May 26 1947 Article in Jiangao Daily written by Wang Yilun
Article in the column, The Art Scene, “Exhibition of Mr. Huang Yao” published in the Jianguo Daily written by Wang Yilun.
Image from Mr Huang Dade
Exhibition of Mr. Huang Yao by Wang Yilun
Mr. Huang Yao's exhibition, can be divided into 2 parts : “The Contradiction” (Maodunji) and "The Vietnam Scenes" (Yuenan Fengguang). With regards to the content, everyone can see the big difference between these two collections. The former, as stated in the promotion, "what are painted are all real and not satire". Then the latter should be "satire" and not "reality"? Maybe, it can be described this way.
The people of a country that is colonized, who desires change, must unite with determination to be independent. In reality, people have no urgency, they appear to be happy, living a leisurely lifestyle where everything else is not important. This naturally is one side of the Vietnamese people. These foreign scenes are captured in paintings by Mr. Huang, when he arrived in Vietnam. There could be other scenes that were not shown here. The news in the newspaper have the smell of gun power (of French-Vietnam war) but the lifestyle shown here are realities of people not in the midst of war?
As for Maodunji, I like the section under "Yes sir!", I am enjoying it's humor in the solemn situation. Of course, these are taken from "true situations and not satire". But people with mental calmness are rare. Mr. Huang is frankly showing what is really happening, perhaps he was also ardently criticizing?
From drawing of a single painting, a series followed. Maybe having seen so many of these incidences has led him to use the cartooning method of squeezing [vast content] into a few scenes, and then painting them? Whatever the reasons, the incidents depicted in the paintings are real and they will continue to occur. Only when these incidents continue to happen, will cartoonists then have something to express. (Naturally, all well-intentioned satire cartoonists would wish that reality would change for the better, and they would be forced to change professions). It would be similar to a willingness to face death in order for nation to survive, this should be the conviction of soldiers. Else it is not possible to give rise to the power of assault. If people only talk or write without the experience of reality, then events of the world will be limited unlike the myriad happenings in a "human world".
The rest of the paintings, perhaps people will consider it as a form of exposing. Then let it be. It does not mean much if it is just for exposing. The subjects in the paintings are not as excessive or degenerating as what are actually happening in everyday life, or as interesting. All the incidents that are depicted in these paintings, we have already seen much of them and do we regard them as "strange"? But what can be done? Mr. Huang only has a brush!
Mr. Huang is famous for creating the humorous cartoon character Niubizi. Now his artworks are not about Niubizi, but one can see the Niubizi spirit in all of them. Well, it is not easy to change a habit. With art, whether it is good or bad is for another time to discuss.
Although Mr. Huang says his paintings are pure guohua (classical Chinese painting), you can only see the traditional part in the mounting of the paintings. There is not a drop of the "passiveness'' of the pure Chinese traditional paintings. His paintings are “active" and full of the taste of life today.
Deep understanding of the human world, results in this particular style of painting. One can view this as success or even failure, depending on how you look at it. But what is not in doubt is that Mr. Huang is well traveled. From east to west, north to south, he had traversed the whole of the interior in the war-time (heard that he is going to far away foreign countries). He had seen a great deal, of course naturally he was able to produce a wide variety of paintings.
I know Mr. Huang is not going to amend his ability to amuse himself or change his way of painting. He is in his prime, so none of us would dare or should give a final assessment. I should stop now, just as I wrote earlier, his paintings are not to support or to criticize, they are merely a representation of the reality.
Stating the reality is the best "introduction". Would Mr. Huang agree?
Written on May 21, 1947, published on May 26, 1947
Note : The Foundation would like to thank Mr. Huang Dade, working with Ms. Olivia Su (an undergraduate student from Hong Kong University’s Art History department, and the successful applicant of the Huang Yao Foundation grant) for the contribution of this article.