Chinese Sculptures on Display at National Museum of Australia

 December 13, 2021
Chinese Sculptures on Display at National Museum of Australia
Photo taken on Dec. 9, 2021 shows modern Chinese sculptures on display at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in Canberra, Australia. [Xinhua/Liu Changchang]

 

Featuring works by Liu Kaiqu (1904-1993), Xiong Bingming (1922-2002) and Wu Weishan (1962- ) from the National Art Museum of China, "Sculpting the Soul" is exhibited at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

CANBERRA, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) — Three modern Chinese sculptures are on display at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in Canberra until Feb. 28 next year.

Featuring works by Liu Kaiqu (1904-1993), Xiong Bingming (1922-2002) and Wu Weishan (1962- ) from the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), "Sculpting the Soul" is exhibited in the main showcase of the NMA's Gandel Atrium.

"I am delighted that these sculptures will be the next instalment in our longstanding collaboration with NAMOC," said Mathew Trinca, director of the NMA, on Thursday.

He told Xinhua that the exhibition was inspired by a discussion with Wu Weishan, director of the NAMOC, when they met in July of 2018. Wu suggested that they could share collections backwards and forwards between Australia and China for a longer period of time.

Talking about this exhibition, Dr. Trinca said: "It strikes me that the three works show a great sense of Chinese art, practice and culture and, with some influences that have been drawn from around the world, what a wonderful set of objects to show China and its place in the world today."

Chinese Sculptures on Display at National Museum of Australia
Mathew Trinca, director of the National Museum of Australia (NMA), delivers a speech at the launch of the exhibition "Sculpting the Soul" at NMA in Canberra, Australia, Dec. 9, 2021. [Xinhua/Liu Changchang]

 

At the launching of the exhibition on Thursday, Wu greeted Australian visitors through a video footage.

"Since the 20th century, modern Chinese sculpture has reflected Chinese traditions while also incorporating Western artistic ideas," he said.

"The integration of traditional art, with its emphasis on freehand and linear expression, and Western art, which stresses design and space, has injected life into Chinese sculpture and taken it to the next level."

The Yak was made of marble by Liu Kaiqu, the first director of the NAMOC, in 1960. Liu, who had studied in France in his youth, created many works that are emblematic of the national spirit. He made the Yak based on the observations of the lives in Tibet.

"Liu Kaiqu was regarded as an important pioneer of modern Chinese sculpture," said Wu. "His white marble sculpture Yak is both simple and elegant, placid and timeless — a passionate ode to life."

Chinese Sculptures on Display at National Museum of Australia
Photo taken on Dec. 9, 2021 shows modern Chinese sculptures on display at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in Canberra, Australia. [Xinhua/Liu Changchang]

 

Xiong Bingming studied in France where he hence lived. He was influenced by Chinese philosophy and freehand brushwork, which could be seen from his Horse of cast bronze. "His bronze Horse — majestic and solemn — transcends time and space," Wu said.

"Following in the footsteps of my seniors, I strive to contribute to a conversation that encompasses both Chinese and Western art and to learn about life through art," he continued. "My sculpture Sleeping Child captures the innocence and happiness of childhood — a moment when a child is asleep that reflects the charm of naivety."

The award-winning Sleeping Child of cast copper depicts a sleeping boy with his mouth slightly open and his head tilted sideways.

"We are lucky to see the exhibition here, which showcases the historical inheritance of Chinese art exchange with the West," said Song Yanqun, minister-counselor for culture at the Chinese Embassy in Australia.

He said that the three works reflected different aspects of Chinese national spirit: yak for fortitude, horse for diligence and child for harmony.

Chinese Sculptures on Display at National Museum of Australia
People view modern Chinese sculptures at the National Museum of Australia (NMA) in Canberra, Australia, Dec. 9, 2021. [Xinhua/Liu Changchang]

 

"They could help visitors deepen their understanding in Chinese art and culture," he said. "They are products of Chinese culture influenced by the Western culture, products of cultural exchanges themselves."

The event follows an exhibition by the NMA, the Red Heart of Australia, which had been shown at NAMOC.

In fact, both institutions have hosted exchanges since 2010. They recently signed a new memorandum of understanding to renew the cultural partnership.

Wang Xining, Chargé d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Australia, noted that the three sculptures came to Canberra before Chinese visitors when Australian national border opens to China.

"So this is a token that art can serve as the vanguard of friendship and people-to-people exchange," he said. "It shows the common aspiration of Australian and Chinese artists and people for more exchanges and deepened understanding."

 

(Source: Xinhua)

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