Talk: Post-pandemic Curating

Bing SU 苏冰


Bing SU: Chinese famous disciplinary curator, artist

Bing SU aims to take the multidimensional view of this period by inviting the artists, designers, art patitioners and institutions from different regions, and also, researching their artworks during different period of the pandemic. He hopes to use the impulse of Culture, Art and Creativity to let people ease their anxiety. In order to achieve that, he also interviewed artists all over the world and generated the CC Project as an online communicating platform of Artworld to scope artistic impacts and changes of the pandemic.



Event Overview

There are three parts of this event:

  1. Video of a conversation with the curator Bing SU 访谈策展人苏冰
  2. Video transcription in English and Chinese 视频内容文字版(中英文)
  3. Call for discussion on topics of art in the post-pandemic era 后疫情时代的艺术话题讨论



Host: Nerissa YUAN (袁嘉苡)

Guest: Bing SU (苏冰)

The names abbreviated to “Nerissa” (Nerissa YUAN) and “SU” (Bing SU)

主持人:袁嘉苡 Nerissa YUAN

嘉    宾:苏   冰 Bing SU



Nerissa: Hi, Bing SU, it’s so nice to have you as our guest today.

Bing SU: Hi, Nerissa YUAN, thanks R-Lab for inviting me to join today’s online interview.



Nerissa: Our pleasure! Okay, now we are going to start our interview. As we all know, the outbreak of Covid-19 has had a huge influence on our lives and our work, accompanied by a multitude of changes. Could you, therefore, tell us about the ways you have arranged your work and life during this period?

SU: Due to the outbreak in January 2020 in China, and we spent three months controlling the spread of the pandemic until April, it was really a tough time for which had a significant impact on everyone’s daily life. I remember clearly when we were able to get back to normal life (and work) gradually at the end of March (2020). I am based in Shanghai and the pandemic situation there was relatively optimistic, both my team and I were trying our best to do our work at home remotely. Then in April of last year (2020), we had basically resumed our normal lives and we curated an Art exhibition in Shenzhen. The exhibition was one of the earliest art exhibitions in China after the outbreak and it was clear that it had influenced the work we curated. What’s more, I think all the art institutions and curating companies were impacted during the pandemic and started to recover in April (2020).




Nerissa: Now it seems that we are gradually getting the pandemic under control in China, our lives and work are almost back to normal, so could you tell us a little about the differences you have found in your life or work after the pandemic? Are they different from the period before or during the pandemic?

SU: Basically, in China, our lives are almost back to normal, so there are less exhibitions themed around the pandemic and everyone is focusing on what’s happening now instead of looking back. There was a variety of exhibitions about the pandemic covered throughout 2020, but our present situation is much safer and controllable, so our artistic themes are more about vaccination and our status quo.




Nerissa: You have been visiting the art studios of different artists since 2014, have you noticed any changes during the pandemic in what they are creating? Could you tell us about the most impressive change among them from your perspective?

SU: Do you mean the differences that have emerged since I started visiting art studios? I think all arts-practitioners in China were badly affected by the pandemic, as a result, they started to have some new perspectives of our society and on the whole world. Some of these changes in perception are reflected in their lives and even in the art they create. I have a lasting memory from June of last year (2020) when we had an exhibition in Chengdu on a national tour in Xu Liaoyuan Art Museum. At that time, because of the pandemic, many artists, their work, income and living conditions were impacted so significantly that some of them were seeking part-time jobs. Obviously, their work would be affected by these circumstances.




Nerissa: The CC Plan ( an artistic project raised during the pandemic, the CC is about Communication and Connection) you have created during the pandemic really inspired those of us who would like to engage in the future of the Art world.  We have noticed that the keywords of the “CC plan” are “minority”, “deep”, “thematic” and “in any way”, could you talk about that? What are your intentions with this plan? And why did you pivot to create this plan during the pandemic?

SU: That’s really a good question. In fact, after the outbreak of the pandemic last year, we have started a project called “Post-Pandemic Era” at home.  I think we have published more than a dozen blogs through our official account on WeChat.  There were nearly 100 artists and their artworks which were created during the pandemic and published in form of interviews and articles that divided into different but related themes like the contents of our blogs, and the blogs were published according to different relative stages.  We are pleased that all those blogs received a great reception.

The CC plan is a section of the Post-Pandemic Project formed as a dialogue column. We decided to organize artists, art critics and art lovers through online conversations because meeting up during that period was not prohibited.  So, the CC plan was an independent section of the Post-Pandemic Era project’s program.

Speaking of which, I have just remembered that after publishing blogs online, we launched another part of the “CC Plan” when the lockdown was lifted in China. We launched a call for artworks together with the organisation of Shanghai Design Week, about a thousand artworks were collected and we selected works from this to join our exhibition held at the Shanghai No.10 Subway Station.

(PS: the number of the artworks published by blogs during pandemic is also 100)





Nerissa: That is incredible. I am wondering, then, if there were any difficulties you needed to overcome during the project?

SU: There were a few problems. For example, when we were going to contact the Chinese artists abroad, a few of them refused. I can understand that they didn’t want to participate or talk about the pandemic because they’re in a foreign country at that time.  We were still very lucky that most of the artists invited took part and made a positive contribution. Another difficulty was that also suffered different problems which emerged from relying on online communications.  This meant that our conversations did not always go smoothly. These were the two main points that caused us problems.




Nerissa: You mentioned the “Post-Pandemic Era” project.  Before our interview, we had noticed that the blogs you have posted on the WeChat account were named “Post-SARS Era” previously, then the name was changed to the “Post-Pandemic Era”.  Can you tell us the reason for doing that?

SU: This was because when the pandemic first broke out, we really didn’t expect it would be so severe.  Consequently, I just made an analogy.  If SARS was mild for all of us, then the pandemic affects everyone. My original thought was that after a period, the pandemic might have been controlled and eradicated.  We did not expect it to last so long, and that this time it would be so hard for the whole world to overcome. As we know, SARS subsided within half a year, so at first, the name used was “Post-SARS”, and this was intended to make sure that people would never forget the impact of SARS, and I had realized that this time it would have a profound impact on the whole world, whether it would be economic, cultural or artistic aspects. I did not expect the pandemic to exist for such a long time, however. Later, my colleagues and friends suggested that the word “Post-Pandemic” fits our situation more, so the name was changed.




Nerissa: Yes, I agree with you. I’d like to ask whether there are any artists that impressed you during the process of your call for artworks? Would you like to tell us about these artists or their artworks?

SU: Sure. You have reminded me of two artists. The one which especially impressed is her name is Shuai Wang from Henan province. She produced hundreds of black-and-white illustrations throughout the pandemic, this series of illustrations is called “Stories and Living Beings during the Pandemic”. After the completion, we helped her to publish it, the response was great, with tens of thousands of hits and a lot of attention, including media reports about her across China. She used hundreds of illustrations to describe her feelings, her friends’, and the conditions of people during the whole pandemic.

There is another artist who is an internet celebrity in China, named Jingyi ZHU. I interviewed him during the pandemic, and, he has produced some artwork in that time.

No one suspected that there were problems of health which affected his work and even his whole life hugely. These two artists are the ones who really impressed me.

In addition, something regrettable happened during the pandemic last year (2020). Some of our art colleagues have left the industry for different reasons, physical or circumstantial, some of them were good friends.  I always feel sad when talking about these things.  Therefore, I think the pandemic really is forcing us to re-recognize and rethink different aspects of the whole world, whether as artists or as arts-practitioners.


苏:这个我倒是可以推荐一两位,到时候可以把资料都发给你们。尤其(印象深刻的)是一位来自河南的80后女性艺术家,叫王帅。她在整个疫情期间一共创作了几百幅的黑白插画,创作了一个系列叫作“疫情故事和众生相”。这一个系列做完以后,我们也帮她做了推送,反响特别好,有上万的点击量和关注,包括全国很多媒体对这个艺术家(进行)报道。她是通过几百张的插画描述了整个疫情期间她的感受以及她身边朋友的感受,以及人们的一些状态。同时她在疫情期间组织了几百个在家(创作)的艺术爱好者,主要是女性(艺术家)为主,组了一个社群。因为这次疫情也会对很多人的心理上造成一些影响,有些人长时间不出门,他/她会有孤独症,有些人找不到一个(情绪宣泄的)出口,那么她组织这样一个叫作“画画那点事”的社群(互助艺术家),这个社群到现在还在,还非常活跃。我觉得她这两个方面:一个方面是自己的创作,另外一方面是她组织的这个社群, 对大家在疫情期间起了很好的作用,甚至是说艺术起到了治愈的效果。所以这个艺术家我是重点推荐的。




Nerissa: You have conducted a lot of interviews with both foreign and domestic artists, like the Italian artist Salvo Pastorello. Have you found any differences among those artists in different regions during the pandemic, such as the difference of their artworks or their creative mindset, especially the differences between those Artists from Europe and from China?

SU: You have asked a great question.  All the interviewed Artists who are from countries outside China had visited China before. They said they had a great affection for China and really wanted to visit China again soon.  They were very when I interviewed them, and they told me that it reminded them that they still had friends in China who were taking care of them.  This is the first point. Another point is that they were happy to have the chance to express themselves and talk about their art.

袁:是的,我们也注意到您不仅访谈了中国的艺术家,然后也访谈了一些外国的艺术家,比如说意大利的沙沃·帕斯特雷洛(Salvo Pastorello)。我想请问一下您,他们在疫情期间的创作的作品以及他们对疫情的一种心态与中国的艺术家有什么区别呢?



Nerissa: Since we are here, I would like to know whether you have noticed the different policies for artists adopted in different countries during the pandemic?

SU: As far as I know, some those artists in America, France and Germany have already got some state support but there are still people in other countries who have not received any yet. For instance, the Italian artist Pastorello, he said that “The Government doesn’t care about us.”, and “I didn’t get support”.




Nerissa: Then I would like to ask about your thoughts on the recovery of the artworld.  In your three articles of “Post-Pandemic2020—New Fields”, you have focused on the post-pandemic development of some rural regions in China.   With this in mind, we would like to ask you to discuss the future development of the art market?

SU: I prefer to focus this on China which I am more familiar with. The art market in China has undergone tremendous changes in the past few years with several distinctive features. The first one is that as a result of the rapid development of the Internet, more people have joined the arts industry, which has created more possibilities for the spread of information about art to take place a lot faster.  This is especially the case in China’s first-tier cities. Similarly, we found more information about exhibitions or news all over the world.

The second aspect is, in China, Art is becoming more and more trans-industry and inter-disciplinary. Today in China, there are different exhibitions held not only in the museums or galleries but also in some public commercial spaces, such as shopping centres and plazas which is a characteristic feature of the spread of exhibitions in China.

The third aspect is that Art in China today is more “down-to-earth”. Art does not just appear in galleries, it has gone into our daily lives, appearing in streets and communities, even rural areas. Although, I have to say, that Japan is best at moving Art into the countryside—like the “Echigo-Tsumari Art Field” held every three years.  However, many villages that have their own features are also integrating Art with their distinctive cultures to achieve rural revitalisation. This is also a trend now in China. Now we’re in a digital era, this digital tendency is promoting not just the development of digital and multimedia art but also the cohesive collaboration of Art and Technology.

Meanwhile, the digital continues to influence the art world of the future. The “poping art” (the artistic style popular with the young people) raised by young artists is a major direction of digitisation.  This phenomenon is controversial.  My own position is that it is a positive development, while some art practitioners do not think so as they have traditional perspectives, and they hold dismissive attitudes toward its impact on the art market.




Nerissa: What do you think could be the negative aspects?

SU: Their lacking optimism reflects various aspects.  As I’ve said before, the domestic art market is experiencing a rapid change in the economy, technology and culture.  I would call this a kind of “iteration”.  During this “iteration”, it is unavoidable that those arts-practitioners holding a conservative view that they cannot keep up with the times. For instance, there are lots of young artists who use social media platforms to post their artworks, such as WeChat, Facebook or Instagram, but those traditional artists won’t do that. What’s more, there is an increasing number of artists born in the 1990s, who have been abroad studying art and come back to China to work as arts practitioners.

I was always joking that the art market was like a piece of cheese.  Previously there were few people sharing the cheese but now there probably thousands of people, which is tenfold number of before, as a result, the competition inside must be much more intense.




Nerissa: You have talked about an “iteration” caused by digitalisation, and we are currently using the digital technique to conduct activities like art exhibiting, so could you tell us what you think about the combination of Art and Technology?

SU: I see this combination as two-sided. It has both benefits and drawbacks. The benefit of it is that it could allow art to have more potential to be created using new methods, and its ability to spread art offers more possibilities for art to be accessed by more people.  In addition, it also makes it easier to engage art in our daily life, watching live events or broadcasts, for instance, this feature is enhanced with the application of 5G.

We now have more ways of interacting online and can access more exhibitions and art events, like the exhibition of “teamLab” in Japan was held in China in that way.  This is my point; the technology helps people access art and feel its charm in a more convenient way for people who are not on the site to engage the live events remotely.

However, the technologising of our world leads us to lack humanistic care.  When we’re going to some exhibitions of new-media art and multimedia art, our focus would be more about the visual stuffs rather than the resonance of humanity. This is also a significant phenomenon of our current situation.

Totally, the benefit is greater than the drawback.  According to the development of art history, from the classicism to the impressionism, the invention of the camera, computer, telephone or smartphone, step by step, every artistic revolution or campaign has an aspect of technological promotion. Therefore, if we take a long-term view of our situation, it seems technology will have a positive tendency, but it is inevitable that there would be drawbacks when we move forward and develop.






Nerissa: That’s true, sometimes we miss the importance of humanistic care.

SU: Definitely.  Your question before tends to be more about the relation between art and technology, so I will say it is more positive if we look at this combination of art and technology as a whole.  It should be revolutionary, especially the advancing techniques of mobile Internet, artificial intelligence, they must be beneficial, but what we need to do is to take them as two-sided, to let ourselves be more objective to avoid losing our humanistic quality of art.




Nerissa: You’ve said that the artwork of Shuai WANG is a long-term plan, this reminds me of the CC plan. As a project themed around connecting and communicating, it does have the potential to keep ongoing. I would like to know whether you’ve thought about that?

SU: Definitely, it was intended to be a long-lasting program. Likewise, the Post-pandemic Era is part of long-term planning. It is expected to last about three years and we are looking forward to having an exhibition in 2023.  Here, we will perform all our works during these three years, such as CC Plan, our interviews with artists, artistic creation, etc.




Nerissa: That would be great!  You have said that the artists you interviewed had talked about the obstacles presented by living and working during pandemic, well, for my part, I know, that there are also artists in need of a platform to be shown to the public, this is a main factor of establishing R-Lab.  R-Lab is aiming to provide more exposure for the artworld to have more potential to develop, in the context of looking at the pandemic as a Pivot. We are aware that you have contacted the young artists group by curating an exhibition with some of them, called “Deep in the Life”. Therefore, with the young artists group in mind, could you talk about what they might find meaningful from our project of the “Pivot Culture”?

SU: Do you want to to talk about the “Deep in the Life” exhibition? Or?



Nerissa: I mean could you take that experience as a way of scoping the young artists group and plot some ways they can benefit from our “Pivot Culture” program?

SU: Got you. I don’t know much about the specific situation of the UK, but you have mentioned that basically you are still holding exhibitions online.  On our situation in China, basically 70%-80% of exhibitions are able to be held physically, the young artists group in China now is very active, so with that in mind, I think it would be great for you to invite some of them to contribute to your program on “Pivot Culture”, because they could contribute to the post-pandemic view of art-making and rethinking the different situations, and different cultures could bring more possibilities for all of you.

In addition, from my point of view, the key thing you might to consider is: What kind of platform are you going to offer? How could they participate in it? And the last which may take the most amount of care – how are their artworks are going to be hosted on your platform?




Nerissa: Could you give us some advice for us to promote our works or ways of hosting artworks?

SU: You could host and exhibit all your work in this digitally. We’ve launched a project that could cooperate with you guys. The people born after the 1990s are called Gen Z right? I think you’re the same. There is a group called  LineZ, its members are the students studying abroad, they are all Gen Z. They have their own platform which we are supporting, and they want to hold an exhibition in the latter part of this year, themed on Gen Z. This would be held both online and physically, so I think you could co-operate with them.


苏:我觉得完全可以用线上的方式来呈现,正好我们今年还发起了一个计划,我觉得这样的计划可以跟你们做链接。我们现在的95后叫做Z时代,对吧?我想你们也是95后的Z时代。他们有一个Line Z的这样的一个小组,组织的成员基本上有在美国读书的,有在英国的,他们都是95后。他们现在有了这样的一个小组,然后他们有一个自己的平台,我们也在支持他们。可能在今年的下半年,他们想组织一个Z时代的艺术展,这个展是线上和线下都有(进行),我觉得他们也可以加入到你们这个计划,或者跟你们的计划进行合作。

Nerissa: That sounds interesting, we could talk about that after the interview. Well, thank you for accepting our invitation and talking with us, Bing SU, it’s so nice to have you here.



Topics of Art in the Post-pandemic Era

As a result of this talk, R-Lab has prepared two interesting topics, please feel free to interact with us on our social media and share your thoughts on the following topics, or submit to our mailbox: r-lab.curating@outlook.com


Artistic Healing

In the interview, Bing mentions a female artist in Henan, China: Shuai WANG. She created a series of black and white illustrations during the pandemic which called “Stories of the Pandemic and the Lives of People”, and her hundreds of illustrations depicting feelings and the state of she and her friends during the pandemic, these artworks received a lot of attention. She also organised an art community called ‘Painting and Drawing’, in which hundreds of artists exchanged artistic creations and used art to comfort each other’s anxious feelings during the pandemic. Bing believes that this can be described as ‘art having a healing effect’.

  • Share a work of art that you think has healed you and briefly explain why
  • Share the experience of how art has healed you
  • Share an artwork/act that you have created that has healed you/others



  • 分享你认为治愈过你的艺术作品,并简单谈谈理由。
  • 分享艺术治愈你的经历
  • 分享你创作过的治愈自己/他人的艺术作品/行为

Humanism in Art

In the interview, Bing answers our question about the relationship between technology and art. He believes that in the long run, it is good for technology to drive the development of art, because “every movement, or big revolution, or big transformation in art is actually driven by technology”, but he also believes that this “double-edged sword” also has a downside, that is, when art becomes too technological, it may simply pursue sensory stimulation and lack humanistic care.

  • Share a work that you think shows a humanistic approach to art, and briefly explain why
  • Can art with technology bring humanism to the table?
  • Where do you think humanism in art can be found? From the actual work? From the connotations conveyed? Or from the whole artistic atmosphere?



  • 分享你认为呈现过艺术人文关怀的作品,并简单谈谈理由。
  • 科技下的艺术能否带来人文关怀?
  • 你认为的艺术人文关怀可以体现在哪里?体现在实际作品?体现在作品传达的内涵?还是整体的艺术氛围?



Host: Nerissa YUAN
Contact Person: Ifance FAN, Christy YANG
Planner: Christy YANG
Text: Christy YANG, Ifance FAN
Translator: Jiaqi GAO, Christy YANG
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD


Creative Participation

Annie COOK

Annie is one of R-lab’s guest speakers that will be hosting a workshop on Wednesday 29th of April 2021.

Public Engagement for Scotland’s AI Strategy | Citizen Engagement & Deliberative Democracy Festival

Positive Energy


Annie is a filmmaker, director, theatre practitioner, workshop lead and actor.


8 years ago, Annie started directing stories through documentary. Annie has directed and produced promotional films, educational films, comedy sketches and films in between, some of which during the lockdown.  At the heart of Annie’s work and where her passion lies tends to be centred around people and their stories, she’s strongly interested in stories that pack a punch and could invoke positive societal change.

八年前,Annie开始以纪录片的形式导演故事拍摄。她指导了多部影像作品,其中包括宣传片、教育片、喜剧短片等等,其中的许多作品都拍摄于毅疫情封锁期间。Annie 创作的主要动力来源于她对于身边的人和发生在他们身上的故事抱有极大的兴趣,尤其是一些具有积极的社会变革意义的相关经历。

Just before the pandemic hit Annie was working in immersive theatre with Laugh and Let Die in Edinburgh, she has experience in various formats; presenting, film and theatre. Annie is also an experienced facilitator, facilitating participatory budgeting workshops and events, Scotland’s Citizen Assembly, Scotland’s Climate Assembly, First Ministers’ National Advisory Council for Women and Girls and Scotland’s AI Strategy workshops.

疫情爆发前,Annie 曾与其两位合作伙伴 Laugh 与 Let Die 在沉浸式剧院进行工作,这使她拥有应对各种艺术表演形式相关经验,如表演、电影、戏剧等。此外,她还是一位经验丰富的主持人,并曾主持多种参与性预算研讨会等其他相关活动,如苏格兰公民大会,苏格兰气候大会,首相部长全国妇女和女童咨询委员会,以及苏格兰AI战略研讨会等。


Contact Person: Isabel DIERINGER
Planner: Isabel DIERINGER
Text: Isabel DIERINGER
Translator: Jiaqi GAO
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD


Homeless with A Roof


“Seeing an artistic identity form naturally allowing that process to reveal itself, rather than forcing it or attempting to create for the sake of creating.”

“led to the understanding that art, in its entirety has been serving me (therapeutically, aesthetically and inspirationally) and I get to reciprocate that energy through a more consciously free form approach, resulting in a freeing cycle of spontaneous and limitless creation.”

Homeless with a Roof

Homeless with a Roof, 2021

A self-portrait about my 10-year journey away from home. Initially as a preadolescent, then transitioning to early adulthood striving to find a sense of belonging at University. Returning home with a feeling of estrangement from what used to be home. Lastly, the experience of feeling lost in a new city, during the 2021 lockdown, attempting to build by independence without a sense of security and certainty.

Experimenting with distortion added to the already moving image.


Androjinny is a self-portrait, homemade short film and my act of gratitude to all aspects of the journey of appreciating & disambiguating my androgynous identity, masculinity and all that comes with it; From feeling my own sexuality to fashion expression or drag: it’s all me, all real & all here for me to revel in with no learned shame following me along the way (anymore).

Holy Inversions (Intro)

Introduction to a project experimenting with sounds paired with found imagery (from my camera roll).


Eliana is an Afro-Luso audiovisual freelance artist. Exploring identity and journeys documented through, photography, video, music & sound production, poetry.


The names would be abbreviated as “Isabel” (Isabel DIERINGER) and “Eliana” (Eliana DAVYES BERNARDO).


Isabel: How did you organise your work and life during the pandemic?

Eliana: I really didn’t! At the beginning, I completely abandoned the concept of scheduling/organising work, and what I at one point thought was a mishap, I now see it as one of the best unintentional blessings.

Thanks to this, as time went by, I adapted spontaneity as the driving force of my creative energy and productivity, essentially approaching art with a child-like standpoint: exploring with a natural impulsive flow, guided by my perception of reality and authentic curiosity.

And I suppose a lot of the organisation intentionally applied to my daily life was dedicated to releasing my old perceptions of normality and creating a new one, given the back and forth of lockdowns, tiers, flying home, back to the UK for an exhibition, work, then moving to London, and back home.

There was a genuine need to direct extra efforts into meticulous life organisation and conscious dedication to routine, as a means to maintaining my health (in all aspects of the word), in order to keep creating and finding a sense of direction and certainty during the pandemic.



我庆幸自己渐渐地适应了,以自我的内质为动力源泉,并以一个孩子般的立场去创作艺术: 以原始的冲动去探索艺术,即以好奇心为驱使。


所以,我真的需要把额外的精力投入到一丝不苟的生活中,并有意识地保持我的健康(各个层面的意义) ,以便不断创造并探索这一时期我的切身体会。


Isabel: What is different from before the pandemic?

Eliana: Mainly that there’s a daily internal conflict that I get to actively explore and work on, which dwells in personal artistic sensibilities.

Personally, before the pandemic, I was making significant progress managing my anxiety and depersonalization like symptoms and as a result, this progress created some momentum in achieving certain goals.

A year on since the beginning of the pandemic, I find myself expecting a different, deeper sense of helplessness in those fragilities. A year on since the beginning of the pandemic, I find myself experiencing a different, deeper sense of helplessness in those fragilities. However, being self-compassionate enough to consult professional help as a means to continue that progress has certainly been an empowering self-care act, directly impacting and enabling more artistic stimulation, exploring and vulnerability allowing to create and conceptualise more meaningful and authentic work.






Isabel: What is the biggest change you have gone through or found? In other words, what is your Covid-pivot?

Eliana: Definitely seeing an artistic identity form naturally allowing that process to reveal itself, rather than forcing it or attempting to create for the sake of creating.

This also led me to the understanding that art, in its entirety has been serving (therapeutically, aesthetically and inspirationally) and I get to reciprocate that energy through a more consciously free approach, resulting in a freeing cycle of spontaneous and limitless creating.

As a former constant people-pleaser, in all honestly, my covid-pivot, is letting go of the concept and concern of making “good” art, into simply allowing it to be.

Isabel:你所经历过或发现的最强烈的变化是什么? 换句话说,你的疫情转折点在哪里?





Isabel: What is your most proud creating since the pandemic started?

Eliana: In the midst of a lot of self-reflective pieces “Homeless with a Roof” is definitely the most meaningful and encapsulating creating to date.




Isabel: When did you start this project/artwork?

Eliana: The artwork came to mind and creating mid-March and was transformed and finalised in late March.




Isabel: What inspired you to embark on this project/start creating this artwork?

Eliana: It started as a therapeutic coping tool, initially as a drawing and then out of curiosity it turned into a painting.




Isabel: What does this artwork mean to you?

Eliana: This is not only one of my first ever paintings, it’s also a self-portrait & narrative of the last 10 years of my life. Showing my separation from home, family and country, amounting in the destruction of my formative sense of belonging, therefore a sense of home.

Having been in Halifax, Nottingham, Manchester, London and then recently back to the country I was born and raised in, now as an adult, feeling estranged to my surroundings and family dynamic, this artwork is representative of my 10-year-old journey of detachment from my roots and reconciliation with the feeling of no longer having a home, yet always having a roof over my head.





Isabel: Has the pandemic had an impact on your work/work plan? (Was there any change in your thinking focus?)

Eliana: The pandemic had a positive impact on how I work yet it negatively impacted my work plans outside my freelance work.

In 2019 I began working on an artistic collective with my partner, and we have made great progress with achieving our founding goals through creating a safe and free expression environment for black, Asian, Latino, and QTIPOC artists to share their creation/voices. With the pandemic and its consequences on productivity, we’ve had to change our work plan to release work that’s been in the making when the time is right.

Isabel:疫情期间对你的工作/工作计划有被影响吗? (你的想法有什么变化吗?)


2019年,我开始和我的合作伙伴一起成为一个艺术集体,通过为黑人、亚裔、拉丁裔和 QTIPOC艺术家创造一个安全和自由的表达环境,我们曾取得了很大的进步。但是由于疫情及其对生产力的影响,我们不得不改变我们的工作计划,并将在合适的时机重启。


Isabel: If this applies, is there any funding for freelancers or artists in your city or in your country?

Eliana: Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any funding for freelancers in my city but it’s something I’m open to looking into.




Isabel: Have your feelings about art now hanged from your first encounters with it, or rather before the pandemic? If so, how?

Eliana: Earlier, I mentioned a few aspects of the changes regarding my feelings about art; mostly its role in my life has completely shifted from just a powerful culture-shaping & people unifying tool to purposeful devotion that I get to serve for higher motives bigger than myself or my creations, and somehow the sentiment returns and cycles back to serve me as a form of therapy, inspiration to be better, and a magnifier of aesthetically stimulation or my perception of beauty.

Simultaneously, slightly contrary yet complementary to my former approach and number 1 rule: to uphold unconventionality in every creation in order to cultivate listlessness. I’ve now come to practice a child-like approach that often heavily relies on unconventional thought based experimentation, spontaneous impulse, and free exploration, which results in more natural and liberating cultivation of limitlessness.



同时,与我以前的认知略有相悖,但是进行了一定的完善: 以收为放。我现在开始练习一种孩童的方式,这种方法十分依赖于实验、自发的冲动和自由的探索,从而去激发出更自然的无限性。


Isabel: Do you think the arts will mostly remain/move online after the pandemic?

Eliana: There’s a possibility that this will happen for the first post-pandemic phases, however, I don’t think that’ll be the case, seen as people have been confined and itching to go outside to experience life in a social setting again.

I’m positive that for the majority of people who interacted with art in person, whether as a passion, hobby, family days out, date, friend hangout, artists, etc. they’ll be the reason art will be back in galleries, exhibits and other art venues.





Isabel: How do you know to see the relationship between technology and art?

Eliana: It’s definitely more symbiotic by the day. Unfortunately, this is a naturally biased relationship, and as technology is understood to have hereditary bias it also ends up amplifying the elitist aspects and forms of creativity.

While this relationship tends to autonomously highlight content that’s currently trending (which can sometimes be triggering/distressing to viewers) and often neglects dying art forms, this is also generating a wide wave of creators able to support themselves and innovate within their crafts in their own right, without relying on third parties or other people to get their art out there, which gives them a platform to inspire and encourage people to invest in their own passions, and that’s a crucial positive result from the relationship between technology and art.





Host: Isabel DIERINGER
Contact Person: Isabel DIERINGER
Planner: Isabel DIERINGER
Text: Isabel DIERINGER
Translator: Jiaqi GAO
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD


Humanistic Care

Zhao ZHANG 张钊

“Humanistic care” is the core concern of Zhao ZHANG’s works, and it also reflects his pivot. Although the internet became particularly prominent, while reflecting on the relationship between the Internet and people and trying new methods of creating, he continues to focus on a human-oriented theme. Flowing out of the Frozen River is an improvisation he made while visiting Northwest China in early 2021, which coincides with his lockdown and stagnation experience during the pandemic.


Flowing out of the Frozen River



Zhao ZHANG: Young Artist – MFA Fine Arts in School of Visual Arts

Zhao ZHANG’s creation focuses on the gap between individual perception and structural language in the current life dilemma. By appropriating daily behaviour and spectacle and resetting in a semantic context, he loosens the inertia of thinking and action. Through investigation, dialogue, performance, and theatre creation explore the possibility of promoting individual life’s desirable state with localization, regionalization, and network dynamic contact.


张钊的创作聚焦于当下生活困境中的个体感知与结构语言的落差,通过挪用日常行为和景观并在富语义的情境中重 置,松动思维和行动的惯性。在调查、对谈、表演和剧场创作等方式下,探索以本土化、区域化、网络化的动态联 络促成个体生活的向往状态的可能。


The names would be abbreviated as “Cleo” (Cleo CHEN) and “ZHANG” (Zhao ZHANG).


Cleo: Could you tell us about how you arranged your daily work and life during the pandemic compared with pre-pandemic? What were the changes in this period?

ZHANG: We’ve really been through a tough time in the pandemic, even though it is under control now, but we are still in its shadow. I would like to talk about my status during the earlier phase of the pandemic. This coincided with the students’ winter holidays in China, so as a senior student, I was in my hometown, preparing for my graduation project. Due to travel restrictions, there was basically no way for me to go back to the area of Baoji in Xi’an Province for field visits and investigations of my project. As a result, I spent a lot of time searching for related information online. At the same time, my personal art creation has also stalled.

The lockdown in Wuhan is iconic I think. Before that, I was doing social surveys on the trumpet troupe (trumpet is a traditional instrument of China) and folk performing arts groups in the rural areas of my hometown in northern Jiangsu Province, I’d followed up twice on their performance on the spot. However, once we locked down, the number of public events were rapidly reduced. Therefore, my personal art project had to be put on hold too.

The reasons above might have caused feelings of confusion, anxiety and a little bit of helplessness at the beginning of the pandemic. Moreover, the Internet could always cause us to drift into the news where bursts of information about the rising numbers of infections were tearing at my mood, making me feel anxious all the time, so I paid a lot of attention to the situation in Wuhan. However, my spirit and body were both isolated, which meant that I had nowhere to release my pent-up feelings. After being forced to adapt to do all things online, I began to put my attention back on my own work and keep moving forward with things, such as graduation, the process of personal creating and attempting to write more.

I went to Shanghai in the last six months and participated in the collective creation of a small theatre group called “Caotaiban”. The theme of their new script was about the feelings which emerged during the pandemic. We have scheduled the first performance to take place in Wuhan in early April, as an attempt with the new project. Then from December last year to early January this year, my friends and I visited some folk grottoes (Buddhism, Taoism, Deism, and related historical sites) and in Inner Mongolia (Erdos Dongsheng, an area of the Inner Mongolia Province, and northwest Shaanxi Province and northern Shaanxi Province. Inspired by the natural environment and folk beliefs, I created the artwork Flowing out of the Frozen River and Business as usual.





Cleo: Could you tell us about any changes you have gone through or discovered? What might be your Pivot during the pandemic be?

ZHANG: The pandemic made me reconsider the relationship between myself and the digital world. Before the pandemic, I felt that the Internet was invisible, just like the air we are breathing, it’s so unfelt that I hardly thought about it in normal times. What’s more, I’ve recognized the Internet as a kind of medium that is broken through physical limitations, which could provide us with multiple different perspectives. However, after the outbreak of the pandemic and the lockdown made it inescapable, then the internet became blunt, abrupt and the only method for communicating, which alarmed me.

I realised that when it is hard for us to meet physically, the digitalisation of our networks has caused alienation among us. Everyone is flattened and tends to be the same without our facial expressions, clothing, etc. This could be a reason why we’re gradually losing our patience with the online content. Although, it is undeniable that the Internet will become more and more important in the future, so I am also actively learning some codes and programming languages, which I would like to use as a new expression method for making art.

With all these things though, I still drew a defensive line deep in my mind, that is, what I should value most is never the techniques used in the artworks, but about its core displays of humanity. The specifics still need to be sorted out, so briefly, I will call it “The Humanistic Care”.

ZHANG: My Pivot probably emerged during the time I was preparing for the Gibberish exhibition. It was the end of May and the beginning of June 2020 and China had already suffered a lot from the pandemic, and the strategy for controlling its spread had started taking effect. I also returned to Xi’an to prepare for my graduation. Before that, I was still very anxious, because it’s really hard to keep calm under the conditions of lockdown and barely going out. Although I would force myself to focus on my own affairs, my mood would still be dragged by the Internet. Therefore, I was always very tense, a bit like a “war footing.

After returning to Xi’an, this tension and anxiety eased a lot, I started to no longer take the pandemic as the main crisis that needed to be resolved. Since it cannot be solved quickly, I should be more patient and should cope with its existence in my daily life. Also because I became numb to the overwhelming information, I might have accepted the possibility of its normalisation unconsciously, in order to feel better.

At that time, all the domestic colleges and universities were holding their exhibitions online, unsatisfied with that, my friends and I in the same class rented one of the stores in the urban village opposite our college to hold a small physical exhibition—Gibberish. These stores were very hot before the pandemic and became desolate once the pandemic broke out. On the one hand, this theme referred to the multi-faceted content created by everyone participating in the exhibition. On the other hand, gibberish is the meaningless codes displayed due to the programme crash, which reflected the physical stuff that couldn’t be transformed by the Internet.

Everyone was suffocated at that time—there had been no exhibitions for about half a year. As a result, lots of people came to see the Gibberish. The initial idea was to let this exhibition appear as an intervention at the site of the village in the city, which was more in line with my style of art. Therefore, I tried my best to make this exhibition as a white box within my budget, because I would take it as my feeling during the pandemic, which also suddenly broke into our lives.

The link of Gibberish : https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/hJgoHdksSG97j8Q8St11IA






Cleo: When did you start to conceive the artwork Flowing out of the Frozen River? And what inspired you?

ZHANG: Actually, Flowing out of the Frozen River is an improvisation. I saw lots of frozen rivers during my process of fieldwork. Some of them had tiny waterfalls, but basically, none of them was completely frozen except the one shown in my video. That one was the only waterfall that was totally frozen, including its speed and its impetus. I could imagine that it must have momentum normally but it was just restrained by the ice. We all knew that it had power, but at that moment, it just couldn’t break away, it could only be free when the spring came to melt the ice. This scene instantly corresponded with my experience of lockdown and my state of pause during the pandemic. Therefore, I decided to break the stagnant state with a clumsy creeping movement.

It was really painful during the process of shooting. I fell down more than a dozen times and my arms were bruised and my head was buzzing. Originally, I wanted to edit all the fragments in the video, so that the place under the frozen river might be covered with “bodies” in black. However, after considering the perspective and the visual sense of the audience, I thought it might be better to keep it concise, so I only added three fragments. This also made the video shorter which might be more convenient for it to be shared online. After all, it is not a live performance, so as a video artwork, it’s still easier to attract people with a simple and short one.





Cleo: What does Flowing out of the Frozen River mean to you?

ZHANG: In some ways, it contains my expectations and imaginations. For example, I hope it could flow again. Owing to the fact that I have been enrolled in New York Visual Arts (SVA) for a year of online courses, and I have not had the opportunity to go to New York to be in an urban setting. What’s more, many visas for us to go to America have been temporarily cancelled, so for me, it was really a hard period. I sincerely hope that our world could recover to move forward and never be blocked.




Cleo: I have noticed that your artworks mostly reflect on the dilemmas and illusions in our lives through media such as images, bodies, or the Internet. Is this a focus of your work? What is the relationship between Flowing out of the Frozen River and your other works? (Taking the formalism like “Dust-proof net should all be in a uniform green” mentioned in Covered as a field, I’m wondering whether you’ve turned to think about a larger field of the environment we’re living as a human being?)

ZHANG: The reflection of living as individuals is always the point I’m concerned about, and the “Frozen River” is also in this context of my work. However, I’m always wary of such a grand topic as “our living environment as a human being”, because many things will lose their authenticity once being enlarged—everyone’s understanding is different, so the grand topic may also be filled with ambiguities.

Covered is just an artwork based on thoughts of some domestic phenomena that I have seen. From a more macroscopic view. If I situate it in international circumstances, the elements involved in a certain phenomenon may tend to be more diverse, because the group illuminated by it would be more diverse.

The majority of people in China are still Chinese but the people in the United States are from various ethnicities and various cultures. Even though living in the same area, their concerns are still different from each other. According to this, being situated in a specific region could make my art more perceptible, effective and practical. At least it won’t cause too much ambiguity, so I wouldn’t rush to pick big topics for my work at present.

Simultaneously, regional and macroscopic things definitely have their connections. I think it’s like the relationship between blocks and surfaces. The microcosmic could be expanded from a small field to a larger one, and there might be a balancing point to let this transition have potential to be processed. If it is a specific localising artwork, it would need a more superior point of fielding, and it may require everyone to understand the context of its concern. Everyone might know understand grand topics but their practical experiences are still diverse, so we need to keep our exploration of the balance point among these.

The link of Covered: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/whxYD__5JSLtbq3pgidYwA






Cleo: I’m also very interested in Business as usual, so could you talk about that work? What kind of meaning you intended to express through the work?

ZHANG: The Unharmed Land is about the transcendent power of the Folk beliefs. It was filmed in the northern Shanxi Province, that is, northwest Jin (abbreviation of the Shanxi province of China, which refers to the region of Shanxi Province nowadays used to be the territory of the Jinn state during the Spring and Autumn period in Chinese history).

Shanxi was generally prosperous in ancient times and is gradually declining in modern times. Livelihoods of people there dependent are more on mineral resources, and the scale of urban development is limited. Therefore, as a result, the ancient buildings in Shanxi are well preserved, which also includes the folk cottages.

Almost every village there has some cottages or temples, for working the gods of nature, Buddhism, Taoism, and gods from the local legends. For example, when it is dry, the local inhabitants would build a Dragon King Temple (According to some Chinese ancient legends the Dragon Kings are the gods living deep in the sea, they charge the water and are responsible for the rainfall, each of them own an area of response). The folk beliefs there are very regional, it is possible that upon crossing from the mountain there, no one knows the gods worshipped by the village.

Due to historical reasons of modern China, the strategy of “Posijiu”(at that time, the rapid development of China caused some drawbacks of persuading the faster development, as a result, some unreasonable strategies emerged, Posijiu is one of them, means breaking the things old for creating new things, during the process of implementing this strategy, many historical objects were labelled as “old” and were destroyed), almost all the statues of these temples were smashed, and some even were reduced to ruins. The statues that exist are all newly made in the past two decades. Hence, the technique displayed in these statues are very crude, such as the sculptures are very straight, but the eyes and noses painted on it are a bit crooked which makes them look weird. The charm of the previous statues was also no longer in keeping with inherited beliefs. The lack of the inherited beliefs means that the local people between the ages of 3 and 40 don’t recognise the heritage. The older people are the only ones who understand the stories of the past.

ZHANG: There is a scene where I am standing nakedly with four trees with groundwork in front. One of the trees fell down when local people wanted to renovate the temple, the locals didn’t dare to build it by taking that as the punishment of God. Therefore, when I was in the ruins of the temple, I could feel the divinity, weak and firm, which seemed to be a supreme power that could transcend history, time, and all the disasters. In fact, this divinity is closely related to our humanity. Basically, divinity is humanity. Even if young people do not understand past beliefs, they still have a sense of respect for them. They are still very sincere when talking about these things, which is the best reflection.





Cleo: Then why named it as Business as usual?

ZHANG: Business as usual means that it has experienced some upheaval, but it still seems to be unchanged. Even if it was destroyed physically or spatially, so were those symbols and statues of the gods, but they are still “as usual”, because they are still there, and also, the divinity and humanity carries on.

陈昕: 那这个作品的名字为什么叫《山河无恙》呢?



Cleo: You have curated exhibitions such as Gibberish and ***Being?***. Their forms are very interesting. Therefore, is there anything about your curatorial work experience you want to share with us? What do you think might be the relationship between your art curation and your own artworks?

ZHANG: I think there is no clear boundary between creation and curation. Hi there? can also be regarded as an artwork. At that time the art gallery had no funds and no equipment. Accordingly, in my process of designing the exhibition, I reconsidered my right to choose as a curator, and I chose to relinquish this right.

I posted this piece of news on the official account—“Hi there?”, it is the same as the first sentence we use for chatting or adding a friend, so I asked the question of “Hi there?” then waited for a response from audiences. By doing this, I gave up my right to choose, and I didn’t want to choose the art museums either. I just provided the audience with an address, and once they received it, I would show it as soon as possible.

Finally, I received more than 30 works, I disassembled and displayed them one by one at the opening of the exhibition. In fact, my process of dismantling and displaying was equivalent to a piece of performance artwork. There was even an audience to answer the question of “Hi there?”, it’s kind of like a response of Joseph’s question “Everyone is an artist”. There was another kid who brought a painting that had just been painted in the institution named “798”, I also noted his name. Later, during my reflection, I felt that I didn’t really forfeit my rights, what’s more, I even expanded my rights for giving anyone the right to be an artist. This is actually quite ironic, and it came to me on reflection. It was like a joke. I originally wanted to dismantle the power, but resulted instead in the infinitely expanding of it. Of course, it is interesting in terms of form, with a high degree of participation, but it was still about to discuss.

The link of Hi there?: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/awHn7IyAidZuc8RDlgzbIA


张钊:我认为自己的创作和策展没有很明确的分界。“在?”也可以算是一个作品。当时的客观条件是美术馆没有资金,也没有太多设备。在选择作品和思考的过程中,我就反思了作为策展人的一个挑选的权力,我选择瓦解了自己的这个权力。就像社交媒体和别人聊天一样,我在公众号发布了这个展讯 ,就像聊天加好友一样询问了一句“在?”,等待来自外部的回应。我放弃了挑选的权力,美术馆也不去挑选,直接提供了地址。任何人都可以寄件过来,我收到了就会在开幕式即时地呈现出来,当时收到了30多件作品。我在开幕现场一个个拆开陈列出来,其实拆解和陈列的过程也相当于一个行为了。当时还有艺术家送了一个人过来,来回应这个主题“在?”。还有一个小朋友当场拿来了自己的画参展,估计是在798某个机构刚画完的,我也把他的名字加入了艺术家名单。后来在反思之后,我感觉自己没有瓦解权力,甚至是扩大了自己的权力:在我制定的规则下,赋予任意人艺术家的名号。




Cleo: What kind of impact did the pandemic have on your work? (It can be viewed from both internal and external perspectives, such as how it affects your work plan? Or whether it has changed the focus of your work or thinking? Does the city your are located in provide any help for the artists? etc.)

ZHANG: Internal – The pandemic made me reflect on our treatment of the relationship between individuals and the Internet which I’ve mentioned above. Our relationships with others has morphed to be our relationship with the Internet, which invoked many thoughts in me.

External – The change of my study plan was a hard blow for me to take. At that time, I was interviewed by different schools online, but after I decided to go to the one in the United States, my life started to be torn apart. I took online classes at night and could only start my day at noon, because of the time difference. Taking courses online made me feel that the benefits were discounted. It’s easy to get distracted after a long period studying, and it is impossible to establish effective contact with my classmates, because we couldn’t see each other. Therefore, we can only devote our energy to more personal things, so we couldn’t exchange our different thoughts and news. This always disappointed me.

陈昕:新冠对你的工作有什么样影响? (可以从内部和外部两个角度切入,如疫情对工作计划的影响?你创作或思考的着重点是否有变化?你所在的城市是否有为艺术家提供帮助?等等)

张钊:内部 – 新冠主要还是让我反思了个人和网络的关系处理,刚刚都有提到。从人和人的关系变成了人与网络,给我带来了很多思考。

外部 – 学习计划的改变,这算是一个致命打击。疫情初期,我正在网上面试不同的学校,但决定去美国之后,有种割裂的状态,晚上上网课,白天睡到中午才能起,就有时差,网络课程让我感觉收益打折。上网课的时间一长很容易走神,和同学之间也无法建立很有效的联系,因为彼此也见不到。所以只能把经历投入到更个人的事情,无法建立多元丰富的信息交流。这个我觉得挺遗憾的。


Cleo: On your point about the “treatment of the relationship between individuals and the Internet,” you’ve mentioned before that Internet has changed from implicit to explicit, so what is the relationship between technology and art like in your opinion? (Has your current perception of art been different compared with before the pandemic?)

ZHANG: In the past, I focused more on the physical presence of my body. It should be great for the audiences to watch those performance artworks and physical creations on the spot. Although it is also very important now, what I might consider as another crucial part is how to spread my work through the Internet and be more effective. Given that our physical feeling on the site is very special and specific, such as the posture or the expression in the eyes, even the different timing of staring at the audience for seconds or for minutes would express various meanings. When it comes to be shared on the Internet, the length of time should be controlled strictly. It is impossible to spend a lot of time for a single action. I need to do more things such as editing the actions, consider its position of being a video artwork, and how to gain more effectiveness. It is necessary to use editing as a method of showing the core of the work. This is also a main concern of my creation.




Cleo: Do you think art would pivot online after the pandemic?

ZHANG: I think Art has already started pivoting to the Internet whether the pandemic happened or not. The tendency has been gradually emerging in many mediums of art before the outbreak. The pandemic is just an accelerator that highlighting the existence of the Internet. Now everyone is putting all their concerns on the Internet, results are like the recent emergence of encryption art.

This is an inevitable trend, but its about the technique or the medium, such as a medium like gaming which I also see as very important. The game relies heavily on the Internet, and of course, it requires the realistic equipment too.

Online doesn’t conflict with the humanistic care and the core of humanism I’m concerned about. Actually, I’m actively exposed to new technologies. I think this could be desirable as long as we can implement it into inspiring our emotions reasonably.

However, those physical things are also a line that does not just vanish. Such as the skill of painting. Painting is actually an approach that has existed for centuries, although there were people who say that ‘Painting is dead’, it has still been developing until now. As long as our human being won’t really become the brain in the tank, the physical presence of our body and multiple senses are always the important parts. Personally, I prefer the physical one.







Cleo: The exhibitions online are more about copying the physical ones.

ZHANG: Yes, if we want to accept new media, we need to dig out its benefits. Nonetheless, there are still some great artworks online. For example, an American female artist disguised herself as a beautiful girl from Florida on Instagram. She took beautiful selfies every day to earn popularity and fans. In the end, she exposed that it was just one of her artworks. Internet art like this could bring a lot of provocative and innovative thoughts.

There is also low-tech art. It is an artist who makes a very old small cart, put a mobile phone in it, and walked on a bridge. Finally, Google map showed that the bridge was very crowded. As a result, later all the cars would detour. However, this is the one expressed in a more negative way.


张钊:是的,我们要接纳媒介,就需要挖掘其优势。社交网络艺术也有很棒的作品。阿根廷的女艺术家阿马利亚·乌尔曼(Amalia Ulman),在ins上伪装成一个美少女,每天发自拍p得非常漂亮去赚取流量和粉丝,最终她把整件事情给揭露了,这就是她的一个作品。像这种网络艺术可以带来非常多的警示。

还有一个低科技的艺术,德国行为艺术家Simon Weckert弄了辆小板车,在里面放了一堆运行google map导航的手机,然后在一个桥上走,最后Google map显示这个桥上处于塞车状态,后来所有车都会绕路走。这是以一种滑稽幽默的方式做消解。


Cleo: These works emphasized the fraudulence of the Internet.

ZHANG: I may take them as the ones that could bring us imagination with a sense of humor.




Cleo: I have realised that your undergraduate major was fashion design, so what inspired you to step into the field of contemporary art?

ZHANG: It was an elective course in the second semester of my sophomore year, which was about earth art. I was attracted to its way of creating and thinking, because I was always liked to think about things indiscriminately, so I tried to organise some of my vague thoughts in an organised way to let them become more rhythmic, and finally I applied them as artworks.

The first creation I made was about land art, named “The Endless Road”. I take art as the thing that can bring me a sense of being redeemed versus designing. It feels like art is leading me, and I want to live like this. Although I am also very interested in designing, I feel that it’s the thing more external or too professional. However, by creating artworks I could express myself and my state of existence in a better way. I feel that I can live a better life when I’m engaging with Art, and I would no longer be that anxious or be dissolved in my normal life. Art can redeem me from these hopeless days. Although the daily life is not bad, it seems that I need a transcendent force to guide me. I think, then I believe both in Art and in myself.





Cleo: That’s great. I used to read an article Becoming a Work of Art, it’s mainly about the result of being influenced by trans-humanism, the artistic education at present is more focused on how to make you an artwork, rather than an artist, I think it’s very similar to the state you’ve mentioned. The artworks are just the specifications of the thinking process of the artists, indeed, the artists take Art as a method to cultivate themselves.

ZHANG: Exactly, “cultivate” is quite a good description. This is just what I believe, now I feel like my life is full of challenges. The road I have just embarked upon is very exciting!

陈昕:挺好的。我之前看的一篇文章叫《Becoming a Work of Art》,主要讲的是因为受到后人类主义的影响,现在的艺术教育从教你成为一个艺术家,变成指导你成为一件艺术品,我觉得很像你说的这种状态,作品只是艺术家思考过程的实体化,其实艺术家更像是在用艺术这件事来修炼自己。



Host: Cleo CHEN
Contact Person: Ifance FAN, Cleo CHEN
Planner: Cleo CHEN
Text: Cleo CHEN
Translator: Jiaqi GAO
Proofreading: Calum BAIRD