Home > Contact Us > UTF-8 Chinese Version > Kang Yu-yi's Homepage > Kang Yu-yi's Gallery

Artgeology in Practice
Collections of Artgeology Paintings by Kang Yuyi

Preface by the Author
Striving for the Development of Chinese Painting
My Road to Artgeology

Kang Yuyi


  It was a complete coincidence that I should be a painter. Had it not been for my illness in 1965 that brought me to apprentice painting as a way of healing, I would never have had the opportunity to paint.
  I am proud to be a man from the mountains. Growing up inDaiyun Mountains of Fujian Province, I am deeply attached to big mountains and have anatural understanding of thelandscape art form.
  I had a wonderful first art teacher. The late Mr. XU Gongze was known for his landscape paintings, especially of theMi-style Cloud Mountains. His deep understanding and impeccable techniques impacted me profoundly.
  It was fortunatethat I shouldbe a student of geology. I was brought to understand the laws of formation and patterns of change in the mountains on a deeper level. Geology taught meto think scientifically. It offered me a useful tool for my artistic creativity.
  I am grateful that more opportunities came my way. As a faculty member of Nanjing University, our country expected us to shoulder more responsibilities.Over five decades of teaching and research in geology provided me opportunities to travel to places not readily accessible to most people. I went toYunnan and Guizhou, hiked up theTianshan Mountains, crossed Dongting Lake and big oceans, admiring the majestic beauty of the mountains and rivers whileexploringintegration between geology and the art of Chinese landscape painting.
  Beginning in 1985, I focused my energy on building the tourist industry as it became anew growing point for national economy. While on trips investigating tourist resources, I pondered the striking scenes nature presents and did sketches in the hope that they could be used in the future to create a new field that combines geology, tourism and landscape art.
I am glad I have been persistent and perseverant. Ever since I set this general goal of integrating geology and landscape painting in 1968, I worked steadily toward it and never thought of giving up even during the most difficult moments of the past 40 years.
  Looking back, there were upturns and downturns, bitter and hard times:
  In November 1965, I was recuperating from illness. It was my mother-in-law who took me to Tingyun (Cloud Stay) studio at 37 Zhonghua Road in Nanjing to meet my future art teacher. Late Mr. XU Gongze was kind and peaceful but of restive disposition. He held a civilian job in the Defense Department of Nationalist Government. He was a good friend of my father-in-law who was from the same hometown and worked in Bureau of Ritesof the Nationalist Government. Both of them chose to stay in mainland instead of following Chiang Kaishek to Taiwan (after the plane tickets were delivered to their home). I saw Teacher Xu's painting hanging on the wall and was attracted by it immediately. I felt a closeness to the scene as if I had seen it somewhere before and thought that his painting would work very well in my design of combining geology and landscape painting. I made up my mind to be a good student and study with him. I was captured by the charm of landscape painting and was deeply drawninto painting during those three years. In 1968 I wrote my first research outline "Landscape Paintings and Geology" and established as my goal the integration between geology and Chinese landscape painting. I became even more enthusiastic about painting. From 1969-1971 our entire university went to work on the farm. I continued to practice painting in my spare time and was criticized by the students for attempting "torestore feudalism." It was impossible for me to use a brush pen to paint after I was criticized. But I continued to look closely at the mountains and rivers and studied changes of the local landscape in the four seasons and during different times of the day (morning, noon, evening and night) as well as in different weather (cloudy, sunny, rainy and snowy). These methods of observation and habits have since become my hobbies. Later, when I did geological field work, I paid attention not only to the nature of the rocks, age of the fossilsandgeological structures, but also to appreciation of theshapes of the mountains and rivers and the luster of the earth, collecting rich source materials for landscape paintings later. In 1972, we returned to the University to "restart the classes for the sake of the revolution."I started to practice creating my own landscape paintings. In May 1973, I went to Yichang to do field work and tried my hand at painting the natural scenery there. I was not good enough and the project failed due to my lack of experience. I did not give up and continued with practicing the basic techniques. After three years both my skills and the ability to "grasp shape" improved. In early March 1976, I went to Guizhou to undertake studies of the groundwater at Puding County and completed my first sketch bookSketches from Journey to Southwest. This boosted my confidence and interest. In April 1976, I was imprisoned for opposing the Gang of Four. I firmly believe that I was not guilty and that grasping time is grasping the essence of life. I continued to practice painting while in the prison. In 1978 my name was cleared and I was awarded honors by Nanjing University for my role in the fight against the Gang of Four. Without the spiritual shackles I felt liberated and worked with more enthusiasm. Taking advantage of work related travels after 1979, I completed 20 field sketch works: "Sketches of Northwestern Jiangxi" (1982),"Travels Upstream" (1982),"Travels in Sichuan and Shaanxi" (1982),"Travels in Jiangsu Shandong and Anhui" (1983),"Notes from Travels in Dabieshan" (1983),Collected Paintings of Scenic Spots in Guizhou (1985-1986),"Notes from Travels to Hometown Xiamen"(1986),"Sketches of West Lake Sceneries"(1987),"Travels in Xixia"(1991),Paintings of Tékes Tourist Resources(1993),"Notes from Travels to India"(1993),Tourist Spots of Yongchun in Fujian Province(1996),"Travels in South Tianshan andTarim"(2000),"Yandangshan World Geological Park"(2005),"Songshan World Geological Park"(2006),"Taining World Geological Park"(2006-2007),"Landscape Art of Tianshan"(2007), "Landscape Art of Dabieshan"(2008),"Taihang Mountain Canyons"(2010),"Notes from Travels in Tailaoshan World Geological Park"(2011) etc.

  In my science-art career, 1985 and 1987 were two important years.

  In the summer of 1985, Professor YU Jinbiao from Department of Geography invited me to participate in field work at Huangguoshuregion in Guizhou Province to investigate tourist resources. Tourist scenery painting was on our team's agenda. My job was to study tourist geology, natural radiation assessment and tourist scenery painting. My landscape painting came out from underground to the public. During our field work, the team assigned a room for me to use as the painting studio. I created nearly 100 paintings during the two summers (1985 & 1986) in Guizhou. In 1987 and 1988, I held two exhibitions of my Guizhou paintings to promote Guizhou's tourist resourcedevelopment in Nanjing and Hangzhou respectively. I must emphasize here that the director of the Guizhou Provincial Science Commission, Mr. XU Yongwu, led a delegation to Hangzhou for the exhibition and held a press conference on Guizhou tourism, cutting the ribbon for the exhibition. It was during the exhibition that he suggested publication of the paintings. After he returned to Guizhou, he called a meeting at the Science Commissionand made the decision that these paintings were to be published by GuizhouRenmin Publishing House as "a special achievement of scientific research." This was the story of the birth of the first book on tourist resources in Chinese art history - Paintings of Guizhou Tourist Resources (GuizhouRenmin Publishing House, 1989). A book on this field work collectively written by our team, Research on Tourist Resources in Huangguoshu Region, Guizhou, was published by Shanghai Science and Technology Education Press in 1990. I learned many valuable lessons from my field work in Guizhou. In 1993 and 1996 I independently completed field investigations of tourist resources in Tékes County of Xinjiang and Yongchun County of Fujian and held exhibitions of paintings from these field trips to promote the development of tourism in those regions. The paintings and the written reports were published in Paintings of Tékes Tourist Resources (Nanjing University Press, 1994) and Tourist Scenery of Yongchun, Fujian (Nanjing Press, 1997).
In 1987, Nanjing University Research Center on Oriental Art of Painting and Calligraphywas founded. The University appointed me as the deputy director in charge of daily administrative work of the Center. The director was our beloved former President KUANG Yaming. The university gave the Center an office and a telephone. I became a full time researcher and artist on landscape art. Conducting cross disciplinary studies between humanity and science departments in this new occupation was the expectation from the university and my historical mission. Besides administrative responsibilities at the Center, I was teaching a special course on ostracoda in micropaleontology for students in Department of Earth Sciences, a general elective course on "Origin of Life and Evolution" and one on "Chinese Painting and Calligraphy." I was doing art and science work at the same time. My road to Artgeology entered a new phase after I retired in 1998. I dashed forward with full speed. While teaching Artgeology and Chinese Painting and Calligraphy to Nanjing University students, I conducted comprehensive and cross disciplinary research and completed constructing the theory of Artgeology. My lectures notes on Artgeology and Chinese Painting was finished in 2003. After two rounds of test teaching and revision, the book was published by Jiangsu Fine Arts Press in 2005.

  The publication of Artgeology and Chinese Painting marked the birth of a new discipline in China.

  In fact, during the past half century, especially the last 40 years after I started to take painting lessons, my road to artgeologycan be characterized as science supporting art and the cross development of science and art, and from spare timeto part-time to full time research and painting. As mentioned above, before 1987, I was doing geological work as a profession and art work in my spare time. I dedicated my time and energy to teaching and research in geology day and night. I disciplined myself to take three steps when others would have taken only one step. Most of my important painting was done when I was taking professional field trips. I squeezed and seized hours to paint. There was no funding for art activities. Field trips to geological sites served as my sightseeing tours.I was always busy taking notes or taking photos, or making sketches while riding a bus, a train or even a plane. I have accumulated many raw materials and draft sketches. This is what I mean by "science supporting art." I switched between geology during working hours and painting after work. Hiking up mountains and crossing rivers for teaching and researching I made use of every bit of time and found opportunities to do artwork whenever possible. Life was intense and fast paced but I was happy and felt rewarded. The following are eight science-art courses I have taught during the past fifty-three years: I

Courses for students of geology (major/non major) Nanjing University general electives(starting year)
Paleontology (non-major) Chinese Painting and Calligraphy(1987)®

tology and Stratigraphy majors)

Origin of Life and Evolution(1990)
Paleontology & Historical Geology (non-major) Artgeology(1997)
Micropaleontology(special course for Paleontology and Stratigraphy majors) Artgeology and Chinese Painting (elective course for Department of Earth Sciences in 2008 and became a university general education course in 2012)
®During the restructuring of Chinese universities in 1952 Fine Arts Department left Nanjing University (formerly Central University). Thus Nanjing University had no fine Arts. It was not until thirty-five years later, when Professor WU Tangyao and I offered "Chinese Paintings and Calligraphy" to Nanjing University students, the void on Art departments at Nanjing University was filled. I taught Chinese painting and Wu taught Chinese calligraphy.



Some achievements over the past half century:

I Awards for teaching and research on geology:

[1] 1978 Jiangsu Petroleum Base Geological Study (collaborate project).Jiangsu Provincial Science Conference
[2] 1981Geohistory (course). Nanjing University Teaching Award (3rd class)
[3] 1984 Geohistory (course). Nanjing University Teaching Award (3rd class)
[4] 1985 Nanjing University Geohistory Course construction award(3rd class)
[5] 1985 Fault Structure(collaborate project). Jiangsu Film Textbook award (1stclass)
[6] 1987 Fault Structure(collaborate project). Jiangsu Film Textbook award (1stclass)
[7] 1988 Nanjing University “General Field geology internship” (collaborate project). Course Construction Award (1st class)
[8] 1990 Paleontology (in 2 volumes) (co-author). Textbook award by Ministry of Minerals (2nd class)
[9] 1994 Historical Geology (co-author). Nanjing University Textbook Award (1st class)
[10] 2004 “The making of Artgeology and its application” (essay). Innovative Theory Award.

II Honors and Awards for Art-geology

[1] 1987 “Tianshan Snow on a Sunny Day” (landscape painting). International Art and Calligraphy Award.
[2] 1992 “High Mountains and Long Rivers” (landscape painting). Aichi Prefecture Council Award, Japan
[3] 1993 “West Zen Temple” (landscape painting). East Sea TV Award, Japan.
[4] 1994 “Ancient Temple in Xiashan” (landscape painting). Nagoya City Council Award
[5] 1999 “Magnificent Kui Gate” (landscape painting). Century’s Best Creation Award (China)
[6] 2000 “Spring Wind Greens the South of Yangzi River” (landscape painting). Great Artist Award
[7] 2000 “Magnificent Kui Gate” (landscape painting). Selected into A Hundred Year of Classics.
[8] 2002 “Afternoon Sun Shines on the Green Mountain” (landscape painting). Great Art Award (national competition)
[9] December 2003
“China Dragon—In memory of Mao Zedong” (Chinese painting). Winner of 1st class Award at the 110th Anniversary of Chairman Mao Zedong’s birthday Competition.
[10] October 28, 2005
Honorary title “The most valuable Artist for Contemporary Chinese Art Connoisseurs’ Market”
[11] December 2005 “Majestic Huashan” (landscape painting). “Hundred Years of Chinese Films Exhibition” Award
[12] December 18, 2005,“Outstanding Achievement Award” by Association of Chinese Painters and Calligraphers, et al.
[13] Decembr 22, 2005, “Painter and Calligrapher of the year” by the selection committee.

Beginning from February 2008, with the support from the University and and my department, I went back to the classroom and offered the course Artgeology again. Followingare statistics illustrating some achievements:

(1) Altogether 211 students took Artgeology class. Among them 33 students studied painting with me. A team of Artgeologhy student is growing.
(2) Compiled student works on Artgeologhy (Sep. 2010)
(3) Four Kang School student painting exhibitions were held (2009-2012).

It is my hope that 30 years from now, there will be a few or quite a few famous geologists, artgeologists and geological landscape painters emerging from among these students!

This January (2012) the course “Artgeology and Chinese Painting” was approved by the Office of Teaching Affairs of Nanjing University as a general education course open to all undergraduate majors. At the good news, I immediately start to reorganize the course in order to adapt to the learning needs of students from diverse disciplines. On March 1, our first day of class, 200 students from schools and departments of humanities, sciences, engineering and medicine gathered in the big lecture room on Nanjing University’s new Xianlin campus. A temporary Artgeology family was formed. The students listened to the lectures with great interest as I introduced the theory of artgeology. I was very pleased to see the lively class. Throughout the semester I put a lot of energy into teaching and experimented ways to encourage the students to think outside of their majors to improve their creative thinking. It is my goal to push and help my students to become innovative thinkers and scholars.

I hope that I will live to see the establishment of the School of Kang Painting. I hope our Artgeology team will make our contribution by pushing for innovation and development of Chinese landscape painting to new heights.

Thank you to Nanjing University for giving me the education and training!
Thank you to School of Earth Sciences and Engineering at Nanjing University!
Thank you to our motherland! Thank you to our great era!

                             KANG Yuyi at Nanjing University

                                January 21, 2012, written at Mountain House, Gulangyu, Xiamen

                                May 20, 2012, revision at Daiyuan Mountain Studio, Nanjing Unviersity

                                English translation: Ningping Yu, Yutao Liu

©2002 - 2012 SuperWork.com