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neighbors 邻居[lin ju]

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

I think my work is mostly about the relationship between neighbors in residential quarters in old Beijing, the changes in the city, and learning about interpersonal relationship through the observation of these changes. There are so many artists in Beijing, but not many local professional artists. As a professional artist in Beijing, I‘m not saying I want to be an international artist. Living in Beijing, with all the surroundings, the neighbors in the Hutong alleys, the friends and relatives all around me, the street hawkers – all of these are sources of inspiration for my work. I have emotions towards all of them, so I see things under this context when working on my art.

(摘自徐坦对卢思沉的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Lu Sichen)

Interviewed: Lu Sichen

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 30, 2007

Location: Fansi(Fancy) Restaurant, 4th Ring Road, Beijing

 

 

社会 social 18

市场 market 11

机构 institutions organizations 11

边缘 periphery 7

居住 housing living 5

北京 Beijing 63

邻居 neighbors 5

符号 symbol 10

中国符号 China symbol 6

胡同 Hutong alleys 10

 

国家 country 5

弱势群体 under-privileged groups 7

日本 Japan 6

 

热门 hot 3

老百姓 citizens residents 5

环境 context 13

拍卖 auction 8

价格 price, worth 5

价值 value 8

关系 relationship 21

人际关系 interpersonal relationship 2

拆迁 demolishing and rebuilding 3

西方 the West 4

建筑 building 9

位置 status 4

装修 decoration project interior decoration 3

circle 1

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: Could you please first comment on the current state of contemporary art in China?

 

A: This is quite a big question. I think contemporary art in China is now in a relatively good phase; it’s hot, and many institutions and collectors are very concerned contemporary art. Seen from this point, it’s a hot thing. But on the other hand, judging from the past two years, there have been very few really good works; so some people even think that we’ve reached the bottom point in contemporary Chinese art. This is rather difficult, because, for many artists, they really need to sell their works; while the social temptation is just too strong. Before, people would still care about how to produce good works and they would care about the academic side of things. Now, people talk about nothing but auctions, auction sale prices, and the market.

 

Q: Please describe what your art is mainly concerned with.

 

A: I think my work is mostly about the relationship between neighbors in residential quarters in old Beijing, the changes in the city, and learning about interpersonal relationship through the observation of these changes. There are so many artists in Beijing, but not many local professional artists. As a professional artist in Beijing, I‘m not saying I want to be an international artist. Living in Beijing, with all the surroundings, the neighbors in the Hutong alleys, the friends and relatives all around me, the street hawkers – all of these are sources of inspiration for my work. I have emotions towards all of them, so I see things under this context when working on my art.

 

Q: You care about relationship with the surroundings. Then, how is the interaction between your work and the audience?

 

A: I don’t even know. Even though I’ve worked so many years in Beijing, I feel that Beijing natives who have seen my work are quite few; the ones who really come to see my work are the persons in art circle. For example, when I do indoor or outdoor installation, the Beijing natives see them as decoration project. So I always feel like I’m doing decoration project whenever I start an installation piece. I have finished many related works in Beijing, but I think their impact has been limited.

 

Q: How do you think the West is regarding all these developments in contemporary Chinese art?

 

A: I’ve talked to some people about this. They feel that the present phenomenon is horrible. The price for art is very high, higher than what the market can take. It’s like a stock market.

 

Q: You’ve emphasized the close relationship with your surroundings. As an artist, what role do you play in the society?

 

A: Under-privileged group. All artists basically all belong to under-privileged groups. Maybe due to the recent market hype, or the higher prices at auctions, people have started to pay attention to artists, but nobody had any such concepts before. Contemporary art had no social status in the past, and it’s only because of the market prices in the past couple of years… People all care about one thing ultimately – how much [is it] does it worth? This is the level of artistic appreciation in China today.

 

Q: So, from your point of view, this society actually still has a very limited acceptance of contemporary art.

 

A: My feeling is that contemporary Chinese art, including the entire painting profession, has always occupied a decorative position in the Chinese society. A well-to-do family needs something to decorate their house, but the wealthy owners don’t know about the value of the art works, and they don’t need to know. They have the money; they can buy the paintings. So they hold the same right of speech as the artists. Other than that, they care about nothing. I think many people have gained various kinds of benefits from all this. Songzhuang is a typical example. It was previously a very poor village. Then some artists moved there, and the village leader gradually found out them. Then this thing became an event. Yet this leader was promoting art for his career gains. Now many private collectors and collecting organizations abroad have all gone there. And now that village has expanded its influence, and then this local leader became, overnight, a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. When contemporary art links with certain things on the international level, it gets exciting. But do these people really care that much about culture? I think not.

I made a painting recently. I always find a topic interesting: “China symbol.” Many have debated on whether Chinese artists should deploy the “China symbol.” Its antithesis is the globalization symbol – I have no idea what that might be like; I only know of the concept. My feeling is that there is nothing wrong with the China Symbol. The Americans are flaunting their Symbol everyday, and nobody has any problem with that. Then why would you have problem with the Chinese using their own Symbol? I think I’m the kind of person who will take the China Symbol to the end. As a Chinese artist, what is your goal? To promote your own culture or to extinguish your own culture? That is the question. So I decide to do contemporary art using the most traditional Chinese methods. I painted a long scroll, about 50 meters in length, of the scenery along the Chang’an Boulevard in Beijing, recording each building alongside. The Chang’an Boulevard is about 15 kilometers in length, and I painted it at the scale of 1:300, so it turned out to be 50 meters. And at the same time, with the traditional way of ancient Chinese painting, I carved many seals, displaying the names of the Hutong alleys that have disappeared in Beijing. That is my latest work.

 

Q: And how did you turn it into an installation piece?

 

A: You can’t turn it into an installation. One of my installation pieces is one made in 2002 – a large sand table, about 100 meters; it’s roughly a model of the Second Ring Road in Beijing. I got this idea while looking at lots of apartment sales centers. They have all these models of high-rises, really beautifully made. So I made this sand table as a symbol for traps – a pit, a huge pit, where many people’s life-long savings are thrown in. I thought this trickery in the form of a sand table was really fun, so I made a sand table of the entire city of Beijing, because at that time Beijing was bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games.

In fact, I think that the government is using the “renovate and improve the citizens[living] housing conditionslogan to justify their massive scale of demolishing and rebuilding. I wrote a project plan once, in which I would evacuate all the residents from a certain Hutong alley and courtyard. I rent a building for them to stay in. Then I renovate their housing, without changing the exterior structures. And I would employ top interior designers to plan a new interior decoration. Then I invite all the residents back to their homes. So I think it is indeed possible to improve their living condition without changing their living habits. The method used by the government now is really assigned migration. In other words, the citizens are an under-privileged group. When they cannot face up to the government and the developers, they would have to move, far away. The government settles them by paying tens of thousands yuan as moving expenses, and thus throws them to the periphery of the city. I think a more ideal way of doing this is to do it as if it were a work of art – we find investors to invest some money, and then we change the living conditions of these courtyard residents completely. I used to have such a project proposal; it was something I really wanted to do at that time. If this work had been realized and had succeeded, then we’d be raising a question to the city planning committee. I thought that would be fun.

农民[nong min] peasants

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

采访对象:杨如海

采访时间:200722日下午

采访地点:于北京西通县门

 

(农)村 (countryside) village 9

认可() recognition (acceptance level) 8

尝试 attempt (try experiment) 5

大众 the masses (public audience) 5

小众 small Circle of People 2

感觉 feeling feel 16

思考 思维 思想 thinking way of thinking 4

宽容 tolerant 8

宽容度 level of tolerance latitude 5

坚持 hold on to insisting 8

真诚 sincerity 7

感兴趣 interest interesting attracts 3

生活 live life 14

生存 living existence 6

状态 condition state the way 15

拍(摄) shoot filmmaking

 

中国 China 15

体制 system 17

改变 转变 变化)   change 16

标准 standard 11

影像 moving image video 12

现实 reality 3

流浪狗 stray dogs 1

circle 9

 

 

Q:请先谈一下你刚完成的作品拍摄的一些情况。

A:是刚在河北完的一个片子,大概算是一个多屏录像装置,是关于农村主人这样的一个主题的——可能很多依赖人生活农村,它们有生老病死,也有的被抛弃贩卖,在农村周围,除了人之外,像流浪狗,它们也有另外的一种生存状态,就基本上是这样的一个片子。

Q:就是说把主要关注点放在农村,是对人和动物之间生存状况的一种关注对吗?

A:对,其实这是从拍摄方面来讲的一个想法,另外一方面,可能针对的是形式上的,比如说对“记录片”的解释,什么才是一种生活记录?现在我可能会用另外一种概念去做,因为以前没有尝试过,另外,从生活中来讲的话,现在关注的东西可能离所谓的艺术了一些吧,那些东西可能会更有意思,就是想,可以敲开一种感觉尝试一些不同宽容度的东西,这对我来说可能更感兴趣,而未必是绝对针对性的——未必是针对艺术来做东西。远离一种状态,可能更接近一种生活,自己对这种东西可能越来越感兴趣了

Q:在农村拍录像的时候,村民认为你们是电视台的,就是说和他们的沟通是不可能的?

A:不是说沟通不可能,其实我认为艺术这一块还是很小众的,很多时候是针对很小的受众群,所以有时候希望做一些宽容度更大的东西,哪怕一些跟艺术不相关的东西,去尝试做一些别的,这些东西可能带来另外的一种快乐。现在感到,在艺术思维之内去做东西很受局限,在很多方面无能为力,如果抬到一个所谓“乌托邦”的高度——其实很多时候是一种无能为力的乌托邦的概率,或者说是一种无能为力的乌托邦状态,但这样其实会延续很长时间,但是又有一个无法解决感觉

Q:你觉得主要还是呈现出你个人的一种什么样的状态?

A:这个不是太好说,作品呈现出来是由观众的,作品很难说是为而做的,做出来以后,自己随着时间的推移,会学着慢慢做完一个作品就遗忘一个作品,但作为观众方面,我不好说,观众可能会看到这个作品会而忽略掉它——很难说得非常准确,因为这可能是一个非常自由事情

Q:能讲下你去农村拍摄猫狗,和团队以外的其他有关人员交流的一些情况吗?

A:很简单,和他们交流的时候要忘记你的工作,你就是一个普通人,你跟他就是简单的认识,包括一些司机农民……他们家日常生活就这样,很人之常情的事情,不能因为你有某种想法,你做某些事情,你就是另外的一种感觉,而就是要入乡随俗

Q:谈一下你对现在一些艺术展览或艺术机构的一些看法。

A:现在各种展览越来越多,各种机构也越来越,都想做一些事情,但它们做事情和若干年前做事情的状态不一样,好像神没了,可能展览能做得很,像很多国际展览一样做得轰轰烈烈,热热闹闹,但很多东西没有精神了,但它可能在其他方面可能会更一点,某些展览里面有些个别艺术家做的作品是很的,但从整体来讲,就像审美……

Q:刚才都谈了你的创作和成长方面的问题,那么现在我们评论一些其它的事情,比如说“当代艺术”、“艺术”,还有“影像艺术”,你觉得它们对社会有些什么样的意义和作用?

A:这个问题真不好说,问题有点大,比较表面的说法,我觉得当代艺术一块,这么多年来其实有些人一直在,他们很多的都有一种思想改变,可能更多的是在思想思维意识上,还有很多的是在观念上做很大的努力改变了——比如中国教育学术艺术方面的很多东西,在这二三十年,大家的变化很大,大家的思维接受能力变化很大,之前说的“宽容度”和几十年前就有很大的不一样。我更感兴趣或者说自己挺感慨的一点,是自己从上学的时候看别人在做当代艺术,到自己感兴趣,然后参与,现在就是其中一份子,我感觉是很庆幸的,庆幸的是中国还是有这么一批人做当代艺术,我认为这些人是坚持自己理想的人,可以说他们是“知识份子”,或者说是“艺术家”,有这么一批人在做,至于他们做得成功与否?或所谓的达到什么状态?我觉得这个是其次,其实就好像是有另外一种“建筑”——可以说是一种无形思想建筑,它们在一砖一瓦的建起来,虽然很难说这个建筑盖到什么状态,但其实现在已经有这么一个东西在成立,这是一件挺感慨的事情,和几十年前有很大的变化

Q:影像艺术和当代艺术还有不同,它和社会的联系会否更紧密一些?

A:单从艺术来说,我觉得有一点——就是需要改变一点:“什么是影像”?在中国很多大家谈到电影的时候,都有一个基本的电影审美标准中国是一个所谓的叙事大国,很的电影是习惯性讲故事的电影——包括一些优秀业绩的中国电影,很多都是从叙事的角度的,但反过来说,在中国是不是有一些其它影像存在?就是说在大家认可的一种所谓标准电影,包括大家极力推荐形成的一种商业电影之外,很难说有没有另一种影像存在,它的生存可能性是不是有?这种东西要解决是靠意识,现在已经有很多进步的地方,我认为慢慢的大家已经不满足表面上、体制内存在的一些电影,大家满足不了了,慢慢地在改变,大家可能需要另外的一个雏形,到现在为止,我认为恰恰很多艺术家就在做这方面的尝试,他们做出来的影像作品未必是特别成熟的,但可能恰恰是起到一个承上启下的作用。

Q:别人会把你归纳在艺术电影里面是吧?

A:有人开玩笑说我是属于找骂的那种——在艺术说自己是电影的,在电影说自己是搞艺术的。我觉得都有问题,艺术也是强行的在坚持录像艺术标准,它所容纳的东西还是和电影区别的,反过来说,电影吸收了录像艺术,很多有先决意识的电影导演从艺术吸收了很多好的东西,包括商业片,很多商业广告都从艺术的艺术家的想法当中吸取了很多养分,但电影更类似工业产业,它需要一个制作过程,以前有人说电影落后于艺术若干年,其实是有道理的,从想法呈现出来到针对大众,它需要一个过程,但艺术家可以不闻不问,可以先知先做

Q:大家都面对这样一个问题,也就是从体制里往外走,是做好思想准备往里走,你对这种情况有什么看法?

A:大家有时候也会聊到这个问题,包括体制接纳,从根本上说很多东西没有太大改变,这种互相接纳接触或者说互动,用有些哥们讲的很硬的话说,在某些方面,比如进入体制内导演电影,如果你不改变自己就没有人能改变你,所以有很多坚持的东西可能会改变,做出来的东西其实是另外的一种东西,原来的初衷已有所改变改变之后就很难说,包括在体制内电影,我认为这是个误区,关键在于创作者本身的认可度在哪里?其实挺难的。

年轻(人)[nian qing(ren)] young people

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1.普遍的年轻人都时刻准备着去投身于各种一天12个小时工作的那种状况,准职业化的或者是传销的,对自己的生活没有想象,对艺术确实很陌生,但是还有一点儿好的,他可以接受你给他的东西。

The average young people getting prepared for the dedication into these 12-hour work day situations, either quasi-occupational or those of pyramid selling. He has no imagination about his own life, he is a stranger to art, yet one thing is good – he can accept whatever you give him.

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

采访对象:谢方明

采访时间:2007129日下午

采访地点:于北京798洞房咖啡

 

集体 group 15

利益 profit 4

社会 society social 13

生活 life 5

公众 public 6

大众 the masses 2

普通人 ordinary person 6

别人 others other people someone else somebody else 15

自己 self 22

关系 connection (relationship) to do with relations 20

有关 related 9

当代 the state of contemporary contemporary 17

 

严打 crackdowns 1

政府 government 2

 

do” engage in 5

兴趣 interest interested 9

prosperous hyped 3

circle 8

圈子 circle 2

过瘾 high 3

流行 popular trendyfad trendiness 3

money 4

猥琐 indecency 2

 

 

Q:先谈下你对中国当代艺术现状的大概印象。

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

Q:你觉得流行跟艺术有什么关系呢?

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

Q:你刚才说觉得中国当代艺术很,指的是一些什么方面的东西?

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

Q:你怎样看待北京的艺术

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

Q:就是说这边很多人的状况下,每人都只是大众的一员,都不重要?

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

Q:实际你在北京就是生活艺术里面?

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

Q:你刚才是否说这个社会状况对你的创作没有什么影响

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

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

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

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

看法都有所改变,从感性的角度谈谈你这方面的感受。

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

Q:艺术市场现在是比较的现象,你觉得它对你的艺术创造有些什么影响

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

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