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Published: April 13th 2019
A rainy day in Beijing was a good excuse to visit a museum. A quick online search came up with the National Art Museum of China, so I headed there. It is really easy to get to and even has its own subway station with an exit right in front of the museum. The museum is free to enter but you must show your passport at the ticket office. I was hoping that I would get a ticket like at the Capital Museum, but not so. Probably for the best as it is a bit of a waste of paper. Since it was raining, I had expected the museum to be really busy, but there weren't too many people.
After security, I headed to the entrance, but first I stopped at some sculptures outside. The first row were by Salvador Dali. I wasn't expecting to see his work here, so that was a nice surprise. I love the tortured brutal nature of the sculptures. There were some more sculptures in the row behind. These were by three Chinese sculptors. They all seemed to depict childhood. I loved the conteast of the sculptures with the bright gree grass behind them. I
don't know if it was the rain making the grass look so green or it is always like that. I headed inside the museum and when I went to take a look around the ground floor was told to head to the third and fifth floors to see the exhibiitions there. The ground/first flior must be undergoing renovation work. I took the stairs and made my way to the third floor. On this floor, the exhibition was entitled 'Shape of Expression'. This showcases work from the teachers from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts department. I wandered through the galleries, looking at the different pieces on display, some huge while others were smaller. The spring/summer flowers by Cai Jin that dominated one wall was truly beautiful. There was also a huge piece of a derelict building that felt 3D like, I almost wanted to step into the building to explore. One criticism of the gallery was the lack of English signage. Bar the names of the artists, there was nothing else, not even the names of the paintings. I really liked the pieces by Sun Jian Ping, these were large pieces that were filled with people. had no idea who
any of the people were, but I saw two old men chatting and naming all the people in the pictures. I also liked the Bhuddhas, that were painted in bright colours. They looked really modern. Another favourite was a group of people all sitting in a line. They looked to be from one of China's ethnic minority groups. It was a beautiful painting.
I headed up to the fifth floor. The exhibition on this floor was called 'Forever Young' and showcased art from young artists, I think. This gallery was cool and I enjoyed looking around the paintings. I loved the one of the old man and woman, who were dressed in traditional clothing. The colours were just beautiful. There were lots of pictures of warfare. I really liked the old school Communist ones that looked like propaganda posters. They reminded me of my trip to North Korea. It didn't take long to get around the museum and I was heading straight to the exit, when I saw some more sculptures dotted around the grounds, so I went for a look at those. The ones to the left of the building seemed to be following a military theme. Lots
of men in military poses holding weapons such as bombs and guns. There was one of a woman and birds that was entitled 'Peace'. I did find it a bit gender stereotyping, men as creators and participants in war, while the female symbolised peace. On the other side, there were statues of different famous Chinese scholars. I spent ages looking at the first statue as he looked really familiar, but I just couldn't place him. Finally, I read the name tag and found out it was Lu Xun, a famous scholar and write from Shaoxing. I had visited his hometown and spent time visiting his home. I really must read some of his work, that is now on my to read list. Two of the other scholars were Tao Xingzhi and Zhu Ziqing. There was also a rather strange looking headless man/creature on horseback across from those, but I can't remember what the name plate said. The sculptures looked pretty in the rain with the fallen cherry blossom petals on and around them.
To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with the museum. I'm glad it was free, as I would have been a bit gutted if I'd actually
bought a ticket. Maybe if the exhibits on the ground floor were open, there would have been more to see. I have since checked the exhibitions online and it looks like my timing was really off as several exhibitions opened only a couple of days after my visit. Also, there was nothing apart from a few artists' names in English so I needed to use guesswork to figure out some of the paintings. The location of the museum is great, at the top of Wangfujing Street, so really convenient for people in the area, but not worth going out of your way to visit.
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