Artist Chen Qiulin will visit the Nasher Museum this Thursday, and we can’t wait! Qiulin is one of four artists whose work is featured in the exhibition “Displacement: Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art,” which explores their unique and fascinating reactions to the dam on the Yangzi River.
In the interview excerpt below, Chen Qiulin discusses one of her first major video works. The interview is featured in full in the exhibition catalog, from a conversation between Chen Qiulin (CQL) and Wu Hung (WH), the exhibition’s curator. Wu Hung is the Smart Museum Consulting Curator, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History, and Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia, University of Chicago. In the interview, they are talking about Qiulin’s work for the Chendgu Biennale in 2001.
WH: What did you do for the show?
CQL: I did a performance piece that involved throwing cakes. There is a video of it.
WH: That’s the one in which a woman is sitting and another one throws cakes at her? This work is the earliest one of the four videos, right?
CQL: There were five videos.
WH: Oh, five. That is the earliest. What is it called?
CQL: It’s called Dot Dot Dot Dot. I didn’t know how to name works. I just followed my feelings.
WH: This solves a problem for me. I didn’t know that this was the earliest work, but when I watched all of them, this one appeared to be less mature than the other ones.
CQL: Right, that was the first one.
WH: What did you want to express? Is it about commercialization and gender issues? Or something else?
CQL: Not really. It’s really simple. When I was doing this, the phrase “sweet harm” came to mind. No other meaning. At the time, I felt that my surrounding environment was like that. They told me that you should do what you think. It was in this way that my first work was born.
If you want to learn more about Chen Qiulin and her work, come to the artist’s talk at the museum on April 1st, at 7pm!
Laura Pierce is a Duke junior.
IMAGE: Photo of Chen Qiulin courtesy of Chart Contemporary.