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E-flux: "Draw from the Sources, Venture with the Greats: Inter(World)View, Interview the World"
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Edited BY:Fang Shuaiyin

In November, 2023, the 95th anniversary celebration of China Academy of Art (CAA) took place at the Liangzhu Campus in Hangzhou, China. The event culminated during the same period 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.”

In 1928, Mr. Cai Yuanpei, the then Minister of Education, founded the National Academy of Art (now CAA) beside West Lake in Hangzhou, which was China’s first integrated national institution of higher learning in arts. Mr. Cai delivered his famed speech titled “Academies Should Be Set up Only for Academic Research” on April 8, 1928 at the opening ceremony of the National Academy of Art, in which he stated that the academy of art was established beside West Lake for the purpose of creating beauty, so that the current and future generations could get rid of superstition, harbor the love for beauty and eventually obtain a true life. His speech opened a new chapter of China’s higher education in arts.

Today, CAA has grown into a large institution with five campuses and a community of ten thousand. Over the past two decades, this expansive academy has grown exponentially in scale and depth while continually responding to its fundamental educational ideals and artistic concerns—Core Site of Art Education, Frontier of Art Education, and Manifesto of Academic Ethos.

The theme of CAA 95th Anniversary is “Draw from the Sources, Venture with the Greats.” CAA’s President Gao Shiming emphasized that, “As artists, we must draw from the sources, for only by tracing back to the origins of civilization can art draw strength and capture the spirit of inception. Whether as artists or educators, we must venture with the greats, treating the most enlightened and profound traditions in human civilization as our subjects for creation, the soil for our art, and the foundation of our spirit.”

The centerpiece of CAA’s 95th-anniversary events is “IWV2023: Mutual-Learning of Civilizations”. Meanwhile, we held a series of academic activities including Panel 21: A Proposal to Leonardo da Vinci, the 1st CAA Synesthesia & Liberal Arts International Forum, the 5th National Art Education Forum, The Perspective of Nature—A Dialogue Between Art and Philosophy, and A Seminar Commemorating the 120th Anniversary of Wu Dayu’s Birth and An Academic Forum Commemorating the 120th Anniversary of Mr. Lin Wenzheng’s Birth. The English title of this project, “Inter(World)View,” signifies both a “dialogue among worldviews” and an “interview with the world”. 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” and other key sites, seeking the historical and anthropological significance behind art. From November 10 to 13, 12 teams reconvened at the 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.

Gao Shiming, President of CAA said that “Inter(World)View” is a long-term project that aims to reconsider the fundamental issues of art education from the perspective of world civilization history. Our goal is to transcend existing concepts of art history and professional views, to reopen the vistas of art and the concerns of the Academy—interpreting the history of civilization through art and understanding art from the height of civilization history. Through this “Academic Initiative,” we may soon be able to develop a new form of art and envision a new paradigm of education.

Source: E-flux