Overwhelming “Rendering Change — A New China under the Brush” Exhibition to Amaze Shanghai from 26 November with Artistic Recall of New China
M K Lau Collection and China Guardian will co-present “Rendering Change – A New China under the Brush” exhibition to be held from 26 November to 10 December 2015 at Long Museum in Shanghai, showcasing over 100 selected paintings and calligraphy depicted during the New China era.
Entering into the third stop during the year, this well-acclaimed and overwhelming event achieved remarkable success for its previous exhibitions in Hong Kong and Beijing this April and October, resulting in heavy discussion on the artistic expression and historical significance of this special era across the art circle.
For over 25 years, the M K Lau Collection has assembled one of the finest private collections of Chinese ink and brush paintings and calligraphy documenting some defining moments of New China, aiming to explore this special era’s social landscape and promote multi-perspective appreciation of New China’s art and history through a comprehensive collection of paintings. The exhibition comprises of over 100 selected paintings featuring 55 renowned Chinese artists such as Bai Xueshi (1915-2011), Cheng Shifa (1921-2007), Fu Baoshi (1904-1965), He Tianjian (1891-1977), Jiang Zhaohe (1904-1986), Li Keran (1907-1989), Lin Fengmian (1900-1991), Liu Jiyou (1918-1983), Lu Hongnian (1914-1989), Lu Yanshao (1909-1993), Qi Baishi (1864-1957) and Zhu Qizhan (1892-1996). It unveils a vivid time journey of New China, revisiting the momentous yet magnificent historical scenes in early New China from the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 to the end of 1970s.
Mr. Victor Lo, Founder of M K Lau Collection, said, “Paintings of New China are visual records documenting three decades of China’s unique experience in the latter half of the 20th century. This motivated me to start collecting these neglected treasures over 25 years ago and eventually organize ‘Rendering Change – A New China under the Brush’ exhibition. We are delighted to bring this meaningful exhibition to Shanghai, a city with a solid arts and cultural heritage, and we are once again confident that visitors will appreciate the art of New China more culturally and historically rewarding than ever. We are pleased to have China Guardian as co-presenter.”
Ms. Catherine Maudsley, co-curator of the exhibition, commented, “We are delighted with the overwhelming response to the breadth and depth of the M K Lau Collection’s paintings of New China, and to see a new generation of scholars, both in China and abroad, study and research the paintings to deepen and expand knowledge and understanding of three significant decades.”
The exhibition is organized by theme, and with each theme, the paintings are displayed chronologically. The exhibition begins with calligraphy – Lu Yanshao’s Calligraphy – Quotations from Chairman Mao, in white pigment on red paper is an excerpt from Mao Zedong’s 1942 “Talks at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art” which established perceived purpose of the arts in New China. This is followed by a group of paintings depicting agricultural reform and collective activity, the highlight being two paintings from 1958: A collective work of Jiangsu Traditional Chinese Paintings Academy Peoples Communes are Great – Free Meals Offered (1958) and Wu Zuoren’s Happy Life at the Commune (1958) depict daily life in communes and work brigades. With the Great Leap Forward campaign from 1958 to 1961, new systems and phenomena like People’s Commune and Backyard Steel Furnaces gained prominence in mainstream ideologies.
The desire for rapid industrialization is seen in the next section, from Lin Fengmian’s Steel Foundry (late 1950s – early 1960s), Dam Site (1950s) and Village Construction (II) (1950s) to Fu Baoshi’s Spectacular Coal City (1961) and Lu Yanshao’s An Emerging Industrial City (1962). Moving to the next section, military endeavors are recorded in paintings like Qian Shoutie’s two paintings of Wartime (1951) and the role of the People’s Liberation Army in daily life as seen in Tang Daxi’s The People’s Apples (1973), a painting which was the basis of a poster widely circulated throughout China.
Next, in a grouping of magnificently large paintings, are portraits of the courage and conviction that propelled New China forward. Wang Yingchun and Yang Lizhou’s Endless Digging (1973) and Bai Bohua’s A Great Life! A Glorious Death! (1977) are moving portraits of determination and perseverance. These are followed by paintings inspired by Chairman Mao’s poetry or by traditional Chinese ink and brush paintings.
The cult of political leaders in New China is evoked in typical portraits like Jiang Zhaohe’s Portrait of Lenin andPortrait of Chairman Mao (1962), a collective work by Wu Zuoren, Guan Shanyue and Shen Yinmo. Finally, coming to the Cultural Revolution period, the powerful role of the performing arts in communicating ideas and beliefs is shown in two of Liu Jiyou’s paintings – Beijing Opera – The Red Lantern (1968) and Ballet – White Hair Woman (1968).
Name: Rendering Change – A New China under the Brush
Admission Fee for Long Museum: RMB50