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采访对象:谢方明/Interviewed: Xie Fangming

采访对象:谢方明

采访时间:2007129日下午

采访地点:于北京798洞房咖啡

 

集体 group 15

利益 profit 4

社会 society social 13

生活 life 5

公众 public 6

大众 the masses 2

普通人 ordinary person 6

别人 others other people someone else somebody else 15

自己 self 22

关系 connection (relationship) to do with relations 20

有关 related 9

当代 the state of contemporary contemporary 17

 

严打 crackdowns 1

政府 government 2

 

“do” engage in 5

兴趣 interest interested 9

prosperous hyped 3

circle 8

圈子 circle 2

过瘾 high 3

流行 popular trendyfad trendiness 3

money 4

猥琐 indecency 2

 

 

Q:先谈下你对中国当代艺术现状的大概印象。

A:全局的东西挺不好说的,我只是觉得有点,类似于集体活动很多,除此之外我没有什么特别的看法,因为我们平时看到的只是一些很流行的东西。

Q:你觉得流行跟艺术有什么关系呢?

A:艺术……我们本来也不知道究竟什么才叫艺术,就是互相在利用嘛,因为大家知道有艺术这么一个事情,然后就会利用它去做一些跟利益有关的事情,如果大家都瞄准一个东西,……除了这个以外,艺术流行本来就不矛盾,就是一个事情的……就是说利益艺术发生关系以后,就可能是流行

Q:你刚才说觉得中国当代艺术很,指的是一些什么方面的东西?

A:那是外因的问题,跟内因没有太多的关系,也就是别人需要别人利益在中国当代社会里边发生了一些作用,有时候是国外的或者什么东西,它就会投入很多的关注经营这个东西的人也了,然后现在好像没有什么人不中国或中国的艺术,哪都谈,其实这个就跟谈开矿——哪儿适合开矿是一个道理,但是能不能开出什么东西来就不好说,但是作为内因呢?我觉得中国当代艺术自己内部远远不到那个能力,就是没有这个能量,只能说是一个外因使它起来的,就好像是一个洗衣机一样,把衣服扔进去,实际上是靠外边的那些滚筒在,然后里边的衣服看起来才得这么快,实际上就是自己没有动力

Q:你怎样看待北京的艺术

A:北京有很多圈子,但是这些集体,我发现,主要的一个还是熟人集体,就是大家关系,一堆朋友集体……其实我觉得好像主要就是这个集体吧,还有另外的一种可能就是跟批评家或者策展人关系近一点的集体,那个就可能有点动机,或者还有一种就是可能跟画廊近一点的集体,比如说画廊的几个老板或者代理人,有的艺术家就跟他们关系得好或者有合作,其实这就是一个利益关系,然后可能在北京,很多人都是外地人,大家处于孤独的情境,要互相支持一下……从这个角度来看的话,就构成像是一个办事处集体,就这两种集体

Q:就是说这边很多人的状况下,每人都只是大众的一员,都不重要?

A:我觉得这个状态就是最好的,就是没有谁在里边真正就感受自己牛逼,没有一个人,北京……因为任何资源来了以后,马上就消失在……就跟水倒在沙子里面一样,马上就消失了,你看不到东西。

Q:实际你在北京就是生活艺术圈里面?

A:差不太多,你真的想要跑到别的圈子里面,其实你会觉得他们的那种玩法不是你——不是接受不接受的问题,比如说我见到的那种电影圈,我觉得他们那种的程度就是比普通任何一个艺术家都还要至少上几大截,我就觉得没法……听他们的故事,听他们讲——比如他们还讲电影,后来天哪我就着急呀,真的比一个门外汉听起来还要着急,所以艺术家其实相对来说还比较有点像知识分子,虽然……因为他都很注意自己的那些构造,怎么构造,怎么塑造自己,他知道,这个我觉得还不错,艺术家相对来说还算可爱好玩一点儿吧。

Q:你刚才是否说这个社会状况对你的创作没有什么影响

A:怎么说呢?有些东西不一定有直接的影响,但有的东西也会有很直接的影响,……比如说北京有时到了那种紧张的时候,类似于严打这样的情况,就开始有点白色恐怖的感觉了,你就会觉得有影响。除此以外,影响是间接的。

Q:你刚才说,作为一般的中国公众不是很容易理解你的艺术,而你也不是很在意这种与他们的互动吗?

A:不是,不止是指我的作品,很多艺术家的作品都不会被理解,这是很正常的,因为首先你不是普通人——不能这么说,首先不是别人,你就不可能完全做出让别人兴趣的事情,只有看你做出的东西,别人会不会感兴趣,只能是这样,就是别人主动的,被动的,等于你只能在那里做裸体表演,但是要看别人对你的裸体有没有兴趣而已。

Q:在来北京之前就已经在从事绘画了吧?这些年来整个中国社会环境以及公众当代艺术

看法都有所改变,从感性的角度谈谈你这方面的感受。

A:这是个好问题,其实我觉得观众这么多年还是变得训练有素吧,在北京可能都还是有喜欢艺术的观众吧,会老受影响,这里展览比较,包括一些政府办的各种展览,比如美国博物馆收藏展,或者意大利文艺复兴的作品展,还有俄罗斯19世纪的画展,乱七八糟的展览很多,这样其实观众他慢慢地接受——他不一定真的喜欢,但是他接受这种情况……他觉得很丰富,虽然不见得就更,但他更宽容了,而我觉得现在当代艺术方面,观众就没法训练,因为如果是处在现在这个社会机制社会状况,人不容易去理解什么叫当代,首先先不讨论什么是当代艺术,就连一个,作为一个普通人,他连自己在这个社会需要什么他都不知道,那他怎么知道什么是当代艺术呢?现在中国越来越多的是培养准职业化的等于社会劳力……普遍的年轻人都时刻准备着去投身于各种一天12个小时工作的那种状况,准职业化的或者是传销的,对自己生活没有想象,对艺术确实很陌生,但是还有一点儿好的,他可以接受你给他的东西。观众有时会跟你谈论艺术的很多……这个艺术是做什么的?你画过人体没有?你画人体什么感觉呀?或者你这个画还能卖吗?反正公众的那种猥琐感是最……就是普通人猥琐感比艺术家显得强烈得多,就是喜欢问来问去的。

Q:艺术市场现在是比较的现象,你觉得它对你的艺术创造有些什么影响

A:如果说我要接受那么多定单的话,那肯定会有影响,当然那个时候,你有这么多的时候,你还想不想画画?你会觉得画画是多么笨重的事情,你有这么多的时候你就不需要自己画了,你完全可以让别人了,因为那个时候你的兴趣……是别的事情让你HIGH了,而不是你的让你HIGH了,就是HIGH 了。

 

Interviewed: Xie Fangming

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 29, 2007

Location: Cave Cafe, 798 Art District, Beijing

 

 

集体 group 15

利益 profit 4

社会 society social 13

生活 life 5

公众 public 6

大众 the masses 2

普通人 ordinary person 6

别人 others other people someone else somebody else 15

自己 self 22

关系 connection (relationship) to do with relations 20

有关 related 9

当代 the state of contemporary contemporary 17

 

严打 crackdowns 1

政府 government 2

 

do” engage in 5

兴趣 interest interested 9

prosperous hyped 3

circle 8

圈子 circle 2

过瘾 high 3

流行 popular trendyfad trendiness 3

money 4

猥琐 indecency 2

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: First, what’s your overall impression of the current state of contemporary art in China?

 

A: It’s hard to talk about the entire situation. I just feel it’s a little hyped. There is a lot of group activity. Other than that, there is nothing special I want to say, because what we usually see are just very trendy things.

 

Q: What do you think is the relation between the fashion and art?

 

A: Art… at first we didn’t exactly know what art is. It’s just taking advantage of one another. People know there’s such a thing called art, and then use it do certain things related to profit. If everybody aims at the same thing… Other than that, there is no conflict between art and fad, it’s the same thing. In other words, after profit and art make a connection, trendiness is the result.

 

Q: You said earlier that you feel contemporary art in China is very hyped. What aspects were you referring to?

 

A: It’s a matter of external factors, and has little to do with internal factors. It’s other people’s demands. Other people‘s profit has made a certain impact on contemporary Chinese society. Sometimes, something from overseas pays a lot of attention to the contemporary Chinese art. And more and more people are managing the circulation of the works of contemporary art in China. Now, everyone is talking about China, or Chinese art. In fact, this is the same thing as mining – where is suitable for mining? It’s not certain whether you can mine something good. As for internal factors, I think contemporary Chinese art is far, far away from being capable on such a level. It doesn’t have that energy. We can only say that it’s the external factors that make it run. It’s like a laundry machine – you throw your clothes in, and it’s only the tumbler that makes the laundry appear to be spinning so fast. The fact is, it doesn’t have that momentum in itself.

 

Q: What’s your view on the art circle in Beijing?

 

A: There are lots of circles in Beijing. But I found that the main circle is a group of close friends with good friendship. I think that’s probably the main group. Another possible group is the one [that's closer to] in close relations with the critics and curators – there’s some possible motives involved. Or there is a group that’s closer to the galleries, like a few gallery owners and agents. And some artists have a good relationship or collaboration with them, which is in fact a profit relationship. And in Beijing, many artists here are migrants. People need mutual support when in solitude. If seen from this angle, there forms a group that’s like an administration office for non-locals. Those are the two types of groups.

 

Q: So you’re saying that under most circumstances here in Beijing, each artist is merely a member of a group, and unimportant in himself?

 

A: I feel this is the best state, that is, no one feels himself to be really formidable, not a single one. Because when resources come, it dissolves immediately… just like water poured into sand – it’s gone right away. You can’t see anything.

 

Q: You are living, as a matter of fact, in art circle?

 

A: More or less. If you really go to other circles, you’ll find that their game ruled are not suitable for you, and it’s not really a matter of acceptance. For example, the film circle that I saw; I feel that kind of weakness is even much more severe than any one of us artists. I just couldn’t bear listening to the kind of stories they tell. And if they even talked about film – for Christ’s sake, it got me really impatient, even more impatient than a complete outsider. So, in comparison, artists are somewhat more like intellectuals, although… Because artists are concerned about how he is structured, how to shape himself. I think this at least is good. Artists are relatively nice, and have more fun.

 

Q: Did you just say that the state of the society has no impact on your art?

 

A: How shall I put it… Certain things don’t influence you directly, but some other things do. For example, sometimes Beijing goes into a state of tension, like during government crackdowns. Then you start to feel a bit like “white terror”. Then you feel you are influenced. Other than that, the influence is indirect.

 

Q: You said that the general public in China can’t easily understand your art, and you don’t really care for such interaction, right?

 

A: No, not only my work. Most artists’ works are not understood. That is very normal. First of all, you’re not an ordinary person – no, I can’t put it that way – you’re not someone else, so you cannot create something that would fully interest somebody else. You can only see if others are interested in something you make. It can only be like this; that is, others are active, and you are passive. All you can do is to do a performance in nude, and the question remains whether people are interested in your nudity. That’s all.

 

Q: You have been doing painting before coming to Beijing, right? Over years, the social circumstances and the public have changed their views on contemporary art. Please comment on this from a more emotional vantage point.

 

A: This is a good question. Actually, I feel the audience has been well trained over all these years. In Beijing there is still audience who likes art. They are influenced because there are more exhibitions here, including government sponsored exhibitions, such as the exhibition from American museums, the exhibition on Italian Renaissance, and the exhibition on 19th-century Russian painting – all this hodgepodge of exhibitions. So the audience comes to accept them gradually – he might not really enjoy them, but he accepts the situation. He feels its richness. He might not understand it better, but he is more tolerant. In contrast, in the realm of contemporary art, the audience simply cannot be trained. Because under this particular social system and social condition at the present moment, it’s difficult for people to understand what is “contemporary.” First, put aside the question of what contemporary art is. Just as a person, an ordinary person, he doesn’t even know what he needs in this society. How can he know what contemporary art is? Now in China we see more and more training in the quasi-occupational social labor. The average young people getting prepared for the dedication into these 12-hour work day situations, either quasi-occupational or those of pyramid selling. He has no imagination about his own life, he is a stranger to art, yet one thing is good – he can accept whatever you give him.

 

There are lots of audience who talks to you about art… What is this art for? Have you painted the human body before? What do you feel when painting the human body? Can you make money at all with this painting? Anyway, the public‘s appetite for [triviality] indecency is much stronger than that of the artist. They really enjoy asking about everything.

 

Q: The art market is very “prosperous” now. How does it affect your art creation?

 

A: If I were to accept that many orders for works, then it’ll certainly have an impact. Of course, by then, when you have so much money, will you still want to paint? You’ll feel painting is such a clumsy job. When you have so much money, you wouldn’t need to paint yourself; you could totally have someone else do it for you. Because by then, it’s the other things that get you high. You would no longer get high on your painting; you’d get high on money.

 

 

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