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love ai[ai]

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)

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.

life, living, lifestyle 生活(活着)[sheng huo(huo zhe)]

如果按照心意选择,我觉得我适合去尼姑庵,但我不能那样,而且——比如说我明明不想选择像现在这种生活,但我可能就有现在这种生活,本来是排斥的,被动地接受了以后,就有成瘾性,很,很矛盾。但是船到桥头自然直,现在我开始变得让自己麻木无所谓一点,靠别的东西推我,也不主动去争取,我就在家等现成的,来了之后,只要我喜欢,就努力去做。

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.

(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.

level, spiritual level 境界[jing jie]

我认为自己是一个多重身份的人,不简单是一个,比如我可以检查生病与否,可以通过绘画别人的病好,还可以自己强身健体,我今年67了,身体很好。很多到一定境界 身体都是很的,年龄都很,也是在练气,来疏通自己大脑,所以灵性都很

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.

(摘自徐坦对郭丹霞的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Guo Danxia)

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.

leukemia, leukemic 白血病[bai xue bing]

1. 1989年5月21号——之前我经常生身体不好,听说不会写字的人也可以开药方,我感觉神奇,想试试自己能否画画,从那开始就会画画了,画的都是方面的一些东西,白血病怎么牙痛怎么心情不愉快怎么

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?

2. 白血病如何治,就感觉把白血病细胞出来了,感觉是这样。

When painting leukemia, I felt I painted all the leukemia cells – that’s how it felt.

(摘自徐坦对郭凤仪的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Guo Fengyi)

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.

language 语言[yu yan]

比如说,意识形态商业明确可以最简单方式理解社会,这些东西已经潜在于我们内部的一种对这个世界的认知,就是唯一世界观,对我来讲,我认为这叫新意识形态主义,就是商业标准和政治标准天衣无缝的合作,垄断一切,那么我觉得当代艺术对一个不确定性判断的思维方式,在这样的语言环境里几乎是无法生存的,而且我觉得最要命的是——你知道一个民族要最大地进步……最大的就是你对可能性有要求,可能性只能建立在不确定的领域,这个世界什么东西你都可以把握住了……它对你没有任何可能性的时候,你觉得你还拥有创造吗?

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?

(摘自徐坦对汪关征的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Wang Guanzheng)

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.

流行[liu xing] popular

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1.艺术流行本来就不矛盾,就是一个事情的……就是说利益艺术发生关系以后,就可能是流行

Other than that, there is no conflict between art and fad, it’s the same thing. In other words, after profit and art make a connection, trendiness is the result.

(摘自徐坦对谢南星的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Xie Nanxing)

采访对象:谢方明

采访时间:2007129日下午

采访地点:于北京798洞房咖啡

 

集体 group 15

利益 profit 4

社会 society social 13

生活 life 5

公众 public 6

大众 the masses 2

普通人 ordinary person 6

别人 others other people someone else somebody else 15

自己 self 22

关系 connection (relationship) to do with relations 20

有关 related 9

当代 the state of contemporary contemporary 17

 

严打 crackdowns 1

政府 government 2

 

do” engage in 5

兴趣 interest interested 9

prosperous hyped 3

circle 8

圈子 circle 2

过瘾 high 3

流行 popular trendyfad trendiness 3

money 4

猥琐 indecency 2

 

 

Q:先谈下你对中国当代艺术现状的大概印象。

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

Q:你觉得流行跟艺术有什么关系呢?

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

Q:你刚才说觉得中国当代艺术很,指的是一些什么方面的东西?

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

Q:你怎样看待北京的艺术

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

Q:就是说这边很多人的状况下,每人都只是大众的一员,都不重要?

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

Q:实际你在北京就是生活艺术里面?

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

Q:你刚才是否说这个社会状况对你的创作没有什么影响

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

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

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

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

看法都有所改变,从感性的角度谈谈你这方面的感受。

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

Q:艺术市场现在是比较的现象,你觉得它对你的艺术创造有些什么影响

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

利(利润, 利益)[li (li run, li yi)] profit

 

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.大家知道有艺术这么一个事情,然后就会利用它去一些跟利益有关的事情。

People know there’s such a thing called art, and then use it do certain things related to profit.

(摘自徐坦对谢南星的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Xie Nanxing)

采访对象:谢方明

采访时间:2007129日下午

采访地点:于北京798洞房咖啡

 

集体 group 15

利益 profit 4

社会 society social 13

生活 life 5

公众 public 6

大众 the masses 2

普通人 ordinary person 6

别人 others other people someone else somebody else 15

自己 self 22

关系 connection (relationship) to do with relations 20

有关 related 9

当代 the state of contemporary contemporary 17

 

严打 crackdowns 1

政府 government 2

 

do” engage in 5

兴趣 interest interested 9

prosperous hyped 3

circle 8

圈子 circle 2

过瘾 high 3

流行 popular trendyfad trendiness 3

money 4

猥琐 indecency 2

 

 

Q:先谈下你对中国当代艺术现状的大概印象。

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

Q:你觉得流行跟艺术有什么关系呢?

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

Q:你刚才说觉得中国当代艺术很,指的是一些什么方面的东西?

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

Q:你怎样看待北京的艺术

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

Q:就是说这边很多人的状况下,每人都只是大众的一员,都不重要?

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

Q:实际你在北京就是生活艺术里面?

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

Q:你刚才是否说这个社会状况对你的创作没有什么影响

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

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

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

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

看法都有所改变,从感性的角度谈谈你这方面的感受。

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

Q:艺术市场现在是比较的现象,你觉得它对你的艺术创造有些什么影响

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

老百姓[lao bai xing] ordinary people

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.我以前曾经做过一个作品方案,就是想先把胡同大杂院里的老百姓全部都请出来,给他们一个楼房,然后我们把院子重新装修

I made a project plan once, in which I would evacuate all the residents from a certain Hutong alley and courtyard. I rent a building for them to stay in. Then I renovate their housing, without changing the exterior structures. And I would employ top interior designers to plan a new interior decoration.

2.现在政府的这种做法,实际上是派遣性迁移,就是说老百姓是一个弱势群体,他们没有办法去面对政府开发商时,就只能搬家,搬得很

The method used by the government now is really assigned migration. In other words, the citizens are an under-privileged group. When they cannot face up to the government and the developers, they would have to move, far away.

(摘自徐坦对卢昊的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Lu Hao)

采访对象:卢思沉

采访时间:2007130日下午

采访地点:于北京四环辅路梵思西餐厅

社会 social 18

市场 market 11

机构 institutions organizations 11

边缘 periphery 7

居住 housing living 5

北京 Beijing 63

邻居 neighbors 5

符号 symbol 10

中国符号 China symbol 6

胡同 Hutong alleys 10

 

国家 country 5

弱势群体 under-privileged groups 7

日本 Japan 6

 

热门 hot 3

老百姓 citizens residents 5

环境 context 13

拍卖 auction 8

价格 price, worth 5

价值 value 8

关系 relationship 21

人际关系 interpersonal relationship 2

拆迁 demolishing and rebuilding 3

西方 the West 4

建筑 building 9

位置 status 4

装修 decoration project interior decoration 3

circle 1

 

Q:先请卢老师谈一下你对现在中国当代艺术发展状况的一些看法。

A:这问题挺大的。我觉得现在中国当代艺术发展正处在一个比较好时期,很热门,很多机构收藏家都非常关注当代艺术。从这一点来讲,它是一个比较事情。但是就这两年来看,作品反而出得,不多,有人就觉得现在是中国当代艺术最低潮的时候,

这要做到也挺难的,因为我觉得,对于很多艺术家来说,他们需要卖画社会诱惑力太了。以前大家还关注怎么去制作一件好作品,关注学术;现在讨论的全是拍卖拍卖价格的问题、市场问题

Q:谈一下你的创作主要关注的东西。

A:我觉得我自己创作主要是关注北京居民邻居之间的关系城市变化以及从城市变化中了解人与人之间的关系北京很多艺术家,但真正的北京职业艺术家不多。作为北京职业艺术家也不是想成为国际艺术家。在北京生活周围一切,那些胡同里面的邻居、周围的亲戚朋友、在街道卖东西的人,这些都是作品想法来源。我对这些都是有感情的,所以我做作品的时候就会从这个环境中来考虑问题。

Q:你很重视跟周围环境接触的关系,那你觉得你的作品跟观众之间的互动是一个怎样的情况?

A:我也不知道。虽然我在北京了这么多年,但我觉得真正北京,就是看过作品北京老百姓,真正看作品的还是面的。例如我做室内或者室外装置,他们把它当成是装修理解,所以我觉得做装置开始就像是装修的,我在北京做了很多跟这个有关的作品,但我觉得它的影响力还是很有限的。

Q:你觉得西方那边是怎样看待中国当代艺术的发展的?

A:我也跟一些人聊过,他们觉得现在这种现象可怕的,现在作品价格很高的,高出市场承受能力,这就有点像股市

Q:之前你强调了你和周边生活环境的密切关系,那么作为艺术家来讲,你觉得自己在社会扮演什么样的角色

A:弱势群体艺术家基本上都是弱势群体。现在可能因为市场炒的原因,或价格拍卖了,有的人就开始关注艺术家,但以前根本没有谁有这个概念当代艺术以前没有什么位置,不过这两年是因为价格原因……最终大家都关心一个问题,就是价值是多少?这个也就是目前中国对艺术欣赏水平的程度了。

Q:那么从你的角度来看,其实这个社会环境对当代艺术的接受还是很有限的。

A:我的感觉就是,中国当代艺术,包括整个绘画行业中国这个社会里始终处在一个装饰性位置生活条件好家庭需要装饰画,但对于有钱人来讲,他不知道价值,他也不需要了解,他有钱,能买画,就掌握跟艺术家讲话的一个话语权,除此之外,他不关心别的问题。……我感觉就是,很多人里面给自己获取了不同的利益,比如像宋庄就是最典型的例子,那以前就是一个很穷,一些艺术家去了,这个里的领导就慢慢地发现了他们,这个事就成一个了,但这个领导是从自己想升官这个角度发展艺术的,现在就有很多国外收藏家收藏机构都去那了,然后慢慢地那个地方影响就不断扩大了,然后这个领导一下子就成了全国政协委员了……当代艺术国际上某些事挂在一起的时候,这事就挺有意思了……但是这些人是真的那么关心文化吗?我觉得不是

最近画了一张。我觉得有个话题挺有意思的,叫“中国符号”,很多人谈论中国艺术家应不应该用“中国符号”这个问题,它相对的是全球化的符号——我也不知道全球化符号大概是什么东西,就只有一个概念。我的感觉是,中国符号没什么不好的,……美国人每天到处都在他们的符号,也没有问题,那为什么中国人用符号就有问题呢?我觉得就是有志于中国符号进行到底的那种人……作为一个中国艺术家,目的是什么?是张扬自己的文化还是消灭自己的文化?这是一个问题。所以我想用最传统中国方式去做当代艺术。我画了一幅长卷,这长卷大概有五十米长,是长安街的街景,把长安街每一个建筑都同时记录在里边,因为长安街大概是十五公里长,我是按1300的比例做,就正好五十米长。同时我按中国画以前方式——我了好多个图章,那些图章都是北京消失胡同名字。这就是我最近做的东西。

Q:你怎样把它转换成装置?

A:这个作品转换不成装置。我的一个装置作品就是2002做的一个很沙盘100左右,是北京二环的一个大致的模型,当时做这个作品的想法,就是看了很多售楼处,售楼处到处都是盖的高楼模型,做得特别漂亮,我做了沙盘,沙盘实际上就是一个陷阱、一个,巨大的一个坑,很多人一辈子辛辛苦苦挣的可能就全进那个坑里了,我想沙盘这种骗人方式好玩,就按照它做了一个北京沙盘,因为当时北京申办2008奥运会

其实我觉得,政府就是打着“改造改善老百姓居住条件”的口号来进行大面积的拆迁。我以前曾经做过一个作品方案,就是想先胡同里面大杂院里的老百姓全部都请出来,给他们一个楼房,然后我们把院子重新装修,在外结构不动情况下,请很好的室内设计师做室内的规划设计,然后再把他们请回来,再到他们自己每个人的。我觉得在不改变他们生活习性的情况下来改变居住条件,是有可能的。现在政府的这种做法,实际上是派遣性迁移,就是说老百姓是一个弱势群体,他们没有办法去面对政府和开发商时,就只能搬家,搬得很远,政府给他们几万块十几万块拆迁,从此就把他们城市边缘去了,我觉得相对理想化一点的方式就是能不能按做作品方式,我们一个投资商来投一笔,把杂院里的老百姓居住条件全部改变。我曾经就有过这样的一个方案,是我当时一直想做的一个作品,如果这个作品有被实施,它最后成功了,那我们实际上就是给规委提出一个问题,我觉得这挺好玩的。

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