The title “ZaoHua” that is given to this exhibition of Chinese contemporary art is derived from a traditional creative theory in Chinese painting which is described by the Tang dynasty painter “Zhang Zao” as “the inspiration for art comes from zaohua (nature), but nature’s beauty can only be revealed when an artist depicts it as guided by his emotions and thoughts.” Here, “ZaoHua” refers to the visible aspect of the natural world.
As time has passed and art has evolved organically, “zaohua” has come to take on a wider meaning than that originally intended by Zhang Zao. Firstly, with regard to subjects that are viewed in an objective fashion, in today’s artistic environment “zaohua” no longer only refers to nature and the natural world, but has come to include buildings, parks and other man-made objects and scenes whose objective existence falls within the realm of “zaohua”.Aside from scenes that exist in reality, we find in landscape paintings a repertoire of classic images that are employed over and over, like a story being constantly retold. These images have become, for later artists, objective scenes to be painted using their individual styles and techniques. Thus, though they may have never existed in the physical world, such images ought to be included in the realm of “zaohua”. Secondly, “zaohua” does not refer merely to the physical aspect of objects to be replicated in art, but at the same time also exists as a cultural concept and a mode of thinking. In Chinese contemporary art, “zaohua” manifests itself as something that is not limited by choice of genre or materials, and is a concept that can be used to explore both the inner “essential nature” of art as well as its outward physical appearance. Furthermore, the complete explanation of the “Zaohua Theory” is “the inspiration for art comes from zaohua (nature), but nature’s beauty can only be revealed when an artist depicts it as guided by his emotions and thoughts,” as art is not a simple study and reproduction of the visual appearance of the physical world, but rather is more importantly an exploration and re-interpretation of the inner nature of the objects it depicts.
“Zaohua”-An exhibition of Chinese contemporary art, hopes to through displaying the work of 15 Chinese artists, show viewers the changes in interpretation of “zaohua” in as it is employed in contemporary art that have occurred as Chinese art has developed, as well as provide a survey of Chinese culture and thought today.
Chinese Contemporary Art Month – Zao Hua
Date: 12th April – 25th April 2016
Location: 541 Art Space, Sydney