By Liu Ruowang
As our time undergoes tremendous changes, the GDP grows rapidly; culture and art should also have become more diversified. However, no one really cares about what art our time needs. Single aesthetic appreciations and superficial graphical interpretation are coming to fashion; art forms that are deliberately mystifying, making a fuss about nothing, under a pipelining processing and singing merits and praising virtues have become models. We need to think soberly and make prudent judgments when confronting such a complicated art circles. However, the general public had been turned numb due to the hypocritical education over the past half a century. Art works with personal art perceptions are left unable to interact with the general public due to a want of aesthetics and judgments.
A couple of days ago when I was talking about art with friends, we happened to see an expert introducing a sculpture draft for a city, on which there was a cow with some kids around, some were feeding the cow grass and some were milking. The expert spoke highly of it as a model for city sculpture and interpreted it at a philosophical level—milking means achievements while feeding means sacrifice. Few sculptures truly representing city spirits were produced thought city sculpture developed rapidly over the past decade. Spoken of creations on earthquake, someone expressed the theme—rainbow comes after rain with some prosperous scenes under a rainbow. This superficial and politics-driven art is not the art people need. A rainbow is far from enough to remove people’s pains after experiencing a devastating earthquake. There is another work on earthquake in which a school pupil was reading carefully with an electric torch while being cut in by floors. That’s against human nature, life and morality in my view. But it was displayed at the best location in some exhibition hall in Beijing and received great praises of all experts and audience there at the opening ceremony. I don’t know whether to cry or to laugh. This phenomenon wasn’t all about artists, it’s a social issue. No wonder there are some artists think on their kidneys. What’s worse, social elites organizing exhibitions and the viewers are way too numb and stupid, which represented the spiritual numbness of the general public.
There are quite a few people misleading the viewers in the name of Buddhism or Taoism in China’s current art field. They believe painting a Lao Zi on a cattle would clearly show their lofty and surpassing; two bamboo leaves could reveal their open-mindedness. One painter on animal painted some mastiff and invited famous academic experts elaborating on the relation between mastiff and national spirits, forcefully tied the two together to prove that what our nation needs right now is the spirits of this mastiff. What a painstaking effort. Once this crazy propaganda gets mature, the same composition in the same size of a camel, a Zhong Kui or a water buffalo and a shepherd boy could be produced under a pipeline processing in thousands of pictures to meet the ever increasing present market.
We don’t need to prove the sun rises form the east nor a mother’s love is great. Superficial depictions such as wheat represents harvest and ragged clothes represent poverty are meaningless, that’s like going great length to prove that a woman can give birth to a child. Our eyes and brains have been damaged enough by works singing merits and praising virtues, forming cliques and drifting with the tides, these works, however, have almost become the standard of the mainstream art with little novelty, thoughts and value. All great art works are created by independent and free-thinking artists in any country or in any era at home and abroad. We more than ever need creative artists to create works following morality and human nature of this era especially in these years mediocre in both spirits and thoughts.
At Dongcun Work Studio, on March, 2, 2012