Museum dedicated to natural landscape art opens in Fuyang
The Gongwang Art Museum in Fuyang, a district under Hangzhou city, celebrated its grand opening on Sept 23 with an exhibition featuring Chinese landscape art.
Titled Shanshui, a Manifesta, the exhibition is aimed at establishing the museum’s identity through a dialogue about artworks from the present and the past.
The exhibition, which will be held till Dec 23, features more than 30 ancient masterpieces loaned from the Palace Museum in Beijing and the Nanjing Museum of Jiangsu province. The showcase also includes creations by dozens of contemporary artists.
The natural landscape, defined as “mountains and rivers” ( shanshui) in traditional Chinese culture, is the embodiment of the Chinese spirit, said the museum curator Gao Shiming, who is also the vice director of the China Academy of Fine Art.
Gao said that while Chinese artists today can easily be as adept in technical skills as the ancient masters, much of the connection with nature has inherently been lost in the modern world. He added that this new museum represents the mission of today’s artists to rebuild this connection and re-establish China’s own cultural identity.
“We believe the new museum, carrying the name of Gongwang, will be able to bring the art of shanshui to the contemporary context. I hope there will be more chapters of the Shanshui Manifesta that can be spread to the whole world,” said Gao.
Among the ancient masterpieces are the original works by legendary artist Huang Gongwang. Several copies of his renowned scroll Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains which were produced by generations of artists through centuries are among the exhibits. These works reflect Huang’s aesthetic ideas and creative methods, as well as reveal his great impact in China’s landscape art.
Outside the hall that contains ancient treasured pieces are contemporary art works, including oil paintings, charcoal drawings, audio and multimedia installations, as well as ink paintings. Renowned Chinese musician Zhu Zheqin has also been invited to participate in the exhibition.
“This is a museum for all your senses, not just your eyes,” said Gao, explaining his decision to invite Zhu.
Zhu is a recognized world music artist who has in the past few years been researching Buddhist music. She had borrowed an ancient 500-yearold Qing — a music instrument in the shape of an inverted bell — from Jingci Temple for her installation at the museum.
The Qing is found on a platform beside a shallow pool of water at the museum and ripples are formed every time someone strikes the instrument. The water movements are captured by video cameras before being projected onto the walls.
Many of the contemporary artists featured in the exhibition hail from the China Academy of Art. While some have gone the traditional route with their art works, others have adopted new techniques and materials for their creations.
“It doesn’t have to be ink art. Ink is not the only means for Chinese expression. It is the spirit that counts,” said Gao.
Art works on display at the Gongwang Art Museum.