00 Exhibition view of “Lonely Planet”

On June 20, 2017, on the occasion of the graduation ceremony, the first exhibition of CAI Young Artist Laboratory “Lonely Planet” opened at the gallery of the Graduate School, CAFA. It is organized by CAFA ART INFO, CAFA Editorial Office which offers academic support, Prof. Yin Shuangxi and Zhang Peng serve as academic advisors, Zhang Yanzi, Editor-in-Chief of CAFA ART INFO works as the exhibition director and the exhibition is curated by Zhu Li and it features the creative productions of the three young artists including Ding Ning, Ji Bei and Wang Jing, although all of the three young artists have different artistic identities and different creative language and perspective, their creations could be traced back to an original source, that is, the recognition, excavation and construction of the self, which makes these three creative cases worthy of studies.

What is the state of existence of a man, is the ultimate question by philosophers, surrounding which it also derives many discussions about science, the body, medicine, psychology, sociology, but in reality, especially society with an inflated pressure and surging rhythm, coerced by a variety of invisible power and mechanism, people chase a variety of things and this process seems increasingly to be drifting away from the truest self in the heart. This is a mental predicament for many people, involving loneliness or anxiety. Three artists are selected who look at themselves in an artistic way, reconstructing the truest self through a self-narrative monologue. The exhibition theme “Lonely Planet” is derived from a travel guide that the curator discovered during a journey. The planet refers to being boundless and it is undoubtedly lonely when life is considered as a journey, but it does not affect the beauty and gorgeous image of the process which depends on the mind set when walking and self-understanding, which is coincidental to the attitude of the three artists.

Ding Ning is a postgraduate student of CAFA, and his combination of painting and animation showcases his spiritual confusion and the state of searching for the self, in the work of “The Fall”, perhaps the secluded space is a visual transformation of his own spiritual state, the image of the character conducts a variety of unconscious movements in a unstable scene while falling and fragmentation becomes a normality, re-building it after each disintegration and the peep-like glasses are a metaphor for communication with the world, as well as a channel of knowing the self. Wang Jing is a young teacher of oil painting from the Shanxi University. She is a young artist and she has been a patient receiving medical treatment, both of them are true to themselves and she envisages the dual identities, art creation was transformed to self-treatment and received peace at that time, while the more important thing was she found herself and another true meaning of life. No wonder a doctor once said the hospital ward might be the best space to re-understand the self. Ji Bei graduated from CAFA last year and his work is about an unmentionable topic – his father, which was also a knot in his mind, but this image is exposed during recent creations, through memories and dialogues to reshape the image of his father, and through this, he was able to find his own “presence”, finishing with a self-awakening in the creation. He once said that, “If a person really wants to know who he is, he must know who his father is first.”

Artistic creation has a different angle of entry and perspective, one can macroscopically choose to finish a “big”work, but these three young art cases are all “small” art, starting with the microcosmic self, analyzing himself, “everyone is sick”and everyone has a contemporary self-spiritual difficulty, nobody except for you perfectly understands oneself. This self-examination and cognition is undoubtedly the most real and also the most effective, the most practical. Of course, this certainty is also their attitude towards art and the world…

CAI Young Artist Laboratory is an exhibition project of young artists launched by CAFA ART INFO, which has relied on the academic background and resources of CAFA for many years, focusing on the learning, the contemporary and young artists and it will become the most influential platform for academic information. Taking this exhibition project as an opportunity, CAFA turns to the below-the-line from being online, through the strategies of planning and thinking to closely observing young artists’creative status and the system of “topic research” for an in-depth exploration of the spirit and language forms.

The exhibition continues to July 10.

Text by Zhang Wenzhi, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo by Yang Yanyuan/CAFA ART INFO

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