of crating together, he turned to art books and tried to find a solution. He than realized that western art not only included earth-shacking pieces of works, the most important thing was, there was soul behind the canvas. He began to study the works of Cezanne and became an expert of that area.

After graduation, he got into maze again. The big environment during 1970 to 1980 seemed like vacuum which prevented him further proving his painting. In 1982, he visited the exhibition of Expressionism in Beijing and felt his whole life would be changed from that visit. After that, the Exhibition of Monk in Yunnan further strengthened his understanding towards art and also led him into the condition of unconscious creating.

He applies the factors of common objects such as scissors and chairs to his works and created a series called “Daily Epic”. He painted scissors from 1995 to 2005, in this period, loneliness and doubt always accompany him.

As we can feel in his paintings, the depressing color and indifferent figures all indicate the cruelty of life. Mao is trying to find a way of extrication, and in different period, he used different kinds of art as the tool to reach this goal.

Now he has already become a famous painter and I don’t know what his future painting will turn out to be. May be once a person gain money and higher social statue, his attitude towards life and art will also change.

Zhang Jianjun
Compared with Mao, Zhang Jianjun seems to be more socialized and gains most of inspiration from modern life. He was born in Shanghai in 1955 and moved to New York in 1989. Now he is the professor of NYU and of course enjoys high reputation both domestically and overseas.

The trees were made from colophony. There were two leaves on each tress, indicating male and female. Zhang wants to create a harmonious feeling for both genders and express that a good relationship between men and women is the most marvelous thing on earth.

Zhang’s works can also be divided into several periods and as we can find, he paints and creates installations at the same time. In the beginning, he put stones, steel nails in his works. Because he thought every material had its own condition of life which could never be described. So the only method to present them was “Direct conversation”, that is, using these objects without changing them in forms of appearance. Actually, this was similar as the spirit of Zen.

And after that, Zhang’s work turned out to be more abstract and diversified. He often discusses philosophy problems in his painting. Like ,. He likes to present a contract between two extremes and arouse audiences’ contemplation.

As a professor, he also asks his students to realize the gap between western art and traditional Chinese art and encourages them to find the tiny beautiful things around themselves and use these factors in their paintings. For him, art is a vent of emotions and after that, a way to support life.

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