Graduated from the Department of Printmaking, CAFA in 2017, Hou Weiguo submitted his graduation work entitled “Looking at a Horse to Judge Its Worth” is displayed at the CAFA Art Museum. Speaking of the work, Hou Weiguo said that, “Printmaking is a media with many secrets, and I have found the ‘printmaking using scraps’, namely the use of trial and error in printmaking, by cutting out, splicing and combining it to create a work of installation with trace attributes and the behavior of “Looking at a Horse to Judge Its Worth” is consistent and coexisting, I hope the viewer can understand the process of looking at a horse to judge its worth and make a self-observation and introspection.”
At the beginning, Hou Weiguo’s horse is a Mongolian horse (natural horse), and then it was replaced by a sketched horse and then the horse of with copperplate etching, following by the collage horse, I called it the “Hou’s Horse”. Congratulations to Weiguo, he has found a good and unique working method, which was recently cultivated as the nice and handsome “Hou’s Horse” in the graduation creation, and I believe this horse is a fast horse.
– Wang Huaxiang
Weiguo does not want to create a novel-like picture with the copperplate etching, but reveals some quiet and disturbing views on such a fascinating object, thus to know and present the coexistence between them and the artist.
– Cao Qinghui
Interview Time: May 23, 2017
Interviewee: Hou Weiguo (hereinafter referred to as Hou)
Interviewer: Wei Xiankun (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ART INFO)
Editor: Lin Jiabin
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
CAFA ART INFO: I remember it was the first time to view your work of “Looking at a Horse to Judge Its Worth” one year ago, when you were a second-year graduate student, the work was already mature, was the initial creation of this series of works in preparation for the graduation work?
Hou: No, I held an exhibition last year which was a sort through and summary of the period, and I spent almost 6 months finishing all the things that happened around the exhibition after the end of the exhibition, my work was basically formed in the process of a context, rather than “especially created” works for a time frame, but I would like to re-create based on the theme of the exhibition, nature and space.
CAFA ART INFO: In fact, sometimes the presentation of a work of art becomes less important in contemporary times, but the reason why the artist does it is more important, would you like to show us why you continue with this series of work?
Hou: I think the “problem”is the key rather than the “reason”, the problem of art is a series of problems, and it is a relationship between two problems, while solving the problem is the power source of the artistic creation, an artist is disabled when expressing if he does or does not have a problem. My creation is generated and developed in the process of a dialogue with the “problem”.
CAFA ART INFO: In this series of works, you use the“printmaking scrap materials” which are usually abandoned in the process of platemaking, which is created as a collage again and hollowed, does it imply your thinking on the thing? Although the collage approach is very common, could you explain the special relationship between this creative approach and printmaking?
Hou: I am a nostalgic person, preferring to raise animals, plant flowers and grass when I was a child, and I think all things and people surrounding me are of a special significance and value. Printmaking is a material that contains a lot of secrets and the greatest feature is the included pluralism and trace attributes, the production of scrap materials is naturally formed based on the pluralism of printmaking, but it is also because of the accidental process of printmaking using scraps, my work of printmaking with scraps becomes impossible to be copied.
CAFA ART INFO: In this series of works, you have created a lot of “horses”, and they appear in a variety of different forms, and how do you grasp the differences produced in the repetition of the image and the uniqueness of each feeling?
Hou: I often wander on a variety of racecourses and I will choose a place with horses to sketch, I think the horse is an emotional animal with an high IQ, that is close to mankind, and even it is has a sense of morality, and is close to the complexity of people, I think the horse has a good bearing, where I can project a lot of thinking about mankind. Mankind is complex, with numerous states, and the horses also have unlimited differences.
CAFA ART INFO: You have been studying in the Department of Printmaking, CAFA, since you were an undergraduate, what is the biggest impact brought by the professional study of printmaking? What is the biggest change in art creation in the past 7 or 8 years?
Hou: We often refer to a thing with the thinking of printmaking that is the physical experience produced based on the material in the process of making prints, and I personally think that printmaking allows me to think of a problem dynamically, namely placing a problem in the context for looking and solving. I have spent 7 or 8 years making prints, starting with woodcuts then to copperplate and then printmaking using scraps, from prints to not prints, I think it is a process of gradually strengthening of self-expression and consciousness, and more and more I firmly adhere to my choice.
CAFA ART INFO: Prof. Wang Huaxiang is your master’s mentor, and he has his own special experience and learning about study, would you like to tell us your feeling about it?
Hou: Prof. Wang has not only made great achievements in his own art, he also is a master of education, his students are instilled with a logical thinking ability in art, while our natural instincts are protected, we are allowed to do the first step, while the second step is naturally grown and then the third step … formed from their own creative logic of deduction, and I am one of the beneficiaries.
CAFA ART INFO: I am interested in the process of the logic of deduction, because most people might think that artists are thinking and working through inspiration and intuition. How do you deal with the relationship between this reason and intuition in the creative process?
Hou: I think that reason and sensibility alternate with each other in the creative process, a great artist must be a master who is good at switching between the both, it is unreliable to solely rely on one aspect, or it will lead to art quickly being oriented to form.
CAFA ART INFO: CAFA is a diverse and inclusive school, in fact, if we put aside our own professional skills, we can continue to activate our own potential and creative ideas in such an active art atmosphere, so that many students break the limitation of the own professionalism during the creation, looking for possibilities with a variety of forms, do you have any personal experience or feeling in this aspect?
Hou: I think that art is open, and the concept based on a single material or single formal language is a proposition from the last century, so that we should be bold to accept new things, new technology, new fields, both boldly and positively crossing the border. Professional restrictions for the Academy have been broken year by year, the boundaries between the specialties are more and more blurred, which is undoubtedly a good thing.
I found that the “printmaking using scrap”was actually a self-trans-boundary process based on printmaking, I don’t know whether it is printmaking or not, but it does indeed carry a lot of printmaking genes.
CAFA ART INFO: Do you have a plan after graduation?What is your goal if you continue to explore on the road for art creation?
Hou: After graduation I won’t go to find a job, I will insist on continuing with my creation, hoping to find a space to hold a solo exhibition, to comprehensively present my works to the people, as for the target, it is still fuzzy, I think I should walk step by step, after all, there are many problems which need to be resolved, so that I would like to solve them one by one.