|Qin Tian’s exhibit at KAUST in January 2017|
But it was art that I focused on throughout university. My art went on hold when I became a journalist over 20 years ago, but my artist’s soul is still there.
This week I had the honor of having dinner with Qin Tian, one of China’s national artists. His work is incredible to see, but when you hear him talk about his passion and the vision behind the paintings, they completely come to life.
These are his words:
I’m Qin Tian from China.
I have long been yearning for an opportunity to pay a visit to your esteemed university ever since I gained my understandings of it via internet. Today I am so much thrilled with joy to personally visit here, and I am overwhelmed by your hospitality and I am really honored.
This visit to your university has been greatly supported and assisted by my friends in China and the leaders of the university. I hereby extend my sincerest appreciation to them. Also, I appreciate your attendance to my speech. Hopefully, may all of you have a general understanding of Chinese calligraphy and painting arts through my academic lecture and exhibition of my works, and may you be benefited in this wonderful visual feast.
The following is what I am about to share with you:
1. Calligraphy works
My calligraphy works are mainly divided into two categories: Modelled calligraphy — including the regular script structure and the structure of Jiucheng Palace of Ouyang Xun; the Hundred Rhyme Song in cursive writing by Wang Xizhi; and the Memorial before Battle in cursive writing by Yue Fei.
Painting elements are added in my calligraphy works so that the writing and painting are perfectly blended. In addition, the artistic compositions and forms are diversified and go beyond limitations. These works are not only spiritual sustenance and implied with spiritual connotations but also revelations of the state of mind.
|Photo by Jian Zhou|
My calligraphy works are mostly “freehand”, as in Chinese characters are used as the models of creation for integral and harmonious beauty. My creations are not limited to the traditional calligraphy expressions. Instead, painting and other classes of arts are often borrowed to express my aesthetic tastes to the maximum extent.
2. Chinese painting works
My Chinese painting works are mostly depictions of plum blossoms, lotuses and landscape.
Traditionally speaking, plum blossoms and lotuses are categorized as the bird-and-flower genre in Chinese painting. They are independently categorized in my works. Chinese literati are historically inherited with the habitude of making use of objects and landscapes to express their ideas and emotions.
Plum blossoms and lotuses are respectively featured with their own characteristics and endowed with unique spirits. When everything withers in the winter, plum blossoms bloom against the world, and they tend to be more vigorous when the weather becomes colder and fiercer.
A lotus remains its pureness despite its origin in sludge, and it never becomes coquettish after being cleaned in clear water. Lotuses have long been favored and respected by people from of old since they stay elegant while being low key. Lotuses are indeed the role model of high moral character among flowers. They not only make a place more beautiful but also purify human heart.
Lotuses have to be depicted with soft brushwork. I usually use goat hair brush which tends to be more moist so that lotuses can be painted with more textures but their character also stands vividly revealed on paper.
3. My freehand landscape paintings
Imitation of the reality world or subjective expression are the fundamental factors that determine the level of artistic tastes. I personally prefer the latter, as in turning objective images into subjective ideas so that the imagery expressions and brushwork may present abstract formal significance and vast aesthetic perception in an implicit and indistinct manner.
The ranges and peaks, and floating clouds painted in these works are all filtered and screened subjectively by souls without exception in order to manifest my unique spiritual sustenance. Naturalness, magnificence, grandeur, “luxuriantly green” in close distance and “boundless” in further distance, all of which are the significant features of my landscape paintings.
I learned from the nature predecessors to form my own style of landscape painting in combination of my own aesthetic orientations. My use of brush is succinct in creation and I use ink boldly. The lines in the paintings are interlaced and finished smoothly, demonstrating the charm of landscapes to the fullest.
4. My experimental works of abstract ink & wash painting
There are images and objects in absent-mindedness. – Laos
Laozi’s discussion of “objective images” serves as the inspiration of my abstract landscape paintings. Intentional or unintentional scribblings totally follow the lead of my feelings during the creation of this series of works, and I was completely immersed in an atmosphere where I lost the senses of objectivism and subjectivism.
I was allowed to create freely in my inner world, and the traditional context of Chinese painting has been completely overthrown. Emotions, colors, inks, points, lines, sides and spaces are intertwined in these works, making up exciting visual patterns one after another, which are indeed “lingering”.
Due to the limited space of the exhibition hall, there are only 45 works being exhibited, including: Chinese calligraphy works – semi-cursive writing. Chinese painting works – freehand bird-and-flower paintings, freehand landscape paintings; freehand plum blossoms collection, freehand lotuses collection, freehand landscape collection. Abstract ink and wash collection. All these works were created in recent years and represent my creations in this period, demonstrating my areas and academic concepts in calligraphy, painting art, research, creation and practices.