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Maverick and Maestro Charm

Beginning in the 1980s during a time known as the "Eight-five" art movement, China truly stepped into modern art world. At that time, western art trends flowed into China, and artists began to get rid of their bondage to traditional art styles single and old ideas, and began to create freely. The Chinese art scene at this time really appeared as if all the flowers were in bloom. Before this, traditional Chinese painting practices the skills of wrinkle, wipe, dots, and dye without any change in rhythm for thousands years. Oil paintings, prints, and sculptures have been propaganda tools for decades, yet arts wings never opened.

In 2000, about 15 years after the "Eight-five" art movement, with international galleries, museums, and art institution planners visiting China frequently, and freedom of Chinese artists traveling abroad, professional artist galleries and gathering places brought contemporary Chinese art into Beijing. This art scene quickly boomed.

The original art exhibition spaces were limited to 10 local art galleries and only one national art gallery. Now things are different. Beijing alone has countless art galleries both large and small. There are as many as one hundred in the 798 art district alone. Beijing has dozens of art districts such as Songzhuang, Huantie, Caochangdi, Jiuchang, and Suojiacun. Each weekend countless exhibitions open all across these areas. Since the boom, ordinary Chinese people now have the opportunity to come in contact with contemporary art and culture.

Chinese art prosperity has reached the surprising level in past few years. Chinese artists now even attain seats in world-class art exhibitions. China is also gaining international cultural respect. A short twenty-four years have passed since the earth-shaking changes, and what created this historic miracle are those great artists. Their earnest exploration and down-to-earth work in each of their different areas make Chinas art today have revolutionary value and profound historical significance.

Jin Guangri is one of these great artists.

He was bathed in the "Eight-five" art movement. He graduated from Fine Arts College of Northeast Normal University to go down the artists road. During his teaching in Art Institute of Jilin Yanbian University, he not only studied in the mural and oil painting departments of Central Academy of Fine Arts, but also flew to study at Hong-Ik University. It is now 20 years since he made Beijing his home in 1993, durning which period he took part in many activities, such as invitational solo exhibitions hosted by Hong-Ik, University Museum of Modern Art, modeling gallery, HANA bank gallery, Genren Museum, joint art exhibitions at Teerqin Museum in the United States, South Koreas Seoul Museum, Beijing Cultural Palace of Nationalities, and Exhibition Hall of CAFA. There are some famous magazines such as Chinese Oil Painting, Art Research, Contemporary College Art, Arts Circle, World Art Studio, etc. that have introduced his art works. His works have gradually become well known across the world.

The artistic path of Jin Guangri is like most arts masters. A formal academic study background gives him a solid realist background. His early works use more of a realistic approach and narrative type theme, with rich pictorial content and strong modelling. In recent years, his research now enters the idealist stage of deep thinking on a humans self-existence.

This stage is the most important period of his artistic path. Through this periods "Apple" series surreal colour and mysterious dreamland, the Apple that seduced Adam and Eve to become mere mortals in ancient times, carries countless complex clues about today's society. The seemingly simple icon reveals the image of the world today, full of complicated temptations, and lets people know that the portrayal of Jin Guangris art research is so profound. His art languages unique characteristics reveal his cultural pioneering; the powerful visual images and modern color win both concern and favor of countless viewers and collectors.

Brother Guangri is my friend of many years. We often get together, explore work, plan exhibitions, or drink together. He receives this Northeast mans gracious and upright character. He is still simple and lovely like a child, even into his forties. His sincerity in art allows him walk alone, outside of trends, showing the charm of a master! He is spoken well of by friends in the art industry. We have not seen each other for months, and while I am still immersed in the mysterious territory of his "apple" series, he is just beginning a new exploration

I'm looking forward to seeing more surprises in his upcoming new work.

Written in Songzhuang, Midnight of 5 April 2009

Zheng Xuewu

Artist, curator, vice chairman of the association of Chinese contemporary engravings, chairman of Sino-South Korean Art Exchange Association

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