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¡°The Lonely Horizon¡ªGao Minglu during the 1970s¡± Art Exhibition

¡°The Lonely Horizon¡ªGao Minglu during the 1970s¡± Art Exhibition
Public date£º2015/5/28

¡°The Lonely Horizon¡ªGao Minglu during the 1970s,¡± an exhibition of work by Gao Minglu will take place from June 16, 2015 at the Linda Gallery, located in Beijing¡¯s 798 Art District.
 
Currently a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Gao Minglu is a foremost contemporary Chinese art historian and critic, as well as a central organizer and spiritual leader of China¡¯s New Wave art movement during the 1980s. Not unlike many of his Chinese peers, he did not begin his career specializing in art research, but rather as an artist. This not only relates to his personal experiences, but is also integrative with China¡¯s social history and developments in academic discourse.
 
Gao Minglu was born in Tianjin in the same year that the Peoples¡¯ Republic of China was established. There, he grew up, experiencing the Cultural Revolution. During this political movement, which swept the country, Gao Minglu, then sixteen years old, having just finished middle school, answered Mao Zedong¡¯s call for ¡°rustication¡± through labor. He traveled to China¡¯s outer-most region of Inner Mongolia to be reeducated by ¡°poor peasants.¡± During this experience in Inner Mongolia, Gao Minglu worked in the grasslands, but during his leisure time, he returned to his childhood interest in drawing, using brush to record the Inner Mongolian landscape, elements from his daily life, and surrounding friends. Not long after, because of his artistic skills, he was admitted into Ulanqab Normal Academy. After graduating, he remained there to teach, creating a great number of landscape and figurative works. During the 1980s, following China¡¯s opening up and the recovery of enrollment within institutions of higher learning, Gao Minglu entered Chinese National Academy of Arts, embarking on his graduate studies.
 

Throughout the 1970s, Gao Minglu created hundreds of watercolor works, line drawings and oil paintings. These works are not only bearers of aesthetic ideals and interests, but even more so, serve as comprehensive documentation of this decade of his life. This large body of work paints an exemplarily portrait, a lonely horizon, which is not only an expansive microcosm of the sparsely populated grasslands of Inner Mongolia, but perhaps even more significantly, a period of history which strengthened the character of Gao Minglu; silent, tenacious, accepting, withstanding, and always faithfully standing at the forefront. From another angle, this partly explains his reasoning in turning away from working as an artist clearly influenced by Soviet-styles and emerging as an avant-garde art critic, reflecting Chinese social as well as cultural developmental discourse. For this reason, the subject matter of this exhibition functions as a fundamental temporal thread, connecting seven sections, ¡°Youthful Ambitions,¡± ¡°Prairie Years,¡± ¡°Ulanqab Landscapes,¡± ¡°Teachers, Students and Friends,¡± ¡°Impressions of the City,¡± ¡°Tracing the Long March,¡± and ¡°Towards ¡¯85.¡± These seven sections, culminating in close to 100 works, are exhibited alongside Gao Minglu¡¯s own personal sketchbooks, art historical writings, manuscripts and pictorial documents, presenting the audience with an extraordinary history and unique human condition. £Ûby Sheng Wei, Translate by Ellen Larson£Ý

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