Let Me Say
Source:Artintern Author:Wu Li Date: 2008-08-26 Size:
The sudden emergence of sculpture in the Chinese art market has blossomed into a striking phenomenon in the past year.


The sudden emergence of sculpture in the Chinese art market has blossomed into a striking phenomenon in the past year. As far as auctions are concerned, the total domestic sales volume for works by Qu Guangci and Xiang Jing has surpassed all the other Chinese sculptors combined.

When talking about this sensitive topic - the market, Qu admits, “We took advantage of the power of market.”

This is how Qu Guangci explains it: “The market not only excites me, it projects my genuine ego like a mirror. The art market also mirrors the ideals of so many artists, critics, curators and all kinds of people who plunge into art. If they don’t look at today with an eye to the future, they would end up as slaves of market. Many gallery people are sick of me because I never cooperate with them, because I believe the majority of domestic galleries don’t know the duty of a gallery. However, the market is growing up and the embryonic form of gallery is taking shape too, so I know when I should grow together with them and how to allocate money to them. This is the part I can control.

He goes on: "Quite a few people say I'm talented in business; this remark is either negative or positive. But I’m quite clear if we have no such abilities we would have long been ended prematurely in the complicated and changeable Chinese art market. But you see, both Xiang Jing and I have become the most prolific and qualified contemporary Chinese artists.”

Qu’s solo exhibitions were held in Jakarta and Hong Kong in December of 2006 and March of 2007, and almost all of his works sold out. He was equally hot in China. Almost all the sales records were made in the past year. However, Qu doesn’t believe it's a success. “The most pathetic thing in one’s life,” he said, “is you abandon your value and win the price. For when you’re rich, you would drift along with rich people. Should it be that when they buy a yacht and you buy one, they go into space by a spaceship and you follow suit? That is really pathetic. Nowadays, success is like a fierce beast set free suddenly, people feel panicked before it and they try to empower them even more. Success is not simply marked by one’s name in art history. My requirement for an artwork is it should meet my criterion and that of history. I’ve seen many things but I have to approach them step by step. I try as hard as possible to get rid of many, like desire and recklessness, and get closer and closer to my goals. The biggest problem with anxious people is they have no goals and directions; I’m too clear how I should live each day.”

At the beginning of 2007, Qu formally said goodbye to the "system" and became a professional artist. When talking of reasons, Qu says, “I should leave the college, because that system is not a way-out. If you’re young and cruel-hearted enough, and don’t like your dignity, you could get along in that system. But as it says in the Bible, the hog keeper finally falls into a pig argument. I didn’t get myself established at the age of 30, because I went through a sudden change of course when I was 30. At that time I attempted to work at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts but failed. I was very angry then and wrote an article saying the atmospher in the Academy was like that of a eunuch cabal with secret rules everywhere. Though I’m still not 40, I’ve turned fully confident all of a sudden: your ability lies in other place and you should go there and develop it to its full. In the past I wasn’t confident enough and often wondered if a plague or war broke out, I could be the first to die. But now I believe I would surely live to the last minute; I have absorbed all the blows as nutrients. You’re the thermometer of a time; you prove your existence by constant creations. In this sense, I’m really reluctant to relive a life for youth's sake, because the conflicting years and processes we lived through are so precious."

"When I was 30 and created ‘Barley Wine,’ I was already the best sculptor at home in terms of techniques, but I did that only to satisfy my pleasure with techniques. Like a magician playing cards or an oral stunts performer playing a game to win universal applause, I could manage it while other people couldn’t, it’s just that much. Such technical things are only a means to earn one’s living in a certain stage, so I quickly gave it up. My current works always acquire a social vision, an ‘us’ nature; it comes from my obsession with revelation of the pan-politics behind our normal lives.People always dreaded that invisible hand behind them. Through my experience in hunting for jobs after graduation and my five-year experience as the presidential assistant at Shanghai Normal University, the whole system frame suddenly unfolded before my eyes, I felt either hopeless or angry, or dread. But how could I represent it in an easier manner and transcend or lessen these sorts of ordinary emotions? I choose a black poetic manner to counteract it. I’m now very confident in my ability with both a change of work and control of language. Look at the fireworks, used and unused are quite different; the used one has led to a fleeting moment of brilliant life, but the unused one crouches on the ground, like an explosive package, is fully unknown and very powerful. In current times it’s critical to gain strength in conflicts."

[Editor] Mark Lee