Zhang Ailing once said: We live in our own personal clothes.
People wear clothes – they continue to create a close-fitting individual environment; clothes are both as an appearance to wrap our flesh and as an outfit to carry our life.
What things have a bigger impact on people, the news about social contact, advertising, brands and pop music, or the museums?
We live in a great era full of copying and pin ups, the surrounding advertising news, etc. are transferred to the clothes, and people then live in their own shells.
– Zhang Jinyuan
Interviewee: Zhang Jinyuan (hereinafter referred to as Zhang)
Interviewer: Zhong Yuwei (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ART INFO)
Interview Time: July 21, 2017
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
CAFA ART INFO: First of all, congratulations on your scholarship! Please talk about your experience of winning.
Zhang: I feel particularly lucky to get the scholarship that was recently set up by the academy, in addition, I would like to thank the teachers and the school for giving me this award, which certainly encourages and empowers me on my future path of study.
CAFA ART INFO: First Step Award is an important prize from the academy, what do you think makes your work stand out from so many entries?
Zhang: I think the solid basic skills and aesthetic ability is important for a student of Chinese painting, after all, the sense of form and taste of the screen is the essence of easel painting; but if one is only concerned with painting skills, but loses his own ideas and thinking of the world, the work may not be able to withstand scrutiny. I think the artist is particularly close to, or actually a philosopher. You can take a painting to convey ideas as well as the passion and thus cause the audience’s aesthetic resonance, which is significant.
CAFA ART INFO: Why did you choose this theme? Does the news of social contact, advertising, brands and pop music have a bigger impact on people than museums do?
Zhang: In my opinion, in this era, what I feel and think is the thing that I want to express. “Wen Xin Diao Long” states that art directly or indirectly reflects current life. In the “Shi Shuo Xin Yu”, Liu Ling “taking heaven and earth as the building, taking houses as clothes, Chekhov’s “The Man in a Case”, etc., made me interested in the relationship between the appearance and the flesh.
People wear clothes – they continue to create a close-fitting individual environment; the relationship between clothes and people is that clothes are both as the appearance to wrap our flesh, and as an outfit carrying life.
CAFA ART INFO: Clothes are a symbol of a person’s identity. When noticing the details, I find that you use the contemporary integrated materials and select some important factors from contemporary life as part of the clothes. Do you think that these replicas and consumer goods have become a symbol of contemporary people?
Zhang: In fact, when I drew this work, I did not want to express my own ideas, but wanted to start a discussion. I am only responsible for conveying the information in our lives through the form of beauty. Put these elements into the clothes, using them to reflect our life and personal close-fitting environment, which is undoubtedly important. As for whether this symbol and phenomenon is good or bad, everyone definitely has a different answer.
I use the integrated material and transfer method which is a direct copy and pin up, which is in line with this era, I hope my works are intuitive, allowing the audience to find fun, and arouses their thinking, rather than creating some old thematic works which are irrelevant to the creator who uses social software, staring at advertising every day.
CAFA ART INFO: You wrote in the note which reads “What things have a bigger impact on people, the news of social contact, advertising, brands and pop music, or the museums?” What do you think of this problem?
Zhang: In fact, it is a question posed by John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”, and I was inspired by this sentence. It is obvious that it is full of news & advertising, and the contents of social contact, and now people might have good self-cultivation, reading many esoteric books, visiting a lot of museums full of exhibitions, but a lot of knowledgeable people have to live in the popular culture where people can’t escape, many things appear quickly then disappear quickly, and we are now not able to survive without them.
CAFA ART INFO: Do you have any plans for the future artistic career?
Zhang: In the future, I hope I can make some paintings that convey my aesthetics, my consciousness, my principles, so that everyone can comprehensively understand me through my paintings. I also hope that someone prefers my paintings, and buys them. And then I can have money to buy more books to read, to happily and seriously continue my own pursuit of painting. I hope I can be a person that is satisfied.
About the Work of “The People Living in Clothes”
Size: 195 x 62 cm x 3 group
Material: heavy color on paper, integrated materials