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Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes of Havana Presents Wang Xieda Chinese Art

Inside the eclectic Centro Asturianas, the Colecion de Arte Universal of Havana’s El Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes displays a row of ancient Greek statues. Behind the gazes of the white granite statues, contrasting styles of sculptures and paintings are arrayed across the hall.

The 300-square-meter exhibition space with a 6-meter high ceiling is packed with hundreds of viewers admiring and discussing the artwork on display. On 26 December 2010, the Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes of Havana opens its Arte China exhibition for one of contemporary China’s most talented artists, Wang Xieda. Born in Liaoning, China in 1968, Wang will exhibit 11 sculptures, 12 drawings and an installation. This is the first time Wang’s art will be on display in Latin America.

Among the hundreds of people who attended the opening event in the Cuban capital were some of the art world’s biggest names. The list included Jose Villa Soberon, one of Cuba’s most well known sculptors, Reny Martinez, a cultural critic for UNESCO in Cuba, Rafael Ricardo Gonzalez Vazquez of Empresa de Grabaciones, Flora Fong, a Cuban artist of Chinese descendent, Margarita Conzalez, curator of Asian art at the prestigious Wilfredo Lam Art Centre and Vice Director of the Havana Bienniale, Ms Liu Yuqin, the Chinese ambassador to Cuba, and many other artists, art critics and collectors.

With a fresh and unique style that integrates tradition and modernity, national aesthetics and globalization, East and West, Wang’s exploration and reflection of life makes viewers immediately fall in love with his artwork.

In order to best demonstrate the works’ unique traditional yet avant-garde characteristics, the Mesuo Nacional de Bellas Artes specially prepared the space next to its collection of European art for the exhibition. Such arrangements serve to underline the contrast between the ancient and the contemporary that Wang’s work personifies.

With an air of Eastern calmness and mysteriousness, Wang’s works show a completely different perspective of contemporary Chinese art to Western viewers that stimulates enthusiastic and positive responses from critics and the press. Cuba, the next hot corner of the art world, hosting a Chinese artist’s exhibition is already a thought-provoking event in and of itself, representing the stimulating clash and connection between the two cultures that Wang’s work highlights.

Moraima Clavijo Colom, director of the museum is extremely fond of Wang’s works. She called them “masterpieces”. Performing arts critic Reny Marinez claims that in Wang’s works he sees “dance.”

At the opening, Flora Fong, one of Cuba’s most celebrated artists, who is also of Chinese descent, found Wang’s expression of the Chinese aesthetic and his avant-garde techniques inspiring and imaginative. She was so inspired that she invited Wang to visit her home studio for further exchange of ideas.

Cuban sculptor Jose Villa Soberon was very fond of the way Wang deals with space when sculpting. Soberon, who has exhibited at IVAM in Valencia, Spain where Wang recently held a show, expressed Wang’s use of lines and space is very Eastern and very different from Western sculptors. Soberon believes that what makes Wang’s work so special is the way he expresses serenity and spirit so effectively.

For Wang Xieda, exhibiting his works in Cuba is a very meaningful experience. He claims his work is about exploring collective human life experiences that go beyond space and time, “Cuba [is] now going through a social transition, is where everyone is watching,” says Wang, “it is great to see the common human emotions and connections that [is] triggered in Cuban people by my work. It is an especially precious experience to have my works exhibited on this island that is so completely different from the rest of the world nowadays.”

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