With the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci as its guiding light, the China Academy of Art unveiled its ambitious “Proposal to Leonardo da Vinci – Shanghai Science and Technology Art Exhibition,” running in tandem with the 7th International Cross-Media Art Festival in Shanghai. This gathering, which brought together the crème de la crème of artistic minds, seeks to explore the intricate dance between art and the rapid advancements of modern technology.
Gao Shiming, the distinguished president of the China Academy of Art, elucidated the academy’s vision, “In invoking Leonardo da Vinci, we hold a mirror to ourselves. Our artistic endeavors, though framed as proposals to Leonardo, are deeply introspective. They challenge us to ponder the evolving dynamics between humanity and burgeoning technological innovations.”
The festival is a monumental endeavor, comprising five central performance units and two pivotal international academic discussions. A melange of artists hailing from 13 distinct countries and regions, including powerhouse nations like China, Canada, the US, and the UK, have collaborated to showcase an array of artworks. These span a multitude of genres, including the cutting-edge realms of artificial intelligence (AI) art, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) art. Traditional art forms such as generative art, video art, and painting also find their place in this eclectic mix.
These artists are not just engaging with the present but are delving into the annals of history. The exhibition is conceptualized as a playground where the storied history of civilization becomes a pivotal tool. Here, luminaries like Da Vinci are not mere inspirations but are visualized as active collaborators, partners in a grand dance of mutual learning among the world’s diverse civilizations.
Gao regards Leonardo da Vinci as a titan in the annals of art, celebrating him as a genius par excellence. His reverence for Da Vinci stems from the Renaissance master’s insatiable curiosity and unyielding pursuit of nature’s truths.
In this kaleidoscope of creativity, one standout section is “A Coder and Violin.” As artist Yao Dajun explains, the title is a clever anagram derived from Leonardo da Vinci’s illustrious name. This piece encapsulates the essence of Da Vinci, resonating deeply with his timeless style and ethos.
Gao posits a tantalizing hypothetical – if Da Vinci were to traverse time and step into our contemporary era, how would he perceive the intersection of technology, culture, and art in the 21st century? It’s a question that animates the very heart of the exhibition.
In this envisioned dialogue with Da Vinci, the artists might share that the internet, much like the grand voyages of yesteryears, has ushered in a new era of exploration for humanity. Concepts like the metaverse and MR signify the dawn of another creation. Yet, this digital renaissance is a double-edged sword. The exponential rise of AI and boundless computational prowess exhilarates artists, offering infinite canvases of creation, while also presenting unique challenges and dilemmas.
The underlying sentiment of the exhibition is encapsulated in a simple, powerful phrase: “We are making proposals together.” The artists, through their diverse mediums, are communing with history, engaging with the present, and envisioning a future where art and technology continue their intricate dance.