Art of life records print - Gu Yuan in Yanan
|School||Central Academy of Fine Arts|
|Keywords||Reflection Gu Yuan Yan-An Period Printmaking|
I envy Gu Yuan because he lived a happy life. While he participated in the liberation of China during the early20th century, he enjoyed a life that provoked him to fathom the essence of life and provided him sources for his art; his printmaking artworks truly reflected his political views during that era. Gu Yuan is a great example of someone who was determined to dedicate his life to creating artworks in hope of liberating the Chinese people. While he tirelessly created numerous printmaking artworks, he studied and explored printmaking techniques. When we are in search of a great artist of Gu Yuan’s era, we should never ignore Gu Yuan. Rather, we should study Gu Yuan’s works because through the window of his artworks, we can understand the Chinese people’s life and struggles during the Yan-An period. Gu Yuan’s printmaking artworks do not remind us much of the so-called hidden "political; agendas." This is because the artistic values which were embodied in his artworks and reflected his then genuine feelings for art outweigh the innate political views of Gu Yuan. Gu Yuan’s artworks during that period are not simply works of accumulative knowledge and techniques in printmaking; Gu Yuan’s artworks are not purely an awkward combo of eastern and western cultures, either. Rather, Guy Yuan’s artworks are his carols for communism in which he, an intellect, innocently and admirably believed. They are also the ideal worlds that the Chinese people imagined and dreamed of. Setting aside his naive beliefs in communism, Gu Yan’s passion and pursuit of veracity, kindness, and beauty in humanity, all of which are embedded in the works of a young artist who never received any formal and art institutional training, have earned him a special place in China’s art history. Shouldn’t we, the young people who have fortunately received these institutional trainings from prestigious art schools but are at loss of why we created arts, learn something from Gu Yuan?The Yan-An Period was forever gone. When Gu Yuan left Yan-An, he tried to recreate those passions and feelings for arts in his later works. But those works were no longer as fantastic as the ones he created during the Yan-An Period, such that the unique passions and feelings are nowhere to be found in his later works. If the nation’s struggle had continued, and if Gu Yuan had never left Yan-An, his magnificent works would not have been limited to186pieces.With the help of Gu An Cun, the descendent of Gu Yuan, I found and studied the articles written by Gu Yuan. Additionally, I found articles by others who studied Gu Yuan. Though many of these articles by others are full of their admirations for Gu Yuan, they are of introduction in nature or memoirs at best. Thus, they hardly have any academic value for purposes of studying Gu Yuan’s works. In my thesis, I intend to rely on articles by Gu Yuan and others, my notes from interviews of Gu Yuan’s descendant, and information and materials I collected from Gu Yuan’s hometown and museums dedicated for Gu Yuan’s works. Utilizing methodologies from iconography and statistics, I also plan to study the content and approaches of Gu Yuan’s printmaking artworks which were created during the Yan-An Period to reflect Chinese people’s liberation from struggles, as well as the evolution of Gu Yuan’s artistic style. I hope my research in Gu Yuan can further broaden and deepen the studying of Chinese contemporary arts.