Meishu No. 1
“Meishu” is one of the most representative and the most complex notions in the history of art of the Twentieth Century. It was originated from the term “beaux-arts” in 17th Century France, and was then translated as “fine art” in English, and “bijutsu” in Japanese, since the New Culture- May Fourth Movement, China used this term to include painting, sculpture, calligraphy, craft, architecture and nearly all fields in the visual arts, and thereon extended to photography, theatre, film and other artistic domains. This evolution process of beaux-arts to fine art, to bijitsu, and finally to meishu, bears witness to expanding and shifting linguistic parameter, to the extend that meishu suffices to address the process of modernity in Chinese art.
Although in comparison to the more popular “art” and “contemporary art” today, “meishu” may seem passé, while it can still provide us with a penetrating background and solid support by which to understand the various phenomena in contemporary art – this is the reason to name this irregular series of exhibition “meishu”.
In Meishu No.1, the works of Chen Tong, Deng Yifu, Jiang Jianjun, Wang Yunchong, Xu Liwei seem to respond and translate certain “artistic experiences”, for instance, cartoons painted in ink, popularized traditional literati subjects, artistic styles prevalent in art prep school, modern painting from the Republican era, and Soviet style interpreted in Chinese art academies and etc. In fact, these conduit, styles and subject that seem to belong to the past are still relevant in our everyday lives and concepts today. In addition, they serve as consistent reminders for the uniqueness and subjectivity of Chinese visual experiences.