China: three painters from Hangzhou

Wednesday 10 October 2007

Proceedings of the "China: Three Hangzhou Painters" Conference Tour
at the Mairie de VIIIe arrondissement by Mrs. Journet Thanh-Trâm,
speaker at the Cernuschi Museum

This visit completed that of the “Chan Ky-Yut” exhibition which is being held at the Cernuschi Museum until December 30, 2007 by showing another aspect of Chinese painting in contemporary ink.

It is not uninteresting to know that the city of Hangzhou, capital of the Southern Song (1127-1279), established on the banks of the West Lake, is still famous for the beauty of its landscapes. Center of culture, the city is known to have sheltered many painters and patrons over time.

At the beginning of the 1900th century, several fundamental institutions were created in Hangzhou: the Society of Seal Engravers of Xiling and the Academy of Fine Arts of Lin Fengmian (1971-XNUMX) which introduced for the first time in China a form of education. inspired by the West.

After the Cultural Revolution which had separated painting from calligraphy, a period of debate and openness began.

The three painters presented in this exhibition worked in the 80s in Hangzhou, revisiting traditional ink painting and opening up a new space.

HE SHUIFA (born in 1946)
It is the most "classic", both in the choice of subjects (flowers and birds) and in the format of its works (vertical rolls). His technical mastery of brush and ink supports sinuous but energetic compositions: bamboo and banana (1986), cicada on a banana leaf (1997), wisteria (1987 and 1988).

He Shuifa, however, seeks particular effects: white in reserve and relation with the light which is new, especially in the yellow flowers (end of the Eighties) which illustrates an impressive work of the shade and the light.

His solitary fish (1980) is treated in a classic way, while the three fishes (1987) by Zeng Mi are treated with a certain humor in an unusual construction with the line and the hook accentuating the verticality of the format.

ZENG MI (born in 1935)

Self-taught, he nevertheless claims the heritage of Badashanren (1626-1705), both in craftsmanship and humor: man and bird (1980), the first says to the second: we will grow old together. Chat et store (1987) shows the animal asleep in front of a blind, its languid pose makes the heat of the day palpable and the absence of straight lines is a sought-after “awkwardness”. In the album birds (1980), he creates an effect of decomposed movement as in a cartoon. The temple of Kobé (1984) is very current with a motorcyclist in the foreground.
Zeng Mi also works with light: dark background effects, dry plot opposite to wet line. The cascade (1989) offers an innovative and powerful backlighting effect.

JIANG BAOLIN (born in 1942)

He is the most innovative of the three and also the most open to the West. He is also the one who has done the most experiments, both in the composition and in the daring use of color.
Calligraphy (1985) plays with the location of the seals in harmony with the background and the ideograms. In monts et gees sauvage (1985), the accumulation of ink creates an almost raised mass effect. The repetition and the systematization of the gesture tend towards abstraction: bamboos and torrents (1987), but even more noticeable in rocks where the work of 1985 becomes almost “cubic” in 1987. The landscape by the sea (1985) , very figurative and colorful, creates a spatial effect thanks to the path that winds towards the bottom of the painting. In a mountain landscape, the path cannot be seen but is suggested by the diagonals which are built with the play of colors, a bit like David Hockney.
It is fair to remember that the exhibited works were collected by Paul Rouillé, collector who knew how to make contact with these artists from the beginning of the 80 years.


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