End-of-Semester Shows: An Online Creative Feast

priting art work

As the semester came to a close, NYU Shanghai students in the visual arts, music, dance, shared their final projects online, showing and discussing their paintings and photography in digitally-mediated receptions, dancing, and playing instruments in zoom-mediated performances and concerts. Here’s a sampling of their work.

Daily Life, Self-Awareness, and Creativeness

On May 15, the Visual Arts department held a Spring 2020 End-of-Semester Online Reception showcasing student work from Projects in Studio Art: Art in Translation, Introduction to Studio Art: Art in Translation, Printmaking in an Expanded Field, Photography II, and Moving Pictures II courses. The reception proceeded in “PechaKucha” format, where “students were all given the opportunity to share their work and audiences could respond,” said Area Head of Arts and Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts Monika Lin

Left: Eleanor Wade ’20 presenting her end-of-semester project “The Significance of Everyday Life” via Zoom; 

Right: “The Significance of Everyday Life” from Printmaking in an Expanded Field course.

Humanities major Eleanor Wade ’20 introduced “The Significance of Everyday Life,” a multi-block rubber paper print project, representing a whimsical, symbolic collage of memories. Wade drew from real and imagined events and objects to investigate how memory is fluid and porous. “I was struck by the amount of experimentation she conducted to resolve her prints, the narrative she created through careful selection and composition of objects, and by her ability to create varied emotional propositions through color,” Lin commented.

Left: Ma Haitian ’20 introducing her end-of-semester project “Locating the Self - Wooden Sea” via Zoom; 

Right: “Locating the Self” from Printmaking in an Expanded Field course.

Ma Haitian ’20 hand sewed a double-spined book with woodblock print on paper, calling it “Locating the Self - Wooden Sea.” She inserted twelve block diagrams in a collage with narratives about her name to show how it was understood by different people from various cultures. “I want to use this project to embark on a new way to deepen my analysis of linguistics, aesthetics, translation, the fetishisation of the Chinese character, and issues of identity and culture,” Ma said.

Wade, Ma, and Maya Wang ’20 also made a collective zine titled “Please Join Zoom Meeting at 10:00” to explore the pandemic and this particular moment in their lives.  

One inside page of Please Join Zoom Meeting at 10:00

“This trio used the architecture around them, objects, and their bodies as mapping locations to disrupt and reassemble. They worked collaboratively to set parameters and prompts as well as develop a project concept and materialise the art work,” Professor Lin said. “What emerged were intimate conversations about their lived experiences, ongoing challenges, and possible futures. The product itself, a Zine in digital and physical forms, is a poetic rendering of those conversations.”

The recording of Online Reception could be reviewed here.

All the students’ projects are exhibited on the Gallery 1250 website from May 22 to August 22.

Piano Recital Tributed to Hero, Love, and Hope

In honor of the 250th birthday of Ludwig Van Beethoven, and to raise the spirits of the NYU Shanghai community, nine students from the Private Piano course participated in a recorded piano recital, titled The Journal - A Pandemic Reflection through Beethoven under the guidance of Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts Chen Meiling.

“Beethoven fought against the rough fate for his whole life and his music is an embodiment of hope and celebration of human nature. As we are in a situation that is full of uncertainties, of human suffering and of hope, we need Beethoven and his piano sonatas more than ever,” Chen said. Each student chose a piece by Beethoven to relate to a story during the pandemic and labeled it with different tags including “Quarantine”, “Death”, “Hero”, “Hope”, and “Prayer”. 

Liu Xinyu ’23 playing Piano Sonata in F Minor “Appassionata”, Op.57, 3rd mvm to show her respect to unknown heroes in the construction of Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan

Liu Xinyu ’23 performed Piano Sonata in F Minor “Appassionata”, Op.57, 3rd movement. The final urgent movement and tragic but heroic minor chords reminded Liu of the construction of Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan, which was built in just 10 days. Liu recognized the workers who worked day and night as truly heroes. She dedicated her performance to them.

Zeng Qihang '20(left) played Beethoven Piano Concerto No.3 accompanied by Prof. Chen Meiling(right)  

Enjoy the full edition of Piano Recital here.

“Mix-Mode Approach:” Virtual Piano and Dance Performance Demonstrated Unstoppable Spirit

Assistant Arts Professor of Dance Tao Siye and Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts Chen Meiling co-curated a live show, “Unstoppable,” which was performed by 14 students from Minority and Folk Dance(Southern China) and Ballet and 7 students from Private Piano.

Left: Virtual Piano and Dance Performance poster; 

Right: group photo after the performance.


Students from Minority and Folk dance course wearing Dai costume to perform

“I have been dancing for 15 years and this is the first time that I performed without an audience physical presence,” said Social Science major student Li Jialin ’23 from the Minority and Folk Dance course. “Diminished by the camera lens, we have to exert 120% of energy to let the audience feel the power of the body movement. It is truly tiring but we feel it was worth it. However, the thing that I appreciate the most is the tight bond that we form throughout the event.”

Watch the videos of Tibetan Sleeves Dance and Dai Candle Dance.

Music Community United in a Virtual Concert

“We didn't think of any themes for the concert until we saw the song from the Group Voice class - Family. Billions of people worldwide are forced to stay at home because of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts, Cheng Yue. “At this particular moment, we want to take a fresh look at our home and family and acknowledge those who sacrificed their own time with family to keep the NYU Shanghai community safe and sound.”

At the May 17 End of Semester Virtual Concert, Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts Murray James Morrison debuted his new composition for solo keyboard "Quarantine," which conveyed the loneliness and isolation at home. The concert also featured the music of Franz SchubertFrédéric Chopin, and Hisaishi Joe.

Students playing instruments on and off campus

“Since we were not able to meet in person on campus, six music faculty members had to rely on Zoom or Wechat to coach students,” Cheng pointed out that musical pieces with relatively stable tempi and rhythmic patterns are better suited for group performance, and simpler to edit and align individual recordings. 

The Chorale’s virtual performance of the NYU Shanghai Alma Mater featured the portraits of some 215 seniors who are graduating this May.

“Considering we’ve only met virtually, I think that all of the different classes pulled out impressive end-of-semester presentations,” said Visiting Clinical Assistant Professor of Arts and Director of NYU Shanghai Chorale Katherine Girvin, who just started in her job this semester. 

Watch the concert here

All the above end-of-semester video recordings will be uploaded on the NYU Shanghai Youtube under the “Arts and Performance” channel soon.