“The Start of a Long Journey: Outstanding Works by Graduates of 2018 from Key Art Academies in China”, is held in the Central Academy of Fine Arts (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ) Art Museum from November 11 through to December 2, 2018. “The Start of a Long Journey” (the national version) was initiated in 2010. After that, it has been regularly held once a year. After being organized by the other top eight art schools in China, the exhibition once again returns to where it started, the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
It is the final exhibition of the first round of “The Start of a Long Journey (National Edition” project and it is also an important special exhibition program for celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. The Central Academy of Fine Arts has carefully organized it and showcased outstanding works by 270 graduates from 9 art academies at the CAFA Art Museum and set up a review section featuring 9 works (one from each college) to represent the most outstanding achievements in the 9 art academies this year, and they were displayed in the lobby on the first floor of the museum. On the basis of traditional disciplines of plastic arts, CAFA has exhibited more works from disciplines such as graphic design, vehicle design, picture books, video and so on, which represent the new developing direction of CAFA in recent years.
Cai Yonghua, Deputy President of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts; Guo Zhenshan, Deputy President of Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts and Zhao Xianxin, Director of its Academic Affairs Office; He Dan, Deputy President of Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, Li Yunji, Director of its Academic Affairs Office; Hu Zhonghua, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of China Academy of Art and Weng Zhenyu, Director of its Academic Affairs Office; Xu Fen, President of Hubei Academy of Fine Arts and Zhang Lian, Director of its Academic Affairs Office; Zhang Jie, Deputy President of Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts; Yang Dongjiang, Deputy President of the Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University and Yuan Bo, Director of its Academic Affairs Office; Chang Shuxiong, Deputy President of LuXun Academy of Fine Arts and Hu Bingwen, Director of its Academic Affairs Office; Gao Hong, Party Secretary of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Xu Bing, Director of its Academic Committee, Wang Shaojun, Deputy Secretary of CAFA Party Committee, Wang Xiaolin, Deputy President of CAFA; Chen Ping, Dean of CAFA School of Chinese Painting, Ma Lu, Dean of School of Plastic Arts, Song Xiewei, Dean of School of Design and other guests attended the opening ceremony and it was chaired by Sun Tao, Director of the Academic Affairs Office at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
First of all, Xu Bing, Director of the Academic Committee of the Central Academy of Fine Arts and the Chief Curator of the “The Start of a Long Journey”, expressed his gratitude to the various institutions and related organizations that have contributed to the “The Start of a Long Journey” over the nine years. When talking about the origin of the exhibition “The Start of a Long Journey”, he said that this was not a routine touring exhibition, but it was passed to a different academy each year. This year marks the centennial celebration of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. It is of great significance for the CAFA Art Museum to present this long-awaited exhibition. In a reincarnation of nine years, the “The Start of a Long Journey” series exhibition has traveled all over the country. It is the epitome of the highest standards of China’s higher art colleges and records the flourishing development of art education in the new century. Later, Professor Xu Bing put forward the higher requirements for the graduates who were selected for the “The Start of a Long Journey”: “When you enter the visual scene where various values are presented and it becomes more difficult for you to judge, you will encounter more challenges which test your cognitive ability and judgment level, and thus you will also mobilize the energy of thought that exists in your body but has not yet been used and stimulated. For this, you have the responsibility to become a thinker and creator who leads everyone to move forward. You should believe in the energy and social creativity that are gathered outside academies and outside the art system, this is the source of authentic artistic creation wisdom.”
Cai Yonghua, Deputy President of the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts stressed that in the past few years, the exhibition of “The Start of a Long Journey” has always aroused some discussions worthy of consideration by the academies: First, how to strengthen the attention to the current social life in teaching graduates, especially the concern with reality; second, how to strengthen the independent spirit unique to art; third, how to strengthen the inheritance of the craftsman spirit. As an institution of higher learning, we must strive to undertake the historical mission of inheriting, developing, and creating culture.
Guo Zhenshan, Deputy President of the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, thought that the return of “The Start of a Long Journey” to the origin, the Central Academy of Fine Arts, has a special significance and he hoped that the national key art academies would take this opportunity to conduct active exploration and innovation in the reform and exchange of art education.
He Dan, Deputy President of the Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, expressed that “The Start of a Long Journey” has gradually become a brand, which has aroused widespread concern from all walks of life. This was not only a demonstration of the teaching achievements of the Chinese academies of fine arts, but it was also an art exhibition of the emerging forces in contemporary art. It is also the concentrated expression of the highest level of talents and works in China’s higher art academies.
Hu Zhonghua, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of China Academy of Art, expressed warm congratulations on this exhibition. He thought that various colleges and universities should use this series of exhibitions to deepen cooperation and exchanges, and continue to present artistic confidence and beauty of life in the series of “The Start of a Long Journey.”
Xu Fen, President of the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts, spoke of the accumulation and transmission of the “The Start of a Long Journey” series, which has become more and more mature. It has become a cultural brand that is very popular among teachers, students and the public. The Hubei Academy of Fine Arts has formed a compatible and interactive teaching philosophy and an eclectic academic spirit in the long-term practice of running schools. The form of the “The Start of a Long Journey” exhibition is in line with the school philosophy of Hubei Academy of Fine Arts. The Central Academy of Fine Arts is the vanguard of China’s higher art education. It has an exemplary role in China’s higher art education. The series of “The Start of a Long Journey” initiated by CAFA reflects the academic responsibility of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.
Zhang Jie, Deputy President of the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts, said that the start of a long journey began with a single step. It was initiated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts nine years ago and returned today. Each exhibition and each venue has formed different display effects, showing the results of different Chinese contemporary art education. He believed that through the “The Start of a Long Journey” exhibition, a basic value judgment can be formed: “The education in China today is an effective education. We are full of confidence in the future art education in China, and we are looking forward to the next session of ‘The Start of a Long Journey’.”
Yang Dongjiang, Deputy President of Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University, just attended the International Art Education Conference organized by the Central Academy of Fine Arts at the beginning of this month. The exhibition “The Start of a Long Journey” provided everyone with a closer distance and more specific content. This exhibition did not only present the teaching level and school-running characteristics of each academy, but also truly reflected the common features of local education in the same cultural context in the new era. He hoped that the “The Start of a Long Journey” would continue to sail in the new era.
Chang Shuxiong, Deputy President of LuXun Academy of Fine Arts, said that “The Start of a Long Journey” has produced great influence and popularity throughout the country. As a platform to promote artistic talents and inspect art education practices, the exhibition has become a comprehensive academic brand that shows the most influential and dynamic characteristics of China’s higher art education and it has exerted a profound impetus to Chinese art education.
Finally, Gao Hong, Party Secretary of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, delivered a speech and announced the official launch of the 2018 “The Start of a Long Journey”. He expressed that through the organization of the International Art Education Conference, the institutions have a new vision for global development. The art education industry will shoulder a unique mission in the development process of China and even mankind.
After a series of nine-years reincarnation at academies across the country, “The Start of a Long Journey” returned to the Central Academy of Fine Arts. After the opening ceremony, Fan Di’an, President of the Central Academy of Fine Arts accompanied the leaders and guests from various participating institutions to visit the exhibition.
So far there are more than 2,500 outstanding graduates who have participated in the “The Start of a Long Journey (National Edition)”. As a result, many exhibitors have been invited by international important biennials; they have been able to get in touch with art galleries and art projects around the world; their works have been known and collected by art galleries and collectors, or they have won various awards at home and abroad. Nowadays, they are spread all over the world, and as individuals with independent exploration skills, they have invested in a larger space for artistic creation.
Courtesy of CAFA Art Museum, translated and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO