MAFAzine : Family 5AAAAA Interviews

  • Family 5A
  • MICHAEL DOHR
  • ZHEXI XU
  • XINYUE QU
  • OLIVIA LANGDON
  • KIITAN DUROSINMI-ETTI
  • ZHOUWEN ZHANG

No.1

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

No.2

ZHEXI XU's interview

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

No.3

XINYUE QU's interview

Interviewer: Xinyue Qu

Interviewee: Zhexi Xu

Zhexi Xu’s website: https://www.zhexixucarl.com/

1.哪个时期的艺术或者艺术活动对你影响最深?在你的作品中有哪些体现?

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。

2.你们这一代人的特征是如何在作品中表现的?

我认为这一代人的作品极具时代性,与上一辈艺术家不同,他们的创作灵感来源更多的是来自于上个世纪的成长环境,以及大时代的背景影响,而当代青年艺术家们普遍吸收了中外优秀的艺术观念以及思维模式,在我们的作品中融合杂交这个元素经常会出现在作品中,我们融合了中西方文化的不同,也融合了其他艺术家值得学习的优点。

3.对于个人来说,通常情况下一件作品最初的构思是从概念,内容,外观,材料质地,或是其他哪方面开始的?

对我个人来说这没有一个确定的答案,有时候一件作品的灵感可能来自于看到了某一种材料从而引发的灵感,有的时候因为一件事或者一个想法的跳动导致了创作的延伸,也有的时候一件作品当它创作完成时早已经不是最开始创作时的灵感与设想了。

4.你觉得自己是顺应中国当代艺术发展的潮流还是在潮流之外?为什么?

我认为是不顺应的,当所有人都在顺应一种潮流的时候,反向的观点总是特立独行,引人注目的,同时不同的观念以及不顺应大潮流的情况下得到的反思与批判是有价值的。

5.不管是绘画还是其他艺术媒介,都会面临语言和思想之间有效表达的问题,你是如何看待解决这些问题的?

其实这也是我一直在思考的问题,在早期很多时候,为了避免观众不理解我的作品,我曾试图用非常多的文字去阐述我的作品,但是后来我发现这行不通,因为当我完全把我的理念通过文字的形式表达给观众的时候会作品阐述非常影响他们对于作品本身的思考与探索,所以我慢慢放弃对于作品的阐述转而试图从作品本身达到引起观者共鸣的效果。

6.从经济和艺术两方面来说,如何保持作为一个艺术家的自主性?

这当前社会,经济是一个无论如何也绕不考的话题,作为一个艺术家,经济或者金钱有时候会成为一种鼓励,一种支持,一种肯定,但是适当处理好经济与艺术的关系是重要的,如果当这个艺术与金钱的天平偏倒向金钱时艺术可能就不是艺术了或者说艺术便不纯粹了。

7.你认为这次疫情对当下艺术市场会造成什么样的影响?

从经济方面来说,可能影响重大,但是从艺术的发展与创造的角度来说,好处无限,首先疫情以及这段时间以来发生的事件有太多优良的创作灵感点,其次因为疫情的影响很多人无法出门,这种被迫在家独处潜心修行的情况在当代艺术环境下是不常见的,很多人太久没有不受到打扰而可以独自的安静反思自己的艺术道路了。

8.在你的作品中呈现了你对多种媒介的兴趣,它们之间存在怎样的联系?

作为一个青年艺术家,不得不承认我还没有找到最为适合我的道路,或者最适合表达我的观点的呈现方式,我总是在尝试不同的媒介,它们中的联系或许就是我探索的方向,当我明确的找到或者发现它们之间的联系的时候,我会尝试融合不同的媒介去创作一件综合材料组合作品。

Translation

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: http://ping99.com/artistinfo/3628.html

1.哪个时期的艺术或者艺术活动对你影响最深?在你的作品中有哪些体现?

现当代艺术对我影响最深,尤其是塞尚、贾科梅蒂、基辅的艺术对我影响较深。我的作品较为关注事物的存在关系以及对存在中的关系结构的把握方面,在题材上关注事物的历史意义和价值。

2.你们这一代人的特征是如何在作品中表现的?

每一代人的绘画艺术创作都无法摆脱其时代的影响与制约,我们也不例外,这是社会场域对艺术的决定性,从审美观念到创作理念均是如此,在作品中的呈现是潜移默化的植入,比如技术方式、观念形态均由当下的流行趋势和经典所制约。网络拉平了世界的时空距离,共时性的放生的相互影响的作用。

3.对于个人来说,通常情况下一件作品最初的构思是从概念,内容,外观,材料质地,或是其他哪方面开始的?

对于个人而言作品的原初构思多来自于个体对某一事物的直观体验,或是由此促发的感觉或灵感、当然也不排除偶然的因素,比如梦境带来的启示。艺术创作是个体思维的系统化的构成,连续的创作源自于系统的理念的推进。

4.你觉得自己是顺应中国当代艺术发展的潮流还是在潮流之外?为什么?

我感觉我基本上是在中国当代艺术的潮流之中,只是具有某种个体化的经验和惯习方式。因为我的创作注重社会场域的价值,尤其是注重艺术的在地化生成。所以暂时并未有强烈摆脱地域限制的诉求。

5.不管是绘画还是其他艺术媒介,都会面临语言和思想之间有效表达的问题,你是如何看待解决这些问题的?

面对语言和思想的对应关系或有效表达的问题,在我看来首先不构成对立,那么通过反复的实验和实践是可以获得统一的。

6.从经济和艺术两方面来说,如何保持作为一个艺术家的自主性?

自主性是艺术家应有的诉求,职业艺术家面对经济问题如何获得自主性是时常面对的现实问题,不可否认经济因素在某种层面对职业艺术家具有重要的决定作用,但如果艺术家能够将艺术创作仅仅作为一种精神生活的诉求,不依靠出售作品来维持生计的话,那就另当别论。

7.你认为这次疫情对当下艺术市场会造成什么样的影响?

疫情对于经济是有一定程度的影响的,对于艺术市场自然也会带来影响。但我认为影响主要在于弹性需求,普通藏家可能会停止购买,或购买力打折扣,对高端藏家影响不大。

8.你认为未来的艺术教育事业应该更加侧重什么方面,往什么样的趋势发展?

 对未来的艺术教育向普及化大众化趋势发展。更多的向艺术的素质教育和功用教育层面发展。

Translation

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.

No.4

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

N0.6

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.

Thanks! You've already liked this
No comments