THE biggest exhibition this summer is now under way at the China Art Museum, the former China Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.
Titled “Together: 2014 Gallery Group Exhibition,” it involves an unprecedented seven exhibits simultaneously, all dealing with the style of expressionism. Paintings from Chinese and Western countries are included.
“Expressionism painting was almost a spiritual base for pursuit of China’s earlier education at art academies,” says Xu Jiang, director of China Academy of Fine Arts and chief counselor of the exhibition. “In fact, expressionism painting echoes with Oriental implicative painting.
“However, for a long time, Expressionism was attacked by the mainstream that was dominated with realism and traditional Chinese painting in the country.”
In the early 1980s, under China’s opening-up policy, Expressionism soon emerged as a rebellious spirit.
“One of the meanings of Expressionism lies in the power of observation,” Xu says. “The mission of painting is actually making the invisible into the visible.”
For visitors who are curious about the development of Expressionism in China or how the Expressionism trend varied in the West, this is a must-see exhibit.
“Through these seven exhibitions, we are trying to build a platform for an academic dialogue between the East and the West,” say Shi Dawei, director of the China Art Museum. “For example, we selected the paintings from ten masters of Chinese art history of the 20th century to unveil the implicative style with Expressionism elements in Chinese modern painting.”
Besides the Chinese heavyweights such as Guan Liang and Lin Fengmian, visitors will find Western masters like Ansel Kiefer and Jorg Immendorff.
“Today, the digital era almost thoroughly changed our life. Only a finger touch on your smartphone or iPad opens a new visual world,” says Xu. “But through these exhibitions, we want to readdress the importance of hand labor in art with a profound consideration of life and art.
“Visual art is not about something that the finger slides or touches, I hope that more visitors can come and see the exhibitions here at the museum. The visual power and experience is truly hidden behind these artworks.”
The seven exhibitions are: “General Transformation, Profound Significance: 10 Samples of 20th Century Chinese Art,” “Chinese New Expressionism: Special Invitation Exhibition 1980-2014,” “Painting of Being-there: Art Exhibition of 20 Years’ Chinese Figurative Expressionism,” “Wild Heart: Art Exhibition of German Neo-Expressionism Since the 1960s,” “Dazzling: Exhibition of Italian Expressive Arts in the Second Half of the 20th Century,” “Extend Your Fist: Paintings of Exhibit of Ecuadorian Master Oswaldo Guayasamin,” and “My Children, Spring is Coming: Exhibition of German Old Master Kathe Kollwitz.