A lecture and a special house
A week after the workshops to the foundation course I gave a lecture about my work at the art department of Xiamen University. I focused on the visual aspects of text and the readability of images. The design department had made a nice poster and quite an audience of students and teachers showed up. Lova – an art student I know through Tara – was my radiant translator.
Since the beginning of April Lova’s friend Muse assists me on a weekly base, basically with practicalities and language. She is finishing her bachelors studies at the Art Department. After doing contemporary courses in video, 3D and performance, her last course is classical Chinese painting, for which she’s making a large scroll depicting a beautiful imaginative painting of Xiamen University.
I asked her for her favourite teacher and she told about professor Li’s 3D classes she took last year. When I said that I would like to meet him, she arranged an appointment to his house, a few evenings later. It appeared to be an inspiring visit.
The apartment of professor Li and his family is situated on a high floor in one of a group of uniform skyscrapers that look brand new, like most of Xiamen buildings. Later I heard they’re two years old.
But once passed the threshold you are in ancient China. Everything inside is, or looks, antique. There are handmade sliding doors, furniture of wood and bamboo and lots of art and craft works from different periods. We were served traditional kung foo tea from plastic cups. A Siamese, a Pers and a tabby cat strolled in and out the room.
Professor Li (who never stopped calling me professor Smit ;-)) is a designer and an artist. On his computer he showed us his work and told about his ideas. He aims to combine historical and classical Chinese culture with contemporary technology and insight. For us this might seem obvious, but in China there still is a wide gap between traditional and contemporary art and architecture.
When I asked him where I can see some interesting historical architecture, he proposed that I join a trip one of his current students is preparing to Qianzhou, an older harbour town up north, and some other historic locations nearby. I answered that I looked forward to it!