Exhibition Beijing

Neo-Mōrōism (3rd)
2015.09.26 (Sat) - 11.11 (Wed)

Tokyo Gallery +BTAP is pleased to announce the 3rd installment of Neo-Mōrōism, held from September 26 until October 11 this year.

Neo-Mōrōism was conceived of as an ongoing project back in 2013, with the aim of spearheading the spread of Asian culture and art in the rest of the world. Following up on ideas present in the two previous editions, for this third installment of Neo-Mōrōism we once again invite eminent art critic Pi Daojian to take up an academic seat. Mr. Pi is known for his role in entrenching and researching art theory and notions of creativity related to Chinese landscape painting from the 1980's onward. This edition of Neo-Mōrōism brings together ten artists from all over the world, among whom will be American artists Adam Weston and Michael Cherney, Japanese artists Gyoko Yoshida, Issei Kurihara & Tomihiro Nagahara, Pakistani artist Fatima Haider, as well as Chinese artists Qiu Shihua, Peng Si, Yang Xun and Yang Guoxin.

The term Mōrōism, first appearing during the Japanese Meiji Era, denotes a style of painting that makes no apparent use of traditionally drawn lines or explicit contour lines. The concept of "painting the void", proposed by Okakura Tenshin in 1898 (the 31st year of the Meiji Dynasty) as the title for a seminar he taught to painters at the Japanese Academy of Fine Arts, eventually gave way to a new style of expression within the realm of painting. At the time, this style was still referred to pejoratively as mōrō-tai. The term "painting the void" not only denotes the simple yet realistic rendering of landscapes unfolding before the painter's eyes, but also the use of pencil strokes to vividly render the shape of one's immediate surroundings, be it the rustling of the wind, twittering of birds or even the swaying of trees. Such practice was not only customary among Japanese painters: traces of a similar visual expression can be identified in the Western painting canon, such as Turner, the Symbolist school and American "Tonalism", a school that emerged contemporarily with the Mōrōist school. As different cultures have shown proof of such successively intersecting and pluralist developments within painting, this exhibition hopes to re-examine contemporary pictorial expression from both an international and historic vantage point.

What constitutes spirit, what constitutes man, what constitutes nature? These core concepts are under scrutiny in the ongoing exhibition series Neo-Mōrōism. The 20th century has witnessed the most drastic progress in all of history, however it gravely lacks serious consideration of the existence of spirits. The pressing issue that mankind must address in the 21st century is not the devastation taking place under the pretext of progress, but rather the issue of coexistence: coexistence amongst humans and between people and nature, as well as the re-acknowledging of the existence of spirits. I believe this is where lies the true responsibility of the artist.
This exhibition showcases the newest creations of artists who possess such a mentality.

With the conception of such a historic painting style as its premise, Neo-Mōrōism aims to re-explore the notion of Mōrōism. This then serves as an occasion for both hindsight and new, gustative exploration of the Asian pictorial expression, with the spread of Western artistic expression serving as a backdrop. Besides being conceived of as an exploration and summary of pictorial expression, the Neo-Mōrōism exhibition series is also aimed at producing discussions and research stances on the academic level.

We look forward to having the honor of your attendance and participation in this exhibit!

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