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2012.11.24 Sat, by Translated by: Fei Wu
Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Creativity
Liu Wei discusses his ideas about freedom, perception and art interpretation
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LSH: In all the different mediums you work in, is there a fixed theme, or a relatively constant train of thought, that runs throughout your works?     

LW: Overall yes, there is. It’s the reality of self — confronting this reality, understanding this reality, how to recognize reality. Reality is very superficial, and full of deception. Many things are not as they appear. You have to try to truly understand every action. It’s easy to explain, for example, many people air their opinions on the internet, saying, “This country is doing such and such” or commenting on some incident or another. How then should we understand the incidents in question? To truly understand such things, we must try to recognize where the root of the matter lies. Everything in life is like this, you have to recognize what something truly is, or else the results won’t be good. This includes political movements, the more extreme anything is, the worse it is. It’s essential that we see things clearly, and create an individual reality with our eyes open.

LSH: Do you mean we need to actively reflect on things?

LW: I don’t mean reflect; I mean recognize what something truly is. Reflection is another topic altogether. Of course, reflection is necessary too. For example, creation — creativity is not about making something new, because objects are material. True creativity lies in contemplating your existence and that which lies within all of humanity. At this stage, what this means is that you continuously rethink, subvert, and constantly reinterpret. That is where our true creativity lies. It’s not about making something that no one has ever seen, or creating a new wave of thought that has no basis whatsoever; those methods are unreliable, they’re not things we need to be doing. What we need to do is continuously subvert, contemplate, and innovate the past, ourselves, and that which exists in the hearts of everyone. For me, that’s where my creativity and my imagination lie.

LSH: Could you discuss the relationship between feeling and objectivity with regards to your early series: “Post-Perception” to your more recent “Antimatter”? The current concept of art has evolved from the Western definitions of the 60s and 70s. At that time, it could be said that something was purely art, without any materialism, but now there is more emphasis on the production level when talking about art.

LW: Not so. Everyone takes into account the material, but we still need to focus on the spiritual; it’s the most important part. Matter embodies and hosts the spiritual. I didn’t want “reason” to exist in the material. “Antimatter” is another concept which could have many layers in meaning, or it could simply mean anti-matter. I wanted to mix the scientific and the spiritual, then brutally fuse the two. I felt that this approach was interesting. As for the relationship between the physical and intuition, I think material objects possess many perceptions. Our perception of the entire world comes from material objects that we can touch and feel.

Art is not about discussing a principle. When I create a piece, I’m not attempting to get anyone to take note of something: I’m not trying to impart some wisdom to my audience, and I’m not making an effort to lead them to a certain conclusion. These are not my goals; I don’t have the obligation or the ability to do these things. The only goal of my work is to place my true and present perceptions out into the world, to make a start. When I finish a piece, that’s when its life truly begins. After that, it’s up to other people — audience, critics — to take something from what I’ve made. It could spark their inspiration, because we are all part of the process. This is how I understand and express reality. When someone looks at my work, they can have their own opinion, methods, and innovations, because it’s a process. I’m not attempting to make anyone understand me. My hope is that my works will be a fountainhead; I lay my perceptions down, and there appears a fountainhead. I don’t wish to use any existing knowledge or phrases to define my works; that would be meaningless. If the content of a piece can be clearly explained, then I didn’t need to make it; I could simply describe it with words.

To me, the most simple, most direct method is the most beautiful; this is art. If something can be expressed with words, then words are enough; we don’t need any images because they would be superfluous.

Anyways, I am, after all, a visual artist. My method is using imagistic logic to decompose the world, which includes the thought process. I don’t deal in words or language, except that words themselves are images to me.

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