It’s my first time to experience tutorial program in U.K. and totally different with China spoon-feeding education model but similar to the previous mentorship programs I had in different organizations. Instead of following the teacher talking about something and students need to write down and recite everything but don’t understand the reasons behind, the tutorial is giving me additional instruction during the process when I do a project and helping me to learn by doing.
Lee is my Tutor, he has long hair, the first time I saw him doing a presentation about his artworks, suddenly he jumped and became crazy when he talked about what made him excited, at that moment I felt that, “wow, art teachers are always as crazy as him? He must be very young!” Suprisely later when I asked him how can he remember so many artworks in different museums, he answered: “because I am old.” Then what in my mind became “okay, old artists like to be young.”
Three great experiences I have had with tutor Lee.
The first time was during the study trip at Tate Britain.
I love visiting museums and enjoy the process of seeing art in different ways, but for contemporary or metaphysical art, I seldom understand why and what. When we followed Lee to a room full of colorful steely sculptures, I asked him “How can I understand these artworks? I feel I’m so stupid in front of them knowing nothing.”
What he told me was that, firstly, let it go about what is right or wrong in your mind, Instead of judging before understanding, respect different artist’s artworks in different forms. Secondly, know the stories behind these artworks, no matter from the description beside the artworks or reading books or watch the documentary to understand the historical background of these artworks. Thirdly, appreciate the artwork with your own standing and feelings. And he showed us how he observed and thought the artwork from different angles as an example.
If he just talked about the artworks on a PPT and told us “how to see artwork or what’s the meaning of an artwork” directly, I may not remember or understand, but in the real situation to see how he observed and thought, and the way how he explained each artwork with his understanding, it’s like magic that opened my eyes and made these artworks full of life. Yes, it’s artists who created these beings, but it’s those people who appreciate them to let people see the life of these amazing artworks.
After the study tour, I applied for Tate membership card, and borrow a book “How to see:Looking, Talking, and Thinking about Art” by David Salle.
I like the way how a tutor plays an exemplary role in a real environment to help the student to learn.
The second time was a personal tutorial.
During the second week of the semester, we had a personal tutorial to talk about any questions or concerns about study, school, program, life, or anything.
I didn’t have any concerns, so I asked him “what do you want to know?” “I know nothing about you, why not introduce yourself? ” So I told him about my previous work that shaped me who I am, why I decided to be an artist, what do I want to change through my art, and how I did my previous art projects.
After telling him my stories and my artworks, he asked “so your art is about people? ” (something like this ) I didn’t realize this before, so I thought for a while then told him “yes, I think so. Because if it’s only for myself, I could do it as a habit instead of being a professional artist to show to others.” He asked me which artist I knew that did similar things and influenced me. I told him JR and Olafur Eliasson.
Then, he recommended me artists who did art about people, and some books I could learn more about this relationship and participation in art. The same with other tutors, it’s great to see how they saw the connections and similarities that between us and other artists, then recommended us to learn more from them, which I didn’t know or see before.
What he recommended to me are:
Rirkrit Tiravanija, a contemporary artist whose installations often take the form of stage or rooms for sharing.
Tino Sehgal, a Berlin-based artist who constructs situations that challenge conventional art-and-spectator relationships, focusing on the fleeting gestures and social subtleties of lived experience rather than on material objects.He is also thought of as a choreographer that makes dance for the museum setting
Pierre Huyghe, a french artist who works in a variety of media from films and sculptures to public interventions and living systems.
Bernard Frize,a French painter who works in a variety of materials and utilizes a multitude of techniques
Books and Magazines:
Relation Aesthetics, by Bourriaud
Contemporary Art Daily:http://www.contemporaryartdaily.com/
I like the way how the tutor recommends students where to learn and who to learn from based on students’ art styles and interest, to encourage students to do research and learn by ourselves. So instead of teaching me what is the art that I should make, I feel that the tutor is respecting me in the way who I am as an artist, and supporting me to improve in this way.
And during the tutorial, Lee was telling me that don’t repeat previous artworks or limit myself in one style, but to open my mind and try any form of art in any materials I may be interested in, since I am still young.
The third time was group tutorials.
We are doing our first art project as a group, and Lee is our group tutor for the twice so far.
It’s different from how Chinese teachers told me what’s the steps to do the program, what is right or wrong, what should I do. But Lee was keeping asking questions to guide us to think about what WE want to do in the project when we did the first group tutorial to have a general concept of our manifesto.
And for the second week when we brought our ideas come to the tutorial, he was leading us to talk about how we feel about these artworks to help us to grow our ideas and get more inspirations.
After two weeks of study at Royal College of Art, especially experiencing different methods like study tour, stuff then students Pecha Kucha, tutorials, workshops, and group projects, I did enjoy it and wished that I could have this kind of education since I was in University for bachelor study, or younger, as young as possible, to help me to develop my independent and critical thinking, researching skills, teamwork and project working skills. (Luckily I joined AIESEC before to develop these relevant skills and leadership :D)
28th July 2018
Royal College of Art, London