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question, questioning, suspicion 质疑[zhi yi]

每个艺术家是不一样的。我觉得对我来讲我感兴趣的,实际上简单的说就是可能性,像我刚才说的我对现存秩序质疑,而且我觉得如果质疑秩序的话,它包括任何秩序政府秩序社会秩序知识秩序,还有就是规则,如果你是这种态度的话,其实我们通常说的艺术到底在什么地方就已经变得不重要了,重要的是你以什么样的方式展示质疑秩序的这种方法。比如说,意识形态商业明确可以最简单方式理解社会,这些东西已经潜在于我们内部的一种对这个世界的认知,就是唯一世界观,对我来讲,我认为这叫新意识形态主义,就是商业标准和政治标准天衣无缝的合作,垄断一切,那么我觉得当代艺术对一个不确定性判断的思维方式,在这样的语言环境里几乎是无法生存的,而且我觉得最要命的是——你知道一个民族要最大地进步……最大的就是你对可能性有要求,可能性只能建立在不确定的领域,这个世界什么东西你都可以把握住了……它对你没有任何可能性的时候,你觉得你还拥有创造吗?

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

 

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

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

Interviewed: Sun Jin, Peng Yao

Time: Noon, January 29, 2007

Location: Sun & Peng Studio, 798, Beijing

 

 

社会 society social socially 24

反应 reaction (feedback response respond) 8

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

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

公众 general public 2

观众 audience(s) 22

关系 relation relationship has something to do with 11

机制 system mechanism 8

机构 organization 5

美术馆 museum 8

 

独立 independence 2

政府 government 5

政治 political 3

自由 free 3

 

和谐社会 harmonious society 9

do make 40

do engage in tackle 1

中国 China Chinese 31

西方 the West western 19

发展 development drifting 5

成功 success successful 10

商业()  commercialization commercial commercially 4

游戏 game 4

舒服 comfortable 3

学术 academic academics academically 11

农民 farmer 5

强奸 rape raped 2

通奸 adultery 2

生效 effectiveness effective 2

市场 market marketing 5

投机份子 opportunitists 1

 

 

Source of Keywords:

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Qigong 气功[qi gong]

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

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.

(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.

Qi (energy) 气[qi]

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,还可以自己强身健体,我今年67了,身体很好。很多到一定境界 身体都是很的,年龄都很,也是在练气,来疏通自己大脑,所以灵性都很

I 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.

(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.

圈子(朋友圈)[quan zi (peng you quan)] circle

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1. 之前很多人做了很多事情实际上都是处在一种半地下的状态的,就是说只是一个很小的圈子,没有被公众话语所关注,对社会影响实际上也只是在非常小的范围内的.

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.

(摘自徐坦对艾未未的访谈 Excerpt from
Interview with Ai Weiwei)

2.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。

If you really go to other
circles
, you’ll find that their game
ruled
are not suitable for you, and it’s not really a matter of acceptance.

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

采访对象:胡薇(张江某设计公司设计师)

采访时间:2006年8月17日

亲戚 relatives 3

朋友 friends 3

艺术 art artistic 7

员工 employee 3

政策 policy 4

政策优惠 preferential policies 3

car 7

创意 creative 4

eat food 5

园区 park 5

高科技园 Hi-tech Park 3

地铁 subway metro 6

发展 development 1

技术 technical 2

上海人 native Shanghai citizen 2

浦西 Puxi(central Shanghai) 4

人气 popularity 1

大学 universities 1

公交 bus 2

宣传() publicizing films 1

节奏 tempo 1

商业感觉 commercial
sense
1

别墅 villa 1

圈子(朋友圈) circle
2

关系 related 1

人才 gifted 2

房租补贴 rent
allowance
1

特色 characteristics 1

品牌 brand 1

fast 2

我在张江工作是过完年一月份开始的, I started my work in Zhangjiang since January, after the
Spring Festival.

我是上海人,Though I am a native Shanghai citizen,

对张江的发展我是到了这里才知道的,I had had no idea of its development until I came here.

以前我是在地铁里知道有一个叫张江高科技园的站点, All I had known is merely a subway stop named Zhangjiang
Hi-tech Park.

而且只知道张江是高科技园区,I had only known Zhangjiang is a hi-tech park,

但具体张江是赶什么的我也从没来过,As to what exactly it is for I had not known for I had never been
here.

不来这里工作就不会到这里来。I would’t have be here if I had not
worked here.

虽然我自己是上海人,although I am a native.

在张江我觉得空气比较好,In Zhangjiang the air is quite fresh.

之间的间距比较大,The distance between buildings
are long.

如果是浦西看见前面有一栋楼,大概两分钟就能走到,In Puxi(central Shanghai) if you see a building in front
of you, it usually takes a two-minute walk,

而在张江可能要走十分钟才能走到,while in Zhangjiang it could take you ten minutes,

这边感觉比较开阔一点,giving people an open view.

然后就是觉得地面的灰尘比较少,没什么纸屑,比较干净。The ground is clean with little dust or rubbish.

但是就觉得人气还不够旺,But you feel like here should be more popularity.

然后就是觉得大学之间的衔接比较多,The connection route between universities are abundant.

比较重视比如像大桥五号六号Bridge No.5 and No.6 are
given emphasis.

五号是连复旦六号是连交大的。The former connects to Fudan University and the latter to Shanghai Jiao
Tong
University.

我觉得可能还是要多开发一些公交线路,I feel like there should be more bus routes,

浦西的人能多往张江来。encouraging more people come from Puxi.

然后张江还可以再做一些资料片宣传片,In addition, Zhangjiang needs more documentaries and publicizing films,

介绍一下张江有那些基地。to introduce the bases in it.

其实,不来张江的话,对张江是有创意文化这个概念并不是很清楚的,Actually those who have never been here know little about the
concept of creative culture in Zhangjiang.

只知道张江有生物资料这块基地,but the base of bio resources.

慢慢是正大九城的兴起才知道张江有游戏产业。The e-game industry became known with the development of Zhengda
City 9.

我们是做电子杂志的,We do e-magazine,

就是做文化网络出版,i.e the online cultural publishment.

早前我在出版社工作过,I used to word in a publishing house,

所以这份工作对我来说等于是把我前面两份工作的经验结合起来。so this job is a combination of my previous two working
experiences.

和以前比起来,应该说有一个技术门槛,是要有技术支持的,Compared with the previous ones, it needs a technical support.

我觉得这里的节奏浦西很多,I feel the tempo
here is much slower than that in Puxi,

不像在人民广场和淮海路,different from places like the People’s Square and
the Huaihai Street,

人们的步伐都是那么的,感觉什么事都急匆匆的,where people walk at a fast pace and seem always in a rush,

特别我以前的广告公司在市中心,especially downtown, where my ex ads company lies.

让人感觉城市的速度很。You can feel the high speed of the city.

但在这里我觉得有种校园的氛围,But here is a phonomenon of campus.

有种回到校园的感觉,I feel like going back to school.

而且这附近的学校也比较多,With quite a few schools nearby,

商业感觉还不是特别强。its commercial sense is not that strong,

应该说给人一种比较缓慢的感觉,giving people a feel of slowness.

如果是有子的话,能住在这里还是蛮的,It would be quite good to live here with a car.

如果有钱的话在这里买别墅还可以,or if one is rich enough to afford a villa.

比如说周末住一下,但不大可能会搬过来,One can spend the weekends here,
but probably not move here,

因为一般住的话和圈子关系,for living place is related with one’s circle.

比如我要搬新家,也要离我原来的居住地比较近,If I move to a new place, it would
not be far away from the previous one,

和我的家人与亲戚朋友要比较近。from my family, relatives and friends.

如果住的很远,和他们的沟通就不会太方便。If I live far away, it would be difficult to communicate them.

好像外地来的人,他们也会是找一个适合他们朋友圈的地方,The non-natives also find the place proper for their group of friends,

除非在张江至少有一两个朋友,或是有亲戚在这里,unless they have at least one or two friends or relatives here.

基本上是以工作为主的。Basically most people come to work.

因为我来上班是搭的,我有邻居在易贝上班,所以我是搭他的上班,

I come by car of my neighbour, who works in E-bay.

如果是搭公交和做地铁就比较麻烦,It would be troublesome to take bus or subway,

因为我家在大华那里,for I live in Dahua,

过来要换一辆再换地铁这个路途上单程就要花一个半小时,It takes an hour and a half to transfer the bus and then the subway,

来回要三个小时。which means 3 hours per day.

在路上花很长的时间,特别在地铁里花很长时间, To spent such a long time,especialy in the subway,

对我来说是不大好忍受的,应该说是比较痛苦的。is unbearable for me, a pain indeed.

如果有,我情愿走地面上的,因为在地面上可以看到外面的风景。I prefer to go on the ground if I
have a car, for the view up there.

我觉得在张江上班能够呼吸到比较好的空气,I feel in Zhangjiang we have fresh air.

而且这里绿化也比较好,眼睛也比较舒服。Eyes feel good with the green belts here.

总的来说,张江离我们的生活区太远,In a word, Zhangjiang is too far
from our living place.

刚来的时候感觉离开了上海来这里工作,At the beginning I felt like I left Shanghai to work here.

就好像到了苏州这样的地方上班,上海的影子不太多。as if I was working in a place like Suzhou, with little Shanghai
personality in it.

但在这里工作很理想到是没有的,But it’s not really ideal to work here.

因为张江的确有很多政府的支持,Although it has the support from government,

就是给这些企业一些比较好的优惠政策来吸引他们过来。which gives companies preferential policies to attract them,

但问题是如果很多配套设施没有跟上的话就不好了,it is still a problem without supporting facilities.

从公司老板来说,他们是得到好处的,有房租补贴,能得到优惠政策。The employers
are given rent
allowance
and preferential policies,

但对于招聘员工来说条件并不是很好的。but for employees it is not that good.

一些稍微好一点的人才如果看到特别是公司没有的话就不太能招到好的人才,Some gifted
applicants would not come without company regular buses.

所以对于招人来说还是有点限制的,So it is a restriction for employment,

这肯定是跟公司有关了。and of course has an effect on the company.

如果公司能给员工一些比如交通上的福利政策那还可以,It could be acceptable if the employees are given welfare
commuting
policy.

如果没有,而是硬生生的让浦西的人来上班,Without which, one who comes from Puxi,

每天要花三个小时在路上的确是很辛苦的。has to spend 3 hours in commuting which is such a pain.

我觉得政府的优惠政策最好能给到每一个员工的身上,I think the preferential policies should be
applied to each employee.

我觉得这里的园林的感觉还不错,I feel the garden here is nice,

但是要上升到艺术的话就——,while as to the art,

好像在张江没有看到什么艺术的气息,I do not feel much art here.

我看到的只有张江的政府大楼还有浦东软件园区吧,那里的几栋楼做的还可以,Only a few building like its government building and some in the
Pudong software park are not bad.

而我们这里的就没有什么特色了。There is little characteristics
here.

张江的广告也很少,没什么户外广告,Not many ads here, nor the outdoor
ones.

但从另外一个角度来说他没有被广告污染,这一点比较好。On one side it has not yet been contaminated by the
ads, which is good,

如果是从艺术创意来讲,就如从地铁下来,but from the view of artistic creativity, down from the metro,

没有给人一个这里是创意艺术园区,这个感觉还没有。you would feel little of a park of creative art.

这里只能给人感觉离城市比较远,然后空气比较好,People only feel it far from city
with fresh air,

要上升到艺术创意这个概念还需要有些改进。and more needs to be done to elevate it to the concept
of artistic creativity.

如果说是科技园区的话那还可以理解,Call it a hi-tech park is acceptable,

但要说是艺术园区好像还没这个概念。but there is nothing like a artistic park.

第一我觉得空气比较好,第二需要提高他的艺术品牌,First the air is good, and secondly
the art brand
needs to be elevated.

还有就是张江的一些附加值,比如说他的交通还有,Then the add-ons, like the
transportation and the food here,

因为我们在这里工作中午很难到东西,for we have little to eat at working noon.

我们这里有一句话Here we have a saying,

“你在市中心上班,肚子饿了可以到东西, ‘If you work downtown, you can eat when you are hungry,

在张江肚子饿了是利于减肥”。while in
Zhangjiang you are on diet.’

因为有钱也买不到东西,for money can not buy food here.

点东西要走很远,要到地铁站,You have to walk to the subway stop to find foods,

我们这里走过去要二十分钟的路程,which takes us twenty minutes from here.

我们都懒的走这些路了,基本上就这样了。Usually we are too lazy and just let it be.

权力[quan li] power

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1.在他们看来,艺术家是有权力的、有个人观点的或者跟他们有距离的一个角色,我希望没有这些界限的束缚,我希望大家是非常平等融洽关系,能够达到真正的沟通和相互平等理解

As in their view, the artist has power and individual
viewpoint
, or is a person
that keeps distance from themselves. I hope there won’t be any limits,
and we can share a equal and harmonious relationship, and realize the authentic communication and equality,
understanding.

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

采访对象:曹蕾

采访时间:2007年1月31日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

社会 society social 23

关系 relationship involved
with
16

珠三角 Pearl
River Delta
12

成长 长大 grew up 12

love 11

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qingganemotion 10

感情(ganqing) feeling
3

年代 时代 age 14

时尚 hippest fashion 7

流行 popular 5

周星驰 Stephen chow 1

都市 urban
1

政府 government 1

城市规划 urban planning 1

刺激 stimulate, excitement, stimulating 3

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

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

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

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

Q:回到刚才你和他人发生关系的方面,你在跟人合作之中,是怎样看待这种关系?

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

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

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

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

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

Q:你为什么觉得中国当代艺术缺少爱?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

情感[qing gan] emotion

This movie requires Flash Player 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

采访对象:曹蕾

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

社会 society social 23

关系 relationship involved with 16

珠三角 Pearl River Delta 12

成长 长大 grew up 12

love 11

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

Q:回到刚才你和他人发生关系的方面,你在跟人合作之中,是怎样看待这种关系?

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

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

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

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

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

Q:你为什么觉得中国当代艺术缺少爱?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

前卫(艺术)[qian wei(yi shu)] avant-garde(art)

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1.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。

 

Western and Chinese audience are aware of this (Chinese) contemporary art thing, they know there is a bunch of people doing weird stuff, and their first reaction towards them are “Ah! Another performance art! “Thus art is reduced to a term, when someone puzzles over something; he would call it performance art. He has this category in his mind, and can group it, and then it’s easy for him to take in.

 

(摘自徐坦对孙原的访谈 Excerpt from Interview with Sun Yuan)

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007131日下午

采访地点:于北京草场地艾家

do” engage in 25

可能 maybe possibility impossible perhaps may 21

社会 society social 19

问题 problem question 17

兴趣 fascinated interested uninterested interest 12

个人 individual 12

方式 ways approaches 10

市场 market 9

价值 value 7

 

政治的 political  1

国家 country  state  4

自由 freedom  free 7

个人表达 individual expression

地下 underground

民主 democratic  2

 

circle 3

money 5

时代 (information/Internet) age 5

play 3

资金 capital 1

poor poverty 4

弱智 retarded 2

face 3

 

Q:先请艾老师说下你对中国当代艺术现状的看法或印象。

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

Q:你觉得它反映的是一些什么问题呢?

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

Q:那你怎样看待现在公众对当代艺术的接受方面?

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

Q:那你觉得你参与策划展览之类的活动能否对这种乱七八糟的状况有所作用呢?

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

Q:你刚才讲到市场,那请谈下你对艺术市场的看法。

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

Q:那你自己感兴趣的其实是什么?

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

Q:讲一讲你的博客吧。

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

Q:就是说它是一个你传播你自己信息的途径?

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

Q:你觉得在艺术上有没有地域的中心边缘之分?

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

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