The artists participating in the Olympic Games are not so much artists as “senior art lovers in line with the Olympic spirit”. After all, in the early years of the Olympic Games, the emphasis was on “Olympic spirit first, competition performance second”. Professional artists mostly depended on selling their works for a living, and the Olympic Games did not want the participants to be tied to money, especially the works of artists who won gold medals. Prices get expensive. So when Avery Brundage, the president of the radical conservative Olympic Committee, took office, he insisted on maintaining the purity of the Olympics and pushed for the one-time expulsion of all arts events—even though he himself was in 1932. Participated in the Olympic Literature Award in 2008 (and did not win a medal). Since then, these arts events have never returned to the Olympic family.
In the 7 Olympic Games from 1912 to 1948, artists from 23 countries won a total of 147 medals, of which the least winning country was Monaco with 1 bronze medal, two cultural powers Italy and France in the gold medal table and They are tied for second place in the overall medal standings, with 5 gold medals and 14 medals respectively. It is not China, the United States and Russia that have won the most gold medals and medals in the art events of the 7th Olympic Games, but Germany. They have won a total of 7 golds, 7 silvers and 9 bronzes, for a total of 23 medals. At the last Olympics to include art awards, the 1948 London Olympics, British printmaker John Copley won a silver medal in printmaking at the age of 73, becoming the oldest medalist in Olympic history.
Although the Olympic art competition was stopped, it continued in another form, that is, the opening and closing ceremonies were refurbished. As far as the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games held in Beijing is concerned, it is the result of the joint efforts of many senior art workers. In addition to the well-known chief director Zhang Yimou, assistant directors Zhang Jigang and Chen Weiya manage various complicated matters. Fan Yue and Wang Chaoge have rich experience in large-scale performances, Cai Guoqiang (big footprint fireworks), Chen Danqing (scroll scroll), Chen Yan and Han Lixun (art designer), Chen Qigang (music)…etc.
At the end of last year, I watched Cai Guoqiang’s solo exhibition “Far Travel and Return” at the Forbidden City. In it, he created “The Galaxy Playing Ice” inspired by the “Ice Playing Picture” collected by the Forbidden City. He will also continue to present it for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Work hard. Maybe we can use this to imagine what kind of works the artists will bring if there are art events in the current Olympics.