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Selective Changes——An Interview with Hang Chunhui(1)

Interview  by  Meng Fanwei  (editor of Art Observer)


 The process of art creation always reminds me of a scene in the Matrix, where Neo sees multiple choices when he opens a gate to the virtual world, and the world behind each of the gates is unreal. In fact, the growth of an artist is such a process of repeated selections. The only difference is that, in Neo’s world, the selection has only one right path. However, artistic creation is pluralistic, so your selections produces a thread unique to yourself. You definitely need to choose what is suitable for yourself.



M: To my knowledge, the stages of your creative work are obvious, from the early figures to the subsequent cartoon series, tattoo series, and your current works. The intention of creation in each of the stages is noticeable.


H: Ah...yes, from this point of view, I have been changing and making choices.


M: What makes you so diverse© Ah…


H: Probably because there is a potential idea which constantly urges me onward. I am not a person who can easily be satisfied in composition. I like to seek particular treatments through negation. I believe that the essential value of art still lies in sublimation through questioning. Once the strength of such negation disappears, art begins to lose its impetus to go forward.



Hang Chunhui  < Conspiracy  >


M: Anyway, an artist is supposed to have a stable guise or look particular to himself. How do you understand this point of view©


H: As a matter of fact, a so-called look is an inner temperament or thread, not a simple duplication the painted image. Many people have a misunderstanding of this statement, and once a certain form is acknowledged, it may be reinforced and amplified. As an artist, in fact, as long as you create from your real self, from the bottom of your heart, you do not need worry about the issue of a characteristic look, because values are conferred precisely by this unique self.


M: The logic here is that seeking the self is actually pursuing a particular look. Is there one internal association or thread©


H: They are indeed one thing. Sometimes the thread of your search lies in incorporating other painting languages. Sometimes it is embodied in merging and amplifying elements that were already within one’s own painting process.


M: This may have originated from your personal experience, from the earliest lyrical portraits to the later “Little Bear” series and your recent treatments of luminous objects. There seems to be a conspicuous thread. As you mentioned just now, is this partly a matter of learning lessons from what you’ve done©


H: You may think that way. All along the way, a couple of paintings have been the turning points of my creative work. The first one, I suppose, must be “Life Is Like the First Glimpse,” which is my first work in the real sense. Afterwards, I composed four works following this style. The four works were primarily lyrical, with some surrealistic concepts added, but the attempt at this stage was essentially based upon fairly traditional aesthetic taste. The “Little Bear” series, which became popular later, basically was an enlargement of details from “Autumn Oriole.” Although this painting was also lyrical, it was the source of images for my subsequent creation of the “Little Bear” series. I once tried treatments of other images, mainly treatments of tattoos on the human body. But later I did not continue such attempts.