In 1924, Lin Fengmian, together with 26 traveling Chinese artists in France, curated the first Chinese fine art exhibition at the Palais du Rhine in Strasbourg, bringing together 485 pieces of ancient Chinese and modern artworks for the exhibition. The exhibition was an inspiring cultural declaration for the Chinese artists at that time. It was through this exhibition that the pioneer of modern Chinese education Cai Yuanpei, first began to take notice of Lin Fengmian and the other Chinese artists in France. 3 years later, Cai Yuanpei invited Lin Fengmian to be the president of China Academy of Art. This marked the beginning of higher art education in China, and it was this “Exposition Chinois d’Art Ancient et Moderne” which would eventually become the pre-history of China Academy of Art.
When we look back on those exciting times some 90 years ago, the close exchange between French and Chinese artists in France is obvious. It was towards the beginning of the twentieth century that the ideas which spawned during the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Paris Commune, and Romanticism would go on to inspire China’s New Cultural Movement. During the mid-twentieth century, a group of French intellectuals, with André Malraux at its forefront, regarded China as an extreme representative of anti-instrumental rationality, a nation which offered the possibility of “breaking with the Europe of the past”. The generation of 1968 responded to the Chinese revolution by engaging in the battlefield of social movements inspired by the Cultural Revolution. And since the turn of the new century, French radical philosophy has once again has become a core of Chinese artistic thought.
CAO Linwei, CHENG Hongqing, CHEN Yiming, CUI Xiaodong, DING Zhongyi, DU Ziling, GU Yingqing, GUAN Jianxin, HAN Likun, HE Zhouhong, HUA Jun, HU Zhenyu, JIAO Xiaojian, LAI Yuan, LI Gen, LI Zhenpeng, LIN Wan, JIN Yide, LU Qi, PAN Honghai, REN Zhizhong, SUN Jinggang, WANG Yutian, WANG Zan, WEI Xiaorong, WENG Danxian, WU Dayong, WU Guanhua, WU Shanming, WU Xiansheng, WU Xiaohua, XU Jiang, XU Mo, YANG Canjun, YIN Hua, YIN Xiong, YU Zhenping, ZHAO Qi, ZHANG Gumin, ZHANG Renyuan, ZHANG Xiaoming