John Moores Painting Prize China
01 August 2011
The Liverpool School of Art and Design recently celebrated an exhibition of the first John Moores Painting Prize China, a new version of the Liverpool-based competition, which was launched in 2010.
The prizewinners Zhang Wei, Zhang Zhenxue, Zou Tao and Li Zhouwei enjoyed a residency at Liverpool co-hosted between the Liverpool School of Art and Design, The University of Shanghai and the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust, with participation by Liverpool's most significant arts organisations.
The artists worked in studios at the Art and Design Academy throughout July, preparing for the exhibition, which featured a 25M-LONG painting of Liverpool’s skyline created by Zhang Zhenxue, as its centrepiece. This stretched almost the full length of the fourth-floor studio at the Liverpool Art and Design Academy, which overlooks the places he has painted including some of Liverpool’s best known landmarks.
The artists spoke to The Liverpool Daily Post, about their work.
Zhang Zhenxue said that the ‘architecture was the first thing that struck him on his arrival to Liverpool last month.’
He told the paper: “In China, we have a lot of new architecture but here the architecture is so classical and you protect it very well. I walked around the streets and took photographs then painted the buildings I thought were the most impressive when I got back to the studio.”Pictured right: Exhibition centrepiece of Liverpool’s skyline created by Zhang Zhenxue. Li Zhouwei, a teacher at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, who has created a series of landscapes and portraits also told The Liverpool Daily Post about her work.
"They show my experience of Liverpool,” she explains. "The sky is very blue and there are a lot of clouds. The people here seem very relaxed. In China everyone is always very busy. I painted some of the people I have met here and the things which were most impressive to me."
Zou Tao, from Shenyang, was taken by the way bricks in British architecture are left exposed when in China they are usually covered. His paintings include a series of four using bricks as a metaphor for the burdens we carry with us through life.
Finally, Zhang Wei, from Hangzhou in eastern China, created an installation made of patchwork umbrellas lit with internal lights of changing colours. A repeated sound similar to the tolling of a bell accompanies the work.
"I was inspired by the (Metropolitan) Cathedral,” he explains, “and wanted to make my own form of architecture that would be what an artist would want. The style would come from artists’ imaginations and I built it from umbrellas because it is always raining in Liverpool."
It is the first time the artists have visited the UK. The Prizewinning works were also shown at the Walker Art Gallery, as part of the John Moores Painting Prize 2010. The residencies form the Prizes for the Painting Prize in China and offer the artists studio-time, research and travel opportunities.
Juan Cruz, Head of Research at the School of Art and Design commented: "This was a fantastic exhibition and I would like to congratulate all the prizewinners. The School of Art and Design is continually working with creative industries such as the Biennial and the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition Trust in order to develop projects of International quality and global reach.
"We are also promoting a programme of staff exchange with the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Shanghai that was initiated following an introduction from the Liverpool Biennial. So far Peter Appleton, Reader in Creative Technology and Patricia Mackinnon Day, Reader in Environmental Art have been to Shanghai and there have been return visits from the Shanghai Faculty. We are also looking at research projects with the University and devising further exchange possibilities."
The First Prizewinner from John Moores Painting Prize China 2010, Han Feng will undertake a solo residency to be hosted by Chinese Arts Centre in Manchester in 2012. Further exchanges between the Prize’s Prizewinners from the UK and China are planned, with artists Peter McDonald and Keith Coventry invited to take-up residencies at Shanghai University.
Pictured above: Zhang Wei with his installation
Read The Liverpool Daily Post article and view the gallery at: http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/liverpool-life-features/liverpool-arts/2011/07/28/finalists-of-john-moores-painting-prize-china-exhibit-at-the-liverpool-art-and-design-academy-gallery-92534-29132789/