Xu xiaoguo and Wangyou in interview


W: The work from this exhibition is based on concept of “collaboration and confrontation”, which is quite abstract, it is the gist of our live incident as well as a new idea comparing to the conventional exhibitions and artworks. Sound element is an important entry point, how has the idea of letting colours dancing by the vibration of sounds been developed?
X: I watched this military interview program second half of last year, in which it has mentioned the usage of sonarweapon in wars. It wasn’t anything new, but I had started to think about using sound to create artworks since then, this thought has been influential to both my paintings and my videos works. Since May last year my focus point has fallen on the energy of substance and its transformation and confrontation. I was invited by www.Gorkr.com, www.artspy.com.cn and UCCA for a trans-boundary collaboration of art and science, my project was about the dance of starch (the expansive character starch presents under pressure). That collaboration was like a given topic, but it also gave me some inspirations.
W:Recently you have been advocating corporative operation and collaborations, especially for the creation of artworks. This has lead to the connection of the project. How did you start paying more attention on the importance of collaborations?
X: Last year there had been a lot of things that were influential to me, they made me deeply realize that one’s strength is limited and it’s difficult to reach the goal, a group would have done it a lot better. The whole is better than the sum of all the small parts.
W: In this kind of collaboration, we are trying to find a relative equality. In some projects there are certain people or certain parts are the core, but during the process, all parts are equal through coordination.
X: Yep, ancient Chinese philosophy proposed the appreciation between each other. It is called “harmony” nowadays. Even though what we feel about “harmony” in reality is quite different to its original meaning, this is an important part of Chinese culture. For example if we have a meeting to discuss a proposal and everyone appreciates each other’s opinions during discussion, this proposal is more likely to reach perfection. It doesn’t matter if individual or groups change their structures and systems, as long as the goal is reached, the sense of accomplishment that individuals (in a group) have felt is much greater than the action taken on their own. After taking off the concern of gain and loss, there isn’t too much difference between an independent artist and an art group, especially in nowadays, where information can be easily communicated.
W: Actually fission and collaboration has their own proposes under the agreement of everyone, however these proposes do not go against each other, as they are achieved by everyone together, certain parts can be extended into other purposes and there becomes new groups, it’s a bit like the style of film crews. But in regards to this exhibition it is still ours, you see the title is 2011 Xu Xiaoguo “Denoise” 6/25 – it belongs to Xu Xiaoguo.
X: Yep, the initial orientation has the purpose of a solo exhibition, it has to be placed into a physical space. For example, Chunchi Art wants me to do a third project named Xu Xiaoguo solo exhibition; I can choose not collaborate with anyone and only hang some paintings. However I   choose to collaborate because I want to introduce my methods and the structure I wanted to build to everyone.
W: In regards to this kind of framework, who you choose to collaborate with is quite crucial. It can only be fairly equal if whomever you’ve chosen have the same realization as you.
X: It’s an endless argument if we only fight over individual values, this king of confrontation which will counteract energy, which is pointless coz I rather not to have any arguments. If we have some degrees of tolerance and we are all putting efforts into one thing, then we will reach good results, the real interrelationship does not have the concept of different characters.
W: When we look at collaboration, one obvious fact is profit distribution. Let’s talk about that.
X:For example, the two artists from “stealing the painting” crew, are going to get 10 percent. Sound crew is also important too. There is different nature and manners about collaborative connections. The standard of this cooperative system is to decrease costs for maximum profit. For example, I can devote a month fully working for someone else and make him cost less for his project, and vise versa.
W: I am concerned that if we use this kind of employment relationship as the way of cooperation, can we receive the same results?
X: Employment relationship is the concern we all have in this field. But if everyone is working for one thing and this interrelationship starts to occur, when whomever joins in and treats everything as their own, it is gonna be a new appearance in this field, it is something that can really happen in China in the future.
W: So during this incident, you are no longer a painter, instead you control the vibration level of each trumpet. Do you think in such way you can both influence the paintings and their creators?
X: I can control my painting quite well from the paths that I am familiar with, but I don’t do it anymore. If I choose someone who doesn’t really know about my core concept, he will cooperate with me well by adjusting the sound vibration. The significance of this concept isn’t to paint a picture with sound, but to produce this confrontation after everyone collaborates with each other. It isn’t a sound piece, neither is a controlled piece or a performance piece of a painting process. It is an incidental piece.
W: Let’s talk about painting itself, you’re quite an experienced painter, both visually and technically. I am curious about how much the sound influences you during you experiment with pouring colors.
X: I especially like this question, during my experiment I depend on my previous experience. I am not influenced by music, it is more about my control towards the vibrated canvases. During experiment I control the level of the sound, I can control the final result of the image to above 90 percent. Let’s anticipate the live incident on June 25th, behind the confrontation there is actually a concept, which is everyone does their own thing, the value he presents is what he thinks is the most correct, even though others might not always agree with. This is an infinite unagreeable triangle shape. We want to cause this structure to break all the current existing system. We are looking for disharmony within harmony.
W: There is a majority of sound pieces you have collected for the sound artists to use. What position you have been holding since you started collecting and what is your intension?
X: I thought about classifying them into different categories, such as noise, human voice, ect.; sounds can be physical, emotional or natural… But I don’t want to want to do it now as I want to collect the sound without any intension in 3 or 4 days. I collect any sound that is interesting to me wherever I go. Even though it is spontaneous, it reflects all aspects of life.
W: Expect all these sounds pieces, we have also designed a sound element that cannot be heard by the human ear, this has made a connection to the sonar weapon that you got inspirations from at the start.
X: Yep, sonar weapon has also employed this type of sound, which is below 25 db and cannot be heard. The sound needs both amplifier and subwoofer to be able to vibrate. It is quite dangerous if this type of sound is powerful enough and kept on for a long time. For example, if the sound is above 200 db, human will die from it. We will make sound pieces, which will be reconstructed by our sound artists. Different sounds have different lengths, we will edit them into different pieces depends on the live situations.
W: The two sound artists are complementary to each other, as they have different focus points. How do they influence each other? Will they both perform at the same time or is there going to be a time difference?
X: There will be time difference. At live, there will be different parts, sound, video and painting. I control the sound output to sound artists. What I do is control and influence them.
W: The makers of the image is another element, the flow motion of the colors is also influential to them.
X: Yes but the painters do their own thing, they won’t interfere with the sound maker.
W: There will be a lot of uncontrollable elements which will interfere with our live creation, we think it is about “40 percent uncontrollable elements”. It occurs from everyone’s confrontation against each other.
X: Because you cannot control everyone’s and conscious and values, neither can you control the forms of substances when they change.
W: As a creator, you explain structure from a social science point of view, but there should also passion and hidden clues. There are many things that cannot be controlled live, so the final result cannot be as what we expected.
W: We always stay on the original clues and there has to be a special clue existing, otherwise we won’t be able to do this. Collaboration and confrontation are only belong to the appearance. My core concept is that the original standards and systems of painting aren’t the only thing we can employ.
W: Except those live creations, there will also be 28 little round paintings exhibition at our opening on July 2nd, this is the other part of this game of substances.
X:Because this painting series is a visual game of transforming substances. Because of their special sequence, they provide a fake substantiality and they put pressure on the audience, it reveals the same concept as the sound incident.
W: Their appearances at the opening are also the replay of the concept of substance.
W: Yes, their communications and ideas are the same. On another level, they don’t need to intersect with each other, as they have different communication contexts. This series tells us that what we can change are just illusions.
W: There will be an installation piece, it’s more like the remains of this incident or a piece of left over weapon.
X: Yep, actually this piece of work to my understanding is just sound weapon. There are different types of sound weapons. Colors also seem like something quite aggressive. We have made T shirts for the audience to buy for entrance, at the end the colors are like liquid transformation of bullets, splashing on everyone. This is like you’ve bought it (T shirts) and you take responsibility for it. There is consuming as well as anti-consuming, there is also these two uncontrollable energies that restrict each other. For example anti-riots is actually to resist the riots and the ideology of sound.
W: We have a booth selling T shirts outside of our live space, audience can buy T shirts and wear them, during the “explosion” splashed color will stick to their shirts, in such way audience enter this incident.
X: By bring out this idea we actually meet certain commercial structure. Under commercial structure, we sell T shirts as tickets and make the live incident as an attachment to other physical space, therefore there is the “non-production” concept about this work.
W: We made an agreement with our guests as they can join the painting/splashing process if they want to buy the final painting. We make our guests into artists through collaboration.
X: Beuys once said: everyone can be artists. We make a judgment of value by using indenture system, the guests have agreed to be used by us, and meanwhile they are finding what’s useful to them as well.
W: I like the concept of “Stealing the image” because it’s quite witty. It also stimulates others’ tolerance level, which I find quite amusing.
X: it is a test and a copy of our current society. It is a piece of work during the exhibition and it represents a value outside of the exhibition.
W: Suddenly I think about Water Margin (Sui Hu Zhuan), everyone gets together to carry out the way from heaven, meanwhile looking forward to a place that meets their substantial demand of a good life. So what is your (collaborative) structure and do you think it has been expressed correctly?
X: Our collaboration has this randomness, which is quite significant. I don’t want to emphasize too much on personalization, I rather dedicate myself to something that is achieved by a group of people. Like the conversation we are having now is like collaborating while fight against each other, which isn’t a bad thing at all.
W: Bring out this structure doesn’t mean that we are expecting to change anything, it is more about have an attitude.
X: Yep, as an artist group, we cannot keep our confrontation going on forever. This material world cannot be controlled. Like this exhibition, you cannot predict anything, if you are trying to predict something you are already controlled by your own prediction and tricked by a circle that you have designed yourself.
W: now we are back to the substance, compare to the ideology you’ve talked about before it doesn’t seem as significant.
X:Yep, because we use sound as the most basic material, however, in this exhibition there is nothing can be changed. The value of this exhibition has got nothing to do with cooperative system.
W: Now we already have this sound, telling everyone what to do, there is always confrontation between us and others, which lead to the end of the show. I think it is the most interesting part as the final result is the vanishing point of all these confrontations.
X: The occurrence of any painting system is the coverage of its original system. We are also reconsidering this concept of “coverage”. I am not covering up anything that I don’t agree with, I do appreciate other things while walking on a path that belongs to me.
W: What is the reason that you choose to use certain material?
X: I think artists’ priority is the presentation of words as an artist, this is very important.
W:this is not a conflict to the issues of society, structure and ideology. Its core is the experiment or research you are doing on this project.
X: it is still about the relationships between human beings, substances and structures. I transfer these into this interrelationship of artists, other professions and group collaborations.
W: you also employed collaboration to finish the last piece of painting, you use this interrelationship within a group to produce this work. Can we say that is a new media piece of work, because it is created by a type of relationship?
X: Yes this is created by a type of relationship, it is neither painting nor sound effect.
W: If any type of relationships can be accepted then it is quite pointless, do we need to refine this relationship and focus on something more specific?
X: We are replaying what businesses can bring us to life. We cannot pay too much attention when something intervenes, neither can we not care too much when that happens.
W: we need more consideration on whether an artist needs to hold a clear position during his realization towards the exhibition.
X: the three projects involved have their conceptual clues, as for other projects ides, they just seemed too brief to be able to join in.
W:We have a booth selling Tshirts. Audience can buy them to enter.
X:By bringing out this idea we actually meet some certain commercial structure. It cannot only use T shirts as tickets, but also attach the live action into other physical space. Audience can just hang out there, but artists make them experience the transformation of physical transformation.
W: Up till now, there are way too many people who are interested in this project and I have to say that there is a great amount of people are just for the sake of the excitement and curious about what you do. Do you think it is necessary to reinforce on analyzing our concept to let everyone know what we really want to do?
X: I did care about this last year, wanted to be accepted. But I don’t think it’s that important anymore as my ideology has changed. I don’t think art could change me or anyone else, so I don’t think it is the most important thing to explain to others. We can use other ways to communicate. If audience reacts to my work, doesn’t matter if it’s happiness, sadness or anger, because our work has already influenced them, then we have reached our goal.
W: Now it’s relating to the acceptance of artworks. What is called a good work and what means a completed work?
X: For example a excellent painting is showing in a gallery and everyone likes it. Why it’s good? Because the artists puts this devotion to his work, both technically and emotionally. Meanwhile, there are other ambiguous things as well, such as media, as the general public and imagery explanation of second hand and third hand reality. He will be covered with extra value, by the socity.
W: Do you think the concept of such kind of relationship share the same clue as the painting you’ve done before? Or is there a faultage?
X:I think there are clues. I always think about the “Standards”, a reconsideration of the surreal phenomenon of the mixture of philosophy, social science and reality, this time it’s the same, a consideration of the original structure.
W: we have a lot of so called artists who don’t like to be called artists, in our habitual way of talking and thinking, the word “artist” is expanded into an infinite boarder. What’s your opinion on this?
X: the crucial part is what level has the artist had achieved in his working process. For example I wont call myself an artist if we haven’t got much confidence from our working process. This is a high title, but it has been used way too much nowadays.
W: What is your opinion about the relationship between art and business?
X: Usually people’s understanding toward business is limited to the result of its model. But in regards to business and its system, they occupy more that 60 percent of the exchange value of social science, they also include many commercial operating system that most people don’t really know about. This value is long term. Since the earliest exchange value upon till today, we can see the ultimate auction price of artworks. Normally the price and unfair methods have the most attention, but we actually need to look at the process. An artist needs to take such phenomenon seriously and he/she had to join in and use it fairly. If an excellent piece of hasn’t got a specific exporting channel, it can only be a self indulgent. In other words, if you have commercial success, it means you are accepted by the whole commercial system. Of course there are a lot of speculations, which is also a way to specify commercial values, it is not totally wrong, depends on how it operated. Business is serving…
W: which artist has been influential to you? What types of artists you are into?
X: I really like Beuys and Andy Warhol. Beuys is more classy, his social behavior and his works have brought out his own unique cognition and this cognition might be quite sensitive. Duchamp’s work is conceptual, if I have to choose one of these two artists it has to be Beuys. Andy Warhol is utterly charming, he might be a born king who has not been crowned, he is also an icon. People with similar interests are usually a group of people. For example all different kinds of people go to Warhol’s factory, they could be celebrities, artists, ect., Warhol provides this kind of atmosphere they really like. It is not that something has to attract them into this place, such fact does not exist.