Interview: Kaiwei Li and Ruining Xu
Luca Curci talks with Kaiwei Li and Ruining Xu during the 11th edition of Contemporary Venice, at Palazzo Bembo.
Kaiwei Li is a Chinese visual artist studying at the Communication University of Zhejiang. Her works revolve around the topic of “Desire and Vipassanā Introspection” extending her creation from the reflection of the phenomenon and trauma of the times by combining the ideas in Eastern philosophy with Western philosophy In her works, she selects commonplaces of public life deprives them of their original functions; personifies and constructs narratives of their inherent meanings: thereby, forms a hidden dialogue between these commonplace objects. This awakes viewers to their construction of self-consciousness and triggers their inquiries into exploring the power that transcends the material and the tide of the time. Ruining Xu is a gymnosophist in the secular world.
Luca Curci – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
Kaiwei Li and Ruining Xu – The idea of this film came from a dream of Ruining Xu. In this dream, he saw pencils falling from the sky and spilling all over the floor. “Pencils” is the first film we have collaborated on, and the debut of both of us. It expresses that we don’t agree on the external environment and the social operation mechanism. The external world is limited by dualism in which we couldn’t find true inner peace and enlightenment. In order to escape from the chaos, anxiousness, and inequality, we gradually turned our attention from the outside world to our inner space. We have both love movies since childhood. Movies is the most familiar expression tool for us, and it has been a great medium to express our ideas.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
KL&RX – We tend to create art works freely. We don’t believe that artist has to be a job, and we don’t want it to be a routine. We want the art itself to be as simple and pure as possible. We don’t want it to be influenced by the desire of fame. While we are creating art, we hope to hold our courage to criticize things.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
KL&RX – The most challenging part is to remain pure throughout the whole process, without any influences by distracting thoughts and so-called standards.
LC – How is your creative process?
KL&RX – The shooting stage took about two months. We knew that it could take a long time for just the two of us to do most of the things. However, we never rushed to finish the work. During the two months, we stopped whenever we were tired or went to bed when we were sleepy. We didn’t have a deadline, so we weren’t anxious but quite relaxed.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
KL&RX – We witnessed many people including us were somehow suffering from the negative emotions generated by ourselves and the collective unconscious, they followed a set pattern. We tried to express the idea that unconscious and distorted life patterns can easily manipulate our mindsets. We select commonplaces of public life: depriving them of their original functions; personifying and constructing narratives of their inherent meanings; thereby, forming a hidden dialogue between these commonplace objects. “Pencils” is our first artwork, although both of us are trying different mediums today, Kaiwei Li is working on Installation art, painting, and 3D modeling, Ruining Xu is working on game design, but our artworks mainly put a spotlight on “unconscious and self-awareness”.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event? How is it connected to the theme of the entire exhibition?
KL&RX –We extract the contemporaneity from our body per se as the primordial material for our creation. In the present where myriads of noises of dialogue infest, we attempt to understand the littleness of our shared destiny through the perspective of grand narrative, to encourage the liberation of the soul and the intimate connection among individuals. This precisely coincides with the topic that is discussed in our exhibition: “Body and Space”.
LC – We were attracted by your last artistic production, has the artwork presented been created for the exhibition or as a part of preexisting works?
KL&RX –We rarely create works with purpose. In our opinion, a piece of work should not be made for any exhibitions. We enjoy the freedom of creation and simplicity of expression.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
KL&RX –Yes, we believe.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
KL&RX –Yes, of course.
LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
KL&RX –Our cooperation is very pleasant.