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采访对象:徐星辰/Interviewed: Xu Xingchen

采访对象:徐星辰

采访时间:2007124日下午

采访地点:于上海莫干山路比翼艺术中心

 

兴趣 interest 25

影响 influence affected 12

关系 relationship relation 15

自己 self own 24

个人 individual personally 20

个人化 individualize 3

变化 changes (noun)     15

改变(变 变化) change (verb) changing evolves 4

调整 adjust 4

社会 society social 12

习惯 habit used to 14

怀疑 doubt 2

理解 understanding 5

反应(映) reaction react response 3

 

不自由 non-free no freedom lack absence of freedom unfree 5

政府 government 1

政治 political politics 3

体制 political system 3

 

无用功 useless labor 1

惯性 inertia 2

当代 contemporary 33

目的性 purpose purposeful purposelessness agenda-driven 5

批判 criticism 3

可能性 possibility 5

刺激 stimulation stimulate unexciting 3

中国 China Chinese 10

西方 the West 0

国外外国)  foreign abroad 1

腐败 corruption 1

圈子 circle 2

产业园区 industry zones 1

城市建筑 urban architecture 1

规划 urban planning 1

 

 

 

Q:你的艺术创作主要关注一些什么问题,针对一些什么东西?

A:基本上还是凭兴趣没有一个特别明确的东西,兴趣。比如说兴趣的,刺激自己的,自己能有反映的等等,基本上大的方向都是这样的。比如说很早的一个录像作品——《彩虹》,就是敲打背部,背部变红的一个录像,每个人都会有反应的,都会知道这个是疼的,这个就是很共性的东西,很正常的都会有。

Q:你觉得艺术商业化对整个当代艺术有什么影响?

A:我觉得艺术家不会受到什么影响,应该是良性的。

Q:你觉得艺术家在社会里是一个什么样的角色?

A:不知道,我希望艺术家能有一些功能正常一点的角色,他就是艺术家,但你无法肯定中国艺术家是不是达到这些东西,或者说呈现了这些东西,目前为止更多的是商业上成功吸引关注,并不是说不要努力去达到这样,也不是说很悲观,这是事实,你看到的大量事实就是这样。

Q:你自己的定位是怎样的?

A:就像前面说的,就是凭着兴趣工作,至于有没有反应,和社会有没有什么关系就不是我能控制的。当代艺术相对来说毕竟还是小圈子的一个形态,整个社会变化会导致艺术结构的一些变化

Q:这和你的作品都是很有关系的吧?

A:兴趣——我认为除了一贯性的东西,比如爱吃肉,或爱穿红颜色的衣服的这种惯性兴趣外,很多东西都是因为时间变化的,你也在变化兴趣肯定是有偶然性的,而且偶然性是一个很重要的东西,你不是建立在一个全知全能的基础上看的,你是一直在变化看世界的,有增加也有减少,所以这个东西肯定是偶然的。

Q:上海算是中国最开放最现代化的地方,公众和当代文化相对别的地方有它的特点,你觉得上海这个城市对于当代艺术来说环境如何?你就当代艺术目前在上海被接受,被理解或受到妨碍的情况谈谈。

A:都是起(轰)哄北京也是,纽约也是,当然有热闹不热闹之分,或机会多少的区别。对我来说,从小生活在这里,比较习惯这里,上海比较安静,可以不用整天是“艺术家”,可以凭着自己兴趣玩玩,很轻松。上海艺术家人数少,机会多,机会多你就有机会。其实很多人对上海文化历史理解还是基于30年代相对开放混乱认识,实际上我工作范围内接触到——包括上海文化工作,甚至整个社会环境目的性太明确,导致缺乏相对的一种无目的性,所谓缺乏无目的性就是没有无聊的东西,没有太随性的东西,缺少感性的和感情方面的东西,那么相对于当代艺术来说,它就变成目的性非常明确的一种结构,从文化形态管理机制来说,目前为止是缺少包容性的,比如政府能否帮助艺术家?能否提供一些条件?都没有,我们看到上海号称有七十五个类似于莫干山路(50号)这样的产业园区,我觉得就差不多都是把广告公司从楼里搬出来而已,在外面又划了一些楼,就这个区别。至于说到对于当代艺术展览管理,我觉得还在过程中没有一个明确规定,和明确的要求,现在还处于——凭管理人员个人情绪上的或兴趣上的好恶来判断展览能否公开,能否继续做的阶段,从某种角度讲,我也很理解,这毕竟需要一个过程

Q:上海是个很时尚的城市,当代艺术同时尚的关系——涉及到喜欢当代艺术喜欢时尚的应该都是年轻人,你觉得在当代艺术里,时尚文化和当代艺术的关系如何?

A:当代艺术本身就面临着被流行和被孤立,或者说不被理解这样的几种情况,我觉得在上海,就比翼艺术中心这几年的工作情况,观众越来越,观众当然需要去引导,需要一定的教育背景,知识积累等等,很多年轻观众还是持一种很表面理解的态度,只接触到某个程度就不会往下去思考面对了。当然我觉得这个问题不是当代艺术的问题和原因,这是整个社会,从教育到整个体制,到对于文化重视各个方面的原因,

Q:现在一致感觉中国当代艺术很火,而很多艺术家自己感觉好作品越来越少,你怎么看?

A:我觉得很脆弱,整个环境脆弱,当然这种脆弱是相对的,不会垮,就我的工作范围来说,我觉得艺术家越来越少,真的是越来越少,在思考问题的、在努力工作的、能够安静下来不受外界影响工作的艺术家越来越少,当然你也看到很多像你这个年龄(指采访者徐坦)的艺术家……按我的说法就是腐败,没办法,唯一能做的就是不管别人,坚持自己的,刚才说的还是从一个很大的范围,说到创作国内艺术家感性不够,容易挤到一个路子上去,我相信很多人状态还没有调整好,还没有走出来,所以现在看起来很拥挤,在一条路上。另外一方面国内现在也没什么好展览——很少

Q:就我的了解,我认为你的一些东西还是很明确的,不论你是否愿意,你还是在大环境里充当了一个角色。

A:你说到政治,我有另外一个看法,就是我们的创作环境有很明确的限制,有些东西你不能说,有些东西你不能做,那么我看到的大环境,需要一个时间,但是这样的东西其实对于整个艺术创作是很大的一个危害,它导致有一些范围不能去触及,我们并不是提倡艺术家一定要对社会责任,一定要对政治提出看法,不是这个意思,但是它是一种很明确不自由,这种不自由谁都明白,就我个人来说,我现在明显觉得这种不自由让我的工作范围没办法展开,始终只能在某一些地方兜圈子,不能够更随性一点,我觉得这是一个很大的问题,但没办法,没足够的勇气或者说没胆子去做,其实这种东西很抽象,无法提出一个根本的看法,作品毕竟是一个表面的东西,但又反映一个根本看法,这种根本的看法当然涉及政治,涉及到对社会权力这种东西的看法,但没办法表现出来,只能靠大家聊天的时候来讨论,来交流,但不能通过和作品之间的关系呈现,这是比较难受的,不自由的,不意识到不自由也无所谓,但创作中碰到一些这样的事情的时候,就会觉得这条路几十年来还不知道不能这么去,就很悲哀,比较傻B的想法,就是想也许这就是一种可能性,这可能性一直不让你,那你就,只能说是已经到了比较变态的想法。

Q:有点悲观的意味。

A:不是悲观,比如说现在中国城市建筑规划这样的东西,有人说很难看,对我来说,要过渡到——要看一看它究竟能造成多难看。我会随环境改变,一直改变想法,所以很难有一个明确的东西,整体来说中国现实汹涌,太了,中国艺术家创作在里面,整体来说就是在做无用功,非常的

Q:艺术家在做无用功是吗?

A:整个看起来,你会觉得这个东西不刺激,就是没反应艺术家在那里工作——中国没有很好的抽象体系艺术,大家都在批判,但批判里面很多东西都是的,都是非常虚伪的,那怎么搞?管不了那么多了。

Q:你在艺术里用的是兴趣,实际上你觉得在艺术工作当中感性很重要,是吗?

A:对,基本上处于想怎么样就怎么样的状态,然后不要被我们的艺术住,你应该是在做艺术而不是艺术做你

 

Interviewed: Xu Xingchen

Time: Afternoon, January 24, 2007

Location: BizArt Centre, Moganshan Road, Shanghai

 

兴趣 interest 25

影响 influence affected 12

关系 relationship relation 15

自己 self own 24

个人 individual personally 20

个人化 individualize 3

变化 changes (noun)     15

改变(变 变化) change (verb) changing evolves 4

调整 adjust 4

社会 society social 12

习惯 habit used to 14

怀疑 doubt 2

理解 understanding 5

反应(映) reaction react response 3

 

不自由 non-free no freedom lack absence of freedom unfree 5

政府 government 1

政治 political politics 3

体制 political system 3

 

无用功 useless labor 1

惯性 inertia 2

当代 contemporary 33

目的性 purpose purposeful purposelessness agenda-driven 5

批判 criticism 3

可能性 possibility 5

刺激 stimulation stimulate unexciting 3

中国 China Chinese 10

西方 the West 0

国外外国)  foreign abroad 1

腐败 corruption 1

圈子 circle 2

产业园区 industry zones 1

城市建筑 urban architecture 1

规划 urban planning 1

 

 

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

Q: What’s your major concerns as an artist?

 

A: I just go where my interests lead me to. There’s no clear agenda, and my interests are changing. Things that interest me, stimulate me or trigger reaction from me are among those which set the direction of my artistic creation. For instance, an early video work of mine called Rainbow features the video of a person’s back being beaten until it turns red. Everyone will react to the piece, as they know that it hurts. It’s something that people have in common, nothing special about that.

 

Q: What kind of influence does the commercialization of art have on contemporary art as a whole?

 

A: I don’t think good artists will be [effected] affected, it’s a positive thing.

 

Q: What do you see as the artist’s role in a society?

 

A: Don’t know, I hope artists can function in a way that’s meant to be, i.e., as an artist. But you are not sure whether Chinese artists have achieved that, or whether they have managed to at least present themselves as such. So far what we have seen are mostly commercial success, buzz and attention. It’s not that these things are not worth for the effort or we are in a pathetic situation. These are simply facts.

 

Q: How do you position yourself?

 

A: Like I said just now, I follow my interest. Audience’s response and relation with the society are out of my range of control. Contemporary art, relatively speaking, is still a small circle, and social changes will trigger changes in the art world.

 

Q: I suppose all these are more or less present in your works?

 

A: Interest evolves with time, except for a few consistent habitual ones (prefer meat to vegetable, like to wear red, etc.). A person evolves as well. Interest has a random dimension, and randomness is important. You don’t see the world in an omni-perspective, you observe the world while changing, sometimes you expand, sometimes you diminish, so this is definitely a random thing.

 

Q: Shanghai is regarded as the most open and modernized place in China, the public and the contemporary culture there are quite distinctive. How would you evaluate Shanghai as an environment for contemporary art? Please talk something about the reception, understanding or obstruction of contemporary art in Shanghai.

 

A: It’s all hype, no matter Shanghai, Beijing or New York. Of course there’s the difference of activeness and opportunity. For me, since I grew up here, I‘m used to it. Shanghai is pretty much a quiet city, you don’t have to wear the artist’s charade everyday, instead, you can just follow your interest and have fun, it’s relaxing. There fewer artists in Shanghai so each of us has more opportunity. Actually a lot of people still perceive the culture and history of Shanghai according to some unclear notion of the 1930s, in fact within my range of sight, the culture-related works in Shanghai and even the whole society are too purposeful, lacking a certain purposelessness, by which I mean there’s very few stupid stuff, very few light-hearted, emotional stuff. Therefore, contemporary art has turned into this thing with an agenda-driven structure, it lacks broadness and openness in terms of administrative mechanism. For instance, what can our government do to help artists? Is it possible for them to provide certain preconditions? No, not at all. There are seventy-five so-called ‘industry zones‘ a la 50 Moganshan Road, but I think they are merely a way of moving all those advertising companies out of the old buildings and planning some new buildings. As for the management of contemporary art exhibition, I think a lot of things are still in the premature phase, there are no clear-cut rules or requirements, and the managing individual‘s personal preferences and emotional status are the main criterion on whether an exhibition should be allowed to happen. From a certain perspective, I do understand the current situation, a process is inevitable after all.

 

Q: Shanghai is also a fashionable city, let’s talk about the relation between contemporary art and fashion: both have younger generation as their major target group. What’s your take on the relation between fashion culture and contemporary art?

 

A: Contemporary art itself is facing the problem of popularization and isolation, or lack of understanding. The case of Shanghai, take BizArt Centre for example, they have seen declining audience in recent years. Of course audience need guidance, educational background and accumulation of knowledge, etc. A lot of younger audience‘s understanding of contemporary art are superficial, they tend to stop probing deeper after reaching a certain level. Granted, this is not the problem of contemporary art itself, it has more to do with the whole society, from education to the whole political system, to the status of culture in the country.

 

Q: Everybody knows that Chinese contemporary art is currently a hot topic, yet many artists are having difficulties producing good works, what do you think of that?

 

A: I think the whole environment is fragile, of course this is a relative way of putting it, and I don’t think things are gonna collapse any time soon. Within my range of work, I found that the number of artists has been decreasing, really. Thinking, hard-working, self-sufficient and focused artists are getting fewer and fewer. Of course there are also a lot of artists of your (the interviewer Xu Tan) age……I would call this corruption, and there’s nothing you can do about it except for sticking to your own and ignoring others. Now let’s get back to art creation itself, I think Chinese artists in general lack fine sensibility, they would often swarm to the same style or direction. I believe that many people have not yet fully adjusted their mentality and are still working within a fixed norm. So when you look at it, it seems that they are all jamming on the same road.

 

Also, we don’t have much good exhibition in China now, very few.

 

Q: According to my knowledge, you are quite clear-cut in some of your art works. Intentional or not, you play a role in this bigger environment.

 

A: Since you mentioned politics, I have another point of view. I think our environment has casted some restriction to art in an explicit way. There are something that you can’t say or do. So the bigger environment as I see it still has a long way to go. But this kind of thing is actually extremely harmful to art making, because it defines some untouchable zones. It’s not like we are advocating for artist-as-social-activist or artist-making-political-statement, certainly not. But this situation is apparently unfree, everybody understands that. Personally speaking, I now have a strong feeling that this lack of freedom has crippled my work, I find it hard to reach out to a wider range and to follow where my heart leads me to. This is a big problem for me, but I’m at my wit’s end, and I don’t have enough courage to break away from it. These things are abstract and it’s impossible to have a definitive view on it. After all, art work is the superficial manifestation of fundamental ideas, and these ideas are naturally connected with politics and the view on society and power. They are, however, not allowed to be presented in art, so they ended up in the form of casual chatting rather than being manifested through the relation between different works of art. This is such a morass, there’s no freedom at all. Somehow it doesn’t really matter if you are not aware of this absence of freedom, but when you encounter such things, you’ll feel sad about the fact that we are not even aware of the invalidity of this approach in the past few decades. One stupid way of looking at it is to take it as one possibility which has been shunning you all the time, so you keep waiting. I have to say this kind of thinking is almost getting pervert.

 

Q: It’s pessimistic.

 

A: No it’s not pessimistic. For instance, some people criticize the urban architecture and planning in China for their ugliness, but for me, the better approach to this phenomenon would be ‘to see how ugly they can be.’ Both me and my ideas change along with the environment, so it’s hard to have anything fixed. The reality in China as a whole is too powerful, Chinese artists are doing useless labour, they are too weak.

 

Q: You think artists’ endeavour are labouring in a useless way?

 

A: From a larger perspective, you’ll see how unexciting the whole scene is. No reaction. Artists are working in the scene, and everybody is criticizing that we don’t have really good abstract art tradition, but many of these criticism are fake and hypocritical. What can you do? Not much, really. So better forget about it.

 

Q: You follow your interests when doing art, and you think sensibility is very important for an artist, right?

 

A: Yes, basically I just do whatever I feel like doing. We should try to free ourselves from the limitation of art, after all, it’s you who’s making art, not the other way around.

 

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