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freedom, free 自由[zhi you]

映了中国近几十年中的哲学美学伦理学的彻底解体,新的甚至探讨的可能都还没有建立,因为这个社会仍然是处在大面积的或者主体地否认事实,或者说不承认一些基本的事实,在很多问题上几乎是没有争论的可能,它离民主社会还是很远,虽然它有极大的自由,但这种自由只是建立在旧体制瓦解上的自由,是没有能力控制下的自由,并不是一种很主动的自由,这些都给艺术一些特征

The fundamental collapses of Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, ethics in the past decades, and the possibility of discussion is yet to be established for the new. Because this large scale or large part of the society is still denying, or disagreeing some basic facts, and debating of many problems in these areas is almost [out of the question] impossible. Democratic society is still a long way to go. There is much freedom in there, but it’s the freedom based on the collapse of the old, a freedom out of control, but proactive [one] freedom. The art is characterized by all these problems.

(摘自徐坦对艾东明的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ai Dongming)

Interviewed: Ai Dongming

Time: Afternoon, January 31, 2007

Location: Ai’s place at Caochangdi, Beijing

 

 

do” engage in 25

可能 maybe possibility impossible perhaps may 21

社会 society social 19

问题 problem question 17

兴趣 fascinated interested uninterested interest 12

个人 individual 12

方式 ways approaches 10

市场 market 9

价值 value 7

 

政治的 political  1

国家 country  state  4

自由 freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主 democratic  2

 

circle 3

money 5

时代 (information/Internet) age 5

play 3

资金 capital 1

poor poverty 4

弱智 retarded 2

face 3

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: What’s your understanding or impression about the current situation of contemporary art in China?

 

A: I wouldn’t pretend to know much. In spite of the fact that I’ve been living in Beijing all along and always partaking in curating, that we have the Chinese Art Archives & Warehouse, and make friends in the art circle, still I’m not sure I really understand it. Recent two years it seemed hot and bustling, but not very long before nobody apparently cared to take a look at it, so it feels to me more like a state of sudden ups and downs. Maybe put it this way: because contemporary art as a matter of fact has a quite short history [in China], and the modern life in China [this country] – although it did exist – was characterized to a great extent by political and economic patterns. In a highly institutionalized [environment] country as such, the freedom of individual expression, political background and living conditions, as well as the functions and possibilities of art and culture in the society, were basically limited, therefore the surfacing of the so called contemporary art in China didn’t occur until five or six years ago. Before that there were people doing a lot of things, but only in a semi-underground way – that is, it happened in a small circle, out of the sight of the public discourse, and its social impact was in fact also only limited to a small sphere. Once it surfaces, its major scene is in overseas exhibitions, foreign media or even in overseas auctions. It does look exciting somehow, but has nothing to do with the environment where the art originated, its social patterns and its meanings. Few people have tried to discuss and probe into these questions, so it’s still a strange structure. But we can’t say any structure is reasonable or not. Be it a tree, a vine, a ferocious beast, or a parasite, it each has its own reasons. Although Chinese contemporary art did not self-consciously try to build a connection with this society, it still somehow reflects a few problems of the past decades.

 

Q: What problems do you think it reflects?

 

A: The fundamental collapses of Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, ethics in the past decades, and the possibility of discussion is yet to be established for the new. Because this large scale or large part of the society is still denying, or disagreeing some basic facts, and debating of many problems in these areas is almost [out of the question] impossible. Democratic society is still a long way to go. There is much freedom in there, but it’s the freedom based on the collapse of the old, a freedom out of control, but proactive [one] freedom. The art is characterized by all these problems.

 

Q: What do you think of the public reception of contemporary art?

 

A: I don’t think there is real reception. It only becomes part of fashion. When magazines and newspapers talk about art, you see, they always miss the points, and are never capable of understanding it in any depth. I think it’s pathetic, somewhat like retarded. Chinese contemporary art is really acting [an under-developed] a retarded role. Of course there are pretty good artists, there are artists doing interesting stuff all along, but what they do and the way they do it never got acknowledged or understood by the mainstream society. Basically it’s all messed up.

 

Q: Do you think your curating activities could be of any help to this mess?

 

A:There are many exhibitions in China now, but hardly helping with anything and making any sense. They are just peddlers, the peddlers you see on streets where everybody hucksters the same thing and provoke and compete against one another. It’s designed completely for the market, and has nothing to do with art. All those exhibitions, and their curators – take a close look and you see few that are half decent, all with their evil and varied intentions. This in particular is what makes me look down upon Chinese academia and the intelligentsia. [The total shamelessness. The out-and-out and open shamelessness,] They don’t care for face, literally and openly declare that they don’t care for face, which is so rare even here and now. A Chinese old saying goes, poverty stifles ambition, which makes a very good point here. But it’s more than just being poor, those people are actually degenerate. Poverty is just an excuse.

 

Q: Since you mentioned market, please comment on the art market.

 

A:Anything can sell, and the exquisite thing as art is no exception. Art sells in that it decorates the [rich] homes of people with lots of money, so it becomes commodity, which is quite normal. The question is the percentage. I mean, in the whole cultural environment, is commodity the only role to play or not? Is it so fragile that once it becomes commodity, it can’t be anything else? I think that’s a major problem in Chinese contemporary art. The way I see it, it’s kind of funny, because it’s like that even the reason why you do art in the first place got changed, the reason and principles of your life got changed, and eventually transformed into some other value. Too much attention and discussions have been driven to the market – of course, if you are not an artist but a speculator, there’s nothing wrong with talking about market too much, but if you are someone still creating works, or if you got into art because you felt like to express yourself, or fascinated with certain ways of expression, instead of just money, capital or status, then there is something deeply wrong. Now it seems to me that everybody is talking about market, which is bothering me. From stock market to the pricing of brand names, there’s nothing to blame market itself about. You sell something for five cents of money, five thousand Yuan of money, or fifty thousand, and it’s fine. But behind this market, behind the pricing of a certain product, are other values diluted by this market price? This is a question.

 

Q: What interests you then?

 

A:Honestly, I’m not interested in anything in particular. I’m not particularly uninterested in commercial stuff or some other things. Really there are not too many things that interest me; perhaps I am passive. But generally speaking, art is a profession that I have some interest in. What interests me there is the people who are less utilitarian and more characteristic, and living some sorts of self-conscious lives. But what about now? You see no difference between [this art] people in this art circle and their neighbor who peddle. It becomes boring. But after all, I don’t really care, and concern. For example, this country lives or dies, I don’t really care either. It’s just that you asked me, like you ask me anything such as weather, windy or sandstorm comes, it’s something out of your control. It’s just what this country is.

 

Q: Say something about your blog.

 

A: Blog is fun. I will upload the pictures I took for you right away. I don’t know anything about my viewers, even though they are just a click away from me – this is what I feel so straightforward, so real and at the same time delusional, so I keep doing it.

 

Q: You mean it’s a way to communicate your own information.

 

A:I think the information age is the best time for human being so far. Before this, mankind was in the dark or on a chosen path, and now for the first time it provides technical possibilities for the so called freedom and individual will. You [can] may choose to play alone or with those whom you like to play with, which is hard to imagine before. I think everybody should be welcoming this new situation allowing free expression and individual approaches – sounds cliché but still very important. Things like new possibilities of communication, including the possibilities of reshaping, absorbing and utilizing the power of the society, are great things.

 

Q: Speaking of art, do you think there is a distinction between geographical center and margin?

 

A:I think not, especially not in this information age and Internet age. In fact this is for the first time that mankind has an opportunity and possibility to topple the traditional value system of central power. This possibility springs up suddenly after a long history of human struggle, and it’s such a great thing.

foreign countries 国外[guo wai]

1.        对制度的看法,对于制度我们是没办法的,因为很多事情事先就是这样的,没有像国外那么完整的一个艺术机制

There is nothing we can do about the system, because a lot of things are pre-existent; we don’t have a well-built mechanism of art as foreign countries.

(摘自徐坦对刘韡的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Liu Wei)

2.特别是中国的房地产这种消费观念跟国外的消费观念完全是不一样的。判断中国的房地产消费不能用国外的标准和习惯。

First of all, Chinese consuming conception is totally different from that in the West. You can not judge Chinese real estate consumption with western standards.

(摘自徐坦对艾伟的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ai Wei)

3. 我认为张江高科技园区也是借了国外的一些特点,来这样发展起来,现在发展市场也很不错。

I think Zhangjiang Hi-tech park learned from the foreign experience, during its development. Now the development has a quite good market.

(摘自徐坦对陈斌的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Chen Bin)

Interviewed: Liu Renhua

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 14, 2007

Location: Eudora Station Cafe, Beijing

 

 

生活 life live 15

低级趣味 vulgar taste vulgar 5

自己 self own 22

态度 attitude 6

社会 society social 7

别人 others other people other 5

接受 accept take 6

大众 public 14

大众审美 popular aesthetics 3

审美 aesthetics 7

时尚 fashion 15

消耗 drain (exhaust)               5

关系,联系, 关联 relationship relation related connections 6

不同,不一样 different 10

 

制度 system 1

 

take 7

circle 6

sell 5

发展 development develops 6

无聊 boring bored 5

商业 commercialization business commercial 4

国外 foreign countries 4

中国 China 3

形象 images 5

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: First of all, would you please generally talk about the current state of contemporary art in China?

 

A: I think there is a healthy trend of development, but there are also many problems. For example, commercialization has gone a bit too far. Consequently, people often don’t even think about what to do or how to do it, because of the influence of the market. Perhaps this commercialization leads to many problems in the quality of the work. But it’s also good – in time, people will reflect on this issue, reflect on how to do things. I don’t have much of an opinion on this. I haven’t really thought about it that much. Take the view on the system for example. There is nothing we can do about the system, because a lot of things are pre-existent; we don’t have a well-built mechanism of art as foreign countries. The existing system in China certainly has an impact on the development of art. Without certain organizations, such as foundations, artists here still depend on commercial activities. Artists in foreign countries can apply for the funds to maintain their creation. They don’t have to depend on selling their works. But the artists in China have to rely on his own works to meet his needs in creation, that is, he must sell his work in order to pay for the production fees of his next work of art. That is the problem.

 

Q: What kind of image do you want your work to present to people?

 

A: It varies from year to year. Maybe it’s more focused now, unlike the last few years, where you see different images, different outlook, like videos, etc… using many kinds of material, with all different concepts. But now I want to be more focused – what kind of work do I want to do in this one year? Installation, perhaps. Which means, your concerns are more focused, and you even consider letting go of some of the works; whereas previously you do whatever comes to your mind. Now you might not do something even if the idea comes up, because it might affect the overall image of your work. Sometimes, the strategic aspects will also be reckoned with. For example, a work of art will put aside when it’s completed. One year later, it takes effect. But sometimes, you start with a good feeling and then find the work losing its effect a year later. Put all your work aside, good or bad, wait for a year or two and check if they are still effective. If so, then it means they are related to your previous development.

 

A: Visual impact is certainly essential, but not that kind of strong outward impact deliberately made. I’m interested in a basic sensation that people see everyday but fail to perceive. It’s an impact through a different medium – perhaps volume, perhaps something else.

 

Q: What, in your opinion, is the relationship between your art and social reality?

 

A: I don’t know what kind of relationship it is. I’m only searching for a point of excitement. I get an idea only when I see or feel something that excites me; I don’t get ideas out of the blue. Maybe some people come up with an idea first and then realize it. But my work comes from something I see and think about. It’s never a rational process of making works of art.

 

Q: Then, are there any obstacles in the communication between your art and the public?

 

A: Yes, of course. But it’s not too bad, and I know what the reasons are. When you have a conversation with someone, you cannot communicate with each other due to totally different values. You still know what the other person is thinking, which is totally different from your own thinking, and vice versa. From the public‘s point of view, sometimes they see the work and feel good, feeling that they can take it, because contemporary art still contains something that is most explicit. No matter how art develops, how conceptual it becomes, the explicit visuality, like beauty, always exist. That will never change.

 

As with communicating with the public, television is what the public likes. I don’t think there is much worth viewing on TV; it’s all just bullshitting and awful. Of course I can watch it too, but I think it’s just vulgar taste. Perhaps the more vulgar is, the more attractive to most people.

 

Q: And this is the difference between popular and elite culture?

 

A: Nothing is elite. I don’t like such mentality of regarding himself as infallible.

 

Q: What sort of influence does Beijing have on your art.

 

A: Maybe the climate, and something else. Beijing is not a very pleasant city. It can be summed up in one word – dark, which is pretty bad due to the climate like sand storms, etc. Usually I don’t have to go out during the day, and you have nowhere to go at night, unlike some cities in the south, where you can walk around comfortably at night. You can’t do this in Beijing, all you can do is stay home during the day, and go to entertainment spots, like pubs and teahouses at night. Basically there is nowhere you can go to enjoy something natural. But I’ve gotten used to this; maybe it’s related to aesthetics. I’ve completely accepted this grayish, somber landscape. I don’t think it ugly – it’s even rather pretty sometimes. Beijing is faster in pace, and creates more stress compared to other cities. It has more fun here. There’s all sorts of people here; any kind of people can survive here. There exist good idea and bad idea. You can do anything you like. They can all co-exist. Perhaps this is the tradition or customs here.

 

Q: A lot of artists think too many exhibitions in Beijing, many of which are too superficial.

 

A: Right. I usually don’t go to exhibitions, except those by very close friends. I don’t go to any other exhibitions.

 

Q: What’s your view on the art organizations like museums of art?

 

A: Basically I don’t have any connections with them. That’s PR activities, not what we do.

 

Q: So you don’t think art should engage into society, into life?

 

A: It’s not that. Some artists do it that way, and it’s fine, just not my style.

 

Q: Then what do you think is the role of the artists in society?

 

A: Never thought about that. I don’t know what sort of role it is; I don’t know. I’m not different from other people, we’re the same. We are all doing our own work, with different ideas and subject-matters. Sometimes you feel you’re exhausting yourself, but everyone is the same. From close by, you see yourself doing something different from others; from afar, it’s all the same. You do certain things to maintain your level of energy, and then you keep draining it. You can’t live your life energetically every single day. It’s insignificant and boring most of the time.

 

Q: Many other artists also feel negative.

 

A: It’s not negative. Being bored is not negative; perhaps it’s a state of being. Many things in this society are in this state, this current state. Maybe it has to do with your own judgment – on society, on life. But it’s not the state of nihility and negativity that make you not want to live anymore.

 

For example, popular aesthetics, just like TV and movies, is just boring beyond words. But everybody likes it. That’s why it can exist. It’s something with an extremely vulgar taste, but people like vulgarity. You can’t run away from it no matter what.

 

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

 

A: Fashion is more popular, more real-life, and more guiding. Mostly it’s about this guidance – guiding your life – about what is good. It’s a sort of guidepost, leading the public to develop towards the direction it sets. Ultimately there is something good leading the popular aesthetics, whereas art has no such attribute. It doesn’t have to have an impact on everyone. It works by itself. It has an impact on a minority of people. It doesn’t rely on the public.

focus 针对[zhen dui]

Interviewed: Sun Jin, Peng Yao

Time: Noon, January 29, 2007

Location: Sun & Peng Studio, 798, Beijing

 

 

社会 society social socially 24

反应 reaction (feedback response respond) 8

(不)接受 accept acceptance (take in rejected) 7

普通(人,观众) ordinary (people / audience) general public 9

公众 general public 2

观众 audience(s) 22

关系 relation relationship has something to do with 11

机制 system mechanism 8

机构 organization 5

美术馆 museum 8

 

独立 independence 2

政府 government 5

政治 political 3

自由 free 3

 

和谐社会 harmonious society 9

do make 40

do engage in tackle 1

中国 China Chinese 31

西方 the West western 19

发展 development drifting 5

成功 success successful 10

商业()  commercialization commercial commercially 4

游戏 game 4

舒服 comfortable 3

学术 academic academics academically 11

农民 farmer 5

强奸 rape raped 2

通奸 adultery 2

生效 effectiveness effective 2

市场 market marketing 5

投机份子 opportunitists 1

 

 

Source of Keywords:

 

 

Q: You just mentioned the public perception of your works and the natural influence thereof, I have the feeling that most of your early works are not as socially-conscious as the newer ones.

A: (Sun) Actually all the materials come from the society, it’s just that some of them come from the relatively private aspect of social life, and some are better-known materials, such as news subjects, social topics. Actually all topics are social topics, it’s just that the attention they draw are of different levels. Also, I don’t think I would go with the idea that currently all subjects derive from the society, I think a lot of them can still find roots in ourselves, but when they are confronted with the society, you’ll need an appropriate translation and conversion system, and then you’ll end up choosing relatively typical materials. It seems to me that you just can’t take the problem separately.

(Peng) In the early days when we were young, our relation with the society are not so complicated, or, shall we say, we were not yet an integrated part of the society, therefore the works we did and the materials we used are not so socially-conscious. But I reckon that anything could be used as material, and you are going to engage in the society more and more as you grow up, eventually you’ll choose those materials in the society that interest you. So I don’t think that subject is the key issue here.

Q: A lot of your works in the exhibitions are focused on the relationship with the society. Do you perceive any differences in China and the West in terms of audience’s acceptance and feedback?

A: (Sun) Yes, but I think the differences were more typical a few years ago, before and around 2000. The opening-up of China was still in its early phase back then, and most people did not accept what is called contemporary art, they were too impatient when watching. Now there seems to be a unified consensus, western and Chinese audience are aware of this (Chinese) contemporary art thing, they know there is a bunch of people doing weird stuff, and their first reaction towards them are “Ah! Another performance art! “Thus art is reduced to a term, when someone puzzles over something; he would call it performance art. He has this category in his mind, and can group it, and then it’s easy for him to take in.

(Peng) At that time the West was more interested in the political confrontational aspect, it has something to do with the whole Chinese ideology. The country was not open enough back then, and biennale still didn’t emerge in Shanghai……all the western audiences would interpret your work from the political perspective. There were two kinds of Chinese audience, and this is particularly interesting, the first kind is artistically-informed people, or people somewhat related to art and culture; and the other kind is people who has no relationship whatsoever with culture. As it turned out, the culture-savvy part happened to find our works incomprehensible, they even made a lot of protests or accusation against them. On the other hand, those who have no relationship with art or culture, including policemen……one of my exhibitions was banned, and I chatted with many ordinary people like policemen and persons in Residents’ Committee, you know, ordinary people, they all went to see the exhibition and found it super interesting.

And now governments are organizing biennales, contemporary art has become a card in their hands, something that everyone can and should take advantage of. So it’s like a slogan, a presentation used to impress the international community, and here’s when the game with the official starts.

A: (Peng) In the ’90s, before 2000, when something happens, you can calm down to observe your surroundings, to perceive the changes of everybody in detail. But now, especially in recent years, the whole atmosphere in the art scene is volatile. It has become difficult for me to try to understand the changes outside, and the situation is complicated now……take our studio in 798 for example, this place is so touristy now, it’s hard to position yourself. But we do work here as of today. Now the government is into contemporary art too, a lot of opportunitists are into this, and there’s the gallery frenzy, a dozen of new galleries would turn up here every day. You also witness the price of Chinese contemporary art skyrocketing on the international market, I have the feeling that many artists have lost themselves, they have become less pure; in the old days, underground is underground, the artists make art, and that’s it. Nowadays everyone collaborates with everyone, and you participate in their game more frequently, the game is getting more and more complex, Stage Two!

Q: So do you think that general public has become better connoisseurs of contemporary art?

A: (Peng) I think maybe they do find it easier to accept, but what art offers them, on the contrary, has decreased. Back then they would try to understand why these people do what they’re doing, now they get themselves a concept, like I tell you this word, ‘performance art‘, they go ‘Ah, so this is performance art!’, and there it is. Something is missing for the general public, the minute they are given a safe explanation, they are deprived of the thinking process.

(Sun) There are actually two sides of the coin. For the artist, I think they are also trying to figure out what kind of audience they have. In the ’90s there was this cynic group, you may want to call them early [Chinese] contemporary artist, they were the enfant terrible, going to the extreme when rejected by the public. By now, however, many artists have come to realize that in order to play the enfant terrible card you need to first have the endorsement by the audience. So both sides were moving towards each other, when the two reach a point of coordination, by which I mean they can work together seamlessly and feel free at the same time, that’s what you may call the harmonious society. Back then reform and opening were everything, people would do anything for breakthrough. Things have changed, now the overall structure is fixed, it’s a matter of coordination. This is in synch with the general situation of the country, the concept of harmonious society has posed a big question to art as well. Of course every era has its own issues, but the issues we are facing now in a harmonious society is of not much difference with those in the western countries. This is because harmonious society is commonplace in the West, and artists there feel free and suffocated at the same time. This is gonna happen in China at some point in the future, we’ll see.

(Peng) For instance, I’m initially exciting upon learning that certain large foreign organization is coming to Beijing to open a museum, because it means there will finally be a decent museum showcasing contemporary art in Beijing and in China. But soon I come to realize the potential crisis; I don’t know whether this thing would do any good to Beijing and to Chinese contemporary art as a whole, will it help pushing the scene towards the good or bad, healthy or unhealthy direction? There are two sides to these things. What the foreign museums try to do is to port the whole prestigious western museum system to Beijing, but if you take a look at exhibitions in the West, you’ll see how the corrupted museum system stifles the whole art scene. This explains all the buzz about the whole lot of Chinese artists participating in the Venice Biennale that year; they witnessed the potential of Chinese contemporary art in the West. But is there really any potential? Granted, you can’t say there’s zero potential, but the point is westerners realized that they could find new possibilities in China, and these possibilities are potential, energy, frightening stuff. While in the West, the whole system has provided a, in Sun Yuan’s word, harmonious society for everybody, people have to play by the rules and to strive for breakthrough in between. After some time, everybody ends up playing tricks, for me this is really not the ideal way of life. So I think the western museum system‘s coming into China will be a double-edged sword for the artists. Wouldn’t you kill a lot of possibilities if you bring in something lifeless? It helps us to operate under the rules and procedure, that’s for sure, and of course an oft-heard criticism on Chinese artists or the whole Chinese art market by western museums is the lack of rules and procedure, but this is precisely the characteristic and charisma of China. I prefer a lifestyle with lots of accidents, if Chinese contemporary art is drifting towards a completely expected, accident-free direction, I think it’s time for the artists to think about what they can do to stimulate the scene.

Q: Economic changes will have an influence on art and the relation between artists and the audience, but there are a lot of artists seem to ignore the audience, aren’t there?

A: (Sun) This is about knowledge being in synch with the government, in other words, a harmonious society is the end result of a peaceful evolution process. Commercialization and the participation of economics contribute to the realization of a harmonious society. There are rules, economic rules, that you would want to follow and to refer to as a kind of artist who cares not only about yourself, but also about the audience. One can’t deny the fact that all people regard economical success as the measurement of success in general, even artists themselves, so do the audiences. It’s a point of reference. So economics actually works as the coordinator and thus triggers the peaceful evolution. I’ll say that artists and audiences are not the sole driving force of the harmonious society, there must be some other interfering factors. So how to maintain consistency? How to reach the same coordinated point? Economics is being used as a reference point in many cases.

(Peng) Market and academic studies call for different approaches. Marketing guys take care of the market, scholars take care of academic studies, so it won’t do any good to have people like us to talk about issues without our range.

(Sun) Sometimes people say ‘academic is itself’, I’m not sure I agree with them on that: do you think about the question of success when doing academic works? If the question crosses your mind, then there shall be a point of coordination somewhere. When all the factors are mixed together in the optimized proportion, it will appear to be something successful and will generate some momentum for your academic studies. Here, the word successful means not only commercial success, but success in every dimension. Without this all-dimentional success as the point of reference, academic studies will be of no direction or value – it has no coordinated platform. Actually academics all work on a platform, there is the standard for measuring success, which is effectiveness, [commercial-wise and academic-wise] effective commercially or academically. There’s a certain value in it.

Q: Do you care about the negative part in the audiences’ feedback?

A: (Sun) The audiencesfeedback are exactly the thing I care about.

(Peng) But it’s not important how they respond to our works, as long as there is response at all. We don’t really care whether they are positive or negative, we care about the fact that they do have reaction.

(Sun) Or shall we say the best case is that we have mixed response; rape mixed with adultery, if you will. Being raped and yet reaching orgasm, committing adultery but with a bit of passiveness, that’s a good mixture. I’m not into pure compulsory stuff, but reaction is a must.

Q: I think one of the major differences between Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou is the different level of consciousness towards power. It’s the strongest in Beijing, weaker in Shanghai, and the weakest in Guangzhou. Do you have anything to say about this?

A: (Sun) I don’t particularly feel that way, this power thing you mentioned. I don’t know if there’s power or not, but the way I see it, power is of no relevance as long as you feel comfortable and happy. Because you are in the lower tiers of others’ power mechanism, you are not the top guy, you feel good being here, and you stay here, I think that’s enough. It’s not necessarily the same thing as the farmer‘s corporation, in which power is above everything, even daily meals are related to power, if you can’t get hold of this power, you are not able to survive……by power I mean a kind of dominate/subordinate relation, not necessarily political power.

feminism 女性主义[nu xing zhu yi]

没有特别详细地去研究过中国女性主义的历史,但我觉得女性从一定的时间段来看,很多东西有很大的变化、发展。比如说我妈的所有意识就是我和我弟,我姥姥的意识就肯定更是孩子老公;但我现在的感觉就是我不想要孩子,我自己都不知道生命是怎么回事,我怎么去承受?我现在老在想生命到底有什么意思?这可能是我做作品最初、最原始的一个动力,因为我得找意思,我就自己不停地每天在那着。

Without having studied the history of Chinese feminism in details, I nevertheless think that women go through a lot of development and changes in a given period of time. For instance, me and my brother are all that’s in my mum‘s mind, children and husband are all that’s in my grandma’s mind, but I feel I don’t want kids now: I don’t even understand what life is about, how can I take the responsibility of have a child? I’ve been thinking what’s the meaning of life, this is perhaps a primary driving force of my art. There has to be meaning (in my works), so I keep searching for it every day.

(摘自徐坦对胡小玉的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Hu Xiaoyu)

Interviewed: Hu Xiaoyu

Time: Afternoon, February 1, 2007

Location: Dushixin Hai’an Yayuan, Futong Xi Da Jie, Beijing

 

 

 

woman female 41

女性 female 32

女性主义 feminism 4

man 24

男性 male 18

男性艺术家 male artists 8

社会 society 38

生活(活着) life living lifestyle 33

个人 personal individual 21

感觉 (觉得) feeling 21

兴趣 interest 10

不一样(不同) different difference 9

责任 responsibility 9

关系 relationship 7

生命 life 5

感情(ganqing) emotion 3

情感(qinggan) emotion emotional 4

方式 way approaches 19

自己 self own personal 13

现实 reality 3

介入 intervention involvement 7

 

时政 political 1

自由 freedom 1

 

无聊 bored 3

空虚 empty (spiritually) 2

addicted 2

打交道 deal with 3

有意思 interesting 8

没意思 out the meaning 5

刺激 stimulation stimulated 2

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: Talk about your life, society, and sociality.

 

A: Art and life do not necessarily have so many conflicts, and you don’t have to think of it as being logical and sensible. [A ] I feel that a lot of things should be allowed to evolve naturally so that they will straighten out in the best way. I think maybe the society is choosing marginal things, things in the outer limit of social norm. I started out rejecting the society. Granted, I myself am supposed to be rejected but the strange thing is, my role as an artist has probably prompted the society to pull me back from the margin. If I were in a profession in which people are required to frequently deal with the society, I might as well get filtered out. After you gain from the society, despite your unwillingness, [it's time] you are bound to take some responsibilities, which means compromise: I begin to move closer to the society, which, in turn, offers me more. But I’m not sure about the future. First I rejected the society, maybe I’m still rejecting it a little bit now, but it’s not rejecting me, this is really subtle relationship. What I don’t know is, if one day I start to embrace the society, would it reject me then? It’s hard to tell, everything is random. I’m especially afraid of having too much contact with the society. I never work with assistant, if I have an assistant does all the work, what’s the point of living? I have to be hands-on in order to figure out the meaning of my life during that period of time. I don’t have social skills and I fear dealing with people. I had depression a while ago. If I can choose my destiny at will, I think maybe nunnery is the best for me, but I can’t. Also, like I haven’t chosen to live the life I’m having now, but I ended up like this anyway, so I was forced to accept something I rejected, after a while, I got addicted to it. This is just weird and contradictory. But I believe everything will straighten themselves out in the end, so now I just try to go with the flow and be less sensitive, letting myself being pushed by other things. I try to be passive, just sitting at home waiting, and when something comes, I work with it as long as I like it. In the very beginning, making art was a way and reason of existence for me, I felt it’s more interesting than other things. Now that I have gained some recognition, you’ll need stimulation. Because your interest wears off during the process, so you need to be stimulated in order to extend it. It’s like a trajectory which will be extended by external intervention.

 

Q: [Market.]Does market have any influence on your artistic creation?

 

A: Not interested. If someone comes to me and offers to buy my stuff, I will have to consider whether I should sell or not, and that’s it. I haven’t studied the market systematically, and I don’t really care. I’m doing [okay] with my living state for now, and that’s enough.

 

Q: The object of your works.

 

A: I think they are directly connected to my personal emotion and feeling. A large portion of them share a lot of similar things, after all they are all done by myself. But the emotional sources of each work are complicated, it’s not a simple thread. Usually, when there’s a certain point in life that touches me deeply, I would create a work based on that experience. So it’s not something could be easily explained in words, what can be say for sure is that my art works are all related to my personal life. Sometimes I’m also quite puzzled, like a while ago a male friend questioned me, he thought a lot of “female artists” – of course I never call myself that – have a narrow range of concerns: emotion, pedigree, etc. We had some serious quarrel. Speaking of myself, most of my works derive from my own life experience. If you have to accuse me of that, the only reason I can think of is that I am female, so that I’m only concerned with, work on, and interested in those stuff, all the recognizable references in my works have their roots in my personal life. I didn’t think about these in the very beginning. I don’t know what’s going on with others, but I take a look at myself and I know what’s with me. A lot of male artists say that they don’t understand my works. Without having studied the history of Chinese feminism in details, I nevertheless think that women go through a lot of development and changes in a given period of time. For instance, me and my brother are all that’s in my mum‘s mind, children and husband are all that’s in my grandma’s mind, but I feel I don’t want kids now: I don’t even understand what life is about, how can I take the responsibility of have a child? I’ve been thinking what’s the meaning of life, this is perhaps a primary driving force of my art. There has to be meaning (in my works), so I keep searching for it every day. This is a male-centric society, female artists usually have normal and objective view on male ones; the opposite is rarely true, male artists always say they don’t understand our works, there is really no surprise here. Women always choose their ways of expression passively, as the range of their life experiences is limited, so the above judgment is unequally-based. Men‘s involvement in social, political and economic issues are much deeper than women, so of course they are confident in expressing their viewpoint. Women, for sure, are not confident and afraid to talk about those topics, they can only talk about themselves and their emotion. That’s why works by female artists tend to be more personal and intimate, thus difficult for men to understand. Many of my favourite Chinese female artists are very traditional, they have inherited a lot of fundamentally ‘Chinese‘ nature. The problem is not technique but what you are trying to communicate, whether you have a complete system of your own, and whether you manage to touch upon my heart. In most cases, these feelings exist only between women and are hard to describe with words. But I can feel them, they are too personal, detailed, and trivial, they are to be felt, not thought. The society is changing, there are currently many male artists (or non-artist men) paying attention to female approaches, they begin to think about those approaches they failed to understand before. I believe things will be a lot more [different] changes fifty years from now, maybe the demographic proportion would then be in favour of women, who would have more involvement in social life. When that day comes, we can expect the adjustment of social proportion or the right of ownership.

 

Q: The function of the artist?

 

A: I don’t have the sense of responsibility, don’t know how it feels to be functioning. But I’m sure a lot of people hope to function in the society, it’s about ambition. But what kind of function? That’s hard to tell. Artists have different way of expression, or shall we say different way of existencedifferent not only from the average people, but also from each other. Those whom I would consider good, who has touched me, are usually artists that base their works upon slices of personal life. From this aspect, I think all people are the same, the difference is that they have gone through different kind of life, thus coming out with different result.

female 女性[nu xing]

女性是很被动地去选择这样一种表述方式,因为她所能涉及到的生活范畴非常狭窄,这种评判本身是没有平等标准的;对很多社会时政市场之类的问题,男性占有率和涉入的深度都比女性要高得多,他当然有一个非常自信地表述自己立场能力女性就肯定不自信不敢去说这些问题,能说的只有她自己、她自己感情,所以很多女性做的东西可能更个人私密性男性就不太能理解了。中国好多我喜欢女性艺术家是非常传统的,延续了很“中国人”的一些本质特征。问题不在于技术,在于传达什么,是否有一个完整的体系,是否对我有触动——这种感觉很多时候只存在女性之间,很难用文字或语言来清楚地描述,但是我能感觉出来,它太过于个人感受化,过于枝节、末端、细微。这个社会也在改变,现在有很多男性艺术家,或除去男性艺术家以外的一些男性,开始关注女性的一些方式,开始考虑自己不能理解的一些女性方式;我觉得50年以后肯定有更大的改变,可能人口的比例也变得更有利女性女性的关注和介入可能会更多,这个社会的比例或者占有的权利就会相对调整

Women always choose their ways of
expression
passively, as the range of their life experiences
is limited, so the above judgment is unequally-based. Men‘s
involvement in social, political and economic issues are much deeper
than women, so of course they are confident in expressing
their viewpoint. Women, for sure, are not confident
and afraid to talk about those topics, they can only talk about themselves
and their emotion. That’s why works by female
artists tend to be more personal and intimate, thus
difficult for men to understand. Many of my favourite
Chinese female artists
are very traditional, they have inherited a lot of fundamentally ‘Chinese
nature. The problem is not technique but what you are trying to communicate,
whether you have a complete system of your own, and whether you
manage to touch upon my heart. In most cases, these feelings
exist only between women and are hard to describe with words. But
I can feel them, they are too personal, detailed,
and trivial, they are to be felt, not thought. The society is
changing, there are currently many male artists (or
non-artist men) paying attention to female approaches,
they begin to think about those approaches they failed to
understand before. I believe things will be a lot more [different] changes fifty
years from now
, maybe the demographic proportion would then be in favour
of
women, who would have more involvement
in social life. When that day comes, we can expect the adjustment
of social proportion or the right of ownership.

(摘自徐坦对胡小玉的访谈 Excerpt from
Interview with Hu
Xiaoyu)

Interviewed: Hu Xiaoyu

Time: Afternoon, February 1, 2007

Location: Dushixin Hai’an Yayuan, Futong
Xi Da Jie, Beijing

woman female 41

女性 female
32

女性主义 feminism 4

man 24

男性 male
18

男性艺术家 male artists 8

社会 society 38

生活(活着) life
living lifestyle
33

个人 personal individual 21

感觉 (觉得) feeling
21

兴趣 interest 10

不一样(不同) different
difference
9

责任 responsibility
9

关系 relationship 7

生命 life 5

感情(ganqing)
emotion
3

情感(qinggan)
emotion
emotional 4

方式 way approaches 19

自己 self own personal 13

现实 reality 3

介入 intervention involvement 7

时政 political 1

自由 freedom 1

无聊 bored 3

空虚 empty (spiritually) 2

addicted 2

打交道 deal with 3

有意思 interesting 8

没意思 out the meaning 5

刺激 stimulation stimulated 2

Source of keywords:

Q: Talk about your life, society, and
sociality.

A: Art and life
do not necessarily have so many conflicts, and you don’t have to
think of it as being logical and sensible. [A ] I feel that a lot of
things should be allowed to evolve naturally so that they will straighten
out
in the best way. I think maybe the society is choosing marginal
things, things in the outer limit of social norm. I
started out rejecting the society. Granted, I myself
am supposed to be rejected but the strange thing is, my role as an
artist
has probably prompted the society to pull me back
from the margin. If I were in a profession in which people are required
to frequently deal with the society,
I might as well get filtered out. After you gain from the society,
despite your unwillingness, [it's time] you
are bound
to take some responsibilities,
which means compromise: I begin to move closer to the society,
which, in turn, offers me more. But I’m not sure about the
future. First I rejected the society, maybe I’m still
rejecting it a little bit now, but it’s not rejecting me, this is really
subtle relationship. What I don’t know is, if one day I
start to embrace the society, would it reject me
then? It’s hard to tell, everything is random. I’m especially afraid
of
having too much contact with the society. I never
work with assistant, if I have an assistant does all the work, what’s the point of living?
I have to be hands-on in order to figure out the meaning of my life
during that period of time. I don’t have social skills
and I fear dealing with people. I had depression a while
ago. If I can choose my destiny at will, I think
maybe nunnery is the best for me, but I can’t. Also, like I haven’t
chosen to live the life I’m having now, but I ended up like this
anyway, so I was forced to accept something I rejected, after a
while, I got addicted to it. This is just weird and contradictory.
But I believe everything will straighten themselves out in the end, so
now I just try to go with the flow and be less sensitive, letting
myself being pushed by other things. I try to be passive,
just sitting at home waiting, and when something comes, I work with it
as long as I like it. In the very beginning, making art was a way
and reason of existence for me, I felt it’s more interesting than other
things. Now that I have gained some recognition, you’ll need stimulation. Because
your interest wears off during the process, so you need to be stimulated in order to
extend it. It’s like a trajectory which will be extended by
external intervention.

Q: [Market.]Does market have any influence on your
artistic creation?

A: Not interested.
If someone comes to me and offers to buy my stuff, I will have to consider whether
I should
sell or not, and that’s it. I haven’t studied the market
systematically, and I don’t really care. I’m doing [okay] with my living
state for now
, and that’s enough.

Q: The object of your works.

A: I think they are directly connected
to my personal emotion and feeling. A large
portion of them share a lot of similar things, after all they are all
done by myself. But the emotional sources of each
work are complicated, it’s not a simple thread. Usually, when there’s a
certain point in life that touches me deeply, I would
create a work based on that experience. So it’s not something could be
easily explained in words, what can be say for sure is that my art works are
all related to my personal life. Sometimes I’m also quite
puzzled
, like a while ago a male friend questioned me,
he thought a lot of “female artists” – of course I never call myself
that – have a narrow range of concerns: emotion, pedigree,
etc. We had some serious quarrel. Speaking of myself,
most of my works derive from my own life
experience. If you have to accuse me of that, the only reason I can think of is
that I am female, so that I’m only concerned with, work
on
, and interested in those stuff, all the
recognizable references in my works have their roots in my personal
life
. I didn’t think about these in the very beginning.
I don’t know what’s going on with others, but I take a look at
myself and I know what’s with me. A lot of male
artists
say that they don’t understand my works. Without
having studied the history of Chinese feminism
in details, I nevertheless think that women go
through a lot of development and changes in a given period of time.
For instance, me and my brother are all that’s in my mum‘s mind, children
and husband are all that’s in my grandma’s mind, but I feel
I don’t want kids now: I don’t even understand what life
is about, how can I take the responsibility of have a
child? I’ve been thinking what’s the meaning of life, this
is perhaps a primary driving force of my art. There has to be
meaning
(in my works), so I keep
searching for it every day. This is a male-centric society,
female artists usually have normal and objective
view on male ones; the opposite is rarely true, male
artists always say they don’t understand our works, there is
really no surprise here. Women always choose their ways
of expression passively, as the range of their life
experiences is limited, so the above judgment is unequally-based.
Men
‘s involvement in social, political and economic
issues are much deeper than women, so of course they are confident
in expressing their viewpoint. Women, for sure, are not
confident
and afraid to talk about those topics, they can only talk
about themselves and their emotion. That’s why
works by female artists tend to be more personal
and intimate, thus difficult for men to understand. Many
of my favourite Chinese female
artists are very traditional, they have
inherited a lot of fundamentally ‘Chinese‘ nature. The problem is not
technique but what you are trying to communicate, whether you have a
complete system of your own, and whether you manage to touch
upon my heart. In most cases, these feelings exist only between women
and are hard to describe with words. But I can feel them,
they are too personal, detailed, and trivial, they are to be felt,
not thought. The society is changing, there are currently
many male artists (or non-artist men) paying
attention to female approaches, they begin
to think about those approaches they failed to understand
before. I believe things will be a lot more [different] changes fifty
years from now
, maybe the demographic proportion would then be in favour
of
women, who would have more involvement
in social life. When that day comes, we can expect the adjustment
of social proportion or the right of ownership.

Q: The function of the artist?

A: I don’t have the sense of responsibility,
don’t know how it feels to be functioning. But I’m sure a lot of
people hope to function in the society, it’s about ambition. But
what kind of function? That’s hard to tell. Artists have different
way
of expression, or shall we say different way
of existencedifferent not only from the average people,
but also from each other. Those whom I would consider good, who has touched
me, are usually artists that base their works upon slices of personal
life
. From this aspect, I think all people are the same, the difference
is that they have gone through different kind of life,
thus coming out with different result.

feeling 感情[gan qing]

1. 女性就肯定不自信不敢去说这些问题,能说的只有她自己、她自己的感情,所以很多女性做的东西可能更个人化私密性男性就不太能理解了。

Women, for sure, are not confident and afraid to talk about those topics, they can only talk about themselves and their emotion. That’s why works by female artists tend to be more personal and intimate, thus difficult for men to understand.

(摘自徐坦对胡晓媛的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Hu Xiaoyuan)

2.我觉得尤其是跟我个人情感感受有特别直观的关系。很多作品有很大的共性,毕竟是我一个人去的,但每一个作品最初的情感来源是很复杂的而不是特别单纯的一条线。

I think they are directly connected to my personal emotion and feeling. A large portion of them share a lot of similar things, after all they are all done by myself. But the emotional sources of each work are complicated, it’s not a simple thread.

(摘自徐坦对胡晓媛的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Hu Xiaoyuan)

Interviewed: Cao Lei

Time: Evening, January 31, 2007

Location: The blue building, SOHO New Town, Beijing

社会   society social 23

关系   relationship involved with 16

珠三角  Pearl River Delta 12

成长 长大   grew up    12

     love     11

年青   young     10

合作   collaboration  9

影响 (作用)  influence  9

普通人,观众,村民average (people, audience, villager)  7

环境   surrounding    11

自己    self    30

自我    myself     1

乌托邦  utopia   5

艺术圈  art circle   4

交流  communication    6

现实 现状 reality  (realism)    12

现实主义  reality  realism     2

国家   country   5+

   fast   3

招安 sold souls      1

独立  independence        6

个人()   individual  personal    12

中国   China  Chinese      10

西方  the West     4

情感qinggan)    emotion    10

感情(ganqing)    feeling      3

年代 时代 age   14

时尚 hippest fashion      7

流行  popular      5

周星驰  Stephen chow    1

都市  urban    1

政府 government    1

城市规划   urban planning     1

刺激    stimulate, excitement, stimulating     3

 

Source of keywords:

Q: Your works cut deeply into life in a direct fashion. Do you consider this intervention to be important? Is it an overriding characteristic of Chinese contemporary art or the art of the new generation?

A: We’ve heard a lot of discussions about the social aspect of contemporary art, but sometimes being social doesn’t necessarily mean making a piece of work to express his concerns about the society, or to emphasize the social pressure of the work’s concept, because it hasn’t really advanced social life. Maybe the artist has indeed cut into reality, but I’m looking forward to seeing the influence and dialogue to be more direct.

Q: I find your point very interesting, so you have a very positive attitude towards contemporary art.

A: I don’t mind artist being personal. Sometimes artists would try to isolate themselves from the society, and most of them have introverted personality, but I think there is room for other type of people or direction. Like Ou Ning and I, we do urban planning- and architecture-related projects, and we are even deeply involved with the residents in front of our camera, I think these are all interesting. So I think contemporary art should be more open and embracing. At the absence of an appropriate term to describe our works, we temporarily put up with ‘contemporary art’. But it might well be something else, [something freer] with a freer title.

Q: Let’s get back to the topic of engaging with other people, how do you see your relation when collaborating with someone else?

A: Gradually I come to realize that reality or realism is still powerful in China at present, and documenting is another focus and a way to approach the reality. It seems to me that European artists have already gone through the high speed economic development period. Chinese contemporary art was probably influenced by European conceptual art in the very beginning, but I think we are gradually developing our own expression and context, which fit better in this country and its social life. In the early days we saw a lot of tricks played with forms – typical western working method. But I think the changes in every country are different, artists of different countries respond and react differently to their social and artistic reality. I fully understand and appreciate the works of that German artist.

Q: How does the current social reality of China affect your art and Chinese contemporary art in general? What does it offer you? Does it obstruct you? How?

A: My generation doesn’t seem to like to go abroad, instead we prefer to spend time in our own cities or countries to observe. This is a time of drastic changes, and there are a myriad of information to stimulate your creation, that’s why I’m willing to stay in this city. The city has been accumulating and changing as I grew up, and I’m used to the speed and excitement of it. For me, it’s like a well deeply rooted in the residence. When we were making San Yuan Li and Dazhalan Project, we were more or less getting ourselves into sensitive topics such as demolition and forced eviction. Ideologically we were standing against government. We think these topics are about the development of the society. We have a difficult environment for this kind of artistic expression. In the early days of contemporary art we still find a kind of risking – the confrontation with government ideology, but today is a different story. How to put this……in old terms we said artists have sold their souls to the government. I think these days are witnessing the decrease of venturing spirit of that kind. Today’s venture is no longer the behaviouristic or conceptual ones, it’s rather about a way to probe deep into the core of the problems: the deeper and more difficult. This is a working method and direction chosen by the artists, and it’s the environment we are facing now.

Q: You are quite sensitive to the changes of contemporary art, and your experience and attention to them are rather unusual. Do you have other judgments towards contemporary art besides the change-focused one?

A: Let’s take my documentary Father for example. My father has been a sculptor for many years, after I have grown up, I started to looking for connection between me and his sculptures. I made a documentary on him, I documented how he made sculptures of Deng Xiaoping, and he traveled a lot of counties and towns and accepted larger and larger orders. Father is now making sculptures of Confucius, and there’s a large market for it currently. Although not a contemporary artist, he has a close tie with reality, and you can learn about the near future direction of the country from sculpture: Deng Xiaoping this year, Confucius the next, and the one after……all these are explicitly visible on the older generation of artists, you see the destiny of China and its development in their art, and how artists of that age compromise with daily life. They were more closely connected with reality than the younger contemporary artists. The real face of our society is better reflected by my father as an artist. I submitted the documentary on my father to Taipei Biennale.

Q: Why do you think that there’s insufficient love in Chinese contemporary art?

A: First there are social factors, which I just mentioned. We are living in a society without love, or one in which love is not advocated. This value is not proposed by the whole society. The education we had from the early years was only fake respect and fake love, so I don’t think art should take the blame – because the whole society is simply going into a wrong direction, the moral system is collapsing, I’m a little desperate in this regard. It’s not only in the art circle, but all walks of life. So sometimes I feel the reason of art‘s existence is to rub smooth the social cracks. As an artist, I will try my best in this direction, instead of producing more phony things.

Q: This is exactly the belief that is in short in this society, with consumerism culture and fashion prevailing. Do you think they have any influence on the value of our society?

A: Sure they do, both show biz and fashion industry have casted an influence on the younger generation and the society as a whole. In America and Europe, although show biz and entertainment occupy a certain portion of the whole culture, they also manage to preserve the traditional elements. For instance, New York has the hippest events, but there are also poetry reading sessions or traditional rock concerts every night. But China is simply moving too fast, rock is out-of-fashion now, people are more into electronic music, things get eliminated very fast, old stuff are despised. So I think this is rooted in the nature of Chinese people. We have gone through a lot of political campaigns so we are afraid of falling behind. As a result, we over-do a lot of things. It’s radical, really……and the communication with our time? It seems that artists have lost faith in the society, sometimes they even have no desire in creating art works. At the discovery of art’s helplessness and powerless against the society, they figure that it doesn’t really matter either you make this work or not, and they lack the desire of existence, a kind of boredom.

Q: What do you think should be an artist’s conscious to his/her social role? Do you really believe that art can function in the society? To which degree? Is this just a hope?

A: I believe as an artist, you can definitely have only limited and weak influence on the society, and it functions only within a small circle unless you really take advantage of all kinds of resources, be adventurous and work like an activist and not just an artist. I see myself mainly as a bridge, even I stop being an artist one day, maybe I can do something more intellectually stimulating? So it’s really about getting this role as a bridge more stable and focused.

Q: Last question: would you please offer us your statement as an artist? What are some of the key concepts of your artistic creation?

A: How should I put this……like the project I’m doing now, it’s a film called Who’s Utopia?. This is both an interrogative sentence and a simply statement. Utopia should be built by us in collaboration, or shall we say some of us do need a utopia. I think I’m the kind of person who still has this ‘utopia complex‘, I’m not into the dystopia thing. Although I can’t really see the future clearly, but there has always been a force pushing me forward towards Utopia. What’s more, it’s not impossible that, one day, I would ditch this identity as an artist in favor of that of an activist.

feel 感觉[gan jue]

问题不在于技术,在于传达什么,是否有一个完整的体系,是否对我有触动——这种感觉很多时候只存在女性之间,很难用文字或语言来清楚地描述,但是我能感觉出来,它太过于个人感受化,过于枝节、末端、细微。

The problem is not technique but what you are trying to communicate, whether you have a complete system of your own, and whether you manage to touch upon my heart. In most cases, these feelings exist only between women and are hard to describe with words. But I can feel them, they are too personal, detailed, and trivial, they are to be felt, not thought.

(摘自徐坦对胡小玉的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Hu Xiaoyu)

Interviewed: Guo Danxia

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 27, 2007

Location: The artist’s residence, Xi’an.

 

理解     comprehend  know  7

(画画  paint  drawing    199

知道  know         22

文化  culture      12   

文化层次 culture level  4

  healing    cure   11

  understand     8

清楚  clear         8

感觉    feel   15

白血病    leukemia  leukemic   6

白鳝   white eel   4

自己   self  own   20

别人  other people   others  18

感觉   feel   24

迷信 Superstition 2

中国     China Chinese 7

西方     the West Western  5

身体     health Body  physically  physical condition   8

       Qi (energy) 6

       spiritual   3

灵气     reiki  2

气功     Qigong  3

生殖器   genitalia  4

神秘     mysterious   3

科技     science  2

经济效益   1economic profit    1

女神    goddess  2

境界    level spiritual level   2 

谋杀    murder  2

智(慧)     intelligence  intelligent  4

开发   develop development   4

Q: How did you start painting?

A: May 21, 1989 – before that I had often been sick due to bad health. I had heard that even illiterates could write prescriptions, which amazed me, so I wondered if I could paint. That was how I started painting, ever since that day. What I painted was stuff related to healing: how do you cure leukemia? How do you cure toothache? How do you cure moodiness? I painted them out, and those works are still there. When painting leukemia, I felt I painted all the leukemic cells – that’s how it felt. I went to school in the 1950s; we were among the first group of students to wear the red scarf, and what we paint now are really interesting stuff. After that I could paint whatever comes to mind, and I’ve never put down my brush in the past 18 years. Now I paint whatever I want; I follow no rules; and sometimes I would even realize it after I finish the painting. I stopped going to work when I was forty, as I was always sick. I couldn’t help it, and then I opened a painting and calligraphy parlor to relax myself. Originally I was trained in chemical experiments chemical analysis; later I painted on paper and fabric scrolls. In 1991, there was an international imagery expo; they wanted to me participate, but I didn’t go. I later brought a few paintings over; and they were stunned, but I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t even know what I was painting myself; but sometimes you could figure it out, after you’ve finished painting it.

Q: Do you think there is any meaning to be discussed in your paintings?

A: There are some that I cannot explain, and some I do can explain. I used to think all the time about bodily spasm, about how to cure illness. Eventually I painted fetuses and the way the human body develops… Those paintings are composed with digits. So, since over ten years ago, I started to believe that the human body is made up of digits. And it was only recently that people started to say that chromosomes are made up of digits.

Q: Is your art influenced by tradition, or by something else?

A: I practiced Qigong before, which is a very good Chinese tradition. It helps develop your intelligence. Practicing Qigong is practicing the brain; but not everybody can succeed. I think I’m talented at this, because I’m totally honest – I’m not interested in ripping people off or making money; I just want to get into shape, and my body is in good shape now. To paint under such circumstances, I feel I could realize a lot. No matter what [people] others say, I feel I could paint the most important thing in my life. If I wanted to paint a brain, eventually I would finish painting a brain. I feel I’m too intelligent – learning by nurture is also a way to develop one’s intelligence. I never see this as superstition. It is a science.

Q: What kind of concept do you think contemporary art is?

A: I see contemporary art as very progressive, unlike painting from the past. I feel that they are all full of life, even though I don’t know much about traditional pedagogy in the field of art. But Western paintings of the nudebefore I painted, I felt that they were uncivilized. But after I painted myself, I understood that they were beautiful. More precisely, they reveal both the good and the bad.

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

A: I feel we should study art with a tolerance towards all, whether it is traditional culture or anything else. As long as it exists in this society, it has value. I see this as the promise. I’m different from you guys: you people paint after you understood, and yet I understand only after I painted; that’s why I’m not interested in communicating with others. I paint whatever I want, especially things I don’t know about, which I paint best. I often watch science channels on television – those things that exist already in the West but not in China, I paint them. A guy from Taiwan once said that my paintings are frozen art, belonging to the highest level in art. I think there are very nice art in painting, but its value lies not in art, but something much better and deeper than art. For example, I paint whatever is in Xi’an, and I study whatever I paint; once a painting is done, there are still lots to be studied in the painting. When I painted Empress Wu Zetian’s tomb, the Shao Tomb, I painted a clown sitting on her navel, because “Shao Tomb” used to be “Xiao Tomb” (“Tomb of Laughter”), where a homophone was used to cover up the reality. Was this site chosen by her, or was it simply meant for her burial in the first place? I think there is a lot to study in this.

Q: What role do you think an artist should play?

A: I think an artist should cover all different aspects in his art. If you only paint the surface, without expressing the spirit, it’s not a good painting. I believe myself to be someone with multiple personalities, not simply a painter. Like I can diagnose myself; I can cure other people‘s illness through painting. I can also strengthen myself physically. I’m sixty-seven now, and in great shape. Many artists remain in good physical condition once they reach a certain spiritual level, and can live very long. They are also practicing the Qi (energy) to dredge their mind; that’s why painters have high spiritual levels.

Q: What function do you think artists have in a society?

A: Artists can express their own thoughts through painting, which propels the society forward. Stuff like contemporary art in particular, which I go see sometimes – I ask people, “What is Utopia“? They say it’s beautiful things. I feel my paintings represent eastern culture; they not only belong to me personally, but also to everyone else.

Q: Then do you care whether your art is understood by others?

A: I don’t. Everyone comes from a different cultural level. Some people of lower cultural levels can understand my painting, whereas those from higher cultural levels cannot. A director of an academy in Singapore once said that what I painted was genitalia, but I don’t even know how to paint genitalia. I hope to spread Chinese culture out to everywhere. I am someone with modern education; what I paint is contemporary painting. I’m not playing with feudalistic superstition.

A: Please describe the process of your creation.

Q: Like my painting a portrait of someone. I can paint someone just by writing his name once. With just a few strokes, I can paint with great resemblance, even people who I have never seen before. After I finish painting, I can even talk about that person. I can feel all these with my brush. These are what I receive from my subject. It’s not out of the blue. The world is too grand. Painting should include many things, including the universe. I want to paint everything that I know about, and after painting them I get to know something deeper about them, although not all. I’m curious to know about various things, especially things aesthetic. For example, the goddess in Hongshan culture – I’d like to know what that goddess looks like. We have is a long cultural history in Xi’an, and after the archeological site was discovered in Lintong, I did this whole series of paintings, to see whether it was really mysterious. Some painters really hate people asking questions, but not me. Whatever you want me to paint, I can do it; the less I know about something, the better I can paint it. For example, the pyramid in Egypt – only after painting it did I know that it was where the pharaohs were buried. I never knew that before painting it.

fast 快[kuai]

中国的变化太了,今天在中国摇滚已经不时尚了,玩的是另一种电子音乐了,淘汰的机制特别,对的东西及其厌恶。所以我觉得,对于中国人,这是本性。或是因为经历了很多运动,害怕落后,就会把所有的东西都做得有过之而无不及,我觉得倒挺彻底的……同时代交流?艺术家好像已经丧失了对社会信任,甚至有时候连一些创作欲望都没有了,他们也发现了艺术对这个社会无力感。无力,没有力量,没有帮助,他们觉得做了这个作品跟没有做这个作品的反应一样的,丧失了存在愿望,一种厌倦

But China is simply moving too fast, rock is out-of-fashion now, people are more into electronic music, things get eliminated very fast, old stuff are despised. So I think this is rooted in the nature of Chinese people. We have gone through a lot of political campaigns so we are afraid of falling behind. As a result, we over-do a lot of things. It’s radical, really……and the communication with our time? It seems that artists have lost faith in the society, sometimes they even have no desire in creating art works. At the discovery of art’s helplessness and powerless against the society, they figure that it doesn’t really matter either you make this work or not, and they lack the desire of existence, a kind of boredom.

(摘自徐坦对曹蕾的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Cao Lei)

 

Interviewed: Cao Lei

Time: Evening, January 31, 2007

Location: The blue building, SOHO New Town, Beijing

社会   society social 23

关系   relationship involved with 16

珠三角  Pearl River Delta 12

成长 长大   grew up    12

     love     11

年青   young     10

合作   collaboration  9

影响 (作用)  influence  9

普通人,观众,村民average (people, audience, villager)  7

环境   surrounding    11

自己    self    30

自我    myself     1

乌托邦  utopia   5

艺术圈  art circle   4

交流  communication    6

现实 现状 reality  (realism)    12

现实主义  reality  realism     2

国家   country   5+

   fast   3

招安 sold souls      1

独立  independence        6

个人()   individual  personal    12

中国   China  Chinese      10

西方  the West     4

情感qinggan)    emotion    10

感情(ganqing)    feeling      3

年代 时代 age   14

时尚 hippest fashion      7

流行  popular      5

周星驰  Stephen chow    1

都市  urban    1

政府 government    1

城市规划   urban planning     1

刺激    stimulate, excitement, stimulating     3

 

Source of keywords:

Q: Your works cut deeply into life in a direct fashion. Do you consider this intervention to be important? Is it an overriding characteristic of Chinese contemporary art or the art of the new generation?

A: We’ve heard a lot of discussions about the social aspect of contemporary art, but sometimes being social doesn’t necessarily mean making a piece of work to express his concerns about the society, or to emphasize the social pressure of the work’s concept, because it hasn’t really advanced social life. Maybe the artist has indeed cut into reality, but I’m looking forward to seeing the influence and dialogue to be more direct.

Q: I find your point very interesting, so you have a very positive attitude towards contemporary art.

A: I don’t mind artist being personal. Sometimes artists would try to isolate themselves from the society, and most of them have introverted personality, but I think there is room for other type of people or direction. Like Ou Ning and I, we do urban planning- and architecture-related projects, and we are even deeply involved with the residents in front of our camera, I think these are all interesting. So I think contemporary art should be more open and embracing. At the absence of an appropriate term to describe our works, we temporarily put up with ‘contemporary art’. But it might well be something else, [something freer] with a freer title.

Q: Let’s get back to the topic of engaging with other people, how do you see your relation when collaborating with someone else?

A: Gradually I come to realize that reality or realism is still powerful in China at present, and documenting is another focus and a way to approach the reality. It seems to me that European artists have already gone through the high speed economic development period. Chinese contemporary art was probably influenced by European conceptual art in the very beginning, but I think we are gradually developing our own expression and context, which fit better in this country and its social life. In the early days we saw a lot of tricks played with forms – typical western working method. But I think the changes in every country are different, artists of different countries respond and react differently to their social and artistic reality. I fully understand and appreciate the works of that German artist.

Q: How does the current social reality of China affect your art and Chinese contemporary art in general? What does it offer you? Does it obstruct you? How?

A: My generation doesn’t seem to like to go abroad, instead we prefer to spend time in our own cities or countries to observe. This is a time of drastic changes, and there are a myriad of information to stimulate your creation, that’s why I’m willing to stay in this city. The city has been accumulating and changing as I grew up, and I’m used to the speed and excitement of it. For me, it’s like a well deeply rooted in the residence. When we were making San Yuan Li and Dazhalan Project, we were more or less getting ourselves into sensitive topics such as demolition and forced eviction. Ideologically we were standing against government. We think these topics are about the development of the society. We have a difficult environment for this kind of artistic expression. In the early days of contemporary art we still find a kind of risking – the confrontation with government ideology, but today is a different story. How to put this……in old terms we said artists have sold their souls to the government. I think these days are witnessing the decrease of venturing spirit of that kind. Today’s venture is no longer the behaviouristic or conceptual ones, it’s rather about a way to probe deep into the core of the problems: the deeper and more difficult. This is a working method and direction chosen by the artists, and it’s the environment we are facing now.

Q: You are quite sensitive to the changes of contemporary art, and your experience and attention to them are rather unusual. Do you have other judgments towards contemporary art besides the change-focused one?

A: Let’s take my documentary Father for example. My father has been a sculptor for many years, after I have grown up, I started to looking for connection between me and his sculptures. I made a documentary on him, I documented how he made sculptures of Deng Xiaoping, and he traveled a lot of counties and towns and accepted larger and larger orders. Father is now making sculptures of Confucius, and there’s a large market for it currently. Although not a contemporary artist, he has a close tie with reality, and you can learn about the near future direction of the country from sculpture: Deng Xiaoping this year, Confucius the next, and the one after……all these are explicitly visible on the older generation of artists, you see the destiny of China and its development in their art, and how artists of that age compromise with daily life. They were more closely connected with reality than the younger contemporary artists. The real face of our society is better reflected by my father as an artist. I submitted the documentary on my father to Taipei Biennale.

Q: Why do you think that there’s insufficient love in Chinese contemporary art?

A: First there are social factors, which I just mentioned. We are living in a society without love, or one in which love is not advocated. This value is not proposed by the whole society. The education we had from the early years was only fake respect and fake love, so I don’t think art should take the blame – because the whole society is simply going into a wrong direction, the moral system is collapsing, I’m a little desperate in this regard. It’s not only in the art circle, but all walks of life. So sometimes I feel the reason of art‘s existence is to rub smooth the social cracks. As an artist, I will try my best in this direction, instead of producing more phony things.

Q: This is exactly the belief that is in short in this society, with consumerism culture and fashion prevailing. Do you think they have any influence on the value of our society?

A: Sure they do, both show biz and fashion industry have casted an influence on the younger generation and the society as a whole. In America and Europe, although show biz and entertainment occupy a certain portion of the whole culture, they also manage to preserve the traditional elements. For instance, New York has the hippest events, but there are also poetry reading sessions or traditional rock concerts every night. But China is simply moving too fast, rock is out-of-fashion now, people are more into electronic music, things get eliminated very fast, old stuff are despised. So I think this is rooted in the nature of Chinese people. We have gone through a lot of political campaigns so we are afraid of falling behind. As a result, we over-do a lot of things. It’s radical, really……and the communication with our time? It seems that artists have lost faith in the society, sometimes they even have no desire in creating art works. At the discovery of art’s helplessness and powerless against the society, they figure that it doesn’t really matter either you make this work or not, and they lack the desire of existence, a kind of boredom.

Q: What do you think should be an artist’s conscious to his/her social role? Do you really believe that art can function in the society? To which degree? Is this just a hope?

A: I believe as an artist, you can definitely have only limited and weak influence on the society, and it functions only within a small circle unless you really take advantage of all kinds of resources, be adventurous and work like an activist and not just an artist. I see myself mainly as a bridge, even I stop being an artist one day, maybe I can do something more intellectually stimulating? So it’s really about getting this role as a bridge more stable and focused.

Q: Last question: would you please offer us your statement as an artist? What are some of the key concepts of your artistic creation?

A: How should I put this……like the project I’m doing now, it’s a film called Who’s Utopia?. This is both an interrogative sentence and a simply statement. Utopia should be built by us in collaboration, or shall we say some of us do need a utopia. I think I’m the kind of person who still has this ‘utopia complex‘, I’m not into the dystopia thing. Although I can’t really see the future clearly, but there has always been a force pushing me forward towards Utopia. What’s more, it’s not impossible that, one day, I would ditch this identity as an artist in favor of that of an activist.

fascinated, interested, uninterested, interest 兴趣[xing qu]

你的兴趣……去美术馆展览、去看、看电影,什么东西被过滤掉,什么东西被留下来?关于电子游戏,也是一个过滤器,被能过滤过来的东西都有兴趣,电子游戏首先是游戏,我从小对游戏的东西特别兴趣,这些东西是人的天性的东西,不只是生物动物都有这个天性爱玩,必须是吃饱了饭的情况下去玩。

We go to museums, we read, we watch films – what’s being filtered out? What’s being kept? As for electronic games, that’s another filter. Whatever passed the filter and stayed are especially interesting. Electronic games are games first of all. I have been particularly interested in games ever since I was a child. These things are part of human nature; and not only humans, but all creatures, all animals love to play – provided that you play after filling your stomach. To be able to do something enjoyable once the hunger is satisfied is really a high state of ideal life, which I think is very natural.

(摘自徐坦对冯顺华的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Feng Shunhua)

Interviewed: Ai Dongming

Time: Afternoon, January 31, 2007

Location: Ai’s place at Caochangdi, Beijing

    “do”  engage in   25

可能  maybe possibility impossible perhaps  may  21

社会  society  social   19

问题  problem question  17

兴趣  fascinated interested uninterested interest 12 

个人  individual  12

方式  ways approaches  10

市场  market  9

价值  value   7

政治的   political  1

国家     country  state  4

自由    freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主    democratic  2

    circle   3

    money  5

时代  (information/Internet) age  5

    play   3

资金  capital  1

    poor poverty  4

弱智  retarded   2

    face  3

Source of keywords:

Q: What’s your understanding or impression about the current situation of contemporary art in China?

A: I wouldn’t pretend to know much. In spite of the fact that I’ve been living in Beijing all along and always partaking in curating, that we have the Chinese Art Archives & Warehouse, and make friends in the art circle, still I’m not sure I really understand it. Recent two years it seemed hot and bustling, but not very long before nobody apparently cared to take a look at it, so it feels to me more like a state of sudden ups and downs. Maybe put it this way: because contemporary art as a matter of fact has a quite short history [in China], and the modern life in China [this country] – although it did exist – was characterized to a great extent by political and economic patterns. In a highly institutionalized [environment] country as such, the freedom of individual expression, political background and living conditions, as well as the functions and possibilities of art and culture in the society, were basically limited, therefore the surfacing of the so called contemporary art in China didn’t occur until five or six years ago. Before that there were people doing a lot of things, but only in a semi-underground way – that is, it happened in a small circle, out of the sight of the public discourse, and its social impact was in fact also only limited to a small sphere. Once it surfaces, its major scene is in overseas exhibitions, foreign media or even in overseas auctions. It does look exciting somehow, but has nothing to do with the environment where the art originated, its social patterns and its meanings. Few people have tried to discuss and probe into these questions, so it’s still a strange structure. But we can’t say any structure is reasonable or not. Be it a tree, a vine, a ferocious beast, or a parasite, it each has its own reasons. Although Chinese contemporary art did not self-consciously try to build a connection with this society, it still somehow reflects a few problems of the past decades.

Q: What problems do you think it reflects?

A: The fundamental collapses of Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, ethics in the past decades, and the possibility of discussion is yet to be established for the new. Because this large scale or large part of the society is still denying, or disagreeing some basic facts, and debating of many problems in these areas is almost [out of the question] impossible. Democratic society is still a long way to go. There is much freedom in there, but it’s the freedom based on the collapse of the old, a freedom out of control, but proactive [one] freedom. The art is characterized by all these problems.

Q: What do you think of the public reception of contemporary art?

A: I don’t think there is real reception. It only becomes part of fashion. When magazines and newspapers talk about art, you see, they always miss the points, and are never capable of understanding it in any depth. I think it’s pathetic, somewhat like retarded. Chinese contemporary art is really acting [an under-developed] a retarded role. Of course there are pretty good artists, there are artists doing interesting stuff all along, but what they do and the way they do it never got acknowledged or understood by the mainstream society. Basically it’s all messed up.

Q: Do you think your curating activities could be of any help to this mess?

A:There are many exhibitions in China now, but hardly helping with anything and making any sense. They are just peddlers, the peddlers you see on streets where everybody hucksters the same thing and provoke and compete against one another. It’s designed completely for the market, and has nothing to do with art. All those exhibitions, and their curators – take a close look and you see few that are half decent, all with their evil and varied intentions. This in particular is what makes me look down upon Chinese academia and the intelligentsia. [The total shamelessness. The out-and-out and open shamelessness,] They don’t care for face, literally and openly declare that they don’t care for face, which is so rare even here and now. A Chinese old saying goes, poverty stifles ambition, which makes a very good point here. But it’s more than just being poor, those people are actually degenerate. Poverty is just an excuse.

Q: Since you mentioned market, please comment on the art market.

A:Anything can sell, and the exquisite thing as art is no exception. Art sells in that it decorates the [rich] homes of people with lots of money, so it becomes commodity, which is quite normal. The question is the percentage. I mean, in the whole cultural environment, is commodity the only role to play or not? Is it so fragile that once it becomes commodity, it can’t be anything else? I think that’s a major problem in Chinese contemporary art. The way I see it, it’s kind of funny, because it’s like that even the reason why you do art in the first place got changed, the reason and principles of your life got changed, and eventually transformed into some other value. Too much attention and discussions have been driven to the market – of course, if you are not an artist but a speculator, there’s nothing wrong with talking about market too much, but if you are someone still creating works, or if you got into art because you felt like to express yourself, or fascinated with certain ways of expression, instead of just money, capital or status, then there is something deeply wrong. Now it seems to me that everybody is talking about market, which is bothering me. From stock market to the pricing of brand names, there’s nothing to blame market itself about. You sell something for five cents of money, five thousand Yuan of money, or fifty thousand, and it’s fine. But behind this market, behind the pricing of a certain product, are other values diluted by this market price? This is a question.

Q: What interests you then?

A:Honestly, I’m not interested in anything in particular. I’m not particularly uninterested in commercial stuff or some other things. Really there are not too many things that interest me; perhaps I am passive. But generally speaking, art is a profession that I have some interest in. What interests me there is the people who are less utilitarian and more characteristic, and living some sorts of self-conscious lives. But what about now? You see no difference between [this art] people in this art circle and their neighbor who peddle. It becomes boring. But after all, I don’t really care, and concern. For example, this country lives or dies, I don’t really care either. It’s just that you asked me, like you ask me anything such as weather, windy or sandstorm comes, it’s something out of your control. It’s just what this country is.

Q: Say something about your blog.

A: Blog is fun. I will upload the pictures I took for you right away. I don’t know anything about my viewers, even though they are just a click away from me – this is what I feel so straightforward, so real and at the same time delusional, so I keep doing it.

Q: You mean it’s a way to communicate your own information.

A:I think the information age is the best time for human being so far. Before this, mankind was in the dark or on a chosen path, and now for the first time it provides technical possibilities for the so called freedom and individual will. You [can] may choose to play alone or with those whom you like to play with, which is hard to imagine before. I think everybody should be welcoming this new situation allowing free expression and individual approaches – sounds cliché but still very important. Things like new possibilities of communication, including the possibilities of reshaping, absorbing and utilizing the power of the society, are great things.

Q: Speaking of art, do you think there is a distinction between geographical center and margin?

A:I think not, especially not in this information age and Internet age. In fact this is for the first time that mankind has an opportunity and possibility to topple the traditional value system of central power. This possibility springs up suddenly after a long history of human struggle, and it’s such a great thing.

farmer 农民[nong min]

1.        和他们交流的时候要忘记你的工作,你就是一个普通人,你跟他就是简单的认识,包括一些司机农民

You have to forget your work when communicating with them. You’re just an ordinary guy, and you are just an acquaintance with them, including drivers, farmers...

(摘自徐坦对杨福东的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Yang Fudong)

2. 张江没有农民了,都镇保了农转非了,给老年人带来实惠了,就医可以报销了。

Yes, all peasants in Zhangjiang have been townized. The aged people are benefited in that they have medical insurance now.

(摘自徐坦对顾健宏的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Gu Jianhong)

 

Interviewed: Wang Guanzheng

Time: Noon, Feb. 3, 2007

Location: Grass Green 2607, SOHO Modern City, Beijing

 

 

 

整体  totality  total picture overall     12

集体(主义)  collectives collectivity   11

一致   homogeneity homogenous   7

时间  time period  period of time     15

社会  society  social  societal  26

个人   individual individualistic  30

经验  experience  13

公共  public  11

大众  public (populace)   15

倾向()  tendency inclination  7

语言  language   9

怀疑  doubt  suspicion   5

质疑  suspicion  question  questioning  10

方法   method way  17

方式   manner way  43

(有)问题   problem  questionable  issue  54

()   change become modification   8

状态   status   8

秩序   order   8

判断   judgment  judges   20

创造()   creative  creativity   4

知识(分子)   knowledge  intellectuals   11

明确()   clarify clarity clear   20

针对   focus    9

角度   angles    5

态度   attitude stance   9

身份   identity  22

后身份  post-identity  9

可能性 possibilities   14

话语    discourse    5

权力    power    5

实验    experiment   6

国家    nation    6

概念   concept

独立         independent      1

意识形态    ideology  ideologism     11

安全       safe  unsafe  safety    4

审批制度    censorship system    1

市场    market    8

传统    traditional   5

中国    China     31

      money   wealthy  2

机会    opportunity   8

诱惑   temptation    1

      post       33

关系   relationship  39

生存谋生   survive  living    4

商业的   commercial    2

Q: Could you please first talk about your view on the current state of contemporary art in China?

A: On a macro level, I think we are now in the middle of a process of development. And this is a process of undergoing a transition from seeing the total picture to getting to know individual artists and individual arts, a stage from which I feel we are still very far away. There are pros and cons when a country‘s contemporary art scene appears as a group. The good part is that it attracts more audience and more attention, and the negative part is that it can only appear as a totality. And that, to me, is a problem, which also points to the difference between traditional art and contemporary art. Think about it – over a decade ago, the image that Europe had about Chinese art was an overall impression. If we were to continue our insistence on this totality, it could end up replacing materials or images of one kind with those of another kind– for example, dragon, phoenix, bamboo, porcelain, silk were used in a certain period, which were, eventually, replaced by some other materials. This is the risk you have to take when you present yourself as a totality. I myself am frightened by collectives, because I used to serve in the military, and I lived together with over 60 persons for many years. I’m left with two aftereffects from that experience. The first one is my hatred for homogeneity. I think I’m naturally immune to all things homogenous, either internally or externally. Basically I think a positive view on homogeneity is itself questionable. The second one is my suspicion for collectives.

Q: What then should an artist focus on, in your opinion?

A: That would be different to each artist. For myself, what I’m interested in is, simply speaking, possibilities. Like I just said, my suspicion for the existing order, and if I question order, which includes any form of order: governmental order, societal order, knowledge order and rules, if you [think this way] take this attitude, then what we often discuss, insofar as   where art is now, is no longer important. What’s important is [how] the way you display your method of questioning such orders.

For instance, through the clarity of commercialization and ideology (we) can understand the society in the simplest way. These have become our internalized way of recognizing the world, i.e., the only Weltanschauung. For me, I call this “New Ideologism,” which is a perfect collusion between commercial standards and political standards. It has a monopoly on everything. In that case, I think the way that contemporary art judges the uncertainties, can hardly survive in such a language context. And what is most fatal, I believe, is that when an ethnic group wants maximum progress… The maximum lies in your demands for possibilities. And possibility can exist only in uncertain domains. When everything in this world is within your grasp, when it offers you no possibilities, do you think you still have creativity?

Q: In these exhibitions, do you care about the communication between your work and the audience?

A: As a matter of fact… this involves a lot of questions. The first one is what we discussed earlier: whether the public exists or not. We always talk about art and the public. But first of all, does the public exist? Take our talking for example, are you the public or am I the public? If you are and I’m not, then why? On the other hand, if I am and you’re not, then what is that based upon? If neither of us can find a clear basis, then we both are the public. Then it does not exist a kind of…The artist and the public are always form a special relationship. This is the first question, which in itself is very conceptual.

The second question is, if there really exists a relationship between the artist and the public, then in fact the public is not communicating directly with the artist. The public and the artist…If we are to discuss relationship, then we need to talk about the system that underlies the relationship. The first system is the education system. Yet our educational system does not support any education on contemporary art… And secondly, in China, strictly speaking, we do not have any art museums – all our museums are organizations that rent spaces in order to survive. And such spaces do not bear any responsibility to educate the public. Consequently, our media always interpret the art experiences as a kind of public voice. Now think about it, the principal relationship between the public and the artist is formed under such circumstances. As a matter of fact, the relationship is produced by these three different systems. If the systems cannot be established, then you can imagine what the relationship will be look like. The third question is that I don’t think there exist a stable relationship between artists and the public.

Q: Do you have any views on your living conditions?

A: Take our views on cities for example. Artists, intellectuals, and even architects, all talk about cities, but what makes it absurd is not the criticism on cities, but the way of criticizing cities that has become completely homogenous. Sometimes criticism on this city becomes very homogenous, without any characteristics and distinctions. What’s more interesting is, the language and method of criticism have become more homogenous. I’ve attended many symposia on cities, which are essentially “criticizing galas”. And suddenly I noticed two things here: first, it’s very safe to criticize the city, from whatever angles. You can criticize it fiercely or call it bullshit. Because it’s very safe, because it does not involve any people, nor anything concrete things, and at the same time it declares your critical stance. This, to me, is opportunistic way. So, in such contexts, I always refuse to criticize in this manner, because it turns into a collectivity, a way of proving your stance – if you don’t criticize, you’re not… So, now I think another question arises. To criticize cities, but why? The English word “Why?” What is your stance? I hope to see you speak in your own manner, instead of in a public manner, even though what you criticize is a public space. With such an attitude, I think you can have your own judgment on this city. As a matter of fact, to me, cities are man-made landscapes, a product of our Utopian spirit. Idealism and Fascism are on this line, this steel wire; in fact, our entire city is built on this steel fire, its Utopian spirit and Fascist inclination just have a little distance. On this issue, what exactly is your attitude? Whether you’re an artist, a writer, you would use your own language and your own way to present your attitude. And it’s not just a declaration of attitude, because I’ve been hearing a lot – about this “attitude decides everything” thing, which is actually full of problems itself. Because “attitude decides everything” means it all depends on whether you raise your hand or not on every issue. That means going back to a public… In fact, when I worked on “Production” in 1996, I did an investigation on this issue. Why did I go to a lot of sites and public spaces? Why did they sit there all day and listen to the others talking about themselves? They are in fact sharing a daily discourse. In other words, certain individuals have become unimportant in such voices, or that they think it unsafe, so that through this collective site and collective discourse, certain individualistic things are transformed into a public voice with some [attitude] tendency. Thus, everyone shares this safety of public discourse. It’s the same with different ways of living. I think, first of all, living is not a kind of conceptual living; you don’t have to be lured by some hidden temptation, or challenged by some hidden theory. You put your life on a certain hint, and this hint reveals your cultural attitude of some sort. I think this is quite obvious in Beijing, and this is realized concretely in dressing, cigarettes you smoke, eyeglasses you wear – they are all injected with some kind of cultural identity. And I think cultural identity is also lethal: sometimes your attitude is determined by your cultural identity; when you become satisfied with your representing certain cultural identity, you actually stop thinking any further… This is how I feel I am living.

Q: Does the generalization of the Chinese art scene by those outside China have something to do with the situation in China now? And, apart from the external forces, does the strong similarity among artists actually have its internal reasons?

A: Well, actually I think, to me at least, this question… Like just now you wanted me to talk about my judgment on this thing at the present moment and what the basis of my judgment is. For example, sometimes we say a day is a long period of time, but that depends on specific events, such as brushing one’s teeth once, having a meal, which might take an hour. That is the relationship between time and events. But when something cultural is judged, or judged precisely, I think the time involved here is very long. Actually it’s like our show in 1997… all the way up to now. As you just said, this overall judgment on contemporary art in China, it’s still going on strong. I feel that this process takes more than ten years to finish; it might continue, because of the relationship between China and the world, such development…  So actually culture development is very very slow, especially in this country, where you see sometimes on the streets very fashionable cars and very fashionable cellphones, but many of our cultural institutions and regulations in fact date back to more than 20 years ago, without any modification in between. I’ll give you a simple example – films. Our censorship system on film has stayed virtually the same, and perhaps even more… Therefore, there is a large amount of things this society.. in fact, what have not changed do not show up, so what we do see are those that have changed. Then, seen from this angle, this society has in fact let certain things return to a basis where there are no such huge differences, which takes a very long time (to change). On the other hand, I think contemporary Chinese art is facing this same problem. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, when we were in the Netherlands, after the exhibition, I remember clearly, we felt shows of such large scale wouldn’t be happening ever again. Then, ten years later, to our great surprise, there are shows even more shocking than that one. There might be two factors at work here: the first one is that more countries, or more organizations, or more wealthy people have become interested in China, maybe then, partially… for instance, a certain genre of art, a certain foundation, started to get interested in the overall contemporary Chinese art. Now, due to the myth of China, more people and organizations have focused on China from various different angles. This might be another kind of change. Second, as more people get involved in this field, more artists would… they would make a relationship with it. This is a process that we must undergo; and I have noticed at the same time, that many artists have already started their work, who I think outnumber those of ten years ago.

face 脸[lian]

那么这些展览,你仔细看看这些策展人,有几个是像样的?都是心怀鬼胎,怀着各种各样的目的,我觉得这是中国的学术界和知识分子最让人看不起的一点,就是总体不要脸,整个儿就是彻底的公开张扬不要脸,这也是少有的一件事,但是啊,就像中国人说的人穷志短,说得太准了,“”还好听点,实际上就是人都很“”了,没什么问题,但它只是一个借口

All those exhibitions, and their curators – take a close look and you see few that are half decent, all with their evil and varied intentions. This in particular is what makes me look down upon Chinese academia and the intelligentsia. [The total shamelessness. The out-and-out and open shamelessness,] They don’t care for face, literally and openly declare that they don’t care for face, which is so rare even here and now. A Chinese old saying goes, poverty stifles ambition, which makes a very good point here. But it’s more than just being poor, those people are actually degenerate. Poverty is just an excuse.

(摘自徐坦对艾东明的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Ai Dongming)

 

Interviewed: Ai Dongming

Time: Afternoon, January 31, 2007

Location: Ai’s place at Caochangdi, Beijing

    “do”  engage in   25

可能  maybe possibility impossible perhaps  may  21

社会  society  social   19

问题  problem question  17

兴趣  fascinated interested uninterested interest 12 

个人  individual  12

方式  ways approaches  10

市场  market  9

价值  value   7

政治的   political  1

国家     country  state  4

自由    freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主    democratic  2

    circle   3

    money  5

时代  (information/Internet) age  5

    play   3

资金  capital  1

    poor poverty  4

弱智  retarded   2

    face  3

Source of keywords:

Q: What’s your understanding or impression about the current situation of contemporary art in China?

A: I wouldn’t pretend to know much. In spite of the fact that I’ve been living in Beijing all along and always partaking in curating, that we have the Chinese Art Archives & Warehouse, and make friends in the art circle, still I’m not sure I really understand it. Recent two years it seemed hot and bustling, but not very long before nobody apparently cared to take a look at it, so it feels to me more like a state of sudden ups and downs. Maybe put it this way: because contemporary art as a matter of fact has a quite short history [in China], and the modern life in China [this country] – although it did exist – was characterized to a great extent by political and economic patterns. In a highly institutionalized [environment] country as such, the freedom of individual expression, political background and living conditions, as well as the functions and possibilities of art and culture in the society, were basically limited, therefore the surfacing of the so called contemporary art in China didn’t occur until five or six years ago. Before that there were people doing a lot of things, but only in a semi-underground way – that is, it happened in a small circle, out of the sight of the public discourse, and its social impact was in fact also only limited to a small sphere. Once it surfaces, its major scene is in overseas exhibitions, foreign media or even in overseas auctions. It does look exciting somehow, but has nothing to do with the environment where the art originated, its social patterns and its meanings. Few people have tried to discuss and probe into these questions, so it’s still a strange structure. But we can’t say any structure is reasonable or not. Be it a tree, a vine, a ferocious beast, or a parasite, it each has its own reasons. Although Chinese contemporary art did not self-consciously try to build a connection with this society, it still somehow reflects a few problems of the past decades.

Q: What problems do you think it reflects?

A: The fundamental collapses of Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, ethics in the past decades, and the possibility of discussion is yet to be established for the new. Because this large scale or large part of the society is still denying, or disagreeing some basic facts, and debating of many problems in these areas is almost [out of the question] impossible. Democratic society is still a long way to go. There is much freedom in there, but it’s the freedom based on the collapse of the old, a freedom out of control, but proactive [one] freedom. The art is characterized by all these problems.

Q: What do you think of the public reception of contemporary art?

A: I don’t think there is real reception. It only becomes part of fashion. When magazines and newspapers talk about art, you see, they always miss the points, and are never capable of understanding it in any depth. I think it’s pathetic, somewhat like retarded. Chinese contemporary art is really acting [an under-developed] a retarded role. Of course there are pretty good artists, there are artists doing interesting stuff all along, but what they do and the way they do it never got acknowledged or understood by the mainstream society. Basically it’s all messed up.

Q: Do you think your curating activities could be of any help to this mess?

A:There are many exhibitions in China now, but hardly helping with anything and making any sense. They are just peddlers, the peddlers you see on streets where everybody hucksters the same thing and provoke and compete against one another. It’s designed completely for the market, and has nothing to do with art. All those exhibitions, and their curators – take a close look and you see few that are half decent, all with their evil and varied intentions. This in particular is what makes me look down upon Chinese academia and the intelligentsia. [The total shamelessness. The out-and-out and open shamelessness,] They don’t care for face, literally and openly declare that they don’t care for face, which is so rare even here and now. A Chinese old saying goes, poverty stifles ambition, which makes a very good point here. But it’s more than just being poor, those people are actually degenerate. Poverty is just an excuse.

Q: Since you mentioned market, please comment on the art market.

A:Anything can sell, and the exquisite thing as art is no exception. Art sells in that it decorates the [rich] homes of people with lots of money, so it becomes commodity, which is quite normal. The question is the percentage. I mean, in the whole cultural environment, is commodity the only role to play or not? Is it so fragile that once it becomes commodity, it can’t be anything else? I think that’s a major problem in Chinese contemporary art. The way I see it, it’s kind of funny, because it’s like that even the reason why you do art in the first place got changed, the reason and principles of your life got changed, and eventually transformed into some other value. Too much attention and discussions have been driven to the market – of course, if you are not an artist but a speculator, there’s nothing wrong with talking about market too much, but if you are someone still creating works, or if you got into art because you felt like to express yourself, or fascinated with certain ways of expression, instead of just money, capital or status, then there is something deeply wrong. Now it seems to me that everybody is talking about market, which is bothering me. From stock market to the pricing of brand names, there’s nothing to blame market itself about. You sell something for five cents of money, five thousand Yuan of money, or fifty thousand, and it’s fine. But behind this market, behind the pricing of a certain product, are other values diluted by this market price? This is a question.

Q: What interests you then?

A:Honestly, I’m not interested in anything in particular. I’m not particularly uninterested in commercial stuff or some other things. Really there are not too many things that interest me; perhaps I am passive. But generally speaking, art is a profession that I have some interest in. What interests me there is the people who are less utilitarian and more characteristic, and living some sorts of self-conscious lives. But what about now? You see no difference between [this art] people in this art circle and their neighbor who peddle. It becomes boring. But after all, I don’t really care, and concern. For example, this country lives or dies, I don’t really care either. It’s just that you asked me, like you ask me anything such as weather, windy or sandstorm comes, it’s something out of your control. It’s just what this country is.

Q: Say something about your blog.

A: Blog is fun. I will upload the pictures I took for you right away. I don’t know anything about my viewers, even though they are just a click away from me – this is what I feel so straightforward, so real and at the same time delusional, so I keep doing it.

Q: You mean it’s a way to communicate your own information.

A:I think the information age is the best time for human being so far. Before this, mankind was in the dark or on a chosen path, and now for the first time it provides technical possibilities for the so called freedom and individual will. You [can] may choose to play alone or with those whom you like to play with, which is hard to imagine before. I think everybody should be welcoming this new situation allowing free expression and individual approaches – sounds cliché but still very important. Things like new possibilities of communication, including the possibilities of reshaping, absorbing and utilizing the power of the society, are great things.

Q: Speaking of art, do you think there is a distinction between geographical center and margin?

A:I think not, especially not in this information age and Internet age. In fact this is for the first time that mankind has an opportunity and possibility to topple the traditional value system of central power. This possibility springs up suddenly after a long history of human struggle, and it’s such a great thing.

扶贫[fu pin] poverty, alleviation

This movie requires Flash Player 9

这个纪录片拍了他做邓小平,他去扶贫县,为了树立自己的政绩而做特别的邓小平像,去了很多订单接得一个比一个

This documentary film shoots his making process of Deng Xiaoping’s statuary. He went to “poverty reduction towns“, in order to build up his own political achievements, he made particularly huge Deng Xiaoping’s sculpture.

(摘自徐坦对曹斐的访谈  Excerpt from Interview with Cao Fei)

采访对象:曹蕾

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

社会 society social 23

关系 relationship involved with 16

珠三角 Pearl River Delta 12

成长 长大 grew up 12

love 11

young 10

合作 collaboration 9

影响 (作用) influence 9

普通人,观众,村民average (people, audience, villager) 7

环境 surrounding 11

自己 self 30

自我 myself 1

乌托邦 utopia 5

艺术圈 art circle 4

交流 communication 6

现实 现状 reality (realism) 12

现实主义 reality realism 2

国家 country 5+

fast 3

招安 sold souls 1

独立 independence 6

个人() individual personal 12

中国 China Chinese 10

西方 the West 4

情感qinggan emotion 10

感情(ganqing) feeling 3

年代 时代 age 14

时尚 hippest fashion 7

流行 popular 5

周星驰 Stephen chow 1

都市 urban 1

政府 government 1

城市规划 urban planning 1

刺激 stimulate, excitement, stimulating 3

Q:你的作品,对生活的介入相当的直接和深入。那么我想问的是,你觉得它重要?你觉得直接介入生活是中国的当代艺术或者说青年一代的当代艺术非常重要的特性吗?

A:我们经常听到关于当代艺术社会性的讨论,但是有时候社会性不是说,一个艺术家做一个作品去表达他对社会关注, 或自身强调这个作品观念社会性压力,因为它没有真正对社会生活有所促进——或者他真的切入现实这个场景里面,但我希望能看到一些更直接作用和更直接的对话

Q我觉得你的观点是非常有意思的,就是说你对当代艺术的方向持一种非常积极的态度

A我不排斥艺术家很个人化的东西艺术家有时候会自己孤立社会大部分艺术家的性格是内向型但是我觉得应该有另外一些或更多一些方向,包括像我跟欧宁,做城市规划、或是搞建筑,我们甚至跟被拍摄区域的居民都有交互的关系我觉得这些都是非常有意思的所以我觉得当代艺术应该是更具开放性包容性因为我们没有一个归纳自己的工作暂时就只能归纳为“当代艺术”但可能是其它、或更自由的一种称呼

Q:回到刚才你和他人发生关系的方面你在跟人合作之中,是怎样看待这种关系

A:慢慢的我觉得有时候现实或者是现实主义中国如今还是一个强有力的东西记录也是一个关注点所在,是关注的一个方式我觉得欧洲艺术家好像已经过了经济高速发展时期中国当代艺术可能在开始的时候受了他们的观念艺术影响但是我觉得这几年,我们的艺术家慢慢地会找到跟自己社会生活、国家合适的一种表达方式、一种语境。我们早期会看到很多形式上的取巧——西方的工作方法但是我觉得每个国家的变化是不一样……不同国家的艺术家对他们的艺术现状和他们的社会现状直接反应和行动是不一样的我也很能理解和很欣赏那个德国艺术家的作品

Q:你觉得目前中国所处的环境,对当代艺术的创作,对于你创作的影响是什么?它为你提供了什么? 或者妨碍了什么?

A:我觉得像我这代人好像不太喜欢出去,而是花更多的时间在自己的城市或国家里面呆着、看着,因为是处于激烈变化的阶段。各种信息都可以是一种唤醒你去创作的关键因素,而不是说我需要去寻找创作的刺激,所以我愿意在这个城市。因为从我成长到现在它一直在积累、在变化,我已经习惯了这种速度刺激。我觉得它好像一口,离不开居住地。我们在做《三元里》跟在做《大栅栏》的时候,我们的作品在某种程度是敏感的,比如跟拆迁问题有关,跟政府相左,我们觉得这种题材是进入了发展方面的问题了。这种创作环境比较难,像早期的当代艺术,我们还能看到一种冒险——和意识形态的对抗,但是在今天——怎么说呢?以前我们说艺术家被招安,我觉得在今天这种冒险会更少,今天的冒险也不是当时的那种仅仅是行为上面的、或者观念上面的一种冒险,而是怎么进入问题的一种内壳, 当你进入得越可能会越。是艺术家自己决定的一种工作方式方向的。我觉得这就是创作的环境

Q:你对当代艺术的变化、你的体验和你的关注都是相当敏感的。这种敏感超出一般的人,另外除了对这种变化的感觉,你还有没有其它的一些判断?

A:比如我做《父亲》那个纪录片,我父亲做了很多年雕塑,但是我慢慢长大后,突然就会开始去寻找到我跟它的一个连接点。我拍了他的一个纪录片,这个纪录片拍了他做邓小平的像,去了很多订单接得一个比一个;我父亲现在做孔子像,全国飞来各种订单。我父亲不是搞当代艺术的,但是我的直觉是他跟现实紧密相关。从他做什么雕塑中你就能看到国家风向标志是什么,今年是邓小平,明年可能是孔子,后年可能就是……这些能迅速的在老一辈艺术家身上体验到,你能够发现整个中国发展的线索、命运,那个时代的一个艺人,他跟生命、生活妥协的过程,他们比所谓年轻的当代艺术家与现实的关系更加紧密。在父亲身上,更能真实地看到这个社会面貌,在台北双年展时,我做了一个我父亲的展览作为了我的参展作品。我拍他的那个纪录片

Q:你为什么觉得中国当代艺术缺少爱?

A:刚刚说的一个就是社会的原因,现在是一个没有、或者不提倡社会整个社会都不倡导这种价值观。我们从小受的教育是一种很虚假尊敬,我觉得这不是艺术的错误,因为整个社会的导向是错误的。整个社会道德也越来越崩溃,我对这方面真的是有点绝望——不只是在艺术圈里面,其实社会的生活方方面面、都有所体现,所以我觉得,有时侯艺术的存在可能就是用来抚平这种裂痕吧!作为艺术家,我尽可能做的是去抚平裂痕,而不是去制造更多更虚假的东西。

Q:我们这个社会缺乏这样一种信念。而现在充斥的是消费的文化和时尚,你觉得它们对我们社会的这种价值有没有什么影响?

A:我觉得肯定会有影响娱乐业时尚影响到了年青一代和整个社会。比如我去美国或者欧洲,它们娱乐时尚的文化虽然都有一定的比例,但是它们很多还是保留了最传统的部分文化,在纽约,它有最时尚的活动,但是每天晚上也还有诗歌朗诵或者传统摇滚,而中国的变化太了,今天中国摇滚已经时尚了,玩的是另一种电子音乐了,淘汰的机制特别,对的东西及其厌恶。所以我觉得,对于中国,这是本性。或是因为经历了很多运动,害怕落后,就会把所有的东西都做得有过之而无不及,我觉得倒挺彻底的……同时代交流?艺术家好像已经丧失了对社会信任,甚至有时候连一些创作欲望都没有了,他们也发现了艺术对这个社会无力感。无力,没有力量,没有帮助,他们觉得做了这个作品跟没有做这个作品的反应一样的,丧失了存在愿望,一种厌倦

Q:你觉得一个艺术家对自己社会角色的意识应该是怎样的?另外,你相信艺术在社会里能起到作用吗?能够起到多大的作用?这仅仅只是一种希望?还是你真的相信这种功能、

A:我相信这种角色,但是我觉得作为艺术家,这种影响绝对是有限的、是很无力的,是很小范围里面的影响,除非是很有效地动用各方面的资源,或者要特别富于冒险行动性、富于社会行动性,而不是单从艺术角度出发的行动性。我觉得我的角色是,尽可能地作为一个桥梁——甚至哪天如果不做艺术,是不是可以做其他事情,能够更直接地刺激到我的想法?就是我尽可能地把这个桥梁的角色做得更稳定、更明确

Q:最后,通过我们刚才的谈话,你可以总结一下自己的创作主要针对的是什么吗?请简单地提出比较关键性的一些观点、观念。

A:怎么说呢?比方说我现在做的项目,是一个影片,叫《谁的乌托邦?》,这是一个问句也是一种陈述句。乌托邦是要我们共同建造——或者说某一部分人确实还是需要乌托邦的,我觉得我自己就还是有一种乌托邦情结,我不是反乌托邦份子,虽然对这个前景不是非常地明确,但是总有一种力量在推进我,我就是按这个方向去走的。还有——就是说有一天,如果……仅仅是艺术的话,我是可以抛弃艺术家身份,而去做一些更有直接行动性的事情的,这是有可能的。

采访对象:曹蕾

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

社会 society social 23

关系 relationship involved with 16

珠三角 Pearl River Delta 12

成长 长大 grew up 12

love 11

young 10

合作 collaboration 9

影响 (作用) influence 9

普通人,观众,村民average (people, audience, villager) 7

环境 surrounding 11

自己 self 30

自我 myself 1

乌托邦 utopia 5

艺术圈 art circle 4

交流 communication 6

现实 现状 reality (realism) 12

现实主义 reality realism 2

国家 country 5+

fast 3

招安 sold souls 1

独立 independence 6

个人() individual personal 12

中国 China Chinese 10

西方 the West 4

情感qinggan emotion 10

感情(ganqing) feeling 3

年代 时代 age 14

时尚 hippest fashion 7

流行 popular 5

周星驰 Stephen chow 1

都市 urban 1

政府 government 1

城市规划 urban planning 1

刺激 stimulate, excitement, stimulating 3

Q:你的作品,对生活的介入相当的直接和深入。那么我想问的是,你觉得它重要?你觉得直接介入生活是中国的当代艺术或者说青年一代的当代艺术非常重要的特性吗?

A:我们经常听到关于当代艺术社会性的讨论,但是有时候社会性不是说,一个艺术家做一个作品去表达他对社会关注, 或自身强调这个作品观念社会性压力,因为它没有真正对社会生活有所促进——或者他真的切入现实这个场景里面,但我希望能看到一些更直接作用和更直接的对话

Q我觉得你的观点是非常有意思的,就是说你对当代艺术的方向持一种非常积极的态度

A我不排斥艺术家很个人化的东西艺术家有时候会自己孤立社会大部分艺术家的性格是内向型但是我觉得应该有另外一些或更多一些方向,包括像我跟欧宁,做城市规划、或是搞建筑,我们甚至跟被拍摄区域的居民都有交互的关系我觉得这些都是非常有意思的所以我觉得当代艺术应该是更具开放性包容性因为我们没有一个归纳自己的工作暂时就只能归纳为“当代艺术”但可能是其它、或更自由的一种称呼

Q:回到刚才你和他人发生关系的方面你在跟人合作之中,是怎样看待这种关系

A:慢慢的我觉得有时候现实或者是现实主义中国如今还是一个强有力的东西记录也是一个关注点所在,是关注的一个方式我觉得欧洲艺术家好像已经过了经济高速发展时期中国当代艺术可能在开始的时候受了他们的观念艺术影响但是我觉得这几年,我们的艺术家慢慢地会找到跟自己社会生活、国家合适的一种表达方式、一种语境。我们早期会看到很多形式上的取巧——西方的工作方法但是我觉得每个国家的变化是不一样……不同国家的艺术家对他们的艺术现状和他们的社会现状直接反应和行动是不一样的我也很能理解和很欣赏那个德国艺术家的作品

Q:你觉得目前中国所处的环境,对当代艺术的创作,对于你创作的影响是什么?它为你提供了什么? 或者妨碍了什么?

A:我觉得像我这代人好像不太喜欢出去,而是花更多的时间在自己的城市或国家里面呆着、看着,因为是处于激烈变化的阶段。各种信息都可以是一种唤醒你去创作的关键因素,而不是说我需要去寻找创作的刺激,所以我愿意在这个城市。因为从我成长到现在它一直在积累、在变化,我已经习惯了这种速度刺激。我觉得它好像一口,离不开居住地。我们在做《三元里》跟在做《大栅栏》的时候,我们的作品在某种程度是敏感的,比如跟拆迁问题有关,跟政府相左,我们觉得这种题材是进入了发展方面的问题了。这种创作环境比较难,像早期的当代艺术,我们还能看到一种冒险——和意识形态的对抗,但是在今天——怎么说呢?以前我们说艺术家被招安,我觉得在今天这种冒险会更少,今天的冒险也不是当时的那种仅仅是行为上面的、或者观念上面的一种冒险,而是怎么进入问题的一种内壳, 当你进入得越可能会越。是艺术家自己决定的一种工作方式方向的。我觉得这就是创作的环境

Q:你对当代艺术的变化、你的体验和你的关注都是相当敏感的。这种敏感超出一般的人,另外除了对这种变化的感觉,你还有没有其它的一些判断?

A:比如我做《父亲》那个纪录片,我父亲做了很多年雕塑,但是我慢慢长大后,突然就会开始去寻找到我跟它的一个连接点。我拍了他的一个纪录片,这个纪录片拍了他做邓小平的像,去了很多订单接得一个比一个;我父亲现在做孔子像,全国飞来各种订单。我父亲不是搞当代艺术的,但是我的直觉是他跟现实紧密相关。从他做什么雕塑中你就能看到国家风向标志是什么,今年是邓小平,明年可能是孔子,后年可能就是……这些能迅速的在老一辈艺术家身上体验到,你能够发现整个中国发展的线索、命运,那个时代的一个艺人,他跟生命、生活妥协的过程,他们比所谓年轻的当代艺术家与现实的关系更加紧密。在父亲身上,更能真实地看到这个社会面貌,在台北双年展时,我做了一个我父亲的展览作为了我的参展作品。我拍他的那个纪录片

Q:你为什么觉得中国当代艺术缺少爱?

A:刚刚说的一个就是社会的原因,现在是一个没有、或者不提倡社会整个社会都不倡导这种价值观。我们从小受的教育是一种很虚假尊敬,我觉得这不是艺术的错误,因为整个社会的导向是错误的。整个社会道德也越来越崩溃,我对这方面真的是有点绝望——不只是在艺术圈里面,其实社会的生活方方面面、都有所体现,所以我觉得,有时侯艺术的存在可能就是用来抚平这种裂痕吧!作为艺术家,我尽可能做的是去抚平裂痕,而不是去制造更多更虚假的东西。

Q:我们这个社会缺乏这样一种信念。而现在充斥的是消费的文化和时尚,你觉得它们对我们社会的这种价值有没有什么影响?

A:我觉得肯定会有影响娱乐业时尚影响到了年青一代和整个社会。比如我去美国或者欧洲,它们娱乐时尚的文化虽然都有一定的比例,但是它们很多还是保留了最传统的部分文化,在纽约,它有最时尚的活动,但是每天晚上也还有诗歌朗诵或者传统摇滚,而中国的变化太了,今天中国摇滚已经时尚了,玩的是另一种电子音乐了,淘汰的机制特别,对的东西及其厌恶。所以我觉得,对于中国,这是本性。或是因为经历了很多运动,害怕落后,就会把所有的东西都做得有过之而无不及,我觉得倒挺彻底的……同时代交流?艺术家好像已经丧失了对社会信任,甚至有时候连一些创作欲望都没有了,他们也发现了艺术对这个社会无力感。无力,没有力量,没有帮助,他们觉得做了这个作品跟没有做这个作品的反应一样的,丧失了存在愿望,一种厌倦

Q:你觉得一个艺术家对自己社会角色的意识应该是怎样的?另外,你相信艺术在社会里能起到作用吗?能够起到多大的作用?这仅仅只是一种希望?还是你真的相信这种功能、

A:我相信这种角色,但是我觉得作为艺术家,这种影响绝对是有限的、是很无力的,是很小范围里面的影响,除非是很有效地动用各方面的资源,或者要特别富于冒险行动性、富于社会行动性,而不是单从艺术角度出发的行动性。我觉得我的角色是,尽可能地作为一个桥梁——甚至哪天如果不做艺术,是不是可以做其他事情,能够更直接地刺激到我的想法?就是我尽可能地把这个桥梁的角色做得更稳定、更明确

Q:最后,通过我们刚才的谈话,你可以总结一下自己的创作主要针对的是什么吗?请简单地提出比较关键性的一些观点、观念。

A:怎么说呢?比方说我现在做的项目,是一个影片,叫《谁的乌托邦?》,这是一个问句也是一种陈述句。乌托邦是要我们共同建造——或者说某一部分人确实还是需要乌托邦的,我觉得我自己就还是有一种乌托邦情结,我不是反乌托邦份子,虽然对这个前景不是非常地明确,但是总有一种力量在推进我,我就是按这个方向去走的。还有——就是说有一天,如果……仅仅是艺术的话,我是可以抛弃艺术家身份,而去做一些更有直接行动性的事情的,这是有可能的。

发展[fa zhan] development, develop

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1.中国现在的机制肯定会对艺术的发展产生影响,没有基金会等的一些机构艺术家还是要一些商业方面的东西。

The existing system in China certainly has an impact on the development of art. Without certain organizations, such as foundations, artists here still depend on commercial activities.

(摘自徐坦对刘韡的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Liu Wei)

 

2. 有几个字(关键词):发展进步超越

key words for it (Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park): development, progress, surpass.

(摘自徐坦对陈斌的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Chen Bin)

采访对象:刘韡

采访时间:2007114日下午

采访地点:于北京亿多瑞站咖啡馆

 

生活 life live 15

低级趣味 vulgar taste vulgar 5

自己 self own 22

态度 attitude 6

社会 society social 7

别人 others other people other 5

接受 accept take 6

大众 public 14

大众审美 popular aesthetics 3

审美 aesthetics 7

时尚 fashion 15

消耗 drain (exhaust)               5

关系,联系, 关联 relationship relation related connections 6

不同,不一样 different 10

 

制度 system 1

 

take 7

circle 6

sell 5

发展 development develops 6

无聊 boring bored 5

商业 commercialization business commercial 4

国外 foreign countries 4

中国 China 3

形象 images 5

 

 

Q:请先大概谈谈你对中国当代艺术现状的看法。

A:我认为有一个发展趋势,也存在很多问题,比如商业有点太厉害了,导致有很多东西,根本不会去考虑做什么怎样做,因为经常受到市场影响,关于商业方面的一些东西,可能会造成作品质量上出现很多问题,但也是的,时间长了大家会很冷静的想这件事情,想怎么。我没什么太大的看法,没怎么想这个问题,比如对制度的看法,对于制度我们是没办法的,因为很多事情事先就是这样的,没有像国外那么完整的一个艺术机制中国现在的机制肯定会对艺术的发展产生影响,没有基金会等的一些机构艺术家还是要一些商业方面的东西,国外的一些艺术家可以不依靠作品,可以先申请到基金来进行创作,而中国艺术家必须要靠自己作品填补创作上的需要,就是自己作品掉了来支付下一个作品的费用,存在这样的一个问题。

Q:你的作品想以一个怎么样的形象呈现给别人

A:每年都不一样,现在可能会稍微集中一点,不像近几年作品会有很多种,不同形象的,不同面貌的,可能做录像……等,但用的很多种材质很多种,想法都是不一样的,而现在想稍微统一一点,一年可能一个怎么样的东西?比如装置类的,就是你关心的问题可能会统一一些,会考虑有些作品可以不做,以前是有想法就去做,现在是有想法出来的时候不一定去做,因为做了会对你整个面貌影响,也会考虑到策略方面的问题。比如一件作品做完以后,放在那里,一年后这个作品生效了,但有时候做作品,开始的时候感觉不错,做到一年以后发现这个作品失效了,把所有作品,不论是,先在这里,过一两年后,看这个东西是否还是生效的?还是存在的就因为它和你之前发展的都是有联系的。

A:视觉冲击力肯定是要有的,但不是故意去做外部表现力很强的那种,希望做最基本的、大家都忽视感觉,平时都见到的,通过另一种东西给你冲击力体积或其它的一些东西。

Q:你认为你的艺术创作和社会现实是一个怎么样的关系?

A:我也不知道是一种什么关系,只是在那里一个兴奋点,我总是看到了或者感受到令我兴奋的东西才会有想法,不可能凭空想个东西出来,可能有的人先想一个东西,然后来做,而我做作品来源于——就是我看到某个东西然后我去思考。不会是很理性的去做的这样一个过程

Q:那你的艺术创作同公众的交流会不会有障碍?

A:肯定会有,不过还好,也能知道是什么原因,假如你和别人谈一件事情,由于价值观完全是不同的,完全没办法交流,你也能知道他是在什么,和你完全不一样,对于对方来说也一样,他们也知道你和他的想法不一样有些时候作为大众来讲,他们看了后感觉,能接受,因为当代艺术有最直观的东西在里面,艺术无论如何发展,再怎么观念,总还是有视觉直观在里面,比如漂亮的,这个东西还是不变的,关于和大众沟通,电视大众喜欢看的东西,在我看来电视节目没什么好看的,都在扯淡,很糟糕。当然我也能,但我觉得可能比较低级趣味,可能有一种倾向,越低级趣味的东西吸引人。

Q:这是一种大众文化和精英文化的区别?

A:没有什么精英的东西,我不喜欢这种自以为是的感觉。

Q:北京这个城市对你创作有什么影响?

A:可能气候、或别的都有点影响北京不是一个非常舒服城市,北京就是一个字,实在有点糟糕气候——风沙之类的;一般情况下白天不用出门,到晚上一闭眼就不知道到哪去了,不像南方的一些城市,还可以很舒服的在街上走走北京完全没有这种可能性,只能是白天在家里,晚上到娱乐场所酒吧茶馆等地方,想享受一个自然的东西基本上没有,但这种东西我还比较喜欢,可能和创作审美有一点关联,因为我已经接受了这种景象,已经完全接受了,也不觉得很,有时候还觉得挺漂亮的,北京节奏相对而言也可能点,压力上可能会比其它城市大一点,北京是一个比较好玩的地方,什么人都有,什么样都能在这生存,无论是好想法的或是烂想法的,做各种东西都可以,可以串在一起,可能有这个传统或者习惯

Q:很多艺术家都说北京的展览太多太泛了。

A:是,但我一般不看展览,除非是很熟的人的展览,其他展览都不看

Q:你对美术馆艺术机构有什么看法?

A:基本上没什么联系,那属于公关活动,不是我们做的事情。

Q:那你觉得艺术不应该介入社会、介入生活?

A:不是,有一类艺术家是这样做的,也很好,只是我的想法不同而已。

Q:那你认为艺术家在社会里是一个怎么样的角色?

A:没想过,不知道是什么样一个角色,说不上来,和其他人没什么区别,一样的,自己自己工作想法不同,做的工作也不一样,有时感觉是在消耗自己,每个人都一样,近看你做的东西和别人不一样,放远看没什么区别自己在做些事情,是为了维持能量,然后不断消耗,你不可能朝气蓬勃生活一天大部分时间都是无意义无聊的。

Q:有很多艺术家也觉得消极。

A:不是消极,无聊消极,可能是一种态度社会生活上的很多事情都是这种状态,和现状,可能带有自己判断,对社会、对生活判断,但并不是什么都没有、很消极的那种,不是活不下去了的那种。比如,大众审美,就跟电视电影一样,太无聊了,没办法说,但是大家喜欢,它才能存在,就是一种很低级趣味的东西,但大家都喜欢低级趣味,不论怎么样你都无法逃脱这种低级趣味的东西。

Q:你认为时尚和艺术是怎样的关系?

A:时尚大众生活,有引导性,主要是引导性,引导你的生活——什么样的东西是好的?应该是标杆一样的东西,大众都会往这个方向发展,会引导大家,最终要有一个好的东西引导大众审美艺术没有这种性质,它不需要对所有的人起作用,它是单独作用,或对少部分人起作用,它的基础不是大众

房产(地产)[fang chan, di chan] building property

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要是拆迁户现在都有商品房,生活环境也不错,换个新的环境,生活一天比一天好,跟过去完全不能相比。

If the removed families have commercial housing, their new life surrounding would be quite nice, too. Life is improving day by day, totally incomparable with the past.

(摘自徐坦对林鸿男的访谈  Excerpts from the Interview with Lin Hongnan)

采访对象:林鸿男(张江集团物业公司维修工)

采访时间:2006816

 

高科技 Hi-tech 4

高科技开发(技术)园区 Hi-tech Park(zone 3

new 3

农村 village 4

发展 开发 develop development 4

生活 life 4

变化 change 3

进步 progress 1

超越 surpass 1

 

养老保险 age pension endowment insurance 2

劳动力 labor force 1

征收 expropriated 1

拆迁 removed 2

环境 surrounding 2

娱乐场所 recreation places 1

商品房 commercial housing 1

党中央 the central leadership of the Party 1

 

 

 

张江现在是高科技园区,Zhangjiang is a Hi-tech zone now.

几年以前还是一片农田,Years ago it was a field of farm.

党中央开发浦东、张江高科技开发园区,With the development of Pudong and Zhangjiang Hi-tech Park under the central leadership of the Party.

现在楼房一幢幢拔地而起,形成张江高科技技术园区。now buildings one after another are erected to form the Hi-tech Park.

我们亲眼接触的是一天一个变化变化太大。We have been watching the change happening everyday, it’s huge.

张江是中国越来越受关注的地方。Zhangjiang is the place with increasing attention given in China.

以前最早种过田,种过三年田,I had been doing farm work at the beginning, for 3 years.

后来去当了兵,是本地人。Later I joined the army. I’m a native.

农村农民生活水平也在不断地提高,The peasants life is improving constantly.

以前农村还要担心养老保险,现在什么都有了。We used to worry about the age pension, but now we have all these welfares.

以前是生产力、劳动力不能往外走,The labor force used to be forbidden to move outwards

只在这个生产队的田里,做一天工拿几个工分,They could only stay in the working team farm fields and earn a few Gong Fen per day.

现在不一样了,农田征收了,Now these all changed. The fields have been expropriated.

给建了小城镇还有养老保险,The town is established and we are given endowment insurance.

自己可以出去到公司里应聘,We can apply for jobs in the companies,

像我 这里出来也做做外业。like me, do some working outside.

这次胡锦涛也来参观要发展新农村President Hu Jintao came to visit and plan to develop the new village this time.

没有拆迁完的以后也是挺好的新农村 The part that has not been removed is quite neat new village,

什么都有,篮球、娱乐场所,with all the facilities like basketball courts and other recreation places.

以后要开银行医院一切设施都有,Later we will have banks, hospitals and all other facilities.

要是拆迁现在都有商品房,The removed families have commercial housing.

生活环境也不错换个环境,Their new life surrounding is quite nice, too.

生活一天比一天好,跟过去完全不能相比。Life is improving day by day, totally incomparable with the past.

希望今后日子一天比一天更好,Hope life could be getting even better in future;

现在作为一个农民想不到的东西可能会在今后的日子当中都会实现。and what cannot be imagined by a peasant now would become ture.

生活, 变化, Life, Change.

有几个字:发展进步超越。Key words for it: development, progress, surpass.

方便[fang bian] convenience

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现在是一个没有、或者不提倡社会,整个社会都不倡导这种价值观。我们从小受的教育是一种很虚假尊敬,我觉得这不是艺术的错误,因为整个社会导向错误的。

We are living in a society without love, or one in which love is not advocated as social value judgment. The education we had from the early years was only fake respect and fake love, so I don’t think art should take the blame – because the whole society is simply going into a wrong direction.

(摘自徐坦对曹斐的访谈  Excerpt from Interview with Cao Fei)

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

do” engage in 25

可能 maybe possibility impossible perhaps may 21

社会 society social 19

问题 problem question 17

兴趣 fascinated interested uninterested interest 12

个人 individual 12

方式 ways approaches 10

市场 market 9

价值 value 7

 

政治的 political  1

国家 country  state  4

自由 freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主 democratic  2

 

circle 3

money 5

时代 (information/Internet) age 5

play 3

资金 capital 1

poor poverty 4

弱智 retarded 2

face 3

 

Q:先请艾老师说下你对中国当代艺术现状的看法或印象。

A:我不能装作很了解这个事,虽然我一直在北京,经常参与一些策展,我们有艺术文件仓库,有很多艺术的朋友,但是我还不是很了解这个东西,但这两年好像很热闹,而前几年好像都没什么人去搭理它,所以我觉得好像它是一会儿发高烧,一会儿发冷的状态,我觉得可能像是这样,因为现代艺术这一块实际上时间也是很短的,中国实际上虽然有它的现代生活,但这个现代生活在很大程度上是已经由政治的经济的特征定下来的,是一个已经是什么样的体制下的国家了,那么这种个人表达自由政治背景生活条件,以及文化艺术社会中的作用可能,我觉得基本上都是已经限定下来的了,那么通常所称的当代艺术,实际上它能浮出水面,也只是近五、六年的事情,而之前很多人了很多事情实际上都是处在一种半地下的状态的,就是说只是一个很小的,没有被公众话语所关注,对社会的影响实际上也只是在非常小的范围内的,一旦浮出来之后,它主要是在国外的很多展览报导甚至拍卖,好像搞得很热闹,但是这些并没有涉及到这些作品生存环境和所表达的社会形态含义,这些问题探讨并不是很多的,所以它还是一个非常奇怪的结构,但是我们也不能说任何结构是否就是合理的,比如说有的是树,有的是藤,有的是自然界生猛的动物,有的是寄生的动物,而它们都有其自身的合理性,所以尽管中国当代艺术它不是主动有意识地去和这个社会建立某种关系,但是实际上它也反映了过去这几十年的一些问题

Q:你觉得它反映的是一些什么问题呢?

A:反映了中国近几十年中的哲学美学伦理学的彻底解体,新的甚至探讨的可能都还没有建立,因为这个社会仍然是处在大面积的或者主体地否认事实,或者说不承认一些基本的事实,在很多问题上几乎是没有争论的可能,它离民主社会还是很远,虽然它有极大的自由,但这种自由只是建立在旧体制瓦解上的自由,是没有能力控制下的自由,并不是一种很主动的自由,这些都给艺术一些特征

Q:那你怎样看待现在公众对当代艺术的接受方面?

A:我觉得没有什么真正的接受,它只是成为时尚的另外一个门类,杂志、报纸谈到这些问题的时候,你可以看到,它就只能三句五句的谈,但没有一句能够谈到点子上,也不能够深入下去,我觉得这个事儿挺可怜的,就有点像弱智了,中国当代艺术真是扮演了一个弱智角色,当然它有很好的艺术家,有从开始到现在还在很有意思的事情的艺术家,但是这些艺术家,他们探讨的方式都没有得到主流社会认识,甚至连了解也谈不上,现在基本上就是乱七八糟的吧。

Q:那你觉得你参与策划展览之类的活动能否对这种乱七八糟的状况有所作用呢?

A:现在中国展览很多,但是一点帮助和意义都没有,它变成了一些摊贩,就是说像你经常看到的一些摆摊的,一条街卖一样的东西,互相叫板,互相竞争,我觉得这个是为市场设计的,跟艺术没什么关系,完全是为市场设计的,那么这些展览,你仔细看看这些策展人,有几个是像样的?都是心怀鬼胎,怀着各种各样的目的,我觉得这是中国的学术界和知识分子最让人看不起的一点,就是总体不要,整个儿就是彻底的公开张扬不要,这也是少有的一件事,但是啊,就像中国人说的志短,说得太准了,“”还好听点,实际上就是人都很“”了,没什么问题,但它只是一个借口

Q:你刚才讲到市场,那请谈下你对艺术市场的看法。

A:什么东西都能卖,艺术这么高雅的东西当然也能,因为能卖就主要是为了装饰有的家,那么艺术品就成了一个交易的货品的东西了,这个本来挺正常的,只是这个比例有多大?就是在整个大的文化环境当中,它是否变成了唯一问题,是否脆弱到只要它一出现,其他东西就都消失了?我觉得这个是中国的一个很大的问题,当然……我自己这样看,这个事闹成这样挺好笑的,因为好像你这个事的理由都变了,这个东西让你生活的原则和理由都发生变化了,最后就变成好像转换成另外某种价值了,太多人谈论关心这个问题了,如果你不是一个艺术家,只是一个投机商,这个就很正常了,如果你还是一个创作的人,或者说你本来是一个觉得有话才去从事这个行业,觉得对一种方式兴趣——而不是说简单的财、资金和地位可以替换你的那些最早的东西,就不正常和奇怪了。现在我感觉好像都在谈这一块,是挺烦的一件事,市场本身就是不正常的东西,从股票到名牌定的价格,市场本身是无可非议的,一个东西卖五分和卖五千块和卖五万块都是无可非议的,只是说在这个市场背后,这个产品本身的其他价值是否被这个市场价格给彻底冲淡了?这是一个问题

Q:那你自己感兴趣的其实是什么?

A:说老实话,我没有什么兴趣的事,比如我并不是说不喜欢商业这一块或者说对别的什么东西感兴趣,我确实没有太多兴趣的事,可能是我还是比较被动吧,当然总的来说,艺术是我比较兴趣的一个行当,本来我比较感兴趣是因为这里的人比较不功利,比较还有自己的特征,还活得你是你我是我的,但是现在呢?你可以发现,这个艺术的人跟隔壁卖菜的农民没什么差别,上市之前抖点水啊,称的时候再抖两下,我觉得都差不多,这是让人觉得挺无聊的一件事,其实我才不在意这件事,我也不搭理它,比如这个国家是死是活,我也不太在乎,只不过你问到这个问题,就像你问我今天的天气如何,什么沙尘暴啊或者刮风啊,但是这种事又不是你能控制的,这只是国家的一个现状

Q:讲一讲你的博客吧。

A:博客很有意思,待会儿就把给你拍的照片放上去,然后很多的人我也都不认识,反正他们一点击就看到了,我就觉得这个是很直接现实同时又是很幻觉的一个事情,所以我就一直在这个事。

Q:就是说它是一个你传播你自己信息的途径?

A:我觉得信息时代是人类遇到的最的一个时代,是第一次给所谓的自由个人意志技术上提供了可能,在这之前,人类一直是在黑暗当中或者是在独木桥上,或者是在一个必由之路上,那么这个信息时代第一次让人有可能自己或者和愿意一起的人,这在过去是没有的,所以我觉得我们应该是很有兴致和很有机会进去这么一种状态,就是说它有几点是非常重要的:自由地表达个人方式。这听上去虽然很俗套,但是这个是很重要的事情,包括交流可能,包括把社会的力量重新地施以影响吸收运用可能,这是很了不起的一件事情。

Q:你觉得在艺术上有没有地域的中心边缘之分?

A:我觉得不存在,尤其是在这个信息时代网络时代就更不存在了,这是人类第一次有机会和有可能把这个传统价值,即所谓的传统的原始、中心和权利彻底瓦解,这个可能性确实是人类挣扎了很多年以后突然蹦出来的,这是一个很了不起的东西。

 

反腐[fan fu] against to the core

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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目的性,所谓缺乏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

 

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