Minsheng Art Museum opens in Shanghai

By Chen Qide (
Updated: 2010-04-19 14:22
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Minsheng Art Museum opened in Shanghai on April 18 to exhibit China's contemporary art in the past 30 years.

"We aim to let audience review the historic development process of China's contemporary art by displaying works from more than 80 artists,'' said He Juxing, president of Minsheng Art Museum.

A total of 100 pieces of paintings on display are all the works in the original drawn in the past 30 years, telling audience the life of common people and the tortuous history at that era, He said.

All the works are home made and the exhibition has taken three years to prepare with the support of domestic art museums, galleries and painting collectors, he said.

Since the 1980s, China has witnessed three relatively independent art systems, that is, traditional Chinese painting, Western realist painting and contemporary art. They have coexisted, with each possessing its own character and expressing itself in its own way, He said.

However, of these three systems, only contemporary art which started in the 1980s, represents the main motive force of change in the past 30 years, the museum president said.

"It has aroused the great attention of artists from home and abroad," he said.

Around 1979, a number of exhibitions that were not approved by the authorities were held in Beijing and Shanghai by young artists. Among them were Beijing's most celebrated "starts'group" consisting of dozens of young artists.

They hung their works on the outside walls of the China Art Museum to show their individual feelings and experiences by using abstract art, expressionism, fauvism and other artistic languages.

"The 30 years of art history in China have presented an unusually complex process full of a logic of paradox and self-denial," said Gao Minglu, an art critic.

The Tibetan paintings drawn by Chen Danqing in 1980 led to a revival of naturalism which requires literature and arts to approach the daily life. His works gave off the glimmers of humanity, another art critic Liu Xiaodong said.

"These works show the strength of China contemporary art, giving audience an opportunity to probe into the life of common life in the different historic phases,'' He said.

Zhou Tiehai, executive president of the museum, said the museum will hold a series of exhibitions on China contemporary art in the future three years.

A photo-taking show on China contemporary art in the past 30 years will be held in May of 2011 and a sculpture show in May of 2012, he said.

Guo Xiaoyan, vice president of the museum, said a contemporary art fund will be set up with the financial support from the Minsheng Bank to award prizes to the artists who make great artistic contributions.

The bank has established a fund for social service with 0.8 per cent to 1.2 per cent of its annual profit as funds. It took out 100 million yuan last year for the fund, He said.

Guo said awardees' works will be on global display and the first choose of public appraisal will be made in October of 2011.

The museum has also established an artistic research center to support theorists and scholars in their research of China contemporary art.