Fan Wenmin:Sculpture and Abstract
Source:Artintern.net Author:Fan Wenmin Date: 2013-11-08 Size:
ern history of Chinese art has seen the unique expression of the abstract as both a thinking mode and an imagery style. However, when it came to the twentieth century, a time of influx of the Western art, of sole dominance of realism over arts education system, and of pursuing modernity and contemporaneity, the abstractness faded and declined in Chinese artistic expression, particularly in the arena of sculpture.

  (Director of Sculpture magazine; Vice Executive Director of China Arts and Crafts Association Sculpture Committee)

  The pre-modern history of Chinese art has seen the unique expression of the abstract as both a thinking mode and an imagery style. However, when it came to the twentieth century, a time of influx of the Western art, of sole dominance of realism over arts education system, and of pursuing modernity and contemporaneity, the abstractness faded and declined in Chinese artistic expression, particularly in the arena of sculpture. Compared with the representational sculpture, the abstract one received much less attention and support in arts education. What came out is that artists’ ability to conceive abstract idea and create abstract form is very impeded; the development of abstract sculpture is very suppressed; the vocabulary of visual art is very limited and bald.And then, consequently, Chinese abstract sculpture has been mostly absent in the artistic dialogues between China and other countries. Although from time to time there appear the notable works, the artists who have remained consistent in abstract sculpture are rarely seen. Given this it is no surprise that most works look fragmented, unmethodical and superficial.To make a change, it is critical and urgent to assemble scholarly discussions on abstract manners, styles, thinking modes, growth of Chinese contemporaneity and so on, and therefrom to help to map the art directions and explore the art languages for our future.

  In practice, the China Arts and Crafts Association Sculpture Committee and the Sculpture magazine initiated and organized in 2012 the “Eighteenth China Sculpture Conference”and“First Exhibition of Contemporary Chinese Abstract Sculpture” intended to recognize the reality of artistic theories and practices of the abstract art in contemporary China, reshape the woolly understanding of its concept, reexamine its relationship with representation, retrace the development and problems of its form, reformulate its structure in art education system and research its spirit in the traditional Chinese art. All of these efforts have stimulated in a way the theoretical research and creative practice of contemporary Chinese abstract sculpture and, also, brought about this opportunity of the collaboration between the Hubei Museum of Art and us in this exhibition in 2013.

  Abstract art is inclusive, so that it allows the integration and even the boundary-break of and between different material or spiritual elements. As the society makes progress, the phenomenon of coexistence of different cultures will take on more and newer dimensions and,therefore, the extension of abstract sculpture art is bound to come up with more and newer artistic possibilities; and, its strong absorptive capacity will definitely help to move its spatial boundary further away from the one of now in the future. From another perspective, it will lead the appreciation of visual art to stray away from the representational style and play a positive role to promote the aesthetic multiplicity and enrich the aesthetic sensitivity; it will open up a much wider aesthetic perspective and space for viewers and makes which an indispensable “lifestyle” in our life. Abstract art will enter a new art realm--I have no doubt at all!


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