Han Meilin Art Exhibition
Date:Dec 26, 2011 - Feb 8, 2012
Venue:Galleries S1 - 4

To take part in building a spiritual home of the Chinese nation and to promote Chinese culture to the world, well-known artist Han Meilin will organize his solo exhibition at the National Museum of China from December 26, 2011 to February 8, 2012. Occupying an area of nearly 6,000 square meters, this exhibition will showcase over 3,000 pieces of artworks ranging from painting, sculpture, ceramic to design. In recent years, Mr. Han Meilin has established Han Meilin Art Galleries in Beijing and Hangzhou, and donated thousands of his artworks to the country. Today, Mr. Han has a broader artistic vision and more creative freedom, and his art has also reached a new height. This exhibition will be the perfect gift for museum viewers to welcome the New Year.
  About the artist

Born in Jinan, Shandong Province on December 26th in 1936, and graduated from the Central Academy of Arts and Design, Han Meilin is known as an industrious explorer and practice of art. His works include painting, calligraphy, sculpture, ceramics, logo design and even writing. He draws the marrow of Chinese folk art and the culture dating back to the period before Han Dynasty (202 BC-220AD), and displays those elements in his works in modern art forms.

In 1980, he held his art exhibition in 21 cities in the United States and was given the Golden Key of the city of San Diego as an honorary citizen; in the same year his cartoon The Fox and the Hunter won the Best Fine Arts Prize of the 4th Zagrab International Cartoon &Animation Festival in Yugoslavia. In 1983, six of his works were elected as UN’s Christmas card pictures. In 2003 and 2004, he was granted the honor of special contribution to world art and the world art master prize by the World Artists Association. In 2004, he was granted the President’s Award for Educational Excellence by the former US president George Bush. Han Meilin has made great contribution to promote the development and exchange of art and culture. He has been invited to foreign countries such as Japan and India for art and culture exchange and been topped the list of The Most Global-Concerned Chinese Characters by Global Times in 2011. He has two Han Meilin Art Galleries located in Beijing and Hangzhou.

His masterpieces include Calligraphy of Ancient Characters Album: The Sealed Book; Large Urban Sculptures: A Group of Tigers, Emperor Shun Plowing the Fields, Five Dragons Clock Tower, (Atlanta, USA), Dragons of Qiantang River, The King Qian Shooting the Tide, Fire Phoenix, Fire Phoenix Greeting Auspicious, A Hundred Birds Worship the Phoenix;
Design Works: logo of Air China, Mascots of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games—Fuwa; Collection of Paintings: Mountain Flowers in Full Bloom, Meilin, Selection of Painting Works of Han Meilin and Selection of Sculpture Works of Han Meilin;
Collection of Essays: Quotation from Han Meilin, Narrative of Han Meilin, Han Meilin’s Human Body Painting Album, The Full Moon Returns—Teaching Sketch Collection of Han Meilin’s Human Body, Masticating and Ingesting Landscape—Han Meilin’s Landscape Painting Album, Good Bow in Hands—Han Meilin’s Chinese Calligraphy Album etc.

Han Meilin is now the member of Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, member of China Central Research Institute of Culture and History, Director of Ceramics Committee of the China Artists Association, Vice Chairman of the United World Chinese Association, Honorary Academician of Chinese Culture Research Institute, Chairman of the Calligraphy and Painting Committee of the China Crafts and Art Society, Standing Committee Member of China Peaceful Unification Promotion Agency, professional writer of China Writers Association, professor and Vice Director of Academic Committee of Tsinghua University, Doctoral supervisor of National Academy of Arts of China.
  Chinese Calligraphy and Traditional Painting
Among all of Han Meilin’s paper-medium artworks, Chinese painting and calligraphy dominate. They stand out in his artistic style.

In these works, animals and human figures are his major motifs. In the composition of animals or human figures, he never takes a rigid approach. He tends rather to stretch and deform them, and make them suitable for decoration and the ink-and-wash technique.

Han Meilin’s ink painting carries on the tradition but also makes many new creations. In artistic layout, he displays innovation,nobility and elegance; in painting style, he is very fresh,implicit,free and composed. His unique painting style is closely related to his own personality, life experience, aesthetic opinions and artistic practice, as well as the great influence of time and traditional art.

Calligraphy is an essential component of Han Meilin’s art. There are three forms: one is a variant of the Yan style of regular script, one is the cursive style which represents his personality and maintains the purity of Chinese calligraphy, and another is seal script that blends well with his decorative style. His regular script is solid, straight and upright, which reflects his own spirit and personality. His cursive writing is very natural and fluid, which is another outstanding Han Meilin characteristic. His seal characters are graceful and changeable, which mirror his artistic inspiration. Together, these three styles complement each other and combine firmness and flexibility.

Han Meilin has also created Sealed Book based on his collection of tens of thousands of characters from inscriptions on ancient oracle bones, ceramics and bronze objects. Their pronunciations, meanings and structures are hard to trace. Sealed Book is about inscriptions, writing styles and paintings.
In terms of size, Han Meilin tends to move between two extremes: large works ranging from a few meters to several tens of meters, and small ones as little as a cup or saucer, or the palm of a hand. He never tires of creating. When it comes to a sizable piece, it can be breath-taking with its nobility, grandeur and magnitude. Without size, there would not be such a striking visual effect. Han Meilin has created many large scale outdoor sculptures, but on display here are only those that this space can accommodate. Nonetheless, visitors can catch a glimpse of this ability to master large pieces and the immensity those artworks manifest.

All these works are not only astonishing in scale, but also show that decorative sculptures with Chinese cultural features as represented by Han Meilin’s works, have established their own system. Han Meilin’s work is not bound by the realistic sculpture rules. His works absorb and blend the rules of Chinese ancient decorative art and draw the pattern styles and expressive techniques of ancient art. As a result, he enlarges all of these elements into his own symbols and creates his unique aesthetic style with modern features. Viewing his sculpture works, all visitors understand the decorative effect of the sculpture as an important point to appreciate.

Here in this hall are some small versions of giant sculptures. The visitors can fully image how those giant sculptures perfectly fit into the wide-open spaces in which they are located.
  Pottery and Porcelain
Han Meilin particularly likes ceramics and all kinds of arts and crafts, such as Jun porcelains, celadon wares, Yixing teapots, colored glass, etc.

Chinese traditional ceramics, as part of Chinese splendid ancient culture, is universally recognized and unsurpassed. Han Meilin’s ceramic design includes porcelain cups, plates, bottles, bowls, pots, and so on, of which, hanging plates, Jun porcelains, and Yixing teapots are the primary items on display. These uniquely designed crafts, deeply touched by the artist’s personal color, retain the advantages of traditional Chinese art technology and also integrate a philosophy of modern modeling design.

During the Culture Revolution, Han Meilin was sent to work in Huainan Porcelain Factory in Anhui Province. Though he experienced hardships, he learned solid porcelain techniques and understood Chinese porcelain. He has also driven his Art Caravan to Yuzhou, Henan Province and made great contributions to the improvement and development of Jun porcelain. He expanded Jun porcelain from 20 to more than 700 types and created large Jun porcelain works which are 1.9 meters high thus establishing a new size record.

Yixing teapot culture has a long history, which combines the marrow of natural science and culture, including calligraphy, painting, sculpture, and decoration. Han Meilin’s Yixing teapot art integrates the elements of shape, style, and spirit, with strong artistic appeal. The Yixing teapots displayed here possess distinctive shapes, strict structures, concise lines, mixed beauty of strength and gentleness, and delicate techniques, showing traditional Chinese deep and elegant beauty.
In Han Meilin’s artistic life, folk art and logo designs are important ways to communicate with the public.

As a unique Chinese cultural phenomenon and spiritual pursuit, Han Meilin has formed an Art Caravan (as he joking refers to it) of his and his students own cars and traveled through many cultural centers of China since 1980’s. Han Meilin devoted himself to understanding the essence of Chinese culture and folk art prior to the Han Dynasty (202BC-220AD) and transforming these traditional elements into artworks with a strong modern aesthetic concept. This is the secret of Han Meilin’s unique artistic style.

The folk art showcased in this hall includes Shandong cotton printing, Hunan embroidery based on Han Meilin’s paper ornamental painting, wood carving, etc.

He has designed many national projects, such as the Fuwa mascots for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. It is well known that he designed the Air China phoenix logo in 1988. He has recently finished the cabin re-designing project for Air China. He has created many other logos for famous cultural groups, activities and companies such as: Chinese Film Association, Asia Youth Art Festival, Chinese Arts & Crafts Institute, Peking Union Medical College Hospital, and etc.

As a tireless artistic practitioner and explorer, Han Meilin extends his creative perspective to a broader artistic designing field. He wishes to improve Chinese people’s artistic accomplishments so that more people can enjoy the happiness and beauty of art. Han Meilin is always actively striding along his artistic path. All these artworks on display here represent his new journey rather than his summary.

All the accomplishments Han Meilin has achieved reflect his consistent and tireless effort. Some are satisfied with their talent and cannot tolerate loneliness; however, Han Meilin, like other outstanding artists, works ceaselessly on art just like an ascetic monk.

In this hall, there are Han Meilin’s original and duplicated manuscripts of design and painting, which he jokingly refers to as his “exercise books”. Having seen these books, we can better understand the origin of his artistic skills and his good habit of treasuring space. We can see various finger gestures and facial expressions from the drafts for the Fuwa, which totaled more than 70……

Just look at Han Meilin’s thick stacks of manuscripts! Every page is full of his drawings. Through these images, you can touch his heart and feel his inspiration. Having seen his manuscripts, you will certainly be deeply moved.

This exhibition collects parts of his manuscripts, from which all of his huge artworks originated. Manuscripts are Han Meilin’s creativity base, birthplace, home base and his training ground as well.
Time Event Venue
Dec 20th ,2011
(Tuesday 14:30 )
Press Conference NMC Lecture Hall
26th , 2011
(Monday 10:00)
Opening Ceremony NMC West Hall
Dec 26th , 2011
(Monday 14:00)
Cultural Forum
Modern Significance of Chinese Culture
NMC Lecture Hall
Dec 29th , 2011
(Thursday 15:30)
Inheritance & Transcendence
— My View of Art
Tsinghua University (Auditorium)
Feb 2 , 2012 Art Lecture
Heaven, Earth, People and Art
NMC Lecture Hall
Feb 8th , 2012
(Wednesday 9:30)  
The Era of Great Change and Han Meilin Art