The 3rd China Comprehensive Material Painting Biennale, Ningbo 2020


Time: 28 December 2020 - 28 February 2021
Location: No. 2 and No. 3 Halls


“The 3rd China Comprehensive Material Painting Biennale, Ningbo 2020” will be unveiled at Ningbo Museum of Art. With distinct themes and art expressions full of the pioneering spirit, the exhibits reflect the cultural concepts and social development achievements of the new era. These exhibits not only endow a new epochal image to this academic brand, the “Ningbo Biennale”, but also demonstrate the sound development trend of comprehensive material paintings.

Serving as an innovative platform for the easel art of fine arts in China, comprehensive material painting strongly deepens the themes and expands the techniques of large fine arts exhibitions, such as the National Exhibition of Fine Arts, National Youth Fine Art Exhibition, Beijing International Art Biennale and “China Comprehensive Material Painting Biennale, Ningbo”. It not only allows the art expressions of numerous artworks to be fresher and more vivid, but also presents themes and expressing forms, which were never touched upon in the past, in above-mentioned exhibitions. Comprehensive material painting is the epochal result of Chinese fine arts progressing to the status of the 21st century, providing the “solution” to the development of Chinese fine arts. The most central task of contemporary Chinese art is to build its own language system, shifting itself from within the western framework to the Chinese fulcrum.

The fundamental reason for expanding the concepts of “media and materials” and broadly applying “new materials” is the rapid changes and diversity of social life brought by social progress and development, which inspire the artists to ponder the never-thought-about cultural ideas a lot. The themes and ideology of contemporary artistic creations are thus generated or changed. This process requires corresponding materials and techniques to manifest. The relationship between materials and techniques equals to the relationship between tools and how they are used. There is neither a single technique that could process all materials, nor a single material that could present all themes. This is the core concept of contemporary art.

In daily life or art material collecting tours, we often encounter “images” which strike our visual nerves and shake our hearts. Their touching points lie in the sheen of time truly and vividly glittered in the beauty of life prototypes. It demands the artists to apply appropriate themes and techniques, restoring and transferring it to carriers of paintings. It is a creating method of realism which explores art in life and experiences life in art. It shall be vigorously promoted.

As we stepped into the second half of the 20th century when social forms changed, the tentacles of artworks reached out to all areas of politics, economy and culture. Neither the artists nor art viewers were satisfied with the aesthetic way of viewing the world through “frameworks” or “windows”. Easel art, therefore, walked from the walls to spaces and returned to a “new wall” swathed in spaces. Traditional easel paintings, like camera lenses, fixate within the frameworks artists’ feelings, experiences, dreams and emotions of the world. It is obvious that today’s art needs a broader space of expression.

Some research institutes divide the history of Chinese fine arts into three periods: ancient fine arts (-1840), modern and contemporary fine arts (1840-1949), and new Chinese fine arts (1949-).

The “past” of comprehensive material paintings includes the accumulation of Chinese civilization over thousands of years, modern and contemporary Chinese fine arts, and “new Chinese fine arts”. It’s neither the reproduction of western art, nor the sinicization of “mixed media”. Undoubtedly, comprehensive material paintings open a door of contemporary journey for Chinese fine arts.

In terms of art history, the period between early 20th century and the end of 1950s is a crucial period of Chinese fine arts revolutions. Since the establishment of People’s Republic of China, art creations with specific themes have become a significant part of Chinese fine arts. Plenty of classical masterpieces, such as The Founding Ceremony, were created during this period, which we are unable to surpass until today. In the 21st century, related government departments have organized and implemented various large themed fine arts creation projects, including “National Major Historical Themes Art Creation Project”.

After development of over half a century, a complete system of themed creations has been gradually formed in Chinese fine arts. In the world fine arts circle, it has set up an international image with Chinese cultural characteristics and artistic language features. The art purpose of Chinese fine arts, which advances with the times, shares a common destiny with the world, synchronously develops with Chinese cultural and economic construction and closely relates to people’s life, has become the fundamental target of Chinese fine arts development. The themed artistic creation has also become the major driving force of Chinese fine arts development.

With the progress of Chinese fine arts, themed art creations, both the artistic conception and technique expressions, have entered a brand new phase. The fast-changing revolutions of the times and colorful social life, as well as the diversity and variety of creation themes and forms, all require corresponding materials and techniques to present. As an important method for expanding the techniques and transforming the forms of current themed creations, comprehensive material paintings play an irreplaceable role.

In my letter to Director Han Licheng, I mentioned that “as the cause of comprehensive material paintings rapidly develops and further connects with the international society, reflecting the originality of contemporary Chinese art is still the important academic target which the Art Committee is committed to achieve. The numbers of artworks in the second round of assessment and final exhibits of this Biennale far exceed those of previous Biennales. Moreover, the technique forms and ways of displaying are more varied, which surly adds many difficulties to the work. However, various highlights are also found in this Biennale.” The academic quality, exhibition approach and social responses of this Biennale all have reached the expectation by far. In the future work, we shall further expand the thinking of work, and attach attention to artistic expressions of all forms, making them part of academic investigation and scope of exhibition of future comprehensive material paintings. During the communications and dialogues with international fine arts, we shall explore the core ideas and values of the times of contemporary Chinese art from perspectives of multiple cultural concepts.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Art Committee. We shall not only review the past, but also look into the future. We shall continue to put forward the academic researches and art practices under the new academic framework, advancing all matters of work to a new level.

Hu Wei

Director of Comprehensive Material Painting and Artwork Conservation and Restoration Art Committee

China Artists Association

December 2020