XINTIANDI, UCCA launch young artist incubation program

XINTIANDI of Shui On Xintiandi in Shanghai and the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art co-launched an open call for the 2024 “RanRan” Young Artist Incubation Program in Beijing on Friday.

“RanRan”, literally “a rising fire”, is a three-year strategic cooperation initiated in 2022, aiming to build an open platform for young artists that accommodates exploration and innovation. This year’s program, themed on “Bringing heritage to life”, calls for artists aged 45 and under who live and work in the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.

Artistry on a plate is a piece of cake

Baker Wang Fang has made cakes depicting 1,800 destinations, including Lingyin Temple from Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Baker’s ability to depict real-life scenes is a tasty treat, Yang Feiyue reports.

One might have a difficult time cutting into one of Wang Fang’s cakes, as they are practically works of art, almost too good to be spoiled. From natural wonders to cultural heritage, the baker from Taizhou in Zhejiang province has re-created 1,800 destinations from China and around the world out of butter and flour. They are miniature presentations of scenery full of detail.

One of her most popular works is of the “world’s loneliest house” in Iceland. Wang, in her 30s, did a fair job of re-creating the scenery at the destination, a bright green island surrounded by the sea, on which a tiny house with white walls and a dark roof sits.

“Everything is made from scratch,” says Wang, who is known by her customers as Fanghao, and who has named her bakery Fangland Cake.

“The natural texture of rocks is achieved with chocolate, and the green color is made with matcha powder, while the ocean is pulled off by buttercream, with waves made from whipped cream,” she explains.

Other classic creations include West Lake in Zhejiang’s provincial capital Hangzhou, which highlights its pagodas and islands, and Yueya (Crescent Moon) Spring, the crescent-shaped lake surrounded by the Gobi Desert in Dunhuang, Gansu province.

Landscapes, country people and homesickness highlighted under strokes

Fang Xiangming’s works show landscapes and people in his hometown in Zhejiang province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Fang Xiangming’s landscape paintings evoke the spirit of the Barbizon School, known for its regal depictions of the fields, woods, and people of Barbizon, near Paris, creating a sanctuary for the soul. However, Fang’s work takes on a distinct mood as he captures the landscapes and inhabitants of his native town in Kaihua, located in west Zhejiang province.

His ongoing exhibition, Hometown, at the Chinese Academy of Oil Painting until May 3, is a heartfelt tribute and offering to the land that has continuously nurtured his art and provided solace. The exhibition showcases approximately 280 oil works, sketches, and watercolors, offering a glimpse into the natural beauty and the local inhabitants who have served as his artistic and life mentors over the span of three decades.

This collection represents his gratitude and deep connection to the place that has shaped his artistic vision and provided him with inspiration and comfort.

Stitching together a family legacy

An embroidery work depicting the collision of gold nuclei is a big draw for visitors at the Suzhou Art Museum. [Photo by Gao Erqiang/China Daily]

Walking into the Suzhou Art Museum in Suzhou, Jiangsu province, the eyes of visitors are immediately drawn to an artwork hanging high on the wall that depicts the collision of gold nuclei, giving the surface impression of a contemporary art piece.

However, upon closer examination, viewers will see that the luster of its shimmering lines belies the ancient craft of Su embroidery, which originated in the city more than 2,000 years ago.

“Viewers mistake it for an oil painting at first sight. We hope to imbue the traditional craft with contemporary expressions,” says Zhang Fan, 48, one of the creators of the piece.

Next to the artwork are two Su embroidery works replicating abstract photos taken by US photographer Michael Yamashita. All of these works are produced by Zhang and his mother, Zhang Meifang, 78, a master embroiderer who created the collision piece in collaboration with established physicist Tsung-dao Lee.

In 2005, the Zhangs established an embroidery innovative center, applying the ancient stitching techniques of silk thread to modern art forms, including oil paintings, murals, sculpted reliefs and photos.

Known for its intricate techniques, elegant style and vibrant colors, Su embroidery usually focuses on birds and flowers, cats, landscapes and figures. Most embroiderers in the area have concentrated on these subjects for centuries, making it popular among both the nobility and the general populace for its exquisite needlework.