Chen Yifei (1946-2005), a legendary name in China's contemporary art history, doesn't seem to fade with the time. He endeavored to establish a "visual empire" in art, design, furnishing and costume.
"The Young Chen Yifei: A Javelin Thrower," an exhibition running through February 20, recalls a young Chen from the 1960s to 1970s through documentation, sketches and paintings created by him, together with videos and some everyday objects.
"The exhibition unveils to the public the art path covered by a young painter who later became a master," said Chen's younger brother Chen Yiming, who is also a renowned painter.
"It will also show Chen Yifei's passion and pursuit toward art during a very particular period."
According to him, some of the objects on loan from different collectors and institutions are being shown to the public for the first time. The exhibits include Chen's homework, various sketches and drafts when he was a student, such as "A Javelin Thrower."
The first section of the exhibition features the education in fine art since 1949.
During the period, it was difficult for students to access original Western art. The only way available was through albums. Chen was nurtured by a group of teachers who taught students Western painting techniques and the understanding of colors and anatomy.
The second part of the exhibition showcases Chen's "Red Classics" through which he rose to his early fame. He successfully balanced classical art and social realistic art in creating the daunting "historical paintings."
The last section tells visitors how Chen finally achieved such a high status in art from the very beginning. It displays his diary – his notebooks and materials or books that he read which ripened his later concepts in art.
One highlight of the exhibition goes to a cluster of sketches that Chen drew for his family members, including his grandmother, mother, brother and sister.
Date: Through February 20, 10am-5pm
Venue: Shanghai Jinchen YFM Art Gallery
Address: 88 Yonghong Rd