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system 制度[zhi du]

Interviewed: Liu Renhua

Time: Afternoon, Jan. 14, 2007

Location: Eudora Station Cafe, Beijing

 

 

生活 life live 15

低级趣味 vulgar taste vulgar 5

自己 self own 22

态度 attitude 6

社会 society social 7

别人 others other people other 5

接受 accept take 6

大众 public 14

大众审美 popular aesthetics 3

审美 aesthetics 7

时尚 fashion 15

消耗 drain (exhaust)               5

关系,联系, 关联 relationship relation related connections 6

不同,不一样 different 10

 

制度 system 1

 

take 7

circle 6

sell 5

发展 development develops 6

无聊 boring bored 5

商业 commercialization business commercial 4

国外 foreign countries 4

中国 China 3

形象 images 5

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Q: Many other artists also feel negative.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

symbol 符号[fu hao]

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

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.

(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.

 

survive, living 生存, 谋生[sheng cun, mou sheng]

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.nterviewed: 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.

surrounding 环境[huan jing]

1. 这种创作环境比较难,像早期当代艺术,我们还能看到一种冒险意识形态对抗。

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.

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

2.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

Western societies, relatively speaking, have an opener environment, with a lot of knowledge colliding and integrating with individuals and the society,

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

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.

Superstition 迷信[mi xin]

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)

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.

success, successful 成功[cheng gong]

1.  你不能不承认所有人都会把经济上的成功作为衡量成功的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

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.

(摘自徐坦对孙原,彭禹的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Sun Yuan, Peng Yu)

 

2.  我希望艺术家能有一些功能正常一点的角色,他就是艺术家,但你无法肯定中国的艺术家是不是达到这些东西,或者说呈现了这些东西,目前为止更多的是商业上成功,吸引关注

I hope artists can function in a way that’s meant to be, i.e., as an artist. But you are not sure whether Chinese artists have achieved that, or whether they have managed to at least present themselves as such. So far what we have seen are mostly commercial success, buzz and attention.

(摘自徐坦对徐震的访谈   Excerpt from Interview with Xu Zhen)

Interviewed: Wang Guanzheng

Time: Noon, Feb. 3, 2007

Location: Grass Green 2607, SOHO Modern City, Beijing

整体 totality total picture overall 12

集体(主义) collectives collectivity 11

一致 homogeneity homogenous 7

时间 time period period of time 15

社会 society social societal 26

个人 individual individualistic 30

经验 experience 13

公共 public 11

大众 public (populace)   15

倾向() tendency inclination 7

语言 language 9

怀疑 doubt suspicion 5

质疑 suspicion question questioning 10

方法 method way  17

方式 manner way 43

(有)问题 problem questionable issue 54

() change become modification 8

状态 status 8

秩序 order 8

判断 judgment judges 20

创造() creative creativity 4

知识(分子) knowledge intellectuals 11

明确() clarify clarity clear 20

针对 focus 9

角度 angles 5

态度 attitude stance 9

身份 identity 22

后身份 post-identity 9

可能性 possibilities 14

话语 discourse 5

权力 power 5

实验 experiment 6

国家 nation 6

概念 concept

 

 

独立 independent 1

意识形态 ideology ideologism 11

安全 safe unsafe safety 4

审批制度 censorship system 1

 

 

 

 

市场 market 8

传统 traditional 5

中国 China 31

money wealthy 2

机会 opportunity 8

诱惑 temptation 1

post 33

关系 relationship 39

生存谋生 survive living 4

商业的 commercial 2

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

stimulate, excitement, stimulating 刺激[ci ji]

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度。我觉得它好像一口,离不开居住地。

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.

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

Interviewed: Cao Lei

Time: Evening, January 31, 2007

Location: The blue building, SOHO New Town, Beijing

 

社会 society social 23

关系 relationship involved with 16

珠三角 Pearl River Delta 12

成长 长大 grew up 12

love 11

年青 young 10

合作 collaboration 9

影响 (作用) influence 9

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

环境 surrounding 11

自己 self 30

自我 myself 1

乌托邦 utopia 5

艺术圈 art circle 4

交流 communication 6

现实 现状 reality (realism) 12

现实主义 reality realism 2

国家 country 5+

fast 3

 

招安 sold souls 1

独立 independence 6

 

 

个人()   individual personal 12

中国 China Chinese 10

西方 the West 4

情感qinggan)    emotion 10

感情(ganqing) feeling 3

年代 时代 age 14

时尚 hippest fashion 7

流行 popular 5

周星驰 Stephen chow 1

都市 urban 1

政府 government 1

城市规划 urban planning 1

刺激 stimulate, excitement, stimulating 3

 

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Stephen chow 周星驰[zhou xing chi]

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.

status 位置[wei zhi]

我的感觉就是,中国当代艺术,包括整个绘画行业中国这个社会里始终处在一个装饰性位置生活条件好家庭需要装饰画,但对于有钱人来讲,他不知道价值,他也不需要了解,他有钱,能买画,就掌握跟艺术家讲话的一个话语权,除此之外,他不关心别的问题

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.

(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.

spiritual 灵[ling]

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.

sold souls 招安[zhao an]

以前我们说艺术家招安,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

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.

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

Interviewed: Cao Lei

Time: Evening, January 31, 2007

Location: The blue building, SOHO New Town, Beijing

 

社会 society social 23

关系 relationship involved with 16

珠三角 Pearl River Delta 12

成长 长大 grew up 12

love 11

年青 young 10

合作 collaboration 9

影响 (作用) influence 9

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

环境 surrounding 11

自己 self 30

自我 myself 1

乌托邦 utopia 5

艺术圈 art circle 4

交流 communication 6

现实 现状 reality (realism) 12

现实主义 reality realism 2

国家 country 5+

fast 3

 

招安 sold souls 1

独立 independence 6

 

 

个人()   individual personal 12

中国 China Chinese 10

西方 the West 4

情感qinggan)    emotion 10

感情(ganqing) feeling 3

年代 时代 age 14

时尚 hippest fashion 7

流行 popular 5

周星驰 Stephen chow 1

都市 urban 1

政府 government 1

城市规划 urban planning 1

刺激 stimulate, excitement, stimulating 3

 

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

society social 社会[she hui]

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圈子,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

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.

(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.

sell 卖[mai]

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, 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?

self 自己[zi ji]

1.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

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.

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

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

I believe myself to be someone with multiple personalities, not simply a painter. Like I can diagnose myself; I can cure other people‘s illness through painting. I can also strengthen myself physically. I’m sixty-seven now, and in great shape. Many artists remain in good physical condition once they reach a certain spiritual level, and can live very long. They are also practicing the Qi (energy) to dredge their mind; that’s why painters have high spiritual levels.

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

Interviewed: 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.

science 科技[ke ji]

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

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.

(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.

safe, unsafe, safety (不)安全[(bu)an quan]

其实我在1996年做那个作品《生产》的时候就在调查这个问题,我为什么去了很多现场,去了公共空间?他们为什么要在这个地方成天坐着倾听别人谈自己?实际上就是在分享一个日常话语,就是说某一种个人在这样的一种声音里面已经变得非常不重要了,或者他认为不安全,那么通过这种集体主义的这种场所集体的一种话语方式,潜在的就把某种个人的东西转换成一种倾向公共声音,这样的话,大家都分享一种公共话语安全

Why did I go to a lot of sites and public spaces? Why did they sit there all day and listen to the others talking about themselves? They are in fact sharing a daily discourse. In other words, certain individuals have become unimportant in such voices, or that they think it unsafe, so that through this collective site and collective discourse, certain individualistic things are transformed into a public voice with some [attitude] tendency. Thus, everyone shares this safety of public discourse.

(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.

舒服[shu fu] comfortable

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.就是说不管有没有权力,你感觉很舒服愉快就行了,因为你处在别人的权力机制,你不是处在最高层上。

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.

(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:2007年1月29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。

时尚[shi shang] fashion

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1.我觉得肯定会有影响娱乐业时尚影响到了年青和整个社会

Sure they do, both show biz and fashion industry have casted an influence
on the younger generation and the society as
a whole.

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

2. 时尚大众生活,有引导性,主要是引导性,引导你的生活。

Fashion is more popular, more real-life,
and more guiding. Mostly it’s about this guidance – guiding your life.

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

采访对象:刘韡

采访时间:2007年1月14日下午

采访地点:于北京亿多瑞站咖啡馆

生活 life live 15

低级趣味 vulgar
taste
vulgar 5

自己 self own 22

态度 attitude 6

社会 society social 7

别人 others other people other 5

接受 accept take 6

大众 public 14

大众审美 popular aesthetics 3

审美 aesthetics 7

时尚 fashion 15

消耗 drain (exhaust) 5

关系,联系, 关联 relationship relation related connections 6

不同,不一样 different 10

制度 system 1

take 7

circle 6

sell 5

发展 development develops 6

无聊 boring bored 5

商业 commercialization business commercial 4

国外 foreign countries 4

中国 China 3

形象 images 5

Q:请先大概谈谈你对中国当代艺术现状的看法。

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

Q:你的作品想以一个怎么样的形象呈现给别人

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

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

Q:你认为你的艺术创作和社会现实是一个怎么样的关系?

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

Q:那你的艺术创作同公众的交流会不会有障碍?

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

Q:这是一种大众文化和精英文化的区别?

A:没有什么精英的东西,我不喜欢这种自以为是的感觉。

Q:北京这个城市对你创作有什么影响?

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

Q:很多艺术家都说北京的展览太多太泛了。

A:是,但我一般不看展览,除非是很熟的人的展览,其他展览都不看

Q:你对美术馆艺术机构有什么看法?

A:基本上没什么联系,那属于公关活动,不是我们做的事情。

Q:那你觉得艺术不应该介入社会、介入生活?

A:不是,有一类艺术家是这样做的,也很好,只是我的想法不同而已。

Q:那你认为艺术家在社会里是一个怎么样的角色?

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

Q:有很多艺术家也觉得消极。

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

Q:你认为时尚和艺术是怎样的关系?

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

实际[shi ji] practical

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采访对象:卢思沉

采访时间:2007130日下午

采访地点:于北京四环辅路梵思西餐厅

社会 social 18

市场 market 11

机构 institutions organizations 11

边缘 periphery 7

居住 housing living 5

北京 Beijing
63

邻居 neighbors 5

符号 symbol 10

中国符号 China symbol 6

胡同 Hutong alleys 10

国家 country 5

弱势群体 under-privileged
groups
7

日本 Japan 6

热门 hot 3

老百姓 citizens residents 5

环境 context 13

拍卖 auction 8

价格 price, worth 5

价值 value 8

关系 relationship 21

人际关系 interpersonal relationship 2

拆迁 demolishing
and rebuilding
3

西方 the West 4

建筑 building 9

位置 status 4

装修 decoration
project
interior decoration 3

circle 1

Q:先请卢老师谈一下你对现在中国当代艺术发展状况的一些看法。

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

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

Q:谈一下你的创作主要关注的东西。

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

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

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

Q:你觉得西方那边是怎样看待中国当代艺术的发展的?

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

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

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

Q:那么从你的角度来看,其实这个社会环境对当代艺术的接受还是很有限的。

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

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

Q:你怎样把它转换成装置?

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

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

市场[shi chang] market

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1. 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。

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.

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

2. 我也跟一些人聊过,他们觉得现在这种现象可怕的,现在作品价格是很的,高出了市场承受能力,这就有点像股市

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.

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

采访对象:冯顺华

采访时间:2007年1月30日下午

采访地点:于北京中央美术学院数码媒体工作室

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

Q:你觉得要怎样来定位艺术家?

A:我觉得理想的艺术家,和他的艺术观人生观都有关系个人来说,我认为艺术应该是无用的,这是一个基本理念,我自己是这样认为的,最高级的艺术应该是有用的艺术,但在这个前提下我们可以讨论别的事情,我们可以学以致用,艺术的功用性都是一样的,不管是社会政治性市场,把这些东西作为艺术的基本认识的话,我觉得是不正常心态艺术就是为艺术,不是为别的目的

Q:你怎么看待当代艺术?

A:当代艺术正在逐渐地变成像显微镜一样的那种东西,把每个细节拿出来放大,再拆成各种各样的可能性,在相当程度上变得很极端,或变得短视,是这么的一种情况,我本身对当代艺术有多大兴趣呢?我要是去美术馆,一定是谈古代艺术的,从我个人来讲,我对现在的当代艺术没有浓厚的兴趣,我对技术或别的方面的发展会更兴趣,但对艺术当代的发展是比较悲观的,不认为是多么了不起的事情。

Q:为什么?

A:个性吧,刺激的东西我也见过,但也不过如此,还是喜欢比较安静的东西,像古典艺术那种磐石的东西,对我来说比较刺激

Q:那你觉得当代艺术有些什么样的特性?

A:我可能总结不出来,要说的话,我可能会认为比较极端一些,不管是表现形式,还是它想达到的目的,都显得非常极端。当然,当代艺术里面有非常震撼,或激动人心的,或具有永恒意义的作品,当然是有的,但真的是特别古典艺术是积累了那么多年以后才有这些杰作的,当代艺术,有大部分作品尤其显得短视的这种感觉。因为我经常参加当代艺术的展览,我已经看够了,所以如果要去看展览,如果我有选择,我肯定是去古典的,我不想得到什么,我只是享受古典艺术

Q:市场对艺术创作来说不是一个问题?

A:对我来说是好事,我挺喜欢的,我以前真的没有想过市场的事,有时候还反着干,现在我觉得这好像不是特别正常,因为我觉得现在市场这么,还不如用市场本身点事情更有意思,与其逃避或者忽略,还不如利用这个因素。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,市场就是市场就是。以前这个是,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,现在我们就还不如收藏家商量,没准还有变化,其实古代的画都是的,不管是私藏品还是其他,西方的更不用说了,教堂、宫廷,都是的,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

Q:市场对你艺术创作起到什么影响因素?

A:赚容易,这只是我的一个项目——市场,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。

Q:什么样的文化符号对你的艺术来讲是有用的?

A:就像是过滤器,我们接受的信息都是差不多,每天上一样的网站新闻,什么样的信息引起了你的兴趣……去美术馆展览、去看、看电影,什么东西被过滤掉,什么东西被留下来?关于电子游戏,也是一个过滤器,被能过滤过来的东西都有兴趣,电子游戏首先是游戏,我从小对游戏的东西特别兴趣,这些东西是人的天性的东西,不只是生物动物都有这个天性爱玩,必须是吃饱了饭的情况下去玩。能在吃饱了饭的情况下来干一件消遣的事情,那是一种很高的理想生活状态,我觉得这特别自然,对于一个小孩成长过程来讲,游戏是非常重要的一件事情,我一直保持了这个天性,有了电子游戏以后,我也觉得非常自然,这是一个大具,肯定有很多玩法,玩着玩着肯定有很多想法,就想能用电子游戏来事情那不是更有意思?所以从92开始,一直到现在,我基本上都是围绕着电子游戏作品。这就是过滤器,能符合电子游戏的东西来表达的东西一定是经过筛选来的,可能哲学著作等这方面的东西一定特别适合,还有一些比较敏感的微妙的情感方面的东西,但比如动作性影像声音节奏等这些比较粗的、感官性的东西就比较适合,长期以来就是这种粗线条过滤器

Q:你是把虚拟的东西成真的——不只是艺术,当代文化就朝着这个方向发展,就是它让你有愿望进入这种角色?

A:其实我们是一种很感官动物,我们的所有享受——按照唯心的说法,这些东西都是一些感官刺激;按照唯物主义的说法,这些东西都是存在的;按照唯心主义来说,什么都是的。我们都是靠我们的感官来感觉这个世界,当然这种感觉可能是也可能是的,我看到你在这,也可能你不在这,我觉得未来世界会朝着比较虚拟方向发展,简单地说就是类似于毒品这样的东西,比如一个锌片在你身体里面,你可能觉得是一个毒品,比如吃一个中餐的面包,而我告诉你这是日餐的一块鱼,因为我给你注入了这个程序,你怎么能不相信呢?这东西的实现是毫无疑问的。我举个极端的例子,你能不能下(载)到一个小孩,你说不可以,因为你不会针对一个小孩,而你会拍他的脑袋,和他聊天,晚上照顾他睡觉,那你是怎么知道这一切的?通过语言、触觉、听觉?如果这些东西都给你,那你就有了;我们说“下(载)到一个钢琴”,别人都不信,现在下(载)到一个钢琴算什么?而且还是某家著名音乐厅里面十八世纪的一个钢琴,这完全有可能,你工作时就可以随便下(载)到一个钢琴,因为你弹出来的是声音,声音以后,这架钢琴和那架一样,因为你要的是钢琴的声音,而不用管钢琴的木头怎么样,因为你不是收藏家,作为观众消费的是钢琴的声音,这声音是数字化的,自然可以“下(载)”;那么一个小孩有什么不可以下到?你会认为这可怕,完全是不可能的,这是感觉,如果你每天生活在这种感觉里面,每天受到感觉的刺激,这个程序会慢慢引导小孩不断地成长,每天上学放学,搞得相当累,你也生活了十年……从这一点来看,我觉得整个世界都是悲观的。

Q:那是不是意味着很多传统社会意义的艺术机构在某些方面衰退?

A:不好说,我个人有一种愿望:总是希望美术馆这种东西永远存在下去。非常有可能的是,将来什么东西都数字化了,但希望美术馆还在,我想的不是以后五年十年发生的,我想的是很久以后的……文字、语言等……

Q:其实当代艺术或传统艺术,都还是涉及到世俗社会里人的一般存在的问题,比如独立性,少数民族的事……实际上都是一种传统文化价值,而到今天怎么用它来艺术?你对这些没有兴趣

A:我一点兴趣也没有,对关于所谓的民族艺术真的一点兴趣没有,艺术也干不了这些事情,它也不是艺术的目的,也不是艺术能达到的,艺术什么也改变不了,与其改变不了去乱改变,还不如自己处理好自己的事情,那就是艺术家去解决自己问题,对一件作品就是解决这件作品事情,这还比较有意思,可以有各种各样的借口社会?最终还是这个艺术家对单独的这件作品负责任,在这个前提下才能谈交流,如果自己都不能解决这个问题,那怎么去交流?

身体[shen ti] body

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

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

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

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007年1月31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。

身份[shen fen] identity

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.我觉得这个在北京还是比较明显的,就有的时候会具体地分配到穿衣、抽哪种烟、戴哪种眼镜,都有一种文化身份在里边,我觉得文化身份也是致命的,有的时候你的态度止于文化身份上。

I think this is quite
obvious in Beijing, and this is realized concretely in dressing,
cigarettes you smoke, eyeglasses you wear – they are
all injected with some kind of cultural identity. And I think cultural identity is also lethal:
sometimes your attitude is determined by your cultural identity.

2.当你只满足于你代表了某一种文化身份的时候,其实你也就停止你再往下思考的一个机会

when you become satisfied
with your representing certain cultural
identity
, you actually for thinking any further.

(摘自徐坦对汪建伟的访谈 Excerpt from Interview with Wang
Jianwei)

采访对象:汪关征

采访时间:2007年2月3日中午

采访地点:于北京SOHO现代城草绿2607

整体 totality total picture overall 12

集体(主义) collectives collectivity
11

一致 homogeneity homogenous 7

时间 time period period of time 15

社会 society social societal 26

个人 individual individualistic 30

经验 experience 13

公共 public 11

大众 public (populace) 15

倾向() tendency inclination
7

语言 language 9

怀疑 doubt suspicion 5

质疑 suspicion question questioning 10

方法 method way 17

方式 manner way 43

(有)问题 problem questionable
issue 54

() change become
modification 8

状态 status 8

秩序 order 8

判断 judgment judges 20

创造() creative creativity
4

知识(分子) knowledge intellectuals 11

明确() clarify clarity
clear 20

针对 focus 9

角度 angles 5

态度 attitude stance
9

身份 identity 22

后身份 post-identity 9

可能性 possibilities 14

话语 discourse 5

权力 power 5

实验 experiment 6

国家 nation 6

概念 concept

独立 independent 1

意识形态 ideology ideologism 11

安全 safe unsafe safety
4

审批制度 censorship system 1

市场 market 8

传统 traditional 5

中国 China 31

money wealthy
2

机会 opportunity 8

诱惑 temptation 1

post 33

关系 relationship 39

生存谋生 survive living 4

商业的 commercial 2

Q:请汪老师先讲一下你对现在中国当代艺术发展现状的看法。

A:所以说从宏观上来谈,我觉得可能现在总的来讲就是一个发展过程,因为我觉得这个过程就是由一个整体怎么过渡到去认识不同的艺术家和不同的艺术,我觉得远远还没有过渡到这一步,因为我觉得一个国家的当代艺术以国家形式出现可能有利有弊吧,有可能是会得到更多的人或更多的关注,不利的一点就是它只能以一个整体出现,那么对我来讲,我认为这是个问题,因为我觉得这也是传统艺术当代艺术的一个区别,你想想十几年前,欧洲对中国的艺术都有一个整体印象,如果我们继续坚持这个整体的话,可能它只是替换了某一种材料和某一种形象,比如说在一段时间是龙、是凤凰、是竹子,是陶瓷、丝绸,最可能用一些其它的材料把这些材料替代了,那么这就是作为一个整体你要冒的风险,我对集体是很恐惧的,因为我曾经当过兵,跟60多个人在一起住过好几年,我觉得它给我带来的遗产有两个,一个就是痛恨一致,我认为所有的东西,无论是内在的还是形式上的一致,对我来讲好像心里上都有一种天生的免疫,我基本上觉得这个肯定就是有问题的,第二个就是对集体保持一种怀疑

Q:那你觉得艺术家应该投入注意力的是什么?

A: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?

Q:在这些展览中,你在意你的作品与观众的沟通吗?

A:其实……这里边涉及到很多问题,第一个问题就是刚才谈的大众到底存不存在?我们老是谈艺术跟大众,首先就是大众存不存在?就像我们两个这样对着说,你是大众还是我是大众?如果你是我不是,那为什么?换一句话来讲,我是你不是,依据又是什么?如果我们都找不到明确的依据的话,那我们俩都是大众,这样就不存在以一个……艺术家跟大众永远在形成一种独特的关系,这是问题的第一个,所以说这个问题本身一上来就是个很概念问题;第二个就是,如果真的存在艺术家大众关系的话,那么大众实际上不是跟艺术家直接沟通的,大众跟艺术家……如果我们要谈关系,那就是有构成关系的构成系统,第一个系统,教育系统,我们的教育系统不承担任何对当代艺术的教育……,第二,我们所有的美术馆中国严格意义上来讲我看不到一个真正意义上的美术馆,基本上是以出租场地来谋生的这么一个空间,这样的空间也不承担大众任何艺术的教育义务,那么我们的媒体永远对艺术的经验就只能把它当成一个舆论来阐释,你想想,最主要的大众跟艺术家的关系是在这样的一种环境下产生的,公众跟艺术家有关系,其实是由这三个不同的系统所产生的,如果这三个系统都不能建立起来,那么你可以想象,艺术跟大众之间到底存在什么关系?第三,我觉得艺术家跟大众之间不存在一个很固定关系

Q:你对所处的生存环境有什么看法吗?

A:举个例子吧,就像我们现在对城市看法,我觉得艺术家知识分子,包括建筑师都在谈,但是你感觉到更荒诞的是……不是批评城市,而是批评城市变得完全一致,有的时候你在批评这个城市的时候变得特一致,特没有个性,特没有差异,但是我觉得更有趣的是,批评使用的语言方法变得更一致,我开了很多关于对城市的这种讨论会,基本上就是批评会,而且我突然注意到这里边有两个问题,第一,批评城市是很安全的,无论从任何角度,把它骂得体无完肤,或者说把它说成狗屎都可以,因为非常安全,因为不涉及到任何,也不涉及到任何具体,所以说还能表明自己有批评态度,我觉得这是一种投机取巧方法,所以在这种状态下我拒绝以这样的方式来批评,因为这样的话就变成一种集体主义,表态运动,你不批评城市你就不带……我现在就认为有第二个问题出现,批评城市……为什么?英语的那个词WHY?你站在什么样的立场?我希望你用你的方式来说话,而不是说以一个公共方式来说话,尽管你批评的是一个公共的空间,实际上就回到我个人……比如说这样的态度的话,我认为你可以拥有你自己对这个城市的判断,其实城市对我来讲就是一个人造景观,就是我们的另一种乌托邦精神所产生出来的,这个东西……理想主义法西斯主义就在这条线上,就在这条钢丝上,其实我们的整个城市就是建立在这么一个钢丝上,它的乌托邦精神和它的法西斯主义倾向实际上有的时候就是这么一点点距离,在这个问题上,你对城市之间……你的态度是什么,我觉得这个时候你会用你的……比如说你是艺术家,或者你是作家,你会有你的语言方式来谈你的态度,而且我觉得不仅仅表明一个态度,因为我现在也听到很多……就是态度决定一切”,这其实很有问题态度决定一切就意味着所有的问题只要你举手或者不举手,那就是说回到一个公共……其实我在1996年做那个作品《生产》的时候就在调查这个问题,我为什么去了很多现场,去了公共空间?他们为什么要在这个地方成天坐着倾听别人谈自己?实际上就是在分享一个日常话语,就是说某一种个人在这样的一种声音里面已经变得非常不重要了,或者他认为不安全,那么通过这种集体主义的这种场所集体的一种话语方式,潜在的就把某种个人的东西转换成一种倾向公共声音,这样的话,大家都分享一种公共话语安全生存方式也一样,我觉得生存首先是不概念生存,就是你按照……你不用受到某一种潜在的诱惑,或者受到某种潜在的理论的挑衅,你把你的生活放在某一种暗示上,这种暗示就表明你是某一种文化态度,我觉得这个在北京还是比较明显的,就有的时候会具体地分配到穿衣、抽哪种烟、戴哪种眼镜,都有一种文化身份在里边,我觉得文化身份也是致命的,有的时候你的态度止于文化身份上,当你只满足于你代表了某一种文化身份的时候,其实你也就停止你再往下思考的一个机会,就是你表明了你……我感觉这就是我的生存方式

Q:外界对在中国发生的艺术的概括,这种情况是不是真的与整个中国的状况有关?而且是不是现在很多艺术家很相似确实是有其内在的原因而不止是外界的原因呢?

A:其实我觉得这个问题……对我来讲……就像刚才你要让我谈对目前这个东西的判断和这个判断基于什么,比如说有的时候我们说一天就是很长的时间,那就要看具体的一个事情,比如说刷一次牙、吃一顿饭,可能一个小时,这个时间事件之间就是这么一个关系,但是当一个文化的东西被判断或者被准确的判断,我觉得这个时间非常漫长,其实就像我们97年那个展览……到现在,就像你刚才谈的,实际上这种对中国当代艺术的整体判断,它实际上还有愈演愈烈的感觉,我觉得这个过程实际上十年可能还太,也许它还会延续,因为中国和这个世界的关系,这种发展……其实我觉得文化还是属于非常非常缓慢的,其实这个国家你可以看见……有的时候我们会在大街上看到特别时髦的汽车和特别时髦的手机,但是我们很多文化制度包括规定,实际上延续到20多年前……没有任何变化,比如我举个简单的例子,电影,电影的审批制度到现在完全一样,而且可能还比以前……所以说这个社会有一大批东西……实际上……没有变化的东西没有展现出来,所以说有的时候我们看见的是变化的东西……那么从这个意义上来讲,这个社会上实际上都让某一种东西回到了稍稍没有那么太大差异的基础上,它需要很长的时间,反过来,我觉得中国当代艺术也是这个问题,而且我不知道你有没有这个感觉,当时我们在……荷兰做完这个展览以,我记得特别清楚,我们当时觉得好像这样的大展可能将来就不会再发生了,但是没想到十年还有比这个更吓人的展览,那么我觉得可能有两个因素,一个因素就是有更多国家和更多的机构或者说更多的有人,开始对中国兴趣,也许我们那个时候,就是部分地……比如说某一种艺术类型、某一种基金会,开始对中国整体当代艺术感兴趣,现在可能由于中国的这种神话,导致了更多的人和机构从更多的角度关注中国,这可能是另外一种变化,……。第二,我就觉得,由于更多的人进入到这个领域,更多的艺术家会……他会和它产生一种关系,我觉得这个过程是我们必须走的,但是我也注意到,有很多艺术家实际上已经在开始做他们的工作,我觉得这部分艺术家可能比十年前也更多

社会主义[she hui zhu yi] socialism

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1. 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

In socialist planned economy, you’ve got nothing but your own body. However you
body doesn’t belong to you. You are not allowed to
provide erotic service, because you run counter to morality, and
violate the regulation for public security.

(摘自徐坦对野牛的访谈 Excerpt from
Interview with Ye-niu)

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。

社会[she hui] society

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1. 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过去这几十年的一些问题

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.

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

2. 我的感觉就是,中国当代艺术,包括整个绘画行业中国这个社会里始终处在一个装饰性位置

My feeling is that contemporary Chinese art,
including the entire painting profession, has always occupied a decorative
position
in the Chinese society.

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

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007年1月31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。

扫黄打非[sao huang da fei] wipe out pornography

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

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

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

采访对象:艾东明

采访时间:2007年1月31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。

上海人[shang hai ren] Shanghaiese

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.我在张江工作是过完年一月份开始的,我是上海人

I started my work in Zhangjiang since January,
after the Spring Festival. Though I am a native
Shanghai citizen

2.虽然我自己是上海人,在张江我觉得空气比较好。

I
wouldn’t
have be here if I had not worked here, although I am a Shanghai native. In Zhangjiang the air is quite fresh.

(摘自徐坦对胡薇的访谈 Excerpt from Interview with HuWei)

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.

 

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