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Xu Qu, Artist, May 29, 2015

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Xu Qu, Artist, May 29, 2015
Xu Qu's "Currency War" 2014. Image courtesy of Artshare

 

Our Conversation Series features intimate interviews with leading experts from around the world: collectors, curators, artists, gallerists, and museum directors. 

 

 

I think that my artistic practice explores more conceptual findings, and I find a better way to present these ideas.

Can you tell us about your Currency War Series?

The Currency War series is a reflection of the current state of the contemporary Chinese art market, in which abstract art has become very popular. I am interested in understanding the reasons behind this. Artists are good at making abstract art, but also there is a great demand from galleries and collectors alike. This demand has driven many artists to work on abstract works, but now we face a problem. We all know that art collecting is funded by a large amount of money, so what kind of art will be accepted by the market? I think some of the abstract works in the market are ridiculous. That’s why I have created the ‘Currency War’ series, which explores the system and the methods of art collecting.

How do you think you are different from the older generation of artists in China?

Every generation has very different background, surroundings and experiences. For our generation, some of us have lived abroad, and at the age of global information. Different avenues of information are easily accessible, and has made the world a smaller place. In turn, this has made the survival of artists even more difficult. Previously, it was easier to categorise the works of the likes of Zhang Xiaogang or Yue Minjun, because of the historical significance of that period. The works they produced during that period are things that we can absorb and learn from. This is very valuable. The opposite applies to our generation [of artists]. We can choose anything, but when everything is within your reach, then it is very difficult to identify who you are.

How did your time in Germany affect your artistic practices?

At that time I was studying, I think that what I have learnt in Germany definitely had a profound impact, such as having a deeper understanding of things, also having an idea of some of the basic rules of contemporary art. These were all very useful. Back then the entire educational system in China was very different. In Germany, it was very practical. You could already witness how the art world operates, the rules of the game, for example not staying in your own studio and not to solve problems with your own emotions. I think this is the main difference between Chinese and Western art education.

What do the recent years in Beijing mean to you?

These few years in Beijing are even more important in my career. When you become involved in the art market and its rules, you realise what this is all about. Just like now, you keep trying to play the game [of the art market] in different ways, or even want to create new rules of the game. This is the most valuable thing I have learnt in these 4-5 years in Beijing.

What is the biggest challenge for a Chinese artist today?

I think that the biggest challenge remains to know what to focus on. When a place is greatly diverse, you have endless possibilities. This then becomes a problem of what to choose. But in Beijing and Hong Kong, we see the same people, same artists, and same rules. I think that there is not much to play with. It can be more interesting.

 


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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