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Exhibition shows peking opera through the lens of contemporary arts

By CHEN NAN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-28 09:33

Ink paintings portraying classic Peking Opera roles by artist Li Wenpei. ZOU HONG/CHINA DAILY

"Many young artists have less knowledge about Peking Opera. We invited them to watch Peking Opera shows, let them observe and talk to Peking Opera performers backstage. It's a research process for them, which is very rewarding," says Guan.

One of the art pieces on display is an installation by artist Huang Sida, which combines oil paintings portraying the scenes of the four Anhui Opera troupes coming to Beijing and a Chinese drum, which is usually used in the band accompanying Peking Opera performances. What intrigues the audiences is sparkling salt crystals spread under the drum. According to Guan, it indicates the fact that salt businessmen played an important role of financially supporting the Anhui Opera troupes to Beijing then.

Artist Li Yuerou, who has her work displayed in the exhibition series for the first time, also portrays the scene of the four Anhui Opera troupes coming to Beijing with a 10-meter-long scroll digital painting.

A highlight of the exhibition is a traditional Chinese ink painting by 82-year-old artist Li Wenpei. The painting portrays the legendary Tang Dynasty (618-907) concubine Yang Yuhuan in the classic Peking Opera piece, The Drunken Concubine. Peking Opera master Mei Lanfang (1894-1961) was known for playing the role and hailed as the "Four Great Dan" in the history of the art.

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