Zhu, Xuanxian Art Exhibition
From December 5 to December 21, 2014, the Zhu Xuanxian Art Exhibition has been for the first time in Shanghai at Zhu Qizhan Art Museum.
Support Committee: Shanghai Artists Association, Chongqing Artists Association
Organizing Committee: Zhu Qizhan Art Museum, Shanghai，Chongqing Tank Loft Culture Communication Co., Ltd.
Curator: Wang Lin
Exhibition Schedule: Dec. 5th to Dec. 21st, 2014 (Closed on Monday)
Opening Hour: 9:30-16:30
Exhibition Venue: Zhu Qizhan Art Museum (580 Ouyang Road, Shanghai)
Opening Reception: Friday, Dec. 5th 2014, 3pm
The exhibition Mr. Zhu Xuanxian’s early Chinese ink paintings and some of his print works. His artwork shows ideals of truth, goodness, beauty, and the pursuit of artistic spirit. His works are distinctively contemporary, lyrical, systematic and artistically diverse.
Mr. Zhu Xuanxian was a famous Chinese art painter, printmaker, cartoonist and art activist. He was borned in Taizhou, Zheijiang Province in 1927, he died in Chongqing in 2002.
In the early 1940s, he engaged in Chinese traditional art painting, Chinese woodcut and current political cartoons. He joined Shanghai Faction and Luxun’s Mondern Woodcut Group from Zhejiang to Shanghai. In 1946, he joined the China National Artists Association. In 1948, he was arrested in the “Watch” event, one of the famous events in the modern history of Shanghai.
In 1949, Zhu Xuanxian and Liu Kaiqu, Zhang Leping, Pang Xunqin, Yang KeYang, on behalf of Shanghai art circles, published "Declaration of artists" in the newspaper of “Da Kung Pao”. This Declaration represents a new starting point of Art of National Government and Modern Art History of Shanghai. At the same time, he entered China National Art Association, started creating Chinese early art education system. By the end of 1949, he followed the army to Chongqing and became an executive committee member of the China Journalists Association of Fine Arts (China Artists Association). He participated in the National Art Exhibition review; he was the founder of Chongqing Artists Association; he was the first executive, vice chairman and secretary general, and consultant of Chongqing Art Museum; he was the founder and advisor of Chongqing Academy of Painting; he was the founder and president of Chongqing Academy of Fine Art. As one of the pioneers in 20th century, he made extraordinaire achievement for the development and prosperity of Chongqing’s modern art movement.
Zhu, Xuanxian was one of the important participants in Shanghai emerging Woodcut. He was also one of the first group artists who involved modern art in China. He was expelled from school as a progressive youth encounter, and was once arrested and jailed. Due to his experiences, he became a social critic. His work reflects the suffering of life; he was more concerned with the bottom of the society. His painting subjects demonstrate all sorts of uneven phenomena on the street. Mr. Zhu’s most creative themes feature the hardworking poor, the homeless and the hungry. Perhaps his youthful passion needed a form of expression. Mr. Zhu’s artwork integrated modern expressionist influences. Early German expressionism was consistent with the younger Chinese generation’s sense of emotion. He liked to use chunks of black and unrealistic dotted lines to form the dark atmosphere prevalent in his paintings. The rough, sharp images excited and captivated people. Through his exaggerated painting style, he expressed his desperate cry for life and dissatisfaction with reality at the time. Thus, his works became masterpieces of modern Chinese prints in the 1940s. After the 1950’s, Mr. Zhu’s prints continued his previous style of the unique composition. His painting images became neat and clear again. Most significantly, the skies in his paintings grew brighter. His painting style developed alongside societal changes; viewers can observe the development of Chinese art history through his works.
Mr. Zhu committed most of his time to creating Chinese paintings and prints. Few artists can compare with Mr. Zhu’s commitment to explore a variety of themes in artwork. Zhu has stressed on the composition and the linear in his Chinese painting. As he is rarely use “Cunfa” in his work, thereby his painting style tends to more simplify. The way he used ink and color depends on the required of composition or how to describe the vivid images. Zhu has introduced Chinese ink painting effect to the wood print technics, creating the hazy atmosphere and expressing the lyrical effect. During the special era that art was considered something great social importance, the artwork would have to submit to restrictions of both theme and treatment, artists can only play with the lyrical depiction for him artwork. His artwork contains the splendid autumn maple trees, fruitful corns, robust bamboo shoots, juicy lychee, active sparrow and fierce eagle. All of these reflect his efforts in searching and exploring art in nature. His most favorites are plum blossoms. Starting from 1943, he has been devoting to it for several decades.
By enjoy Mr. Zhu’s artworks, reminiscent of us the truly outstanding artworks can across time and space limit, although each artist in the different era has their own characterize. When I saw his painting “take a break”, which was made in June 1948, time has past 66 years, but this picture is still like the portraits of today’s Chongqing “Bang Bang Army”. Maybe the gap between rich and poor will always be s social problem, but Mr. Zhu’s concern and respect for the bottom of the society were never stopping or missing.
Through all of Mr. Zhu’s art creations, what kind of inspirations can we get?