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"Beyond Form “- An Exhibition of Abstract Art in China

Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum


Date :01 May, 2016 - 03 Jul, 2016

Opening Reception :2016年5月1日16:00, Sunday, 01 May, 2016




The concept of Abstract Art is originally introduced by the West, either as an art form or a new art language , a school of art or a new trend, Abstract Art appears to be a new phenomenon in the 20th Century modern Western art history . In fact, abstract art is the logical destination of modern art that Cezanne pioneered originally , it is one of the greatest artistic achievements in the history of art.


Abstract art is a form of art that people use to reveal the intrinsic nature of life and the world based on humanistic world view and rationalist way of thinking, in line with the visual languages that meet the principles of mathematics, physics and psychology in the era of industrial civilization.


Because the abstract art means to reveal the intrinsic nature of life and the world, but the word  ‘’nature” actually stands far beyond the visual or the representation, the objective or the mobility, it cannot simply shift by people’s volition. Therefore, abstract art is universal just like science.


In China, the popularity of abstract art is risen from the late 1970s , until the beginning of the 21st century, with the returning of a number of graduated oversea art students. A group of artist who specialized in abstract art has emerged which leads to the mature of Chinese abstract art. Nowdays, abstract art is developing rapidly in Chinese contemporary art world, and already formed a large scale of artist group.


There are two main difficulties that abstract art faced after introduced to China: the first problem is the repulsion and assimilation that the native culture spontaneously approached towards the foreign abstract art. In other words, it is the repulsion and assimilation between the universal and the National. Under this situation, it raised the question of what is the evaluation standard to assess the work of Chinese abstract artist, the second problem is how can abstract art continue to develop after the abstract expressionism and the minimalism? This is a main issue that both the international and the Chinese abstract artists need to think about and to cope with. 


The exhibitions of Beyond Form: An Exhibition of Abstract Art in China was organized by WenZhou Time Museum last year between 27th of December 2015 and 27th of March 2016. This year this exhibition will be hold place at Beijing Inside-Out Museum from 1th of May 2016 onward, participants will include scholars such as Chen Ruo Bing, Feng Liang Hong, Ma keLu, Ma Shu Qing, Meng Lu Ding, Tan Ping, Yuan Zuo and Zhu Jin shi . This continued exhibition will offer an appropriate answer to both questions as I discussed above.


This is an exhibition designed especially for returning oversea Chinese artists. The participating eight artists all have long-term study and life experience overseas. They are thoroughly educated by the system of Modern Western art and taught by western professors. These artists not only firsthand experienced a large number of original Western ‘masterpieces’ and other advanced works of art, but also personally involved into the social and cultural environment of Western abstract art. For abstract art, they are Chinese artists who have seen the True Buddha and finally took the Scriptures back to China. On the basis of the logic and the context behind the development of abstract art , these returnees explore the road of innovation and progression in abstract art lineage and eventually completed the transition from "Formalism" to "Beyond-Formalism “.


Liberate the tint from the lyric function of "Thermal Abstract" and "Abstract Expressionism" so that the paint can present itself with its inherent physical character of the visual beauty, then the classic "point line and plane" is no longer served for the configuration to prominent the physical character of “point line and plane” and its independent value. This sense of liberation is the common tendency for these Beyond-Formalism abstract artists.


"Beyond-Formalism “ is a kind of abstract art that isolate the color and the formative ‘point line and plane’ from the canvas while representing its own physical properties and independent value. For these beyond-formalism artists, art is composed by formative elements. "Beyond-Formalism “ is not only a form of transcendence, but also go far beyond the field of painting and even the field of art.


These returnees are modest about their national and cultural identity. In fact, for abstract art, one’s characteristics are much more significant than his/her nationalities. Abstract art can only be assessed in the context of the abstract art environment, and its artistic value is only based on the creation of logic of abstract art. For Chinese abstract artists who are obsessed with the traditional Chinese art tradition, their creations have a more authentic abstract art quality; by contrast with a large number of artists who are still indulged in abstract expressionism, the former artist has successfully get rid of the fetters of form and enter into the realm of freedom.


 These returnees abstract artists are the backbone of Chinese abstract art, they not only played a significant role in the development of Chinese modern art, but also made a great contribution to   the development of international abstract art.



Article written by Duanting, Wang 

China Art Research Institute Art Researcher 

Ph.D Superviso