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mysterious 神秘[shen mi]

感觉世界博大了,应该去描述很多东西,包括宇宙……我知道的东西我都,我了就能去深入知道一些东西,虽然不是全部……我知道很多东西,特别是一些审美的东西,比如说红山文化女神,我想知道女神到底是什么样子的?西安有很悠久文化历史,在临潼发现遗址后我就把这一系列出来了,看看是否很神秘

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.

(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.

myself 自我[zi wo]

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.

murder 谋杀[mou sha]

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.

money 钱[qian]

1.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,你有这么多钱的时候你就不需要自己画了,你完全可以让别人画了。

Of course, by then, when you have so much money, will you still want to paint? You’ll feel painting is such a clumsy job. When you have so much money, you wouldn’t need to paint yourself; you could totally have someone else do it for you.

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

2. 我们也会看到现在有些有钱的人也会去做一些宗教信仰的事,基督教、天主教、佛教……不管最终是否正确,他都会去做这个事。

We will see the rich doing religious things, Christian, catholic, Buddhist…Whether it is correct, they will do it.

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

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.

medium 媒介[mei jie]

在这里,人觉得比较塌实,这里不像徐家汇和南京西路,物质诱惑特别多,每天要逛街按摩做脸,很多活动要

People are down to earth here. Different from Xujiahui or Nanjing West Road,   whick is full of material distractions, where you do shopping, massage or facial every day.

(摘自徐坦对秦晋的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Qin Jin)

Interviewed: Feng Shunhua

Time: Afternoon, January 30, 2007

Location: Digital Media Studio, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing

 

 

made to order, custom orders 11

观众 audience 6 ,

大众 public 9

社会 social, society, sociality 21

媒体 media 10

媒介 medium 11

个人 personally, personal 11

美术馆 art museum, museum 6

古典 Classical 6

古典艺术 classical art 3

兴趣 interested, attention, interesting 22

创造性 1

 

自由 freedom 2

政治性politically 1

 

hot 4

市场 market 29

关系 relationship 22

收藏家 collectors 5

sell 7

do”, engage in 56

下(载)  download, downloading, downloaded 5

有用 useful 6

money 16

中国 China 19

刺激 stimulation 11

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: In your point of view, how to define an artist?

 

A: I think an ideal artist bears some relationship with his view on art and life. Personally, I believe that art should be useless. This is a basic belief; at least I think so. The highest –level art should be useless art. But with that said, we can go on to discuss other things. We can put what we’ve learned into use. The practical functions of art are all the same, whether social, political, market – it’s an abnormal mindset to take these as the basis of your understanding of art. Art is for art’s sake; nothing else.

 

Q: What’s your take on contemporary art?

 

A: Contemporary art is gradually turning into something of a microscope – taking every detail to magnify, and dissemble into all types of possibilities. It has become very extreme, or shortsighted in certain degree. That’s the situation. How interested am I in contemporary art? If I go to an art museum, it must be one about ancient art. Personally, I’m not that interested in the current contemporary art. I’d be more interested in technology or other developments. I’m pretty pessimistic about the development of art in the present age. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

 

Q: Why?

 

A: Personality, I guess. I’ve seen exciting stuff, but they’re just so-so. I still prefer quieter things, which are ever-lasting like classical art. That’s more exciting to me.

 

Q: Then what do you think are the characteristics of contemporary art?

 

A: I don’t think I’m able to sum it up. If I had to, I’d say it’s pretty extreme, whether in its form of presentation or its desired goals – both appear to be very extreme. Of course, there are works in contemporary art that are stunning, or exciting, or works with long lasting meaning. No doubt about that; it’s just that they are really small in number. The masterpieces in classical art are the result of so many years’ accumulation; whereas most works of contemporary art seem particularly shortsighted. I participate frequently in contemporary art exhibitions; I have seen enough. So, if I go to a show, if I had the choice, I’d definitely go to a classical art exhibition. I don’t want to get anything. I just enjoy looking at classical art.

 

Q: Is the market an issue in creating art?

 

A: It’s a good thing for me. I kind of like it. Previously I never really thought about this market thing, and sometimes I even went against it. Now I think that was not the way to do it, because with the market so hot now, I feel it’s more interesting to take advantage of the market and do something. It’s better to make use of it rather than avoid or neglect it. In the past, when artists talk about creating, they invariably mention freedom – which has always been self-deceiving. An artist must have an imaginary market – I don’t necessarily mean money, but he must have an imaginary audience. Many artists have their own imaginary customers, and think about money. It’s not only in China, but also abroad; only nobody wants to admit it. I just make it clear; there is no need to hide it, to tuck it in. Market is market; made to order is made to order. In the past, made to order means we do exactly like the one that does well, the one that sells well; we follow it exactly, no matter what others say, because this is the market. Even though we don’t spell out that the content of the painting was agreed upon between so-and-so customer and so-and-so collector, in fact it was all agreed upon and must be followed with exactness. So we did not dare to change. Now, it’s perhaps better to discuss with the collector, because, who knows, you might get to change a few things. Actually all ancient paintings were made to order, whether private or otherwise. Not to mention western paintings– churches, courts – all made to order. Being made to order itself doesn’t necessarily constrain creativity, so I think it might as well give it a try and see how things are done according to the way of factories.

 

Q: What influence does the market have on your creativity?

 

A: It’s easy to make money, but custom orders for the market is only one of my projects. I have other projects too, such as media art projects, which have nothing to do with market concerns. So I have several directions, and market is only one of them.

 

Q: What kind of cultural symbol is useful to your art?

 

A: It’s like a filter. We all take in similar information – we go to the same websites for news – what kind of information attracts your attention? 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. Playing game play is a very important thing for a child’s growing up. I have preserved this natural tendency, and ever since electronic games came out, I have felt it to be very natural. It’s a large toy, so there must be many different ways of playing, and many ideas came out; and then I thought wouldn’t it be fun if I could do something with it? So, starting from 1992 up till this day, my art pieces have basically centered on electronic games. This is such a filter; whatever is expressed through the medium of electronic games must have been sifted. Maybe some things like philosophy masterpieces and relatively sensitive and subtle emotional things are not suitable for such expression. But actions, images, sounds and rhythms – these coarse, more sensory things are more suitable for this medium, and that’s the rough-and ready filter I have been using over the years.

 

Q: So you make virtual things real – not only art, even contemporary culture is also heading towards this direction. Is this what drives you into such a role?

 

A: We are actually all sensory animals. All our pleasures, according to the idealists, are nothing but sensory stimulation; while according to the materialists, these things all exist. According to the idealists, everything is abstract. We all rely on our senses to feel this world. Of course, these senses can be real or false. Like now I see you here, but maybe you’re not here. I think our future world will develop more in the direction of the virtual. To put it simply, it’s similar to drugs. Like putting a [zinc tablet] CMOS chip in your body, and you might feel it to be a drug. Like you eat a piece of bread, but I tell you that it’s a fish, because I have injected you with this program; then how can you not believe it? There is no doubt that these things will be realized. Let me give you an extreme example: can you download a baby? You’d say, no. Because you wouldn’t think of just a baby, you would pat it on its head, talk to it and see it go to sleep at night – then how can you be sure about all this? Through language, touch and hearing? If we give you all of these, then you have it. We say “download a piano,” and nobody would believe us. But now, what’s the big deal with downloading a piano? We can even download an eighteenth-century piano from a famous concert hall, which is totally possible. You can download a piano even at work. Because it’s the sound of the piano that you want, not the wood which makes the piano, because you’re not a collector. As an audience, what you consume is the sound of the piano, and this sound is now digitized, so of course it can be downloaded. So, why can’t a baby be downloaded? You would think that this is creepy, and it’s impossible. This is about feeling. If you live in these feelings everyday, and receive stimulation from these feelings, this process will slowly guide the baby towards growth, going to school and returning from school, day in, day out, and you’ve lived like this for ten years… From this point of view, I think the whole world is quite sad.

 

Q: Does that mean many art organizations in the traditional sense of the word are declining in certain aspects?

 

A: Hard to say. But I have a personal wish: I wish that art museum can live on forever. Very likely, everything will be digitized in the future, but I hope art museum will still be there. I’m not talking about five or ten years from now… I’m talking about far, far into the future… about words, language, and so forth…

 

Q: Actually, either contemporary art or traditional art invariably involves commonly existing issues in the mundane society, are you interested in any of these issues?

 

A: Not interested at all. I really don’t have any interest at all regarding the so-called ethnic or national art. Art cannot cover these things, and it’s not the purpose of art, nor is it something art can achieve. Art can’t change anything. Instead of trying to change randomly with no success, one should rather just do one’s own thing, and solve one’s own problem. In terms of a piece of art work, just take care of that piece of work. That’s more interesting. You can have all kinds of excuses. Sociality? Eventually, this artist must be responsible for this single piece of work. We can talk about communication only under this premise. If you cannot even solve your own problems, how can you communicate with others?

media 媒体[mei ti]

容易,这只是我的一个项目——市场定做,但我还有一些别的项目,包括一些媒体艺术的项目,这些就和市场的考虑没有关系,就是有几个方向,而市场是其中之一。

It’s easy to make money, but custom orders for the market is only one of my projects. I have other projects too, such as media art projects, which have nothing to do with market concerns. So I have several directions, and market is only one of them.

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

Interviewed: Feng Shunhua

Time: Afternoon, January 30, 2007

Location: Digital Media Studio, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing

 

 

made to order, custom orders 11

观众 audience 6 ,

大众 public 9

社会 social, society, sociality 21

媒体 media 10

媒介 medium 11

个人 personally, personal 11

美术馆 art museum, museum 6

古典 Classical 6

古典艺术 classical art 3

兴趣 interested, attention, interesting 22

创造性 1

 

自由 freedom 2

政治性politically 1

 

hot 4

市场 market 29

关系 relationship 22

收藏家 collectors 5

sell 7

do”, engage in 56

下(载)  download, downloading, downloaded 5

有用 useful 6

money 16

中国 China 19

刺激 stimulation 11

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: In your point of view, how to define an artist?

 

A: I think an ideal artist bears some relationship with his view on art and life. Personally, I believe that art should be useless. This is a basic belief; at least I think so. The highest –level art should be useless art. But with that said, we can go on to discuss other things. We can put what we’ve learned into use. The practical functions of art are all the same, whether social, political, market – it’s an abnormal mindset to take these as the basis of your understanding of art. Art is for art’s sake; nothing else.

 

Q: What’s your take on contemporary art?

 

A: Contemporary art is gradually turning into something of a microscope – taking every detail to magnify, and dissemble into all types of possibilities. It has become very extreme, or shortsighted in certain degree. That’s the situation. How interested am I in contemporary art? If I go to an art museum, it must be one about ancient art. Personally, I’m not that interested in the current contemporary art. I’d be more interested in technology or other developments. I’m pretty pessimistic about the development of art in the present age. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

 

Q: Why?

 

A: Personality, I guess. I’ve seen exciting stuff, but they’re just so-so. I still prefer quieter things, which are ever-lasting like classical art. That’s more exciting to me.

 

Q: Then what do you think are the characteristics of contemporary art?

 

A: I don’t think I’m able to sum it up. If I had to, I’d say it’s pretty extreme, whether in its form of presentation or its desired goals – both appear to be very extreme. Of course, there are works in contemporary art that are stunning, or exciting, or works with long lasting meaning. No doubt about that; it’s just that they are really small in number. The masterpieces in classical art are the result of so many years’ accumulation; whereas most works of contemporary art seem particularly shortsighted. I participate frequently in contemporary art exhibitions; I have seen enough. So, if I go to a show, if I had the choice, I’d definitely go to a classical art exhibition. I don’t want to get anything. I just enjoy looking at classical art.

 

Q: Is the market an issue in creating art?

 

A: It’s a good thing for me. I kind of like it. Previously I never really thought about this market thing, and sometimes I even went against it. Now I think that was not the way to do it, because with the market so hot now, I feel it’s more interesting to take advantage of the market and do something. It’s better to make use of it rather than avoid or neglect it. In the past, when artists talk about creating, they invariably mention freedom – which has always been self-deceiving. An artist must have an imaginary market – I don’t necessarily mean money, but he must have an imaginary audience. Many artists have their own imaginary customers, and think about money. It’s not only in China, but also abroad; only nobody wants to admit it. I just make it clear; there is no need to hide it, to tuck it in. Market is market; made to order is made to order. In the past, made to order means we do exactly like the one that does well, the one that sells well; we follow it exactly, no matter what others say, because this is the market. Even though we don’t spell out that the content of the painting was agreed upon between so-and-so customer and so-and-so collector, in fact it was all agreed upon and must be followed with exactness. So we did not dare to change. Now, it’s perhaps better to discuss with the collector, because, who knows, you might get to change a few things. Actually all ancient paintings were made to order, whether private or otherwise. Not to mention western paintings– churches, courts – all made to order. Being made to order itself doesn’t necessarily constrain creativity, so I think it might as well give it a try and see how things are done according to the way of factories.

 

Q: What influence does the market have on your creativity?

 

A: It’s easy to make money, but custom orders for the market is only one of my projects. I have other projects too, such as media art projects, which have nothing to do with market concerns. So I have several directions, and market is only one of them.

 

Q: What kind of cultural symbol is useful to your art?

 

A: It’s like a filter. We all take in similar information – we go to the same websites for news – what kind of information attracts your attention? 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. Playing game play is a very important thing for a child’s growing up. I have preserved this natural tendency, and ever since electronic games came out, I have felt it to be very natural. It’s a large toy, so there must be many different ways of playing, and many ideas came out; and then I thought wouldn’t it be fun if I could do something with it? So, starting from 1992 up till this day, my art pieces have basically centered on electronic games. This is such a filter; whatever is expressed through the medium of electronic games must have been sifted. Maybe some things like philosophy masterpieces and relatively sensitive and subtle emotional things are not suitable for such expression. But actions, images, sounds and rhythms – these coarse, more sensory things are more suitable for this medium, and that’s the rough-and ready filter I have been using over the years.

 

Q: So you make virtual things real – not only art, even contemporary culture is also heading towards this direction. Is this what drives you into such a role?

 

A: We are actually all sensory animals. All our pleasures, according to the idealists, are nothing but sensory stimulation; while according to the materialists, these things all exist. According to the idealists, everything is abstract. We all rely on our senses to feel this world. Of course, these senses can be real or false. Like now I see you here, but maybe you’re not here. I think our future world will develop more in the direction of the virtual. To put it simply, it’s similar to drugs. Like putting a [zinc tablet] CMOS chip in your body, and you might feel it to be a drug. Like you eat a piece of bread, but I tell you that it’s a fish, because I have injected you with this program; then how can you not believe it? There is no doubt that these things will be realized. Let me give you an extreme example: can you download a baby? You’d say, no. Because you wouldn’t think of just a baby, you would pat it on its head, talk to it and see it go to sleep at night – then how can you be sure about all this? Through language, touch and hearing? If we give you all of these, then you have it. We say “download a piano,” and nobody would believe us. But now, what’s the big deal with downloading a piano? We can even download an eighteenth-century piano from a famous concert hall, which is totally possible. You can download a piano even at work. Because it’s the sound of the piano that you want, not the wood which makes the piano, because you’re not a collector. As an audience, what you consume is the sound of the piano, and this sound is now digitized, so of course it can be downloaded. So, why can’t a baby be downloaded? You would think that this is creepy, and it’s impossible. This is about feeling. If you live in these feelings everyday, and receive stimulation from these feelings, this process will slowly guide the baby towards growth, going to school and returning from school, day in, day out, and you’ve lived like this for ten years… From this point of view, I think the whole world is quite sad.

 

Q: Does that mean many art organizations in the traditional sense of the word are declining in certain aspects?

 

A: Hard to say. But I have a personal wish: I wish that art museum can live on forever. Very likely, everything will be digitized in the future, but I hope art museum will still be there. I’m not talking about five or ten years from now… I’m talking about far, far into the future… about words, language, and so forth…

 

Q: Actually, either contemporary art or traditional art invariably involves commonly existing issues in the mundane society, are you interested in any of these issues?

 

A: Not interested at all. I really don’t have any interest at all regarding the so-called ethnic or national art. Art cannot cover these things, and it’s not the purpose of art, nor is it something art can achieve. Art can’t change anything. Instead of trying to change randomly with no success, one should rather just do one’s own thing, and solve one’s own problem. In terms of a piece of art work, just take care of that piece of work. That’s more interesting. You can have all kinds of excuses. Sociality? Eventually, this artist must be responsible for this single piece of work. We can talk about communication only under this premise. If you cannot even solve your own problems, how can you communicate with others?

maybe, possibility, impossible, perhaps, may 可能[ke neng]

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玩或者和愿意一起玩的人,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。

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.

(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.

market 市场[shi chang]

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.

man 男[nan]

我现在有的时候也挺疑惑,前段时间一个的朋友就质问我,他觉得好多“女艺术家——当然我从不这么称呼自己——好像从头到尾关注的就都是那点破事儿情感渊源。当时就在争。

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.

(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.

male artists 男性艺术家[nan xing yi shu jia]

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

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.

male 男性[nan 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。

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.

(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.

made to order custom orders 定做[ding zuo]

以前艺术家创作的时候,都是说要自由——这本来就是自欺欺人的,艺术家一定有假想市场,我指的不一定是,但一定有假想观众,很多艺术家有自己假想顾客,就是想到的问题,不只是中国国外也是,只是没人承认,我就是把这事讲明了,没必要藏着、掖着,市场就是市场定做就是定做。以前这个定做是,哪个画得好、得好,我们就按照哪个画,我们就不动,不管别人怎么说我们就这样,因为这是市场,虽然没有点名说是和哪个顾客,哪个收藏家进行商量画面的内容,但实际这都已经是商量好的,所以不敢变化,现在我们就还不如和收藏家商量,没准还有变化,其实古代的画都是定做的,不管是私藏品还是其他,西方的更不用说了,教堂、宫廷,都是定做的,定做本身不一定束缚创造力,所以我觉得不妨一试怎么按照工厂方式法来

In the past, when artists talk about creating, they invariably mention freedom – which has always been self-deceiving. An artist must have an imaginary market – I don’t necessarily mean money, but he must have an imaginary audience. Many artists have their own imaginary customers, and think about money. It’s not only in China, but also abroad; only nobody wants to admit it. I just make it clear; there is no need to hide it, to tuck it in. Market is market; made to order is made to order. In the past, made to order means we do exactly like the one that does well, the one that sells well; we follow it exactly, no matter what others say, because this is the market. Even though we don’t spell out that the content of the painting was agreed upon between so-and-so customer and so-and-so collector, in fact it was all agreed upon and must be followed with exactness. So we did not dare to change. Now, it’s perhaps better to discuss with the collector, because, who knows, you might get to change a few things. Actually all ancient paintings were made to order, whether private or otherwise. Not to mention western paintings– churches, courts – all made to order. Being made to order itself doesn’t necessarily constrain creativity, so I think it might as well give it a try and see how things are done according to the way of factories.

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

Interviewed: Feng Shunhua

Time: Afternoon, January 30, 2007

Location: Digital Media Studio, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing

 

 

made to order, custom orders 11

观众 audience 6 ,

大众 public 9

社会 social, society, sociality 21

媒体 media 10

媒介 medium 11

个人 personally, personal 11

美术馆 art museum, museum 6

古典 Classical 6

古典艺术 classical art 3

兴趣 interested, attention, interesting 22

创造性 1

 

自由 freedom 2

政治性politically 1

 

hot 4

市场 market 29

关系 relationship 22

收藏家 collectors 5

sell 7

do”, engage in 56

下(载)  download, downloading, downloaded 5

有用 useful 6

money 16

中国 China 19

刺激 stimulation 11

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: In your point of view, how to define an artist?

 

A: I think an ideal artist bears some relationship with his view on art and life. Personally, I believe that art should be useless. This is a basic belief; at least I think so. The highest –level art should be useless art. But with that said, we can go on to discuss other things. We can put what we’ve learned into use. The practical functions of art are all the same, whether social, political, market – it’s an abnormal mindset to take these as the basis of your understanding of art. Art is for art’s sake; nothing else.

 

Q: What’s your take on contemporary art?

 

A: Contemporary art is gradually turning into something of a microscope – taking every detail to magnify, and dissemble into all types of possibilities. It has become very extreme, or shortsighted in certain degree. That’s the situation. How interested am I in contemporary art? If I go to an art museum, it must be one about ancient art. Personally, I’m not that interested in the current contemporary art. I’d be more interested in technology or other developments. I’m pretty pessimistic about the development of art in the present age. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

 

Q: Why?

 

A: Personality, I guess. I’ve seen exciting stuff, but they’re just so-so. I still prefer quieter things, which are ever-lasting like classical art. That’s more exciting to me.

 

Q: Then what do you think are the characteristics of contemporary art?

 

A: I don’t think I’m able to sum it up. If I had to, I’d say it’s pretty extreme, whether in its form of presentation or its desired goals – both appear to be very extreme. Of course, there are works in contemporary art that are stunning, or exciting, or works with long lasting meaning. No doubt about that; it’s just that they are really small in number. The masterpieces in classical art are the result of so many years’ accumulation; whereas most works of contemporary art seem particularly shortsighted. I participate frequently in contemporary art exhibitions; I have seen enough. So, if I go to a show, if I had the choice, I’d definitely go to a classical art exhibition. I don’t want to get anything. I just enjoy looking at classical art.

 

Q: Is the market an issue in creating art?

 

A: It’s a good thing for me. I kind of like it. Previously I never really thought about this market thing, and sometimes I even went against it. Now I think that was not the way to do it, because with the market so hot now, I feel it’s more interesting to take advantage of the market and do something. It’s better to make use of it rather than avoid or neglect it. In the past, when artists talk about creating, they invariably mention freedom – which has always been self-deceiving. An artist must have an imaginary market – I don’t necessarily mean money, but he must have an imaginary audience. Many artists have their own imaginary customers, and think about money. It’s not only in China, but also abroad; only nobody wants to admit it. I just make it clear; there is no need to hide it, to tuck it in. Market is market; made to order is made to order. In the past, made to order means we do exactly like the one that does well, the one that sells well; we follow it exactly, no matter what others say, because this is the market. Even though we don’t spell out that the content of the painting was agreed upon between so-and-so customer and so-and-so collector, in fact it was all agreed upon and must be followed with exactness. So we did not dare to change. Now, it’s perhaps better to discuss with the collector, because, who knows, you might get to change a few things. Actually all ancient paintings were made to order, whether private or otherwise. Not to mention western paintings– churches, courts – all made to order. Being made to order itself doesn’t necessarily constrain creativity, so I think it might as well give it a try and see how things are done according to the way of factories.

 

Q: What influence does the market have on your creativity?

 

A: It’s easy to make money, but custom orders for the market is only one of my projects. I have other projects too, such as media art projects, which have nothing to do with market concerns. So I have several directions, and market is only one of them.

 

Q: What kind of cultural symbol is useful to your art?

 

A: It’s like a filter. We all take in similar information – we go to the same websites for news – what kind of information attracts your attention? 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. Playing game play is a very important thing for a child’s growing up. I have preserved this natural tendency, and ever since electronic games came out, I have felt it to be very natural. It’s a large toy, so there must be many different ways of playing, and many ideas came out; and then I thought wouldn’t it be fun if I could do something with it? So, starting from 1992 up till this day, my art pieces have basically centered on electronic games. This is such a filter; whatever is expressed through the medium of electronic games must have been sifted. Maybe some things like philosophy masterpieces and relatively sensitive and subtle emotional things are not suitable for such expression. But actions, images, sounds and rhythms – these coarse, more sensory things are more suitable for this medium, and that’s the rough-and ready filter I have been using over the years.

 

Q: So you make virtual things real – not only art, even contemporary culture is also heading towards this direction. Is this what drives you into such a role?

 

A: We are actually all sensory animals. All our pleasures, according to the idealists, are nothing but sensory stimulation; while according to the materialists, these things all exist. According to the idealists, everything is abstract. We all rely on our senses to feel this world. Of course, these senses can be real or false. Like now I see you here, but maybe you’re not here. I think our future world will develop more in the direction of the virtual. To put it simply, it’s similar to drugs. Like putting a [zinc tablet] CMOS chip in your body, and you might feel it to be a drug. Like you eat a piece of bread, but I tell you that it’s a fish, because I have injected you with this program; then how can you not believe it? There is no doubt that these things will be realized. Let me give you an extreme example: can you download a baby? You’d say, no. Because you wouldn’t think of just a baby, you would pat it on its head, talk to it and see it go to sleep at night – then how can you be sure about all this? Through language, touch and hearing? If we give you all of these, then you have it. We say “download a piano,” and nobody would believe us. But now, what’s the big deal with downloading a piano? We can even download an eighteenth-century piano from a famous concert hall, which is totally possible. You can download a piano even at work. Because it’s the sound of the piano that you want, not the wood which makes the piano, because you’re not a collector. As an audience, what you consume is the sound of the piano, and this sound is now digitized, so of course it can be downloaded. So, why can’t a baby be downloaded? You would think that this is creepy, and it’s impossible. This is about feeling. If you live in these feelings everyday, and receive stimulation from these feelings, this process will slowly guide the baby towards growth, going to school and returning from school, day in, day out, and you’ve lived like this for ten years… From this point of view, I think the whole world is quite sad.

 

Q: Does that mean many art organizations in the traditional sense of the word are declining in certain aspects?

 

A: Hard to say. But I have a personal wish: I wish that art museum can live on forever. Very likely, everything will be digitized in the future, but I hope art museum will still be there. I’m not talking about five or ten years from now… I’m talking about far, far into the future… about words, language, and so forth…

 

Q: Actually, either contemporary art or traditional art invariably involves commonly existing issues in the mundane society, are you interested in any of these issues?

 

A: Not interested at all. I really don’t have any interest at all regarding the so-called ethnic or national art. Art cannot cover these things, and it’s not the purpose of art, nor is it something art can achieve. Art can’t change anything. Instead of trying to change randomly with no success, one should rather just do one’s own thing, and solve one’s own problem. In terms of a piece of art work, just take care of that piece of work. That’s more interesting. You can have all kinds of excuses. Sociality? Eventually, this artist must be responsible for this single piece of work. We can talk about communication only under this premise. If you cannot even solve your own problems, how can you communicate with others?

迷信[mi xin] superstition

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1.后天的学习也是开发智慧的一种方法,我从来不感觉这是一种迷信,这是一种科学

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.

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

采访对象:郭丹霞

采访时间:2007127日下午

采访地点:于西安郭家

 

 

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:谈开始画画的情况。

A:1989521——之前我经常生病身体不好,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,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?我就出来,那些现在都还在。画白血病如何治就感觉白血病细胞出来了,感觉是这样,我是50年代上学、第一批带红领巾的人,出来的东西特别有意思——从那以后什么都出来,就18来都没有放下过。现在想什么就什么,不按什么规定,有时完还去实践一下。我40时就没上班,一直生病,没办法,就开了个调节心情,以前我是搞化验的,化学分析,后来在纸卷、布卷画画1991西安有一个国际意象博览会,让我去参加,我没去,后来拿了几张过去,他们感觉不可思议,我也没什么感觉,我自己也弄不明白的是什么,有时候琢磨琢磨就知道了,了就知道

Q:你认为你的有什么可谈的意义吗?

A:有些我说清楚,有些我可以说清楚……因为我以前老人体痉挛,想着怎么?最后我就出了小胎儿人体走向……那些都是数字组成的,所以在十几年前,我就认为人是由数字组成的,而直到不久之前人们才说染色体是由数字组成的。

Q:你觉得你的创作是和传统有关系,还是受到别的某些方面的影响?

A:我练过气功,它是中国一个非常好的传统,可以开发智慧,练气功就是在练大脑,但不是每个人都能练成的,而我想我有这个艺术天分,因为我是实实在在的,我不想去骗人或赚钱,就是想把身体练好,我现在身体很好。在这种情况下去画画,我觉得在画画过程中可以出很多东西,不管别人怎么说,我感觉画画成了我生活中最重要的东西。我要一个脑袋,最后就出一个人的脑袋,我觉得我太智慧了——后天的学习也是开发智慧的一种方法,我从来不感觉这是一种迷信,这是一种科学

Q:你觉得当代艺术是一个什么概念?

A:我感觉当代艺术很超前,不像以前,我感觉它们都是有生命的,虽然我对美术界里一些传统教育方法不是很理解,但西方裸体绘——在我没画画以前我就感觉不文明;自从我画画以后,就知道那很;更进一步地说,能把好的一面、坏的一面都呈现出来。

Q:你觉得艺术对社会有什么关系?

A:我感觉应该包容一切去研究艺术,不管是传统文化的或者别的,只要它存在这个社会中,就有价值,我觉得这就是一种前景。我和你们不一样,你们是了以后才,但我是好了以后才,所以我也不愿意去和别人交流。我想什么就什么,特别是我不知道的东西我越能好,我经常看电视的科技频道西方已经中国没有的东西,我就,一个台湾人说我的凝动艺术,是艺术的最高境界。我感觉画画里面有很好的艺术,但它的价值不在于艺术,在于比艺术要好、要深奥得多的东西。举个例子,西安有什么我就什么,出来我就研究,虽然是出来了,但里面还有很多可研究的东西。我武则天的坟陵——少陵,就画了一个小丑坐在她的肚脐眼上,而“少陵”原来是“笑陵”,是用谐音掩盖真实的东西,这个地方是她选择好,还是本来就适合她安葬呢?我认为这里面就有很多道理。

Q:你觉得艺术家自身是什么样的角色?

A:我感觉艺术家应该是全面的,如果只是表面,但不传神,就是得不好。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,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,来疏通自己大脑,所以都很

Q:你觉得艺术家在社会中有什么作用?。

A:通过可以表达自己意思推动社会前进,像现在的东西,特别是当代艺术,我也去看——我问“乌托邦”是什么?他们说是美好的东西。我感觉我的是代表东方文化,不仅仅是我个人的,也是属于大家的。

Q:那你在不在意你的画是否被别人理解?

A:不在意。每个人的文化层次不一样,很多文化层次的人看得我的文化层次高的人反而看。新加坡的一个院长,说我的是生殖器,但我都不知道生殖器怎么的;我希望把中国文化宣传出去,我是一个受过现代教育的人,我的就是当代,我没搞封建迷信

Q:描述你的创作过程。

A:比如某人,把某人的名字写一下就出来了,简单的几笔五官就特别没见过的都能出来,出来后还能说出这个人相关的一些事情,在我的笔下都能感受出来,这是我从对象身上感应过来的,不是无中生有的……我感觉世界博大了,应该去描述很多东西,包括宇宙……我知道的东西我都,我了就能去深入知道一些东西,虽然不是全部……我知道很多东西,特别是一些审美的东西,比如说红山文化女神,我想知道女神到底是什么样子的?西安有很悠久文化历史,在临潼发现遗址后我就把这一系列出来了,看看是否很神秘。以前有画家最怕别人提问题,我不害怕提问题,想让我什么我都出来,越是不知道的东西越得好,比如说金字塔完后我才知道金字塔是葬法老的地方,之前知道

民工[min gong] migrant workers

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采访对象:野牛,地下及枪手作家(无出版署名劝,为他人代笔写作)

Interviewed: Ye-niu (mossback): an underground writer, and a writer who write for other persons without own signature.

时间:Time: January, 2007

地点:Location: Guangzhou

中国 China Chinese 24

社会 social society 19

生存 living live 10

生活 life 11

财富 wealth 8

知识分子 intellectuals 7

利益 benefit 7

身体 body 6

文化 culture 6

改革(开放) reform opening 5

知识 knowledge 4

制度 system 4

政治 political politic 5

矛盾 contradiction 4

直接 directly 4

 

自由 free freedom 5

妓女 prostitute 4

六四 June 4th 2

人权 human rights 2

卖淫 sell oneself 2

党禁 prohibition of parties 2

性服务 erotic service sexual service 2

器官服务 deal with one’s organ 1

性交易 make sexual intercourse 1

扫黄 anti-eroticism campaign 1

意识形态 ideology 1

 

市场(化) market 3

消费 consume 3

资本主义 capitalism 3

社会主义 socialist 2

传统 tradition 2

 

 

野牛:我们曾谈到这个问题,就是目前国情下知识分子启蒙已经没有了,已经没有太大的意义了。就是民间直接生存矛盾已经非常激烈了。像那个工人下岗,待业青年,包括大学生毕业面临综合性的失业。那么生存的第一性要求引出很多社会问题。远远超出我们所说的知识启蒙.比如一个妓女她有什么呢,没有什么,就好像扫黄中,她连买淫的权利也没有.一方面你不给她吃,她必须从农村山区跑出来,跑到城市来。你说她可以凭什么生存呢?她除了青春和身体,什么也没有.中国目前的这个社会问题,在改革开放中,财富私有化过程中出现的不公平。本来在去几十年的政治斗争中,它们财富创造是有限的。在快速的财富分割中不公平。那只有少数人能获得巨大利益。大多数民众没有获得利益。那种直接生存威胁感,和生存利益失落感,不需要谁教育,也就能明白。所以大量农民要造反游行抗议暴动。社会底层的矛盾已经非常尖锐,直接生存对抗,不像改革开放初期,包括六四时,生存矛盾还较小,社会财富两极分化较小,知识份子认为知识成一种公共性质的一种普及性质价值观,作为一种社会理想,普通老百姓不知道,只有一种呼吁,一种从政治改革,和从尊重人权角度,还有些意义。当年江泽民还提出维护所谓的生存权,你说那些打工的来广东,他连都没得吃,他连卖淫都不允可的时候,他还能这个社会吗?还能这个制度吗?不可能。这就让中国知识份子存在于一个很尴尬的社会地位,生活已经超越他们这些做为社会的进步力量了。

你刚才说这个社会已经很自由了,那么从党禁和新闻自由来看还非常有限。和文革比较,只是你现在能说了,但只是私人性的,你不能进入交流渠道,不能进入媒体渠道。身体是每个人的私有财产。在社会主义计划经济下,你什么也没有,有的只有你的身体。但这个身体也有很多限制不属于你的,你不能提供性服务,你什么都不能。因为违背道德,违背我们的治安条例。但改革开放以后,大量的西方文化的融入,对中国人的影响很大,再者是财富的快速分化,有财富的阶级他们的生活就自然打开,打开的标准之一,就是他婚姻之外有需要,外面可以有妓女情妇二奶。也就是说,他有能力有资格享受这种多元性的生活。他有这个需求,但作为那些到广东的打工妹,他们有什么呢?什么都没有。但为了活命,总该有点什么,要么有知识,要么有体力,什么都没有怎么活命?最终发现她有身体,她可以提供器官服务。在一方有要求,一方可以出售情况下,加上这旧社会已经有的这种生活,现在又被恢复了,全世界的人都在这么,为什么中国人不能这么呢?所以关于现在的中国,我认为你谈得很文雅,我认为70年代出生的这些20多岁的人已经不是这种看法。我们和几个中年女知识分子,著名女作家争论的时候,她们还在扭捏作态,而我说,你看这些十八十九的年轻人直接器官做交易了,你还在遮遮藏藏作甚么,谁会去找你呢。我认为和我们的文化传统关系很大,我们这个道德和伪道德的传统是很有害的。每个人都愿意男盗女娼,从自我出发,谁都是这样的。如果许可他男盗女娼,他一定男盗女娼。当面对别人的时候,当面对是第三者的时候,哪怕一个很开明知识份子,他都会用很尖刻的语言嘲笑你。譬如一个人他嫖妓,吃喝嫖赌他都来的。但他说别人的时候,他总会用很尖刻的语言,其实他比这个人还烂,我认为这是中国文化一个可悲的地方。

徐坦: 那你觉得这仅仅只是中国传统的问题了?跟共产主义运动没关系了?

野牛: 没关系,我认为共产主义意识形态强化了它。

徐坦: 我认为有关系吧, 比如60-70年代的党报元旦社论,就会谈到我们中国是全世界唯一一个没有妓女的国家。这是否跟共产主义原则有关系,否则这有什么好宣传的?

野牛:我认为生命是属于自己的,每个人都应为自己的生命负责负责也包含了他可以自由使用自己的身体伦理道德没有权力干涉。一个人为了生存性交易。像广州许多酒巴,很多中年男人和年轻女子,他们就是快速消费,你陪我喝茶,我买单,然后给小费。我认为这种交换是正当的,那些从农村来的女孩,知识文化都没有,她能给别人什么呢?她只能给别人抚摸肉体。 而那些中年男子他们有剩的财富,在那没有新鲜感的婚姻之外找另外的一种刺激。我认为是正当的,而它对社会带来的危害言之实,夸大了。搞专业的知识份子玩的那点小东西跟政治没有关系,经济利益没有关系,甚至跟老百姓

的观念也没有异议。譬如老百姓提出一个问题:当我只是一个打工的,我什么都没有的时候,我可不可以用我的器官来和你作交易。如果表达这样一种主题的,很多打工妹的都愿意看。因为他们都面临这个问题:我什么都没有,给你亲一下,你给我10块钱。一个人为了生存可以投降当叛徒的话,你在她的奶头上下有什么大不了的呢?况且首先你得先着,在自然界,为了活命任何伪装都可以做的出来的。

徐坦:而且我认为妓女不是一个肮脏的职业。因为我在8年前在上海和上海的一个艺术家争论这个问题。我并不会尊重某个国家总统超一个妓女。因为这个职业是干净,是单纯的。但作为某些总统,他只是一个政客。但我没说中国的总统怎样,因为都不在你的话题之内。

野牛:因为从社会需要的角度看,如果没有性服务工作者的话,大量的弱势阶层、老人,他们的性生活得不到满足,我们看到的更多是有钱的消费阶层为比消费。我们心里感到不平衡。譬如说一个瞎子没机会做,在毛泽东时代大量光棍没看到一个女人。中国的统治者为了所谓的社会稳定,他把他的权利看的太高太重要了,把他的己得利益太重要了,因此他给人民一点自由也没有。他有十个女人他也不会让你一个。

 

可以说六四以后中国智识阶层就所有文明开明方面的语词都使用尽了。中国政治体制上的笵式和理念可以说也很完备了。我认为关键在于,利益上他们,既得利益者不愿意真正把利益放给社会,放给人民。而不是没有观念,没有一种理想,没有一种可运用性的体制之类的东西,很多方案。像人大、政协,还有比较开明的,比较追求社会进步的知识份子提出了很多运用性很强的制度性东西。但实际上不能实施,就算拟了法也不能实施。我觉得中国还是个很的国家,财富有限,人们对风险这种概念也有限,我们有很多制度盲点,至少是制度理想盲点。大家知道应该怎么做,知道什么是天下为公,但很多人不敢那样去做,不愿那样去做. 我认为症结在这里。外国人看到中国变化,和中国人自己感到的变化,我想是有很大区别的。中国历来都崇洋媚外共产党批判洋奴哲学,大家对外国人有种看法,外国人在中国享受很多,譬如说社会待遇啊、人权上的认可啊、对他们的服务是很周到的。中国人自己感到一定两样的。另外我认为吸引外国人来中国是因为中国廉价肉体中国有大量人口人口是一种资源。一个老外中国就是认识几个中国女孩或妓女。作为一个普通观光者,别的东西,中国文化对他没太大的意义,而中国这个几千年文明的东方大国,她有很多东西可以看,有很多文化遗迹。另外我认为人种是一种资源。这样一些东方瓷娃娃对西方人正是有很大吸引。而不是我们的改革政策对他们的吸引。我们这些东西在他们面前没什么值得炫耀的,就是些泊来品。另外就是中国这个市场,它对那些大资本集团公司还是有吸引力,对后二十年的市场战略性投资,我认为它有它的道理。但你说的,中国现在社会莺歌燕舞?那倒未必。现有个非常矛盾的地方,就是生活已经前进了。譬如广州,我认为广州城市建设水准非常高了,就广州这个城市市场化程度很高了,它已经全球化了。它和资本主义国家的工业文明和后工业文明,没有太大区别。甚至在有些方面,因为“社会主义特色”有之而无不及。我记得96年有个资料显示,海口的妓女了日本。当然按百分比来计算的话,那还有问题,如果我们用其他的衡量标准看,比如说党禁这个角度,一个政党和社团不能自由形成,这个社会资本主义有很大区别。言论出版都受到限制一个社会,肯定不能用资本主义的概念来衡量。

面(面子, 体面)[mian(mian zi, ti mian)] face

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1. 而现在政府也在搞双年展当代艺术变成了一张,变成大家都可以利用的和值得利用的东西了,所以像一个口号,一个面孔,出现在国际上面孔,这个时候一场与官方游戏开始了

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, an image used to impress the international community, and here’s when the game with the oficial starts.(摘自徐坦对孙原,彭禹的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Sun Yuan, Peng Yu)

采访对象:孙晋、彭尧

采访时间:2007129日中午

采访地点:于北京798孙彭工作室

 

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

 

 

Q:你们刚才说到你们的创作在公众的反映,也说到外界的自然的影响,我觉得你们早期的作品中与社会相关的比较少,而现在的作品就比较强调社会影响方面的。

A:(孙)其实所有的材料来自社会,只是有些是来自于社会比较不公开层面,有些是比较知名的东西,比如新闻题材,社会题材,其实所有的题材都是社会题材,只不过是被关注程度不同的问题,另外,我觉得我同意现在所有题材都是来自于社会,可能更多的还是来自于我们自身,但是就是说它在跟社会对应的时候,你需要一个合适的转译转换,这时候你在选择材料的时候就会选择一些相对典型性的,就是说这个问题你好像不能分割着来看。

(彭)早期,更年轻的时候,跟社会之间的关系没有那么复杂,或者没有很融入社会中去,所以你的作品和选择材料就不是那么地社会,但我觉得什么都可以作为材料,你越成长的时候,跟社会发生的关系越来越,你自然就会选择社会中你有兴趣材料,所以我认为题材决定的。

Q:在很多展览中看到你们的作品,都是很强调和社会的关系,你们觉得在中国和在西方,观众对艺术的接受和反馈是有区别的吗?

A:(孙)是不一样的,但是我觉得这个不一样更典型的是体现在前些年,就是2000以前和左右的时候,那个时候中国开放时间还不长大部分人当代艺术这个东西持接受的态度,看的时候过于的心急,而现在好像就是越来越趋同西方的和中国观众现在知道有一种(中国当代艺术,知道有一帮人奇怪,他在看这个东西的时候首先反应就是:行为艺术!这个东西就变成一个词儿了,他对一个东西不理解的时候,他就行为艺术了,他心里头有一个,他可以把它归类,他就接受了。

(彭)以前西方的更加关注的,认为的东西是跟政治对抗的东西,那就是跟整个中国意识形态关系,因为那个时候还不够开放,上海还没有开始双年展……,所有的西方观众都会从政治角度去看你的作品中国观众两部分,我觉得这两个部分是特别有意思的,这两部分,一部分是懂艺术的人,或者就是跟艺术,跟文化有关的,一部分是跟文化没有关系的人,跟文化有关的这部分人恰恰不能接受这样的作品,而且提出很多抗议或者指责,而跟艺术文化没关系的人,包括警察……我的展览有一次被封过,我跟很多警察片警居委会这些普通人过天,他们都来展览,都觉得太有意思了,

而现在政府也在搞双年展,当代艺术变成了一张,变成大家都可以利用的和值得利用的东西了,所以像一个口号,一个面孔,出现在国际上面孔,这个时候一场与官方游戏开始了

A:(彭)在九几年2000以前,有的时候发生一件事情,你可以静下心来观察周围的事情,细心地去体会每个人变化,而现在,尤其是这些年,整个的艺术气氛都是特别浮躁的,我都心情体会外界的一些变化,而且现在情况比较复杂,……就像我们生活798这个院子里,这完全就是一个旅游区,你很难定位,但我们确实还在这儿工作,现在政府也在当代艺术了,有很多投机份子这个事情画廊疯狂加入,每这个院子都有可能出现十几家画廊,然后整个中国当代艺术价格国际市场膨胀,我觉得很多艺术家他们都找不到自己了,所以不像那个时候的情况那么单纯了,地下就地下,就搞艺术,现在真是在和所有的人合作,你在越来越多地跟他们玩这个游戏游戏越来越复杂了,进入第二关!

Q:那么一般的观众是不是比以前更能够接受当代艺术了?

A:(彭)我觉得现在是他们可能容易接受了,但是相反的给他们带来的东西却是少了,以前他们会去体会这些人为什么要这样,现在他们有了一个概念,就像给了你一个,叫“行为艺术”,就说“啊,这是行为艺术!”就不用再想了,对于普通观众来说,他们丧失了这种东西,当他们一旦被给予了一个可以安全解释的之后,实际上就丧失了自己去思考过程

(孙)情况还得分两头说,从艺术家方面来说,实际上他也在逐渐摸清观众脾性 90年代的时候,像“泼皮”那种,我觉得如果那个叫早期艺术家的话,感觉就是任我行,因为公众不接受,他就越来越走向极端,但是现在很多艺术家可能都意识到了,就是说你要想任我行的话,你首得让观众觉得你行,所以它的两方面就开始往一个地方走,然后它找到一个协调点了以后,就是双方都能感觉地比较自由比较融洽,就是和谐社会了。那个时候就是改革开放突破,就什么事都现在就是很多事格局已经划分好了,就是看怎么协调了,跟国家形势一样,这个和谐社会艺术来说也是一个比较大的问题,当然任何时代都有问题,但是现在和谐社会问题西方差不多,因为西方都是和谐社会,所以艺术家在里面既自由难受,现在我就看中国什么时候能够达到西方一样,也有这种感觉

(彭)就比如说,有国外比较大的机构要来北京美术馆,其实刚开始我听他们这样的消息很兴奋,因为终于有很好美术馆中国北京当代艺术了,但很,几天以后我就意识到一个危机,我不知道这个东西来了以后,对于北京,对于整个的中国当代艺术的状况是一个帮助,是一个推进,是推进它朝不好的方向,还是方向健康的方向还是不健康方向?这都是有两个方面的,就是他们想的是把一个很正统西方美术馆机制拿到北京,在国外展览的时候,你可以看到整个西方的那种很腐朽美术馆机制给整个艺术带来的没有活力的状况,这就是那年很多中国艺术家去参加威尼斯双年展的时候他们很轰动原因,他们觉得整个中国当代艺术西方有力量的,其实是不是真的有力量?其实我觉得也不是说有没有力量,而是他们发现中国才有可能性,这个可能就是潜力能量,让人可怕的东西,而在西方呢,那种机制让大家觉得就像在孙原所说的和谐社会里,他必须要在缝隙,这样玩来玩去的话,就变成大家都在耍小聪明,我觉得这样人生就太不灿烂了,所以说,这样一个机制中国来,对艺术家的影响,我觉得就是应该从两个方面来去考虑这个问题。你把一个死了的东西拿到来,它是不是丧失了好多可能?就是它让你加速规范化,当然很多西方美术馆批评中国艺术家或者说整个中国市场的时候,就说他们太不规范化了,但这就是中国特色,这是中国魅力所在。我比较喜欢生活出现很多意外,就是你眼看着中国当代艺术向完全知道的,没有任何意外方向发展我觉得这时候艺术家要用什么样的活力刺激这个东西呢?

Q:经济环境的变化会影响艺术,艺术家与观众之间的关系,但其实有很多艺术家做作品不是做给观众看的,是吧?

A:(孙原)这个问题实际上是知识政府步调一致,就是和谐社会产生实际上是经历了一个和平演变过程的,就是商业经济参与实际上是促成了这个和谐社会,就是让你在关注自己和关注受众的同时共同参与参考规则经济规则,你不能不承认所有人都会把经济上的成功作为衡量成功标准艺术家自己也会这么观众也是,它是一个参考值,所以这个经济作用在里面了一个协调工作,就逐渐地发生了和平演变,所以我就说这个和谐社会的产生并不是纯粹地由艺术家观众造成的,它肯定是有另外的东西来介入,才能促成,那怎么保持一致?怎么达到一个共同协调点?很多时候都是会把经济因素作为一个参照点的。

(彭)市场学术根本就是两回事,因为市场做市场学术的有做学术,所以你要我们搞这方面的人去谈那个也谈不了。

(孙)有时候“学术学术”,我也不完全认同,在考虑学术的时候你会考虑成功的问题吗?当你考虑这个问题了就存在一个协调点了,所有的因素一起达到一个最佳分配比,它就以一个成功面貌出现了,它也会让你的学术一些动力,得到一些可应证的东西,这个成功不仅指商业层面的,而是指各个层面上的成功,如果没有这个成功参照的话,学术无所谓方向,无所谓价值,就是它没有统一平台学术实际上都有一个平台,它存在一个成功标准,就是生效商业的和学术生效,实际上都是产生一种价值的。

Q:你们在意那些对你们作品的反馈意见中的非议的东西吗?

A:(孙)其实我在意的就是观众反应

(彭)但是他们反应成什么样不重要,他一定反应就行了。我们不注重他们的反应赞扬批评,只注重他们反应

(孙)或者说这种东西最好混杂的,就是说既有强奸又有通奸嘛,如果说强奸它又有高潮了,而通奸却又带有被动性,就是它是很混杂的比较好,我不太赞成纯粹强迫的东西,但是一定要有反应

Q:我觉得在北京、上海和在广州很大不同的一点就是对权力意识的不同,在北京是最强的,在上海薄了一点,而在广州则更弱,你们对这点有什么看法吗?

A:(孙)我对你说的这个权力问题感觉不是特,我不知道有没有权力,但是我对这个问题的看法就是说不管有没有权力,你感觉很舒服愉快了,因为你处在别人权力机制,你不是处在最高层上,你在这很愉快,你在这儿,那我觉得就可以了,它相对来说跟农民企业的感觉还不一样农民企业它是权力第一,甚至就连吃饭都是权力一部分,那就是如果拿不到这个权力的话就没有生存余地了。……我说的权力也是指的那种支配被支配关系,而不是那种权势的东西。

美国[mei guo] America

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.      你去任何地方——欧洲美国,你发现在学校当老师,哪怕当个院长都没有这么!在美国当个院长都不比在这当个科长累。

Go to any place – Europe, America – and you’ll see how laid-back teachers are, even the directors. Being a director of school in America isn’t as tired as being a section chief here.

(摘自徐坦对张培力的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Zhang Peili)

采访对象:张杭

采访时间:2007125日下午

采访地点:于杭州贝尼尼咖啡馆

 

 

环境 environment ecology 8

电视 television 10

生活 life 10

时间 time 20

终极 ultimate 8

终极问题 ultimate question 7

语言 language 17

大众 the mass the public popular 12

社会 society 20

个人 individual(s) 8

灵魂 soul 9

边缘 edge 9

关系 relationship 17

媒体 media 6

文化 culture cultural 18

系统 system 8

无意义 meaningless 7

录像 video art 5

当代艺术 contemporary art 11

态度 attitude 8

作品 works 17

 

6,4      ‘June 4′ incident 1

天安门 Tian’anmen 1

社会主义 socialistic 1

政治体系 political system 1

政治 politics 3

意识形态 ideology 2

上层建筑 superstructure 2

 

play 7

hot 3

名气 成名 出名 知名fame (renowned famous reputation getting famous19

控制 control 2

新潮艺术 avant-garde art new art 2

马戏团 circus 4

技术 technique 4

机会 chance 2

圣人 saint 4

展览 the exhibition 24

中国 China 28

西方 West Western abroad westerners 14

变化改变 change shift 15

相对 relatively 10

new 17

快感 have fun 4

中国特色 Chinese characteristics 3

 

 

Q:你觉得当代艺术跟整个当代中国的社会现实是怎么样的一个关系?

A:80代现在来比较的话,很多人态度上面可能有很大的转变,包括我自己,我觉得可能在89年以前吧,就是北京的那个大展当代艺术或者说新潮艺术实际上基本上被看作是一种精英文化的一个标志,也就是说它是用来唤醒社会或者说唤醒大众的,是所谓的思想史或是文化的一部分;我想这样的一种幻觉打破是在“八九”年以,也就是“六四”以后,因为发现真正的艺术它只是艺术,而且艺术不是可以用来改造社会的,它只是这个社会的一部分,而且在很大程度上它是受到大众文化的影响,简单地讲,比如做录像,在西方中国一样,并不是先发明了录像艺术然后才有了大众文化大众艺术;是作为大众文化电视有了以后,然后才有了录像艺术艺术家利用了这个材质、这个媒介,然后试图利用它来批判大众文化;所以实际上不能说是你改变大众文化——当然到了后来有一个相互影响作用。所以我在想,到了90年代或者是21世纪以后,当代艺术的这种姿态态度状态,慢慢的就开始有了很大的变化,不是像原先那么的孤立、比较封闭保守,现在相对来讲比较的开放,比较愿意介入社会,比较愿意和大众对话,或者说比较愿意利用大众资源。我们去年和今年在杭州做的“出事”、“没事”两个展览,其实也是这样一个出发点,很多艺术家从北京、上海过来的,在一起做这样的展览,就是说这些艺术家可能也都有一个这样的共同方向,一个趋势

Q:谈到西方,你觉得现今中国的当代艺术和西方相比是很落后还是怎么样,这两者之间的状况你有什么看法?

A:能不能用“落后”这个词我不知道,好像这个字听起来有点刺激,也很难用,因为艺术上不存在先进落后这样的概念,它不是体育比赛——快五秒慢五秒,但我觉得是不同话语,也就是说在西方相对来说,它是在比较开放的一个环境里面,很多知识,或者个人社会碰撞融合的一种关系,但是在中国,基本上还是一种个人行为,相对来说比较封闭,一方面是所有人受到的这种教育背景比较封闭。比如说我们这一代,包括很多上了四十岁的人,几乎都是从那个时候美院出来的,当时的美院基本上只能学绘画,而绘画基本上都是写实,而写实基本上又是一两种风格,是由不得你的——然后从学校出来以后,实际上我们的知识背景是非常狭窄的,在语言上在媒介上的认识实际上是很狭窄的,很有限的,这点跟西方艺术家不一样,我们在学校的时候,自己选择空间是很小的,很有选择的可能性,基本上都是很压抑的,到了毕业以后,很多人都——新潮艺术最大的特点就是反抗不满,而这个反抗不满真正在语言上进行很理性自发批判的其实不多,这种反抗是很多因素混杂在一起,对于社会的反抗,对于文化的反抗,对于传统的反抗,对于教育反抗。整个80年代艺术亢奋情绪化现在,到了90年代以后,情况有点不一样,很多人出国了解了很多,也了解了国际背景,国内艺术院校教育相对来说也比以前宽松一点,又增加了很多学科,但是我觉得有一点还是没有改变,现在的艺术家有这样的一个概念——就是跨领域跨学科的一种工作意识,而在西方这种东西是越来越普遍了。我们知道现在西方有很多学校,它把不同领域的人员组合在一起,哲学的、心理学的、艺术设计的、工业设计的、电子的、动力的、生物的,所有人在一起工作跨学科,已经没有像原来那种——比如说我是艺术家,艺术家就是一个个人行为——很封闭意识了,但是在中国,基本上“一个艺术家”的这种意识、这种态度还是非常强烈,很多人是这样给自己定位的,而且的确是以这个东西感到骄傲的。所以我在想,中国当代艺术现在受到很多西方关注,其实不是因为它整个艺术的生态环境,而是因为它的社会文化特征,包括政治体系市场政治。它是作为全球文化描述过程当中一个区域性文化现象被关注,我们现在从艺术上讲,跟西方、南美、非洲……所有这些国家艺术层面上的对话不平等的,当然可能非洲也一样,也有跟我们差不多的问题,南美也有,一部分是自身的,一部分可能是外部的一些客观的原因。

Q:那你怎么看现在中国的艺术教育?

A:这是一个很沉重的事情,因为中国艺术教育西方体制完全不一样,中国的教育尤其是艺术教育,属于意识形态,是上层建筑,文化大革命为什么会搞起来?文化大革命最早就是从一个意识形态上层建筑开始的,学校红卫兵……。跟西方的教育比,中国的教育在一些具体的教育单位有一定空间权利问题,系统不一样,中国是极其有限的——就是说你可以做的事情是极其限的,但是我觉得在这样的一个有限空间里面,你还是可以做一些事情的,也不是完全无所作为,我们自己都是从学校过来的,那个时候其实就觉得这个系统是挺糟糕的,现在艺术教育的状态我觉得还是羞答答的、似是而非的一种状态,就是遮遮掩掩的,很多表面改进就是用很多技术概念替代系统改革,但是本质上没有多大变化,我到这个学校差不多有四年左右了,我在想,这个学校增加了很多学科,包括我现在的这个新媒体,其实在全国很多学校都这样,都不断的增加的学科,但是教育理念或者说方法模式上跟以前没有多大差别,所以这个是比较大的问题,我们只是在一块很小空间里面做一点小动作,一点自己认为可以的事情,然后一些国家计划的东西,我还不知道最后能怎么样,反正在这个小自留地里面玩玩也有点快感,当然很,因为你没有办法——你要跟整个系统交道,很多事情你身不由己,没有办法!我的看法的一个结论是,它基本是换汤不换药,现在基本上是这种状况,整个教育系统都出了问题,有很问题!这个系统如果不变,加多少学科没有用

Q:这里面跟整个中国当代文化现实是有关的吗?

A:不光是跟中国当代文化现实有关,也跟整个社会体制结构有关,中国是一个有中国特色社会主义,对不对?教育其实也是一样,就是中国特色的一个教育,什么东西如果是谈到有中国特色的、什么人如果讲有自己的特色,实际上就没有任何讨论余地!譬如说,我上课,一个学生将做的东西给我看,我觉得好像有些地方做的不是特别合适,就给他一些建议,他说:“我觉得很好啊,我就是想要这样,个就是我想要的,”那么我就没有话说了,如果那样就是他想要的,我怎么可以剥夺?对不对?没有办法谈!

Q:这种情况很糟糕啊。

A:中国现在有一大堆问题,一个是社会结构家庭伦理等等,文化教育,实际上都是相互之间有牵联的,中国家庭结构影响到了教育,这个也是很成问题的,然后又是一个社会系统,这个太复杂了!所以我觉得在中国教育是全世界最累的!真的!等于说你要跳进去是你活该,你活该你自找!你去任何地方——欧洲美国,你发现在学校当老师哪怕当个院长都没有这么!在美国当个院长都不比在这当个科长累。但是它有没有效率?很累!整天,但是没有效率的!

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