Can I paint? What kind of painting is a good one? Is painting a native language and instinct? The course "Art Inspiring" of Xinya College aims to patiently lead students to think and explore the answers to these questions. Inspired by Professor Li Mu, the students have opened the door to beauty and art with the brush as the key. Art is different but leads to the same way for anyone.
In the eight-week course, each student created seven paintings (259 in total), and kept many class notes and random thoughts. We can say with confidence that it is an ode to innocence and to reason, and an ode to difference and to commonality.
On December 16, the 2020 "Xinya Art Exhibition" kicked off in the lobby on the first floor of Xinya Building. Each student had three of their best works exhibited. From the three dimensions of "difference", "gazing" and "fancy ideas", they tried to describe the beauty and art in their eyes after "Art Inspiring", and what it is like between "me" and Tsinghua, and between people and the world.
Mr. Li Mu said that we should say "it's different" rather than "it's nice" when acclaiming a piece of art. Why don't we use a camera when we want to copy an object as far as possible? In other words, is precise copying the goal of art? Here, for the first time, many students bravely faced the difference and showed it on the paper without reservation. Facing up to differences means tolerance and acceptance, as well as the understanding of oneself, others and art from a more essential perspective.
"There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people's eyes." Should we ask, is there a standard answer to works of art? Probably even the creator cannot tell what his or her work was inspired by or expect the result as the work is created. When we gaze at still life, our mind will be taken by reason, and develop a clear scenario for the question. The students gave free rein to the lightning and storm in their mind, followed the heart, and recorded the unexpected, fleeting, and accepted wrong. But it is real, not "like".
When we have really liberated ourselves, no one can limit our mind, and it can travel anywhere we want. The students imagined, met, constructed, and reached many bizarre parallel worlds in the "Art Inspiring" class. The small Xinya studio can accommodate infinite thinking and overlapped time and space.
Xinya Art Exhibition has its distinctive characteristics in Tsinghua University. From this year, if you see students sketching outdoors on the Tsinghua campus, they may come from Xinya College in addition to the Academy of Arts and Design and the School of Architecture. Also, the art exhibition has been moved to the building of Xinya College since this year. I have been waiting for years and we now finally own such a space. Congratulations to the students. I told Mr. Gan just now that the course offered at Xinya College is the most valuable one I have offered at Tsinghua University in the past 20 years. I am willing to teach students at Xinya College.
— Professor Li Mu
I always feel that Professor Li Mu's class has some kind of magic (laughs). Not all artists know how to teach especially when the students are not majored in art like you. I often wonder how to characterize Professor Li's class. I think, first, He hasremoved the aura of "art", which is important, otherwise it will be difficult for you to enter. Just now, Professor Li said that he is happy to teach students at Xinya College. Both students and teachers feeling happy and devoted to their learning and teaching is something I particularly cherish. It is also what the university wants but can hardly be achieved.
I can imagine how you were completely absorbed in a state of pure ecstasy when you were drawing. "Being oneself" reaches the highest level in the state of ecstasy. Xinya College was builtto pursue such a state. I hope that you can experience your own state from this course and renew how you feel about yourselves instead of learning a certain craft. If you can put aside the utilitarian mentality in all classes, you will be happier during the study.
Xinya College has always attached importance to art education. In the future, we will make further plans in this regard, such as offering courses in music and Chinese painting. I hope that every student can attend at least one art class in a committed manner to experience the beauty of art, which will be good for your physical and mental health.
— Dean Gan Yang