Jointly sponsored by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the Beijing Municipal Government and the China Artists Association, the 6th Beijing Biennale under the theme Memory and Dream will be held on September, 2015. Collection and motivation of art works from all over the world began on January this year and it will move to its climax in the near future. In a bid to ensure the standard and academic performance of the works, the organizing committee convened the Symposium on Artworks Creation for the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale of China on Oct. 31st, 2014.
Leaders present at the meeting are Zuo Zhongyi, Party Committee member, Vice Chairman and Secretary of the Secretariat of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles; Liu Dawei, Vice Chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, Chairman of the China Artists Association, Chief Curator of the 6th Beijing Biennale; Wu Changjiang, Secretary of the branch Party Committee of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, standing Vice Chairman of the China Artists Association and Chief Curator of the 6th Beijing Biennale. Members of the Curator Committee of the 6th Beijing Biennale present at the meeting are Shao Dazhen, Consultant of the Curator Committee of the 6th Beijing Biennale, Ding Ning, Wang Yong, Lu Yushun, Li Xiangqun, Wu Weishan, Yang Feiyun, Zhang Xiaoling, Hang Jian, Hu Wei, Tao Qin, Chao Ge and Dong Xiaoming. Artists who have already submitted their art works present at the meeting are Wang Yidong, Xie Dongming, Kong Zi, He Jialin, Dai Daquan, Li Yang, Wang Hongliang, Sun Yumin, Huang Huasan, Hu Mingze, Zheng Baizhong, Yu Xiaodong, Wang Yiguang, Yao Shunxi, Han Xuezhong, Yu Guangqing, Zeng Yingchun, Li Chuanzhen, Sun Tao, Kou Yuepeng, Sun Xiuting, Wen Ji, Gao Yi, Sun Zhensheng, Xu Guoxiong, Wang Shujie, Wang Wei, Deng Ke, Feng Chongli, Shi Zhongying, Yu Xinying, Wang Peng, Xia Yunchao and Zhi Min. Media present at the meeting are People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, China News, China Culture Daily, China Art Daily, SHPD and Blue Ocean Network. The meeting is co-hosted by Wu Changjiang, standing Chairman of the China Artists Association and Tao Qin, Vice Secretary General of the China Artists Association. During the symposium, around 200 representative artworks and schemes for art work creation based on the theme “Memory and Dream” that have been collected had been presented via multi-media. Experts and artists there conducted a professional and multi-tiered discussion on the material, theme and genre of these works according to the academic orientation of Beijing Biennale. Some works are expected to be made modifications and some artists will create fresh works after the symposium, which will upgrade the overall standard of the art works for Beijing Biennale.
“The collection of the art works of the 6th Beijing Biennale themed by Memory and Dream will come to an end in two months. The symposium comes just before its due date to convene curators and artists to discuss about the art work creation. In so doing, it will make the most out of the last two months to facilitate the creation, ensure the academic performance of the domestic art works and achieve selecting the best from the best at the beginning of the next year for the Beijing Biennale.” Wu Changjiang, Standing Vice Chairman of the China Artists Association was quoted as saying.
“In the preparation of the 6th Beijing Biennale, China Artists Association, as the organizing committee, seeks every possibility to improve the quality of the works for Beijing Biennale. For example, we organized specific activity for artists to seek inspiration for creation and we promoted the exhibition on a large scale to motivate some key artists both at home and abroad and kept contacts with them about their creation. Among all these work we have done, today’s symposium and demonstration is highly relevant. The topic of the symposium just coincides with the spirit of the important speech delivered by Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China at the Forum on Literary and Art work which is held just half a month ago. As the whole literary and art circles are implementing the spirit of the Speech, it turns out to be a meeting at the right time for us to have this symposium. ” expressed by Wu Changjiang, standing Vice Chairman of the China Artists Association.
The spirit of the General Secretary Xi’s speech set the keynote for the symposium where theorists and artists are protagonist. General Secretary Xi put it clearly about the main direction that art creation should give expression to the philosophy of China’s traditional culture and we need to reflect it during the cultural exchange with foreign countries. Before the symposium, we sent invitation to some representative artists based on the comprehensive consideration of their academic strengths, characteristics and we received their positive feedback in a quick manner.
The 6th Beijing Biennale themed by “Memory and Dream” will be held between late September and early October in 2015 in National Art Museum of China. Art works from more than 80 countries will participate in the exhibition, depicting the China Dream and the Dream of the World. Recently an art theorist published an essay on People’s Daily, saying that Beijing Biennale has been held for five sessions in the past ten years and it will lay a solid foundation for welcoming and facilitating the third climax in the art exchange history between China and foreign countries. In this sense, preparation for the 6th Beijing Biennale under the theme of “Memory and Dream” is of great importance. We have every reason to believe that the 6thBeijing Biennale is the best depiction of China Artists Association’s implementation of the philosophy of the Forum on Literature and Art on Oct, 15th.
Liu Dawei, Chairman of China Artists Association and the Chief Curator of the Beijing Biennale delivered a speech first, introducing the background of this symposium. He expressed that Beijing Biennale serves as an international platform for contemporary painting and sculpture to achieve harmony as east meets west and it is key for implementation of General Secretary Xi’s Speech at the Forum on Literary and Art.
Chairman Liu Dawei’s remarks are as follows: “The organizing committee has prepared for a long time for the Symposium. Finally, it comes at a good timing as the Forum on Literary and Art was held on Oct. 15th which plays a decisive role for the effective convening of the meeting. General Secretary Xi Jinping made it clear that the preparation of the Forum on Literature and Art begins just after the Eighteenth National People’s Congress and he stressed that the speech is delivered on behalf of the Central Party Committee. We noticed that President Xi pointed way for arts which will be the programmatic document as we watched news report. We may have the same feeling about the key points in the speech delivered by President Xi, inspiring and energetic. President Xi put forward the importance of artistic creation and it is indispensable that art works should reflect the national spirit of China. In spite of that economy and military is of great importance, the influence of culture is long-standing and culture is the best manifestation of China’s 5000 years of history. ”
The most used words in President Xi’s speech are “people”, “life” and etc. He repeatedly stressed that art should be people-oriented and serve the social development. People’s needs are the most important criteria of art. He also noted that art is easily accepted and understood language in international communications. Many countries want to know about China, but by what means. It can’t only depend on the social media comments or the government’s work. Culture and art are the best way for mutual understanding. The convening of the Symposium and preparation of the Beijing Biennale is just doing what is expected to put the spirit of President Xi’s speech into practice. Culture and art communication will strengthen mutual understanding by making Beijing Biennale known to the world to help people from all over the world to get to know China’s national spirit and enhance China’s status in the world.
Just as President Xi pointed out during the Forum: splendid traditional Chinese culture is the lifeblood of China and an important source of socialist core values, as well as “a foundation for China to compete in the world.”It is highlighted that artists need to inherit and carry forward China’s traditional culture and aesthetic spirit by taking consideration of the demand of modern time. The prosperity of socialism culture and art lies in our assimilating excellent culture and art from other countries. Chinese art will further develop only when we make foreign things serve China, create in an innovative way and bring Chinese and Western arts together via thorough understanding. Beijing Biennale serves as an international platform for contemporary paintings and sculptures to bring Chinese and Western arts together via thorough understanding. Beijing Biennale is also the best practice for implementing General Secretary Xi’s speech.
General Secretary Xi stressed that cultural and artistic sectors need to have high aspirations and be innovative in line with the development of times. Philosophies like “Let a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend. Promote academic and artistic democracy and create an atmosphere that is defined by positive, healthy, inclusive and harmonious. Advocate that artists with different viewpoints and schools have full discussions and different genres, theme, forms and styles communicate with each other. ” need to be adhered to and all these are the significance of the 6th Beijing Biennale.
On the 30th anniversary of the founding of the China International Cultural Exchange Center held on Oct. 29th, Liu Yunshan, Standing Committee member of Political Bureau of the CPC and First Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China pointed that, cultural exchange is the bridge for spiritual communication and it plays an indispensable role in international communication. Cultural and artistic sectors are supposed to implement the important instructions made by President Xi Jinping on China International Cultural Exchange Center and the spirit out of the Symposium on Cultural and Artistic Sectors. Cultural awareness and cultural self-confidence need to be strengthened. Artists should stay initiative to push forward foreign cultural exchange and make people all over the world understand China well. We need to give full play of our cultural strengths to describe China’s own stories and promote the national spirit, presenting China featured by progress in civilization, inclusiveness and prosperity to the international community. We need to keep learning from other countries’ splendid achievements in civilization, make foreign things serve China and promote prosperous development in contemporary culture of China and make China emerge as a cultural power in the world. Public diplomacy and cultural talent need to be made full use of to make friends and conduct cultural exchanges. China will increase its soft power, enhance its cultural exchange and make more contributions for the promotion of world peace by expanding cultural exchange platform and building cultural brand. What Liu Yunshan, First Secretary of the Central Secretariat of the Communist Party of China have said just coincides with the purpose of Beijing Biennale. In the past 10 years, the organizing committee made every effort to make Beijing Biennale serve as a “cultural brand” for presenting contemporary paintings and sculptures, a “bridge for spiritual communication” and a “cultural exchange platform” for international art development. The 6th Beijing Biennale that is underway chose “Memory and Dream” as its theme as it is committed to “tell the story of China, promote the national spirit of China and present a progressive, inclusive and prosperous China to the world”
Tao Qin, member of the Curator Committee and Vice Secretary-General of China Artists Association reported the development of Beijing Biennale up to now and expressed that both the preparation and feedback from society are well underway. The organizing committee is fully confident about the final success of the 6th Beijing Biennale based on the experience accumulated in the past 5 Biennales.
In Vice Secretary-General Tao Qin’s report it is said that: At the beginning of this year, the star-up and preparation press conference of the 6th Beijing Biennale was held. China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the Beijing Municipal Government and the China Artists Association which are the organizers of Beijing Biennale attended the press conference. Representatives of curators, media and some Cultural Attaches from foreign embassies in China were present at the Press Conference. It has been half a year since the convening of the press conference. In the past half a year, China Artists Association, as the concrete organizer, made specific efforts for the coming exhibition, such as visiting foreign embassies in China and artistic institutes and keeping contacts with China’s embassies in foreign countries and some artists. Up to now, promotion brochures and art work-wanted letters have been sent to more than 200,000 artists from home and abroad and Beijing Biennale Office is now keeping close contacts with some key artists via telephone and Email.
Domestically，based on the theme of “Memory and Dream”, we have collected a large amount of information of artists from home and abroad through network, WeChat and other communication methods. We contacted with them to get a graph picture about art works they created on the basis of the theme or encourage artists to take part in the exhibition. In so doing, we can predict the future exhibition. Considering that we need to unite more artists, the organizing committee visited studios in Song Zhuang in a bid to find more suitable artists and art works.
Internationally, we have made direct communication with hundreds of Embassies in China and Chinese Embassies in foreign countries as well as some art institutions. Up to now, we have paid visits to more than 20 Embassies in China and received positive response from them through different kinds of support. Some of them connected with Culture Department and art institutions in their countries to encourage artists to participate in Beijing Biennale, some of them expressed that they would like to hold Special Exhibition, still others are willing to provide round-trip tickets for artists selected on the final list. Ambassadors from Netherlands, Chile and Columbia met with representatives of Beijing Biennale organizing committee personally. Minister of Ecuador went to the National Art Museum of China for on-the-spot investigation. Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia expressed that Beijing Biennale became more and more famous. Ambassador of Senegal repeatedly talked with their Minister of Culture who is keen on taking part in the opening ceremony about the splendid occasion of the exhibition. The Cultural Department of Egypt sent letters to the Embassy of Egypt in China, inquiring why the 6th Beijing International Art Biennale was delayed for one year. The 5th Beijing Biennale is held in 2012. According to previous practice, the 6th Beijing Biennale is set to be in the year of 2014, but we need to make some adjustment for the National Fine Art Exhibition. The Culture Department have noticed that and asked for detailed information in advance, which manifests that Beijing Biennale has received specific attention.
We kept close contact with international curators from Singapore and Germany who did a lot of contribution for the preparation of the Theme Exhibition and the Special Exhibition. Up till now, there are more than 60 countries that have expressed they would take part in the theme exhibition and we positively get in touch with more countries in a bid to cover 80 countries. Special exhibitions that are already well underway are Southeast Asia Special Exhibition, Canada Special Exhibition, South Africa Special Exhibition, Japan Special Exhibition, Ecuador Special Exhibition and Chile Special Exhibition. Based on previous experience, one or two special exhibition may be canceled as capital reasons. (The transportation cost of art works is borne by the participant countries.) So we need to make advanced preparation to deal with this. In previous practice, we prepared four to five exhibitions as a buffer in case of unexpected situation.
There were news reports about the press conference on the preparation and start-up of the Beijing Biennale from more than 60 news media at the beginning of this year. Since the opening of the official WeChat of Beijing Biennale, the hits have increased day by day. Wang Yong, member of the Curator Committee, reviewed one art work each workday which is published through WeChat and web page for audience to appreciate it. We have upgraded our website www.bjbiennale.com.cn to make it more informative, by adding the English version, integrating previous columns and exploiting new ones. We edited an e-book including art works of the past 5 sessions of the Beijing Biennale and put it at the most striking position on the official website to increase its attractiveness and facilitate downloading. Regulations and forms can be downloaded on the website and it is convenient for the Embassies of different countries to send materials and information of the exhibition to their own country.
Considering the requirements for works collection and the theme of the 6th Beijing Biennale “Memory and Dream”, we cooperated with the general office of Ningxia Autonomous Region in August this year to invite artists to get close with local people and minority groups in Ningxia Autonomous Region to seek source material for creation. Led by the chairman of China Artists Association, Liu Dawei, the journey is very successful as it achieved its intended objectives: to get source materials for art creation from the ethnic features, historical memories and homeland dreams there.
Today, these artists are present at the Symposium. The symposium held two months before the deadline is intended to ensure its academic performance and report the current data of collected art works. These works from more than 30 countries will be presented through multi-media today and it is expected that works from about 50 countries will be submitted to the Beijing Biennale Office before Dec,25th, the Christmas Day.
We have signed contract with National Art Museum of China for the 6th Beijing Biennale and Beijing Municipal Government, member of the organizing committee has confirmed that it will provide concrete support. Beijing Biennale is non-profit and it is not market oriented, so it is fundamentally funded by national finance in the past 10 years. It is highly relevant to get enough financial support for the final success of the exhibition and is an important step for our preparation.
In order to get the government approval in a timely manner, in August this year, Zhao Shi, General Secretary of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles signed and issued Application about China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Continues to Hold the Beijing International Art Biennale which is exclusively reported to the Office of the Communist Party of China and General Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China according to the requirement of the Notice about General Investigation Specification on Forums and Exhibitions during Festivals and Public Holidays. The government approval we received will lay a solid foundation for development and elevation of the next Beijing Biennale.
Up to now, the preparation of the 6th Beijing Biennale is well underway and the social feedback is positive. We are confident to make the 6th Beijing Biennale, 2015 which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the world anti-fascist war more significant based on the former 5 sessions of Beijing Biennale. The collection of art works will come to its climax in the coming two months. The selection is planned before the Spring Festival after sorting out and translating of these art works. After selection, art works have to be reported for approval according to the government requirements for foreign affairs activities, transported from source country to designated place, declared customs and we have to edit and print the catalogue.
Chairman Liu Dawei made a summary in the end. He appreciated the speeches delivered by these curators who provided precious advice on the operation modes, artistic characteristics, absorbing experience from other countries for Beijing Biennale and even offered comments on specific art works, which laid a solid foundation for the success of the 6th Beijing Biennale.
He repeatedly stressed that paintings and sculptures are not out-dated in today’s international art community, that without innovation, there will be no art and that every country should have their own characteristics. China has the capability and potential to hold high the banner of painting and sculpture. Tradition is an indispensable part of culture, but innovation and adaptation to times changes is also of great importance. Our culture heritage with 5000 years of history needs to move forward to blaze new trail. We can’t cease to advance. Under this context, expression of ethnic and culture identity has its practical significance. When it comes to the demonstration in art circles, we need to build our own cultural confidence and evaluation criteria which has to be kept pace with the trend in Beijing Biennale. The proposal above is in line with request of asking for distinctive characteristics in the world’s art community. Art has to be unique while exhibition also has to be with special characteristics. Biennales in the western world begins to follow the same pattern and imitate each other. In this way, there will be no boundary for art creation, much like the effect of self-deception described in the fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes.
China’s contemporary artists do well in realistic style and painting skill, but there are still some drawbacks in imagination, innovation and inclusiveness. Domestic artists are expected to keep exploring and learning from foreign countries. Traditions need to be innovated instead of refusing to make progress and kept its own characteristics. Remarks delivered by President Xi made it clear that national spirit need to be expressed through culture and art. General Secretary Xi Jinping repeatedly stressed that China’s culture inheritance, China’s international status and its rejuvenation depended on the characteristics of China’s culture and the expression of characteristics needs to keep pace with the time changes.
Chairman of China Artists Association Liu Dawei exclusively mentioned that the transportation of art works from more than 80 countries will make the organizing committee a real headache. It takes months of careful planning and days of round the clock work before the opening ceremony of the members of the Beijing Biennale Office to complete collecting hundreds of art works from more than 80 countries within the time limit at the China Customs and then unpacking the box, sorting out and counting the number and registering. After this, they have to make sure that every piece of art work will be well placed in the museum. To some extent, it reflects that the organizing committee provides detailed and highly efficient service for artists from all over the world. Let’s pay our respect to these staff with the Beijing Biennale organizing committee and pay more attention to the exhibition as brand building is no easy job.
Since the motivation of art works creation in the world in January this year, we have received warm response from artists from home and abroad. The collection of art works will come to the end in two months. The symposium which gathered the curator committee and artists to discuss and raise comments on art works based on the theme of the 6th Beijing Biennale will motivate artists to seize time for creation and ensure the academic performance of domestic art works.