INK IN MOTION – A History of Chinese Painting in the 20th Century.

Until March 5, 2023

From the end of the empire to the Second World War, from the 1949 revolution to the opening of the 1980s, XNUMXth century China was the scene of profound changes. Chinese painting, in tune with
these changes, is also on the move. Defined for centuries by the use of ink, it reinvents itself in contact with new techniques but also thanks to the rediscovery of its own past.
The travel of artists plays a driving role in this renewal. If the destinations evolve from one generation to another, the exchanges extend from Asia to Europe and America. The ink painting is deeply marked by this intercultural dialogue. Throughout the century, it was at the center of theoretical debates, whether it concerned the definition of a national painting, the question of realism or abstraction.

The Cernuschi Museum's Chinese painting collection, built up from the 1950s and regularly enriched, includes several hundred works. It is one of the rare collections in Europe to preserve paintings by masters active in China, such as Qi Baishi, Fu Baoshi, Wu Guanzhong or Li Jin, as well as the works of the greatest figures of this artistic diaspora such as Chang Dai-chien (Zhang Daqian), Zao Wou-ki (Zhao Wuji), Walasse Ting (Ding Xiongquan) or Ma Desheng.
Alongside the works of the museum, this exhibition is punctuated by filmed archives which present the strictly gestural issues of ink painting, from the virtuoso demonstrations of the masters to the performances which call into question the classic relationships of ink, paper and brush. These rare films show ink in motion.


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Chen Zhen (1955-1999), Dialogue (detail), 1999.