Zhou Siwei: Aesthetic Research | Bao Dong

Like many artists from the same generation, Zhou Siwei’s art practice departed from an intentional distancing from the academic and especially, the realist art. Chinese realist art usually has double identities, one is considered as aesthetic values and ideological contents, serving as the basis of art-related policy making which is supported and directed by political parties and the government. It used to be the only legitimate model, including reflectionism, class theory, exemplarism, namely a series of aesthetic principles beyond mediums and genres such as “content dictates form.” The second identity of realism is the methodology of realism that’s conducting the aesthetic form as such within art, based upon representational skills, centred upon historical figures while aiming at literary and social expressions. Extending towards the capillary tips, this methodology also includes painting geometric solids, plaster figures, heads and bodies, and finally the thematic works. In short, this is what’s still being taught in the conventional departments of every art school in China. The two identities of realism are interconnected, in fact, they are the same thing, in English Realism can mean both Xieshizhuyi and Xianshizhuyi.

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