Art is not about beauty or not, but is ponderosity
Abstract: Drawing endures our brushes, and paintbrush embarks our hands that connect to our hearts.
In the late autumn of 2010, comprehensive art curator Weng Ling went to Hangzhou and visited the China Academy of Art to interview Xu Jiang. In this conversation, they talked about art creation but more about aesthetic art education.
On one side, Xu Jiang is an artist who merges the imagination as a poet, the passion of a painter, the acumen as a theorist, and the elegant demeanour of an orator. His artistic contributions represent the latest achievements of expressionist art in China’s contemporary art world. On the other side, he is an educator with a passion for history, who graduated from the China Academy of Art in 1982. He was the president of the China Academy of Art, Professor, Vice Chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Chairman of the China Oil Painting Society, Vice Chairman of the China Artists Association, Member of Educational, Scientific, Cultural and Health Committee of NPC, Chairman of Zhejiang Federation of Literary and Art Circles. Those two identities of Xu Jiang have been integrated and presented in the creation of “The Sunflower” series perfectly.
In 2003, he encountered sunflowers on Asia Minor Peninsula unexpectedly. Since then, he has started the artistic process of painting and writing sunflowers for more than ten years and has been extracting the freehand spirit of sunflowers and the present through various art forms. He used the painting of sunflowers to express a generation. As he said, the sunflower is not only a plant but also symbolizes the spirit of a generation. The reason why to draw sunflowers is to diver this essence. After 16 years, the new exhibition of Ode to the Sunflowers opened on Dec 21 at the Shandong Art Museum in Jinan, the capital of East China’s Shandong province. He said, “my creation is not to pitch a time point, and I don’t know when will be the stop. However, it seems I was looking and seeking something new during the past 16 years.”
Facing Weng Ling’s questions, Xu Jiang answered “art is not about beauty or not, but is ponderosity. The mission is to discover good and kindness.” Looking back on his creative path, a sense of purpose has proceeded via his creation. After experiencing the drastic changes of the times, in the conflict and intersection of Eastern and Western cultures, this returning traveller, inspired by the spirit of Cai Yuanpei and Lin Fengmian and other predecessors, is nevertheless diligently pursuing the cultural ideals of intellectuals and the identity of a nation.