Inheritance and Innovation—Final Exposition of Nanjing University of Arts

Since ancient times, Chinese ideas and practices of creativity have been very much alive. More than 2,000 years ago, the people in China already realized that heritage and innovation can go hand in hand.


Inheritance and Innovation—Final Exposition of Nanjing University of Arts

China Cultural Center in Den Hang

Since ancient times, Chinese ideas and practices of creativity have been very much alive. More than 2,000 years ago, the people in China already realized that heritage and innovation can go hand in hand. That spirit is still thriving in modern China is shown by the latest generation of artists. They make use of traditional expressions while employing a contemporary global vision and international language. Their works bring to mind the glory of Chinese traditional artisanship that is so valued in the art world. 

While competing in a global area, art universities in China demonstrate their strong power of innovation. They are the main driving force in showing cultural innovation, as well as in building bridges between the East and West. Being part of the brand event China Cultural Week in overseas China cultural centers worldwide, this exhibition, themed Inheritance and Innovation, comprises three sections: “Light of the Hundred Artisans – Designs inspired by Chinese Oil Lamps”, “Exquisiteness of the Hundred Artisans – Contemporary Jewelry Exhibition” and “Beauty of the Hundred Artisans – Textile Design Exhibition”. It exhibits several awarded graduation designs made by students from the School of Design of the Nanjing University of the Arts.

This successful exhibition came about through a collaboration between the Chinese Cultural Center in The Hague and the Nanjing University of the Arts. Around 70 people attended the opening ceremony, including the director Sun Bei, deputy director Huang Hongchang, vice director Zhang Jian of the Nanjing art academy research institute, deputy director Zhang Zhouqing of the Nanjing art academy, the renowned Dutch artist Bernard Heesen,  textile designer Christie Van der Haak, public relation manager of Studio Roosegaarde Marie-AnneSouloumiac, artists of Design Academy Eindhoven and so on. The event is hosted by the vice director of center Mr. Huang Hongchang. The director of China cultural Center Sun Bei and the vice director of Nanjing arts academy Zhang Jian gave us a warm opening speech. Mrs. Sun Bei pointed out in her speech that it is a new experience for the Nanjing University of Arts to organize such an exhibition in the Netherlands. The exhibition reflects the view of Chinese young generation on tradition and innovation in design. She hopes that exchanging knowledge in art and design industry will help to build the cultural connections between the two countries. Afterwards,  Zhang Jian continued with an explanation of the school's mission and current scientific development. In addition, he expressed the hope of future collaboration with the Chinese Cultural Center and the desire to enter into a partnership with design schools in the Netherlands. After the speeches, Dutch models from the "Groundbreakers Dance Company" received applause when showing the silk scarves and jewelry that designed by students of the Nanjing art academy. 

Prior to the opening, the seminar of Dutch and Chinese Design was organized by the China Cultural Center.  Zhouqing introduced extensively about the school's teaching methods and design processes based on the theme "Nanjing University of Arts in development”.  The artist Bernard Heesen shared his experience and views on design. He mentioned that part of his work got the inspiration from China.

Textile designer Christie Van der Haak introduced her exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and in the Wolfsonian museum in Miami. And also, she described her understandings on textile design. Marie-AnneSouloumiac introduced the latest scientific and sustainable projects from design studio Roosegaarde, such as the Van Gogh cycle route that is charged by the sun during the day and beautifully illuminated at night, the transparent anti-smog ring and the anti-smog tower. Those works make the public aware of the relationship we have as human beings with nature and nicely brings this back to the cultural value of design.

The seminar was lasted for more than two hours. In a non-committal atmosphere, we talked deeply into design experiences and design philosophies. It acts as a stimulus for mutual understanding between Chinese and Dutch for everyone's personal view on design. Even though the ideas about design are not always the same, both the Chinese and the Dutch designers agree that traditional culture is the inexhaustible source for contemporary art. 

Meanwhile, the four famous artists Sander Bokkinga, Ted Noten, Chrisie van der Haak and Daan Roosegaarde were also invited to participate in the exhibition of lamps, jewelry and wall hangings. The works of those Dutch artists were exhibited simultaneously with the works of Nanjing art academy, which gave Chinese and Dutch artists the opportunity to gain inspiration and ideas mutually. 


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