Ju Er Space & Alena
It seems that “pen” is almost the core medium of your paintings. There are various artistic media for “black and white works”, from ballpoint pens, to ink brushes used for line drawing in traditional Chinese paintings, and then to pen, also a very traditional tool for architecture sketches. But you insist on using the “fountain pen”, an old and yet inconvenient way, to create. I want to know the story？
I always liked to draw in black and white, back to younger years I used pencil or pen, but as my mom use to work with ink for a long time， we still had her little collection of fountain pens. So I use to draw with it time-to-time and found out the feeling is quite different. In China I started to draw more with it, as Chinese ink is heavier and thicker, so when you draw a line you actually can feel the line, it becomes in 3-dimension. And imperfection of the line comes from the unstable ink， which brings me very nice feeling. Also ink gives very deep black, which other medium can’t give.
Engravings enjoy a long-standing history in both Chinese and Western art, but Western-style “Dürer’s lithographs” and “Munch’s xylographs ”have great differences from “traditional Chinese overprint woodcuts”. As the “re-creation” of contemporary art with ancient techniques, how do you think your works reflect this integration between the Chinese and the Western and between the ancient and the modern?
Back to college where we learned xylography, I almost missed all classes (I was bad student), so I didn’t actually study western way of carving or Chinese way of carving, When I saw the woodcarving in China at one artist studio, it just popped up in my mind :“I like that feeling ”!I just tried to do it, and did it. So speaking of reflection of integration between the Chinese and the Western I truly don’t know. And about modern and ancient, I also use ancient medium as fountain pen, and use it in contemporary drawing. It all as ink, or wood carve, just a tool, with what you can create any kind of images, with wood carving people do beautiful expressed abstract works, in my case I do geometrical works, which are in some way expressed as I don’t control the ink on the wood panel, I still use the Chines ink for prints as it not stable on the panel and with each print you can’t control the result, sometimes it more black or less an so on.
And by what kind of opportunity did you choose the combination of pen & woodcut?
A: J 是他们选择了我！无论是哪种艺术家或者普通人，都终能在机缘巧合的时候，找到属于他们自己的媒介或者方式或者风格，去表达那个“自己”，但这不是一日之功。随着不断地尝试和经验阅历的沉淀，化繁去简，我觉得我还是喜欢这种黑白的纯粹，钢笔和木刻的组合在墨的调和下，给我带来了新的更深层次的“黑与黑”自己的对话空间。
Just they choose me….))) it always a way when artist or any person finding her/his own tool/way/style to express themselves. Never be a “one-day task” .By experience and trying different things I found myself of enjoying feeling of black and white or black and black combination.
Does your experience of being a fashion major in Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology have any effect on your future creation? It’s a constantly changing design industry there, but your paintings require extraordinary quietness and toughness. So how can you balance these two kinds of “professional thinking mode”?
Any kind of different from experience art help you to understand things more, open your mind more, which is basic things for develop your creativity. And every person have the creative potential and very straight and logic potential, they are basic things in us, so I’m trying to develop all parts. By quite thoughtful art, and other more commercial projects what I am working on.
After you came to Beijing, in these last few years, you have made friends all over the world, and have been getting along well with young people here thanks to your fluent Chinese. Eastern Europe has been sandwiched between Europe and Asia. It can be as a center as well as an edge. When you are with your friends, how do you find yourself, I mean, your identity between the two? You must have different feelings about Beijing, compared to your other European friends or American friends. Can you describe it?
I’m Ukrainian, we think we more European, but I was born in Russia, just next to china. And in either countries I was “foreigner”, so I guess I feel myself perfect in china, because they don’t call you Ukrainian or Russian, they call you Foreigner.
I think different feelings about place or things doesn’t depends from where you from. I do Love Beijing, and I’m happy to be here. Happy to see how it developing, happy to meet different people and to have different opportunities.
My parent’s generation and the older generations have special affections for the Soviet Union（now for Eastern Europe）. But to be honest, we the young generation don’t really feel the same way. Your nation seems very blurry and mysterious to us. As a peer who leads a life in Beijing, you are both the one who views others and the one to be viewed. Has this “special fused national character” ever inspired your creation and been reflected in your works?
When you live in other country, it automatically makes you more open; you know two or more different world and life styles. And of course it inspires you. It gives me more possibility to understand people and things from different perspective of view. And my art is always about that inner perspective of nature, human nature.
Your answers helped me toward the one I am more curious. Beijing as a “fusion city”, so many exhibitions and cultural activities around you, especially in the Hutong area. You have been part of many exhibitions or solo, and also have seen a lot. Do you have a feeling that the western centralization is still tough in here? I mean those “Contemporary Chinese Art ”, looks cool and international, but hardly find their own identities. What do you think about it? Both Chinese and non-western artists are creating art around us, you feel the different effort they are making in between? As one of them, have you ever thought or worried your own identity in art work?
A: Lot of people who open spaces here, have been in china for quite long time, and use to life before in different countries, so such combination of cultures brings new kind of individuals, so it creates totally new identity. Being in china and do something totally western without any influents of china, is simply impossible. As everything around us is have influence on us. And my art is totally influenced by it as well, even without clear understanding of which particular part of artwork have been influenced of china. I live here already almost 7 years, arrived in my 20th, so in some way I kind of grown up here, and sometimes I have feeling that in some way I’m totally Chines artist, but simply I just created very new identity which helps me to be different in my creation and of course personality. In the end this is what happens in multicultural world, and those issues will appear more and more as we all moving around the world, living in different cultures, we creating totally new identity which cannot be compared neither with china or your home country.