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Hosted by the Central Academy of Fine Arts (abbr. CAFA), “To Commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army · CAFA Relay Series of Exhibitions: Long March of Art” was unveiled at the National Art Museum of China on December 23. The exhibition is themed the “Long March of Art”, which reflects the new image of the times of the major thematic creation by the Central Academy of Fine Arts, through multi-disciplinary and collective research. This exhibition is a gathering of the creative forces of all the faculties and departments, which goes deep into the historical site of the Long March, through a variety of forms including inspection, sketching and educational activities to create a series of new works around the theme of the Long March, the use of rich forms and novel appearances to reflect the artistic expression on the theme of the Long March by the contemporary CAFA’s people.

The Historical Scene and the New Road to the Art    

As an important creative group of Chinese fine arts, CAFA has a strong strength and rich achievement in the creation of major themes, under this new situation, CAFA established the research subject of “Relay” series of exhibitions, committed to the relay of the excellent tradition from the ideological and academic levels to achieve a relay of excellent traditions. This exhibition is the second comprehensive launch of the “Relay” series of exhibitions, the theme of the exhibition “Long March of Art” does not only highlight that the teachers and students from CAFA use an unique way to enter history, to re-read the Long March from a contemporary cultural perspective, to embark on a “new review”, “new experience”, “new interpretation” and “new expression” of the spirit of the Long March, while it also reflects the exploration and pursuit of the contemporary people of CAFA people walking on the “Long March of Art”.

President of CAFA Fan Di’an stressed that: “In the current diverse artistic context, we should adhere to excellent creations and academic traditions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, adhering to the artistic direction taking people as the center. On the one hand, it’s necessary to create a free and diverse artistic creative environment, to support the formation and development of the artistic personality of the teachers and students of CAFA; on the other hand, it also promotes the exploration and innovation of the creation of major themes by the Central Academy of Fine Arts, taking excellent traditions as nurture, to guide teachers and students to join the era, going deep into life, striving to create the works with extensive meanings, exquisite artistic skills and abundant forms, and constantly optimizing the creative ecology of CAFA.

Since the creative event was launched last November, various faculties of CAFA have set up creative teams to create a trend in sketching with an experience of the history of Long March and promoting the spirit of the Long March. All teachers and students went to Jiangxi, Guizhou, Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu and other areas along the Long March, going deeper into the life and experience of the Long March, through the collection of documents, visiting witnesses, on-site sketching to deepen the understanding of the history of the Long March, exploring the creative materials on the road to the Long March, more closely combining the rich individual emotional experience, the strong spiritual resonance and the innovation of artistic expression, so as to have an integration of thinking and exploration of practice, from the dimension of teaching, research and creation.

Multi-Disciplinary Participation and Multi-Form Interaction

This exhibition combines the route of the Long March and key nodes, taking the four parts of “Firm Ideals”, “Right Direction”, “Hard Work and Plain Living” and “Solidarity” as the body, this has given the spirit of the Long March transformation in a contemporary cultural context, while it embodies the academic responsibility and humanistic concern of the Central Academy of Fine Arts as an academic group.

The exhibition contains a variety of artistic languages and colorful forms of expression and it particularly reflects the overall characteristics of multidisciplinary participation and the multi-morphological interaction. The exhibited works do not only include Chinese painting, oil painting, sculpture and printmaking but also involve the use of various creative media such as video, animation, picture books, installation, virtual reality technology and the surveying and mapping of buildings. For example, the work entitled “Recipes of the Red Army” is a collective creation by the teachers and students, who went deep into the “site” of the Long March, through nearly 100 pieces of oil painting that depict the food of the Long March and it forms a real and microscopic historical concern from a curent humanistic perspective. On the basis of going to the former Chinese Soviet Areas to mold a statue for the senior Red Army, the 3.5-meter-tall statue of the Red Army Wang Chengdeng will be placed in the exhibition space. During the exhibition, the audience will be allowed to participate in the process of shaping the works, highlighting the contemporary art forms with experience and interaction; it also features the comprehensive installation works of “Reflection of Red Well” and “Reflection of Yeping” by the Department of Architecture, taking the mapping of the Soviet revolutionary site in Ruijin as the manifestation, combination of their own professional characteristics and contemporary language for the display; the specialties of humanities and arts management participated in the design of the exhibition while also organizing the teachers and students to undertake the teaching of art for the children on the areas along the Long March. The creative achievements of different disciplines constitute a new form of exhibition, which not only extends the creative space to perform historical themes but is also an a display that assembles the latest multi-disciplinary achievements of CAFA in the context of contemporary art.

Carry Out a New Mechanism to Explore New a Path

In order to achieve the academic requirements of the exhibition and ensure the professional quality of the creative achievements, the Central Academy of Fine Arts is implementing new creative mechanism, the integration of collective creative power, to explore the creative path of the academy, offering a systematical and overall platform of research and creation, and the safeguard mechanism to the inheritance and development of nearly a hundred years of tradition of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, which is a specific measure of CAFA to adapt to the needs of the times and implement the spirit of a series of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s speeches. This initiative not only creates a communication platform to break through disciplinary barriers, it also promotes the contemporary narrative of the spirit of the Long March using an all-disciplinary and cross-media method and through building a path for the academy for an interaction between artists and contemporary China, contemporary world, to help the artists find a point for integrating with their personal pursuit and society, times, history, and then promote the art of the college to play a greater social role.

In order to further sort out the structural exploration of the exhibition by CAFA, the school also has a creative mechanism, creative process and creative results for the exhibition, to compile the publications of a series of exhibitions including “New Path of Academy – Exploration and Research on the Creative Mechanism of CAFA ‘Relay’ Series of Exhibitions”, “Scene of the History – CAFA ‘Relay’ Series of Exhibition in the Second Round Teachers’ and Students’ Sketches”, “Long March of Art– CAFA ‘Relay’ Series of Exhibition Artworks”.

Continuing the tradition and linking the future, while the Central Academy of Fine Arts relays the excellent tradition, it keeps up with the pulse of the times and brings together new strengths, accomplishing the mission of the times, the use of the works as a portrayal of the times and reflects the academic style of the teachers of CAFA. Fan Di’an said that, “CAFA ‘Relay’ Series of Exhibition – ‘Long March of Art’” is both a retrospective of history and as based on reality, directs thought towards the future, it is not only an epic picture scroll on the theme of the spirit of the Long March by the Central Academy of Fine Arts but also the collective presentation of artistic tolerance, academic spirit and cultural ideals of successive generations of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.” In the period of commemorating the 80th Anniversary of the Victory of the Chinese Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army, CAFA demonstrates its great national spirit, taking the promotion of the spirit of Long March as the core, to lead the audience to review the history, also shows concern about the moment, which has important practical significance to realize the dream of China with the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Text and photo by the organizer, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo by Hu Sichen and Yang Yanyuan/CAFA ART INFO

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