Shanghai showcasing perspectives on home life
( 2003-12-27 10:25) (China Daily)
"Home - from tradition to modernism" is the theme for this year's Shanghai Fine Art Exhibition, now showing at the Shanghai Art Museum until January 14.
On display are 68 pieces from 17 fine arts academies across the country.
"We chose 'home' as the theme, attempting to advocate the 'home-coming' of Chinese culture by combining traditional Chinese folk art and culture with modern homes and daily life," said Zhu Guorong, vice-secretary of the Shanghai Artists Association.
Exhibits adopt the form, material, or structure of traditional Chinese furniture and architecture to express contemporary concepts closely related to tempo of modern life.
"I was surprised to see the deep concern for social issues among the students," said Xu Ping, vice-president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), who is also a member of the academic association of the exhibition.
For instance, for the work entitled "The Way Home," students from CAFA designed an upside down vault, a structure widely used in traditional Chinese architecture, in which different parts interconnect to achieve a stable support. It symbolizes family harmony.
"We got the idea after visiting nursing homes," said Chi Chengcheng, who together with her classmates conducted field work at several nursing homes in Beijing.
Seeing the elderly people living in loneliness, the five sophomores created their work.
"We are single children to our parents," said Chi. "We were worried about the future of our parents."
Meanwhile, Tongji University's projects "Mondriaan and Ge" and "Circular Bed and Terrace Lamps" show the focus on structure in architecture majors.
The first project was named after a late famous artist from the Netherlands, Peter Cornelis Mondriaan (1872-1944) and a traditional Chinese furniture style.
Ge is a shelf of traditional Chinese furniture for antique display, while Mondriaan's emphasis for structure and abstract lines can be found in the design, explained Professor Hang Jian from Tsinghua University, one of the jury for selecting exhibits from the 200 candidate pieces.
Many furniture designs in the exhibition make use of traditional Chinese characteristics, according to Xu.
"Courtyard of Four Seasons" is an interesting work by Zhang Qingfang, an instructor with the Arts Institute of Shanghai Normal University.
Four porcelain spoon-shaped chairs are put around a large porcelain bowl-shaped table under a round lantern.
The blue flowery pattern on the chair and table, the goose-like shape of the chairs, and the gold fish painted beneath the table's surface, all remind people of the peaceful and harmonious family life with refined culture.
"This is believed to be the first of its kind in the country," said Xu. "Although immature, there is somewhat of a tendency to try to reach the ordinary citizen's life, to understand the emotions and spiritual demand of people."
In this sense, the exhibition has unpredictable significance, Xu said.
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