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Draw from the Sources, Venture with the Greats—Academic Events Commemorating the 95th Anniversary of China Academy of Art
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Edited BY:Fang Shuaiyin

Draw from the Sources, Venture with the Greats. 

Forging Ahead Towards a World-Class Academy of Fine Arts. 

Academic Events Commemorating the 95th Anniversary of China Academy of Art

On the morning of November 10, the 95th Anniversary Celebration of China Academy of Art (CAA) took place at the Liangzhu Campus. President Gao Shiming delivered a keynote speech, and distinguished guests also addressed the event, including Ma Fenghui, Party Secretary, Resident Vice Chairman, and Secretary-General of the China Artists Association; Shi Yigong, President of Westlake University; Du Jiangfeng, President of Zhejiang University; and Xu Jiang, Vice Chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles and Chairman of the Zhejiang Provincial Federation of Literary and Art Circles. The event, chaired by Jin Yibin, Chairman of the Committee of Academy Affairs of CAA, culminated in the grand ceremony of the "Full Opening of CAA Liangzhu Campus and 'Draw from the Sources, Venture with the Greats' 95th Anniversary Academic Events."

CAA commenced its 95th anniversary activities in the spring of 2023. On April 8, the Academy kicked off its 95th-anniversary academic events and designated this day as "CAA Launch Day". It announced the establishment of its School of Calligraphy, China Cinematic Arts Institute, and School of Social Aesthetic Education. Two new initiatives were unveiled: CAACOSMOS, CAA's online art community; and the Meta Art Academy. Concurrently, the Xianghu Campus was officially launched. Leveraging top-tier disciplines such as Chinese painting and calligraphy, this campus aims to build a Gate of Classic Chinese Art, positioning itself as the converging point of CAA's academic veins of "East-West Confluence" and "Innovation from Tradition." This fosters a comprehensive education philosophy to cultivate Renaissance men with mastery in arts and sciences, skills and practices, and with a refined character and extensive knowledge.

On September 19, the "The Way Is Infinite: Centennial Retrospective Exhibition of Zao Wou-Ki" was inaugurated at the Art Museum of CAA, showcasing 129 oil paintings by Zao Wou-Ki, along with over 200 significant works and related documents. It is the largest retrospective exhibition of Zao Wou-Ki in Asia. Following a chronological narrative, the exhibition comprehensively presented Zao's artistic journey that spanned two art traditions and two centuries, highlighting his creative achievements. On November 8, the Art Museum of CAA hosted "Toward Infinity: An Audiovisual Concert Dedicated to Zao Wou-Ki," an experimental performance inspired by Zao Wou-Ki's paintings. This event, featuring improvisational music creations, transformed the museum into a flowing concert hall. The following day, November 9, the "The Way Is Infinite: Centennial Retrospective Exhibition of Zao Wou-Ki" forum took place. Gathering heads of art academies and museums in China, as well as experts from home and abroad, the forum explored Zao Wou-Ki's artistic significance in current art education, museum exhibitions, collections, and its enlightening impact on the contemporary art world.

Previously, as part of the 95th-anniversary academic events, "Proposal to Leonardo Da Vinci − Shanghai Science and Art Exhibition/The 7th International Intermedia Arts Festival" opened on October 28 at the Zhangjiang Science Hall in Shanghai. Reflecting on the Renaissance period - when human perception of the world was holistic and fluid, and disciplines were not yet rigidly segmented, dividing truth and beauty, science and art as one entity − the exhibition contemplated the contemporary context where art is mired in commercialization and politicization, science is instrumentalized, and technology moves towards intelligence. Through artistic creation, a proposal was made to Leonardo da Vinci, engaging in a dialogue on the human epochal questions behind today's art and technology. The exhibition comprised five major performance units and two international academic forums: Panel 21: The New Liberal Arts Forum − Renaissance Man for the 21st Century" and the 8th Annual Conference of Network Society Counter-culture: Resisting All Impossibility of Technology."

From November 8 to 9, the First CAA Synesthesia & Liberal Arts International Forum was held at the Liangzhu Campus. This forum, the first in China with a focus on synesthesia and liberal arts education, featured guests from top-tier institutions and research organizations worldwide, including the China Academy of Art, Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, and the University of Essex in the UK. Centered around the concept of synesthesia, the forum delved deeply into the intersections of cognitive neuroscience and the arts and humanities.

As a significant part of CAA's 95th anniversary events, the afternoon of November 10 saw the commencement of "Artistic Experience and Knowledge Production: The Way of Innovation and Research in Professional Doctorate Program - The 5th National Art Education Forum" at the Liangzhu Campus. Following these events, an array of academic events is scheduled to take place in December, including "Natural View: A Dialogue between Art and Philosophy" − an academic forum on 30 years of expressive figurative art and 20 years of holistic doctoral training in art theory; "Commemoration of 120th Birth Anniversary of Wu Dayu"; and "Commemoration of 120th Birth Anniversary of Un Wenzheng".

The centerpiece of CAA's 95th-anniversary events is "IWV2023: Mutual-Learning of Civilizations". This event views human civilization as a whole, transcending temporal and spatial boundaries. It aligns 12 artistic and humanistic directions of the Academy's unique disciplines − "Time, Shanshui, Design, Media, Object, Writing Image, Literature, and Sci-Fic, Garden, Art, and Knowledge" − with 12 major humanistic directions in natural and social sciences − "Life, Basin, Society, Technology, Belief, Culture, History, Nation, Relic, Time, Education, and the World." This alignment formed 12 interdisciplinary teams of faculty and students. Over the summer, these teams embarked on global explorations to places such as "Lufeng Dinosaur Valley, Amazon Basin, Silicon Valley, Volcanoes in Iceland, Leonardo da Vinci's Residence, Rusakov Workers' Club, Damaidi, Yangjialing Revolutionary Site, and Katsura Imperial Villa," and other key sites, seeking the historical and anthropological significance behind art. From November 10 to 13, these 12 teams reconvened at the newly inaugurated Liangzhu Campus to hold the "Reports from the World" image launch event and the "Starplex" exhibition. They shared insights, questions, and findings from their global expeditions. This series of events will transform the Liangzhu Campus into a hub of artistic reactions, fostering an exchange of ideas and mutual learning of civilizations.

With the inauguration of the Liangzhu Campus, following the illumination ceremony of "Draw from the Sources, Venture with the Greats" 95th Anniversary Academic Events, the Liangzhu Campus of CAA is now fully operational. As the design discipline takes its place at the Liangzhu Campus, CAA, a "Design Renaissance" is anticipated, in tune with the progress of technological revolutions, technical iterations, and societal evolution. This paves the way for new inquiries and visions in art and design, crafting a historical mission statement for the 21st century through design. The goal is to reconstruct the humanistic side of design through the dialectical integration of art and technology, aesthetics and ethics. In the overarching network of "information, technology, capital, and power," design seeks to reinvent the everyday, fostering social innovation.

This year, CAA has launched the "Grand Master of the Century" research project, a journey leading up to the historic centennial milestone in 2028.

Listening to the past, confronting the present, and questioning the future. In its 95th year, CAA embarks on a new phase of both honoring and transcending its legacies. It invites a collective engagement in facing the dual inspirations and challenges of history and the future. Through dialogue, reflection, co-creation, and the profound reshaping of the world, a new wave of renaissance is fostered, together sculpting new paradigms for our era.