Wu Weishan, Director, National Art Museum of China
The exhibition at the National Museum of Australia of three sculptures is a sister to the National Museum of Australia’s exhibition held at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC). This cultural exchange provides an opportunity for spiritual communication through art.
One of the three NAMOC works on display at the National Museum of Australia is a sculpture by Mr Liu Kaiqu, the first Director of NAMOC and one of the pioneers of modern Chinese sculpture. It is titled Yak.
Liu Kaiqu went and studied in France in his youth. Upon his return to China, he was at the forefront of modern Chinese sculpture, creating a multitude of works that are emblematic of the national spirit, reflecting the times and celebrating the people.
Yak was created based on observations of the lives of yaks living in Tibet. Though it is a small statue of white marble, it reflects the great force of nature. It is both lifelike and decorative.
The second work is a statue by Mr Xiong Bingming. Xiong Bingming studied in France, where he decided to live. As a sculptor, he was influenced by Chinese philosophy and freehand brushwork. The sculptures he created during his interaction with French culture display the influence of freehand style.
The third work is a tiny statue that I donated to NAMOC – Sleeping Child – which portrays a boy in a deep state of slumber.
These three works are, in my eyes, typical of the three artists’ practice. One went and studied in France and returned to China. The second went and studied in France and then stayed there. And I, as the third of these artists, have, since the start of China’s reform and opening up, travelled all over the world, comparing Chinese and Western cultures, informing my creation of Sleeping Child.
These three works, small as they are, embody the sentiments and the pursuits of several Chinese sculptors. I thank the National Museum of Australia very much for having provided an excellent space to display the three statues, where they can communicate and connect with the Australian audience. Thanks once again.
I hope that the Chinese people and the Australian people have a friendship that lasts forever and that our art and cultural exchanges continue to expand.