Yu Ding and Huang Jiancheng: Public Art brings Chinese New Year into your life(Part 2)

时间: 2015-01-27 | 片长: 00:20:24 | 来源: 艺术中国

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Art China:Dear audience, welcome to today’s Art Salon. During the Chinese New Year this year, the event “Happy Chinese New Year•2015 Fantastic Art China New York”, hosted by the Ministry of Culture and undertaken by the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), will be held in New York. Today we’ve invited two guests. One is the chief planner of the event--Yu Ding, Deputy Dean of the School of Humanities, CAFA and Director of the National Research Institute of Art and Culture Policy, and the other is the chief designer of the event--Deputy Dean of City Design School, CAFA. Mr. Yu, we know that the program includes a public art exhibition, a themed light installation, themed fireworks and a creative bazaar. As chief planner, could you tell us how the four events were developed and what their roles and relations are in the whole program?

Yu Ding:Our thought at the very beginning was to invite the American people to celebrate the Chinese New Year with Chinese people. Celebrating the Chinese New Year will, of course, involve experiencing Chinese culture. What public activities should we provide to New Yorkers? When we were planning “Fantastic Art China”, we were determined that it should be public, and should be an event where all people can participate, so we have chosen a public art exhibition as the core of the event. In addition, we have also planned three related public art activities. 

 One is a fireworks display over the Hudson River. Originally, we wanted to make the fireworks display an artwork and invite Cai Guoqiang to design it. But because time was limited, he was unavailable. The fireworks display this year is completely designed by the design team from CAFA, led by Professor Huang Jiancheng. As part of the public art event, the fireworks will not be normal fireworks, but fireworks relevant to culture. There are many Chinese elements in the design of the fireworks. About five chapters are used for the firework display, including “Radiant with Joy” “Spring Returns”, and more. The theme of the fireworks display is “harmony”. We have also composed background music for the display, which will be broadcast live on New York radio and news. So New Yorkers can wear headphones or turn on the radio while watching the Chinese New Year fireworks and become part of the festival. The public spaces here include radio and the Hudson River space.

 Second, every year the Empire State Building lights up special lights for the Chinese New Year, but there’s been simply one color---Chinese red. However, from this year on, we hope that it can become a piece of public art. The CAFA design team has designed changes to the whole of the lighting, which includes roughly four themes of changes. The lighting changes from Chinese red, the colors of spring, flowers, snowflakes and finally brilliant colors, and the changes repeat every three minutes, like a rhythm. This is the first time for the Empire State Building. Everyone can see it, so that is also public participation.

Third, Chinese people often go to a temple fair and do New Year’s shopping during the Chinese New Year. In the past, except in Chinatown, there were no traditional events in other places in New York. The American mainstream does not have the custom of doing New Year’s shopping. This time, we’ve designed a creative bazaar in the multifunctional hall of the Lincoln Center. For the bazaar, we have selected some 50 works from over 600 works in the “Happy Chinese New Year---Art and Creative Product Design Competition”, designed by major students from universities nationwide from a competition that we organized in November and December 2014. Those works have been made into finished products. Those works, together with the art derivatives from eight museums, including the Shanghai Museum, the Nanjing Museum, the CAFA Art Museum and the Zhejiang Provincial Museum, and some traditional New Year’s purchases and intangible cultural products, have formed this creative bazaar. New Yorkers can get in and shop in the bazaar. That is public participation.

We have invited Professor Lyu Shengzhong, Director of the Experimental Art Department, CAFA, who is also a renowned artist, to be responsible for the creative bazaar. Students of experimental art majors often adopt different media and all products are their media. The whole creative bazaar is an artwork of Professor Lyu Shengzhong. He’s created a public artwork with those products. The creative bazaar has two meanings. First, the creative bazaar is a real bazaar, while, as a display, it is a work of art. So centering on public art exhibition, we’ve designed three events. In addition, there will be a historical document exhibition called “Chinese in the United States” at the American Museum of Natural History in New York during Chinese New Year. We hope to add it to “Happy Chinese New Year”, to encourage more people to see the exhibition and learn the story of Chinese people in the United States. All of these things have formed the series “Fantastic Art China”.

Art China:Mr. Huang, you are the leader of the fireworks display and the light installation design team, and your work will be on display at the public art exhibition. Could you tell us what you find most important in the fireworks display and the light installation design?

Huang Jiancheng:Mr. Yu Ding has just given a clear interpretation of the cultural and artistic meaning of “Happy Chinese New Year•Fantastic Art China”. The main work of our design team is to represent the art in form. In the whole design system, we need to extract Chinese symbols from traditional culture or traditional art forms. We hope to present the forms after conversion using New York as a world stage. The lighting and fireworks are just part of our whole visual system. We want to bring four to five events into one visual system.

First, Chinese red is more accepted, but we will not simply use this color, but turn the red color into a system. And we will extract other dynamic symbols, such as Chinese knots and window paper-cuts, and integrate them with the red color system to form a graphic system. Then the system will guide us in the light installation and the fireworks design, as well as in the setting of other space systems. By doing so, it can highlight some modern Chinese design symbols, with each symbol having its own characteristics, which together finally produce the overall effects of “Fantastic Art China”. That is our position. Second, we want to present all of this in a dynamic way. They can be frozen into a signal image, but when they are linked together, they can be dynamic, which follows the idea of “Happy Chinese New Year”. The design system that has formed is basically consistent with our original position, though we still need to invest efforts in some things. A modern presentation of the whole design is our basic position and goal.

Art China:In the main event—the public art exhibition, Mr. Yu has selected public art works from six renowned artists including Xu Bing, Xu Jiang, Lyu Shengzhong, Zhan Wang, Chen Wenling and Huang Jiancheng. How did you select the works? What do you think of their relationship?

Yu Ding:Public art should take into consideration the local environment and the feelings of the local audience--New Yorkers, so the selection was not based on my own criteria but on the audience and environment. When we selected the artists, we looked at whether their expressions are relatively international and can be understood and recognized by the audience. On the other hand, as the theme is “Happy Chinese New Year”, there should be a Chinese spirit and Chinese elements. Therefore the works should be contemporary, international and easy-to-understand while being at the same time expressions of the Chinese spirit and Chinese elements. All six of the artists have those traits.

Take Mr. Xu Jiang for example. His work Coexistence has been exhibited in many exhibitions, including during the China-U.S. Cultural Year in Washington and the Kassel public art exhibition during the China-Germany Cultural Year. The work is very impressive and can represent the Chinese spirit. Zhan Wang’s Taihu Stone is a well-known work at both home and abroad. It reflects a very important humanistic spirit of China. Zhan Wang’s works have been exhibited and collected in museums worldwide. The small Taihu stone in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is from Zhan Wang. There are also large-size works of his at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, placed in the hall of the museum. Zhan Wang has also participated in many international exhibitions. His series works were exhibited at the British Museum just one year ago. So Zhan Wang’s works are both Chinese and international. Huang Jiancheng’s works are a combination of contemporary and traditional. Huang Jiancheng was the visual design director of the Chinese pavilions in two world expos---the 2005 Aichi Expo and the 2010 Shanghai Expo. One of his works---a 3D animated version of Along the River During the Qingming Festival is currently displayed at the China Art Museum of the World Expo Shanghai 2010 state pavilion. You may go see it. In the work, Huang Jiancheng has deconstructed Along the River During the Qingming Festival and selected the most important section from Along the River During the Qingming Festival. From buildings to furniture, he has also added many contemporary designs and art and has reconstructed the painting. The reason why we selected Mr. Huang’s work is because it has combined contemporary new media art, and its theme represents the scene of the Bianliang market in Northern Song, a great period in the history of China, and we are going to present a creative bazaar in the Lincoln Center. The ancient market interpreted with modern ideas and the bazaar in real life can form a contrast. Lyu Shengzhong is the director of the Experimental Art Department of CAFA. He has long been engaged in experimental, avant garde art creation based on traditional Chinese culture and Chinese folk art. So Lyu Shengzhong’s creation is both national and contemporary, which meets our selection criteria. And Chen Wenling is a very important contemporary sculptor. He has also participated in a series of important contemporary art exhibitions. In particular, during the China-Germany Cultural Year, two of his important works were exhibited in Kassel and were widely acclaimed. This time, we have selected his work Tree, a tree sprouting in spring, with all kinds of animals, including the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. Because Chen Wenling’s works have certain super-realistic or magical realistic elements, they look realistic but are actually expressed with super realism, and thus they can be easily accepted by the American audience. Meanwhile, the twelve Chinese zodiac signs also imply the theme of the Chinese New Year. Another important artist is Xu Bing. Yesterday, he received the U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts. He is a Chinese artist who has received much attention from America and the world. Xu Bing has represented our selection principle of the public art exhibition, because he has included the core of the traditional Chinese spirit and culture into the creation of contemporary art, while his language and expression is contemporary. He is very creative. So we are going to broadcast Xu Bing’s works on the large screen at the opening ceremony. He has especially revised his work The Character of Chinese Characters for the event. The six artists we’ve selected have different characteristics. People are delighted to see their works, and their works have strong Chinese elements and Chinese spirit. We hope to communicate with the American people in the public art arena through these works.

Art China:Mr. Huang’s animated version of Along the River During the Qingming Festival is quite popular among the audience. Is this the first time it will be exhibited overseas? What changes have you made?

Huang Jiancheng:The work actually originated from an artistic display for the original design of the Shanghai World Expo, and it was not an independent work. Later in a solo exhibition, I extracted the creation themes from the original design, which is a kind of reconstruction and deconstruction. I hope it can be constantly reconstructed and deconstructed with modern ideas and can impact pictures that are already designed. And in this process, it becomes more and more unlike the original form of Along the River During the Qingming Festival. This is the first time it is exhibited overseas, and in such a form of display. This is better suited to the original position of “Fantastic Art China”. So I hope the exhibition of the work overseas can achieve such a goal---it was the original intended for creation, and also becomes a part of the Chinese culture that “Fantastic Art China” tries to transmit.

Art China:Along the River During the Qingming Festival depicts a typical prosperous scene in ancient China. Mr. Yu, if the work is projected on the wall outside the venue, will that help a foreign audience understand what a traditional Chinese New Year can look like, in an indirect way?

Yu Ding:Along the River During the Qingming Festival depicts the scene of a bustling street in a city. Nearly 1,000 years ago, Chinese cities had reached such a development level, which proves that the Chinese people have never lacked for invention and that Chinese people’s creativity led the world 1,000 years ago. We aim to realize the export of culture through the export of products. Along the River During the Qingming Festival reflects a prosperous time. Chinese people have creative ability, no matter what we call it, the Chinese dream or the cultural renaissance. We hope to show the whole world that China has a profound culture several thousands of years old, and that Chinese people don’t lack creative ability and can do more than copy or manufacture, by creating an echo of ancient contemporary China within the work. We hope the American people can know us through the artwork and the creative bazaar.

Art China:Mr. Huang, as the design director of the event, when you were designing the visual effects of the whole event, what have you done to make the Chinese New Year a world festival, while keeping some elements unique to Chinese culture? Where did the patterns come from?

Huang Jiancheng:I’m one of the artists in the event. In the poster design for the event, my main role was to make a visual design. We had three major design systems. One is the prescriptive system – a visual design, which will be maintained in art in the future. The second is space design. The spaces include the two spaces in the Lincoln Center, the outdoor space over the Hudson River, and the light installation of the Empire State Building. The latter two are both design and art. So the visual design and transformation of Chinese culture is mostly about visual design.

The basic materials for the patterns are from the eight English letters: “Art China”. Our original position was to adopt a dynamic processing of the English letters, and we hoped to combine them with Chinese knots, window paper-cuts and snowflakes to design a symbolic system after rotating the eight English letters. In the meantime, we’ve further extended this idea to the website interface, a dynamic visual system and other video settings. So the two-dimensional plane that people see is actually a freeze-frame effect. It can be seen in the visual system, including posters and graphics, and will be dynamically represented in the three-dimensional effect formed on the two-dimensional planes of tourist buses and buses in New York. It will be well-presented in the visual system.

Art China:Mr. Yu, what do you think of the infinite extension of the set of logos?

Yu Ding:Since its establishment in 2009 until 2014, the Ministry of Culture had designed a logo for “Happy Chinese New Year”. The logo “Chun” had adopted standard typeface and color. But it lacked an auxiliary identification system, or, as we may call it, a visual identity system. Currently, “Happy Chinese New Year” is celebrated in over 300 cities worldwide with over 500 events last year. In a sense, some people didn’t know they were celebrating “Happy Chinese New Year”. The reason for that is not only the logo problem, but also the whole problem of visual identity. CAFA has designed the whole visual identity and auxiliary identification system for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, except for the Chinese Seal and torch, as well as the visual identity system of the Shanghai Expo, so we have an awareness. In a sense, I perceive “Happy Chinese New Year” as the popularization of Chinese design ideas in the world. Therefore, Chinese design ideas should have basic visual identity elements and should be able to form a system. The set of elements can be applied in various environments, including products. For example, for the Chinese New Year’s purchases, foreigners can immediately know they are Chinese New Year’s purchases when they see the patterns and packages. Therefore, the design team led by Mr. Huang has made the system adaptable instead of fixed, which has expanded the scope and form of its future application.

Art China:The Festival is an important carrier of the cultural inheritance of a country. For example, the whole world celebrates Christmas now, and in this process, Western culture is transmitted. Mr. Yu and Mr. Huang think that the Chinese New Year is one of the most important Chinese festivals. What role does the event play in the overseas transmission of Chinese cultural ideas?

Yu Ding:I think if we celebrate a festival, we should bring some customs or products home. For example, when young Chinese people celebrate Christmas, they do buy a Christmas tree, hang decorations on the tree and put small gifts under the tree for their children, which are Western habits. The consumption of Christmas is from product consumption. The consumption idea is an influence of Western culture. The Chinese dream is rising in harmony. “Harmony” is an important idea for us Chinese. In this process, the goal is not to forcibly transmit Chinese cultural elements. It’s a natural process that we celebrate Christmas now. We hope Chinese New Year will also become a festival of the whole of humankind. By celebrating the festival, people all over the world will gradually accept Chinese culture and products. Through products, Chinese customs and spirit can enter into their lives. So I think festivals can exert a subtle influence on people’s thinking and living habits. I especially oppose forcibly instilling Chinese elements in events held overseas, and the results will definitely turn out to be just the opposite. I think in the overall visual design and selection of artists for the event, we didn’t emphasize Chinese elements or apply them mechanically to the event.

Huang Jiancheng:Mr. Yu is very clear on the whole cultural level. Chinese New Year is a part of Chinese culture. If Chinese culture goes out, it should become a part of world culture. Mr. Yu just mentioned Christmas. I think there is a Christmas atmosphere two days before Christmas. When Chinese New Year goes out, should there be a Chinese New Year atmosphere? I think “Fantastic Art China” will do certain work in that aspect. And of course it has specific forms. Mr. Yu said that Christmas has Christmas trees, while the Chinese New Year has the traditional family reunion dinner. In form, “Fantastic Art China” should also go out and become a part of world culture. New York has made Chinese New Year a legal holiday, which means it has been accepted by the decision maker and the general populace. At last there is the transmission of products behind the form. Products are very important, which were ignored and were traditional or loose. However, in the event, the meaning of the three front levels has been extended to the fourth level. The product---commodity---transmission form will run through the year. With all of the levels combined, we can show more clearly that Chinese New Year is a part of world culture. We hope to turn the cognition into actions. “Fantastic Art China” should be the first action.

Art China:Mr. Yu, could you tell us why New York was chosen as the place to carry out the first action?

Yu Ding: When the Bureau for External Cultural Relations from the Ministry of Culture discussed the branding concept of “Happy Chinese New Year” with us, my first reaction was New York. To me, if we capture the attention of New York, we capture the attention of the world. Of course, the view may be criticized, because so-called New York centralism may be wrong. In a sense, some important events in New York have often caught the attention of the world. Every year, the new year countdown at Times Square and large public art events in New York’s Central Park have captured the attention of the world. Therefore, New York is the most important and most noticeable city in the world in culture, which we cannot deny.

I think that to make “Happy Chinese New Year”, we first need to make culture a brand. The branding of culture can be promoted in important cities worldwide, such as Paris, Berlin and Sydney. We choose New York first because New York or the United States is an open immigrant city, with an audience from all over the world. It is the most important city as a confluence of different cultures. The reason why I selected New York is because it is a place with many worldwide cultures and it has some kind of understanding. New York is a world city. We may carry out the event in New York for some years, because we want the brand to take root there and become better and better, and finally become a part of city culture. I think that is the “Happy Chinese New Year” brand, and it should not be moved from place to place every year. I hope the brand will become a part of the living habits of the people in the city.

Art China:Mr. Huang is the chief designer of the two world expos in China. If we say that the China Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010 is a tangible, static display, can we say that the overseas event “Happy Chinese New Year” is an intangible, dynamic display? What do you think?

Huang Jiancheng:Your conclusion is accurate. Our position for the two world expos is to make the pavilion a window to the world and to reflect the theme of the Chinese government, such as nature and urban themes. While there is no such heavy burden in the tone of “Happy Chinese New Year”, we have the responsibility to present on the content level. The boundary is not clear. For example, when we design a pavilion, there is an area boundary such as 200,000 or 5,000 square meters. For the setting of dynamic things in “Happy Chinese New Year”, however, the space cannot be defined, so it is broad. “Happy Chinese New Year” has themes and basic systems, but the external delineation of the whole situation is dynamic. So I think your conclusion is correct.

Mr. Yu just explained why New York was selected. I think New York belongs to the United States and also to the world. To carry out “Fantastic Art China” in a landmark city---New York complies with our position. But there is one thing I want to add, that is, New York will be our flagship. And there may be extensions, and we may call them its branches. Next year or in few years, based on the flagship, “Fantastic Art China” may enter into other cities, while the main part will be in New York. That also shows the ambiguity or invisibility of the boundary. Therefore, compared to the tasks for world expos and targeted audience, “Fantastic Art China” is easier.

Art China:There is a line in ancient Chinese poetry that “We share the moment no matter where we are”. Though there is a time difference between the United States and China, Chinese New Year happens in almost the same timeframe. What interactions will there be in China when the “Happy Chinese New Year•Fantastic Art China” event is held in New York?

Yu Ding:We have selected Chinese New Year’s Eve, of China time, for the interaction, which means the event will be held 12 hours before Chinese New Year in New York. The light installation of the Empire State Building will be lit up on February 17, New York time, which is February 18 Beijing time. The fireworks will be started at 7:30 p.m. on February 17 New York time, which is 7:30 a.m. on Chinese New Year’s Eve, Beijing time. It is also Chinese New Year’s Eve in China, but the local time in New York is February 17. The reason is because we want to give the local Chinese and the mainstream of New York a signal that we are celebrating Chinese New Year. And second, if we ask people to watch the fireworks on February 18 local time, they may not enjoy a good family reunion dinner. And actually, the lighting, fireworks and creative bazaar, including the public art exhibition, will begin during the day of Chinese New Year’s Eve. By doing so, I hope Chinese audience can see the reports of fireworks in the United States or the reports that the Empire State Building lights up for Chinese New Year.

Huang Jiancheng:Mr. Yu spoke of our objectives. Of course we now have many ways of communication. TV is just one of them. But more people may participate via WeChat, Weibo or other programs. The event will kick off on the morning of February 18 Beijing time, but it will run through the whole Chinese New Year holiday. The event will last until the third and fourth day of the Chinese New Year, when there will be more ways for people to share the event. I think that’s how we achieve the goal of inviting the whole world to celebrate Chinese New Year.

Yu Ding:That’s what we have been thinking about most. It was a little rushed. We only had the idea in late September 2014. Of course, it is not easy to have achieved what we have now in just a few months. We worked until one to two in the morning almost every day, because we needed to have telephone conferences with our colleagues and partners in the United States every day. I think we will start earlier next year. First, we may expand the public art exhibition. We hope that besides Chinese artists, artists from other countries can also participate in the exhibition. Since it is called “Fantastic Art China”, we hope there are more fantastic artworks. Second, we hope more American mainstream cultural agencies will become our partners. This time, we cooperated with the Lincoln Center, the Committee of 100 and the China Institute. Next year, we hope more local cultural agencies such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MOMA would participate. Third, we hope more Chinese and foreign enterprises would join us. Actually, “Happy Chinese New Year” is gradually entering into the market. It is not an overseas export supported financially by the Chinese government, but a market operation, which thus requires all people in China, especially Chinese enterprises, to participate, because it is a big event of the Chinese nation.

Huang Jiancheng:If the event is concluded by the end of this February, we will immediately start our plans for the next year in March. Then there will be plenty of time to engage more agencies, gather more sufficient funds and make the event more diversified. This year, due to limited time, we’ve maximized design and creation under limited conditions. Next year, if we can realize our original plan, for example, to do our things in a self-built space in Central Park, the structure itself will be an artwork, and the space will better meet our demand. And of course, we will do better in expanding the creative bazaar into an expo and the public art exhibition into a more international exhibition. I think if we follow this thought, we will definitely do better than this year.

Art China:Thank you both for coming to Art China Salon, and we hope you would continue to pay attention to “Happy Chinese New Year•Fantastic Art China Series Events”. Thank you.

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