Qu Daner is a 2017 doctoral graduate. She was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province in 1985. Qu was admitted to the High School Affiliated to CAFA in 2000, recommended for admission to CAFA in 2004 and graduated from the 2nd Studio of the Department of Oil Painting in 2008; she studied for her doctoral degree at the Institute of Plastic Arts at CAFA in 2014 with Prof. Ding Yilin and Prof. Yi Ying as her tutors. Qu Daner’s work “Weizhou Fishes” is on display in CAFA Art Museum now.
Interview Time: May 24, 2017
Interviewee: Qu Daner (hereinafter referred to as Qu)
Interviewer: Zhong Yuwei (hereinafter referred to as CAFA ART INFO)
Editor: Lin Jiabin
Translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Reflections on the Language of Painting
“This part of thinking is finished following experiments, because the ontology language of oil painting has almost lost the space of exploration, sot I reversed inward, started from the self, with the self-contradiction corresponding to painting methods, and combined with painting methods, trying to find a balance in the contradiction, the process of experimenting is like a fight or game, finally I find that this balance is not a simple harmony, but the balance with a force produced by mutual hedging, containment or contraction. (The exploration of this part of oil painting language has been finished in three paintings including “Weizhou Fish – Heaven and Earth”, “Weizhou Fish – Day and Moon”, “Weizhou Fish – Red andBlack”.)
CAFA ART INFO: I learn from the information about you, “Weizhou Fish” series were created and displayed in 2015, this series of works have now matured, is it dedicated to the graduation creation?
Qu: During the period of doctoral study, I went to Weizhou Island in Guangxi Province to sketch, and I found the fish particularly interesting in that place, unconsciously I took a lot of photos, and later I felt it was necessary to finish a series with this creation. During the period of doctoral study, I had to find a topic and I chose the direction of the exploration of ontological language and concept of painting; I hope to create a combination of both, and the combination is related to the concept, so that I considered “Weizhou Fish” as the theme. For example, “Red and Black”, the red and black represent two images, representing two expressions of the language of painting, with a strong sense of collision.”
CAFA ART INFO: As you have just said, you wanted to find harmony in the sense of collision, in this series of works, you have created a lot of fish, that appear in different forms, how do you grasp the coordination between different images?
Qu: It is a long process which is in need of continuous overturning. It is luckily that I chose fish as the medium, the color and shape of fish are always changing, which combines with my previous learning of the composition of painting, to create a more coordinated state.
CAFA ART INFO: Have you encountered any difficulty in your creation? How did you overcome it?
Qu: For example, the coordination process of the freehand and figurative style. It is a contradictory process that needs to be constantly explored.
Reflections on the Concept of Painting
“Whether it is the painting, literature or images, there are many interpretations of fish in the past, but the fish that I painted are not natural fish, but ‘artificial’, ‘literate’ fish and even fish from the ‘landscape’. These connotations will collide with the images in my paintings and the knowledge of the spectator again, tocreate the possibility of new connotations.”
CAFA ART INFO: In the interpretation of your work, it reads that the fish symbolize you.
Qu: Seen from a conceptual exploration, the fish is particularly good carrier which does not only represent me but also other sides of people. When I saw the fish, I viewed the world from an objective perspective, the fish in the market are like people, crowded in baskets, distinguished depending on size and price… fish is a theme worthy of exploration in both the form and concept.
CAFA ART INFO: Every viewer’s interpretation of your paintings is different,what interaction do you expect your work and the viewer have?
Qu: I don’t hope the audience will see my paintings with a direction. When I saw the fish, I did not see them from the perspective of God, and I hoped that the fish and I were equal; I hope the audience will have their own thought when they see my works and I will gain pleasure if they can see things that I have never thought of in my painting.
CAFA ART INFO: Would you like to tell us your personal status in the creation?
Qu: When I painted, it is greatly different from the usual state. When I faced the creation of doctoral students, I also needed to consider my doctoral thesis, so that the state is the intertwining of bitterness and pain. Especially when I painted “Travelling Companion”, the other parts of the screen are successfully conducted, but I still stopped for a long time because I was afraid that I would fall into a state of excessive shaping, I did not finish the red block until it was close to the deadline, then finally I relaxed. This painting is not only filled with artistic conflict, but also filled with my inner contradictions, perhaps it was the most difficult time that I had encountered since I started painting.
Question and Power
“It is a new question and power that drove me to continuously create this series of work. I have a question on whether the painting can create a field of communication, whether the painting can create a field that is not dominated by the image during the process of the creation and presentation, and whether this field can happen to be presented through the image.”
CAFA ART INFO: You have studied in CAFA for a total of 15 years, what is the biggest change in the artistic creation in these 15 years?
Qu: I have always been in a stable state, until the doctoral stage, which is a big change for me. Because I have done a lot of theoretical studies during the period of doctoral study, I have a certain accumulation, which helps the expression of the concepts. Of course, it does not mean that the theory guides the practice, but the theory is an imperceptible process for me.
CAFA ART INFO: What is the biggest influence for you brought by the professional study of oil painting?
Qu: The painting is not a problem affecting me any longer. I have painted since I was an elementary school student, I use painting to live and consider painting as a way of thinking. Painting is my life, I might not take it as my career in the future, but it will always be with me throughout my life.
CAFA ART INFO: Do you continue to create in the future? If you want to continue with creations on the road of art, what is your goal?
Qu: I will keep creating. I hope to hold a solo exhibition in 2 years time which is not actually determined, but the most important thing is that I hope to be able to advance the ideas and concepts that I would like to express through a collection of creations.
Photo courtesy of the artist