esmaspäev, aprill 11, 2011

Interviews about creativity by Veronika Valk, vol 1

Ai Weiwei

Artishok is very glad to present contribution by architect and designer Veronika Valk, who shared her archive and gave out to publish 130 pages about her stay in China in 2008 and 40 pages about her stay in New York in 2010.

Veronika Valk who was in China in 2008 as part of the „Creating Spaces“ project, has summed up her experiences and observations into extensive overview, which contains interviews with artists-designers she met and also development of her personal art projects („Bejing Tricycle“, “Scrubber” and „Creativity Stamp“).

Interviews include artists Gao Yu, Ai Weiwei, Liang Shuo, Zhang Tian, Guo Gai, Li TianYuan, Cha Er and for example also cyclist Markus Wagner. Valk begins her interviews always with question how he/she defines creativity to herself/himself – word that is so over-exploited, but yet everybody have their own approach. Interviews evolve around (urban) environment, enhancing creativity trough planning, art and design and give interesting insight into different artistic practices and personal views.

About the project, that framed Valk`s staying in China:
Art bridge between EU and China
The Creating Spaces project is based on a series of artist exchanges between the city of Beijing and the cities of Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm. The artists chosen to take part in the project spent significant periods of time working and living abroad, each exchange period being approximately three months in duration. The length of the exchanges gave the artists a genuine opportunity to acquaint themselves with the local culture and the local ways of making and experiencing art.
Participated artists: Christine Ödlund, Cui Xiaosheng, Guan Yunjia, Hans Andersson, Jaanus Samma, Jonna Pohjalainen, Minto Fang, Pan Fei, Pan Yigun, Petri Kaverma, Veronika Valk and Wei Erqiang.

Unfold and you can read extracted interview with Ai Weiwei (and we all hope for his quick release!!!) and download your copy here:

NB! Bonus: interview with artist Li Hui, download here:

Interview with Ai Weiwei
Written by Veronika Valk
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
17.12.2008, 10.15am in his studio
258 Fake, experimental artists’ East Village

VV: What is your definition of creativity?
AW: That’s a word I never have really figured out. I suppose you make something which never happened or existed before. Something with original meaning. It is a way of discovering, providing new conditions.
VV: How would you describe providing these new conditions as an architect and as an artist?
AW: It is a different level, a different way to look at things. Architecture is more practical, it is applied art. But art can have less restraint and more freedom.
VV: Thus, does the artistic freedom accelerate your creativity better, than let’s say the constraints in the architectural world?
AW: Not necessarily. I think that constraints are very important in terms of creation. In art, I really enjoy dealing with the problems and the constraints.
VV: How do you think the rules regulating Beijing public space are affecting the residents of Beijing?
AW: Restraints are always there. They always exist in different cultures, socio-political surroundings. So it’s a specific case every time.
VV: What happened in the case of the ’Bird’s Nest’, for example? It had largely to do with the political will, and your artistic freedom as an architect and artist.
AW: Architecture is just one element, which works on the urban scale, in the pure sense of the architecture, as an object or element which people can use. As an Olympic Stadium, it works in a very different kind of circumstance, carries different meanings, which may meet the ideology of the architects, or then not. In this case, it didn’t really meet my understandings, so that’s why I had my comments on it.
VV: It was a different kind of a creative process, when you started to work in this village, designing this studio space from a scratch?
AW: Here, everything started from the necessary, from where you have a need. Then you start to think of ways to achieve it. It’s not that one day you want to be creative: it’s only because of the need. I needed a studio, I needed a place to
VV: When you’re making art now, what is the source of the need?
AW: You have a life, where you have a given amount of time, so you’re passing time. You need to relate your work to certain kind of knowledge. Art is one kind of knowledge that I have, and that’s my profession. Having some weird ideas that I want to make happen.
VV: Feedback to your ideas, how important is that to you?
AW: I don’t trust feedbacks too much. You really have to focus on your own, and enjoy your own judgments. Because the feedbacks are often misleading.
VV: How about art education then, where the creative learning process is based on feedback? What if you had your own art school, what would it be like?
AW: Feedback in art education may be important, but I have not benefited from this kind of training. I cannot imagine something that hasn’t happened yet, but I think most of the time students should be learning from doing. I think that this is most reliable. Creative learning should be more focused on what is actually happening, rather than on the theoretical.
VV: You’ve travelled quite a lot, of the places you’ve been to: where do you find your own creativity to flourish?
AW: I think everywhere is the same. Just somewhere you feel familiar with things and it is easy for you to produce. Thus, I don’t see much difference. However, in certain areas it’s hard to move: too expensive, or not much happening, so...
VV: This setup here in Beijing backs up your creativity?
AW: Yes, it’s OK.
VV: Can you describe the elements which make up this comfortable creative environment for you? Is it the people you work with? Daily routine? Daylight?
AW: We have quite a group of people working here, from 10 to 30 or 40 people, depending on different projects.
VV: How do you choose your staff?
AW: I don’t choose them, they choose me.

Ai Weiwei is one of the most influencial bloggers in Beijing, famous among art students for his uncompromizing and courageous statements:

Born in Beijing, his father was Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Cultural Revolution and sent off to a labor camp in Xinjiang with his wife, Gao Ying. Ai Weiwei also spent five years there. Ai Weiwei is married to artist Lu Qing. In 1978, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy and attended school with Chinese directors Chen Kaige and Zhang Yimou. In 1978, he was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the "Stars". The group subsequently disbanded in 1983. From 1981 to 1993, he lived in the United States, mostly in New York, doing performance art and creating conceptual art by altering readymade objects. While in New York, he studied at Parsons School of Design. In 1993, Ai returned to China because his father took ill. Back in Beijing, he helped establish the experimental artists' East Village and published a series of three books about this new generation of artists: Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995), and Gray Cover Book (1997).
In 2000 he co-curated the exhibition "Fuck Off" with curator Feng Boyi in Shanghai, China.
In 2006 he designed a private residence in the Hudson Valley region of New York for collectors Christopher Tsai and André Stockamp; the house is designed around their significant contemporary Chinese art collection. Ai was the artistic consultant for design, collaborating with the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the "Bird's Nest." Although ignored by the Chinese media, he has voiced his anti-Olympics views. He has distanced himself from the project, saying, "I've already forgotten about it. I turn down all the demands to have photographs with it," saying it is part of a "pretend smile" of bad taste. In August 2007 he also accused those choreographing the Olympic opening ceremony, including Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou, of failing to live up to their responsibility as artists. Ai said "It's disgusting. I don't like anyone who shamelessly abuses their profession, who makes no moral judgment." While being asked why he participated in the designing of the Bird's nest, Ai replied "I did it because I love design".

His artwork has been exhibited extensively in Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and the United States. Hiswork was included in the 48th Venice Biennale 1999, Italy; the First Guangzhou Triennial 2002, China; "Zones of Contact: 2006 Biennale of Sydney"; and Documenta 12.

2 kommentaari:

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makeup artist in Sydney ütles ...

Thanks for the blog post. it was really interesting.