The Spark of Fusion
What is the major difference of my fine arts education between China and New Zealand?
I have studied in the leading fine arts institues and practising art-making for many years both in China and New Zealand. From my observation and experience, the answer is the decision on emphasizing techinique or concept during my creative process.
When I studied in the Oil Painting Department at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts in China, I spent hours and hours on developing painting techniques and often judged my works with the old master’s perspective. I did a lot of research on works by greatest Western masters in order to find out how they used brush strokes to create atmosphere and what kind of paint they used to achieve special effect. I believed that as I was professionally trained and I have the knolwedge and skill to complete the work in higher standard as well as refining aesthetics value.
During my Master of Fine Arts programme at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in New Zealand, I found that the learning strategy and the programme system were very different. In a work, I learnt how to develop a concept and I was able to work with other mediums. I gained a whole lot of knowledge from group critique, one on one meeting with supervisors and participated in reading groups. All these activities opened up my eyes and engaged me to express an idea by using any medium. Also, I had opportunity to work with the technicians and they gave me a great deal of advise and guided me to complete projects. Art-making became an interesting, creative and fruitful activity.
后来，我奔赴新西兰奥克兰大学（University of Auckland）埃兰艺术学院（Elam School of Fine Arts）攻读美术硕士学位，正是那时才发现中新两国在学习方略和课程体系的差异。通过某个作品的创作，我学到了如何提出概念，如何运用其他创作媒介。小组互评、读书会、导师一对一会面等教学方式不仅让我受教良多，眼界大开，也让我学会用任一种媒介阐述创作理念。此外，我还有机会与技师们合作，得到了创作方面的专业建议和指导。在新西兰，艺术创作的全过程让人兴致勃勃，创意迸发，收获颇丰。
East and west, traditional and contemporary, technical and conceptual; like the Chinese Yin and Yang philosophy describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. The spark of fusion will provide a new direction in contemporary art.
Curator: Alvin Xiong
Article for the exhibition Big Catch On Live Bait, 2016, Nathan Homestead Arts Centre, Auckland, New Zealand
Published on the exhibition catalogue
Publisher: Alte Btücke Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany