Interviews with Artists Featured in the "Uncompromising Courage" Art Exhibit: Oil Painting - "Positioning"

PureInsight | August 9, 2004

Detail of oil painting "Positioning" by Zhang Kunlun

[On July 15-16, 2004, an art exhibition sponsored by the Falun Dafa Association of Washington, D.C. with the theme of "Uncompromising Courage," was held in the exhibition hall of Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Falun Gong practitioners created all the art works in the exhibits. Some of the artists are still illegally imprisoned in China. After five years of bloody suppression, these Falun Gong artists hope to express the joy of returning to one's true nature through cultivating Falun Gong, their indestructible righteous beliefs under cruel tortures and suppression, their persistence in pursuing Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance, and their faith in "justice will defeat evil eventually." These artists each have their merits. They have tried to use the traditional drawing technique to achieve their goals. We will continue to introduce the works of these artists, the ideas behind their works, their creation processes, and their drawing techniques. ]

[Interview with Professor Zhang Kunlun continued]

Reporter: Zhu, Qingming, reporter for Zhengjian/PureInsight Net
Zhang: Prof. Zhang Kunlun

Reporter: Your other painting, "Positioning," is the biggest one in the art exhibition, and it can be said to be a huge painting. Would you please talk about the creation of this painting?

Zhang: I want to tell people a truth through this painting. In the universe there is a principle that nobody can escape: "Good deeds will be rewarded with good, while evildoings will meet with karmic retribution." Falun Gong teaches people to be good people, but the evil old forces brutally persecute them. For everyone, his attitude about this thing has determined his position in the universe. For the evil police, when they beat Dafa practitioners in Tiananmen Square, in fact their primordial spirits are in hell, and their fates are very despicable. Even for this dog, when it bites Dafa practitioners, its primordial spirit has been caught and carried away by the ghost to hell. The Dafa practitioner is persecuted because she is telling the truth to people and doing the greatest of good deeds, and therefore her primordial spirit is going to heaven to enter godhood and go to a much higher level. Because her realm is at that level, she exists at that high level of the universe. However for the Buddhas, Taos and Gods at the high levels, no matter how high they are, if they support and control the evil old forces in committing a sin against right and wrong, they won't stay at that level and will drop down to hell and enter the gate of no life.

Reporter: This painting tells a major principle. There are three parts of this painting: heaven, the world and hell. The top part (heaven) is in bright colors and transparent, in contrast with the darkness of hell. In western paintings, there are also the different dimensions of heaven and the world included in one painting. Was your creation of this painting inspired by classical western painting?

Zhang: You cannot say it like that. This is what I enlightened from the Fa-principle. The Universe's form of existence is like this. In the three realms, there are heaven, earth, and the underworld. Beyond the three realms, there are also different levels of universal dimensions that are boundless.

Oil painting "Positioning" by Zhang Kunlun (67in.x 117in.), 2003

Reporter: Did you totally adopt the classical western painting technique?

Zhang: In the painting technique, I indeed learned the skills of western oil painting. I am a sculptor. My painting skill cannot compare with that of professional oil painting artists. Because I want to tell people the truth, I think I should use this form of western painting to express it. I think this painting basically expressed what I wanted to express.

Reporter: Are you ready to express yourself by using sculpture?

Zhang: I am also doing sculpture. Sculpture has its advantages; it is strong and intense. But it has its limits. It is not as convenient as painting for narratives. So I am doing sculpture as well as painting and sometimes I make traditional Chinese paintings. The way of art is a kind of language and also a kind of form of expression. In order to express my understanding, I will use whichever way I can express myself well.

Reporter: You are a sculptor. In doing the sculpture, there are strict requirements that control the ratio of the parts of the human body. Is this helpful to your composition of the human body in painting?

Zhang: Yes. This big painting is the first oil painting in my life. Solid basic techniques are very important for creating fine art.

Reporter: From your experience, the basic techniques are very necessary to be a good artist?

Zhang: Yes. As an artist, the fundamental skills are necessary. Without skills, it is very difficult to express what you want to express. But I think the skills are a basic thing, not the whole thing of creation. Our thought and realm are more important. We are going to tell people the truth that is beyond the painting itself, and tell the value and nature of the painting.

Reporter: The scholars in the ancient China stressed morality, and the artists as well. To be a good artist, the requirement for morality is also high.

Zhang: Yes. The issue you mentioned is very important, and it is the foundation of art. We know that literature is like the person and paintings are like the peerson. When you draw a line, all your information such as your quality, morality, experience, and even your health have been put into it. It is the reflection of your inner nature. So an artist must be a noble and moral person, and be a thoughtful person.


Professor Zhang Kunlun's curriculum vitae

Professor Zhang Kunlun was born in Shandong province, China. From 1981 to 1989, he was the director of the sculpture teaching and research section at the Shandong Arts College. In 1989 he was a scholar at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 1995 he became a citizen of Canada. In 1996 he went back to Shandong Arts College as the director of the Sculpture Research Institute. He produced many big monuments and decorative artworks, and he also produced western and Chinese paintings. His achievements were recorded in "World's Who's Who?", "The Collected World's Sculpture", "Chinese Artists' Achievements around the world" etc.

Professor Zhang Kunlun was sentenced to labor camp in China because he practiced Falun Gong. In the labor camp he suffered the physical and mental tortures including being shocked, forcibly brainwashed, being watched constantly, and other things. With the help of Canadian government and people, he came back to Canada in January of 2001.

Translated from:

Add new comment