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《Shenzhen Daily》:A feast for book and art lovers

黎丹 2015-05-14


A feast for book and art lovers
     2015-May-14  08:53    Shenzhen Daily



    Debra Li


    SOME say physical books are history. For Wan Jie, chairperson of Shenzhen-based Artron Group, however, physical books can be art — decorative, functional and contemporary.

    The 8,000-square-meter bookstore, the biggest art bookstore housed in the six-story Artron Art Center on Shenyun Road, Nanshan District, is open to the public as a subvenue for the 11th International Cultural Industry Fair China (Shenzhen) (ICIF). Inside the bookstore, a 30-meter-tall, 50-meter-long “Artron Wall,” a huge shelf of art books extending up a few floors, impressed every visitor at the venue’s opening ceremony yesterday.

    The Artron Wall is a tribute to the cultures of the world, said Wan at the opening ceremony.

    The wall, in the planning for eight years, took 18 months to design and build.

    “We provide local art lovers with some 50,000 art-themed books in 10 languages published by 2,000 publishers from around the world,” Wan said.

    One highlight of the Artron Wall is the museum section, displaying more than 4,000 copies of art books published by some 100 museums, universities, art centers, galleries and foundations. Books published in China and Japan, mostly about Asian art, are on the left side of the wall while those published in Western countries — the United States, Europe and Australia — are presented in the right side. Professional docents help visitors get a better understanding of the masterpieces featured in the books. Readers can also use the art center’s computer database to check for information. Also featured are a collection of books on photography and a collection on Chinese ink paintings.

    During the ICIF, the art center is offering free lectures by renowned photographers and scholars.

    Yang Yankang, an award-winning photographer contracted with prestigious French agency VU’, is giving a lecture this afternoon at the Artron Art Center on the 10 difficult years he spent shooting photos in Tibet. Yang shot 75,600 photos between 2003 and 2013, of which 81 have been taken into collections by museums and individuals, thought to be classics. The photographer went on his first tour to Tibet in 1986. After finishing his project, shooting photos about traditional Chinese rural villages, Yang rediscovered his interest in Tibet in 2003. That year, he spent eight months traveling in the area, converted to Buddhism, and started his 10-year shooting project. He shot the devout Tibetans who were willing to trade this life’s sufferings for salvation in the next. He also focused on the lives of monks as well as their relationships with their families and other monks.

    He will share with the audience what he thinks is the value and significance of photography and how he captured moments that revealed more than the common superficial understanding of Tibetan life.

    Then, Lu Hong, the executive curator of the He Art Gallery in Wuhan, will give a lecture on contemporary art tomorrow afternoon.

    Based on his book “A History of Contemporary Chinese Art, 1978-2008,” his lecture will give the audience a clear view of the “new tradition” of Chinese art and how it has grown and changed. To put contemporary art into perspective, Lu will also refer to the fine art scenes during and immediately after the Cultural Revolution.

    Talking on Saturday afternoon will be Xiao Quan, dubbed the “best portrait photographer in China,” best known for his masterpiece “Our Generation,” an album published in 1997. The album featured household names in the Chinese cultural and art circle who were born in the 1950s and 1960s. Xiao’s photos didn’t just keep a file of those people in their prime, but also captured their sorrows, joys, frustrations and persistence. Himself one of that generation, Xiao said, “We are not young anymore. But I feel most of us have done what we should have and have no grudges against growing old, as nature decrees.”

    At Artron Art Gallery in Futian District, another subvenue of the ICIF, the shows are more light-hearted. There will be lectures on calligraphy and painting by Qing Dynasty (1368-1644) emperors, the architecture of the Forbidden Palace and an art-themed workshop for children. Visitors will be able to shop for souvenirs popular on the Forbidden City’s Taobao shop such as fans with Emperor Qianlong’s handwriting and earphones resembling a Qing minister’s necklace.

    3-4:30 p.m., Thursday Lecture by photographer Yang Yankang on his Tibet experience

    3-4:30 p.m., Friday Lecture by Professor Lu Hong on the 30 years of contemporary Chinese art history

    3-4:30 p.m., Saturday Lecture by Xiao Quan on “Our Generation”

    Add: Artron Art Center, 19 Shenyun Road, Nanshan District (Those interested can search for “雅昌艺术中心” on the WeChat platform and make reservations via it.)