Jin Feng¡¯s interview
Date: Aug 25, 2008
Location: Home of Jin Feng, Zhenbei Road, Shanghai
Interviewers: Man Yu, Li Xiaofei
Editors: Li Xiaofei, Xu Zhe
Recording: Xu Zhe, Feng Lei
 
Man Yu: What¡¯s your understanding of art? You can talk about it as an abstract concept or choose one of your works.
 
Jin Feng: I think this is a big topic.
 
Man Yu: I think this is the main purpose of your works. In my opinion, whether you have considered this problem, the understanding[M1]  is the premise of the art. It exists before the work. For example, if you want to draw an oil painting, the main purpose exists before you draw it.
 
Jin Feng: In fact, the understanding of this topic changes with the movement of time. For example, when you were in the college art maybe was just a concept. When you began to create you would find that it was a way of expression. And then, when you go further into the art, when you talk with art in your heart, you will feel more and more that many things are not as simple as what the books teach us. Personally, I have moved on the road of art for 20 years, from the 90s, when I graduated from college, to now. Now my understanding of art is simply expressed as ¡°a way of living.¡± Why I understand it in this way? First, it has been the main part of my everyday life. It appears every moment in my life. The relationship between us is so close. With the things developed overseas and the growth of knowledge you will be more and more placid to understand the thing you have done today.
What it means actually to you? I think ¡°a way of living¡± is the placid Jin Feng¡¯s expression of art.
 
Man Yu: Does it mean art is your life? Can I understand it in this way?
 
Jin Feng: This way of expression is also general. You can¡¯t draw it out and make it a main perspective of life or thought of this general process. It is still a general and wild thing. I think so.
 
Man Yu: Do you think in your works there is a basic starting point?
 
Jin Feng: You mention the basic starting point. This is what I think about more these years. In the past years many works have been the expression of my feelings and mood. I wanted to do it and I had interest in it. What I wanted to do was be involved with my personal feelings. But now I don¡¯t do works in this simple way anymore. I consider at least two aspects of my works. First, is it appropriate to do this work now? Why should I do this work? When this work is finished, will it exist in a context where this work will be accepted whether itl be shown in the show hall or on Internet and will this context and this work be on the same level? Second, I will think if this work can be put into the art, if there are some problems we should talk about. This is maybe what I consider now to be my work.
Man Yu:  Recently you talked about your concerns regarding two aspects[M2]  of your work, right?
 
Jin Feng: Yes.
 
Man Yu: One is the context. I have noticed that when you are talking in your blog you mention often the concept of ¡°context,¡± including ¡°social context.¡±So what¡¯s your understanding or definition of ¡°context?¡± Or how do you judge that the context is appropriate to your works or not?
 
Jin Feng: I have realized this word¡°context¡± when it is involved in my works. In the previous works, I didn¡¯t effectively consider it. So I realized this recently. Some artists have problems to continue in certain periods. What they can¡¯t overcome is maybe their obsession of personal experience. You care much about a certain thing about yourself and you don¡¯t realize that this thing has become an obstacle. But context is inspiring one of my imaginations. You are part of the process of some problems being talked about by everyone and that are of concern to the society. You can express how to deal with these problems from the view of an artist. So ¡°context¡± is also a ¡°problem context¡±¡­¡­it involves the society, everyone and the whole social system. These things didn¡¯t affect my previous creations. In the past, I created as an imagined intellectual image and an intellectual attitude. This is maybe something from the books, something like texts or a symbol so that others could control you or define you. You would imagine that you do some works by borrowing this kind of force but actually it doesn¡¯t have a strong relationship with you inside. This kind of feeling doesn¡¯t have any communication with the context. If you communicate with the context, from my understanding, you will communicate with a project which has a straight direction.
This project may be an event, a person or something that seems strange to me. It inspires us. So if I do some works in the context, some people who are not in the art field will also communicate with us. I think many years have passed but contemporary art is still a relatively small circle. In fact, if you leave this circle, other people don¡¯t know what art is. Nevertheless contemporary art can be understood by ordinary people in many ways. ¡°Ah, there is such a thing. They have some ideas and then they make something interesting. This interesting thing is called art.¡±We have been doing such work for two years. Some works have become eventually such kinds of things. If you want to go out of the circle, your works have to have a relationship with the context. At least, as an artist, you must think about taking this thing into the system of thinking, whether this system is vague or in the process of becoming clear. That¡¯s my personal understanding.
 
Man Yu: Yes. You have mentioned a second part you care about. That is whether this work can be discussed when we turn it into itself. I have a question here. What¡¯s the relationship between the ¡°context¡± that you have mentioned and your works? In your opinion, are they divided into two pieces? Or are they themselves, separated?
 
Jin Feng: I prefer that they are divided into two parallel lines. In the art scene, the work has its value and away from the scene, the ordinary people also have their own understanding. If you don¡¯t put your imagination in it or consider these elements before you do your work, then¡­¡­for example, If we return the art inside to its original condition, we¡¯ll find two aspect: one is the way of creating, the other is the way we talk about it; both of them may contain something which is out of our experience Does it play an important role in the contemporary art? I think at least I will consider these elements in my works. There are many discussions in this circle. They consider the strange thing as a show¡­¡­this kind of comment is ironic. But you should realize that what you do is involving the works into context and you will make people understand it. It will in fact push some ideas forwards. I have a strong feeling about this Of course, everyone has his method. Personally, I think in the process of creation, the way I thought and the feeling I felt were different in past.
 
Man Yu: I have seen one sentence in your blog. ¡°Nowadays everyone makes plans. The government does, people do but relatively a plan seems most useless to artists.¡± So for you, how did you come to this opinion?
 
Jin Feng: This is a problem about aims. Why I said the ordinary people plan well? It is because the problem which involves ordinary people is so specific. I have cited two examples. One is about a worker working in Beijing. He comes back to his home town, finds that his wife is gone and has left their child in the house. So the biggest problem is to find his wife. His aim is specific; find his wife and bring her home. He knows that his wife is in Zhengzhou. Then they start to plan something. They plan how to let the media know this case and let them know what the biggest problem is. So he has an idea. He slaps his son and then his son gives a slap back to him. The father and the son slap each other. They draw immediately the attention of the media.
The journalist asks him why he did that, why he slapped his son in this way.
He said: my wife is in Zhengzhou and I can¡¯t find her. You can find her for me. This event spread at once on the internet and then his wife was found. So I felt that in this case, the aim is so clear. If the government does planning like this there will be a lot of trouble. They have a bigger group of intelligent people to make plans for them. The plans run in a system which involves more complicated problems, but the aims are clear. What artists think about is less clear. The relationship between what they mention and what they mean is nebulous. So maybe they mention one thing, but they don¡¯t mean only one problem, but also a series of problems. This kind of thinking can¡¯t be reflected clearly from their works. So this theory can¡¯t be understood if we put it into ordinary society.
 
Man Yu: A useless plan means this kind of thinking?
 
Jin Feng£º I mean the imagination of an artist about how to think about those questions. In fact, instead of  the result of the questions, the over-imaginative thinking is due to the art itself.
 
Man Yu: So according to your example the standard of judgment of truth are the feelings and the result, right? For example, the father that you have mentioned got the result that he wanted immediately, but artists can¡¯t make a plan like that.
Jin Feng: Actually, nowadays the phrase ¡°experimental art¡± is just an expression abused. In fact, there are many so called ¡°experimental art¡± which are not experimental. What we do is just a small try in a safe mode. This effort is actually called wisdom and skill, but we call it ¡°experimental art.¡±Also sometimes what we do is just a simple concept, but we call it ¡°experimental art.¡± I think if we just have a concept for a work called experimental art, this work will definitely not be successful. Maybe you will meet more problems in the process of doing work. They may be not easy to deal with. Then you have to try your best to analyze them, but that doesn¡¯t mean you have already got success. There may be ten ways of analysis and you have to try everything. Other people don¡¯t know that you have tried the first nine ways but when you show your work they feel that this work was not easy to finish. In this process, you have to change your role. Sometimes, when you are confronted with a problem your role is not to be the artist but another person. You have to change your role to solve the problem. Of course, this change is in your imagination but you need it to finish your work. For example, in my work ¡°Ma Jiajue¡± there has been this kind of change. Many things that I have mentioned in this work aren¡¯t related to art. I need to play different roles and use different identities to negotiate with others.
 
Man Yu: Do you mean the process of practice, not the process of creation?
 
Jin Feng: In this process, if you do your work as usual, I mean, you play a trick and you create first the result. You will omit the method that you experience your work yourself and feel something. But actually that is the method which can give you a lot of experience that you can¡¯t feel in your creation by the usual method. So I think we should reflect upon our understanding of experimental art.
 
Man Yu: But others can¡¯t see this process, right? Is this your personal understanding?
 
Jin Feng: I don¡¯t care whether others can see it or not. You can feel that yourself. I mean, this work wouldn¡¯t have that effect if you did it with the usual method. People who are interested in this effect will come to ask you about it, but those who are not interested in it will understand it in another way.
 
Man Yu: Wu Wei has a comment on your work ¡°Standing statue of the couple Qin Hui.¡±How do you understand his comment, including his other ones about works like ¡°Lane without title.¡±
 
Jin Feng: Personally, the work ¡°Standing statue of the couple Qin Hui¡± has played an important role in my carrier. It has preceded my ideas of previous works and it also has opened a new way for my creation. It is the key of the change of my creation. It reminds me of what I thought but didn¡¯t think profoundly. It is the threshold of my new creation. I passed it and it resulted in a new series of thinking, like the problem of tourism and the problem of how to borrow internet resources. Both of these problems were discovered after I had begun my creation. Artistic critics maybe feel that this work is one of the representatives of problematic art by their perspective and the perspective of human rights. But I feel that my experience, I got from this work, is more important. It emphasizes the effect of the work.
 
Man Yu: What do you mean with ¡°the effect¡±? Dissention or something else?
 
Jin Feng: The critical nature and problematic nature of dissention that Wu Wei means is the protest to this art regime. My opinion is that you should think beyond the protest. As an artist, you shouldn¡¯t express your protest so directly. You should complicate it. If you want to express it directly, just say it. Why do you do some works to express it? To create a work maybe involves some problems that artists should think about. That means, there may even be some argument about why some pieces need to have an art inside.
 
Man Yu: Well, here is such a problem. The example of father and son that you have mentioned had a good effect because the aim was clear, right? So according to your theory, in a creative way, the father and the son slapped each other and then got the attention of the media, which means you achieved the aim. But you have also said that artists should think more profoundly. I feel there is a contradiction.
 
Jin Feng: I don¡¯t think so. Some ordinary people can simplify the problem, but some can¡¯t, such as Cai Jianhua.
 
Man Yu: The household who refuses to move?
 
Jin Feng: And the example of south china tiger. There are some things hidden in these events. So these events make people imagine, wait and think how these events will go on. The ordinary people can also make these guesses. Everyone can make his own supposition.
 
Man Yu: So do you care about the problems that can reflect more?
 
Jin Feng: Something that affects you and makes you think more about it is what interests us in the work. If there is such a thing which can reflect some problems, this work will be a good work.
 
Man Yu: So I think what you care about is that there is something that can effectively reflect many problems. Of course, this is a simple description.
 
Jin Feng: There are some problems that can be reflected, but there are also some problems that cannot be reflected. The more important thing is the development of ability and judgment of artists themselves. Sometimes you find that you can¡¯t continue your creation with your old experience. Then you find what you lack. You find your habits and then you realize that these habits are useless. You must find another method to continue your work. It¡¯s a revolution of yourself. I think this is more important.
 
Man Yu: So the process of creation is very important to you, right? But I also notice that because we don¡¯t talk very often there may be some misunderstandings. I have the impression that you talk about your ideas about art in your blog and then others also write something about art. But I also think that at least one-third of your article is about some anecdotes. Of course, we can see a connection between your works and these anecdotes because many of your works are directly related to social events. How do you understand the relationship between your works and these events? I feel it seems that you are using these events to do some works. Of course, there are maybe some misunderstandings in this impression. I am interested in your thoughts.
 
Jin Feng: These events are my personal interest, but beside it there is a process of getting information. That doesn¡¯t mean what I have touched will always transform to a work. There are many things at these events which can be changed into work, but there must be a possibility of change. Many events don¡¯t have this possibility. I feel they are interesting. The information I got is all abnormal. They are at least different from the public way of thinking. They have left one step or a half step but they haven¡¯t left this way totally. Then an artist can change this event into another thing through this situation. Some things can be changed, but there are also some things that can¡¯t be changed. I have transformed some but most of the things haven¡¯t been changed. In the work of ¡°Ma Jiajue¡± and ¡°Sun Jixiang¡± I have transformed one part and then I added some new things which are my interests. Wu Wei takes unnecessary pains to comment on works. I write comments and he also writes comments. I always tell that I¡¯m not a critic but he is one. He is accumulating the limits, the limits without flexibility. He always wants to make something in his standard. A work should be this, a work should be that. This is what we are always protesting. We should only say whether this work is appropriate or not. I think this is more valuable than judging whether it is right or not.
 
Man Yu: In fact, I feel that your work seems to be participatory and that is very important, right?
 
Jin Feng: The feeling of participation also changes my mind. Many people have this misunderstanding that I have the intention of doing some works about society. But in fact, I ¡­This is a question that you can¡¯t avoid. I am not a pro-democracy supporter. I would not take the flag to protest the system. I won¡¯t express my opinion in such an extreme way.
 
Man Yu: I mean that you take more interest in the participation in the work itself.
 
Jin Feng: If they can have relationship I will try my best to let them interact. But sometimes they can¡¯t, as was the case with the work ¡°insult art.¡± But this work reveals other things. As an artist, you are challenging your experience. Once your experience goes back to zero, your work should continue. Can this work be a topic today, as an art creation method? So we have many possibilities, but we are all obsessed by ourselves¡¯ experience.
 
Man Yu: Is it right that you are trying a new creative method? It¡¯s not important whether you interact with the event or not.
 
Jin Feng: This is not final. I might think it is a pretty comprehensive thing. You can¡¯t say you care only about the method and you don¡¯t care about the interaction and artistic language. You are an artist opposing the aesthetics. But I think the intellectual complexity is strong in my mind.
Man Yu: What kind of complexity?
 
Jin Feng: The complexity of intellectuality. ¡­other things that maybe didn¡¯t give you a deep impression, but in the process of creation, they will be more and more clear. Maybe, just this kind of condition.
 
Li Xiaofei: I actually like Jin¡¯s understanding of the nature of art. What¡¯s your aim now, I mean, this is not a general question, it¡¯s very precise.
 
Jin Feng: There is no doubt that I want to do some good works.
 
Li Xiaofei: It¡¯s not about whether you want to do it well or not. I mean, your understanding of art decides what you will do later. Whether it is good or not is another question. What I care about is something more comprehensive, not just one or two works.
 
Jin Feng: I try my best to avoid touching something.
 
Li Xiaofei: What are these things?
 
Jin Feng: Like some formal things and experiences.
 
Li Xiaofei: I think formality and experience are nothing wrong. If you want to call them faults, it is just because you pay too much attention to them.
 
Jin Feng: Yes, I avoid them because of myself.
 
Man Yu: We have talked before and I have heard you mention at first the phrase ¡°the way of living.¡± I felt excited when I heard it because it seemed casual. But then I felt gradually, I don¡¯t know whether my understanding is right or not.  It seems that ¡°the way of living¡± that you said is precise. I felt that there is a real perspective in this expression. You try your best to mix your way of creation into the surroundings, which you call context or society. So the work becomes the by-product in this process. Is this the right understanding?
Jin Feng: There are so many incidents every day. You select one of them; at least you read the process of them. Internet becomes a part of your life. You touch it every day and your thinking follows the thinking of society. On the other hand, it consumes you 24 hours a day. It consumes all the time starting from when you wake up. It¡¯s not undue to call them a part of your life. In this part, you feel that you need to learn at any time of your life. Learning is very important. Then the complexity of intellectuality is involved with it. So many times, when you have this, that doesn¡¯t mean you should give up another thing. You have this but don¡¯t give up that.
 
Man Yu: I can understand a little in this explanation. It means that the whole process of creation has been mixed with the everyday life.
 
Jin Feng: You used to read. You kill your time by reading and you expand your imagination from the books and knowledge. Now, you are surfing in the Internet. You know many strangers from typing and online communication. You discuss some problems which are maybe not important to anyone, but you spend much time to answer them because you don¡¯t know those people who talk to you. The role you play aims to show your living condition. You communicate directly this condition to others. Then you will notice that this directly influences you creation over a period of time.
 
Man Yu: O.K, now I understand. Your blog is as important as your works in your life.
 
Jin Feng: Blog is like my child. Since you started it, you should continue it. I thought people would frequent here for a rest soon. Now there is this media. Hundreds of people come to my blog every day. Many of them are strangers. Of course, there are many artists in this circle who join to read my blog. So writing was private in the past, but now it is public, though it seems private. So you need to change the condition of your secret in your blog. Because you have to withstand the demands and your intimate ideas have to withstand the communication or criticism. What you have to accept now was impossible in your previous living condition. But now it has happened. This open context represents more a kind of creation and technology platform on which you work.
 
Man Yu: So this is your judgment to the context?
 
Jin Feng: It becomes your working platform. In the past, few artists could imagine using a working platform. This platform includes your thoughts and your faults. Blogging is kind of like this platform of thoughts. You should clean it and take care of it, just like you take care of a plant, you should water it and put it in a sunny place. Then the blog will become a part of your daily life and every days¡¯ work.
Man Yu: Now I can understand what you have said at the beginning.
Jin Feng£º Then you cannot say that you are becoming a special social issues artist.
 
Man Yu: No, I cannot say that. I think it is integrated. But first you said that, I think you are perfunctory[M5]  £¨performing an answer negligently to£©me. (Laughs)
 
Jin Feng: When you reach my age, you have to consider some problems. What does art mean to you? If I were a doctor, I would take a scalpel ¡­But because I have chosen art this is also a choice problem. When you just started, you came into this circle, but at least we were all at the same point. That means the way of living is the same. Once we develop continually, then we consider it and develop it in the spirit and the end will be the same. Art isn¡¯t more confusing than other disciplines.
 
Man Yu: What do you think is the difficulty when you are doing your works?
 
Jin Feng: In the past, I thought that I needed a long time to refresh- a kind of work, for example, a kind of painting. You can paint dozens of pieces and then you find suddenly that if you change a little, you can continue to draw another dozen pieces. Now I feel that it¡¯s easy to refresh my works. I can do some new things just after one piece.
In fact, maybe you don¡¯t think that you should continue to think about the problem, but you can¡¯t point out the exact problem. It is perhaps the condition that you are captured in your grammar of thinking. And this grammar is not so clear. It is a personal issue. But I still think that this kind of creation can train you. It will let you see your own passion and you need to keep it. That is not an easy thing. In the past you talked with your friends and then the passion was brought out. A part of the passion has been cut. It is perhaps very fragile in the face of some real problems. But now you are very clear every day that another problem will come. If you use your previous way to meet it,¡­
 
Man Yu: Do you think these are just your problems or everyone has these kinds of problems.
 
Jin Feng: It is very serious to solve one¡¯s own problem.
 
Man Yu: No, what I mean is you may meet all kinds of problems, then you need to solve them, so what are they?
 
Jin Feng: I don¡¯t mean to solve it. I just present them to society. And then I need to clear some problems out of my mind, trash them continually and throw some things that you loved and adored before away, for myself.
Man Yu: Well, what¡¯s your standard? I mean how can you judge what you have to throw away?
 
Jin Feng: You can¡¯t use the word ¡°standard.¡±It¡¯s a problem of opposites. Your body will tell you what you should trash. You will clearly figure out when you face some previous ways that seem now too easy or not appropriate; or there may be some others things that we haven¡¯t touched. Then it will give you a hint. You should wait and continue to deal with this problem.
 
Man Yu: Well, this problem is your own problem or some external problem? For example, the problem that presented the society. Or it is your own confusion. What kind of problems are these?
 
Jin Feng: It is perhaps a personal issue from the perspective of work. Certainly it doesn¡¯t dismiss some common significance. Maybe everybody is thinking about it. So what you show is a personal understanding.
 
Man Yu: Myy impression is that most of your works are related to social issues. Of course, I won¡¯t say and I won¡¯t think now that you are doing some social issues works. But many of your works are really related to the society. For instance the work about Qin Hui and about Confucius, or the work of Wu Youming. They all have a social dimension. Well these problems from our point of view, are all common issues, right? So you said you need to refresh, then more reflections are about¡­
 
Jin Feng: eh¡­how to understand it. I have just added a definition in my blog. I think there are some universal senses in it. You are an artist when you are thinking or manufacturing in large quantities at home. Manufacturing in large quantities means your action is regular. That is called artist. Everyone thinks so. But I think once you show your works, there is something intellectual about it. You can be a writer at home but when you present it to society you are an intellectual. Western people distinguish writers from intellectuals in this way. So many writers are presented as an intellectual to the people. He has to express his opinion about some social problems. He must have this attitude, which touches me much because I feel that I also have this sense of responsibility. Of course, I can¡¯t exaggerate this sense because if I exaggerate it, it will become another thing. So that I do some social issues is related with this sense of intellectuality. The mention is easier to express for example abstract expressionism, when it is used to communicate with the public¡¯s psychology. I think there is no dialogue in the presentation of intellectuality. But this kind of presentation is recognized by the history of art. But everyone thinks that your mind should be hidden.
 
Man Yu: You have mentioned that your works bring out some problems in a creative way, right? So I think this is one of your strategies. You don¡¯t do judgment.  You just show the event.
 
Jin Feng: You have your ability to judge. Maybe you can¡¯t judge some big event, but you have a standard, otherwise you wouldn¡¯t do works about those events. If this standard is delicate it is not your own choice. That¡¯s based on your thinking. Is there something sharp in your mind? That will be expressed in your standard. Although you are a person who doesn¡¯t think too much, your choice will also be different. If you meet a sharp thing, you will suddenly realize the importance of it¡­
 
Li Xiaofei: You are right. But you see, like ¡°Focus¡± and ¡°investigative journalism¡± of CCTV, the questions are all sharp. What they are doing is in the group so these programs can solve these problems and express these problems in a variety of ways. Is there a relationship between your works and these programs?
 
Jin Feng: In fact, you also have the relationship with the events that reported in the programs like ¡°Focus¡± because this is what you touch in your surroundings every moment. So as an artist, of course whether you are sensitive or not is a personal problem, but if you are sensitive you are also helping yourself to adjust to the height of a sharp media. You must have a relationship with the media. First, you are sharp and you can look at the issue which must be a vision of the kind of professional media view of social issues. Of course, you do not have to talk with others by the way of media. So today if we want to talk about some topic inside the art, every one of us should make one¡¯s own condition to express its own temperament. We should try our best to show something but also should protect ourselves. This protection concerns different sides because what you touch is not familiar to you or the experience that you have already had. It will help you to extend your new experience to another field and at the same time your horizon will broaden. So they are everything from the perspective of training. Our mind is made to be at head of curves by the environment.
 
Li Xiaofei: Of course it can. This kind of explanation meets your mind. I think that you choose these topics and social events because they meet your temperament. In fact, choice has already decided many elements and things that you will do after this choice, right? I want to know what¡¯s the most different point between the things you choose and do not choose? What is the most important significance of the thing you choose? For example, we do art and other people do media. We need something like an identity to distinguish (those events).
 
Jin Feng: You are always asking me about my understanding of art and the essence of art. I admit that I don¡¯t want to answer that today.
 
Li Xiaofei: Why not?
 
Jin Feng: Because the questions ¡°What¡¯s art? What¡¯s the essence of art?¡± will never have an answer in the history of art.
 
Li Xiaofei: Right, they don¡¯t have answers.
 
Jin Feng: We just see some old experience and some traditions which we read from history, the ancient essay, the environment that ancient people met and their acts from the process of doing work by artistic method. We don¡¯t need to express the essence of art.
 
Li Xiaofei: I understand. Frankly that¡¯s a kind of understanding, right?
 
Jin Feng: You do what you should do and you think what you should think. But it is not a single artistic style. You call yourself artist, so you should do something concerning art. That must be related deeply to the art.
 
Li Xiaofei: This is of course a conceptual problem. But I mean, for me, the first thing is to solve some problems. If this problem can be solved, the next problem won¡¯t exist. Of course, maybe what you want to emphasize is the understanding in the process of solution.
 
Jin Feng: So you mean once you solve a problem, you solve the next problem in the same way.
 
Jin Feng: You will never solve problems. Sometimes, you should take your eyes off the point that you focus. You should take it away though you know what concerns it. And then in the process of doing works you bring it out. You know what you are doing and you know why you are doing it. Today we can only say that I have interests in this point because I love art. Who doesn¡¯t love art?
 
Li Xiaofei: I mentioned this problem because I wanted to say that art is different from other professions, so art must have something which is established strongly by itself.
 
Jin Feng: In the past we dealt with art just like we dealt with a certain artistic work. But now this way has changed. Maybe you have to touch different fields and different people. In the process of touching, what you do is different from what other people do because you have your concept of work in your mind. What we do isn¡¯t involved in technology. In the past, maybe we consider the hand-feel of work, but today most people don¡¯t care about that. So what you should show is just the ideas of an artist.
 
Li Xiaofei: I understand your explanation.
 
Jin Feng: A surgeon has a scalpel to do his work. He has to develop his technology because what he is involved in is the life. Of course, the surgeons are improving their technology because their tools are also improving. They must develop their technology. In this field, the mentality is more important than ideas. But in our field, ideas are more important.
 
Jin Feng: If we continue to talk deeper and deeper into this topic it will be something about epistemology which will never end. I think we all have the experience of this kind of talking because we all liked philosophy and calligraphy. This is a charming abyss that once you join, you may never jump out. But in the abyss of philosophy, truth can be clearly explained to solve the problems or to make us understand what has been discounted. So our ideas and our paranoia have their limitations.
 
Li Xiaofei: Since when have you had these ideas or this work condition?
 
Jin Feng: Since the work ¡°Standing statue of the couple Qin Hui.¡± I mentioned some points: the theme is not original, the choice is my attitude, and the transformation is the most important. These are three lines in the center of my mind.
 
Man Yu: The theme is not original.
 
Jin Feng: If you want an original theme, you can go back to the history of art to find it. You have an idea and make it work immediately. You can dye a piece of material with different colors. That¡¯s easy because your work is not tightly related to your ideas. We all have this kind of experience because we have created works many years. What you want to do doesn¡¯t have a deep relationship with you. It isn¡¯t what you really want. So I want to throw this part of experience away. I want to use other things to stimulate me and to have a relationship with them.
 
Man Yu: Then it will be more direct.
 
Jin Feng: The choice shows your attitude. If you are an intellectual what you choose is in your field is related to your education and cultivation. The point is transformation. Transformation does nothing for your intelligence. It¡¯s a problem of wisdom.
 
Li Xiaofei: Just this thing can refresh all your past experience.
 
Jin Feng: This thing gave me some advantages. It let me see that this world could be re-edited.
 
Li Xiaofei:The advantage means the feedback from the society?
 
Jin Feng: That¡¯s the feeling of ¡°well done.¡±This is what I have understood after a long time of accumulation.
 
Man Yu: At the beginning, how did you get into to this work?
 
Jin Feng: I read the event on the Internet. At that time, I had just begun surfing on the Internet. I began to care about social events. Many things happen every day. Then I saw the news in Jiaxi. Five statues knelt in front of the statue of Yuefei. I thought this is really an event. It became the hot topic for several months. This topic was hot two months before October and when I showed my work in October, I received hot feedback from the society because this event had attracted so many people and the media had reported and discus, , sed it. When this work appeared in the show, I was confident that it would go into the society. I had never had this kind of feeling when I did creation. All the details were on my control and on my imagination, like this work should go into the society and go out from the field of art. For me, this was nearly a whole work, a whole creation. They are mostly in this kind of mind and then think that art and media have differences, but I don¡¯t. Art is not journalism. Artists and journalists are different professions. There is a space between art and media but we haven¡¯t entered jet. How to open this space¡­
Xiaofei: So what are your own changes of thinking since the work ¡°Standing statue of the couple Qin Hui?¡±
 
Man Yu: Did it push you to move on?
 
Jin Feng: Personally, I don¡¯t think it has pushed me but my thoughts have been enlarged.
 
Man Yu: It didn¡¯t push you.
 
Jin Feng: Pushing means each of my work has progress. I¡¯m not in this situation. I think my mind has been opened. I can be calm. In the past, I was impulsive but now I can calm down, that means¡­
 
Man Yu: You know what you should do.
 
Li Xiaofei: Can I understand that you have gone into another creation system which now belongs to you by this work?
 
Man Yu: I want to know why you think this work didn¡¯t push you or why do you think it wasn¡¯t so important?
 
Jin Feng: I of course hope that each of my works can give me a chance to separate me from myself. Or I can see a little progress from each work. That can be very little, for example, more freedom. I have this kind of hope, but you can¡¯t call it progress. The real progress is that you can calm down and your attitude concerning art is not as impulsive and anxious as in the past. You calm yourself down and I think this is a good feeling. It concerns the ¡°way of living¡± that I mentioned. You can really live in an artistic way. It will raise my next works though I don¡¯t know what the next work will be.
 
Man Yu: I interested in whether you have reflected on yourself. Why this work didn¡¯t push you to move on? Why do you think it didn¡¯t? What do you think is the problem? Or is there anything else?
 
Jin Feng: You are not the first person to ask me these questions. There are other people on the Internet who have asked me that. I left one frame and then went to another frame. Maybe there were some problems with the first. I think that maybe a new frame exists, waiting for me. It won¡¯t come so quickly when you need it. You must feel these things out for yourself.
 
Man Yu: So¡­you mean you need some time?
 
Jin Feng: Waiting doesn¡¯t make any sense. You must do something. The process of this action will tell you that when you are ready to move on, you will move on. But that doesn¡¯t mean that if I want to move on tomorrow then I can move. That¡¯s not true.
 
Man Yu: Now what¡¯s the problem that you think you have? Or do you just do it and then one day, it will be done.
 
Jin Feng: At the moment I¡¯m satisfied with my condition.
 
Man Yu: I¡¯m considering whether there is a way which has its limitations. That means, you think your mind has been opened but after several years, you find that the progress is too little. Maybe this is not a personal ability problem, but is the problem with the way that you think has opened your mind. In fact the way has little space.
 
Jin Feng: What you mention is horizontal comparison. Whether we consider the history of art or all the media of contemporary art, the limitation always exists. If you say my limitation is big, then others¡¯ limitations are also big. So how to reduce the limitation is every artist¡¯s duty, not just my duty. Inside the circle, everyone refers to others and communicates with each other. Then others remind you of the sides that you haven¡¯t considered. The communication seems so important and it can inspire us. In this way, maybe you can avoid certain limitations. My friends often suggest doing this and now, their suggestions have become more and more intense. Sometimes there are even some disputes. I think this is a very good situation because now there is no work or mass production. This avoids me meeting the market. If the market needs you, it will catch you at once. You can go into the market following this premise. Or you can say that market has its own law.
 
Man Yu: Don¡¯t produce a work more than 200 pieces.
 
Jin Feng: (The market) isn¡¯t as big as in the past. In the past, if you saw some western picture albums, you would be them although you weren¡¯t rich. Now we have too much information. You don¡¯t need to find them. They will appear in front of you. If you feel earnestly more the information that this society gives you by yourself, they will be new to you.
 
Li Xiaofei: You don¡¯t believe that the western system has influenced you.
 
Jin Feng: I¡¯m familiar with this system because I learned art when I was young and I was a serious student. I know it and I know that new works don¡¯t refer to it. The problem is that this system can¡¯t help me now. If it could, of course I would still gladly learn it modestly. Now I prefer to learn from practice and Chinese problems. It¡¯s a better way to refresh my mind because I¡¯m living in this era.
Li Xiaofei: Now I think your work just needs Internet and a room.
Jin Feng: Of course, and I need someone like you.
 
Li Xiaofei: I mean, all things are the same.  It doesn¡¯t matter where you are, but maybe not in Shanghai. You can also do your works in other countries because you have some basic things; all you need is Internet.
 
Jin Feng: The human is not calm enough to leave a big city. You must choose a big city to live in. You must choose the surrounding where your competitors live because these people can give you some sharp feedback and this is important. Some feedback is from the Internet and some comes from your mind. An interview can give you others¡¯ opinions directly.
 
Li Xiaofei: You have answered every question well¡­
 
Jin Feng: Sometimes, many things will go to desperation. But sometimes, when you are in extreme desperation the situation suddenly becomes clear. Of course, there are some good and some bad things. The bad things are when your feeling is so bad and the good thing is when you become stronger and you are trained to have some of your own laws because you know yourself. You know when you should compromise and when you mustn¡¯t. Finally, I think that compromising is also important today. You see, the negotiation between countries is the conflict of interests.
 
© Copyright FCAC
, , sed it. When this work appeared in the show, I was confident that it would go into the society. I had never had this kind of feeling when I did creation. All the details were on my control and on my imagination, like this work should go into the society and go out from the field of art. For me, this was nearly a whole work, a whole creation. They are mostly in this kind of mind and then think that art and media have differences, but I don¡¯t. Art is not journalism. Artists and journalists are different professions. There is a space between art and media but we haven¡¯t entered jet. How to open this space¡­
Xiaofei: So what are your own changes of thinking since the work ¡°Standing statue of the couple Qin Hui?¡±
 
Man Yu: Did it push you to move on?
 
Jin Feng: Personally, I don¡¯t think it has pushed me but my thoughts have been enlarged.
 
Man Yu: It didn¡¯t push you.
 
Jin Feng: Pushing means each of my work has progress. I¡¯m not in this situation. I think my mind has been opened. I can be calm. In the past, I was impulsive but now I can calm down, that means¡­
 
Man Yu: You know what you should do.
 
Li Xiaofei: Can I understand that you have gone into another creation system which now belongs to you by this work?
 
Man Yu: I want to know why you think this work didn¡¯t push you or why do you think it wasn¡¯t so important?
 
Jin Feng: I of course hope that each of my works can give me a chance to separate me from myself. Or I can see a little progress from each work. That can be very little, for example, more freedom. I have this kind of hope, but you can¡¯t call it progress. The real progress is that you can calm down and your attitude concerning art is not as impulsive and anxious as in the past. You calm yourself down and I think this is a good feeling. It concerns the ¡°way of living¡± that I mentioned. You can really live in an artistic way. It will raise my next works though I don¡¯t know what the next work will be.
 
Man Yu: I interested in whether you have reflected on yourself. Why this work didn¡¯t push you to move on? Why do you think it didn¡¯t? What do you think is the problem? Or is there anything else?
 
Jin Feng: You are not the first person to ask me these questions. There are other people on the Internet who have asked me that. I left one frame and then went to another frame. Maybe there were some problems with the first. I think that maybe a new frame exists, waiting for me. It won¡¯t come so quickly when you need it. You must feel these things out for yourself.
 
Man Yu: So¡­you mean you need some time?
 
Jin Feng: Waiting doesn¡¯t make any sense. You must do something. The process of this action will tell you that when you are ready to move on, you will move on. But that doesn¡¯t mean that if I want to move on tomorrow then I can move. That¡¯s not true.
 
Man Yu: Now what¡¯s the problem that you think you have? Or do you just do it and then one day, it will be done.
 
Jin Feng: At the moment I¡¯m satisfied with my condition.
 
Man Yu: I¡¯m considering whether there is a way which has its limitations. That means, you think your mind has been opened but after several years, you find that the progress is too little. Maybe this is not a personal ability problem, but is the problem with the way that you think has opened your mind. In fact the way has little space.
 
Jin Feng: What you mention is horizontal comparison. Whether we consider the history of art or all the media of contemporary art, the limitation always exists. If you say my limitation is big, then others¡¯ limitations are also big. So how to reduce the limitation is every artist¡¯s duty, not just my duty. Inside the circle, everyone refers to others and communicates with each other. Then others remind you of the sides that you haven¡¯t considered. The communication seems so important and it can inspire us. In this way, maybe you can avoid certain limitations. My friends often suggest doing this and now, their suggestions have become more and more intense. Sometimes there are even some disputes. I think this is a very good situation because now there is no work or mass production. This avoids me meeting the market. If the market needs you, it will catch you at once. You can go into the market following this premise. Or you can say that market has its own law.
 
Man Yu: Don¡¯t produce a work more than 200 pieces.
 
Jin Feng: (The market) isn¡¯t as big as in the past. In the past, if you saw some western picture albums, you would be them although you weren¡¯t rich. Now we have too much information. You don¡¯t need to find them. They will appear in front of you. If you feel earnestly more the information that this society gives you by yourself, they will be new to you.
 
Li Xiaofei: You don¡¯t believe that the western system has influenced you.
 
Jin Feng: I¡¯m familiar with this system because I learned art when I was young and I was a serious student. I know it and I know that new works don¡¯t refer to it. The problem is that this system can¡¯t help me now. If it could, of course I would still gladly learn it modestly. Now I prefer to learn from practice and Chinese problems. It¡¯s a better way to refresh my mind because I¡¯m living in this era.
Li Xiaofei: Now I think your work just needs Internet and a room.
Jin Feng: Of course, and I need someone like you.
 
Li Xiaofei: I mean, all things are the same.  It doesn¡¯t matter where you are, but maybe not in Shanghai. You can also do your works in other countries because you have some basic things; all you need is Internet.
 
Jin Feng: The human is not calm enough to leave a big city. You must choose a big city to live in. You must choose the surrounding where your competitors live because these people can give you some sharp feedback and this is important. Some feedback is from the Internet and some comes from your mind. An interview can give you others¡¯ opinions directly.
 
Li Xiaofei: You have answered every question well¡­
 
Jin Feng: Sometimes, many things will go to desperation. But sometimes, when you are in extreme desperation the situation suddenly becomes clear. Of course, there are some good and some bad things. The bad things are when your feeling is so bad and the good thing is when you become stronger and you are trained to have some of your own laws because you know yourself. You know when you should compromise and when you mustn¡¯t. Finally, I think that compromising is also important today. You see, the negotiation between countries is the conflict of interests.
 
© Copyright FCAC
© Copyright FCAC 2007