IAPA|MY LONELY JOURNEY Wang Huaxiang exhibition

FROM: iapa.cafa.edu.cn TIME:

Exhibition Poster


Exhibition Hall



Exhibition Name

MY LONELY JOURNEY——Wang Huaxiang exhibition


Nanjing Painting and Calligraphy Academy,Jinling Art Museum

Exhibition Time


Exhibition Venue

Hall 1,Jinling Art Museum


Liu Chunjie

Curatorial Assistant

Han Fei




My Lonely Journey


For three years, I have been applying for an ink painting solo exhibition from Curator Liu Chunjie, who is my old friend, my old comrade, a printmaking pioneer and a lonely hero. The media has introduced me in a very confusing way, sometimes as an oil painter, sometimes as a printmaker, an artist or a critic. So many different titles have troubled both readers and myself; I apologize for that. The title which I have to use and dislike most is “artist”, because it has no particularity and a low threshold. Anyone can call himself an artist, which is tantamount to saying that an artist is nothing, but what am I? I am both a printmaker and an oil painter. I also want to be an ink painter and a sculptor. Such a long list of titles can not be defined with a single sentence, thereby theoretically equivalent to nothing. In fact, I have taught students all my life, teaching in the Department of Printmaking at the Central Academy of Fine Arts for 35 years, serving as a department head and the vice dean of the School of Modeling for 8 years altogether. I have published several books, founded two magazines, participated in the business of an auction house, served as an editor, built houses, established the Feidi Academy of Fine Art, built the Wanshenggu Museum, founded the International Academic Printmaking Alliance and the International Printmaking Institute, and became a chief instructor of fine arts for the army and a contracted artist of International Gallery and Huayi Brothers among others. I have held performance art and conceptual art exhibitions. I have written Wrong or Wrong, My Ramblings and an open resignation letter known by all, all of which boast mixed reception. I have criticized many famous critics by name. It seems that my 61 years of life is in constant trouble; it seems that troubles always find their way to me before I see them. This is in accordance with the surging tides of national reform and development, isn't it? Therefore I have no regret. Instead, I feel that the trees may prefer calm but the wind will not subside. Whether you want it or not, it is both unreasonable and impossible to, amidst the stormy rejuvenation of China, experience no stimulation, no infringement, no persecution, no resistance, no criticism and self-criticism, no mistakes and no self-renewal.



Coming back to my previous topic. It has been three years since I applied to Curator Chunjie for an ink painting solo exhibition. Why do I want that? I remember that Professor Yang Feng of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts once said to his disciple: "If you see me drawing ink paintings or the human body one day, please stop me, for that means I am old." Yes, it seems that old artists tend to draw the human body, which is probably related to physiological decline. I am not drawing the human body yet, which temporarily does not expose whether I am old or not. But if I draw ink paintings, I prove the words of Professor Yang. Maybe there are interesting and playful features in ink painting, which, different from Western painting, can relax the muscles of old people who have been busy all their lives. Perhaps ink painting can help people to relinquish their will to gain fame, the will developed in their youth. Confucius once said about fate: "at thirty I stood firm, at forty I had no more doubts, at fifty I knew the will of heaven, at sixty my ear was obedient, at seventy I could follow my heart’s desire without overstepping the boundaries of what was right." It seems that "Chinese painters draw ink paintings when they are old!" is equally applicable. Xu Beihong, Liu Haisu, Guan Liang, Lin Fengmian, Pang Xunqin, Wu Zuoren and Wu Guanzhong have all shifted from oil paintings to ink paintings in their old age. That saying has been verified. One day, probably after I reached the age of fifty, I was controlled by the mysterious force of fate, thinking about drawing ink paintings and practicing calligraphy constantly. Maybe it was to realize my ambition to conquer the last major painting style: ink painting, since I have already mastered printmaking, oil painting and sketching. It may also be beneficial for joining the ranks of the literati, so that I may take advantage of my seniority, winning both fame and fortune. It may be fit to say that "how fortunate it is to meet you in this life!"

So, am I already enlightened and the prodigal returned to the Chinese tradition that is more suitable for the old age than any other civilization in the world? Perhaps, I am not really interested in the practical results or worldly success as a rebellious person, but I am attracted by new things out of curiosity. Although ink painting is traditional, it is new to me. However, I made a mistake and overestimated myself. Close to the exhibition, curator Chunjie saw a dozen of my oil paintings and just a few ink paintings in the large exhibition hall covering more than 1000 square meters that he prepared for me. He knows my consistent style and has long been used to it. He is a great expert and my bosom friend, for although he didn’t know the reason for the change, he knew there must be a reason for the change. I was neither unreasonable nor dishonest; instead of underestimating this exhibition, I attached too much importance to it and to my reputation. I had begun to draw ink paintings at least a year ago, but however hard I tried I was unable to attain the expected result. With my serious, picky and competitive attitude towards sketching, printmaking, oil painting and even teaching, I could not even accept the quality of my ink paintings myself. So I quietly decided to do an oil painting exhibition instead. As a veteran in printmaking, I have been dedicated to oil painting for 30 years. According to Chinese traditions, when people reach the retirement age, they should physically and psychologically move from the game of life to the game of ink. But I have a strong commitment to oil painting, which I have explored for more than 30 years. My love for oil painting has never ceased, especially after the discovery of classical oil painting techniques, which suddenly enlightened me in recent years. Within the classical techniques hide the eternal codes of oil painting, which produce many great paintings. Underpinning oil painting, the techniques have never disappeared over the past five or six centuries, surviving till the modern era. It is only that the outstanding realistic paintings have covered up the physicality and truth of the classical oil painting techniques. Therefore, many people misunderstand them as outdated techniques that only belong to classical art.

This discovery has overturned my previous understanding of oil painting. It has presented to me the eternal beauty that involves both realism and transcendence of reality. Such is the essential texture of different instruments in a musical performance, or the unparalleled charm created by different tools and techniques in traditional Chinese painting.

I am fortunate to have entered the secret garden of classical oil painting. I know that my journey of oil painting has just begun, and that my best oil painting works will emerge at some point in the future. For now, I am not ready to spend too much time on ink painting, even though ink painting is fascinating and truly captivating. In addition, I am only delaying my exhibition; I will definitely make it to the pinnacle of ink painting one day. I hereby thank curator Chunjie and my colleagues at the Jinling Art Museum for their trust and understanding. This time, please allow me to make another mistake: continuing my lonely journey!

After Curator Chunjie saw my works and this preface, he replied on WeChat: "My brother: I am astounded when seeing your works and your preface. It is so shocking to see a person in breach of contract twisting the breach into a noble artistic pursuit, tricking the reader into an expectation that he might prepare to fulfill the contract. Yet the breach remains unchanged until the very end. If the status quo is not dealt with well, I would definitely feel that you are someone's undercover, ready to use your solo exhibition to destroy my career." I hope that will not be a prophecy.


Wang Huaxiang

November 25th, 2023







Self-Portrait ,oil on canvas


Son-Portrait, oil on canvas



My Lonely Journey No.1 ,oil on canvas



My Lonely Journey No.2,oil on canvas




My Lonely Journey No.4, oil on canvas



My Lonely Journey No.5, oil on canvas



My Lonely Journey No.6, oil on canvas



 Invisible Reality, oil on canvas



Interpretation of the Classic of Mountains and Seas No.5  comprehensive materials



Interpretation of the Classic of Mountains and Seas No.6  comprehensive materials




Wang Huaxiang

1962 Born in Guizhou

1988 Graduated from and started working at Central Academy of Fine Arts(CAFA),Beijing
Former Vice President of School of Fine Arts,Central of Fine Art(CAFA)、Dean of the International Printmaking Institute
Professor、Doctoral Supervisor and Postdoctoral Supervisor of Printmaking Department,CAFA

President of the International Printmaking Alliance (IAPA)

Dean of the International Printmaking Institute(IPI)
Vice President of the Chinese Traditional Culture Committee

Assistant dean of Printmaking Committee of Chinese Artists Association

Visiting Professor of Roma Academy of Fine Arts,Italy
Judge of Belgium European Printmaking Masters Exhibition
Member of International Honorary Advisor Committee of ACE Contemporary Art Foundation,Argentina(FACE-IHAB)
Life-long Expert of China Higher Education Press

Member of the Expert Database of the Ministry of Education of China
Consultant for the Development Project of Chinese National Brands
Honorary President of CCTV Splendid Chinese Poetry,Calligraphy,and Painting Masters Art Committee
Visiting Professor of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts

Curator of Wanshenggu Art Meseum

Honorary Dean of Nanjing Printmaking Academy