• 2024-07-08 18:48:20

Chinese Renaissance

By Kalley Chen

China has never been a land suffering from spiritual nor cultural poverty. The Chinese people have created countless art treasures in the country’s 5,000-year history. The arts are a reflection of a country’s economic power and cultural achievement in each age. In the Tang Dynasty and Song Dynasty, in which the overall power of ancient China reached its peak, China’s paintings, calligraphy and literature welcomed an unprecedented boom with memorable artists.

In the 21st century, as China embraces its economic achievements, China’s arts undoubtedly mirror the country’s prosperity and vigor.

A few weeks ago, a farewell dinner was held for Dr. Justin Yifu Lin, who was leaving for the U.S. to begin his new position as Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank. I had the privilege to be there. At the event, Dr. Lin mentioned that China’s economic growth has attracted the world’s attention and contemporary art with Chinese characteristics is certainly a part of China that the world should not miss.

In fact, art pieces involving Chinese elements, no matter traditional or contemporary, are now all well-received by international collectors. Made-in-China artwork manifests the perspectives, spiritual worlds and life attitudes of modern Chinese people; therefore, it is a key channel to understanding China. 

Contemporary arts are an emerging trend. Traditional arts also need to reposition themselves so that they would survive the evolving tides of the art world. The styles of artwork may vary because of differences in the family, personality, or cultural background of the artists. However, monumental art pieces do share one thing in common, that is, the freedom for the artist to express his or her feelings. The European Renaissance from the 14th century to the 17th century emancipated the religious shackles and revived humanitarianism. China’s renaissance in the 21st century will challenge the out-of-date mindsets and release the individuality of artists.

In 1979, the first Xingxing Exhibition turned a new page for China’s contemporary art. As the China’s reform and opening-up has deepened, China’s modern arts have achieved a great diversity. Abundant artwork has not only entertained Chinese people, but also traveled across the ocean and taken the culture and spirit of a new China to different parts of the world. We are happy to see that contemporary Chinese artists enjoy the freedom of working on styles and subjects as they wish and that overseas collectors are free to buy the artwork they like.

A piece of artwork comes to the world in an artist’s hands and will start a brand new journey of life once it is acquired by a collector. The fate of artwork is decided by the beauty of their soul and which collector they will be settled down with. Dandeli believes that art is a part of life and life is a living art. To us, only artwork with soul can walk into people’s lives, help them understand their true selves and set their hearts free. Art can communicate happiness, experiences or thoughts. We care about the development of young artists as well as the innovation of traditional arts. We value the originality of artwork and respect the creative rights of the artists. Dandeli is a harbor for young artists to express themselves and create their own unique styles, as well as a nexus for collectors to encounter some of their favorite artwork. 

One’s first life is given by God, but one can choose what kind of second life he or she wants to have, just like selecting the artwork one loves. Dandeli would love to be the matchmaker – we wish to find art pieces through which a collector can communicate his or her innermost feelings and at the same time introduce a lifelong lover to each artwork. Because we believe arts can make every day in our life happy. 

*Kalley Chen is the founder of Dandeli Art Center.

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