Sculpture Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts
2020 is destined to be an unusual year. The spread of the new coronavirus pandemic around the globe poses a huge threat to the safety and health of the people in China, as well as the people all over the world. Meanwhile, it also profoundly affects and changes people's ways of living, learning, and communicating. Web conferences, online lectures and exhibitions etc. have become popular and widely adopted. Against such background, the “Graduation Season of CAFA” draws its curtain. Thus, with a different exhibition method, the graduation exhibition this year is bound to be different from previous years.
The basic pattern of this year’s graduation works exhibition has been transformed entirely from physical presentation in an exhibition hall to virtual presentation on line. This means that all artworks will be presented in the form of data, video, picture, and model. It is both a challenge and an opportunity for the students of Sculpture Department.
As an art form that is presented physically and occupies space, sculptures are mostly created directly by using physical materials. However, the model data and renderings required for online exhibitions used to be just auxiliary in the process of artistic creations in the past. This change forces the students to consider the needs of online exhibition and learn some necessary knowledge of 3D modeling and rendering. Moreover, there is another important consideration for them. In a virtual space, the audience’s perception and understanding of the work will not be as direct as in reality, so how to convey the connotations of their works and enable the audience to understand the purposes of their creations is equally important.
Undoubtedly, challenges often coexist with opportunities. This online exhibition will also serve as a good opportunity to popularize the art of sculpture. In the context of modernization, the development of the Internet not only brings convenience, but also spurs innovation and development in various fields. The field of art is no exception. To explore the numerous possibilities of sculpture after it has been transformed into online data actually means to explore a broader space for its future development.
Meantime, several months of self-isolation at home allows the students to stay away from the hustle and bustle of society to a certain extent, devoting more time and energy to creation, self-precipitation by reading and thinking.
The annual graduation works exhibition is undoubtedly a stage for students to show their learning achievements, and it is also an important factor in evaluating the effect of teaching. Although the exhibition this year will be conducted on line, in those graduation works full of passion and talent, we can still witness the supervisors’ relentless guidance and their cultivation of the students' artistic ideas. Meanwhile, we also feel the students’ rigorous, meticulous and passionate attitude towards artistic creation, as well as the spirit of perseverance and exploration displayed by both the supervisors and students in their joint effort of fighting against this pandemic. Compared with the past, under the impact of the pandemic this year, there are obviously less impetuousness and noise in the creation, but more focus, exploration and calmness. Many works show a willingness to explore on the edge, and they respectively respond to the reality of society and life, as well as this unpredictable era in their own ways. This may not be out of the artists’ original intention. However, I believe people will cultivate the ability of thinking and they will grow mature when faced with adversity.
After reading the graduation works, I’m overwhelmed by surprise, excitement and relief.
Heartfelt gratitude for all the teachers and students!
Lv Pin Chang
Deputy Dean of School of Plastic Art
Director of Sculpture Department
May, 9, 2020
Editor's note: On June 15, 2020, the undergraduates’ graduation works exhibition of CAFA drew its curtain on line. It is conducted in the form of online virtual art gallery, displaying the spirit, art and mien of CAFA with the help of the latest modern network technology. There are a total of 34 BA graduates in Sculpture Department this year. Affected by the pandemic, the students have encountered many difficulties in the process of artistic creation, but they still overcome them, adapting to local conditions. They make full use of the materials from their hometown, adopt 3D technology for modeling, refine material language, and go further exploration by combining their perception of the times. Different studios present artworks of different styles, which embody a solid knowledge of modeling language, a broad academic horizon, a deep tempering of artistic language, as well as a keen insight into the social development.
Following the graduate students’ graduation exhibition, the graduation exhibition for undergraduates is also conducted "online". As 3D artworks, sculptures are more difficult to deal with in exhibition arrangement. Professor Zhou Simin, studio chief of the Basic Department of Sculpture Department, as well as the executive planner of the undergraduates’ graduation exhibition this year, has rich experiences in exhibition arrangement and she introduces the process of curation and exhibition arrangement:
This year is a special year indeed. The graduation exhibition for undergraduates will have to be presented online. To cope with this change, Sculpture Department has set up a curation team of six people led by three leaders Lv Pinchang, Zhang Wei and Sun Lu. Sun Tingting and Wu Haiqi are in charge of coordination, and I’m mainly responsible for curation and exhibition arrangement.
Immediately after receiving the task of this year's online graduation exhibition for the undergraduates of Sculpture Department, I sank into a state of tension because the terms and tasks of online exhibition are completely strange to me. I'm not afraid of setting up a real exhibition, and I don’t care how much I have to walk or how many exhibits I will help to move. But what is a "hyperlink", what is an "anchor", and what is a "triangular surface", all these things are a real headache. But I have to hold it out despite of all the challenges. Luckily, under the guidance of Professor Mou Baiyan’s experiences in online exhibition, and with the great support of Wu Haiqi, two video conferences have been held with the attendance of the working staff from NetDragon, as well as all the undergraduates of Sculpture Department.
The uploading of the files of works by students in the initial stage was finally done after many twists and turns. This is an important step, which is equivalent to preparing the materials for the big meal. The following is to go through frying, and serve the dish on the table. How to arrange the exhibition hall? More importantly, how to make the production team from NetDragon understand our idea? This is another headache. I thought of Professor Liang Erliang, an expert of 3D. When I talked to him about the request, he made his promised immediately. The heavy stone on my mind was finally removed. The plan of communicating with the production team from NetDragon by using hand-painting was abandoned. Wearing masks, Professor Liang and I set off to work in a cafe immediately.
Professor Liang has some amazing ideas. After discussions, we have developed a general idea for the arrangement of this exhibition: "The exhibition concept is: time has created everything. The undergraduates’ graduation exhibition of Sculpture Department in 2020 will be presented online. The virtual and complete display space will free people’s imagination and break the conventional pattern of exhibition. Five pointers of different lengths are made in the core area of the exhibition hall with the same rotating pointer, which symbolizes the passage of time and five years of university study. The star formed by these pointers the star that blesses the future of every graduate. At the same time, each student has his own nameplate, which is also the coordinate point of each work, and this makes it more conducive to finding the hyperlink entrance by name. The circular countertop formed by the six layers in the middle represents the six studios in Sculpture Department and is the core of perfection."
After communicating this idea with the leaders of Sculpture Department, it has been unanimously approved. The following work should be specific, and the position of the work should be arranged according to its specific condition. This is a troublesome, meticulous, and painful process. It is necessary to have a total effect, but at the same time we should try to meet the specific requirements of each student. Again, we have to work with masks in a café.
The works of the students in Sculpture Department are conventionally based on materials, and they are made by hands. The artworks occupy certain space, so the audience can view them from different perspectives. However, this online exhibition cannot achieve these effects. The virtual "three-dimension" virtual “space” and virtual "material" make the audience feel the works untouchable. What's more, many students had already started to make their works before the winter vacation, but they had to abandon the unfinished works. At home, there are no suitable sculptural materials and no space to make a work, but they have to start all over again. Their anxiety can be imagined. But after all, they survive these hardships, and each one of them has shown the best of “the other side”.
After a month and a half of intense planning and arrangement, this special online graduation exhibition of Sculpture Department finally began. “In this unusual period, everyone did their best to complete their creation, study and exhibition, by overcoming various barriers. From the "restart" of graduation creation during the pandemic, and coping with and solving problems in the process, to the completion of works in the online museum, everyone has gained experience and growth in this unusual process." (I’m so impressed by Professor. MouBaiyan’s words that I just have a direct quote here)
Best wishes for a successful exhibition!
Promotion Trailer of Sculpture Department
The WeChat public account of Sculpture Department will separately promote the works of the undergraduates in order from tomorrow:
June 16 (Tuesday): Li Jiatai, Ji Shihui, Zhang Jiayu, TengXuefei, Pan Jiayu, Li Yu, Jin Xizhen
June 17 (Wednesday): Liu Xiaochen, Zhang Shifei, Geng TanJulang, Liu Yinan, Watanabe Hua
June 18 (Thursday): Zhang Jiaqin, Zhang Yudong, Cao Yuge, Fan Mei, Wang Dukai, Li Yiwen, Wei Yusong
June 19 (Friday): Wang Jiaxing, Zhang Xuehui, Liang Zongyao, Zhang Han
June 20 (Saturday): Wu Zhisheng, He Guowei, Yang Longbin, Liang Jiafu, Zhang Yiran, Gou QingHui
June 21 (Sunday): Li Quanying, XuZebang, Lv Mingyue, Chen Guodong
Edited by Sun Jie