IN LOVING MEMORY OF CHEN YIFEI
@singapore Mandarin Gallery #03-01
The Museum Of Art&Design(MAD)
Commemorating the sixth anniversary of his passing, MAD is honored to hold a memorial to showcase and introduce an artist who lived by the mantra of dedication and soldiered with the ceaseless pursuit of perfection. This exhibition will pay tribute to his journey as an artist, his romance with life, and his immortal spirit.
In 1991, Chen's work;Lingering Melodies at Xunyang, or Farewell at Xunyang, was auctioned in Hong Kong at HK1.37 million, at the time the highest price ever received for a contemporary chinese painting. Artist, director, fashion mogul, and entrepreneur; he had transitioned from a leading painter of the Cultural Revolution to a Western style purveyor of lifestyle and fashion.
From 1980 to 1990 he blended Realist techniques with European Romanticism in paintings that featured traditional Chinese themes; colorful Tibetan landscapes and Chinese women in traditional dresses. The New York Times and Art News used the expression "romantic realism" to describe his style-a cultural bridge between the East and West.
Everything about the man is romantic; from his notions of heroism, to the landscapes teeming with crystal clear waters/his love for music and poetry/his affinity towards unspoilt Tibet/and his spirited beauties. Chen Yifei's romance is with life itself, and his spirit resonates deeply within his works.
The most fascinating part of his career was his attempt to combine the elements from his native country with the Western traditions of both realism and impressionism.
As the prevalence of the Great Cultural Revolution crept into the lives of the Chinese people, Maoism had a significant influence on Chen's early works.
The construction of the piece focused on areas of accumulated paint and expressive brushwork. The soldier's extended leg and the cliff on which he stands are bathed in light. Palate knife and brush are used simultaneously, and the color is thickly applied, carving a strong and dazzling image. The bright color had a resplendent and gilded quality. These features were the embodiment of Chen's perfection and of his rigorous Soviet painting education.
In 1980, at the age of 34, Chen Yifei relinquished his position and went to New York to study art. The center of contemporary art, the school of realism was practically ignored. But he had the ability and self-confidence to defy the odds. He painted elegant American and Chinese musicians as well as the lush countryside scenery of the Yangtse River. After his first solo exhibition at New York, his success drove a clear message to the New York art arena: "Classical realism was resurging"
In the summer of 1982, Chen decided to travel to Europe, the birthplace of Western oil painting, during which he saw western masterpieces at close distance, which allowed him to deepen his understanding of Western oil painting and strengthened his painting skills and technique. His masterpieces was created in manners of western oil painting style and Chinese traditional water-ink painting techniques.
In the former, the human figures are interchangeable and there is no personal attachment to them. In the latter work, each individual is unique and the painting radiates a release of emotions. He translated his own memories, emotions, and patriotic sentiments into his own artistic creativity.