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May 27, 2023

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Playing with paper, water, brush pen and color in art

“ Beauty of Nature Object,” a solo exhibition of Chen Jialing, one of the pioneers of the New Shanghai Style, is under way at the CMG Film Center.

Running through June 18, the exhibition features a collection of Chen’s paintings created in different periods, including his representative pieces such as “Lotus,” “West Lake” and “Fragrance.”

Born in Hangzhou in 1937, Chen studied the Chinese painting styles of Pan Tianshou (1897-1971) and Lu Yanshao (1909-1993) at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts.

Absorbing the creative spirit of his two predecessors, Chen made a significant change in his own painting. He tried to innovate and break down boundaries in categories such as figures and landscapes, as well as flowers and birds.

Chen abandoned the regular use of pen and ink, and explored the magical effect of the interaction between paper, water, brush pen and color. This led to the birth of his new style — light ink.

Since the 1980s, Chen has been known for breaking traditional techniques to paint the lotus. He created a series of lotus-themed paintings, forming the unique “Chen-style lotus.” Among them, “Untainted” won the silver prize at the 7th National Art Exhibition.

With the lotus as his signature, Chen created a modern Chinese painting style, combining impressionism, expressionism and abstract art.

The trajectory of his life has always been closely linked to the times, and his works have exuded the aura of their times.

Besides the paintings on display, Chen also stuns viewers with his pottery at the exhibition. He turns pottery from functional vessels into art carriers, combining pottery and painting.

For example, his work “Pomegranate Formation,” which consists of dozens of ceramic pomegranates in different shapes and colors, implies a traditional belief: “The more children, the more blessings.”

Two films about Chen and his art were screened at the opening ceremony at the CMG Film Center on Sunday.

Qi Zhuquan, director of the Shanghai head office of the China Media Group, called it “an innovative combination of painting and film.”

Chen said: “My art is also about light and shadow. In my eyes, the art of light and shadow lies in the fusion with technology — new technology especially matters.”



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