A view of the world seen through artists’ eyes
How do artists see the world? Artists, both from home and abroad, present their views, especially through paintings, in an art show that opened on Saturday in Beijing.
The exhibition, Paint One Another and Know One Another, has about 200 works— oil paintings, water colors, sculptures and prints — which capture scenes from 60 nations.
The works by Chinese artists focus on countries along the ancient Silk Road.
The exhibition also features works on China as seen by foreign artists and pieces painted by Chinese artists sent to paint in a studio in Paris.
The works at the show are the products of a project of the China Artists Association, which for the past eight years sponsored Chinese artists to go abroad to create artworks covering different cultures and backgrounds.
Separately, it also invited foreign artists to China to produce works influenced by Chinese culture.
The Chinese artists’ ink and water works mostly feature exotic architecture and portraits of people.
A lake in Macedonia, dancers in Pakistan, soldiers in Russia, the old town square in Warsaw and a mosque in Iraq have all been captured on rice paper by Chinese artists.
“Architecture is a symbol of a country’s culture and the people are the souls of a nation. That’s why artists always put a lot of effort into drawing it,” says Wang Yong, a researcher with the Chinese National Academy of Arts.
As for the foreign artists’ works on China, traditional elements such as dragons, lanterns, red walls and the Great Wall are seen in their oil paintings.
French painter Barthelemy Andrea’s work features a beautiful woman against a Chinese landscape painting with rising lanterns to express the “eternal beauty” of China.
Estonian painter Aleksei Shatunov visited Yangzhou in Jiangsu province last year, a city that has lots of traditional Chinese gardens and houses.
In his work Red Flowers, the painter recorded his day at the Slender West Lake.
In the section of works done in the Studio of Lu Xiaguang, about 30 artists who worked in the studio donated by Lu Xiaguang in 1984 to the China Artists Association present their works.
Speaking about the links between Chinese artists and France, Ding Ning, deputy director of the art school at Peking University, says that since the beginning of the 20th century, artists from China have gone to France to study art, and this produced lots of modern art masters, including Lin Fengmian (1900-91) and Xu Beihong (1895-1953) who is known for his paintings of horses.
The tradition of going to France to study art spans more than 100 years, he says.
Speaking about his experience with the Lu studio, he says: “I could feel the excitement of the Chinese artists when I visited the studio donated by Lu in 1993.”
Meanwhile, the government is now supporting its young artists to go overseas and interact with their counterparts there.
There are altogether 80 young artists funded by the government to create artworks abroad, according to Liu Dawei, president of the China Artists Association.
Oil painting VenetianMorning by Chinese artist Liu Qiyi.