The exhibition “Beyond Reminiscence”－the disentanglement of traditional symbols from bondage and the unveiling of the essence of Chinese art－is about to kick off its opening ceremony. As far as we concerned, the terms of “traditional art” and “contemporary art” are not mutually exclusive, but the pursuit of art’s essence should never be confined to the repetition of traditional symbols. In the context of the contemporary era characterized by diversity and transcendentalism, “Beyond Reminiscence” converges works of several artists who break through the restrictions of iconology, technique, medium or material, and the so-called concept. It is their generosity of all sorts of art techniques and their ability to shuttle between times that bring novelty and originality to the works while reserving their traditional charms towards the audiences.
While the oil paintings of Liu Wei, Ye Yongqing, Zheng Zaidong and Zhou Chunya are unique in their own ways, they strike the audience as an experience of brushwork, tones and emotions, and share an essence of strong diversifying metaphysics. The ink paintings, expressed respectively in concrete or virtual brushwork by Li Huayi and Xu Longsen, are distinguished from the prevailing “Chinese contemporary painting”, as it is called. Both artists are trying to convey the spirit of Chinese ink paintings through various channels. As for Gu Wenda, Bai Yiluo, Shi Jinsong and Shen Shaomin, their conversion of our quotidian objects expresses intense concern about the society and its history; Jennifer Wen Ma’s game-like work of dynamic visual art is a dramatic treatment of reality and vision; and Wei Hong’s documentary of social interactions pave the path leading to the nature of “change”.
All traditions have once been contemporary; and all that once belong to the contemporary era will, as time goes by, become tradition. It is in the temporal conversion of the two that we capture the transient inspiring spirit of art beyond reminiscence; and it is through the endless flowing of time that art will discover its vast land of infinity.