To See “Chinese Pose” Again—Impression on the 3rd “Chinese Pose” China Sculpture Exhibition
添加时间:2014/10/18 来源:中国雕塑学会

By Sun Zhenhua

“Chinese Pose”China Sculpture Exhibition, held every three years, is going to be exhibited at Shandong Art Museum this year.

Initiated by national sculpture academic group, its value orientation and scholarly sequences are relatively clear compared with other sculpture exhibitions in that it puts more emphasis on the noumenon of sculpture. As many authors are members of China Sculpture Institute, the academic trend and questions focused are comparatively concentrated while the language is pure, which is a fundamental characteristic of this exhibition.

Why could this exhibition display such kind of characteristic?

This has exactly reflected the self-awareness in recent sculpture creation, namely, respecting the rules of art, the characteristics of sculpture and the inner call of sculptors and emphasizing their personal expression.

Focusing on the noumenon of sculptural works doesn’t mean excluding values and the social responsibilities of sculpture, as to sculptors, they are not empty. They could not be achieved by deviating from the inner needs of sculptors and swarming to choose “important” subjects, nor could it work by blindly adopting simple graphic representations in art, which, as a matter of fact, could not effectively express the main theme. Only when the core values of the time have successfully turned into the personal language of sculptors and their creative consciousness could the presentation be positive and effective.

In the past years, blindly following the trend appeared in sculpture creation. For example, when “cartoon style” was popular, many sculptors were rushing into it; when “hippie pattern” was prevalent, it was filled with teasing; when “the wind of strong colors of red and green” was coming, all were rushing to color the sculpture… From the works of this exhibition we can see its keynote is steady and confident, it is not compelled by any tendency and has its own logic and direction, which showcases the cultural self-awareness, confidence and self-improvement of sculpture.

This exhibition has given the following outstanding impressions:

It puts special focus on the space, shapes and form languages of sculpture in general, in which many works has made innovation and exploration in forms, and achieved positive effects.

\With the profound development of sculpture in recent years, the exploration of poses and forms has become the conscious pursuit for sculptors, as they have been assiduously seeking how to express the beauty in poses and space form of sculpture—the three-dimensional art in limited space. The past forms of employing single material and single cubic shaping method have changed greatly nowadays while a large number of sculpture works bold in innovation and exploration have come to the fore.

For instance, many sculptors are skilful at adopting the way of contrast, which juxtaposes giant objects with tiny ones to generate extraordinary visual effects; some are adept in displaying much in little where small as the size is, the visual bulk is large with profound significance; some sculptors are good at combining, collaging or even mixing and matching different materials to present new meanings; some apply metaphors and symbolism to express their thoughts by means of signifying materials, spatial forms and meaningful poses as certain objects; some skilled in the employment of ready- made, such as wood, ropes, tables and chairs, etc, which, combined with the created works, displays an expression with more contemporary characteristics.

In terms of sculpture language, the works follow no set patterns, adopting concrete, abstract, imagery and other various artistic languages, which makes this exhibition present a diversity of language features.

Realistic sculpture once dominated national sculpture creation. After the reform and opening-up, artistic language is becoming increasingly abundant and realistic creation is unable to delineate current creation reality, therefore there’s more inclination to replace the concept of realistic with that of “concrete”. If realistic creation puts more emphasis on the visual realness between sculpture and its object, the concept of concrete is broader and more flexible. While realistic sculpture must be concrete, concrete sculpture, however, may not necessarily be realistic, as though having identifiable images, they may not accord with the visual realness of the object. Take the twisted cow and horse in this exhibition for instance. What they are trying to convey is the mutation that the high-tech age has brought to species, which is exaggerated and imaginary. They are concrete, obviously, but we may not necessarily find the equivalents in real life accordingly.

This exhibition takes concrete works as mainstay in great variety: there is decorative concrete, realistic concrete, exaggerated and deformed concrete as well as combination of semi-abstract and semi-concrete.

There are also some abstract works. Though not portraying specific objects, they, by means of materials and abstract poses, display the beauty of space, size and material and the relation between abstract object and space.

What merits attention is the imagery works in this exhibition. They are more likely to present the implication of Chinese traditions in that they don’t stick rigidly to the accuracy of form; instead, they lay stress on the significance of form and explore the essence and spiritual content underneath it. They break the set patterns and express themselves freely in the creation of forms filled with the authors’ sentiments, making “the god”of the object and the inner feelings and spirit of the creators reach natural unification. This method of creation is greatly influenced by the essence of traditional Chinese aesthetics.

Imagery sculpture is the contribution made by Chinese sculptors to sculpture language in recent years. It is endeavors attempting to explain sculptural phenomenon with Chinese aesthetics and a self-consciousness of national culture and spirit as well.

It is cheerful to see quantity of talented newcomers springing up in this exhibition. Though some elder sculptors with great strength and capacity are actively devoted to the creation as usual and set an example to the youngsters, it is more comforting to see these sculptural newcomers appearing in large number.

These youngsters have lived up to our expectations. We can see the young generation has become the main force of sculpture creation from the annul works of graduates and postgraduates majoring in sculpture at college recently. We could also get a glimpse of the creative grandeur of contemporary young artists from the important brand exhibitions as the renowned Shortlisted Works Exhibition of Zeng Zhushao Sculptural Art Scholarship, Works Exhibition of Youngsters Recommendation Program of China Sculpture Institute, Excellent Public Visual Works Exhibition of Shanghai College Students and “Tomorrow” Youngsters Sculpture Invitation Exhibition of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute.

The delightful sign of successors excelling their predecessors also appears in this exhibition. As a matter of fact, many works are from the important exhibitions mentioned above. It is especially heartening to see these talented successors coming to the fore in sculpture.

The variety of materials is also the authentic presentation in current China sculpture creation. Nowadays, there’s almost no restricted zone in the employment of materials in sculptural art in that anything useable could be used by sculptors, which has greatly enriched the expressive force of sculpture.

Various materials have been widely adopted in this exhibition, especially those inconceivable in the past, for example, discarded materials, like disused metals, electronic components, construction materials, cloth, vines and stems of plants, etc, have got creative employment in sculptors’ hands. Besides, pottery, lacquer, crystal, ready-made and so on are also applied. These materials have different physical property, as well as independent languages and values, which displays the rich imagination, non-conformist creativity and daring spirit of the sculptors.

There are also some problems in this exhibition, among which the most outstanding is the lack of works with conspicuous humanity concern, of penetrating and keen insight and focusing on realistic problems, those with criticism in particular.

To observantly focus on and criticize reality doesn’t mean simply disclosing the dark and ugly side of life; rather, it is meant to reveal the problems in real life and people’s spiritual world in an elevated and wise way, so as to better upgrade the national image, better realize national rejuvenation and promote social progress. An exhibition without highlighting problems and keen observation about real life is insufficient under the contemporary cultural frame.

Besides, there are also some works following the routine without conspicuous characteristics and creativeness. An excellent sculpture lies in its creativeness in the first place, in that it could overawe others by displaying its strength first and express the ideas nobody has come up with before. In this sense, the innovation of concepts and language forms are important norms evaluating the development of sculpture at any time. Though there are works lacking in initiative in each exhibition, we’re still looking forward to the national sculpture exhibition.

September, 2014 in shenzhen

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