Künstler (21): He Xiangyu

Interview mit He Xiangyu (english/chinese)

He Xiangyu, The Death of Marat, 2011, silicon, hair, textile, 175 x 50 x 35 cm ProWinko Collection NL; Courtesy ALEXANDER OCHS GALLERIES BERLIN I BEIJING

He Xiangyu, The Death of Marat, 2011, silicon, hair, textile, 175 x 50 x 35 cm
ProWinko Collection NL; Courtesy ALEXANDER OCHS GALLERIES BERLIN I BEIJING

He Xiangyu interview by Roxanne Goldberg
10 March 2014
8:00 PM EST / 14.00 UTC
何翔宇 采访问题
Translation by Lily Yuan-yuan Ma

Roxanne Goldberg (RG): Can you tell me about your methodology (artistic practice)?

可以谈一谈你的艺术实践吗?

He Xiangyu (HX): 我大学实际上学的是油画专业,大学毕业后去了欧洲看了一些展览,后来决定来创作装置。第一件作品就是“可乐计划”,本来我不会做装置,但是通过“可乐计划”我慢慢地了解了装置的工作方法和怎么去实践的过程.

In college, I majored in painting. But after I traveled around Europe after my graduation and visited a few exhibitions, I was inspired to start making installations. Through my first installation “Cola Project,” I slowly started to look into the working process and method of art installation.
RG: Your methodology is very process-based. I’m thinking of your recent work “Everything We Create is not Ourselves” in particular. Can you tell me more about that artwork? How you came to the concept and why you choice the ink paintings and copper casts?

你的艺术实践非常重视创作过程,你的近期作品“Everything We Create is not Ourselves”正是如此。能够告诉我这个作品的更多信息吗?你为什么会想到这个理念?你为什么选择用水墨画以及铸铜?
HX: 我觉得把一个物体做成一个现成品放在那儿对现在来说已经不重要了,怎么样把艺术家的工作放到作品里大于比我们现在在说作品表达了什么更重要。

For me, making an object into a visual ready-made is not that important anymore. I think it is more valuable to think about how an artist integrates his or her idea into the work, rather than discussing what the work expresses.

RG: What is your creative process?

创作过程?

HX: 现有一个想法,先放在脑子放一段时间,用草图的方法画迟来,把草图放一段时间 慢慢思考 。

等时间成熟了小的样品,就是小的实践, 然后用我认为表达最充分的材质把作品实现出来。实现出来后,我再在空间里再实践一遍,确定之后才拿出来展览。

Every time I have an idea I let the idea set in my mind for a while, or sketch it out so I will have time to think about it. When time comes, I will make small samples out of it. After that, I will find the right material that expresses my idea in the best way to make the piece. When the piece is done, I put it in space and make sure it works well with the space before I show it.

RG: Can you tell me more about “Everything We create is not Ourselves”?

HX: 作品想法:因为现在在美国,之前在中国的时候可以做一些跟社会和人发生关系的作品。现在在美国没办法把之前的实践重新在这里移植过来,只能往自己的内部实践,所以就有了这个想法。通过慢慢说英语,人的口腔结构会发生变化,然后我觉得语言系统可以改变人的生理结构。所以我就开始去用舌头去感知我的上颚,然后把这个感知表现出来。刚开始先用绘画的方式,把感知平面化,然后再把它做成雕塑。

When I was in China, I could make work out of social relationships, but then I couldn’t transplant my practice in the United State after I moved here, so I started to practice by myself, in my own body. By speaking English, I realized the structure of the cavity changes. I thought that language system could change the physical structure of the human, so I started to use my tongue to sense my palate. I then expressed the sensation though art. At first I used drawings to flatten my sensation, and then I made them into sculptures.

RG: The curators of Die 8 der Wege told me the love story of you and your wife, who I understand is Korean and doesn’t speak Chinese. Does this experience of being unable to communicate relate in any way to “Everything We Create is not Ourselves?”

Could you share with me the story of you and your wife and tell me about how art and life intersect for you?

“八种可能路径”的策展人告诉我关于你的爱情故事。我了解到你的妻子来自韩国,听说她不是很会说中文。这种文化代沟和异国婚姻你的作品有什么直接的联系?
你能够分享一些你和你妻子之间的生活小故事吗?你认为艺术与生活之间有什么交集?

HX: 这是一个非常重要的一个点,就像我刚刚说的把作品平面化、立体化的一个过程。怎么样去吧感知提炼出来,我们之间的交流脱离了语言基础以后,只能靠感知和肢体去交流,让我对感知变得更敏感。

Like I said earlier, to interpret the sensation by flattening it or making it three-dimensional is important. The relationships between my wife and I is isolated from language communication. We communicate through sense and body language, and that has made me very aware of sensation.

RG: Can you speak more about how the relationship with your wife and life in general influences your artwork?

应该就是潜移默化,不是直接表达出来,对我的思维方式和逻辑有影响。之前是要把我的想法通过物质转化出来,现在是通过物质表达感知。是对我之前的工作一个深入的实践。

HX: I think she has a long-term subtle influence on me, on my way of thinking and my logic. Before I converted my ideas through objects, now I express my sensation through objects. It is a deeper understanding of my earlier works.

RG: One topic that Die 8 der Wege is interested in exploring is the differences and similarities between the Western art world and the Beijing art world. I understand you live in Pittsburgh and have exhibited internationally. How is your experience as an artist in Beijing different or similar from when you are living in the West?

“八种可能路径”重视西方艺术界和北京艺术界的相似和不同。你住在国外,也在世界各地巡演。作为一个艺术家,你觉得生活在国外和生活在北京有什么最大的区别和相似点?

HX: 最大的不同点我变得比以前更孤独,我唯一感觉的不同。
相同的是同样会喝茶 ,吃的东西也跟以前一样,但是这里空气好。
外国画画,在中国做一些大一点的作品。

The biggest difference is that I became lonelier. But I still drink tea and eat similar food that I had in China. The air quality here is much better than in China. Also, I do more paintings here, while in China, I did more large-scale artworks.
RG: Do you feel your artwork is received and interpreted differently in the West than it is in Beijing? For example, “Cola Project,” which has been shown in Beijing, Australia, Paris, and now Berlin.

“可乐计划”曾在北京,澳大利亚,巴黎展出,现在在柏林。你认为西方观众会与北京的中国观众有什么不同的反应?

HX: 总体来讲,中国的策展人和收藏家对我的不是很快的去喜欢,我不担心在国外有什么问题。可乐和口腔都在White Cube展出,所以我觉得对观众的反响来说应该不会有什么太大出入。

中国的收藏家策展人在外国接受了我的作品之后便很快的接收了。举个例子,我的“可乐计划”煮了127吨可口可乐,对于中国观众第一反应,“这个需要花了多少钱?!”
对外国观众:“可以变成这么漂亮的石头”
两个反应,中国对物质基础的满足有一个需求,国外对艺术的认识脱离物质基础。

I am not particularly concerned with the Western audience. My previous works “Cola Project” and “Everything We Create is Not Ourselves” has been exhibited in White Cube, so I think I will not be surprised by the western audience’s reaction. Chinese curators and collectors didn’t like my work at first, but they immediately accepted my work after the West did. For example, I cooked 127 tons of Coca-Cola in “Cola Project”. The first reaction of Chinese audiences was like “How much does it cost to make this artwork?” while the Western audience thought it was amazing to see Coke turned into such beautiful rocks. Theses two reactions show the different values of China and the West. Chinese demand a more physically basis satisfaction, while the Western audiences’ understanding of art is out of material basis.

RG: At age 28 you are already very successful. What do you think makes your generation of artists in Beijing unique and interesting? Are there certain defining characteristics that you all share?

你以你的年龄来说已经是非常成功的了。你认为跟你同辈的北京艺术家总体来说有什么特点?

HX: 不成功,我没有去很多重要的美术馆做展览。我只是一个刚开始的年轻艺术家。
对于中国同辈的艺术家不是很了解,因为我不愿意跟艺术家打交道。我愿意和其他行业的接触。大学学的油画,只有我坚持做艺术。其他很多人当老师,没有人愿意做艺术,觉得赚不到钱。

I don’t think I am successful because my works haven’t been shown in the major art galleries and museums. I am just a beginner. I also cannot make any comment on my generation of artists in Beijing because I don’t really deal with them. I am more willing to hangout with people of different professions. Most of my former classmates gave up on being artists because they think it doesn’t make a lot of money.

RG: Anything else you would like to share about your artwork and methodology that I have not already asked?
你还有什么想跟大家分享有关你的作品或艺术实践的看法或见解吗?

HX: I have nothing much to add. But Berlin is the first foreign country that I have visited and I like it a lot. I really look forward to the show.

He Xiangyu, The Death of Marat, 2011, silicon, hair, textile, 175 x 50 x 35 cm, ProWinko Collection NL; Courtesy ALEXANDER OCHS GALLERIES BERLIN I BEIJING

He Xiangyu, The Death of Marat, 2011, silicon, hair, textile, 175 x 50 x 35 cm, ProWinko Collection NL; Courtesy ALEXANDER OCHS GALLERIES BERLIN I BEIJING