Interview: JiaXin Duan
Luca Curci talks with JiaXin Duan during CONTEMPORARY VENICE 2021 – THE SECRET GARDEN, at Misericordia Archives.
I am a Chinese artist who likes to create Invisibly but real stuff. My current work deals with the fragmentary nature of our human consciousness that is made up of the interaction between our memories and our accumulating experience. In my practice, my artworks are the reflection of my memory-including fantasy and reality, I try to use my works to show how the memories become an image. In this work, the ceramic part abstracts the facial features. I was inspired by ‘Schrödinger’s cat‘ which is a famous thought experiment was devised by physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935. Every event is a branch point, in different branches of the universe that are equally real but cannot interact with each other. That’s like the memory in the past and present stored in a portrait, gazes back at a place of belonging, revealing a distance, both temporal and spatial, that penetrates our experience of difference.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
JiaXin Duan – For me, Art is the world of inclusive and sustainable development. Art is a way of grasping the world. Not merely the physical world, which is what science attempts to do; but the whole world, and specifically, the human world, the world of society and spiritual experience. Art is my therapy, it evokes a pleasurable emotional response.
LC – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
JD – I studied Chinese national painting at the undergraduate level and got more in-depth exposure to western oil painting during my postgraduate period. Naturally, I became interested in these two different media and painting forms, as well as how they disclose and contain people’s expressions and memories. In the context of globalisation, the integration of countries and cultures has promoted the assimilation of art in various geographic locations while both Chinese and Western paintings are developed with the memories of generations of people. These phenomena also made me more curious about what else could be the common memory carrier between China and the West. I am immensely interested in areas such as art and humanities, as well as fine art. Before the invention of cameras, one of the main purposes of drawing and painting was to help people record and store their memories. Today, in general, we do not use traditional painting techniques as much due to the rise of different media and digital methods. As a traditional art student, I have pondered a number of crucial and relevant questions – do we still need traditional painting? Is there still value in using traditional painting to record our memories? How could traditional painting integrate with modern digital painting?
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
JD – In my case, artists are exempt from the career rule. It means there are numerous other paths that I can endeavours. For example, I can sell my artworks, I can run a studio that could collaborate with others in order to tender for a big project, e.g. project which relevant to working on films, relevant to the public installation.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
JD – My art style always changed. Because I am a Chinese artist who likes to combine Sci-fi techniques with physical painting. And I enjoy exploring a wide range of media, processes and ideas.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
JD – It gave me a lot of different ways to critically think about how art interacts with space, the human body and the artist.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
JD – I enjoy the exhibition space was take part in the building next to the Misericordia Abbey Church, the archives were recently restored and turned into fascinating multi-functional spaces, with a post-industrial twist, finished with wooden details, rough plaster walls, and concrete floor. This echoes the theme of the exhibition.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
JD – For sure that this team provide me with an excellent opportunity to know more different brilliant artists. And the exhibition experience is good for artists to share their idea and experience from their practice and research.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
JD – Yes, I did. It is a worthwhile experience for me, and it is my first time exhibiting my works in Venice. Hope we will have more cooperation in the future.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
JD – ITSLIQUID platform is a cultural hub between creatives, exhibition spaces and art lovers. It is a modern place where could communicate with international architects, designers, artists, collectors, art critics, curators, dealers.