It is no surprise that Wang Zhongjun has been on the path of art appreciation for years, but we have learned that he is also an art collector since the opening of his own private museum. Wang Zhongjun is self-deprecating, describing his painting as amateur’s; for him, painting is a lifelong hobby, one which helps him to balance his work in media — a kind of spiritual sustenance, a creation of lasting happiness. With a new vision that reinterprets classical patterns, Wang Zhongjun has the psychological advantage of an amateur: patience, persistence, and passion. His capacity for innovation is endless; he paints for himself, and is not constrained by what has come before. The sincerity of his youthful paintings is preserved in his works today, albeit with the maturity of a self-made man.
The recently opened Song Art Museum, with the word Song taken from the Chinese translation of pine tree, is Wang Zhongjun’s private art museum, created with international perspectives and standards. The museum covers a total area of 22,000 square meters, including 12 exhibition halls carefully scattered over 2200-square-meter indoor area. For the design concept of the main building, he had two visions: first, sustainability, to make full use of the facilities; and second, simplicity, to serve arts as its main focus. Based on these concepts, the architects removed signs of the original construction and transformed it into geometry and clean lines, turning “Song” into both inclusive and befitting “container of art”; the gallery creates “clean” and leisurely atmosphere throughout the building to allow viewers casting aside complications, so that all kinds of art forms can showcase their vocabulary and vitality, presenting a natural assimilation among the different categories of artworks.
This opening of a pure piece of land for art showcases to the public the most precious human spiritual and emotional wealth. In the heart of its mission is continuous commitment to high-quality art exhibitions, spreading widely in-depth academic research and public aesthetic education.
What is the initial idea behind Song Art Museum? Many years ago, I said I wanted to establish an art museum, but did not put it on the agenda since I didn’t want to force its completion; as a lot of things in life happen naturally, the final completion of the Song Art Museum is no exception. An art collector establishing a gallery to share works of art with more people is a way of giving back to the society. Art galleries are hundreds-year-old project, like the founding of many museums; although the founders are no longer honored today, but the good things they left for the world have always been here.
What is the story behind the name Song (pine) Art Museum? The oriental charm and Zen ideology of pine is the prevalent feature of the temperament among Chinese literati. I personally like the shape, sculptures, ink and oil paintings of pine trees, because they can deliver all kinds of feelings. At first, we set up 99 pine trees, and after we took a look at the scene, it felt like they were not enough, and added another 100 pine trees, and the result is the 199 trees that you see here.
What is the special feature about your collection? My personal collection is very strong, presenting their own aesthetic and understanding of art. In recent years, I’ve come into contact with more and more people and friends who appreciate ancient Chinese calligraphy and painting. They are beginning to understand the beauty and learn more about the subject; if you don’t see and study them, then you won’t realize the beauty.
Can you briefly introduce the gallery’s first exhibition “From Vincent Willem van Gogh to Chinese Contemporary Art”? What is the vision for the next exhibition? The exhibition features three sections: Impressionism and (Western) Modern Art, Chinese Contemporary Art, and Wang Zhongjun’s oil paintings, in total 79 works of art by famous Chinese and foreign artists. By utilizing a holistic background, we hope to reveal some of the inspirational works by masters of art since impressionism, including their role and influence on Chinese Contemporary Art. I want to give the team as much authority as possible, but quality is my demand, and I am not willing to exhibit merely to have an exhibition. If I cannot find good quality works to exhibit, I would rather postpone the exhibition.