2016 Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts Excellent Graduation Works Exhibition
Today, we are forcefully reminded by every art or design exhibition full of vitality and imagination that we are on the threshold of an entirely new era. When the steam locomotives of the 18th century ran through the pastoral and tranquil fields, romanticism full of imagination and passion also emerged in the art circles; when photography and the art of printing of the 19th century were rapidly changing people’s field of view and their habit of watching pictures, explorations of impressionism, post-impressionism and modernism that might lead to breakthroughs were being made in the art world; the varied changes in the human living space brought about by atomic energy, electronic equipment and biotechnology in the third industrial revolution stimulated further development of contemporary art after World War II; today, the fourth technological revolution dominated by intelligent manufacturing, big data, “internet +” and other elements is just before us. Extraordinary wisdom is always stimulated in art and design in every such era. In such an era, colleagues and friends who are devoted to our discipline are all faced with unusual opportunities and also must respond to unusual challenges.
In this age of vigorous development, young people with young and active mind are expected in art and design creation and research. Innovations in science and technology influence by no means merely “purely material aspects” of the social field. Environmental changes of the times will influence vividly the visual, the auditory and comprehensive life experience. Therefore, in the process of conception and creation of art/design on the basis of life experience, we must be sufficiently sensitive to the most vivid variations and details in our mind and sensation. Only then can our works be full of vitality and vividness. In this sense, only a young person who is truly sensitive to the life experience in this era and dares to break with outmoded conventions constantly is worthy of the times and worthy of his/her young age.
This excellent graduation works exhibition of 2016 features 190 academy award winning works, which are the result of efforts in artistic creation and design by 158 undergraduate and 32 postgraduate students from various specialties of Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts. They are selected from more than 4000 works created by 1175 students of 19 specialties (orientations). It is shown in these works that stress is laid on the realization of ideas on the basis of improvement of skills in both fields of traditional art including Chinese painting, oil painting, printmaking and sculpture and those of traditional design including visual communication, environmental art and industrial design; that self-confidence synchronized with the times is effectively manifested in the field of experimental art and new media design through works of new media including experimental animation and video, and static and interactive installations on show at the exhibition; and that unprecedented frontier spirit is shown especially in the graduation works of the design disciplines in which the bondage of simple utilitarianism and pragmatism is transcended. Seen as a whole, this exhibition is a sufficient confirmation of the profound cultural effect brought about by the new technological revolution including intelligent manufacturing and big data in the field of art/design in the aspects of subject, manner of expression, and media. This exhibition of young people is exactly a clear echo of this young era.
The young students have created a constructive, innovative, and inclusive cultural field with their own minds and hands. Here richer and richer media, materials and means are adopted, not merely the visual or video; here more and more conventional ideas are broken, not merely “art for art’s sake” or “design for art’s sake”; here more and more artificially created segmentations are broken, and young minds will always tend to cut across simple walls and indifferent observation, across the division of disciplines and subjects, and across the linear time and space and simple narrative. In this era, the cultural spirit itself is encouraging a kind of open dialogue and cross-disciplinary merging of life experience. In the opening week of this year, we have broken the bounds between different specialties, the barriers between different grades, the mysterious impressions of the academic of fine arts in society, and the barrier between the disciplines of art and design.
These excellent works created by the young students assiduously are a reflection of their effort to adapt their works to the need of the new era. More and more young friends are learning to have a dialogue with the viewers, with the times, and with their own mind by using their own special sharpness and unusual inspiration.
I want to give my heartfelt thanks to all the students for their talent and passion, and to all the teachers for their diligent work and their contribution to this brilliant graduation works exhibition.
Deng Guoyuan, president of Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts
June 4, 2016