China Academy of Art
Opening of World Tree: 2024 CAA Graduation Season
Jun 01, 2024 - Jun 20, 2024
Hangzhou, China
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The "World Tree: 2024 CAA Graduation Season" commenced on June 1, 2024. It was hosted by the China Academy of Art (CAA), co-hosted by the People's Governments of Shangcheng District, Xihu District, Yuhang District, and Xiaoshan District, and organized by the Zhejiang Art Museum, Zhijiang Cultural Center, Zhejiang Library, World Tourism Museum, Quan Shanshi Art Center, West Lake Sky Screen, Tianmuli, and academic units of CAA, under the auspices of the Publicity Department of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, Zhejiang Provincial Department of Culture, Broadcasting and Tourism, Xianghu Lake Administrative Committee, Zhuantang Subdistrict, Liangzhu Subdistrict, and the Management Office of Phoenix Mountain of West Lake Scenic Area.


On June 1, the World Tree: CAA Graduation Season was simultaneously inaugurated at eight venues, including the CAA's Xiangshan Campus, Liangzhu Campus, and Xianghu Campus, Zhejiang Art Museum, Zhejiang Library's Zhijiang Branch, World Tourism Museum, Quan Shanshi Art Center, and Tianmuli. It presents the graduation works of a total of 2,868 graduates (1834 undergraduates and 1034 postgraduates) from 20 academic units, as a youthful art festival across the city of Hangzhou and various domains. The opening exhibition and fashion show took place on the evening of June 1 at 19:28 at CAA Liangzhu Campus, which was concurrently live-streamed online. The online graduation exhibition has also been launched on CAACOSMOS.


In 2010, CAA became the first art academy to present its students' graduation works from all disciplines to the public, in the form of the brand-new "Graduation Exhibition Week". The feast also aims to recommend outstanding talents to society. The CAA Graduation Exhibition 2019, the world's largest one, reached beyond the walls of the Academy to the entire city, gathering greater strengths. On one hand, it showcased CAA as an "Unwalled Academy" that integrates internal and external resources; on the other hand, it shared the Academy's educational achievements with society, to promote the common growth of young artists in line with the times. It has become the most influential Graduation Season in China. 


Ever-Evolving Graduation Season, Citywide Art Festival


The CAA Graduation Season has been continually evolving and iterating, resonating with the times and society. Mr. Gao Shiming, President of CAA, believes that in this new era and amidst the new development paradigm, as a center of the digital economy, a frontier of the networked intelligent society, and a model city of high-quality development, Hangzhou's construction and development itself is a great creation in the process of Chinese modernization. Therefore, artists must get involved − do their part and contribute their share. That is because artists are not only the creators of beauty, but they are also the drivers of innovation. We called upon all sectors of society to work in unison and brought our graduation exhibition to the entire city, beyond our campus, blooming throughout the city, presenting a citywide art festival filled with youthfulness vibrancy and creative energy. Our aim is to transform Hangzhou into an "Unwalled Academy" and a young, lively, and trendy city.


In 2024, the CAA Graduation Season takes "World Tree" as its theme. The World Tree guides us to view the world with the perspective of life and to explore within. Each departure reaches higher and farther, or delves deeper and more specialized. Every action is a tiny exploration welcoming a new life. President Gao Shiming pointed out, "The 'World Tree' was once a channel connecting heaven, earth, and humanity. Now, this ancient legend will guide us to understand the world with the perspective of life and understand people with the perspective of nature." This graduation season creates a broad, cross-disciplinary, and youth-filled art festival that serves as a "youth declaration observing the times, a creative space-time of fusion and convergence, a heritage site of cultural classics, and a gathering place for various futures."



Ever-Growing Artistic Power, Deeply Rooted in the Era


This year's graduates have achieved remarkable success on national exhibition platforms. A significant number of works from traditional domains such as Chinese painting, oil painting, printmaking, and sculpture were shortlisted for the 15th Zhejiang Fine Arts Exhibition and the preliminary round of the 14th National Exhibition of Fine Arts, both held once every five years.


The School of Chinese Painting, with the theme "All Beauty (Will Come) in Spring," celebrates the new beginnings of 150 graduates. As they extend their branches higher and further and delve deeper into specialized fields, their burgeoning vitality will merge into a river, filling the world and invigorating every spring.


The School of Calligraphy presents the works of 53 graduates themed "Young and Promising." "Young and Promising" signifies a moment of emergence from a good grounding, the initial bloom of flowers, symbolizing an unbounded future with limitless possibilities awaiting everyone.


The School of Painting showcases the works of 254 graduates under the theme "A Path in the Woods." The Department of Oil Painting, while upholding the research focuses of separate studios, emphasizes the attention to grand eras and significant life experiences. The Department of Printmaking analyzes "Self and Society" from multiple angles unique to printmaking, striking a fine balance between humanistic concern and intrinsic language. The Department of Mural Painting remains committed to the purity of mural language, paying homage to ancient classics of the East and the West while noting the inheritance and expansion of media language. The Department of Integrated Art focuses on experimental and diverse language exploration and expression, seeking richer possibilities within the grasp of fundamental language.


The School of Sculpture and Public Art presents the works of 167 graduates under the theme "Layered Growth Rings." "Layered Growth Rings" symbolizes the accumulation and overlap of individual inner experiences, bearing the marks of social and cultural evolution, connecting the past with the present, and recording the intertwining and growth of life. It represents the build-up and consolidation of life experiences, serving as a lens and direction towards the future, sculpting and weaving each individual's unique inner landscape. Among them, the artwork I Hugged the Goose at the Wedding by Shen Yi, an undergraduate from the Orientality Studio, garnered the Bronze Award in the sculpture category at the 15th Zhejiang Fine Arts Exhibition.


The School of Intermedia Art (SIMA) displays the creations of 122 graduates themed "Wild Jungle." On the experimental art front, SIMA explores the possibilities of narrative creation in physical, virtual, and social spaces. In the field of open Media, it focuses on AI art, with captivating sonar performances conducted live during the exhibition. As for free art, the school presents heterogeneous practices, integrating considerations of individual experience and sensory perception, and as for medium performance, uses historical commemorative nodes as design drivers, linking numerous miniature models and installations into an overall narrative. The Institute of Contemporary Art and Social Thought presents eight imaginative proposal projects. The master's and doctoral sections feature numerous kinetic installations that offer an extraordinary sensory experience.


The School of Communication & Design, with the theme "World Projection," exhibits the graduation projects of 214 graduates. "World Projection" exists between pure imagination and simple reflection of reality, at the intersection of perspectives. Through the practice of projection and mapped drawing, we obtain the framework of "sense of reality," giving "World Projection" the meaning of a "world model," an outlook to "view the world." The exhibition covers five major areas: Visual Communication, Exhibition Design, Integrated Design, Color Design, and Postgraduate Research and eight sub-areas, involving forms such as graphic design, color design, exhibition planning, video, installation, and games.


The School of Fashion & Design presents the works of 101 graduates under the theme "Between 'Me' and the World." These young fashion designers are poised for a transformative metamorphosis, blending a futuristic vision of fashion with the meticulous craftsmanship of dedicated artisans. Their vibrant energy emerges through questioning, dialogue, and debate, exploring identity, emotional connections, and social responsibility. Through art and perception, they draw experiences and insights from the fusion of artistic sensibility and technological experimentation, exploring the relationship between "Me" and the World.


The School of Industrial Design, themed "Ever Flow," showcases the works of 122 graduates. They are categorized into five thematic realms: Life Aesthetics·Fruit of Agave, Smart Interaction·Fruit of Turing, Smart Manufacturing·Fruit of Artificer, Smart Mobility·Fruit of Qigong, and Graduate·Fruit of Xihe. These themes focus on balancing tech developments with human values, transcending traditional boundaries, and shaping the future living landscape. The school also introduces the "10×10×10" CAA New Youth Design Co-creation Plan, encompassing four segments: Life Aesthetics, Smart Interaction, Smart Manufacturing, and Smart Mobility. This plan highlights the integration of design aesthetics with the digital world, laying emphasis on the construction of new ideas, new species, and new scenarios, thereby promoting the synergy between academia and businesses in design.


The School of Crafts presents the works of 237 graduates under the theme "Hand·Art·Way." The Department of Ceramics underlines innovation, modernity, and artistic expression in its teaching philosophy, showcasing diverse artistic styles and creative techniques. The Department of Crafts explores the possibilities of lacquer art's regeneration and inheritance in the modern world, underscoring the fusion and innovation of lacquer art with modern times. On the glass art front, the school examines the limitless possibilities of material language application and craftsmanship expression. In the jewelry domain, it focuses on the diversity of materials and techniques and the interaction between jewelry and the body, decoding the relationship between future space-time and traditional creation. The Department of Design Arts highlights the features of theoretical professionalism, showing the innovative teaching mode of "70% Practice and 30% Theory." The Department of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property fully embodies the combination of traditional art and modern techniques.


The School of Innovation & Design displays the works of 481 graduates themed "Consciousness Matrix." This theme reflects the creators' broad and profound points of attention, ranging from Earth's natural ascension to planetary scales: space "light sails," "deep time" geology, life "simulations," and the integration of artificial intelligence technology and assisted optimization into human creativity and thought processes. The exhibition extends the "Consciousness Matrix" motif through wormhole installations, lighting setups, and a blend of virtual and real exhibits, creating an interconnected consciousness among the works. An AR program with guide, check-in, information, and sharing features completes the specific viewing mode of the "Consciousness Matrix" spatial computation system.


The School of Architecture presents the works of 192 graduates under the theme "Four Questions about Architecture." "After the era of massive demolitions and constructions, is it possible for cities and villages to regain their true living states?" After architecture has become widely scenographic and decorative, can it return to authenticity and to its original essence? If we consider the best archetype of architecture to be a garden, does this imply a completely different kind of architectural knowledge? If the renewal of cities and villages signifies the collapse of modern planning and design modes, can patching and mending become a different methodology in architecture? These questions form the basis for thoughtful exploration and creative response in the graduates' works.


The School of Arts and Humanities presents the works of 110 graduates through an online virtual museum, themed "Cohesion." The virtual museum is generated from a planar diamond-shaped fangsheng pattern. It is a 3D-modeled virtual museum building and exhibition space, divided into four units by areas of research:  History of Art History, Art History & Visual Culture, Art Theory and Criticism, and Art Archaeology. Visitors can scan a QR code to enter the virtual exhibition hall, immersing themselves in the "Tree of Knowledge" and the four exhibition units, gaining profound humanistic insights and aesthetic experiences.


The School of Art Administration and Education presents the works of 123 graduates themed "Life Force 7.0: Everywhere, Everyday, Everyone." Guided by the concept of "Art Management Editorial Department – Editing the Art World," each arts management graduate identifies themselves as an "editor," using their theses, document compilations, and knowledge maps to curate specific cases in the art world. Through their presentations, they announce their understanding and insights and declare to the world the possibility of becoming both transmitters and producers in a world that constantly demands creativity.


The School of Film Art displays the works of 144 graduates themed "A Pause in the Light." If written language forms branches, then film language must navigate the "gaps," where the world's primordial light penetrates these voids, reopening our senses within the gaps of the trees to see the world anew from a life perspective. The works Tieling RiverNail Bed, and Knight's Diary, by graduates of the Department of Writing and Directing for Film and Television, reflect young people's connections to daily life and social concerns. The fine arts graduates Xu Jieyu and Wu Pingshi's graduation project Burning at Dusk, based on post-apocalyptic novels and combining wasteland and biomechanical styles, constructs a grand worldview, conveying reflections on self, nature, and society.


The School of Animation and Games presents the works of 177 graduates themed "Leaves of Grass." These students are like the vibrant blades of grass on the vast green land of the Academy, gathering, rooting, and growing robustly. Though their works may be immature, they are simple and brimming with the songs of youth, surging, striving, and shouting. With dreams of the sky and freedom, they grow from the leaves of grass into the trees of the world. Among the artworks, the 2024 Department of Animation graduate student He Chaohong's animation Fifty has been shortlisted for the Chilean Animation Film Festival.


The School of Foundation Studies presents the works of 34 graduates themed "Those Who Live by Their Roots Will Never Abandon Their Original Position." Focusing on the classical modeling traditions of both Eastern and Western art, it takes the generalist foundation of the fine arts discipline as its core research focus. From the basic principles of modeling and aesthetic interests, it explores shape, color, and texture in modeling art. Through experimental exploration with relevant mediums in the modern context, technology, and new art settings, it examines the creative concepts and methods behind modeling art.


The EDNA Joint Institute (NACAA) showcases the works of 7 graduates themed "Integrated Design and Life." This theme sends a message that in the era of globalization and sustainable development, design is not merely a simple combination of form and function but a profound reflection of social responsibility and humanistic care. Their creativity spans multiple fields, including house & home, fashion, and packaging. By using ingenious design and innovative technology, they transform everyday objects into promoters of environmental awareness and cultural integration, encouraging people to reflect on their consumption habits and advocate for a more human-centered and sustainable lifestyle. The common aim is to weave a vision of a greener and more harmonious world.


The Affiliated High School of CAA presents the works of 136 graduates under the theme "One Tree, One World." Each student and each piece of work takes root and sprouts in the fertile soil of art, weathering the storms, basking in the sunlight and rain, recording growth with the traces of time, and painting life with dynamic brushstrokes. From the rooted foundation of the classroom, the ancient charm by the Fisherman's Dam, the local customs and scenery of Zhoushan Islands, to the online creation of a one-square-meter space, each tree holds its unique energy, producing images of self, life, and the world.


The Design Industry Innovation Center (DIIC) presents the works of 31 graduates themed "Forest Island." The exhibits are grouped into four sections: "Birch Shadows at Dusk - Human Care," "Echoes of Ancient Banyan - Cultural Memory," "Tree Rings - Information Decoding," and "Pine Waves Resonance - Sensory Interaction." These sections reflect students' systematic thinking and active responses to issues such as society, culture, urbanity, ecology, and technology.


The China Institute for Visual Studies showcases the works of 13 graduates themed "The Generative Realm." Here, perception is the origin of the world. The "World Tree," as a form of growth, reveals the spiral structure of life's creation and the potential branching of the world, which embodies the blossoming of life itself.



Envisaging Multifarious Futures: An Invitation to Wander through the Art Tree


The "World Tree: 2024 CAA Graduation Season" opening exhibition and fashion show took place on June 1 at 19:28 at the CAA Liangzhu Campus, which were live streamed on online platforms. They also celebrated the founding of the National Academy of Art (now CAA) in 1928.


The 2024 CAA Graduation Season opening ceremony marked the Academy's return to on-campus events since 2018 and the first massive public opening of the CAA Liangzhu Campus following its official inauguration in 2024. Liangzhu offers us a chance and enlightenment, inspiring us to expand our perspectives and open our minds, enabling us to envision ourselves and comprehend the world through vast spatio-temporality. The Graduation Season opening ceremony was directed by Ms. Liu Yihong, Vice Dean of the School of Communication & Design, with instructor Tan Bin, serving as the chief narrator.


The "Looking Up" opening ceremony was officially started The Tree on the Singularity by Tan Bin's team. In the "Sky-Scraping" opening ceremony, an unnamed tree at the center of the water courtyard of the Liangzhu Campus, as an appendage to the real world, transformed its branches into a sky of stars. It was a travel through the shining stars into deep space towards a star 5,000 light-years away, to connect with the faint glow of the ancient Liangzhu civilization from 5,000 years ago, inviting this light to the event and to every unforgettable moment in the lives of the graduates.


The "Under the Tree" themed exhibition presented the digital works by CAA young teachers and students, including The Chain of the World TreeEvents Above Clouds, and the AIGC movie Denio's Thousand and One Nights. This digital exhibition featured artworks by CAA teachers, collaborative works by teachers and students, engineering students, and even freshmen, whose imaginative and reflective creations brought us messages of the world that carry both contemporary and ancient elements, amidst macroscopic and microscopic transitions and spatial-temporal perspectives.


"The World Tree: Zero Degree Transformation" fashion show, the first graduation event of its kind since the inception of the School of Fashion & Design, was curated by Ms. Ling Yali, Vice Dean of the School of Fashion & Design. Exploring the philosophically rich theme of "Zero Degree" transformation, it underscored the graduates' understanding of the spirit of the age and their speculative thinking on social and cultural issues, their grasp of the pulse of the era, and their keen insights into fashion trends. The "Retracing Time - Ripple Mirror" virtual fashion show linked digital art with virtual fashion. It was dedicated to the creation of avant-garde aesthetic imaginaries through code and algorithms and practicing the growth of technology and ecosystem aesthetics in fashion.


The closing of the opening ceremony featured "Sonar 9.0 Tech Art Scene", directed by Prof. Yao Dajun, CAA. It starred two representative artist groups, WH2Y (Hu Haiyang & Hu Yiyang) and Phantom Limb (Wang Peng, Lin Shijun & Chen Pengfan), who delivered AI visual & sound and real-time motion capture MR improvisational performances, respectively. "Sonar" stands as one of China's earliest live performances in media art, technological art, and sound art, distinguished by its highly experimental nature and diverse performance models, setting a benchmark for similar activities in China.


On June 1 at 15:30, "Sonar 9.0 Tech Art Scene" made its appearance at the Open Media Lab site of the Department of Open Media, School of Intermedia Art, Zhejiang Cultural Center. On June 2 at 19:30, a complete performance will go on live at the water courtyard of the Liangzhu Campus to present motion capture virtual rituals, resistance to artificial intelligence visuals, next-generation Glitch Audio Visual, real-time AI underfitting, real-time motion capture Nuo universe, earnest socialization, manual intelligence, psychedelic microbiological intelligence, Mongolian performance art, and sound poetry. From real-time AI video performances to bodily actions, they display the unique avant-garde media experiments of the Open Media Lab, probing the mechanisms behind artificial intelligence and reflecting upon the AI technology and platforms themselves.



Art Actions Brimming with Highlights: Constructing a Multidimensional Creative Realm


The CAA Graduation Season, which has become a cultural brand and festival in Hangzhou, is accompanied by art actions filled with highlights, such as art bazaars, live exhibitions, and excellent entrepreneurship project selections, injecting new vitality into the city.


From June 1 to 3, the graduate art bazaar goes on simultaneously in all exhibition venues, where graduates showcase and sell their creative works. Among them, the School of Animation and Games' "DONG! Carnival" will be linked with the "Tianmuli: Along the Mountain and River" collection for a special bazaar as part of the 2024 Graduation Season, featuring peripheral art elements, original handcrafts, independent publications, artworks, traditional goods, and many attractive objects for an art lifestyle. This event provides graduates with real-scenario opportunities and allows them to engage face-to-face with audiences and potential buyers. It is an additional channel for marketing their works. CAA aims to scout and recommend outstanding graduate works and promote their commercialization, to help graduates realize greater economic value and social impact.


The Graduation Season is also a stage for graduates to showcase themselves. To encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among graduates, CAA will hold a selection event of excellent entrepreneurship projects from June 7 to 15, as a bridge and platform for student employment, to select innovative projects with entrepreneurial capabilities and provide necessary support and resources to help graduates realize their entrepreneurial dreams.


This series of events not only presents CAA's educational achievements and talent quality but also reflects the Academy's high regard for and active promotion of graduate employment. Looking ahead, CAA will continue to deepen cooperation with businesses, strengthen employment guidance and services, and provide graduates with more high-quality resources and platforms to help them get employed. At the same time, the Academy is committed to pioneering models for innovative talent training, aiming to develop high-quality talents with an innovative spirit and practical skills, thereby significantly contributing to societal advances.


Today, as Hangzhou furthers its identity as a city with deep historical and cultural roots, a hub of innovation and vitality, and a leading example of ecological civilization, CAA will, based on local context while embracing national and global perspectives, amplify its responsibility across multiple dimensions. It is tasked with the mission of shaping artistic zeniths at the most open and avant-garde frontiers of the times, contributing to the development of a culturally prosperous nation, and emerging as a formidable force in driving social progress and fostering innovation. It aims to tell China's stories to the world.


As President Gao Shiming said in his opening speech, "The 'World Tree' tells us that our lives are always interconnected with countless others, our branches being connected to each other, growing entwined among the myriad things of the world, which is how one's personhood becomes enriched. This requires a broader heart and deeper care. We can put together the two poems by Mr. Tao Xingzhi from 1931 and 1946 in response to the call of the 'World Tree':


The universe is our school,

Nature is our teacher,

All beings are our classmates,

Together we compose poems.

Creation is the spring of life. It is not just giving; it itself is the reward."


We extend our invitation to all once again: On this Children's Day, come to Hangzhou to enjoy the 2024 CAA Graduation Season! Let us witness this "World Tree" thriving into a forest!  


The exhibition will last through June 10/15/20. For more details, please refer to the Appendix titled "Reservation by Exhibition Venue".



The eight exhibition venues:

CAA Xiangshan Exhibition Venue June 1-20 (9:30-16:30)

Crafts Museum: School of Crafts

Building 3: School of Film Art

Building 8: School of Art Administration and Education


CAA Liangzhu Exhibition Venue June 1-10 (9:30-16:30)

Building 3: School of Innovation & Design

Building 8: School of Innovation & Design

Building 13: School of Communication & Design

Building 18: School of Industrial Design

Building 21: School of Fashion & Design, Design Industry Innovation Center, and EDNA Joint Institute


CAA Xianghu Exhibition Venue June 1-10 (9:30-16:30)

Building 7: School of Foundation Studies

Building 8: China Institute for Visual Studies


Zhejiang Art Museum June 1-10 (9:00-17:00)

2F: Sky Light Corridor, Halls 4, 5 & 6: School of Painting

3F: Halls 7 & 10: School of Painting

Halls 8 & 9: School of Architecture

4F: Halls 11, 12 & 13: School of Architecture


Zhejiang Library's Zhijiang Branch June 1-10 (9:00-17:00)

B1 Wenlan Exhibition Hall: School of Intermedia Art


World Tourism Museum June 1-20 (9:00-17:00); June 1, 8, 9 & 15 opening hours extended to 20:30

Jishi Hall: School of Chinese Painting

Feibai Hall: School of Calligraphy


Quan Shanshi Art Center June 1-15 (9:30-17:00)

Building 1: The Affiliated High School of CAA

Building 2: School of Sculpture and Public Art


OōEli June 1-10 (10:00-20:00)

F3 & F4, Building 15: School of Animation and Games






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