Monday, July 2, 2007

Art Appreciation in China


In Beijing, 2007 is the Year of Spain and King Juan Carlos was recently in town to inaugurate the opening of an exhibition called "From Titan to Goya" at the National Art Museum.

So yesterday I thought I'd take a look at some national art treasures from the Museo Prado and Museum of Madrid.

And thousands of other people had the same idea.

When I got outside the museum at the bottom of Wangfujing, there was a line-up in front of the ticket office. Apparently letting customers buy tickets inside is a no-no.

And once inside the museum, it was mayhem at best. Instead of orderly, quiet art enthusiasts, the galleries were filled with people crowded around each painting, listening on their audio tour headphones, talking loudly on their cell phones, or trying to take pictures of the 400 year-old paintings with their mobiles. Luckily many staff were on hand to stop them.

The descriptions of the paintings were off to the side so I had to read the descriptions first before appreciating the work. There was lots of jockeying for position to view each piece.

Most of the paintings were gorgeous, especially the still lifes by Goya and Velazquez. The ones of fruit looked so real, while the portraits of aristocracy or royalty revealed so much about their opulent lives.

I also saw Belgian artist Rene Magritte on the fifth floor. His works were so bizarre that many Chinese couldn't relate or understand what he was doing. I just like his concept of challenging our perception of reality.

The Surrealist once said: "An obvious incident may be hidden by the surface embedded in the imagery."

He made lots of photographs, sculptures, paintings, sketches and even entertainment posters advertising movies, plays and musicals.

I wonder what he would create if he lived in today's world of photoshop and computer generated images. He was definitely ahead of his time.

1 comment:

ks said...

2003 we took a trip to spain and portugal. in madrid we had a quick tour of the prada. did not recall seeing any painting by rene margritte. goya, velaquez, el greco the old masters dominated our visit. but last week went to vancouver art gallery to see an exhibition "monet to dali'. there is a painting by margritte. this is a collection from cleveland museaum of art on impresion to post impressionism. it has a fairly good coverage well balanced with a few pieces sculptures by a. rodin and henry moore..
chinese people are not very polite and rude by international standard. they desperately need civic educatioin. need to be considerate to others. this will take a number of years. meantime we just have to accept them , guide them by setting a good example. sometimes it is eaier said than done.