Enlightenment Salons on Wood Carving and Language
Stiftung Mercator, Alexander Ochs Galleries and Yishu 8 jointly present the first Beijing salons in the “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series
Beijing/Essen, 30 March 2011. How did the art of wood carving develop in Europe and China? How did European and Chinese protagonists of the Enlightenment shape the development of their mother tongues through their work? The first two salons staged by Stiftung Mercator within the framework of the “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series are dedicated to the subjects of wood carving and language.
On 2 April, German Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle will officially open Stiftung Mercator’s “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series at the National Museum of China. Stiftung Mercator is staging the events together with its partner, the National Museum of China. The series is an initiative of the German Ambassador to China and is supported by the Chinese Ministry of Culture. In addition to the forums at the National Museum of China, Stiftung Mercator, in cooperation with various Chinese partners, will be holding a series of salons on the subject, giving German and Chinese intellectuals the chance to exchange views and ideas on philosophical, social and artistic aspects of the Enlightenment. The salons are designed to imitate the classic salon of the Enlightenment and to offer a forum for open discussions of art, culture and philosophy.
Salon: Käthe Kollwitz, Lu Xun and the Wood Carving of Fang Lijun
White Space/Alexander Ochs Galleries
Saturday, 9 April 2011, 3 pm
Woodblock printing is an art form that was equally widespread in Europe and China even prior to the twentieth century, yet for many years artists in China and Europe followed different paths. This salon will explore European and Chinese interactions in the history of woodblock printing and will link the origins of the “wood carving movement” in China to contemporary Chinese art, based on the example of the artist Fang Lijun. German sinologist Michael Lackner, who created the Enlightenment in Dialogue salons, will speak on the basic principles of wood carving in Europe and China together with Heinrich Schulze Altcappenberg, director of the Museum of Prints and Drawings in Berlin. This will be followed by a presentation of a variety of works by the artist Fang Lijun, explaining how they relate to the tradition of twentieth century wood carving.
Salon: Enlightenment and Language
Sunday, 10 April 2011, 3 pm
Language as a means of disseminating the philosophical ideas of the Enlightenment is the subject of the second salon in the “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series. The salon will investigate how European and Chinese protagonists of the Enlightenment shaped the development of their mother tongues through their work. Gerda Hassler, director of the Institute for Romance Studies at the University of Potsdam, and Fang Weigui, professor of comparative literature studies at the School of Chinese Language and Literature at Beijing Normal University, will speak from their respective national perspectives on the influence of language on the Enlightenment, after which they will read from texts by well-known protagonists.
Statements about the salons:
Ambassador Dr Michael Schaefer, German Embassy in Beijing
“ ‘Enlightenment in Dialogue’ accompanies the most important exhibition that Germany has ever presented abroad: ‘The Art of the Enlightenment’. During the course of our ‘Enlightenment dialogue’, we will be discussing the values and ideals of the European Enlightenment with our Chinese partners and friends. European representatives of the Enlightenment movement enjoyed close ties with Chinese society and were inspired by China’s rich tradition, philosophy and literature. We wish to take advantage of this to achieve a productive intercultural dialogue.”
Dr Bernhard Lorentz, President of Stiftung Mercator
“By staging these salons within the framework of the ‘Enlightenment in Dialogue’ series, Stiftung Mercator hopes to create a forum in which German and Chinese intellectuals from different segments of society can come together. The salon idea thus reflects the guiding philosophy of Stiftung Mercator’s international activities: ‘Understanding one another, learning from one another and jointly overcoming challenges’.”
Professor Michael Lackner, Professor of Sinology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
“The revolutionary Chinese wood carving movement, which was initiated in the Shanghai of the nineteen thirties by Lu Xun, one of the most important representatives of the modern Chinese Enlightenment movement, enriches Chinese art by giving images new visual power, as can be seen in the wood carvings of Käthe Kollwitz. This influence on the Chinese art world is still evident today in the works produced by artists like Fang Lijun.”
Alexander Ochs, Founder of the Alexander Ochs Galleries Berlin, Beijing
“Enlightenment is essential, both in Europe and in China! Enlightenment is a process, and processes are not linear, just as the Chinese concept of time is a process. We can certainly learn from the way Chinese people interpret the Enlightenment.”
Christine Cayol, Founder of Yishu 8
“Yishu 8, an unconventional and creative oasis in the heart of Beijing's CBD, warmly welcomes Stiftung Mercator's events with which we share a common inestimable value of enlightenment through art, dialogue and cross-cultural exchanges.”
About “Enlightenment in Dialogue”
To accompany the exhibition, Stiftung Mercator will be staging the “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series together with its partner, the National Museum of China. Stiftung Mercator is making available a total of some 1.5 million euros for the purpose. The programme comprises five dialogue blocks which will continue for the entire duration – from spring 2011 to spring 2012 – of “The Art of the Enlightenment”, an exhibition presented by the Berlin State Museums, the Dresden State Art Collections and the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich, in cooperation with the National Museum of China. The exhibition has been made possible by Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and is supported by the BMW Group.
Each dialogue will consist of a public lecture and a panel discussion. Alongside the programme at the National Museum of China, Stiftung Mercator is teaming up with various Chinese partners to host a series of salons on the subject in which German and Chinese intellectuals will have the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions on philosophical, social and artistic aspects of the Enlightenment. The series, which was designed by a group of German and Chinese experts, will describe the basic principles of the European and Chinese Enlightenment. Members of the expert group include the journalist and historian Tilman Spengler, the sociologist Wolf Lepenies and Huang Ping, professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, as well as the director of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Pan Gongkai.
About “The Art of the Enlightenment”
On 1 April 2011, “The Art of the Enlightenment”, an exhibition presented by the Berlin State Museums, the Dresden State Art Collections and the Bavarian State Painting Collections in Munich, in cooperation with the National Museum of China, will be officially opened in Beijing. The National Museum of China, which is currently undergoing extensive modernization and expansion, will be the world’s largest museum building when it reopens; the first international guest exhibition it will host is this comprehensive exhibition on the art of the Enlightenment. Under the joint patronage of Chinese President Hu Jintao and Germany’s Federal President Christian Wulff, the exhibition will be on show in Beijing for a period of twelve months. For more information, visit www.kunstderaufklaerung.de
Press accreditation: For reasons of security and space, accreditation is necessary. Members of the press who are interested in taking part in the discussions are kindly requested to obtain accreditation for the salons by 5 April 2011 at www.aufklaerung-im-dialog.de/participation.
Language: Simultaneous interpretation between German and Chinese will be provided during the event.
If you should have any questions, please contact:
Phone: +49 201 245 22-840