Ding Ning – Art historian, vice-president of the School of Arts, Peking University.
Quoted from the “Significance and development of portrait painting – Tong Yanrunan recent impression.”
The strength of the portraits by Tong Yanrunan lies not in some dramatic aspect but rather in the faintly discernible absorption of the subject. His paintings make one feel as though the painted person is quietly immersed in his own inner world, yet they leave on one a profound impression. They seem to be drifting between this kind of faint concentration and a vague theatricality, not unlike traditional classical Chinese portraits. That is what makes them so savory and makes people relish viewing them.
Fan Di’an – Vice-President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, director of the National Art Museum of China, curator of China Pavilion at
the 50th and 51st Venice Biennale. Excerpt from his speech at the symposium of the Prince Huei’s Cook was Cutting up a Bullock1 exhibition at Today Art Museum.
The tradition of portrait and human figure painting have been studied very deeply in the western modern art series, and we can see that the image of man has become a very great modern theme, beginning from Francis Bacon, followed by Lucien Freud, Gerhard Richter and to the Italians Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi and Francesco Clement, all belonging to the extremely abundant expressions of portraits. What I think valuable is that Tong Yanrunan has found a format different
from the existing styles of art history, something akin to a patented language.