VALENCIA.- Cai Xiao Song's art stands as a meeting point between the East and the West. Both of them emerge as what they are, with no interferences, keeping their own identity signs. Through reinterpretation Xiao Song turns the treasures of traditional art techniques into symbols of a new conception of Chinese culture.
This exhibition comprises nine installations that Cai Xiao Song calls Stones; two traditional Chinese mountain and water paintings (Shan Shui) and a calligraphy installation titled Décade.
The Solid Time Cai Xiao Song's Oriental Art From China
Cai Xiao Song was born in 1964 and the is part of the Post-Cultural Revolution generation. China opened its doors to the West in the seventies, when Xiao Song was a 12-year-old adolescent. Between 1987 and 1991 he studied in the College of Fine Arts of Shanghai. During this period his artistic education was restricted to traditional Chinese painting and the European academic painting from the nineteenth century. However, since he graduated in 1991 and during the following eleven years to 2002 he changed his aspirations and this process left a visible trace in his work. We can differentiate three groups:
A first group of artworks is composed by oil and acrylic paintings. It includes distorted portraits, nearly unrecognisable, of Mao that Xiao Song, together with other artists, created to meet West market demand.
A second group is composed by easel paintings without pictures. There is only text, which is written in Chinese and English. Xiao Song considers words as the most direct form of expression. He expresses his political and social point of view through common words and through the connections he establishes between them. However, he soon realises this method has limited visual possibilities. Thus, he takes up a road based on the use of founded objects taken out of context and imbued with symbolism.
In Xiao Song's exhibition 25 artists work about the concept of "bench". He connects the meaning of that word in British English with the symbolic meaning of a bench or chair in Chinese "Wei Zi" (position), painting over it the Chinese national flag with the five-star insigne of the Pentagon, in order to represent his nation under the Chinese Communist Party leadership.
The breaking point for Xiao Song comes in 1998. De decides to broaden his studies in France for a year. Once he arrives to Paris he changes his mind and spends ten months travelling around Europe. When he goes back to China he stops creating and he concentrates on his calligraphy. For Xiao Song China shouldn't become a new Western Europe, but a new China, what it means that the country needs to retrieve its own character. For this very reason in 2002 he decides to work and produce the traditional Mountain and Water painting called "Shan Shui". He aims to convert this painting in a new symbol for China, though preserving its ancestral and traditional techniques.
The exhibition comprises nine installations that Xiao Song calls "Stones", two traditional mountain-and-water paintings (Shan Shui) and a calligraphy installation titled "Década".
Each "Stone" comprises two methacrylate parts with a piece of silk inserted among them. Stones painted with Chinese ink and water are attached to the silk. Stone and silk, apparently opposite, are mastery combined through contrast pairs: smoothness and hardness, straightness and voluptuousness, lightness and heaviness, human work and natural creation. Cai Xiao Song intends to evocate interdependent connections between elements and artworks that result in a collage composition. Thus he opposes the ancestral Chinese painting to the contemporary Western sphere used by Braque and Picasso, the collage. On the other hand, the simplicity and subtlety of transparency represents what will always be static and permanent, regardless the passing of time.
"Década" gathers ten years of Cai Xiao Song's calligraphy 1600 individual artworks of 5x250 cm each in 5x6 meters. Each of the Chinese characters has its own shape and meaning. When this characters converge a new one is created as a metaphor of our lives, our experiences and the way they intertwine. The artist uses those random dispositions in order to transmit ignorance and uncertainty and to express his connection with art through a decade. However, visitors can also establish new connections. Time is held back, allowing reflection. Calligraphy is the inheritance of the Chinese tradition and it symbolises the spiritual meditation. Through ten years, Cai Xiao Song takes distance from the surrounding world by creating his own spiritual world, where calligraphy is included.
Cai Xiao Song's art stands as a meeting point between the East and the West. Both of them emerge as what they are, with no interferences, keeping their own identity signs. Through reinterpretation Xiao Song turns the treasures of traditional art techniques into symbols of a new conception of Chinese culture.