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woman, female 女[nv]

1.现在就我自己来看,我所有发源的点还是从我自身来的,如果碰巧你非要拿这个来指责我,唯一的原因就是因为我的确是个女性,现在我能关注到、能涉及到的、我兴趣的也就是这些东西,现在你能在我全部作品里面看到的比较清楚的脉络就都是从我个人来的。

From my point of view, I myself am the Singularity of everything. And if you insist on accusing me for it, the only explanation would be that I am indeed a woman, and those are the only things that I am concerned about, involved and interested in. All traces that you can see in my works come from myself.

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

Interviewed: Hu Xiaoyu

Time: Afternoon, February 1, 2007

Location: Dushixin Hai’an Yayuan, Futong Xi Da Jie, Beijing

 

 

 

woman female 41

女性 female 32

女性主义 feminism 4

man 24

男性 male 18

男性艺术家 male artists 8

社会 society 38

生活(活着) life living lifestyle 33

个人 personal individual 21

感觉 (觉得) feeling 21

兴趣 interest 10

不一样(不同) different difference 9

责任 responsibility 9

关系 relationship 7

生命 life 5

感情(ganqing) emotion 3

情感(qinggan) emotion emotional 4

方式 way approaches 19

自己 self own personal 13

现实 reality 3

介入 intervention involvement 7

 

时政 political 1

自由 freedom 1

 

无聊 bored 3

空虚 empty (spiritually) 2

addicted 2

打交道 deal with 3

有意思 interesting 8

没意思 out the meaning 5

刺激 stimulation stimulated 2

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: Talk about your life, society, and sociality.

 

A: Art and life do not necessarily have so many conflicts, and you don’t have to think of it as being logical and sensible. [A ] I feel that a lot of things should be allowed to evolve naturally so that they will straighten out in the best way. I think maybe the society is choosing marginal things, things in the outer limit of social norm. I started out rejecting the society. Granted, I myself am supposed to be rejected but the strange thing is, my role as an artist has probably prompted the society to pull me back from the margin. If I were in a profession in which people are required to frequently deal with the society, I might as well get filtered out. After you gain from the society, despite your unwillingness, [it's time] you are bound to take some responsibilities, which means compromise: I begin to move closer to the society, which, in turn, offers me more. But I’m not sure about the future. First I rejected the society, maybe I’m still rejecting it a little bit now, but it’s not rejecting me, this is really subtle relationship. What I don’t know is, if one day I start to embrace the society, would it reject me then? It’s hard to tell, everything is random. I’m especially afraid of having too much contact with the society. I never work with assistant, if I have an assistant does all the work, what’s the point of living? I have to be hands-on in order to figure out the meaning of my life during that period of time. I don’t have social skills and I fear dealing with people. I had depression a while ago. If I can choose my destiny at will, I think maybe nunnery is the best for me, but I can’t. Also, like I haven’t chosen to live the life I’m having now, but I ended up like this anyway, so I was forced to accept something I rejected, after a while, I got addicted to it. This is just weird and contradictory. But I believe everything will straighten themselves out in the end, so now I just try to go with the flow and be less sensitive, letting myself being pushed by other things. I try to be passive, just sitting at home waiting, and when something comes, I work with it as long as I like it. In the very beginning, making art was a way and reason of existence for me, I felt it’s more interesting than other things. Now that I have gained some recognition, you’ll need stimulation. Because your interest wears off during the process, so you need to be stimulated in order to extend it. It’s like a trajectory which will be extended by external intervention.

 

Q: [Market.]Does market have any influence on your artistic creation?

 

A: Not interested. If someone comes to me and offers to buy my stuff, I will have to consider whether I should sell or not, and that’s it. I haven’t studied the market systematically, and I don’t really care. I’m doing [okay] with my living state for now, and that’s enough.

 

Q: The object of your works.

 

A: I think they are directly connected to my personal emotion and feeling. A large portion of them share a lot of similar things, after all they are all done by myself. But the emotional sources of each work are complicated, it’s not a simple thread. Usually, when there’s a certain point in life that touches me deeply, I would create a work based on that experience. So it’s not something could be easily explained in words, what can be say for sure is that my art works are all related to my personal life. Sometimes I’m also quite puzzled, like a while ago a male friend questioned me, he thought a lot of “female artists” – of course I never call myself that – have a narrow range of concerns: emotion, pedigree, etc. We had some serious quarrel. Speaking of myself, most of my works derive from my own life experience. If you have to accuse me of that, the only reason I can think of is that I am female, so that I’m only concerned with, work on, and interested in those stuff, all the recognizable references in my works have their roots in my personal life. I didn’t think about these in the very beginning. I don’t know what’s going on with others, but I take a look at myself and I know what’s with me. A lot of male artists say that they don’t understand my works. Without having studied the history of Chinese feminism in details, I nevertheless think that women go through a lot of development and changes in a given period of time. For instance, me and my brother are all that’s in my mum‘s mind, children and husband are all that’s in my grandma’s mind, but I feel I don’t want kids now: I don’t even understand what life is about, how can I take the responsibility of have a child? I’ve been thinking what’s the meaning of life, this is perhaps a primary driving force of my art. There has to be meaning (in my works), so I keep searching for it every day. This is a male-centric society, female artists usually have normal and objective view on male ones; the opposite is rarely true, male artists always say they don’t understand our works, there is really no surprise here. Women always choose their ways of expression passively, as the range of their life experiences is limited, so the above judgment is unequally-based. Men‘s involvement in social, political and economic issues are much deeper than women, so of course they are confident in expressing their viewpoint. Women, for sure, are not confident and afraid to talk about those topics, they can only talk about themselves and their emotion. That’s why works by female artists tend to be more personal and intimate, thus difficult for men to understand. Many of my favourite Chinese female artists are very traditional, they have inherited a lot of fundamentally ‘Chinese‘ nature. The problem is not technique but what you are trying to communicate, whether you have a complete system of your own, and whether you manage to touch upon my heart. In most cases, these feelings exist only between women and are hard to describe with words. But I can feel them, they are too personal, detailed, and trivial, they are to be felt, not thought. The society is changing, there are currently many male artists (or non-artist men) paying attention to female approaches, they begin to think about those approaches they failed to understand before. I believe things will be a lot more [different] changes fifty years from now, maybe the demographic proportion would then be in favour of women, who would have more involvement in social life. When that day comes, we can expect the adjustment of social proportion or the right of ownership.

 

Q: The function of the artist?

 

A: I don’t have the sense of responsibility, don’t know how it feels to be functioning. But I’m sure a lot of people hope to function in the society, it’s about ambition. But what kind of function? That’s hard to tell. Artists have different way of expression, or shall we say different way of existencedifferent not only from the average people, but also from each other. Those whom I would consider good, who has touched me, are usually artists that base their works upon slices of personal life. From this aspect, I think all people are the same, the difference is that they have gone through different kind of life, thus coming out with different result.

white ell 白鳝[bai shan]

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.

the West 西方[xi fang]

1.我们早期会看到很多形式上的取巧——很西方工作方法,但是我觉得每个国家变化不一样的。

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.

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

2.但是我觉得有一点还是没有改变,现在的中国艺术家有这样的一个概念——就是跨领域跨学科的一种工作意识,而在西方这种东西是越来越普遍了。

But in my opinion, one thing remained unchanged: very few Chinese artists have this consciousness of interdisciplinary working method, which has been popular in the West.

(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.

ways, approaches 方式[fang shi]

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。

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.

(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.

无产阶级[wu chan jie ji] proletariat

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.我妈妈的妈妈逃出来躲起来了,然后说最好是给一个无产阶级青年,然后就找到了我爸爸。

My mother’s mother
escaped and hid, then she said it was better to marry
a proletariat youth, then she found
my father.

(摘自徐坦对郑国谷的访谈 Excerpt from Interview
with Zheng Guogu)

采访对象:郑广

采访时间:2007120日晚上

采访地点:于阳江郑家

设计 design 12

建筑 architecture
buildings
15

drink 6

换(交换) exchange 11

(用地
基地 根据地) land(for
certain purpose)
base 11

朋友 friend 15

关系 relation 29

公共关系 public relation 8

搞关系 developing relation 6

generation 30

一代 their days
4

需要 need 5

游戏 game 7

部门 department industries

地方 provincial 13

违章(建筑) unauthorized
(architecture)
3

平等 equality equal 5

自由 freedom
3


gambling 3

个人 individual 10

帝国时代* Age of Empire 19

地主(斗地主*) landlord (fight against the
landlord
* ) 4

农业人口 agricultural population 1

活(活着
生活 活动
干活live life activity work 15

money 23

双年展 Biennale 3

线人 whistle-blowers 6

无产阶级 proletariat
2

无产阶级青年 proletariat youth 2

社会 society social 4

*帝国时代:微软游戏,简称“帝国”,Age of Empire: computer game by
Microsoft

*斗地主:1,斗争地主,2,纸牌游戏, fighting against the landlord: 1, a communist activity 2, a card game

Q:你觉得艺术对于你的生活来说意味着什么呢?

A:就是把艺术融进自己的生命里面,每天着……什么都可以是作品

Q:在《帝国时代》(微软游戏)里,你看到了这样的一个艺术与生活的交点,那你觉得我们整个生活也处于一种游戏的状态吗?

A:应该是吧。其实我里的每个人,我弟弟,我妹妹都游戏里面,……每天连网打游戏——《传奇》(韩国网络游戏),连我妈妈、爸爸,又在另外一个叫“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”的网络游戏里,就是隔两天开一次的地下,可以在电脑上下注的,大家都游戏的世界里,的时候就觉得活在这世界里太了,但是的时候就要回到现实了,接受现实,明天要交了……有时会输得太了,付不起就觉得现实残酷,上次我在北京的展览,“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”,表面是一个书画展,其实是以这个做主题的,每天晚上都出鼠牛虎兔龙蛇,玄机重重啊。

Q:你刚才谈到的,生活与艺术工作都是混在一起了,那么你怎么看它们之间的关系?

A:我觉得通过赚工作,和帮别人干的经验,说不定哪天就会归纳到你自己的艺术创作上了,其实艺术很多都是来自于视而不见的东西,很多有意思的艺术家作品就是来源于生视而不见的东西。就是你要发现,很多一晃而过的东西,他留意到了和发现到了,就是他的东西了。

Q:你做一件双年展的作品和你为一个朋友做的定件有什么不一样?

A:不同之处只是在于在两个行业里面吧。双年展艺术……是进入策划人的情境里边的东西,而我为一个朋友设计是进入我朋友需要,我觉得都一样的,应该只是在两个不一样的情境。比如双年展主题,而我朋友设计也有主题,都有一个规划在里面,我觉得都是在接一单,一接手就都要为他着想,而他们都要付我制作费,我都是拿了别人做自己事情。有时候也会有很多可以流通的想法,比如这次帮朋友做的东西,下一次就可以流通到某个双年展里去了,因为我已经测试过的了,比如做一些空间的作品,我们觉得这样流通着做空间也比较有意思

Q:你是生活于阳江这样的地方,你在这里是个什么样的形象或是角色?你和周围的环境的关系如何?

A:我一般是在酒的地方面对各行各业的人,比如税务局的、警察、工厂的老板等,而我在这里就只是一个设计的角色,但是在那里就不管你是什么身份了,到一定的程度大家就都平等了,他们对“艺术家”这个词也都不了解,有时候我们要穿得像古惑仔一样——是一种很好的保护色,和黑社会有时候也在一起了。他们很多行规或者很多行业里外界不知道的事情,我都知道,要不是跟他们打交道,我也不知道他们的内心世界是这样的,有时一些很大的丑闻,我是从警察的口里知道的,这些都会刺激我的想象力。在阳江,刚发生的事情我很快就会知道了,因为我有很多线人在起作用,工商各部门……昨天发生什么事情,第2天我就知道了,

Q:为什么你会觉得做这种违章的建筑有意思呢?公共关系就是你和社会的这种关系吧,感觉整个社会像一个城堡或大厦一样复杂,那么你对这种社会对象有什么感受?

A:因为是一种挑战,也是一种公共关系或者跟社会交往关系积累,如果没有这种积累,我的《帝国时代》就根本没办法做,我建立的这种关系现在已经很不得了了,我已经认识了阳江部门的各大领导,全部关系已经稳定了,就为我的“帝国”的顺利建成铺了路,那里那是一种农民,是不能转换商业住宅的,这块转卖到我们这些农业人口的手里,城里的人就会关注你,你要在那里建立这么庞大建筑不可能的,根据什么规定就可以来你的,我就是突然有一天接到电话,要罚款……我马上要去公关,那些部门的人放了很多线人,都是线人起的作用,线人拿了的,为他们报信,比如你在家里秘密他也会知道,所以,被的人就还要付线人,我这个帝国时代被罚了好多,说这个东西是非法的,通过罚款,它就变成模棱两可的东西,这个部门,你收了我交的,就要承担一些东西,但是它也不能承认你,就被默认为是半合法的,所以得越多的越好。而我这些年面对的或者请客吃饭5、6拨人——当地的国土局规划局城建部门——我还知道城建部门有几个派系……真的把“帝国”做成了,那我在阳江就真的不得了了,以后就不知还会建什么了……,主要靠一种公共关系的建立。

Q:你刚才说了很多公共关系方面的东西,那你觉得和这些人打交道的这种状况会不会很荒诞?

A:是很荒诞,你不做这些就不会遇到这些东西,而你一跟他们接触了就很容易理解他们了……,比如开始你说是在建一个“猪栏”,怎么现在就变成一个“牛栏”了?——以前你说是建几个房子,现在突然看到你建了这么巨大的建筑出来,他就会来管,但是还是会默认你,就会和你商量怎么交差。

Q:你是很容易和周围的社会的人沟通和发生关系,那么你觉得做当代艺术这一点来说,艺术家是容易被人理解和接受的还是不容易的?

A:挺容易的,因为醉了就很容易把老底端出来了,我可以跟酒店或工厂的老板,跟武警小混混聊聊天,聊天的时候就会无意识谈到艺术展览,他们也会很好奇,所以我觉得很容易和他们沟通,这是小城镇的一种现象,只要你跟他建立了朋友关系,他很容易接受懂不懂没关系,起码他知道有这样的信息和状况。

Q:现在很多媒体、报纸都说公众对当代艺术不理解,你怎么看?

A:那只是一个表面的信息,一交了朋友就……说什么都会认可,他们也不是完全的了解你,只是好奇而已,反正他们也很闷,我经常会带一些朋友去看展览——他们去旅游顺便去看展览,比如说在展览上碰到很多老外,还跟他们合影,就觉得很新鲜,喜不喜欢都好,反正他挺高兴的,回来就很不一样了。

Q:他们对那些“恶心的”当代艺术作品有什么反应吗?

A:可能也都见怪不怪了吧,有什么比他们看到的更恶心呢?他那个行业里面那么真实的事都发生了,在他看来,一点也不会住他了

Q:你是在做这些建筑的时候玩公共关系的,但是你从来不跟那些策展人玩公共关系的是吧?

A:对,很多艺术家就把公共关系放在艺术方面了,但是我坚信一点,只要作品做得有意思,策划人是不会管这些东西的,因为他们太公正了。我们在艺术方面不要搞关系,一搞关系就觉得不好意思了,北京(的艺术家)应该挺会搞的,但是搞了那种关系其实也没用,一搞关系反而会被认为你有怎么样企图,因为我们和策划人都是平等关系,他需要我们,我们也需要他,配合好的话,对他来说更有好处, 我们在扮演什么样的角色他们都安排好了,所以不用去搞关系,搞了反而会

Q:以前搞艺术都是跑到中心的地方,而阳江作为比较边缘的地方,资讯也比较不发达……那么这个时代的所谓中心和边缘,以及乡下和城市这种问题,你能谈下你对这些问题的经验吗?

A:现在应该没有以前那么封闭了吧,慢慢地你发现可以通过网络,可以每天睡觉都不用管什么中心边缘了,因为中心也会,像毛主席也会派人来找到你,你有一个,有一个根据,中心知道你已经慢慢地建立了这样一个导弹的发射,你这个乡下导弹也可以发射到中心里了,不管是不是在乡下,你的思维也可以传达到中心或者跟中心在一起?……上一艺术家他们是怀着接近中心的愿望去的,他们不适合在家乡的周围动,而是必须离家出走的,他们是一代人,要是他们呆在他们家乡的话,可能就真的没有创造性,他们只能离家出走,跟着中心,看怎么玩,的,机会会多很多,可以马上向中心,向党中央靠拢,或者省很多时间,我们这种人就真的是黑灯瞎火,什么都看不清,只是有一种……我也不知道是不是一种创造力,我们也不管它是什么,但是拿出去之后别人会觉得很有创造性也有可能,我们乡下的嘛他们没有,反而他们会更喜欢乡下的也有可能。

A:以前,我还经历过计划经济的时代,那个时候都是用粮票换东西的,我每天早上都要着一袋米跑到很远的地方去排队粉皮——其实也都是米做的,把机器一过,就变成粉皮,但是到了80年代末期,就突然有了很多超市之类的,只要有就什么都可以消费了,我就觉得这个商品的交换自由了,我就提出了“消费就是我的理想消费解恨”,其实消费……你就认定一个产品,或者认定一个设计,其实我买一个东西,有时候还会觉得“这个东西怎么设计得这么好?”,所以说消费对我还是有一些启发,我每天面对这个产品的时候都有启发,因为它包含了设计的成分在里面——就摆脱了我那个时候的一种关于商品交换沉重感,但是这个记忆还是很铭心的,我永远都记得那时候每天都要驮一袋米去粉皮,还要6点多就起来了,起得那么早,但还是要排很长的队,现在再也不会干这种事情了……但是我妈妈那一代也是这样,就是说我爸爸和我妈妈是两个阶层的,我妈妈是那种地主妹,我爸爸就真的是那种种地无产阶级,说起来……我爸爸是耕完一天的田,没有东西吃,拍拍脚就上床睡觉了的那种阶层,但是我妈妈,在中国那个食物缺乏的时候,她们家里都还有洋参、鱼翅,吃不完倒进垃圾桶去,我爸爸说“哇,真是太幸福了”——真的是两个阶层的人,但是为什么他们两个人结合了呢?这是一种政治斗争的结果。阳春那边斗地主,是把地主捆绑起来,用棍子一敲,晕了,推到河里面,就流到阳江,也不知道这是不是当年阳春的一种做法,所有地主尸体都搁在那条河里面了,村里的人都不敢里面的水了,只喝从地心的井里挖出来的水……我妈妈那个时候还在读中学,听到消息之后就连夜逃跑了,因为一被抓起来也可能会被斗,就和我妈妈的妈妈逃出来起来了,然后说最好是给一个无产阶级的青年,然后就找到了我爸爸。

文化产业[wen hua chan ye] cultural industry

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1.我们是做文化产业的,我们中国艺术设计联盟,整体上是创意产业的门户.

Our China Art Design Union is basically
the portal of creative industry.We do culture
business
.

(摘自徐坦对姚宇的访谈 Excerpt from
Interview with YaoYu)

采访对象:姚宇(张江某广告公司设计师)

采访时间:2006818

发展 develop development 9

气氛 ambience 5

高科技 hi-tech 3

园区 garden zone 5

科技 technology technological 10

产业 industry business 6

创意产业 creative industry 3

感觉 feeling felt 3

文化 culture 9

文化产业 culture business 1

生活 life 6

busy 2

行业 industry 2

都市 metropolitan 2

公交 bus 1

IT行业
IT industry 1

白领 white-collar 1

特色 characteristics 1

规划 layout 1

高端 high-end 1

自动化 automatic 1

电子化 electronic 1

科技化 scientific 1

人性化 humanized 1

理想 ideal 2

知识 knowledegs 1

环境 surroundings 1

家居 home 1

田园风光 pastoral 2

刚来张江时,给我总体的感觉来说,My first feeling when I just came here,

就是早上很,大量的人在等班车, was its busy morning.Lots of people were
waiting for the bus.

工作的节奏气氛很强烈,很有都市工作的气氛。Here is the tense working ambience,quite metropolitan.

随后当我在张江工作了一段时间,后来对张江的感觉,After a period of working here, I felt something else.

就是在张江这里的餐饮等方面行业,都集中在地铁站附近,Restaurants in Zhangjiang are centered near the subway station,

或是在产业园区内,or in the industry garden.

交通不方便啦,只有几趟公交车,Its transportation
is inconvenient with only a few bus routes.

大部分来张江工作的人,都是IT行业的领导和白领,Most of the
people working here are leaders or white-collar employees of IT industry,

都拥有自己的交通工具,这也是张江的一大特色,who have their own cars, which is one of the characteristics
of Zhangjiang,

车比较多,人也比较繁,with abundant vehicles and crowded people.

我来张江后,对张江的感觉,基本上很满意。Basically I am satisfied since I came here,

特别是对园区规划气氛,整体的建设,以及文化。 especially with its zone layout, ambience and the overall construstion and culture.

我们是做文化产业的,We do culture business.

我们中国艺术设计联盟,整体上是创意产业的门户, Our China
Art Design Union
is basically the portal of creative industry.

主要是要对文化各个方面的气氛进行感受,Primarily we sense various aspects of cultural ambience.

创意产业文化基地,在张江建立以后,Since the establishment of the creative industry culture base,

文化气氛十分强烈,the cultural ambience is getting stronger.

周围也建立了文化素养较高的基地,如美院电影学院,Around have been built bases with higher
cultural accomplishment like the Art
College
and the Film College,

整个文化科技素质都提高了,raising the overall cultural and technological quality

很适合我们创意产业的精神,which just fits our concept of creative industry.

文化加科学,一个很明确的整体的发展目标Culture and science make an explicit target of development as a whole.

我对生活理想化想象,希望今后生活自动化电子化、更科技化人性化,My imagination of the ideal life is a more automatic, electronic, scientific and humanized one,

自己拥有一些站在科技高端尖端情况下的生活设施,with some latest hi-tech life facilities

比如说家居环境,用一些最科技,最新的产品来美化,完善自己的生活。like the home surroundings,
decorated and improved with the latest technology and products.

社会是一个机械化的大熔炉, The society is an automatic melting pot.

社会在不断发展,我们自身也在不断进步, With its
consistant development, we are developing ourselves, too.

发展是肯定的目标, Development is the target for sure,

发展,就会被社会和历史淘汰, or we would be washed out.

张江是立足于IT高科技园区的理念。Zhangjiang is based on the idea of IT hi-tech zone.

我希望张江今后的发展多元化多极化的。I hope its development be multipolized,

不光在科技领域,也可以在其他领域进行尝试,one in technological area as well as many others.

尝试将张江建设成文化科技各方面知识溶和在一起的园区, The attempt to built a zone involving all the knowledegs including culture and technology,

这更利于张江的发展。would be more profer for it.

田园风光似的生活不是年轻人的生活理想,The pastoral life is not ideal
for the young,

年轻人应该充分发挥积极性,充分溶入社会,推动社会发展,who should make full use of their energy and develop our socity.

如果年纪稍长,也经历了自身的发展,生活也已精彩过了,Those senior ones who have experienced enough,

可以考虑过一种安逸的,田园风光似的生活。could think
about an easy pastoral
life.

推动社会发展的力量是科技。 Science and technology is the force
to make society develop forward.

张江,高科技产业的快车。Zhangjiang, an express train of hi-tech industry,

高科技,高精尖技术的发源地。
a cradle of hi-tech and advanced
technology.

违章[wei zhang] break rules

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1. 我们一直是在做违章建筑的,我们在阳江做的很多都是通不过规划的,然后会找各种关系来使它们合法,所以这个又是一个违章的建筑。

We always
make illegal buildings. Many
buildings we made in Yangjiang don’t conform to regulations, and then we legalize
them through various relationships, so this
is an another illegal building.

(摘自徐坦对郑国谷的访谈 Excerpt from
Interview with Zheng Guogu)

采访对象:郑广

采访时间:2007120日晚上

采访地点:于阳江郑家

设计 design 12

建筑 architecture
buildings
15

drink 6

换(交换) exchange 11

(用地
基地 根据地) land(for
certain purpose)
base 11

朋友 friend 15

关系 relation 29

公共关系 public relation 8

搞关系 developing relation 6

generation 30

一代 their days
4

需要 need 5

游戏 game 7

部门 department industries

地方 provincial 13

违章(建筑) unauthorized
(architecture)
3

平等 equality equal 5

自由 freedom
3


gambling 3

个人 individual 10

帝国时代* Age of Empire 19

地主(斗地主*) landlord (fight against the
landlord
* ) 4

农业人口 agricultural population 1

活(活着
生活 活动
干活live life activity work 15

money 23

双年展 Biennale 3

线人 whistle-blowers 6

无产阶级 proletariat
2

无产阶级青年 proletariat youth 2

社会 society social 4

*帝国时代:微软游戏,简称“帝国”,Age of Empire: computer game by
Microsoft

*斗地主:1,斗争地主,2,纸牌游戏, fighting against the landlord: 1, a communist activity 2, a card game

Q:你觉得艺术对于你的生活来说意味着什么呢?

A:就是把艺术融进自己的生命里面,每天着……什么都可以是作品

Q:在《帝国时代》(微软游戏)里,你看到了这样的一个艺术与生活的交点,那你觉得我们整个生活也处于一种游戏的状态吗?

A:应该是吧。其实我里的每个人,我弟弟,我妹妹都游戏里面,……每天连网打游戏——《传奇》(韩国网络游戏),连我妈妈、爸爸,又在另外一个叫“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”的网络游戏里,就是隔两天开一次的地下,可以在电脑上下注的,大家都游戏的世界里,的时候就觉得活在这世界里太了,但是的时候就要回到现实了,接受现实,明天要交了……有时会输得太了,付不起就觉得现实残酷,上次我在北京的展览,“鼠牛虎兔龙蛇”,表面是一个书画展,其实是以这个做主题的,每天晚上都出鼠牛虎兔龙蛇,玄机重重啊。

Q:你刚才谈到的,生活与艺术工作都是混在一起了,那么你怎么看它们之间的关系?

A:我觉得通过赚工作,和帮别人干的经验,说不定哪天就会归纳到你自己的艺术创作上了,其实艺术很多都是来自于视而不见的东西,很多有意思的艺术家作品就是来源于生视而不见的东西。就是你要发现,很多一晃而过的东西,他留意到了和发现到了,就是他的东西了。

Q:你做一件双年展的作品和你为一个朋友做的定件有什么不一样?

A:不同之处只是在于在两个行业里面吧。双年展艺术……是进入策划人的情境里边的东西,而我为一个朋友设计是进入我朋友需要,我觉得都一样的,应该只是在两个不一样的情境。比如双年展主题,而我朋友设计也有主题,都有一个规划在里面,我觉得都是在接一单,一接手就都要为他着想,而他们都要付我制作费,我都是拿了别人做自己事情。有时候也会有很多可以流通的想法,比如这次帮朋友做的东西,下一次就可以流通到某个双年展里去了,因为我已经测试过的了,比如做一些空间的作品,我们觉得这样流通着做空间也比较有意思

Q:你是生活于阳江这样的地方,你在这里是个什么样的形象或是角色?你和周围的环境的关系如何?

A:我一般是在酒的地方面对各行各业的人,比如税务局的、警察、工厂的老板等,而我在这里就只是一个设计的角色,但是在那里就不管你是什么身份了,到一定的程度大家就都平等了,他们对“艺术家”这个词也都不了解,有时候我们要穿得像古惑仔一样——是一种很好的保护色,和黑社会有时候也在一起了。他们很多行规或者很多行业里外界不知道的事情,我都知道,要不是跟他们打交道,我也不知道他们的内心世界是这样的,有时一些很大的丑闻,我是从警察的口里知道的,这些都会刺激我的想象力。在阳江,刚发生的事情我很快就会知道了,因为我有很多线人在起作用,工商各部门……昨天发生什么事情,第2天我就知道了,

Q:为什么你会觉得做这种违章的建筑有意思呢?公共关系就是你和社会的这种关系吧,感觉整个社会像一个城堡或大厦一样复杂,那么你对这种社会对象有什么感受?

A:因为是一种挑战,也是一种公共关系或者跟社会交往关系积累,如果没有这种积累,我的《帝国时代》就根本没办法做,我建立的这种关系现在已经很不得了了,我已经认识了阳江部门的各大领导,全部关系已经稳定了,就为我的“帝国”的顺利建成铺了路,那里那是一种农民,是不能转换商业住宅的,这块转卖到我们这些农业人口的手里,城里的人就会关注你,你要在那里建立这么庞大建筑不可能的,根据什么规定就可以来你的,我就是突然有一天接到电话,要罚款……我马上要去公关,那些部门的人放了很多线人,都是线人起的作用,线人拿了的,为他们报信,比如你在家里秘密他也会知道,所以,被的人就还要付线人,我这个帝国时代被罚了好多,说这个东西是非法的,通过罚款,它就变成模棱两可的东西,这个部门,你收了我交的,就要承担一些东西,但是它也不能承认你,就被默认为是半合法的,所以得越多的越好。而我这些年面对的或者请客吃饭5、6拨人——当地的国土局规划局城建部门——我还知道城建部门有几个派系……真的把“帝国”做成了,那我在阳江就真的不得了了,以后就不知还会建什么了……,主要靠一种公共关系的建立。

Q:你刚才说了很多公共关系方面的东西,那你觉得和这些人打交道的这种状况会不会很荒诞?

A:是很荒诞,你不做这些就不会遇到这些东西,而你一跟他们接触了就很容易理解他们了……,比如开始你说是在建一个“猪栏”,怎么现在就变成一个“牛栏”了?——以前你说是建几个房子,现在突然看到你建了这么巨大的建筑出来,他就会来管,但是还是会默认你,就会和你商量怎么交差。

Q:你是很容易和周围的社会的人沟通和发生关系,那么你觉得做当代艺术这一点来说,艺术家是容易被人理解和接受的还是不容易的?

A:挺容易的,因为醉了就很容易把老底端出来了,我可以跟酒店或工厂的老板,跟武警小混混聊聊天,聊天的时候就会无意识谈到艺术展览,他们也会很好奇,所以我觉得很容易和他们沟通,这是小城镇的一种现象,只要你跟他建立了朋友关系,他很容易接受懂不懂没关系,起码他知道有这样的信息和状况。

Q:现在很多媒体、报纸都说公众对当代艺术不理解,你怎么看?

A:那只是一个表面的信息,一交了朋友就……说什么都会认可,他们也不是完全的了解你,只是好奇而已,反正他们也很闷,我经常会带一些朋友去看展览——他们去旅游顺便去看展览,比如说在展览上碰到很多老外,还跟他们合影,就觉得很新鲜,喜不喜欢都好,反正他挺高兴的,回来就很不一样了。

Q:他们对那些“恶心的”当代艺术作品有什么反应吗?

A:可能也都见怪不怪了吧,有什么比他们看到的更恶心呢?他那个行业里面那么真实的事都发生了,在他看来,一点也不会住他了

Q:你是在做这些建筑的时候玩公共关系的,但是你从来不跟那些策展人玩公共关系的是吧?

A:对,很多艺术家就把公共关系放在艺术方面了,但是我坚信一点,只要作品做得有意思,策划人是不会管这些东西的,因为他们太公正了。我们在艺术方面不要搞关系,一搞关系就觉得不好意思了,北京(的艺术家)应该挺会搞的,但是搞了那种关系其实也没用,一搞关系反而会被认为你有怎么样企图,因为我们和策划人都是平等关系,他需要我们,我们也需要他,配合好的话,对他来说更有好处, 我们在扮演什么样的角色他们都安排好了,所以不用去搞关系,搞了反而会

Q:以前搞艺术都是跑到中心的地方,而阳江作为比较边缘的地方,资讯也比较不发达……那么这个时代的所谓中心和边缘,以及乡下和城市这种问题,你能谈下你对这些问题的经验吗?

A:现在应该没有以前那么封闭了吧,慢慢地你发现可以通过网络,可以每天睡觉都不用管什么中心边缘了,因为中心也会,像毛主席也会派人来找到你,你有一个,有一个根据,中心知道你已经慢慢地建立了这样一个导弹的发射,你这个乡下导弹也可以发射到中心里了,不管是不是在乡下,你的思维也可以传达到中心或者跟中心在一起?……上一艺术家他们是怀着接近中心的愿望去的,他们不适合在家乡的周围动,而是必须离家出走的,他们是一代人,要是他们呆在他们家乡的话,可能就真的没有创造性,他们只能离家出走,跟着中心,看怎么玩,的,机会会多很多,可以马上向中心,向党中央靠拢,或者省很多时间,我们这种人就真的是黑灯瞎火,什么都看不清,只是有一种……我也不知道是不是一种创造力,我们也不管它是什么,但是拿出去之后别人会觉得很有创造性也有可能,我们乡下的嘛他们没有,反而他们会更喜欢乡下的也有可能。

A:以前,我还经历过计划经济的时代,那个时候都是用粮票换东西的,我每天早上都要着一袋米跑到很远的地方去排队粉皮——其实也都是米做的,把机器一过,就变成粉皮,但是到了80年代末期,就突然有了很多超市之类的,只要有就什么都可以消费了,我就觉得这个商品的交换自由了,我就提出了“消费就是我的理想消费解恨”,其实消费……你就认定一个产品,或者认定一个设计,其实我买一个东西,有时候还会觉得“这个东西怎么设计得这么好?”,所以说消费对我还是有一些启发,我每天面对这个产品的时候都有启发,因为它包含了设计的成分在里面——就摆脱了我那个时候的一种关于商品交换沉重感,但是这个记忆还是很铭心的,我永远都记得那时候每天都要驮一袋米去粉皮,还要6点多就起来了,起得那么早,但还是要排很长的队,现在再也不会干这种事情了……但是我妈妈那一代也是这样,就是说我爸爸和我妈妈是两个阶层的,我妈妈是那种地主妹,我爸爸就真的是那种种地无产阶级,说起来……我爸爸是耕完一天的田,没有东西吃,拍拍脚就上床睡觉了的那种阶层,但是我妈妈,在中国那个食物缺乏的时候,她们家里都还有洋参、鱼翅,吃不完倒进垃圾桶去,我爸爸说“哇,真是太幸福了”——真的是两个阶层的人,但是为什么他们两个人结合了呢?这是一种政治斗争的结果。阳春那边斗地主,是把地主捆绑起来,用棍子一敲,晕了,推到河里面,就流到阳江,也不知道这是不是当年阳春的一种做法,所有地主尸体都搁在那条河里面了,村里的人都不敢里面的水了,只喝从地心的井里挖出来的水……我妈妈那个时候还在读中学,听到消息之后就连夜逃跑了,因为一被抓起来也可能会被斗,就和我妈妈的妈妈逃出来起来了,然后说最好是给一个无产阶级的青年,然后就找到了我爸爸。

唯物主义[wei wu zhu yi] materialism

This movie requires Flash Player 9

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。

玩[wan] play, have fun

This movie requires Flash Player 9

1. 我们只是在一块很小的空间里面一点小动作一点自己认为可以玩的事情,然后一些国家计划的东西,我还不知道最后能怎么样,反正在这个小自留地里面玩玩也有点快感

We are simply beating around the
bushes in a tiny space, playing
little tricks which we think as ‘within the boundaries‘, and doing something out of the country’s plan.
I don’t know what is going to come in the end, but we are having pleasure
in our own little territory.

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

采访对象:张杭

采访时间:2007年1月25日下午

采访地点:于杭州贝尼尼咖啡馆

环境 environment ecology 8

电视 television 10

生活 life 10

时间 time 20

终极 ultimate 8

终极问题 ultimate question 7

语言 language 17

大众 the mass the public popular 12

社会 society 20

个人 individual(s) 8

灵魂 soul 9

边缘 edge 9

关系 relationship 17

媒体 media 6

文化 culture cultural 18

系统 system 8

无意义 meaningless 7

录像 video art 5

当代艺术 contemporary art 11

态度 attitude 8

作品 works 17

6,4 ‘June
4′ incident
1

天安门 Tian’anmen 1

社会主义 socialistic 1

政治体系 political system 1

政治 politics 3

意识形态 ideology 2

上层建筑 superstructure 2

play 7

hot 3

名气 成名 出名 知名fame (renowned
famous reputation
getting famous) 19

控制 control 2

新潮艺术 avant-garde art new art 2

马戏团 circus 4

技术 technique 4

机会 chance 2

圣人 saint 4

展览 the exhibition 24

中国 China 28

西方 West Western
abroad westerners 14

变化改变 change shift 15

相对 relatively 10

new 17

快感 have fun 4

中国特色 Chinese characteristics 3

Q:你觉得当代艺术跟整个当代中国的社会现实是怎么样的一个关系?

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

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

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

Q:那你怎么看现在中国的艺术教育?

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

Q:这里面跟整个中国当代文化现实是有关的吗?

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

Q:这种情况很糟糕啊。

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

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