New advanced design of iconic Chongqing art museum attracts visitors

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Editor’s note: This report focuses on Chongqing as part of our special series, “Rising Star Cities”, on Chinese cities with annual GDP exceeding 1 trillion yuan ($155.4 billion, more than the GDP of Qatar ). At the end of 2020, there were 23 such cities. Click here for more stories about Chongqing. You can also explore our previous coverage of Ningbo and Shanghai.

There is an amazing place that exemplifies the aura of art in Chongqing – the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute (SFAI). Going there will fill your heart with an “artistic spirit”. It’s not so much a university as a park. Every element of this college is designed to catch people’s attention.

Founded in 1940, it is the only art school in southwest China. There are two SFAI campuses; one is in Huang Juping and the other is in University City in Huxi, Shapingba District.

SFAI became one of the five art academies of China in 1959. The other four art academies are the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, the Academy of Arts and Design of Tsinghua University , also in Beijing, the Chinese Academy of Arts in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province and the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in Guangdong province.

Luo Zhongli, a contemporary Chinese painter known for his portraits of workers in rural China, October 20, 2021. /CGTN

Luo Zhongli, a contemporary Chinese painter known for his portraits of workers in rural China, October 20, 2021. /CGTN

The Luo Zhongli Art Museum, also known as the Art Museum of the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts, is the largest art museum in Chongqing. It was established in 2012 and the construction was completed in 2014. After the construction, it became the new landmark of the university city.

What is even more fascinating is that the outer wall of the art museum is made of trash. The museum purchased broken tiles from many different factories. Therefore, the wall is economical and environmentally friendly. Also, since it is part of the SFAI, more than 30 students participated in the construction at that time.

“This work contains our understanding of art, culture and tradition, including our understanding of ecological protection, conservation and low carbon, comprehensive adjustment, or reflection, and opportunity “said Luo Zhongli, a contemporary Chinese painter known for his portraits of laborers in rural China. His best-known work is “Father” (1980), an empathetic portrait of a wrinkled old man holding a bowl to his face. Moreover, he was the former director of the SFAI. The museum was built when he was director of the institute.

Luo also added that the construction of the new campus of Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts is another of his three-dimensional works after “Father”.

The art museum is not just a place for exhibitions. It is also a family gathering place and a place for parent-child activities, said He Guiyan, director of the art museum of the Sichuan Institute of Fine Arts. At the beginning, they had a basic positioning for the museum which was to serve the teaching of the academy and serve as a platform to promote scientific research and the exhibition of the academy.

He Guiyan, director of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Art Museum, October 20, 2021. /CGTN

He Guiyan, director of the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Art Museum, October 20, 2021. /CGTN

“We hope the museum will be a rich and diverse place suitable for people of different ages, gaining something and feeling a different power or experience of art,” he said.

Talking about the atmosphere of artistic creation, Luo said that the city is the important element to affect the creation of artists. The mountains and rivers of Chongqing have fostered the character of the people of Chongqing. And the “dock culture” is the origin of the strong and fierce character of the people of Chongqing.

“I think the cultural difference between Chengdu and Chongqing is the fundamental reason for the difference in people’s character,” Luo added. But in fact, Chongqing people are very frank and sincere. This characteristic has also become the reason why SFAI has continuously exported its works and talents to the art world over the past two years.

(Cover: Luo Zhongli Art Museum, also known as Sichuan Fine Arts Institute Art Museum in Chongqing Municipality, southwest China. /CFP)

Videographer: Ma Tianwen, Zhao Yuxiang

Screenwriter: Ye Qing

Video editor: Ye Qing

Executive Producer: Wu Gang

Supervisor: Pang Xinhua

Mildred D. Field