They are tiny things of life, and I never expected the time and place of the material, as well as the details of the objects and the composition would create a group of paintings. Some important images, such as beds, lights, fans, an elevator, appeared in the paintings, and the appearance and location of these images has a special designated meaning. They are true and independent, but they fail to be directly related, and now these tiny things encounter the arranged things by chance, which I don’t know.
– Chen Guobao
Interviewee: Chen Guobao (hereinafter referred to as Chen)
Interviewer: Zhong Yuwei (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ART INFO)
Interview Time: July 22, 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.
Chen: It is an honor and encouragement to win this award. From the stage of selecting a topic, to the stages of processing and finishing, I benefited from the suggestions and support given by the teachers of the third studio of the Department of Oil Painting. I would like to thank teachers Xie Dongming, Yu Hong, Liu Xiaodong, Liu Shangying, Lu Liang and Song Kun of the third studio of the Department of Oil Painting.
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?
Chen: It is cool and pleasing to stand out from so many entries! It can be said to be a combination of effort and the grasping of experience and sensitivity, from the perspective of individual ability, in addition to a sincere emotional expression, and the characteristics of the individual language and form on the screen which is conveyed by the work. I have to say that my control of the screen advanced with the rigorous and patient guidance of the teachers of the third studio of the Department of Oil Painting. This includes Prof. Liu Xiaodong who gave me suggestions and encouragement which offered me a clear forward direction, with a new understanding of the grasp of material and screen.
CAFA ART INFO: “I Don’t Know” is a group of paintings that contain many small fragments of true life which are not associated with each other, which are brought together to create a dim impression that vanishes easily. Why do you want to put these seemingly unrelated scenes together?
Chen: This group of creation “I Don’t Know” is actually a continuation of “Flickering” that I created when I was a third-year undergraduate. The “Flickering” series contains a total of 14 pieces, all performing in the rooms, but I used a different method in the second series, reflecting the emotional changes of the two groups. “I Don’t Know” series of work features a total of 16 pieces, and this set will continue as the emotional trajectory which is still continuing. Each piece of the “I Don’t Know” series of paintings seemingly fails a direct correlation, but each piece is actually interlocked, which is like a contactor of the feelings of the biological chain. This group of creations directs the emotional expression, and the emotional demonstration of life, which is reflected in every detail, so it appears that there are many seemingly unrelated fragments. But I have never designed the arrangement of these life fragments, which are accidentally and invariably encountered.
CAFA ART INFO: In the description of the work, it mentions that the beds, lights,a fan, and an elevator are important images, and the appearance and location of these images have a special designated meaning. Would you like to talk about the implication of these images?
Chen: The images of beds, lights, a fan, and an elevator are repeatedly selected. A pink fan, which is grasped in my hand, is placed in the center of the whole group of paintings. I would like to say that: I “direct” this “drama”, while a fan is blowing and the memory is uncovered. Night time is often restless, excited and sleepless, rather than tranquil and I am eager to see lights, so lights are repeatedly appear. The protagonists are these images and me, so that when an elevator appears, we do not know where we are going, but it seems that we are able to encounter it. Beds have repeatedly appeared in the “Flickering” and “I Don’t Know”, and I believe that the bed is an ambiguous, warm representative of home, while various objects in the room reveal signs of people’s activities.
CAFA ART INFO: What difficulties have you encountered during the creative process? How did you solve them?
Chen: In the process of the creation I have encountered many problems, for example, the problem of the combination of materials gave me a headache. I continued to try and explore, and the teachers gave important guidance, which are all experiences that I had to finish with the combination of oil pastel and oil painting. The biggest problem in the process of the graduation creation is dealing with the relationship between the overall control of the whole group and the independent existence of the details. Each painting is part of the group, while each piece is an independent and essential part. While each piece is an individual contest, all pieces work together to create a whole atmosphere. Faced with this challenge, I originally changed the size and increased the size of the canvas, repeatedly selecting the images, and re-examined the paintings and slightly modified them over several days. In the final stage of completion, I repeatedly adjusted the locations, and the distance between paintings in order to control the overall atmosphere, but each painting is not fixed, because some new members will be created to join this series in the future.
CAFA ART INFO: Do you have any plans for your future artistic career after graduation?
Chen: I hope I can continue to create, and strengthen my own belief. I am a direct person, and feelings are very important, we should dare to express our feelings, and pay attention to our lives. From the High School Affiliated to CAFA, I have both learned professional technology and spiritual understanding. I find that the characteristics of traditional painting and characteristics of pop music are close in some aspects, and traditional painting can also be carefree, to effectively express our feelings and ideas and I hope painting is able be increasingly popular, I am working hard to create “popular paintings”.
About “I Don’t Know”
Material: oil pastel, oil painting, canvas covered board
Size: 77 × 71 (1 piece), 100 × 53 (1 piece), 37 × 34 (2 pieces), 37 × 27 (7 pieces), 28 × 21 (3 pieces), 21 × 14 (1 piece), 20 × 15 (1 piece)
Instructors: Xie Dongming, Yu Hong, Liu Xiaodong, Liu Shangying, Lu Liang