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MICHAEL DOHR's interview with Olivia Langdon featuring works by Olivia Langdon and some random illustrations and pics by Michael Dohr

“Just wondering when you will leave” – Meeting pelicans and people in St. James’s Park

Just wondering when you will leave“ is the title of the first artwork I saw by Australian born artist Olivia Langdon. The title fits me because I’m waiting for something to leave all the time. Like most people I’m waiting for the bad weather to leave, but unlike most people I’m waiting for the good weather to leave as well. There seems to be a desperate need for change engraved into my genes which makes every condition an unbearable burden that needs to be lifted sooner rather than later. Just two minutes ago I entered one of the red buses that I was so reluctant to use when I first came to London in 2006. I can’t really remember whether it was just the red colour or the fact that I fundamentally mistrusted two-storied vehicles that kept me from using them. Since then I’m proud to say that I have grown as a person and I have learned to bend reality to suit my needs. It is the concept of alternative facts, advertised by no less than the President of the United States of America, that has enabled me to take a fresh look at the world. A double-decker bus for example might not be a double-decker bus at all. Now you might think that this is fake news. Well, that might be true but it might also be an alternative fact, a technique of visualization or maybe just plain ignorance. Whatever it may be just blame it on social media and you’ll be fine!

So, I’m sitting on this double-decker or single-decker bus waiting desperately to reach Parliament Square where I’m supposed to get off and then head towards St. James’s Park where you can see pelicans and people staring at each other in despair. The pelicans in St. James’s Park are great white pelicans and have been around since 1664. Not the same ones of course. They do die occasionally when they try swallowing a fish that’s just too big for their throats. Like a great white shark for example. Great white sharks and great white pelicans are only distantly related to each other. They are both animals, so at least there is a connection. Imagine a dead pelican with a half swallowed great white shark in its beak drifting around the shallow waters of St. James’s Park. It would make Damien Hirst’s tiger shark look like crap. Suddenly the bus stops and the rattling of the breaks interrupts my short exploration of pelican – shark interrelation.

Just minutes later I’m walking down a path in St. James’s Park alongside the lake that divides the park into two halves. Right in the middle of the lake there is a bridge and right in the middle of the bridge I’m supposed to meet the artist Olivia Langdon for an interview. As I’m approaching the meeting point it starts raining. Again. Here in Britain it starts raining more often than it stops raining which I guess is impossible but I can’t help to get that impression. I’m taking a couple of random photographs to collect some sort of evidence of my presence at this place for future generations. Unnoticed – from the other side of the lake – Olivia silently sneaks her way across the bridge. With every click of my camera she takes another step towards my position and like her Australian cousin the great white shark she suddenly submerges next to me and introduces herself with a friendly “hello!”. Together we’re turning our backs on the park and followed by the hungry eyes of overweight squirrels and seemingly intoxicated ducks we stroll towards Mayfair in the drizzling London rain.

Olives are an amazing thing if they are the right quality. They are at Chucs, a restaurant and café in Mayfair that serves excellent Italian food and has a great tiramisu. Olivia and I have decided to take a seat and share a pizza and some thoughts. She tells me about her early love for London, about her friends that don’t care about art and about sharing her garden with snakes and funnel-web spiders. Yes, it is an infested place down under but Olivia doesn’t seem to care because there is another aspect of the country that outweighs all the critters, deadly jellyfish and sharks. It is the vastness of the horizon, the darkness of the Australian night, the Great Ocean Road and a feeling of being swallowed by the red soil that makes you forget the deadly snakes and spiders. Oliva originally comes from Melbourne and has moved to London to study fine arts at Chelsea College of Arts. In between a fabulous pizza and some bad ass tiramisu she takes out her mobile and shows me some images of her work. A naked woman drowning in the sea, a lonely hand reaching out for somebody who is obviously not there and slogans like “What is really keeping you awake at night” or “Are you sure you’re not boring” make me think of Jenny Holzer’s truisms and represent an poetic investigation on the human condition. Most of these works are neither painted nor written with a pen. Instead Olivia often uses embroidery to realize her work. To me this seems to be a meditational way of slowing down the writing process and suggesting the viewer that these words are worth being examined carefully.

While I’m still occupied with my tiramisu occasionally inhaling cocoa powder and slowly getting a little high from the sugar Olivia mentions she somehow has the feeling, that she is currently only exploring the fringes of her practice. Like a captain steering the vessel around the hidden rocks and shores, she is trying to maneuver around what can be considered the nucleus of her work. It is neither her paintings nor the embroidery she creates. It is the language that binds it all together. Oliva has been collecting her thoughts through writing over many years. It is an archive of personal experiences that she has compiled and nurtured and actually this makes me pretty jealous. The only thing that I have nurtured is the capability of eating more cake than most other people. Even now, all I can think about is the creaminess of my tiramisu and that unfortunately it will be gone way too soon. While Oliva tells me more about her writing and about her hesitation to share it with other people I wonder if there will be enough money on my account to pay for these culinary generosities. Prices in Mayfair are said to be impertinent and the intriguing scent of freshly shaved truffles coming from the neighbouring table gives me a foreboding of evil.

It is still raining and we are slowly getting a little bit cold so we decide to say goodbye to Chucs restaurant. With a slight sense of melancholy, we leave the dirty dishes and the elusive Mayfair glamour behind and stroll back towards St. James’s Park. I suddenly think of all the questions I completely forgot to ask, but Olivia has already disappeared into the city like most people in London do. One minute you walk next to them and the other minute they are gone. However, the meeting with artist Olivia Langdon leaves me with a lot to think about. There is the solitude of the Australian landscape that is reflected in her work, there are the people that are struggling with who they are and there is some sort of deceleration that seems to sharpen your senses for what it means to be alive at this very moment. With the cocoa powder of the tiramisu still circulating my pulmonary system I recapitulate and conclude my investigation. Olivia Langdon is a painter, a sculptor and a printmaker but also – and this might be the most striking discovery of the day – she is a writer trying to not be a writer.

MICHAEL DOHR’s interview with Francesca & Luca from Venice Art Factory / SPARC gallery and project space


ZHEXI XU's interview

My interview mainly revolved around exploring the artists' thinking about themselves and the goals and directions for future artistic development.


XINYUE QU's interview

Interviewer: Xinyue Qu

Interviewee: Zhexi Xu

Zhexi Xu’s website:


西方现代艺术时期的毕加索,上个世纪的影像艺术之父Nam June Paik 以及在当代饱受争议的艺术家Damien Hirst对我的影响贯穿了整个创作生涯,他们中或许是艺术观念,或许是作品的表达形式,甚至是对于色彩的运用都在潜移默化地影响着我的创作。
















1. which period of art or artistic activity has influenced you the most? What is reflected in your works?

The influence of Picasso from the Western Modern period, Nam June Paik, the father of video art in the last century, and the controversial contemporary artist Damien Hirst has been present throughout my entire creative life, perhaps in the concept of art, the form of expression, or even the use of color.

2.How are the characteristics of your generation expressed in your works?

I think the works of this generation are very contemporary, unlike the artists of the previous generation, whose inspiration comes more from the environment they grew up in in the last century and the influence of the background of the big times, while the young artists of today have generally absorbed the excellent artistic concepts and modes of thinking from both China and abroad. It is different, but also incorporates the strengths of other artists that are worth learning from.

3.For an individual, is the initial idea for a work  usually starts with the concept, content, appearance, texture of materials, or any other aspect?

Sometimes the inspiration for a work comes from seeing a certain material, sometimes an idea jumps from one thing to another, and sometimes a work is not the same as it was when it was first created.

4. Do you think you are following the trend of Chinese contemporary art development or are you outside of it? Why?

I don’t think it’s conforming, when everyone is conforming to a trend, the opposite view is always unique and striking, while the different ideas and the reflections and critiques gained from not conforming to the trend are valuable.

5. Whether it is painting or any other art mediums, we all face the problem of effective expression between language and thought.How do you feel about that?

In the early days, in order to prevent the audience from not understanding my work, I tried to use a lot of words to explain my work, but later I found that this does not work, because when I completely express my ideas to the audience through the form of words, the explanation of the work will very much affect their thinking and exploration of the work itself, so I slowly give up on the work. Elaboration turns to the work itself in an attempt to achieve an effect that resonates with the viewer.

6. How to maintain the autonomy as an artist, both economically and artistically?

In the current society, the economy is a topic that can’t be avoided in any way. However,It is important to properly handle the relationship between economics and art. If the balance between art and money is tilted in favor of money, art may not be art anymore or art may not be pure.

7. What kind of impact do you think the COVID-19 will have on the art market today?

In economic terms, the impact may be significant, but in terms of the development and creation of art, the benefits are limitless. Firstly, the virus and the events that have taken place over this period of time have provided so many excellent points of inspiration for creativity, and secondly, because of the impact of the epidemic many people have been unable to leave their homes. Quietly reflect on your own artistic path now.

8.In your most works ,you have presented your interest in multiple mediums. What is the connection between them?

As a young artist, I have to admit that I haven’t yet found the most suitable path for me, or the most suitable way to present my views, I am always experimenting with different mediums, and the connection between them may be the direction of my exploration.When I explicitly find a connection between them, I try to combine different mediums to create an integrated material composition.


Interviewer: Xinyue Qu

Interviewee: Wentong Dong

About  Wentong Dong:


















1. which period of art or artistic activity has influenced you the most? What is reflected in your works?

Modern and contemporary art has influenced me the most, especially the art of Cezanne, Giacometti, and Kiev. My work is more concerned with the relational aspects of existence and the grasping of the structure of relationships within existence, and with the historical significance and value of things in terms of subject matter.

2.How are the characteristics of your generation expressed in your works?

Every generation’s painting and art creation can’t escape the influence and restriction of its time, and we are no exception, this is the decisiveness of the social field on art, from aesthetic concepts to creative ideas are all like this, the presentation in the work is implanted subliminally, for example, technical methods, conceptual forms are all restricted by the current trends and classics. The Internet flattens the temporal distance of the world, and the interplay of co-temporal release works.

3.For an individual, is the initial idea for a work  usually starts with the concept, content, appearance, texture of materials, or any other aspect?

For an individual, the original idea for a work of art comes from an intuitive experience of an object, a feeling or an inspiration, but also from chance, such as the inspiration from a dream. The creation of art is the systematic composition of an individual’s mind, and the continuous creation of art is the advancement of a systematic idea.

4. Do you think you are following the trend of Chinese contemporary art development or are you outside of it? Why?

I feel that I am basically in the trend of Chinese contemporary art, but with a certain individualized experience and habitual way. Because my creations focus on the value of the social field, especially on the localization of art production. So for the time being, I don’t have a strong desire to get rid of regional restrictions.

5. Whether it is painting or any other art mediums, we all face the problem of effective expression between language and thought.How do you feel about that?

Faced with the problem of the correspondence or effective expression of language and thought, which does not seem to me to constitute an opposition in the first place, then unity can be obtained through repeated experimentation and practice.

6. How to maintain the autonomy as an artist, both economically and artistically?

Autonomy is the demand of an artist, and how to gain autonomy in the face of economic problems is a real problem that professional artists often face.While economic factors are important determinants for professional artists at some level, it would be a different story if artists were able to create art solely as an appeal to their spiritual life and not rely on the sale of their work to make a living.

7. What kind of impact do you think the COVID-19 will have on the art market today?

The COVID-19 has a degree of impact on the economy, and naturally it will have an impact on the art market as well. But I think the impact is mainly on elastic demand, and ordinary collectors may stop buying, or their purchasing power may be discounted, which will have little impact on high-end collectors.

8.What do you think the future of arts education should focus on and what trends should it follow?

 Art education for the future should developing towards the trend of universalization and popularization. More and more, it will be directed towards the quality and usefulness in art.


OLIVIA LANGDON's interview

Meeting Michael. By Olivia Langdon

I was running late, only a few minutes but what from I already know about him, he is always on time. I find a spring in my step to quicken the pace.

The rain was heavy, upturning my umbrella and soaking my navy-blue socks.

Jumping through puddles I looked up and saw the bridge that we arranged to meet at.

There he stood, stooped over his phone. He looked up and recognised me. His physicality was different from what I had expected but I immediately recognised a gentleness about him from the way he walked and the way he spoke. A sort of vulnerability I could relate to. I soon forgot it was raining as we walked and talked and eventually found a little café.

We shared a pizza, forgoing the fact he was vegetarian we ordered prosciutto and mushroom.

Wearing glasses, I felt once taken off I got to know who was truly hiding behind them. I was humbled at his dedication to his work and his excitement of what his next work is waiting to show him. But more importantly I was glad that we could meet and share our work with each other.

We connected over art, his practice and the absurdity of life.

Growing up in Austria at the bottom of a mountain, skiing most days and traveling only into the major cities to visit galleries and have a fix of culture to sustain his practice. These are just a few of the influence that in turn help focus his practice into something bigger than himself.

Letting his work guide him, is the central force in his practice and his relation to nature provides a never ending source of inspiration. More importantly and specifically organic structures are a vital aspect allowing the work to slowly emerge and this takes him on a journey he never could have predicted. Spanning many different mediums, painting, fictional writing, sculpture and video work – there is still an obvious synthesis between the outcomes of works.

He showed me a painting he is currently working on. Making a small sculpture of a tree he was inspired by, then making a relief mould and using that mould to inspire a painting. The work was unique, nothing like I have seen before. It was colourful and abstract, but it has a depth and a certain sensitivity I could sense from it.

A tenacity about the way he works is apparent, dedicating all his energy to let the work take and guide him on a voyage until there is a resolve.

We left Piccadilly and both were quickly swallowed up by different crowds and pulled in opposite directions.

I very much enjoyed meeting artist Michael Dohr and learning about his life, practice and all the links that intertwine the two. Because how can you separate the art from the artist?

Nr. 5

KIITAN DUROSINMI-ETTI’s interview with Zhouwen Zhang

KIITAN DUROSINMI-ETTI’s interview with Dricky


ZHUOWEN ZHANG's interview

Artist: Xintong Zhang 

1. What you focus on(tech, ideas, politics, form, feeling, means, utility)?and why do you use this media?

1. I focus on craft. Because I’m a printmaker, and I love the process of doing experiments. Print was chosen because it takes many forms, and different experiments will yield different results. I came into contact with printmaking in the process of learning flower arrangement. I found it very interesting. I felt very involved in the process of printmaking. You will have a different experience. This is different from oil painting. Oil Painting is when you decide what you want to paint, but printmaking gives you a sense of surprise, and you can’t be sure what the result will be.

2.  Should art become(again) part of everyday life and society?

Art is a part of life. For example, We often see book design, graphic design. There are a lot of ugly-looking billboards out there, just because it’s all about practicality. Art should be humanized.

3.  What is your social aim in your practice and how do you make it real?

My work is all about weeds. Weeds are neglected, excluded from gardens, but ubiquitous creatures. A weed can be anything. Anything can be a weed. Weeds are like fringe groups, but each of us is a member of a fringe group, and we all have moments of exclusion and abandonment. I’m talking about fighting to survive as a weed. But how to make people realize that the subject of my work is something I think about. People often look at my paintings and say they are beautiful.

4.  How do you see your projects existing in an art world dominated by large institutions?

As far as my paintings are concerned, my work is not contemporary. Compared with other contemporary artists, my work is very traditional in form. I wanted to express more, not just to make the work beautiful. Every piece of work is my child, and it makes me feel like a mother.

5. What artists inspire you?

Danh Vo. Michael Landy.

I prefer to read books instead of going to exhibitions.

6.  What challenges impact your ability to produce creatively?

When I was working on my cross-school project,. These projects are often urgent and need to be completed immediately. It’s not the same pace as my work. It was a challenge for me to not be able to do things my own way, as I usually do, but to make things in a short time.

7.  What are your thoughts on people belonging to the arts sector that are going through severe economic difficulties because of the pandemic?

 For me, artists are always in financial trouble. It depends on the nature of their work. A freelance illustrator can make ends meet with a few appointments a month, and when she doesn’t get one she has problems with her life. It’s always been a problem. So the average illustrator has another job to support himself or herself, and a few more pages for extra income. It’s not just the arts this year. A lot of industries are in trouble. So I feel that nothing is stable, always thought that stable things are in fact unstable.

8.  What do you think is the future of the ‘art school’, and what are the changes that education as we know it needs?

Art can exist anywhere, not just in art schools. Besides, there should be more artistic considerations than functional ones. Art is personal as well as social. There are Chinese and Western Art Schools Teaching Philosophy is not the same, Chinese schools pay more attention to the modeling ability of students, the West will pay more attention to the control of the picture.

Artist: Kiitan Durosinmi-Etti

1.What you focus on(tech, ideas, politics, form, feeling, means, utility)?and why do you use this media? I focus on social and popular issues in societies culturally pertaining to women through film and fashion. I work digitally, with paints and pencils each medium has it perks, I would say I like to keep a constant theme no matter the method clean, bold lines and colours. 
2.  Should art become(again) part of everyday life and society?I feel like art is everywhere and always will be, we are our inspirations 
3.  What is your social aim in your practice and how do you make it real?I aim to mainly shine light on the struggles of African women and women in general, to show our strength in our fight to remove/resist the boot of patriarchy on our necks. 
4.  How do you see your projects existing in an art world dominated by large institutions? This is a hard question for me to answer but currently I see it taking a new space in the industry, I always have something to say with my art, I live for the dramatic flair.  I am trying not to box myself as an artist I want to live everyday experimenting, refining my niche and staying true to myself. 

5.  How do you maintain your autonomy as an artist? Financially and artistically
When things start to get to comfortable I know it’s time to switch things up, my inspiration comes from people lives and stories through continuous research. Financially I make do with whatever I can get my hands on 

6.  What do you think about the impact of the internet on art?A lot in general, the internet impacts everything these days, but for me at this moment it gives me endless research material and reference images. 

7.  What are your thoughts on people belonging to the arts sector that are going through severe economic difficulties because of the pandemic? These are crazy times, I think creativity and flexibility have to come into play at some point. This is the life we are living unfortunately but we have to find new ways of doing things. 

8.  What do you think is the future of the ‘art school’, and what are the changes that education as we know it needs? Honestly for me I am experiencing something very new but I believe the structure of any art school should Accommodate each individual to bring out their uniqueness.

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