CAFA Exhibition|"Read Between the Lines— Art Based on Words" Teaching Exhibition




The "Read Between the Lines—Art Based on Words" exhibition was held at the School of Experimental and Sci-Tech Arts at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. The exhibition served as a teaching exhibition of art based on words, and the participating artists included Wang Bo, Liang Yushan, Yang Dingyi, Guo Zheng, Zhou Yuhan, Zhu Chunxiao, Zhao Xuanfei, Fu Lvyezi, Ye Yu, Wu Siqi, Yu Han and Zhao Guanjie, and the professor in charge is Zhang Yanzi, Professor from the Studio of Social Arts at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

Here is an introduction written by Prof. Zhang Yanzi to the course "Art Based on Words":

Writing is the proof of civilization.

The significance of text lies in recording and passing on information. The emergence of text broadens the spatial dissemination of information and extends its temporal reach. Texts open up a new dimension for language expression and serve as a lively source for artistic creation.

This course focuses on the relationship between text and art, text and language, the power of text, and the expansiveness of text. It examines the evolution of fonts and calligraphy schools in traditional culture, as well as the current creative context of related works both domestically and internationally. By studying the social, functional, and expressive aspects of text, coupled with art history, it is possible to explore the potential of text in contemporary artistic creation and the fusion of text and art.

Through an examination of individual experiences and a realistic analysis, the course aims to train students in problem identification and solving skills, encouraging bold experimentation with new materials and techniques in the process of exploration.


Wang Bo, born in Bozhou, Anhui province, currently works in Beijing Zhuri Planning Technology Co., Ltd


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Work on paper


Pron. It's nothing; Having nothing, having nothing< Number>zero; Not a single thing, not a single thing; Not a single thing; Something that does not exist; Not a part, not a speck; Something insignificant; An uninteresting thing

n. Zero; Empty talk, empty words without substance; An insignificant person (or thing)

ADV. No, not at all; absolutely not

Adj.<Mouth>Indifferent, insignificant, or ordinary; (Clothing, etc.) Not ostentatious or eye-catching

Not this time


"The Earthly Questions - Volume 3: Earth's Weight"

Fabric promotional banner

60cm*length variable / 18 pieces.

The Heavenly Questions, which have been pursued for more than 2,000 years, are still unbelievable and difficult to answer as we read them today. In addition to the sky, we also have many questions about the land under our feet, so he created "The Earthly Questions", which asks a variety of questions about the Earth, in 13 volumes. This presentation shows some of the core questions about the Earth Questions, Part 3 - Earth Weight Volume.

Do you know how much the earth weighs?

Does the weight of the earth change?

How do you calculate the weight of all the air?

Do changes in the weight of the Earth affect the length of time?

How do you add weight to the Earth?

How do you lose weight for the Earth?


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《2023年11月11日的宣言》 (2).jpg"Declaration of November 11, 2023":


90*50cm/11 pieces.

These are displayed everywhere in life, in various forms of writing. There are warnings, prohibitions, propaganda slogans, yellow adverts, handwritten books, and so on. Some of them have special characteristic of times, some of them are long outdated, some of them are ambiguous.... In short, they have been commonplace for a long time, and we have even acquiesced to or disregarded the meaning of the words. And as texts themselves, they hold all kinds of possibilities. He tries to make some changes, makes them interact with the present, and makes them become manifestos of the current grotesque creations.


Zhou Yuhan, her works focus on installations, visual elements, and images, exploring issues related to identity and power structures.


"Pot Poet Pot":

Diverse materials with variable dimensions.

The spelling of "pot" and "poet" differs only by an e, but both are associated with some kind of spiritual guidance and can be linked through the earliest form of poetry, the ancient Greek vase painting. This piece is derived from a fragment of her dramatic text, which is adapted from Naipaul's novel Blake Wordsworth. In the novel, the story begins with a man claiming to be the world's greatest poet knocking on the boy's door. Yet as she thought over the novel, she began to wonder if the poet existed, or if he was the boy's "fantasy friend". There are many cases of artists associating with fantasy, or even actively pursuing illusions, in literature and art. She glued cigarette butts to the mouths of clay pots, lit up the inside of the pots with white smoke that had a special aroma, and wrote on the surface of the pots the names of hallucinogenic medicines and their substitutes to show the hidden relationship between literature, art, and hallucinations.

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《Modern Love》 (3).jpg

"Modern Love":

Photo collage

54.6*38.9cm/5 pieces

The New York Times column "Modern Love", which shares the same name with the work, was established in 2004 and still publishes love stories today. In these stories, love is often intertwined with beautiful concepts like eternity, yet behind this beauty, lies a seeming undercurrent of deception. It's an intriguing phenomenon where actors portraying classic love patterns in romantic films adhere to opposite values in real life, revealing a facet of the paradox within capitalism.


Zhao Guanjie, his focus lies in the intersection of 3D technology and artificial intelligence for artistic creation.


"The Performance Desk of a Vacuum Musician":

 Ink, oil ink, telescope, spatula, video on iPad


The parable of insomnia in “One Hundred Years of Solitude” seems to present us with the possibility of a future in which insomnia will trigger widespread amnesia, as a result, inhabitants will combat forgetfulness by writing on objects and labeling them. He fictionalized this future scenario based on this setting: in the capitalist, efficiency-oriented future, people will suffer from widespread amnesia caused by insomnia, and because of the amnesia, they have to rethink the role of tools by their structure and write down the information related to them on their surfaces. One musician will perceive cymbals as celestial disks, telescopes as instruments, and body postures as inscriptions, all the while forgetting the contradictory nature of vacuum and music, attempting to stage a musical performance in the cosmos. This absurd installation consists of a telescope with the words "Qin Cao" written on its surface, a cymbal with the "Star Manual of the Masters Gan and Shi" written on its surface, and an image nameplate composed of the body and body projections.

《字如其人》.jpg"The Style is The Man":

Character scan model, calligraphy texture

variable dimensions.

He scanned and got a model of a person and replaced the surface of the model with the person's calligraphy, in this way he was able to interpret the concept of "the style is the man".


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"The Codex of Artificial Intelligence":

Virtual images created with AI tools

variable dimensions.

This is calligraphy generated through AI training. However, due to the image generation mechanism of the AI model, no recognizable text can be generated, which produces an unfamiliar visual experience.


Yu Han, a conscientious artist who prepares band-aids and disinfectant cotton swabs for viewers might be inadvertently harmed by the artwork.


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《自由不在鼻梁之上》 (3).jpg"Where is Freedom, On My Nose?"

Plasterboard, nails, computer, nano glue, A4 paper

 15*15cm, 21*29.7cm, 51*60cm

She uses Braille to create her work, the sense of touch is hindered, rendering it absurd. In the presence of Braille, we are all illiterate, yet people choose to turn a blind eye.


Zhao Xuanfei, used to study at the California Institute of the Arts, is currently studying at Central Academy of Fine Arts.


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《红与黑》 (4).jpg

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"Red and Black":

Diverse materials with variable dimensions.

People's desire for "longevity" propels the progress of civilization, the extension of the average life expectancy, and the increasingly refined industrialized farming and slaughter. In Stendhal's novel The Red and the Black, red and black respectively symbolize divine authority and royal power, as well as ideals and reality. The characters formed by red meat are charred into black charcoal—a compassionate arrangement and a refinement of violence. Symmetrically placed opposite the black charcoal is edible pork jerky, carrying provocative undertones and encapsulating cruel, hereditary imagery of survival by shared consumption. During the exhibition, she arranged it symmetrically to enhance its resemblance to a religious altar.


Ye Yu, currently studies at the School of Experimental and Sci-Tech Arts.


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"Silent Years":

Rice paper, brush, ink

69*138cm/3 pieces.

She wrote a long poem on layers of rice paper which were cut down to size, and then collaged the whole poem in layers. The last layer is like a culture that has been gradually forgotten, consciously or unconsciously, or misinterpreted to a greater or lesser extent with time.


Wu Siqi, is studying at the School of Experimental and Sci-Tech Arts.

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《神曲》 (4).jpg

《神曲》 (2).jpg

"Sacred Song":

Safflower oil, plants, rope, ink, paper


The main body of her work is inspired by the calming effect of safflower oil on the body and mind. The traditional Chinese characters "楽" and "薬", with only one "艹" missing, are used in the pentatonic score. Planting vegetation according to the music score of the five notes therapy, together with the diffusion of the unique scent of safflower oil, makes a unique "sacred song" that calms the body and mind. The sheet music on paper is also based on the music in pentatonic therapy, and the grasses are painted with ink and safflower oil. The more water is added to the ink, the lighter the drawings became, and the stronger the safflower smells became.


Liang Yushan, born in Xi'an, Shanxi Province, is studying at the School of Experimental and Sci-Tech Arts


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《吹牛》 (3).jpg

《吹牛》 (4).jpg"Bragging":

Balloons, ink


She wrote and drew with ink on the blown-up balloon, leaving the handwriting, and after the ink had dried up, she deflated some of the balloons and let others deflate by natural means, and the handwriting formed by ink shriveled as the balloon shriveled up, and became like a crystalline form.

After writing bragging words on the balloon, the ink had aggregated into different forms because of its thickness and the oxidation state of the balloon surface, some words had shrunk into droplets, while others remained clear on the surface. After the handwriting had dried up, some words would still be clear, some could only be vaguely recognized, and the rest could not be distinguished at all. Some of the balloons gradually shrank to their original size during the drying of the ink, and the bragging words shrank at the same time. If we inject gas into these balloons, they would explode due to the pull of the dried ink.

There are also some rotating figures, like mazes, human eyes, and vortexes, interspersed in the bragging lies, staring at the false words. This also means that the bragging person would be sucked into the endless vortex of lies. These words in the end whether deflated with time or burst by the writer himself are unknown, just like leaving clear or unformed traces are also unknown when we write.


Zhu Chunxiao, a member of the Communist Youth League, and President of the Deepwater Animation Club, is passionate about music and English.


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Malt sugar, edible pigments


The character "人" in the artwork is crafted from malt syrup of varying hues. The suspended figures are intricately crafted with a diverse color palette, while the ground-level characters appear relatively subdued. Spectators can step on the ground-level characters, experiencing the crisp sound of the fragile sugar beneath their feet. In the recent past, sugar represented luxurious enjoyment for some, but for others, it symbolized endless labor, scorching sunlight, vast sugarcane fields, and relentless sugar mills. In such circumstances, individuals' lives became more fragile and undervalued than sugar, as they worked as slaves for sugar production.


Yang Dingyi, born in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, is studying at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

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"I Create a Wormhole":

Sweater, yarn, vase, dried flowers, hand-knitted flowers, envelope, hanger, linen tablecloth

About 150*100cm

This is a piece of work based on her mum's clothes that her mum has kept for 23 years. On the left, the dress is a gift from her mum's first love, and she embroidered a text written by herself around the wormhole, and on the right side is a hand-woven tie, which makes up for the regret of not having the chance to give a gift back then. She wanted to present a warm, nostalgic feeling. There are always some clothes with unique memories in everyone's wardrobe, and whenever we see them, they always bring us warmth.


Fu Lvyezi, born in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, is proficient in writing novels and currently exploring installation art.


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《职业歧视》 (3).jpg

"Occupational Discrimination":

Circuit board, electronic components

20*30cm/6 pieces

Her artwork is made up of electronic components soldered onto a circuit board, yet it lacks practicality. The phrase "find a job in a factory" was originally internet slang, used to mock  internet-addicted youths who aim for or aspire towards social mobility through esports or game streaming. If their careers in esports or streaming fail, working in a factory has become the only option for many young individuals with lower educational backgrounds. However, this internet slang simultaneously carries a discriminatory undertone towards workers. They assemble and solder electronics worldwide but lack a voice, unable to secure their future. The artist is questioning what causes this phenomenon.


Guo Zheng, born in Hunan Province, is studying at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

选择 小票热敏纸  58mm x 3m 五卷.jpg

选择 小票热敏纸  58mm x 3m 五卷2.jpg"Choices":

Thermal paper

5.8*300cm/5 rolls

He randomly selected a day from the past and noted the auspicious and inauspicious activities listed in the Chinese almanac, along with the corresponding news events. These uniquely documented histories, captured by the internet, represent a minuscule fraction of the true historical narrative. He compiled a distinctive history on the slips of paper based on the day's auspicious and inauspicious elements from the almanac and the corresponding news events.

Text and Image Compilation | Wang Bo

Translation | Zhou Yuhan, edited by CAFA ART INFO