Source: The Sculpture Department of CAFA Date: May, 21, 2020
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, the graduate students’ graduation works exhibition this year, with a different exhibition method, 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 graduates of the 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.
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, 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 the School of Plastic Art
Head of the Sculpture Department
Editor’s note: On May 20, 2020, the graduate students’ 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 27 MA graduates in the Sculpture Department this year. Affected by the pandemic, the students have encountered many difficulties in their creation, but they still overcome them, adapting to local conditions. They make full use of the materials of their hometowns, adopt 3D technology for modeling, refine material language, and go further exploration by combining their perception of the times. Their efforts embody a solid knowledge of modeling language, a broad academic horizon, a deep tempering of artistic language, a keen insight into the social development, and a questioning of the value of life. This year’s exhibition is very special. For the first time, the "online" method is employed. As a 3D work, the sculpture is faced with great difficulties in exhibition arrangement. To this end, the editor interviewed Mou Baiyan, the head of the Graduate Teaching and Research Office of the Sculpture Department and the executive planner of this graduation exhibition.
Editor: Hello Prof. Mou. As the executive planner for the graduate students’ graduation works exhibition of the Sculpture Department this year, what is the most impressive part of this year’s exhibition to you?
Mou Baiyan: After nearly a month of intense planning and layout, this special "Cloud Graduation Works Exhibition" of the Sculpture Department finally drew its curtain. In this unusual period, everyone made their best efforts to complete their creation, study and exhibition, leaping across various barriers. From the "restart" of graduation creation during the pandemic, to coping with and solving problems in the process, until the work is completed and "moved into the art museum", everyone has obtained experiences, as well as growth.
Editor: So what kind of difficulties have the graduate students of the sculpture major encountered in their graduation creation? And how have they been solved?
Mou Baiyan: The case for the Sculpture Department is quite special. The multi-directional teaching structure has led to the diversity and complexity of students’ creations. The most conventional creation conditions have been made impossible during the pandemic, so that other creation methods cannot be carried out smoothly. The most direct impact is that all the work of the students before the pandemic was stranded or even wasted. So the fact that they can finally overcome these difficulties proves they have benefited much from the creations they have made previously. The normalization of the creation class makes graduate students more comfortable with this sudden change of the environment. At this time, what everyone needs is wisdom and determination, and their different coordinates produce a new starting point for creation. Although everyone lost the ideal creation conditions, they have got great surprises in this process instead. For artistic creation, sometimes "incident" is more valuable than "familiarity". So for young people, this is definitely an opportunity.
Editor: The curation for the graduation exhibition of the Sculpture Department is a major project every year, due to the large number of works, their gigantic volume and abundant type. Affected by the pandemic this year, what new challenges have been encountered in the curation of this exhibition?
Mou Baiyan: One of the requirements of the exhibition effect for the graduation exhibition of the Sculpture Department is "unconventional and shining". Our curatorial team has undergone careful consideration and management both in the layout of space and in the rhythm of viewing the works. We have to make sure that each of the students’ works will be presented in the best state. Apart from grasping the atmosphere of space, it is also necessary to maintain the best visual points for the works. Therefore, the way of exhibition of the Sculpture Department plays an important role in improving the display effect of the works every year. Naturally, it is very eye-catching among graduation exhibitions in CAFA.
Exhibition of the Sculpture Department of 2016 graduation season. Such "big productions" are not rare.
In the exhibition hall of the Sculpture Department of 2020 graduation exhibition, a 3d model that can be viewed from any angle is available and the space is totally under our control.
The change of method also adds the difficulty of setting up an exhibition. The exhibition encounters a double problem. After the establishment of the digital exhibition hall, the school prepared a very wholesome exhibition space for us. However, the energy and aura of the work to be released on the scene have to be all captured in the digital world. To maximize the effect of the work, the work itself must be adjusted, and the digital connection between the work and the exhibition hall must be coordinated. This is another problem faced in curation.
The Sculpture Department has set up a cloud curation team of six people to address these issues. The three leaders Lv Pinchang, Zhang Wei, and Sun Lu are in charge. The two teachers, Sun Tingting and Wu Haiqi, coordinate. And I am responsible for the execution of curation. I also specially invited the "Huiyan" digital production team as technical support to help us make a digital stereoscopic presentation of the curatorial concept, and at the same time help NetDragon to complete the previous virtual exhibition layout, making sure that this complex and high-tech work can be carried out step by step.
The picture shows Mr. Mou working with the designer. During the quarantine period, the "Huiyan" production team had to live in a temporarily built studio, where they provided consistent assistance for the exhibition.
The above is the sketch of exhibition layout. It is the plan of the third floor of the art museum. At first, the exhibition hall was divided into four areas, and later it was modified into three small exhibition halls. From the central space, it is accessible to all the three halls. The red marked part is the second modification.
Curation meeting (此处应该是视频)
Adaptation to “Virtual” Exhibition
Editor: The key word for this year’s exhibition is "virtual". How has it affected the artistic effect of sculptures?
Mou Baiyan: In the collection and investigation of the works before the exhibition, we found that many students could not present their works as a three-dimensional image due to various limitations, and could only show the appearance of their works by displaying photos. This means that this exhibition has to become a joint exhibition of sculpture and photography. In terms of the structure of exhibition, we must consider the virtual way of viewing, so that the work of each student can be best presented. During the arrangement of exhibition, everyone needs some time to adapt to the visual experience of the virtual space. In a month’s time, in order to adapt to this change, almost every student has experienced a "two-dimensional image recreation" of their works.
Editor: In this virtual exhibition, do students have to adapt to the new exhibition form for their works, and go through a “translation” of thinking?
Mou Baiyan: For students majoring in sculpture, the exhibition method of the virtual Art Museum has set a new standard for everyone, and all the rules have changed. The graduation creation of graduate students in the Sculpture Department is free and open, and students have a great span of exploration. Now they are facing a perfect display space, but the works on hand are random and temporary. So the effect is bound to be limited and many of the artists’ feelings cannot be conveyed. Therefore, in order to adapt to the display effect of the cloud exhibition hall, many students need to spend a lot of time and energy in improving the superficial effect of the work. I personally feel that this will lead to the loss of some natural and authentic things in their original creation. Therefore, making works and exhibiting works have become two different things. Everyone has just solved the "problem of making" and now they have to solve the "problem of exhibiting".
Progress in "Cloud"
Editor: Through this online graduation exhibition, what kind of experience do you think the students have got, and do you have anything to say to them?
Mou Baiyan: The students’ search for exits and solutions in perplexity has also stimulated great potential. Many students find a way to unblock because of "restrictions". They start to pay attention to themselves, the present and the environment. Besides, they have also learnt to adapt to this cloud-based working method. As for the graduation exhibition, it lacks a sense of ceremony and sacredness and the harsh reality seems to smash the expectations of the graduates’ into pieces. However, from another perspective, this "natural metabolism" has broken the normality and discovered some new states, so isn’t it also a good chance of self-perception?
It is said that the globalization effect of the pandemic will last for some time, and our way of life will definitely undergo tremendous changes. The future path of art for the students will also become unpredictable with the changes of the times and society. Perhaps this exhibition is just a minor rehearsal. The way of thinking will change greatly in the future, and the topic of "virtual language" is also worth discussing. Wish each of the graduates a bright future, and the 2020 graduate students’ graduation works exhibition of the Sculpture Department a great success!
Promotion Trailer of the Sculpture Department
The Wechat public account of the Sculpture Department will separately promote the works of the graduate students in order from tomorrow:
May 22 (Friday): Fu Qiang, Sun Guocheng, Meng Bin, Peng Junhao, Wang Peng, Lin Zihao
May 23 (Saturday): Lian Wuchu, Zhu Zhongyu, Xu Geng, Feng Fupeng, Hou Yusen
May 24 (Sunday): Sun Duo, Zhao Xiu, Wang Chao, Wei Qimeng, Xu Wen
May 25 (Monday): Cheng Yongjie, Yu Jia, Liu Yan, Zhang Jiarui, Wang Xuening
May 26 (Tuesday): Ke Weiqian, He Yusen, Gu Chengyang, Kuder, Wu Shuang, Li Lizhao
2020 Central Academy of Fine Arts graduation season
Online Art Museum
Edited by Sun Jie