Date(s) - 30 Mar 2022 - 21 Apr 2022
“Celebrating Together Centennial Carols, Lighting up China and Europe”
A Chinese Contemporary Fine Art Exhibition
Dates: 30 March to 21 April 2022
Venue: Art Galleries of the Malta Society of Arts,
Palazzo de La Salle, 219, Republic Street, Valletta
Mondays to Fridays: 8am to 7pm
Saturdays: 9am to 1pm
Sundays & Public Holidays: Closed
Entrance is free, subject to Covid-19 measures
A batch of Chinese paintings, no longer with the artists’ care and escort, like angels of peace, travelling alone to cross the sea, arrive with the passport-free privilege in Valletta, the Maltese capital which enjoys a golden reputation as the ‘European City of Art’. These artistic works will brilliantly express themselves at this ‘Heart of the Mediterranean’ and nourish the inner world of our Maltese audience in their unique aesthetic formats.
At present, when the global pandemic is still not completely gone, it is very significant for us to deliver to Valletta the contemporary Chinese painting exhibition entitled ‘Celebrating Together Centennial Carols and Lighting up the Art of China and Europe’. Though it is not the first for human beings struggling against disastrous epidemics, however, the COVID-19 with such overwhelming impact and challenges is truly much more than we initially estimated. The world most popular institution, Musée du Louvre, was closed for an unprecedented 150 days in 2020 after the breakout of the epidemic. However, after it reopens, the audience cherish more than anything the opportunity to experience the outstanding collections in the museum and attract to the charm of those original masterpieces in a much profoundly heart-touching way. Similarly, these Chinese artworks will create a similar impression and experience for their Maltese audience, because they are from Chinese artists’ mind, and some have even been specially created during the epidemic. These paintings covey artists’ profound sentiments and sincere friendship, aspiring to so-called ‘Ein Bild sagt mehr als 1000 Worte’ (A picture is worth a thousand words).
Most of the artists who contributed to this exhibition are of the young generation. They are sensitive, thoughtful and passionate; they strive to innovate and explore; their individuality and style are unique and distinct. On the one hand, they are always fascinated by the time-honored tradition of Chinese painting, and they have been working hard and pursuing this elite model. On the other hand, they are extremely reluctant to repeat the same trend, and in this regard, they try their best to distance themselves from their predecessors; not only depicting subject matters that their predecessors have never touched on (such as the local customs and scenarios of Malta, the Winter Olympic Games, etc.), but also to admiring unique formats and distinct tastes, or even to try an innovative technique or a new medium. Whether depicting characters in a realistic way, or expressing in a freely lyrical way, they seek to refresh audience’s vision.
Malta and China are geographically distant countries. However, as same with ancient China, Malta has its own world-famous cultural achievements. The Ġgantija Temple is a pre-historic relic with a longer history than the Egyptian pyramids. Although the Chinese artists are unable to present themselves at this exhibition, they are willing to turn their works into a “mute blessing” to their Maltese friends. At the same time, they firmly believe that Maltese audience with high cultural literacy must be the ideal responders to their works. If any works of art could welcome bosom friend viewers in such a faraway and picturesque venue, gaining a special sense of sweetness (Meli), what more will they wish for?
In Beijing at Midnight, 25 October 2021
As messengers of cultural exchange and communication, artists usually look to culture as their foundation, exchange as their goal, and education as their future. Chinese painters could convey their feelings skillfully through the understandable and universal language of painting. Painters have been able to create a scene of East-West cultural exchange, collision and communication. Malta is famous for its long history and the rich cultural heritage it possesses. The Maltese people are brave, hardworking and kind-hearted. The Chinese and Maltese people have shared together a profound friendship and beneficial friendship with each other for generations. Under the aegis of the “Belt and Road” initiative, the Chinese Cultural Centre in Malta has made great strides in its contribution for enhancing and strengthening the close friendship between the two countries. Cultural exchanges of various kinds are thriving and evolving, thanks to the friendship between the two countries and people they enjoy a diversified, multi-dimensional and harmonious development.
Through the depiction of colourful landscapes and cultural shades of both China and various European countries, this exhibition highlights the humanistic spirit embedded in the “One Belt and One Road” Initiative. Furthermore, it interprets the essential concept of “community with a shared future for mankind”, which will introduce Europe to the beauty and charm of oriental aesthetics. Camel bells have been passed down through the ages, signifying a new chapter of silk Road cooperation. This exhibition aims to establish a definite cultural and artistic link between Chinese and Maltese people. Chinese culture and arts, through its inherited tradition for thousands of years, will sing a centennial ode across Europe which, at that moment, we will sing together.
The project has been funded by The National Art Fund of China in 2019, and it highlights the theme of “Lighting Up Europe” by assimilating the cultures of China and Malta. The exhibition focuses on contemporary Chinese painting, aiming to creatively sublate works of different themes and styles to show the overall appearance of contemporary Chinese painting. In addition, the exhibition integrates murals, prints, ceramics and other categories of art. It enriches life and traces its genealogy, showcasing the inheritance of culture through diverse artistic languages, concentrating on the distinctive characteristics of Traditional Chinese culture.
The exhibits take to heart the Chinese spirit and basis its aesthetics on the Chinese perspective, it breaks down the boundaries and borders of countries, cultures, time and space. Through imagery and realistic techniques, it harmoniously integrates Chinese spiritual symbols with unique European customs, and permitting the essence of Chinese culture through extensive participation. It explores the imagination, explanatory power and creativity of Chinese contemporary artists. From an artistic perspective, each work is imbued with a different style which constitute an integral part of the complex system, giving character, meaning and life to the overall artistic idea.
In order to take into account the cultural differences between China and Europe, the theme of the exhibition is “Celebrating Together Centennial Carols，Lighting up Europe”. “Centennial Carols” refers to the exhibit collections, based on the history, culture and style of China and Europe. It praises China’s achievements in the past century to produce unexpected effects and extend the influence of Chinese painting into Europe. “Lighting Up China and Europe” is the illumination and guiding light of China, that is, the spread and lighting of Chinese flavour. The theme adopts the element of light, a theme which European theories of aesthetics attach importance to. Furthermore, it strives to create the artistic conception of the content and shape the “charm of spirit”.
Chinese culture going aboard is not only the exportation of Chinese culture, but also the display and sublimation of the Chinese cultural pattern, expressed as the universalisation of all things in the world. This, in turn brings forward higher requirements and difficult challenges for the planning of this exhibition. The exhibition relies on traditional Chinese painting in European cultural life, such as a chronology with ink for Malta, using traditional paper-cuts as the stage setting of European drama, depicting the Maltese landscape with traditional landscape painting techniques, and many more… this creative combination of Chinese art form and European art connotations, displays the rich, permeable and inclusive characteristics of Chinese content and artistic form.