"Art to Me" is a collective review of the graduates from the oil painting department of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts who entered the academy in 1998 and 1999. Almost fifteen years after their graduation, "Art to Me" aims to show the influence of their art education on their lives after art school against the backdrop of today's rapid development in China; primarily, the relationship between their art and their career, as well as their personal trajectory.
'I was reminded of the all-encompassing character of art with Yue Yang's proposal for the project "Art to Me". With "Art to Me" it was her intention to explore the impact of the study of oil painting upon those of her classmates with whom she could re-connect, as well as those from the class of 1998 (Yue Yang being of the class of 1999): a decade and more after their graduation, where were they and how had the study of art been of benefit to their existence in the passage of time since and the role they play in society today? "Art to Me" achieves this by means that are not immediately obvious, but are invoked in the diversity of works, amongst which no coherent form or content can be found or should be expected, and the discrete experiences of the participants. It is a project well-conceived and of singular resonance today, when thousands of graduates depart art schools each year in China for what are uncertain but very likely highly competitive future opportunities.‘
’In today's art world, it is an objective existence that new art concepts and ideas, new art forms emerged constantly. Society progresses and times develop. These students use their favorite or most familiar means of artistic expression to capture this: painting, as installations, embody the results of years' of practice, their individual philosophy of art, thinking and expression, and express their sincere response to contemporary society and the times. This is an opportunity to enhance the feelings among the students, and to promote professional exchange.‘
----Guo Xianlu, President of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts
'As graduates mature they will form their own views on art, society and life. Through any form of work to express the relationship between people, between people and society, and even between people and the universe, I think that is what they should pursue after graduation. But life is art, and art is also a life, I think the most significant meaning that students who take part in this exhibition can see some problems and give themselves a reminder from the exhibition that is a kind of enlightenment for their future. This will surely be the lasting impact of this exhibition.'
----He Dan, Vice-president of Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts
'After graduation, the students went out into society and pursue their particular life in pursuit of experience. Confusion and excitement, success and failure, simple or extraordinary, all experiences will remain with them.Eighteen years is not long, but it is not short. Life continues for everyone, and art has become an important part of it. Success is important, but it is more important to persevere; to continue to think and explore. Everything, after all, is in process.'
----Zhao Jian, Professor in Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts
‘I appreciate the confidence and independence of young people; this "confidence" and "independent" does not mean that they are "obstinate" or "stubborn". In the character of the northwest region, obstinacy and stubbornness are innate. People need to change and be flexible. Modesty is also important. Society belongs to young people, and this exhibition reveals those individual pursuits. It shows that we must respect the different choices each person makes for every person is best known to themselves. So, no matter what situation these former students find themselves in today, I hope they enjoy their own form of success.’
----Jing Kewen, Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts
'At the time, grades '98 and '99 undergraduates had good technical proficiency. Some students focus on exploring a contemporary art style. Both elements in varying degrees affected their art and life after they graduated. Most of the students have proven able to combine art and life, and developed their own ideals. The young people who continue to live the artist's dreams are happy. They are lucky that they can earn a living from their knowledge learned in university.'
----Pan Xiaodong, Professor in Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts, former director of the oil painting department
’In my opinion, this exhibition is a phenomenon representative of the structure of art education in China. The process of organizing exhibitions and the exhibitions themselves can enable participants and visitors to understand more about the pros and cons of art education. For those involved in art education, it also provides food for thought; that is a major significance of this exhibition. In addition, the exhibition will raise a lot of topics, which audiences can discuss and think about during and after the exhibition.‘
----He Jun, Director of the oil painting department, Xi'an Academy of Fine Arts