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Conversation – What makes art public? – Xin and Zhixuan

23 Jan 2022


zhixuan: 跟studio和gallery相对的概念。。。前二者是更为封闭的概念。。。场地是可以被设计被塑造的。。。更为‘人工’的。。。

It’s a concept opposite to studio or gallery… the latter two are more confined… of which the occasions could be shaped… more artificially…

public… public awareness… public reception… 


xin: 我觉得他只要存在在一个除“white cube”之外的场域就是存在的。





I think it exists as long as it is situated in a space other than a ‘white cube’.


Another point is the interaction with people or the sites because I prefer to focus on the interaction with people in my artwork.

An artwork that is placed alone has a greater impact on people than an artwork that ‘interacts’ with them.


zhixuan:但是艺术品放在white cube里就不能与人互动了吗?

But couldn’t an artwork interact with the audience only because it is situated in a white cube?


Xin:我觉得white cube等艺术展馆这些带有一定的阶级性,就是会让一些“普通民众”进入这个场所后带有一定的距离性,“普通观众”会自觉的给艺术作品带有一定的距离感,会觉得这些东西离我的日常生活是遥远的,在还没有开始观看之前先给自己设置了限定:“我不理解这些,我看不懂。”


I think that art galleries such as the white cubes have a certain class aspect to them, that is, they make some “ordinary people” enter the place with a certain distance, “ordinary viewers” will consciously give a certain distance to the artworks, they will feel that these things are far away from my daily life. I feel that these things are far away from my daily life and set myself a limit before I even start to look at them: “I don’t understand these, I can’t see them.”



zhixuan: so white cube generates hierarchy, but public art demolishes it.


xin:对!我认为的public art 让人们有亲切感

我认为的public art的一个例子,是位于芝加哥的小巨蛋。


Yes! What I consider to be public art makes people feel close to it

An example of what I consider to be public art is Anish Kapor‘s Cloud Gate in Chicago.


zhixuan: 我对public art的理解更多的是participatory art,而小巨蛋算是monument

My understanding of public art is more about participatory art, whereas the Cloud Gate to me is more like a monument (which of course is also a kind of public art)



xin:但我不这样认为,小巨蛋坐落于一个公共的广场,每天路过的人和它(这件艺术作品)之间也是有互动的,比如去旅游的观众会拍照,这中间也产生了交流,他虽然是被固定在广场上的 ,但他并不仅仅是只存在与这个场域更多的也是一种和人之间的互动交流。



But I don’t think so. The Dome is located in a public square, and there is interaction between people who pass by it (the artwork) every day; for example, visitors who go on a trip will take pictures, and there is an exchange between them.

It is easier for people to interact with him because he is present in a more familiar field.



Then what’s its difference to a public facility?



xin: 我觉得他和公共设施之间的区别在于美学基础和作品背后的意义,还拿小巨蛋举例子,艺术家出发点是想让人思考自己跟城市的关系,虽然有很多人不理解这层意义,但是互动对于一件艺术作品来说就是一个好的开始。


I think the difference between him and the public facility is the aesthetic basis and the meaning behind the work. Also using  Cloud Gate as an example, the artist set out to make people think about their relationship with the city, and although there are many people who don’t understand this meaning, the interaction is a good start for a work of art.




So the interaction is necessary but not sufficient.



xin: 我觉得site是能够让人更好的理解艺术家的艺术作品,是更好的呈现.

“the work of art”takes relationships out of the work and makes them a function of space,light, and the viewwe’s field of vision”–  Glossy 



I think sites are a better way to understand the artist’s work of art, a better presentation.

“the work of art” takes relationships out of work and makes them a function of space, light, and the viewer’s field of vision” – Glossy. 

So can we say that the work of art is only valid in this venue and not outside of it?



zhixuan: but ‘site’ could also be a social, political, economic or historical term, beyond its physical context, therefore…





Yes, I agree with this in the same way that public art ‘is not necessarily art created purely in the so-called urban public spaces created by capital, and now the internet is also a public space. But I think the key to publicness is also to make the art more accessible to more people. It’s not compulsory, but it’s successful if it can really draw them in. That is the role of ‘exposure’.

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