Dancing with Virtuoso
As the history of art marches on, societies, technologies and ideologies are always keeping pace. The perspectives and attitudes of the vast majority of observing the world are not documented with good precision. However, artists are lucky, for they have another language—drawing, an extremely abstract yet efficient way of communication. If they are skilled and original, given luck, meanwhile, they can probably become representative of a piece of history as well as its recorder. In particular, the sensibility and perspicacity of the artists form a distinctive power that pushes our society forward. They might not give impetus to economy or industry in a direct manner, but they unceasingly freshen human creativity and imagination. This is the significance of humanistic education advocated by Ken Robinson, a British scholar who deems it the foundation of all other abilities to cultivate inspirational ingenuity and unconstrained elaborative faculty from childhood.
We may therefore change the viewpoint as we look back and reflect on what artistic drawing exercises on paper are. They are blueprints of ideas, representing the process of jointly constructing aesthetics and science. They are the debuts of ideas transformed into practically visible “objects”. They are of importance, as they are the primary step of ideas being transcribed graphically. In addition to terms closely bound up with skills, such as composition, brushwork and material, the renovation of themes and expression of emotions are symbolic of the progress they make.
Back to the environment where we are placed, China is the geographic and cultural location. The independent development of and the interrelationship between contemporaneous Western and Chinese cultures is the focal point of our attention, of which the artistic value and social significance demonstrate a merit for the posterity to bask in. Chinese classical culture has explicit definitions of poetry (shi and ci) and painting. A poem is esteemed as an abstract painting while a painting the embodiment of a poem. They, then, both possess readability, logicality and styles. The styles of creation (which rest with the artists) and the angles of appreciation (which rest with the viewers) of Chinese and Western classical drawing, in particular, are worthy of being studied and deliberated upon. Especially today when the Western artistic techniques, art history and art theory are having a profound influence over artists across the world, we aspire to proffer a new perspective and aesthetic viewpoint and try to decipher and converse with varied value systems. Between the Occidental geometrical composition and golden ratio, for example, and the Oriental negative space and freehand brushwork, is there an unequivocal divide? Or do they interpenetrate? Is it a religious influence or a natural attainment beneath those styles? Furthermore, how do they enlighten and restrict contemporary art? Now that the global culture has got so blended, hybrid and cross-disciplinary, our brains are overloaded with superfluous information at all times; how we shall acknowledge ourselves and comprehend our own culture has become an arduous problem for every individual.
Accordingly, the exhibition Dancing with Virtuoso is a walk illuminated by the shimmer of exemplars. The master drawing exercises mirror their attitudes towards life; every work marks a temporal fragment of their lengthy life paths as well as portrays one second of their bountiful life experiences. It is to let the audience see the cultural scene made by sharply condensed time and space that matters. Every viewer is free to carry their own questions in quest of their inspirational answers.
Executive Chairperson, YUAN Museum Preparatory Committee