An exhibition of French and Chinese arts that fall between realistic and abstract painting is underway at the Shanghai Art Museum.
Organized by the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, the exhibition serves as a dialogue between French and Chinese artists toward figurative expressionism.
Titled "Becoming of Semblance," it features 40 paintings by major French artists such as photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, Raymond Masson and Sam Szafran, and 350 paintings created by 32 Chinese artists including Xu Jiang, director of the China Academy of Art, and Jin Shijian.
"Some people ask me about the secret in painting, and I always use this example," Xu says. "There are three types of artists: One uses technique to paint a horse. When he is painting, he is still himself. Another uses the style of his ancestors to paint a horse.
When he is painting, he becomes the former painter. But the third uses the mode of existence. When he is creating, he simply becomes that horse at that moment. Obviously, the last type of artists comes closer to the core of painting," says the director.
Xu is famous for his depictions of vast and remote ruins of sunflowers, implying the undying human spirit.
"I am often asked by the meaning of these drained sunflowers," Xu says. "For me, painting is the slow experience of direct encounters in life. These sunflowers are always reminding me of an uncertain and eternal firing process."