From Yantai, Shandong Province, Yu Yutian is a graduate of CAFA in 2017. He graduated from CAFA with a bachelor’s degree and studied in the 3rd Studio of the Department of Mural Painting during his postgraduate study, his tutor has been Prof. Tang Hui. Yu Yutian is good at creating a complicated space with a delicate pencil. For this graduation work of “Pilgrimage of Human Mind”, he says that, “I use my imagination to build a sacred space, and the pencil’s delicate quality contributes to my creation. Imagination is a pilgrimage of the mind and I am also the pilgrim who portrays the imagination.”
Interview Time: June 1, 2017
Interviewee: Yu Yutian (hereinafter referred to as Yu)
Interviewer: Wei Xiankun (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ART INFO)
Editor: Lin Jiabin
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
CAFA ART INFO: Although your graduation work “Pilgrimage of the Human Mind” is small, it cost 6 months to create, which should be related to the automatic pencil used as a delicate painting material, then could you talk about your feelings and the state of using this material in the process of creation?
Yu: I hope to reflect the process of painting on the paper, the friction between the paper and pencil gives me an awe-inspiring feeling, and the process of painting is like a pilgrimage, this wonder makes me quiet and calm in the process of painting, I want to reflect my wonder from the beginning to the end on the paper, using delicate thoughts and strokes to represent it.
CAFA ART INFO: Yes, we can feel your quiet state from your strokes, but the images and spaces created in the work are magical and strange. How did you find these images and inspiration in your creation? How did you consider the relationship between images and feelings of the screen?
Yu: My source of inspiration stems from small objects of a daily routine, and I hardly re-use the real image, for example, the rubber used in the drawing will give me inspiration, such as the interspersion of hairs that germinate my imagination. As for the audience’s reading of the screen, because what I want to express is actually more innocent than dark thoughts, it can certainly be understood by the audience, and my imagination is my understanding of the pure mind. I don’t care about the relationship between a single image and the overall screen, as long as they meet my thoughts, the screen will not be confused.
CAFA ART INFO: Can you talk about the “true intension”, which also contains some kind of personal “problem”? Or is it just a pure perception and imagination?
Yu: My expression is more pure and the involved “problem” is rare. I know that a lot of people’s creations are around proposing a problem and in the end solving a problem. Frankly speaking, my creation is not around the “problem”. In fact the pure expression is more valuable and I throw the problem away making the creation have a sense of relaxation.
CAFA ART INFO: In your work, there have been many elements of lines, and it even appears that the lines describe the waves which appear in traditional ink painting, what is the special significance of lines for you?
Yu: I have accepted the training of Chinese painting from my childhood, and studied in the first studio of the Department of Mural Painting during the undergraduate study, heavily accepting the influence by traditional Chinese painting, the traditional art has a high requirement of lines, so that, lines are irreplaceable in my creative process, while the consciousness of lines has been unnaturally reflected in my creative ideas.
CAFA ART INFO: You create the work using a long scroll, is it related to your thoughts on traditional scrolls?
Yu: In fact, it isn’t, the reason I originally used a long scroll was to tell people I had a strong ability in drawing, but the most important thing is that the long scroll is conducive to the expression of romantic factors.
CAFA ART INFO: In fact, your graduation works don’t only involve works of painting, but also a video, why did you think of using video media for the creation?
Yu: The idea of my image is actually earlier than the “Pilgrimage of the Human Mind”, which has been conceived before I was a postgraduate student, and I arranged it in another series of work entitled “Lonely World”. It is certainly that expression that is also an imaginative world, but it is a difference that this series reveals a bit of consciousness of criticism, I would like to use “Lonely World” to remind people to slow down in this impetuous world, and recall the imagination of the experiences of childhood. As for the medium of video, it can be more conducive to the extension of an audience’s imagination than the painting.
CAFA ART INFO: You once said that the object that constantly rotates in the video was actually a “planet” in your imagination, could you talk about the thought of the usage of the image in the video?
Yu: In this image, it is a material conversion, people change the understanding of the “round” of a planet, which makes it more material, and I have enlarged the hand-painted rough feeling, and also actually enlarged the imagination, while the imagination will be bounded by technology or perfect making.
CAFA ART INFO: You majored in public art and new media during your postgraduate study, what do you think are the possibilities produced by painting, public art and new media?
Yu: The new media is actually a reflection of the ideas, while the realization of public art is a combination of multi-faceted considerations, painting is actually part of the media, the new media is a medium to provide the realization of public art in essence, in my opinion, to makes good use of the way of thinking given by new media as the best way to use the relationship between new media and public art.
CAFA ART INFO: For yourself, what impact does the new media bring to your way of thinking?
Yu: New media broadens my way of thinking, for example, in the creation I will try to use old materials to make a new language, the most intuitive change of expression of thinking is when I face a public space which needs design, the idea of the mind will be very rich, and there are a lot of possibilities forimplementation.
CAFA ART INFO: You have studied in the Department of Mural Painting, CAFA since your undergraduate study, what is the biggest change for you after many years of professional study?
Yu: After trying many materials in the Department of Mural Painting, CAFA, these materials give me a lot of inspiration and offer many “possibilities”. Department of Mural Painting focuses on the relationship between materials and space and this relationship can give birth to a lot of imagination and I have also found the implementation of the above teaching by the tutors in the Department of Mural Painting.
CAFA ART INFO: Do you have any plans after graduation? If you continue to create, is there any inner direction?
Yu: After graduation I will make experiments with the relationship between color and linear shapes. It is certain that the creative theme is classified in the imagination and surrealism and I will think more on the use of new media. Because the murals and public art are gaining attention by the public, I think I have the obligation to do some work to improve public awareness, as a student of the murals, to remind people of the importance of public art with my creation.