Artwork’s Title: Cartographer series –Cartographer in wandering
Material Used: Oil on canvas, Cigarette butts
Studio Based: Guangzhou, China
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
I count highly on my first instincts, which are also the initial motivation for me to create. Such intuition that I call ‘direct stimulation’ would appear when I encounter someone interesting or something particular in my daily life, and I will record my feelings quickly although they may not be the products of thorough thinking. Then I will reconsider how to transform these feelings into art pieces, such as the materials used, the selection of colors, the methodology adopted, etc. I think this stage comes with thoughts and decisions.
Besides, I’m quite process-oriented and when I actually start to paint or make an installation, I would try to keep an open mind and follow any changes and new ideas in the creating process.
How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?
Escaping, Imaging, Establishing.
You will be taking part in a group show, ‘A Spring of Magical Thinking’, at Hunsand Space in Beijing. Could you talk about your new works that you will show there?
‘A Spring of Magical Thinking’ is an upcoming show at Hunsand Space. Curated by Fiona He, it will present works of 11 artists.
I will have three of my artworks exhibited in this show, and they all relate to the body. One of them is called ‘Loose Cornfield after burning’ from 2021, which consists of a tower fan, a ping-pong ball ,and a painting. The fan is switched to the oscillation mode, and make the ping-pong ball attached to it tap slowly the painting on the wall, while the painting shows naked buttocks. In this work, only the fan ‘dictates’ the rhythm. I like the rhythms when the fan oscillates, and make it visible with a ping-pong ball. From the fan to the ping-pong ball and the buttocks in the painting, I tried to build a relationship between the very three. Also seeing the fan treats the buttocks on the wall in a gentle way, I recall the feeling of walking through a fluffy cornfield after burning when I was a child.
Could you share with us some insights on your ‘Cartographer in wandering’, (2021) painting? Is there any particular story behind this new work?
‘Cartographer in wandering’ belongs to the ‘Cartographer Series’, which is my notebook and a series I have been working on. The series has a general story and tone, but I don’t intend to limit the style of the whole series strictly, which is also why I call it a ‘notebook’, it is a testing ground for my new ideas.
This series is generally based on one character, who doesn’t have a name, a gender, but whose only identity is of a cartographer. This guy is an ordinary person trying to discover spaces other than daily life, and in this process, strange things happen occasionally. ‘Cartographer in wandering’ is the portrait of this being, but because the cartographer is in an uncertain state of mental wandering, I did not treat it as a normal portrait, rather, I made it appear to be both here and there, real and unreal, hidden yet visible. The cartographer’s eyes, only slightly open, also reveal this state of wandering.
Francis Bacon influenced me a lot in this work, he is one of my favorite artists.
Do specific artworks have been created by random experiments in your studio or do you usually come up with a particular concept or narrative in the very beginning of your artistic process?
In my art practices, concepts and random experiments occur in sequence (or they may sometimes occur simultaneously), in whatever cases, they are both the key elements of my creation. I think it’s important to keep multiple factors as the premises of creation so that it’s fun, and the results could be unexpected, and I like the unexpected.
Is there any particular theme that utterly triggers you to engage your art with?
I have my own preferences, which might be a good thing, but also could be a limitation. I like things that are contradictory. Usually, those things with opposed sides and double meanings would attract me.
What would be the best way to exhibit your work?
I think the best way is to show them in a setting that is antithetical to my work. For example, if I create a very artificial installation, it should probably be put into nature.
Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?
I have been following some contemporary artists’ works. I like most the works of Jana Euler, Jamian Juliano-Villani, Bora Akinciturk, Duan Jianyu, Jesse Darling, Wang Xingwei, Wayne Horse (the list could go on).
我近期都在看一些当代艺术家的作品，很喜欢Jana Euler，Jamian Juliano-Villani，Bora akinciturk，段建宇，Jesse darling，王兴伟，Wayne Horse的作品。
What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?
I initially rented a room as my studio in an old neighborhood in Guangzhou,China, but rats ravaged the old building, and they chewed on my frames. Then I moved to another place in a creative district, still, it was too small for me, so in 2021 I made a third move to my current studio, which is relatively large and in a factory zone. The room is rectangular with a simple layout, and I love it.
Which are your plans for the near future?
Recently I have been working on a new series already. It will have a general theme, and as before, I will not restrict too much the methods used. I’m looking forward to it because I don’t know what it will look like in the end, and that excites me a lot.
Translation/Proofread by Cao Yaqi 翻译/校对：曹雅琦
All images courtesy of the artist