On Top of A Thousand Mountains——Fan Di‘an Opening Remarks at Xu Longsen’s exhibition in Brussels

2011-03-24 16:11

Fan Di’an

Throughout the history of art, masterworks have emerged as a result of two essential factors: the artist’s steadfast belief and his distinct historical tradition. Today we come together to appreciate these works of Xu Longsen, which we can consider his contemporary masterworks. We observe how Chinese shanshui (landscape) paintings can promote dialogue within our contemporary culture, and at the same time continue to grow from the glorious tradition of Chinese painting.

“On Top of A Thousand Mountains: Xu Longsen’s Landscape Painting Exhibition” takes on an elevated meaning when displayed in this magnificent European structure, the Palais de Justice. It not only points to how fresh experiments have originated in contemporary Chinese painting, but also how Chinese landscape painting and European neoclassical architecture are participating in a groundbreaking dialogue with one another. Chinese landscape paintings presented in this massive public space unveil a major breakthrough in exhibition practice, and also reveal the artist and the major challenges his works represent. Xu Longsen’s painting practice demonstrates his well cultivated classical and contemporary ambitions, as well as his reaction to China’s culture of “out-with-the-old, in-with-the-new.” The monumental character of these majestic, dynamic paintings continually causes us to call into question our assumptions about Chinese culture’s subjective spirit and creative will.  

As the years go by, I believe we will all remember Xu Longsen’s masterful works—our memories embracing the dual aspects of his landscape painting through this elegant, grand assembly of works.