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.