Tradition and new ideas on display at the 15th Zhejiang Fine Arts Exhibition

The 15th Zhejiang Fine Arts Exhibition at Zhejiang Art Museum through May 26 showcases 713 works, including oil paintings, woodblock prints, ink wash paintings, sculptures, ceramics, cartoons and digital art.

Organized every five years, the exhibitions compete for the Zhejiang Fine Arts Award, with the winners of the 14 gold, 23 silver and 40 bronze prizes announced at the end of May.

It is one of the most prestigious events in Zhejiang’s art world, attracting a record 4,805 participants from across China this year. Organizers will also select 64 ink-wash paintings and 50 oil paintings to compete for the China Fine Arts Award in Beijing.

“It has been the largest exhibition ever in our museum, with the most exhibits and the most abundant artistic types,” said Ying Jinfei, curator of the museum.

Tradition and new ideas on display at the 15th Zhejiang Fine Arts Exhibition

Ti Gong

The exhibition, one of the most prestigious events in Zhejiang’s art world, attracted a record number of 4,805 participants.

The event is a platform for young artists, showcasing innovative and avant-garde work packed with new ideas and technologies.

Digital art is popular among young artists as a new space for artistic expression and feelings. AI-generated content, virtual reality and mixed reality artworks have leveraged the role of technology in art.

Visitors can see Yang Shu’s series that depicts a black world full of bizarre creatures and absurd atmospheres. When people enter the digital art space, they may feel like a fragmented world separated from the traditional arts.

Some traditional works depict episodes from ancient literature. Hong Wanli and Lu Jiangyun lianhuanhua (comic strip) portrays the story of Lu Zhishen, a monk in Water Margin, one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature.

Lu Zhishen is the main character in the novel’s first major story cycle, in which he embodies loyalty, strength and justice, but also rashness. He ranks 13th among Liangshan’s 108 heroic characters.

Lianhuanhua, pocket-sized comic books originally published in the 1920s, were a major source of public entertainment in China. In the seventies and eighties lianhuanhua was one of the most important ways to spread Chinese literature throughout the country.

Tradition and new ideas on display at the 15th Zhejiang Fine Arts Exhibition

Ti Gong

Monk Lu Zhishen depicted in a lianhuanhua

Tradition and new ideas on display at the 15th Zhejiang Fine Arts Exhibition

Ti Gong

“Sunny Day”, a lacquered painting

Lacquer painting is also a traditional art form, which may be as old as 2,000 years. It became popular during the Song Dynasty (960–1279) and eventually became a traditional craft.

A varnished painting must be covered with layers of varnish, dried, smoothed and polished to a thickness good enough for carving. A second layer is needed to seal the painting.

The exhibition features a lacquered painting called “Sunny Day” with more than 100 figures carved on its surface. Compared to pigment-painted counterparts, such lacquered paintings have a smooth and glossy texture.

“The soul of Zhejiang art is rooted in history, traditions, cultures and people,” said Xu Jiang, chairman of the Zhejiang Federation of Literary and Art Circles.

Zhejiang’s history has been a source of inspiration for artists. He Liang, Liu Zhishu, Hao Qiukai, Huang Jingru, Sun Ziyi and Wang Aihua painted the fresco ‘Qi Jiguang’, a famous general of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who fought against invading Japanese pirates nine times in eight years .

The local people of Zhejiang have commemorated General Qi for centuries. Today, the Great Wall along the coastline in eastern Zhejiang is considered evidence of Qi’s resistance to the aggression and bravery of pirates.

People have always been the theme of paintings. Lin Jieqing’s “Qingfengxulai” shows young people setting up tents and picnicking. This work is expected to compete for the China Fine Arts Award.

“Many exhibitions showcase the lifestyles of young people with vibrant and enhanced accents. Their works embody contemporary life and spirits,” said Xu. “The works of young painters always reflect their self-awareness and self-confidence.”

If you go

Dates: until May 26 (closed Monday), 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Open access

Location: Zhejiang Art Museum

Address: 138 Nanshan Rd

南山路138号