The Third Beijing International Art Biennale：Colors and the Olympics
From Athens to Beijing, the Olympic flame has lighted passion,
Passing the idea of peace and disseminating dream;
From Beijing to the rest of the world, artistic colors are brimming with warm feeling,
Radiating the vigor of youth and permeated with strength.
"Colors and the Olympics——The Third Beijing International Art Biennale China in 2008,” jointly sponsored by the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles, the Beijing Municipal Government and the Chinese Artists Association, will open solemnly at both the National Art Museum of China and the Gallery of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, the capital city of China, on July 8th, 2008. The occasion is just one month before the 29th Olympic Games, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, is inaugurated, and the Third Beijing Biennale will go on till the end of the Games. As an important cultural window on China's reform and opening-up policy and a platform for contemporary international artistic exchanges, both the First Beijing Biennale in 2003 and the Second Beijing Biennale in 2005 had been held successfully. According to practice, the international art biennale should be held once every two years, and it can also be postponed under special circumstances. In order to be concerted with the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, a rare chance in a century, and promote the development of contemporary art in both China and the rest of the world with the aid of the driving force of the Games, the Third Beijing Biennale has been put off for one year, and it has been approved by the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Olympic Games as a vital cultural program of the "Humanistic Olympics". Then, two great events in both the international sports and art circles, the Beijing Olympic Games and the Beijing Biennale, will complement each other, and a new Beijing, in the splendor of the five rings, will display to the full the twofold charm of strength and beauty to the entire world.
The National Program on Cultural Development during the 11th Five-Year Plan Period (2006-2010) mapped out by the Chinese government in 2006, has already listed the Beijing Biennale as "a name-brand cultural activity to be supported in particular". While learning from the experience of the international art biennales such as those held in Venice and Sao Paulo, the Beijing Biennale has maintained its Chinese national image and cultural identity, stuck to its own independent ideas of scheming and criteria of evaluation, and is gradually becoming, on its own, a cultural name-brand in contemporary art circles across the world. The idea of building up a harmonious world always lies behind the planning for the Beijing Biennale. "Originality: Contemporaneity and Locality", the theme of the First Beijing Biennale, aimed at advocating for the spirit of cultural originality embracing both contemporaneity and locality, so as to keep ecological balance with regard to the persity of human cultures. "Humanistic Concern in Contemporary Art", the theme of the Second Beijing Biennale, put forth explicitly the ideal of art promoting harmony among the people, between the inpidual and society, and between man and nature. "Colors and the Olympics", the theme of the Third Beijing Biennale, echoes with "One World, One Dream", the slogan of the Beijing Olympic Games, enhancing the inner connection between contemporary art and the Olympic spirit, thus further reflecting the idea of building up a harmonious world. "Colors" here represents plastic arts, mainly including the artistic forms such as painting and sculpture. Rich colors mean the persity of human cultures, and are also symbolic of the pluralistic development of contemporary art in the world. "Olympics" not only refers to sports, being courageous, with the holistic balance of the body, will and soul, to accept the limit challenges of pursuing the goal of higher, faster, and stronger, but also refers to the harmonious spirit, initiated by the Olympic Games, of peaceful competition, unity and friendship, fitness and progression, and common development among human beings. "Olympics" has added more general and profound spiritual implications to "Colors" and the latter in return has given richer and more miraculous artistic forms to the former. "Colors and the Olympics" have built a bridge between contemporary art and the Olympic spirit, linking cultures of different nations and localities from the East to the West. By means of this rainbow bridge, the human dream of building up a harmonious world will be enhanced to a higher and newer realm. This is also the core idea of the Beijing "Humanistic Olympics and Green Olympics". The international symposium attached to the Third Beijing Biennale, which is to be held at the Beijing Hotel on July 9th, 2008, will delve further into the relationship between "the Olympic spirit and artistic ideal". The Beijing Biennale has maintained the contemporary artistic genres of painting and sculpture as its main forms of exhibition. This not only tallies with the present situation of the mainstream of Chinese artistic creation, but also conforms to the trend of reviving the painting in contemporary art circles in the world, thus forming the unique characteristics of the Beijing Biennale. The themes of the Beijing Biennale, which embody the lofty idea of building up a harmonious world, and its characteristics as a contemporary art center of international painting and sculpture, have won wide-ranging identification and positive responses by artists both at home and abroad. After the Third Beijing Biennale issued its message calling for exhibits, artists in China, including Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, and those throughout the world, totaling up to 2997, have sent 7677 pieces of works, showing their strong enthusiasm for supporting the Beijing Olympic Games and participating in the Beijing Biennale.
The Third Beijing Biennale consists of one theme exhibition entitled "Colors and the Olympics" and five special exhibitions, namely the British Special Exhibition, the Norwegian Special Exhibition, the Mongolian Special Exhibition, the Mexican Special Exhibition, and the Special Exhibition of Contemporary World Prints. The nations participating in the theme exhibition and special exhibitions are altogether 81, involving 701 artists and 747 pieces of works, having surpassed the first two Beijing Biennales in terms of scale, and can be rated as the largest international art exhibition since the founding of the People’s Republic of China or veritable ‘Olympics of art’. The works of the theme exhibition reveals that artists of various countries have all consciously created around the theme of ‘Colors and the Olympics’. While expounding her work entitled ‘Shared Emotions’, a female Argentine artist says, ‘the arrangement of the background and the great variety of colors shows the large persity of countries sharing these emotions. The art brings on these Olympiads: The beauty, the harmony and the sports represented by five pets which gives to this moment energy, strength and peace while the painted eyes in each of them are made in many emotions among human beings.’ One Italian artist also says, ‘different kinds of sports display a harmonious world.’ Naturally, in the great atmosphere and strong magnetic field of the Beijing Olympic Games, the works of painting and sculpture for this Beijing Biennale, which directly depict Olympic subject-matters and portray skilful athletes, are of very high proportion and most noticeable. Nevertheless, the works for the exhibition are by no means simple diagrammatic explanations or conceptual interpretations of the theme of the exhibition, and are not confined to stressing the colors themselves or depicting sports. Instead, various kinds of artistic styles and techniques, including the classic, modern, realistic, freehand, concrete, abstract, expressionist, symbolist, surrealist, and collagist ones, have been adopted to express contemporary human beings’ dreams of peace, aspirations to beauty, extolment of youth, and admiration of strength, thus carrying forward the Olympic spirit in the deep sense of existence. In addition to persified styles, the works for the exhibition by Chinese artists are also rich and full in terms of genres. Merely take painting as example. It includes different kinds of painting such as traditional Chinese painting, oil painting, print painting, watercolor painting, rockcolor painting, and mixed media. Although the five special exhibitions also basically match the theme of ‘Colors and the Olympics’, the spirit of reason of the British Special Exhibition, the North European customs of the Norwegian Special Exhibition, the magnificent grassland view of the Mongolian Special Exhibition, and the magic colors of the Mexican Special Exhibition, all have distinctive features of their own regional cultures. The works for the Special Exhibition of Contemporary World Prints are art treasures selected from the Fifth International Print Biennale held in both Spain and Italy in 2008, and that Print Biennale had ‘Fire’ as its theme, thus consciously matching the theme of ‘Colors and the Olympics’ of this Beijing Biennale. Of all the elements in the universe, fire is the one most rich in colors and vitality, containing meanings such as brightness, warmth, purity, new life, sacredness, pineness, wisdom, love, and enthusiasm, and is usually regarded as a symbol of the Olympic spirit. The flame of the Olympic spirit has been passed all the way from Athens to Beijing, illuminating up the soul of the people of various countries across the world who are longing for a bright and glorious future, lighting up also the fire-like creative enthusiasm of artists from different nations.
The Olympic flame will never die out,
For mankind always cherishes the dream of peace;
The colors of art will never fade away,
For mankind always cherishes the aspiration for beauty.