Guo Zhen: relation between artistic creation and life experiences

Updated: 2014-07-13 17:19

Children’s Sight

Q: During last year’s Sotheby auction, your Children’s Sight was sold three times more than expected, so what’s your expectation for this year’s work?

A: It’s hard to say, but I hope that I can achieve great results in this year’s Beijing Sotheby auction, and it means that my work can be recognized by the public. It doesn’t matter how much my works were sold for, as what really counts is that they like my paintings. Great progress has been made in China, especially in the art auction market, but there is something quite different from that in Hong Kong, such as the cultural atmosphere. Since I came back to China, I was told about this point, so I am not sure about it, because many things are not controlled by you. Sometimes, even if your works are very great, they may not be sold well because of various factors. I have no much expectation, but I still hope people can like my work.

Q: As we know, many artists will base their art on the market demands and adjust their styles when they create their works. As more and more of your works enter into the international market, would you also take this factor into consideration in your future creations.

A: I don’t think so. Market demand is indeed very important, but I give more attention to the artist conception. You should integrate it with your own idea and what you want express, and create special art works. If you deliberately cater to the market demands, you will lose your own specialty, because market demand does not always coincide with your artistic expression. If you totally cater to market demands your work and artistic concepts will be definitely influenced. This is what I can not accept, but I will do my best to consider the market demands and people’s expectations so my works can be more recognized by people, but I will not give to much attention to this point.

Q: In terms of artistic expression as you said just now, most of your works are about women and children, why did you choose this theme, and does it link to your own life experiences?

A: That’s a good question. Of course, it’s connected to my own life experiences. First of all, if what an artist expresses has nothing to do with his or her idea, then the work will not become special. In my life, there are many stories, some of which are really tortuous. To some degree, life experiences are a kind of wealth. I experienced too much, so I fell that women and children are the weakest in society. Children may die young due to various reasons, and women, who account for a large part of the society, may be treated unequal. I suffered during the Cultural Revolution when I was young, during which time I dropped out of school because my father was bourgeois and all my family was evacuated to the countryside. I still had no chance to go to school even though we went back to the city later. So I saw those children who lived the same yard with me going to school, but I could not. In 1973, with the help of my beloved teacher, I got a chance to go to school and was admitted to the School of Fine Arts at Shangdong province, a polytechnic school.

As I like painting very much, so I spent most of my time doing it, which laid a solid foundation for my work. That’s to say, I lost my chance to go to school when I was young, which is a reason for my philanthropy. And this is one thing that greatly influenced me in my life. Later, I was admitted to the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (China Academy of Fine Arts now) in 1978 after the Great Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). I believe I had the gift to paint, or I would not have received so much support from my teacher. Three years of hard work at the School of Fine Arts of Shangdong laid a solid foundation for my painting, so that I was admitted to the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts easily. At that time, I was one of only two female students out of the 14 art students throughout the whole country and it was an honored to me. During my four years of college life, I was dedicated to study and performed excellent. Through this process, I realized that any dreams can be fulfilled if you work hard. But in terms of marriage and relationships, I suffered something else. The traditional Chinese expectation for women is to be a good wife and housewife. At that time, I continued to coach after graduation because of my excellent school performance, and I did very well. After I was married, I shifted my focus to my husband and spent much more time to family affairs, and it was the same when we went abroad.

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