Arts & Entertainment

Unprecedented Chinese ancient, modern art exhibit opens in Uruguay

Montevideo, Dec 21 (EFE).- With an unprecedented selection of artworks from National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) that blend tradition with the contemporary, the “Chinese Xieyi” exhibition at Uruguay’s National Visual Arts Museum (MNAV) invites museum-goers to get to know the Asian giant’s “ancient” artistic traditions.

That is how MNAV director Enrique Aguerre described the exhibit on Wednesday to Agencia EFE, Spain’s international news agency, explaining that the collection is on display both at his venue along with the Pre-Colombian and Indigenous Art Museum (MAPI) with 33 works in assorted formats.

He said that viewers will see oil paintings, watercolors, prints and sculptures, adding that the exhibition was organized on the initiative of NAMOC with the idea of “responding” to an exposition titled “Uruguay’s Guarani Art” that went on display in Beijing in 2018.

Regarding the name of the exhibition, Aguerre said that it refers to China’s “xieyi” (“writing ideas”) artistic style, a form of “extreme intellectual concentration” linked to “a state of enlightenment” in which artists have created works “in different formats but which include the approach to an art that unifies China’s ancient tradition, with its almost 5,000 years of art, with modernity.”

“It’s a show with works that require observation time, being with the works, and it’s worth it to dedicate that time. They are made by contemporary artists but it’s precisely that tension that is generated between millennial art and contemporary practice that is the fruit of these works,” the MNAV director said.

To that, he added that he feels that the exhibit will be quite special for Uruguayan visitors, given that this is the first thematic collection of Chinese art to be put on display in the South American country since 1999, when the art exhibit titled “Chinese Traditional Painting” was opened to the public, and moreover it offers museum-goers a worthwhile contrast with Western art.

“I think it’s a revelation. We even see certain details that are well-known to us or which we can link to well-known artistic movements but which generate a certain unease, impact or different emotion and that is something very rich in art,” he emphasized.

On the other hand, as the show’s catalog makes clear, NAMOC director Wu Weishan – who also created some of the sculptures included in the exposition – emphasizes that these works enable viewers to “feel the interaction of the Chinese image, traditional charm and the modern form.”

“The works on display … not only have a solemn character, the shadings, tranquility and moderation of Chinese Confucianism, but also the movement and clarity of Taoism and the freedom and humanist nature of Zen Buddhism,” the Chinese museum director says.

Among the works on display are oils by Jing Shijan, Wang Ke, Dai Shibe and Zhao Muxi, as well as watercolors by Pang Maokun and Chinese paintings by Xiong Honggang and Niu Kecheng, among others.

EFE apf/scr/bp

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