Name: “Exhibition of National Image Design at the Beginning of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China (1949-1959)”
Date: September 5 to October 7, 2019
Venue: New Media Art Museum (B1) of the China Millennium Monument
Host: Beijing Design Week Organizing Committee, Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University
Organizer: Beijing Design Week Co., Ltd., Beijing Yigou Xiansheng Exhibition Co., Ltd., Beijing ArchiCreation Cultural Media Ltd.
Coorganizer: China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, China Post Group, Tsinghua University Art Museum, School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, The Memorial Hall of the Society for the Study of Chinese Architecture, China Industrial Design Museum, Beijing Institute of Architectural Design, Beijing Auto Museum, The China Millennium Monument
Acknowledgement: National Museum of China, Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution, China National Philatelic Corporation
Curator: He Jie, Fang Xiaofeng, Wang Yudong
Project Planning: Zhang Xiuju, Sun Chen
Executive Curators: Guo Qiuhui, Li Degeng, Cui Xiaosheng, Wang Shuzhan, Sun Chen
Exhibition design: Cui Xiaosheng
Visual Designer: Wang Hongwei, Feng Yunqian
Assistant Curators: Lai Jingfang, Yi Yuke, Ruan Peiyao, Ge Xiahuan, Cui Luwei, Wang Yihan, Ge Yaoyao, Wang Kaining, Zheng Zhuo, Qian Xini, Baoqi, Wang Yueran, Liu Yiqing
Exhibition Design Team: Zhou Tao, Li Mengmeng, Yu Qi, Zheng Weishan, Wang Shuyue, Wang Yan, Liu Wei
Visual Design Team: Liu Xingchi, Yang Dongsheng, Lin Lin, Miao Hui, Liu Minghui, Shang Wenyi
Exhibition of National Image Design at the Beginning of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China (Introduction)
The year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.). Seventy years ago, the founding of new China witnessed its national image with distinctive features to be built on the global stage, declaring the liberation of Chinese people. From then on, China’s national flag, national emblem and national anthem, which embody Chinese people’s respect and love towards the country, have been deeply impressed on their minds. New China has developed rapidly and made remarkable achievements in terms of industrial production, urban construction, economy and culture. The brand-new national image of a modern China was gradually built in just a dozen years. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of P.R.C., it is of practical significance in aspects of politics, culture and design to systematically review and sort out China’s national image design during the early period through exhibition from the perspective of design, which will not only help people know further about national image, but also encourage the design industry to participate in national image design and dissemination, so as to exploit the value of design in contribution to national economic and cultural design. The Exhibition of National Image Design at the Beginning of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China will review the history of national image design. With “National Welfare and People’s Livelihood” as its keynote, this exhibition will cover important designs related to improving people’s livelihood as well as displaying national image design, presenting a panoramic view of this period. Many valuable historical data will be on display for the first time as this exhibition emphasizes history, literature, system, academics and experience. We hope that this exhibition could be meaningful towards the history and our era, which as a tribute to the 70th birthday of China will apply the approach of a systematic review of China’s national image design during the early period through sorting out relevant data as well as stories.
1. Core Image
The core of national image consists of national flag, national emblem and national anthem. The national flag of P.R.C. is the Five-Starred Red Flag. The national emblem shows Tian’anmen Square in the center, which is under five stars and surrounded by ears of corn and gear. And China’s national anthem is “March of the Volunteers”. The Law of the People’s Republic of China on the National Flag, Law of the People’s Republic of China on the national Emblem and Law of the People’s Republic of China on the National Anthem were enacted respectively in 1990, 1991 and October 1, 2017.
This chapter will not only exhibit the national flag, national emblem and national anthem of P.R.C., but also depict the unusual design history and story through sketches, photos and related historical archives.
2. Supportive Image
National image also exists in our daily life in different ways. Its integration with specific living-related functions is also closely related to the national image and shows the spiritual outlook and value of our nation.
Currency plays an important role in social and economic life and is a major mean for national image dissemination. China issued the first series of RMB in 1948 and the design, which displays a panoramic view of economics construction and people’s life, vividly shows the scene in which people of all ethnic groups make a joint effort to make the new China more powerful under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Great improvement was made on the second series of RMB issued in 1955 in terms of value setting, pattern and printing.
In the early days of the founding of P.R.C., stamps and posters played an important role in social communications and some important national events such as major national conferences and activities also used stamps and posters for publicity and commemoration.
Medals also function as a nonnegligible carrier of national image to some extent. In the early days of the founding of P.R.C., our nation awarded various medals to honor heroes who made great contributions during the War of Liberation and the construction of new China. The medals to some degree represent the national attitude and historical memory, which are extremely inspiring.
There are many designs and ways that embody national image in our daily life, only a small part of which are displayed in the exhibition.
3. Architectural (Decoration) Image
Architectural image, especially that of architectural space which represents the regime or national etiquette, including regional space planning at the macro level, specific architecture style and decoration details, can directly show national image. In the early days of the founding of P.R.C., the central government assembled some experts to design and made great efforts to build the “ten great buildings”. During the construction, some national leaders including Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai also participated in the approval of designing schemes. The “ten great buildings” were finished within an unbelievably short period of time and stood as a miracle of architectural history as embodying the image of new China and its development in the early days.
This chapter displays the space planning of Tian’anmen Square, extension of the viewing stand, design and decorations of Great Hall of the People as well as Monument to the People’s Heroes. People are familiar with these buildings but hardly know relevant process of design and construction. Exhibitions here include the hand-sketched designs, construction drawings, models, decoration node drawings and photos, which are intended to picture the difficult yet glorious process of design and construction.
4. Image of People’s Livelihood
Design related to people’s daily life also contributes to the building of national image. In the early days of the founding of P.R.C., thanks to the leadership of CPC and joint efforts made by people from relevant walks of life, nationwide civil designs and manufacturing witnessed rapid development, which greatly improved production and living standards, strengthened Chinese people’s confidence and determination to build a new China, and built an image of a thriving and comprehensively developing China.
The design wave of people’s livelihood covers all aspects of people’s social life. In terms of transportation, it covers Hongqi cars, Liberation trucks, Jinggangshan cars, Changjiang motorcycles, and Forever with highest bicycle ownership. Inthe aspect of home appliances, it covers Beijing black and white television, Hong Deng radio, Panda radio, and Shanghai camera. In terms of small daily necessities, it includesShanghai watch, Dongfanghong watch, Heping watch, Three-Five table clock, Jiu Xing Pai enamel products and MAXAM export toothpaste.
This chapter will not only display objects which are rarely seen today, but also exhibit some precious drawings, photos related to design and manufacturing, records and interviews of people involved in design and production, and family trees of these products, so as to comprehensively review the great design history of people’s livelihood.