It’s the season of graduation when students are still immersed in their attachment to their alma mater while also being elated with success. This year’s graduation exhibition, “The Start of A Long Journey” (A Journey of a Thousand Miles) opened at the Art Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. It’s not only a gift for every graduate from CAFA with the combination of confidence and hope of all staff members at CAFA, but also it is an elegant calling card for all the graduates to gain more recognition and encouragement for the future.
This is the fourth year of “The Start of A Long Journey”, including selected works from 127 graduates, 37 of which are masters of fine arts who have won awards for excellence and the other 90 bachelors have won the first or second prize in previous degree exhibitions. Entitled “The Start of A Long Journey”, this exhibition intends to comprehensively demonstrate the initial achievements of Higher Art Education today through rigorous academic appraisal and selections. This presents an opportunity for the audience to have an insight into the status quo of contemporary Chinese art education.
The press conference of “The Start of A Long Journey” was held at the Art Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts on June 21st, 2012. Supervised by Dr. Tang Bin, Deputy Director of the Art Museum of CAFA, the conference invited Prof. Xu Bing, Vice President of CAFA, Prof. Wang Huangsheng, Director of the Art Museum of CAFA, Ms. Wang Xiaolin, Dean of CAFA, Prof. Yu Ding, Vice President of CAFA to give their detailed introduction on this exhibition.
Photo by Hu Zhiheng/CAFA ART INFO
Prof. Xu Bing summarized the highlights of this year’s exhibition: firstly, the overall level of the creations by graduates has been greatly elevated which is closely related with the improved quality of teaching; secondly, outstanding dissertations from School of Humanities for the first time are concluded in this exhibition as well as in its catalogue; thirdly, all the staff members of the Art Museum of CAFA have contributed a lot to this exhibition and their persistence in research work has made the museum rank among one of the best in this art world which tends to be increasingly commercial; fourth, the national edition of “The Start of A Long Journey” has been organized since 2010, nine art institutions jointly exhibit outstanding works of their graduates and discuss their most sensitive fresh issues on this platform, which will continue this year. Finally, Xu Bing announced the forthcoming opening of CAFAM Future Exhibition in August. This exhibition focuses on the creations by the younger generation of Chinese contemporary art, which will be in cooperation with “The Start of A Long Journey” and be helpful in further teaching and research.
Ms. Wang Xiaolin believes that this year’s graduation work as a whole has reached a higher level thanks to the efforts of the entire teaching process. The preparations for this year’s graduation work started earlier, so students have more time for the precipitation and accumulation of their ideas. Besides, the national version of “The Start of A Long Journey” is scheduled to gather nine art schools together in early December, eight renowned art colleges across the country together with the Academy of Art & Design, Tsinghua University. Prof. Yu Ding holds that this exhibition is a kind of integration for the School of Humanities. It demonstrates that the School of Humanities has been integrated into the atmosphere of academic constructions at CAFA, also it re-emphasized the contemporary responsibility of humanities. Our first debut was completely curated by graduates themselves and the advisors just gave them a hint: exhibiting the texts as images and exhibiting dissertations as works. This is the first time they tried to integrate the texts into an exhibition and Mr. Yu hopes that this will continue to improve.
Wang Huangsheng, Director of CAFAM concluded that since its founding, CAFA has built an extensive collection of the outstanding body of work of its alumni. To this day, the collection has become an integral part of the history of fine arts education in China. Many of our alumni have emerged as leaders and representatives of the development of Chinese art. In this sense, the CAFA alumni collection has a crucial place in Chinese art history: it is a unique art treasure that foresees future evolution. In 2011,the CAFA Art Museum has made a major reform, they selected an outstanding collection of graduation works from recent years and sent them to an international stage. The Start of a Long Journey: The Collection of Excellent Graduation Works (2009-2011) from CAFA was ceremoniously inaugurated on January 16th, 2012 at the art space of Art @ Golden Square in London. In the summer of 2012, CAFA Art Museum will have collected a total of over 540 works by 59 young artists. Thanks to the support from graduates and the academy, they will edit them into catalogues and exhibitions to promote original art. Facing the current situation, they are thinking, how to make a public art museum which will gain more confidence in collecting by the artists? This poses a challenge for curators as well as all the staff members of CAFA Art Museum and they sincerely hope they can contribute more.
2012 CAFA Excellent Graduation Works Exhibition
Dates: June 21st – July 29th
Venue: CAFA Art Museum
Address: No.8 Hua Jia Di Nan St., Chao Yang District, Beijing, 100102, P. R. China