Recently, an academic seminar on “The Way of Appearance” by Clay Figure Zhang Shijia was held in the Rixin Study Room on the fourth floor of the Tianjin University Beiyangyuan Campus Library. Guests who attended and spoke at this seminar include Professor Xue Fuxing, director of the Aesthetics Teaching and Research Section of the School of Philosophy of Nankai University and doctoral supervisor in the field of Chinese aesthetics; Professor Sun Qinglin, deputy dean of the School of Artificial Intelligence of Nankai University and member of the Intelligent Space and Space Professional Committee of the Chinese Artificial Intelligence Society; Tianjin Professor Zhao Limin, dean of the School of Liberal Arts of Normal University and executive vice president of the Chinese Novel Society; Professor Gao Yingjin, a member of the Visual Arts Research Center of Nankai University and the Central Academy of Calligraphy and Painting of the Jiusan Society; Mr. Zhang Zhangyu, vice chairman of the Tianjin Federation of Literary and Art Circles and a sixth-generation clay figurine. Professor Zhou Zhiqiang, director of the School of Liberal Arts and Contemporary Aesthetic Culture Research Center of Nankai University, was online to speak and participate in the discussion. Experts briefly discussed sculpture techniques from multiple fields and angles. This event was hosted by Professor Chen Chen from the School of History and Culture of Tianjin Normal University.
Professor Xue Fuxing, based on the history of Chinese sculpture, talked about the internal reasons for the success of the clay figurine Zhang Shijia. He believed that the clay figurine Zhang Shijia removed the roughness of folk art and the neglect of realism in court art, and consciously took the best of both worlds and at the same time introduced the Western It absorbs techniques, so its emergence in the art field is a Copernican revolution. It also enriches the desk space in the social field and plays an important role in aesthetic education.
Professor Gao Yingjin analyzed the development history of Western art in a simple and easy-to-understand way. The growth of traditional Chinese culture requires new fashions, maintaining its roots, and integrating foreign ideas. Mr. Zhang Yu has made a lot of exploration and precipitation in terms of techniques, materials, shapes, techniques, and colors, and has made many new attempts. This revolution is an evolution of tradition, not a change, in which Western art is only a reference.
Professor Zhou Zhiqiang expressed his views online. Clay figurine Zhang is the label of traditional art and culture in Tianjin. Tianjin is a city with a high degree of organic growth of art. He quoted the British scholar Williams’s view that art can only serve a few people. However, the clay figurine Zhang did not follow the rules of the art system and insisted on a people-oriented taste of life and a pure way of life. He reviewed the history of clay figurine Zhang and the changes passed down through six generations, and put forward three views. 1. Mr. Zhang Yu boldly drew on sculpture art techniques and used a combination of modern sculpture and traditional techniques to create new aesthetic works that represent the Chinese artistic spirit and aesthetic heritage. 2. Mr. Zhang Yu shapes characters in situations and contextualizes his works, which is a breakthrough in the traditional clay figurine Zhang sculptures. 3. Mr. Zhang Yu’s works are lifelike in detail and depict the emotions of all living beings vividly, making the works unforgettable for a long time.
Professor Zhao Limin took a different approach and launched his own exposition on the theme of “Approaching Zhang Yu”. Professor Zhao conducted an in-depth analysis of Mr. Zhang Yu’s works through his impressions of the artist Zhang Yu. He also advocated that traditional Chinese culture needs to be restored and passed on and returned to culture. I hope that Mr. Zhang Yu will offer general education courses in more universities, and I also look forward to having more academic exchanges with Mr. Zhang Yu. The expression of Chinese classical literary spirit in Mr. Zhang Yu’s new work “Confucius Plays the Qin” is undoubtedly an exploration of seeing the clouds on the shoulders of giants.
Professor Sun Qinglin talks about “Is Returning to Tradition a Betrayal?” 》as the theme, taking the Renaissance as a guide, it proposes to follow tradition, respect tradition, and the return of tradition is a process of progress of the times. Sculpture itself is a form of cultural inheritance that can transcend the boundaries of time and space. We can use the development of sculpture to deduce a model of the progress of the times. And as an expert in the field of artificial intelligence, Professor Sun looks forward to further cross-disciplinary cultural exchanges with clay figurine Zhang Art. Returning to tradition does not mean betrayal, it is just a derivative and an innovation based on tradition.
Finally, Mr. Zhang Yu deeply expressed his understanding of the clay figurine Zhang’s colorful sculptures and the positioning of the clay figurine Zhang Shijia brand. As an important part of China’s excellent traditional culture and intangible cultural heritage, “Clay Figure Zhang” has had a profound impact across the country and even the world, demonstrating the charm and essence of Chinese culture. Along with the great journey of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and reform and opening up, “Clay Figure Zhang” has gone through an extraordinary road and achieved extraordinary achievements. From the first-generation founder Zhang Mingshan to the current sixth-generation inheritor Zhang Yu, “Clay Figure Zhang” not only shows the unique charm of traditional folk art, but will definitely continue to write a new chapter for the century-old legend of traditional skills. Mr. Zhang Yu said: “Our value is to serve as a stepping stone for the growth of the next generation, allowing those who come after us to rise.”
Experts from many fields in this seminar made objective and incisive analyzes of many issues in Chinese classical sculpture art, and made important explorations and experience summaries on contemporary painted sculpture teaching, creative practice and theoretical research from both theoretical and practical aspects. It has practical guiding significance and long-term influence on promoting national art and promoting the diversified development of contemporary sculpture art.
It is reported that students from Tianjin University recently conducted clay sculpture experience creations, which awakened everyone’s perception and expressive power through vision, hearing, and touch, and gave them a deeper sense of the centuries-old art and craftsmanship.