Graduate Said

Interview with the RCA Graduate Zhenhan Hao


ART.ZIP: Could you tell us about your studying experience in the UK? Why did you choose the RCA? Did you study in Art school in China as well?

ZH: I had my Bachelor’s degree of Design in the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in China. During the four years of study, I was taught to question things and find solutions. However, what I learnt couldn’t solve the questions that kept popping up. My understanding of design was also moving further away from the general definition – I was so confused. One day, I saw some RCA students’ portfolios and felt a connection with them. At that moment, I decided that the RCA was the place for me.

ART.ZIP: 能給我們講一下你在英國的求學經歷嗎?為甚麼會選擇皇家藝術學院呢?

ZH: 我在中央美術學院完成了設計學院本科的學習,在這四年的時間裡我接受的是發現問題解決問題的思考方法,然而我所學到的沒有辦法解決我腦子裡不斷出現的各種問題,我對設計的理解也越來越偏離大眾的定義。就在我困惑的時候我看到了皇藝的師生作品,我覺得突然找到了‘同類’。在那個時候我就覺得要去皇藝學習。


ART.ZIP: What kind of questions kept popping up? What do you think of the definition of design? How did the RCA students’ portfolios dispel the confusion you were feeling at that time?

ZH: In CAFA, the teaching approach is to solve problems by designing new things. But I found that solving problems through designing and producing products introduced more issues than it solved. Their portfolios involved in depth social discussions, which opened my eyes to more possibilities. There are so many avenues of design; the definition viewed through different perspectives is also very varied. So nowadays, I just simply do my best to complete a subject by thinking about rather than defining it.

ART.ZIP: 你腦子裡不斷出現的各種問題都有什麼呢?你心中設計的定義應該是怎麼樣的呢?皇藝的師生作品有什麼地方讓你覺得你能解除這種困惑呢?

ZH: 本科的教學主要是教育學生通過設計物件來解決問題,但是我發現通過設計和生產產品來解決問題本身所帶來的問題比解決的還多。而皇藝的師生作品更多地參與社會議題的討論,程度也相對比較深入。所以這些作品讓我看到了新的可能性。設計有太多可能性,在不同的語境下面設計的定義也非常的不同,所以我現在不想去定義什麽是設計,只是單純地在思考通過什麽樣的方法把一件事做好。



ART.ZIP: Did you face any difficulties when you applied for schools?

ZH: It was about appropriateness rather than difficulties. If your portfolios are suitable for the RCA and their courses can enhance your study and abilities, then the mentors will choose you.

ART.ZIP: What advice will you give to Chinese students who want to apply for UK schools?

ZH: Firstly, you have to know exactly what you want before you apply for schools. Then check whether the RCA provides the courses you want or not. When applying, it is more important to show the applicants’ personalities and what they are good at, rather than guessing what the recruiters like.

ART.ZIP: During two years postgraduate study and living in the UK, what was the biggest change?

ZH: There were two major changes. The first was to further my understanding of myself. During these two years, I had a clearer version of what I wanted and also gained more confidence. The second change was my circle of friends. I met a lot of like-minded friends through study or work experiences.

ART.ZIP: 申請英國學校的時候有遇到什麼困難嗎?

ZH: 我覺得與其說難不難申請倒不如說合不合適,如果你的思考方向和作品適合在皇藝學習並且可以通過在皇藝學習和生活得到更大的提高,導師就會選擇你。

ART.ZIP: 你會給想要申請英國學校的中國學生一些什麼建議呢?

ZH: 我覺得在申請之前要清楚自己想要什麽,再看在皇藝是不是你能得到你想要的東西。關於申請我希望申請人可以努力把自己的長處體現出來而不是挖空心思揣摩別人喜歡什麽。

ART.ZIP: 這兩年在皇藝的研究生課程,或者說,這兩年的留英生活給你最大的收獲是什麼?

ZH: 我覺得最大的收獲有兩個,第一點是對自己的深度認識,在這兩年的時間裡,我更清楚自己想要什麽,也更自信。另一個非常重要的收獲就是朋友,學習和工作的經歷讓我結識了很多誌同道合的朋友。

ART.ZIP: Can you roughly describe the teaching style of the RCA tutors or lecturers?

ZH: In RCA study schedules are split between theory and practice depending on the subject – each studio has its own style and preferences. I was in platform 13, which was led by lectures Onkar Kular and Dash Macdonald. Lecturers designed specialised topics based on students’ degrees and background in the first year. Students could explore any concept as they wished – there were no limits. They could then choose a concept they were interested in to develop further as their design project in the second year.

ART.ZIP: It is well known that tuition fees are quite expensive in RCA. Is there any scholarship that can help out talented students that can’t afford the fees?

ZH: It is a shame that there is no scholarship for international students. Students can always work in the bar or library on campus, although the working hours are limited for students and the income isn’t much.

ART.ZIP: 能描述下皇藝的教授與講師們通常的教學模式嗎?

ZH: 皇藝每個系的教學安排都不同,同一個系不同的工作室也有自己的教學傾向和風格,我所在的platform 13是由導師安卡·庫拉(Onkar Kular)和達什·麥克唐納(Dash Macdonald)帶領的,導師會在一年級的時候根據學生的程度和背景設計專門的課題,每個課題又有很大的自由度,所以一年級的學生在很大的程度上是在嘗試盡可能多的方向,所以在二年級的時候才能確定自己的選題並將一年級的實驗發展為深入的設計項目。

ART.ZIP: 衆所周知,皇藝的學費十分昂貴,對於經濟拮據的一些優秀人才,是否在皇藝裡有一些機會可以解決一部份學費問題,例如獎學金或者其他?

ZH: 學校內部是沒有針對國際學生的獎學金的,如果時間和精力允許可以在學校的酒吧或者是圖書館打工,但是工作的時間很有限,收入也很少。


ART.ZIP: Could you talk about any of your projects? In which area do you think that the RCA influences you the most?

ZH: My project ‘Imitation/Imitation’ uncovers the social, political and economic implications of Chinese imitation culture and stimulates a positive future through my direct interventions. I have taken on the guise of an agent and am managing two research-practices simultaneously under different social contexts. In China, I have proposed a new production model for craftsmen in Dafen village and Jingdezhen to imitate and create at the same time. Together, we co-produced a series of improvised products that sought to inspire the imitators to explore their imagination and creativity. In London I introduced Chinese imitation culture through a workshop with the absurd aim of drawing perfect circles by repeatedly drawing circles freehand. This is similar to millions of workers’ and craftsmen’s daily jobs in China- making the impossible possible.

It seems like I’m doing an artistic project rather than designing a project that I’m studying in. RCA and my friends give me lots of support and help. My lecturers guide me through how to discuss a thing in depth, it doesn’t matter how I do it. This is the biggest support I’ve got.

ART.ZIP: 能聊聊你的個人藝術項目嗎?你覺得皇藝在哪方面給你最大的影響?

ZH: Imitation是我在皇藝最主要的一件作品,意在揭示中國模仿文化在新的社會背景下的政治,經濟以及社會意涵。借由‘中介’的身份通過參與式的調研與景德鎮以及大芬村的手工藝人共同呈現出中國模仿文化的不同面向。整個項目是通過‘買賣關係’完成,在對這些手工藝人進行深入了解之後我根據每個人的經歷和技能為他們設計了特殊的‘訂單’,完成這些訂單的過程中,制作者潛意識地把他們自己的創造力放到作品中,同時也把他們的故事和生活一同加到了作品裡面。最後我又將中國式的模仿文化和教育系統帶回到英國,通過一系列的徒手畫圓課程介紹給大家。徒手繪制一個完美的圓是看似荒謬,無法完成的事,但是通過模仿和重復的訓練徒手畫圓變成了可能,這代表著千千萬萬的中國工廠工人和手工藝人每天都在做的事--讓不可能變成可能。

說到這很多人一定會問:“你不是學習產品設計的麽?怎麽感覺像是在做藝術品?” 對,這就是我在皇藝學習得到的最大支持,我在皇藝得到了非常自由的空間,不會被學院派的傳統思維影響,導師對我的引導就是如何更自由和深入地思考和討論一件事,怎麽做、什麽手法並不重要。當然了,除了這一點導師和同學們給與了我很多其他的幫助,但是這一點是我最受益的。


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