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Call of destiny brings artist back to the fold

Updated: 2013-09-16 10:30
By Zhang Zixuan ( China Daily)

Call of destiny brings artist back to the fold

Weng Xuesong holds his solo exhibition at Shanghai's Minsheng Art Museum. Provided to China Daily

At an exhibition opening at Shanghai's Minsheng Art Museum, the tinkling of a piano was accompanied by Chinese Kunqu Opera.

The contrast of the two different musical styles was fitting for an exhibition by Weng Xuesong, a man who has spent most of his life serving the arts, but only recently started working as a professional. "The call of destiny seems to always come accidentally," says the 51-year-old.

Born in Chongqing, Weng has been obsessed with painting since he was a child. With inner certainty, the skinny, short kid often spent a whole day painting along the Yangtze River with his easel.

After graduating from Chong-qing Art School, Weng taught in his alma mater as a sketch teacher for almost a decade during the 1980s.

In the 1990s, Weng seized the opportunities of China's opening-up and achieved financial success with his design studio in Beijing.

One day in 2002, Weng saw three of his old sketches in a book of China's best sketches. He suddenly realized that for all his financial success, he had not achieved what he had set out to do artistically.

"I cannot let 80-year-old me find that I've failed my dreams from my 20s," Weng recalls.

Weng terminated his businesses and returned to his art. He has been more commonly known as the artist "Xuesong".

"I don't think amateur means non-professional," says Minsheng Art Museum executive director Li Feng, using great Chinese amateur poets Bai Juyi (772-846) and Su Shi (1037-1101) as examples. "Amateur is a free state, which helps Weng to portray a lifestyle, and - most importantly - sincerity."

In 2010, Weng's first-ever solo exhibition was held in National Art Museum of China. It was a huge success.

"Xuesong's artwork inclines toward a personal spiritual world, revealing a unique creative direction by taking a road that goes straight to the depths of the soul," comments National Art Museum of China director Fan Di'an.

Call of destiny brings artist back to the fold

"Xuesong's paintings represent another kind of abstract - his Western techniques create stones with light and shadow, which raise the question for the viewers: 'How should I look at the stones'," says renowned US-based Chinese ink artist Li Huayi.

The power of Weng's works comes from his passion toward life, agree many of Weng's friends. For example, he loves talking about cooking, considering it as his other creation.

"My life is like doing subtraction," Weng says. "What left now is the true me."

For more art, here