A dialogue of Two Civilizations: Xu Longsen’s landscape exhibition opening in Rome at the Museum of Roman Civilization

2011-07-05 15:26

“Xu Longsen. On Top of Two Empires”,Xu Longsen’s Landscape Painting Solo Exhibition opened at the Museum of Roman Civilization in Rome on June 21, 2011. This is one of the projects of the Chinese Culture Year in Italy. The municipal government of Rome hosts the exhibition in collaboration with the gallery Beyond Art Space in Beijing. The exhibition is curated by the Italian curator Angelo Capasso; Mr. Fan Di'an, the director of the National Museum of China who gives academic support to the exhibition. This is the first exhibition of Xu Longsen’s Landscape Painting Exhibition Tour in Europe, which is to the Western audience a new perspective, and which brings interaction between monumental landscapes and ancient civilizations of Rome’s long history. These are two great civilizations of distant reflections and dialogue that are shown in the same space.

Following the Solo Exhibition in Belgium at the Palace of Justice and the Europalia Festival in 2009, in 2010 Xu Longsen’s Solo Exhibition was held at the Picasso Studio in France, and then in 2011 he was invited to Italy at the Museum of Roman Civilization, where his huge paintings and small size landscape works are shown in a space with cultural relics of Rome.
Xu Longsen was born in Shanghai in 1956. He is a legend in the Chinese art circle. His art works are famous for the combination of huge size and fine technique of ink and pen. In the modern society and public spaces, Xu Longsen has revived the essential characteristics of Chinese painting—forceful and unrestrained, candid and broad-minded. He is creating a positive energy in this new era of civilization.

“His work hinges on its own in a long tradition in which the formal elements are simply the education of the spirit to a total cohesion with space. The rocky landscape, the large size of the supports, the work intended as a titanic job that must physically climb the long canvases (fragile screens and rice paper on which rests the ink) are characteristics that release the spiritual soul of the painter to identify itself in one with his own paintings. The painter paints, and is absorbed in his work and involved in the nature thanks to the painting, as in a ritual of regeneration. It’s a ritual of identification that’s similar to different coordinates: between old and new, between tradition and present, between the long march of China and its present both in action. The artist records the secular making of the history through art, absorbing the transformation through his own sensibility. The works of Xu Longsen, included in this broad context of finds which bear witness to the origins of civilized life, generating a comparison between different periods, and recompose the humanity in its two opposite hemispheres: the Law, the "mental fact" or "conceptual "and the Spirit, a sensitive natural soul, both sources of creativity, that on this occasion recover their universal harmony. The Museum of Roman Civilization in Rome, Italy, who organized Xu Longsen’s major solo exhibition promotes a dialogue of civilizations.”

The exhibition academic director Fan Di’an, said in an interview: "I hope the audience with the different cultural backgrounds of the East and West, when they enter the halls can feel that these are a dialogue of two civilizations, the huge paintings of Chinese landscapes as the representative, classically exhibits in the Museum of Roman Civilization and formats the inter-related connection that you can’t have in your imagination. On the one hand, Roman art is rigid, and concentrated on sculpture which is represented in the Roman art; on the other hand, the Chinese artist Xu Longsen’s landscapes bring the visual power between softness and strength. In the essence of the civilization, the East and the West have a consistent place, such as a reverence for the universe and the earth, the pursuit of the extensive veneration and erudition. Xu Longsen landscapes inherited the feelings of the Song dynasty for the great mountains and the rivers in landscapes, but also absorbed the Chinese philosophy of Heaven and Man, which continue to learn, so his landscapes are the essence of the Chinese landscape painting and his constant strong creativity.  Oriental traditions and Western civilization have respect for nature, the nature in Chinese art is represented by the landscape of language. Landscape art in China have two thousands years of history, but Xu Longsen is the first one who can bring the art of

landscape to the West, and he made the dialogue of civilizations in two countries, so this exhibition made important contributions for the discussions and subjects of the International Contemporary Chinese landscape painting.
Rome's ancient civilization and Xu Longsen landscape paintings are exposed in the same space, the director of the Museum of the Roman Civilization Museum said: this exhibition has changed our way of viewing the exhibition, walking in the process of two great civilizations and dialogue, which also provides a way of cultural interpretation, reaching the last hall according to the artist's footprint. We see a huge waterfall, where water rushes straight down from the sky and falls on the city of Rome, this work from the culture content is not a collision, but as two sides of a coin, Xu Longsen’s landscapes work is about the relationships of nature and the human, and it is followed by the Roman landscapes, combined with the moment. Now Rome is a hustle and bustle city, for this painting which is like an intervention of the Roman city, the man and the nature has the perfect embodiment together to bring fresh air to Rome.

Meanwhile, the Italian Embassy at the Cultural Office and the Chinese Cultural Counsellor Mr. Zhang Jianda who is working many years in Italy give an important recognition for Xu Longsen’s landscape works: "Xu Longsen while retaining the essence of traditional Chinese painting, also reflects the important development of the Chinese landscape painting transforming to Contemporary art, which is the first time that there are such large landscape paintings in this Solo exhibition in Italy. The unique exhibition surprised the people, and the Chinese paintings have such a great spirit, which lets the humans look so small in the face of those magnificent natural landscapes. The Italian understanding of the Chinese painting is often exhibited in the museum which is relatively of a small size, and today Xu Longsen’s huge landscapes are displayed as a painting installation, and the exhibition space is a representation of the ancient Roman civilization, as believed, it will bring an interpretation and a new breakthrough method to the Western audience of the art exhibition and the history.

This is the first exhibition of Xu Longsen’s Landscape Painting Exhibition Tour in Europe. His huge ink and pen works will be continued to be shown in October/December 2011 at the Museum of the University of London.

Curator: Angelo Capasso
Academic Director: Fan Di’an
Hosted by: The Museum of Roman Civilization
In cooperation with: Beyond Art Space
Opening: 21 June, 2011 at 19:00
Duration: 22 June – 24 July, 2011