CUI JINGZHE:THE MYSTERY OF GREATER CHINA RED

 

Arts Without Borders Foundationis sincerely to announce Cui Jingzhesolo exhibition co-organized withTaihe Art Gallery, titled “THE MYSTERY OF GREATER CHINA RED”on November 27th.

 

CuiJingzhewas born in the center of Northern China, in the city of Tangshan. 4 years after the destructive 1976 Tangshan earthquake, China has lift its first step into Modernity (or Post-Modernity). Cui’s Hometown,among the waves of this great change, was still an industrial wasteland. Thus, his background has a deeper meaning of serious and comedic nature: that China's pre-modern soviet-style establishments were laid waste by an unlikely apocalyptic event, following a new type of reconstruction, of "market economy" and "globalization", a combination of explicit desire, a lack of collective concern, dissolution of Grand Narrativeand pursue of material miracles. This seismic shift happened in every corner of Northern China, where economy was primarily state-owned.

 

Thus, the spiritual life of Northern Chinainhabitants was overshadowed by a constant identity crisis. After the loss of communist paradise, Northern China held on to “Chineseness”. This attitude was more of identity shift rather than some nationalist resurgence. They transformed from “World Revolution Reserve Army” to “Individuals with Chinese Character”. We can see that localism and renaissance of local culture evolvedinto a mainstream trend since 1980s, as rural and ethnic populations began toseek their folkloric traditions (such as the Shanghai Culture, Cantonese and Fukienese). The problem of the North China is: 1. their language cannotdifferentiate itself from Official Mandarin. 2. They lack unique localtraditional culture due to its historical-geographical nature. As such,including the importance of Beijing as the capital of China, Northern Chinadeveloped a unique culture inclination of representing “China” rather than someexotic province of China.

 

The attitude to “represent China” was morethan successful. In the attempts of Northern China’s Zhang Yimou, Chinese aesthetics and philosophy dropped into Global Culture in a worldly manner. Hisstrong colors impacted million eyes from different backgrounds while satisfyingthe universal need for “Spectacles”. In the writing of Northern China’s Mo Yan, China’s Modern History was compressed into the then most fashionable “magicalrealism”, ideally fulfilling the deep ignorance over China’s complexity in theminds of World Literature critiques while break into the ranks of Nobel Prize.Cui’sChina Red series has won similar success of same expansion and weight.From Taiwan, Japan in East Asia, to U.S, Russia, and France, Cui’s Chinese-styleRealistic Paintings have won a houseful of praises.

 

In Cui’sChina Red series, he depicted along list of women in traditional red Chinese costumes, with emphasis on theircomplicated hair make-up, full lips, almond-shaped eyes and Mongolian-styleflat noses. His water-and-ink realistic Chinese lady paintings is deeplycharacterized by Western Oil Paint skills, which brought vividness of ModernCulture to these traditional women figures. Cui also created the combination ofShanshui, Bird-and-Flower and Sketching from life, which helped him in avoidingthe two major problems of contemporary Chinese water-and-ink: Petrifiedorthodoxy and extreme experimentalism. His truthfulness and directness inartistic expression has everything to do with his local identity of NorthernChina.

 

As China’s Red in historic progress, it can also represent a greater symbolism ofmagnitude. Yes, the Red may not be very China, nor can it fully represent allof China. Nonetheless it’s already a powerful symbol of Culture Significanceand Historical Importance. Cui’s endeavors to use China Red as a culture symbolare successful and worthy of praises. His China Red series truly reflected thefullest China in its broadest meanings, which is also a wonderful artistictribute to Northern China’s new national identification since 1980s. Last butnot least, the beautiful women in his paintings are aesthetical wonders forcontemplation all by themselves!