Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to say what a privilege and honour it is to be here at the celebration of this exhibition， representing the great contemporary masters of Chinese Brush Painting. On behalf of the British Chinese Cultural Society, I welcome all friends and guests who have come to visit this exhibition.
The history of Chinese Brush Painting stretches over thousands of years, making it the oldest, continuous form of painting in the history of civilization.
I remember a famous European artist once compared the history of Western art to an arrow. I like this metaphor. If realism with photographic precision is the extreme for one path of the arrow, and contemporary abstractism is the other, then Western art is the arrow that has taken both paths.
Chinese traditional painting is different, its path has always been in the middle of the two extremes. Although at some points in time or some styles of painting may approach towards one end or the other, it always tend to be somewhere in the middle.
From the nineteenth century to the twentieth century, we see examples of the interaction between Chinese and Western paintings. French Impressionism was inspired by the the Japanese Ukiyo-e, which originated from Chinese heavy-colored painting of the Tang Dynasty. This was precisely the turning point of Western modern painting, which directed to abstraction. Many of Picasso's drawings with lines can see the traces of Chinese painting.
Some aspects of Chinese art is influenced by both the realism and the abstract of Western art. Here with us today is the famous Chinese painter Li Geng, whose father is Li Keran. He was one of China's top 10 painting masters in the 20th century. He borrowed the concept of Western "light", and has made great contributions to the evolution of Chinese painting. Today's painters also provide examples of this: Mr. Li Geng used the abstract ink painting to represent famous Western musicians Mahler's works, Mr. Chen Ping's painting style has a similar atmosphere to that of Andrew Wyeth's work, and on the day before yesterday, Chinese oil painter Long Li You completed a portrait of the Mayor of York, Dave Taylor, in the style of Western painting.
Although we live in the era of the global village, cultural mutual understanding is very limited between the Chinese and Westerners. The famous art critic, Gombrich once said that the Chinese "even learn their art by a strange method of meditation". To enhance understanding, we need more communication between both sides, and this is the aim of this exhibition.
Today's exhibition represents the top of Chinese painting, and we want to show you the spectrum of styles seen in contemporary Chinese paintings.
Once again, I would like to extend my gratitutde to the Liverpool Museum for the exhibition, allowing Chinese artists, local and academic audiences to communicate with each other.
Finally, I wish the exhibition a success.
Li LiPresident of the British Chinese Cultural Society