INTERVIEW: YIWEN TU | ITSLIQUID

INTERVIEW: YIWEN TU

Interviews | February 10, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

Interview: Yiwen Tu
Luca Curci talks with Yiwen Tu during London Contemporary Art Fair, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.

Yiwen Tu is a Chinese-born artist and designer residing in New York. During her time overseas, Yiwen has witnessed the clashes and blending of other cultures and ideologies, which prompted her to research the construction of people’s value systems and the causes of societal disputes. Extinction And Revival, a series of artwork by Yiwen Tu, has received international recognition, including the DNA Paris Award and Graphis Design 2021. Extinction And Revival was invited to be displayed at The Oculus — World Trade Center in New York in 2019. Yiwen Tu is also a designer, and her clientele includes Porsche, L’Oréal, HBO, the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee, etc. She created the branding design for an online exhibition titled X-Hale in 2020. Her design for X-hale won the 2021 MUSE Creative Award for Gold, the GDUSA Health+Wellness Design Award, and the A’ Design Award for Bronze.

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Luca Curci – According to you, what makes a good photo? Which details do you focus on?
Yiwen Tu –
I use photographs extensively in my artworks and design projects. Consequently, I believe that a good photograph captures a moment that helps me tell an intriguing story. It draws attention to the story and emotion underlying the photograph. I will try to focus on the camera angle because it will allow viewers to experience the moment as if they were there. In my work Unemployed, I used 52 photographs of sunsets to convey my confusion, fear, and uncertainty during the pandemic. When focusing solely on the sunset, each photograph is breathtaking. However, when combined, they reveal a turbulent wave hidden deep within the calm. I use the beauty of nature to counteract my frustration and anxiety and to gradually regain control of my body by repeatedly photographing sunsets.

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
YT –
I observe musicians, performers, painters, and poets to determine how they translate an abstract concept into a relatable narrative. When I view, hear, or experience their works, I consider how I would tell this story through my art. This practice enlarges my mind and inspires an extraordinary explosion of ideas when I’m conceiving my own works. I also learned a great deal from my participation in exhibitions. BLANC – The Oculus Art Show invited me in 2019 to exhibit Extinction & Revival at the World Trade Center in New York. I was there to observe people viewing and discussing my work. A portion of the audience shared with me their reactions to the artwork. I was astounded by the variety of perspectives people have on the same topic. Interactions and responses have become a part of my artwork, and they are incredibly inspiring. Therefore, I have learned to incorporate the afterlife of my artwork into the conception and design stages.

LC – How is your creative process?
YT –
I have a sketchbook in which I collect ideas over time. I would examine these ideas and begin sketching mind maps to determine a powerful message or create an intriguing story from them. Throughout this procedure, I would generate a number of viable methods for the message/story. Then, I would work on sketches and models that would eventually lead to the final artwork.

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
YT –
I believe that art is an excellent medium, particularly for delicate and private emotions and ideas. In addition to expressing my thoughts and emotions through art, I enjoy using visual art to depict other forms of art and craft. Autumn Moon Over Han Palace, for instance, was influenced by the Chinese Zither music I used to play. The song recounts an event that occurred during the Han Dynasty. The lives of the servants and ignored concubines are desperate. They sat by the window and gazed at the moon in the sky, missing their loved ones and hoping to find hope in life one day. To illustrate the story, I used cool-toned colors and composition with floating dots to convey a sense of emptiness and isolation.

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

LC – Which is the role the artist plays in society? And contemporary art?
YT –
Like everyone else, we participate in society, reflect on what we observe, and communicate our emotions. Artists use their work to demonstrate various approaches to a subject or to create stimuli that heighten people’s sensory experience. My work series Extinction And Revival was exhibited at the beginning of this year at Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei and Fira Internacional D’Art De Barcelona, Spain. I received varied responses from the various regional groups of audience members. Those from Taipei who are more familiar with traditional Chinese philosophy (traditional Chinese philosophy is the central theme of Extinction And Revival) tended to concentrate on the message of my artwork. In addition, they shared with me their interpretation of these ancient philosophical concepts. Then, in Barcelona, I received a number of intriguing remarks regarding the visual aesthetics of the artwork, such as how I created the cyber degradation patterns and how it reminded them of stories from other films and books. Consequently, I believe that my artworks are influenced by my emotions and reflections, and once they are published, they become the subject of discussion.

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
YT –
I think the concept of this exhibition is very open and inclusive. It triggers me to think of how I live, and how I feel in society.

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event?
YT –
Honey and Sting are motivated by heated debates on contentious topics. What we observe are groups of individuals attempting to convince the other side that they are correct. When they realize they cannot persuade each other, the conversation typically devolves into a nonsense war. When people have vastly different experiences and interests, it is always difficult to relate to the opposing viewpoint. One individual’s honey is another’s poison. However, honey and sting are both produced by bees.

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
YT –
I think the concept of this exhibition is very open and inclusive. It triggers me to think of how I live, and how I feel in society.

LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event?
YT –
Honey and Sting are motivated by heated debates on contentious topics. What we observe are groups of individuals attempting to convince the other side that they are correct. When they realize they cannot persuade each other, the conversation typically devolves into a nonsense war. When people have vastly different experiences and interests, it is always difficult to relate to the opposing viewpoint. One individual’s honey is another’s poison. However, honey and sting are both produced by bees.

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
YT –
ITSLIQUID Platform is a great resource for me to learn about the contemporary art industry. It also provides me with a stage to show more people my new works.

LC – Would you suggest a collaboration with us? What do you think about our services?
YT –
Yes. I think you provide the exact service artists need to show their works to a broad audience.

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Image courtesy of Yiwen Tu

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