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《当好听众,为他人点赞》专访IAC理事-中国代表 周光真

时间:2019-02-25 14:32来源:韩国记者站 作者:陶瓷研究中华陶艺 点击1:
策划:陈恩泽Sponsor: Ben Chen
口述:周光真 Interviewee: Guangzhen Zhou
记者:余晖Journalist: Sophia Yu
摄影、摄像:陈旺杰Camera: Jason Chen


May we share any information about how many times have you been to Korea? What are the major itineraries of this invited trip to Korea? What communication effect do you expect to achieve?

Answer: Despite that I had always hoped to visit Korea, I didn’t make it because of the language barrier. It is merely a two-hour flight between Incheon Airport in South Korea and Shanghai, which is so close that it feels like it can be reached at any time. This time, I was invited by Korea Ceramic Foundation to serve as the international judge of the Gyeonggi-do International Ceramic Biennale. The publicity of the Biennial Ceramic Art Exhibition in Gyeonggi-do over the years is impeccable. In addition to its advertisements in major international ceramics magazines, it has booths at the annual meeting of American Ceramic Arts Education. I remember when I went to Korea in 2011 and 2013, it was mainly for the purpose of visiting the Biennale of Gyeonggi-do.
As I am currently working on a book entitled The Milestones of World Ceramic Culture, I wish to deepen my study and understanding of Korean ceramic history. That's why I went to Seoul's National Central Museum the day I got off the plane on November 26th. Some of the central plains culture and customs that have been lost in China can be seen in Korea, which made me sign with regret...
In your opinion, what are the artistic features of Korean contemporary ceramics?
I have always believed that the development of ceramics in a certain era is closely related to the artistic style and aesthetics taught by local colleges and universities. On the whole, Korean contemporary ceramics assumes a diversified development direction and is included as an essential part of the world's ceramics art. Historically, Korea has produced a great number of famous ceramic types, such as celadon, celadon inlay, Buncheong, white porcelain, white porcelain Moon-Jar and, etc..
The participation in the International Ceramic Biennale in Gyeonggi-do gave me some insight into Korean contemporary ceramics. Apart from the related craft inheritance or connection, Korean ceramists' research, breakthroughs and innovations in materials and crafts were also frequently found in Korea's contemporary ceramics. In view of the small population of Korea, I am quite surprised that there are so many excellent pottery artists here! Therefore, I hope to improve my understanding of Korean ceramic art teaching system. I've heard that some Korean universities have their own specialties in ceramics, such as the traditional ceramics of Dankook University, the Theoretical Research of Ceramics of Seoul University, the Environmental Ceramics (Contemporary Ceramics) of Hongik University, the Ceramic Product Design of Ewha Womans University and so forth.
What do you think are the advantages of the development model of Korean contemporary ceramics?
A: Because I regard myself more as a student who comes to Korea to make up lessons, it is very difficult for me to express my views on the development model of Korean ceramics, and I prefer to be an attentive listener.
Can you talk about your overall experience of this visit to Korea?
The Chinese people's familiarity with Korea began with the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Korea in 1992. I feel very cordial upon seeing that the national flag of the Republic of Korea is an image of Tai-ji (Yin-Yang). As China, Japan and Korea share the same cultural circle, their cultural customs demonstrate great similarity. Located between China and Japan, a number of Chinese ceramic crafts have been spread to Japan through Korea in history.
We have witnessed the rise of the four Asian tigers and the spread of Korean culture, such as Dae Jang Geum, Psy, Gangnan Style, etc.
Since there were no direct flights from San Francisco to Shanghai every day in the 1990s, I used to fly on Asiana Airlines and saw a great number of transfer passengers from India, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian regions on board. In fact, Incheon Airport is the prominent aviation hub between North America and Asia. Nowadays, the Biennial Ceramic Exhibition in Gyeonggi-do, Korea has been regarded as the Oscar of the world ceramic art circle and the embodiment of Korean culture in the world ceramic art circle. We are looking forward that Lichuan becomes both the ceramic culture center and the cultural industry center in East Asia.
At present, I am making an increasing number of Korean friends and receiving their help every time I go to Korea. They will act as my guides or even drivers. Some of them are foreign students who have been to Korea, while some are Korean pottery artists, teachers or professors. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all old and new friends.

Considering that you have engaged in the organization of Chinese ceramists to attend NCECA (The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) and foreign artists to visit China since 1999, what valuable experience have you obtained from the international ceramic exchange and promotion in the past 20 years?
Since the 1990s, I have invited the first batch of Chinese ceramic artists to the United States for exchanges, which attracted the participation of domestic and American friends almost every year. We must realize that cultural exchanges should be commutative, that is, while telling Chinese stories well, we should also learn to listen, to praise others and to expand the circle of our friendship. My trip to Korea this time is aimed at learning, charging and making up lessons. At the same time, in order to carry out more effective exchanges with the Korean, I should firstly establish certain understanding of the development status of Korean ceramic art, and then make an introduction of the development of Chinese ceramic art. In addition, I brought some documents about China to share with my peers in the hope of achieving mutual respect, being a competent listener, expanding the circle of friends and thumb up for others. Ceramic artists should firstly get to know the country and be a listener before going abroad. For example, when we visiting foreign museums, you should not ask where Chinese ceramics are once entering. Such indifference to ceramics in other cultures is not expected to be a good attitude of ceramics artiest from a great country. On the contrary, we should achieve a virtuous circle through mutual respect and equal exchange. The above is some of my experience.
As a curator in the field of ceramics, what do you think of the development of contemporary Chinese ceramics?
This is a huge topic that can even be elaborated by writing a book.
First of all, modern and contemporary Chinese ceramics probably originated in the 1980s, especially in the early 1990s to 2000, when China's economy boomed. At this time, the university enrollment expansion cultivated a large number of artistic talents by providing opportunities for many people. When we look back at the exhibitions in the 1990s, there may not be more than 100 professional ceramists throughout the country, most of which have to go to factory to produce ceramics in the producing areas because they may not own their own studios. But now, in addition to have their own studios, a number of ceramic artists today also own beautiful exhibition halls, which are inseparable from China's economic development.
Nowadays, however, the Internet is providing more opportunities for the public. In addition to almost all the works of artists, we can also search the artist's background and comments on the works on the Internet, which are considerable rich information. What's the future development? Since it is not necessary to copy others completely in that each country and culture may possess its own specific background, there is indeed a great space for innovation for us. Therefore, we often refer to two terms: inheritance and innovation. We should neither merely focus on inheritance while ignoring innovation, nor can we completely wipe out inheritance of our culture to innovate. Innovation without foundation might be meaningless, it is ideal to focus on innovation without losing the foundation of our culture.
You mentioned that a number of professional ceramics art activities are held every year all over the world, and white people with high nose and blue eyes are discussing ceramics art everywhere, while rarely yellow people with black hair. How to improve the participation and visibility of Chinese ceramic artists in the international congress?

The context of my words is the Ceramics Review Seminar held in Santa Fe, the United States in 2010. As the largest and highest-level conference in the ceramics industry, it is a meeting with high academic requirements sponsored by the American Ceramics Education Annual Conference. I carefully observed and found that I was the only black-haired, yellow-skinned Asian in the venue, which might be due to the language as the United States was the host and the language of the conference was English. Despite that Jingdezhen Ceramic University and the ceramic producing areas in China also hold ceramics-related seminars, there may be still a gap in academic level, which means there is still a room for the development of theoretical criticism of ceramics in China.
There are two standards for Chinese ceramic art: market standards and academic standards. Nowadays, some people tend to be more utilitarian, who focus only on market indicators such as the great fame of an artist and the huge selling price of his works, which have nothing to do with academia. I believe that museums with high standards are the basis for achieving a high academic level of Chinese ceramic art. First of all, museums should embody the academic perseverance of ceramic art. In the United States, there are plenty of museums with excellent works, where you can find out what kind of works are eligible for inclusion in the history of art. Secondly, high-level of academic ceramic art textbooks are currently lacking in China, which may require more time of us. Suppose we set up a large number of professional ceramics museums in China which collect a variety of works on the basis of adhering to certain academic concepts and regularly hold high-quality exhibitions, and a group of genuine critics are trained by the schools to write critical articles with a certain academic level, the development of China's new normal ceramics will be greatly promoted。
What platform can IAC provide for artists? What qualifications should artists possess in order to be selected and become members?
In addition to the IAC entries I created in Baidu Encyclopedia, more detailed information can be seen from the official IAC website. I am now giving a brief introduction to the IAC. With the Chinese full name of International Academy of Ceramics and established in Geneva in 1952, the IAC is headquartered in the Ariana Museum. Including groups and individuals, it currently has nearly 700 members from 70 countries, representing the world's highest level of ceramics elite team. IAC can be regarded as a network and platform to create conditions for the international exchange of ceramists. Everyone is welcome to pay more attention to it and apply for membership. Strict review requirements are intended to ensure that the best ceramic artists are included in the team. Referred to as the big family of international ceramics, being the member of IAC will be provided with a variety of opportunities to participate in international communication.
IAC membership applications include several conditions. First of all, three members' letters of recommendation are required. Secondly, the works has to meet certain standards and pass the evaluation of 15 judges. Thirdly, the internationalization consciousness is required, that is, to have participated in or willingly to participate in certain international communication activities rather than enjoying an undeserved fame. For example, although some artists may be state-level masters of a certain production area with high sales and favorable reputation, the artist's development ideas will be regarded as being irrelevant with IAC in the case that he has never participated in any international activities. Therefore, internationalization and specialization are vital considerations. Artists, curators and critics are eligible to submit membership applications. 

In addition to the publication of five books on ceramic arts and crafts, you publish papers almost every year. How have you kept efficient writing of art reviews all the year round?
First of all, I am an artist and it is my obligation to carry out works creation. As I have been engaged in plenty of staff, my creation is actually far from sufficient. On the other hand, I am also a workaholic and quite fond of writing articles. There are still a number of unpublished articles on my computer. I believe that writing more articles and publishing more books might be more conductive to both the ceramics industry and young people.
Do you think you are a ceramic artist or a critic? Do they conflict?
In fact, they do not conflict with each other. Only understanding its technology, materials and characteristics through creating ceramics in person can we become a critic in the field of ceramics. After all, unlike other arts, ceramic art is an interdisciplinary subject of crafts, technology and art culture. Therefore, it is inevitably ineffective and fail to get the point if the comments are made merely from the perspective of art theory.
You have created a series of works entitled The Confusion of Globalization in recent years. What aspects of globalization have caused your confusion and created the works?
This is a series of works. Personal identity and globalization are actually always contradictory. For all that we want to preserve our local culture on the one hand, in the context of globalization, the public watch Mandarin-speaking TV programs and most schools teach in Mandarin. Perhaps the Shanghai dialect will disappear in a few decades, while the local items will also gradually be assimilated. Today's developed communications and transportation as well as the common language we use to communicate with each other have virtually achieved the mutual assimilation through mutual influence. The most typical manifestation of this is that airports in a number of cities in China have completely adopted international design, while the design concept with national characteristics can hardly be found out. In their respective fields, people will always encounter plenty of confusion when balancing the relationship between localization and globalization. Despite the rapid development of the world, our personality has unfortunately been lost.
Now I would like to raise a question: Is it good or bad for a society to be fully developed? Will we miss the past when traditional buildings become cement forests, and even cherish and recall thatched huts? This is a quite complicated question. 
From the Giant Hands and Feet in the 1990s to The Unknown Floating Objects in 2018, does your work show a tendency towards the development of installation art?
Personally, I haven't given much thought to it. I don't create a great number of works and some of them have never been taken out to participate in art exhibitions.
To discuss the development of modern and contemporary ceramics, we should first clarify the differences between contemporary ceramics and modern ceramics. Modern ceramics originated in the United States and Europe. The earliest so-called ceramic art was to extend ceramic art from the category of crafts to the category of art, which actually developed with the development of modern art. For example, both surrealism and minimalism exert an impact on modern ceramics to some extent. The genre of modern art is like many hats. As the current art history has developed to the stage of contemporary art, the ceramic art creation of the current period is also called contemporary ceramics. When modern ceramics enters the stage of contemporary ceramics, it can be understood as a large umbrella which covers a variety of different artistic phenomena and is not limited to a certain style. For example, it is originally a sculpture placed on the ground, and then gradually became a space art, installation art or performing art as the number increases. Formed in volume and atmosphere, it allows artists and audiences to develop artistic perception in a wider range. Instead of being a feature of my personal works, it's a trend of the times. As a small work has failed to shake the hearts of people, the artists have consciously produced a sense of visual shock.
Suppose there is sufficient time, energy, funds and place for exhibition, it is of course also my desire to create visually impressive works. I heard that Korean teachers are also engaging in the creation of voluminous works. Works with great volume were scarce when going backwards to 20 or even 30 years ago, which was related to technological progress. As modern and contemporary artists can better grasp and improve the materials, I believe the art trend of contemporary ceramics will be brilliant. 
In your article, you mentioned the words of Adam Welch: "The 21st century will be the century of ceramic art". What is your understanding of his words?

In our national art, there are paintings and calligraphy. Due to the common aesthetic background, brushes are used in both Korea and Japan to paint and write calligraphy. Nevertheless, when going out of East Asian countries and presenting Chinese painting and calligraphy to Europeans and Americans, they will not necessarily be understood, right? However, the language of ceramic is a language shared by the whole world. As the kingdom of ceramics, there are tri-color glazed ceramics in Tang Dynasty, five famous kilns in Song Dynasty, Jingdezhen ceramics, Longquan celadon and so forth. In addition to the Arctic, Antarctica or some of the most primitive peoples, there may be ceramic art all over the world. When carrying out study on the ceramic culture of all countries in the world, it will be found out that there is no advanced or backward culture, while even the primitive art is full of strength. For example, I once went to Latin America to study Mayan culture, which had great ceramic art. For all that the major ceramic creation of Andes Culture is earthenware rather than porcelain, it brings strong visual impact in image-building, depicting and shape-making creativity; Another example is the highly developed ceramic production in Germany with craft materials no inferior than that of Jingdezhen; In addition, there are Spanish ceramics, which also affected Mexico and other colonial areas in Spain in the past under the influence of the colonists; Together with the fine ceramic paintings of Islamic culture, these are all the common cultural heritage of mankind.
The culture of ceramic is like a garden of flowers, in which China certainly accounts for a large proportion. Whereas, we have to recognize that other countries also possess considerably rich ceramic culture. I am now writing a book on ceramic art in various countries of the world and have visited a number of countries on a variety of continents, with the view of sharing my experiences and thoughts with readers. 
In a teaching article, you wrote that students should be allowed to tell "secrets in their hearts" instead of the harangue of five thousand years. Eliminate the unpredictable philosophy of life and focus on plain life experiences and personal feelings. Do you think that the expression of philosophy and personal feelings should be regarded as opposing creative ideas? 

They can't be said to be antagonistic. My remarks are directed at the specific phenomena of a specific era. When looking back on the past and reviewing the atlas of the Chinese Ceramic Art Exhibition in the 1990s, you will find that these works are all about China's five thousand years of history, while the works about people's own stories are rare. Despite that this is certainly not the criterion for judging good and bad, it will inevitably appear impractical when everyone narrates grandly, while the author's birthplace, experience and ideas fail to be seen. A genuine artist can conduct self-expression and personality excavation with the most appropriate methods, as well as achieve the manifestation of his native culture, educational background, living environment and speculative ability in his works through giving his works depth.
Personality excavation is extremely crucial. Neither should they repeat us nor others. You would not like to wear clothes ten years ago, right? With the increase of age and experience, artists are also undergoing growing up, which brings about changes in both their psychological and physiological state, thus naturally being embodied in their works and telling the artists' "secrets in the heart". 
You mentioned that the teaching goal of ceramics should take into account how the graduates of ceramics art major integrate with social development. What approaches do you think graduates can adopt to achieve the integration with society? What approaches of graduates from other countries can be referred to by Chinese graduates? 
我们学美术学生都面临毕业就是失业的问题,这个问题并非只存在于艺术行业,而且很多国家都存在这个问题。艺术家的作品可能不太容易一下子卖掉,生活可能陷入困境。英语里有一个词说这样的艺术家是Starving Artist,意思是饥饿的艺术家。甚至有父母一听孩子想学艺术多多,会很紧张。有一个常见的现象,我们的学生在毕业展撤展后,作品从展厅里搬出来暂时卖不掉,又不知道该放哪里去,特别是陶瓷雕塑,搬起来也困难,找地方存放也困难。
Art majors are faced with the problem that graduation means unemployment, which exists in many countries besides the art industry. Artists' works may not be easily sold, which leads to difficulties in their lives. In English, there is a word that makes such an artist a Starving Artist, which means artists in hungry. Some parents even become anxious upon hearing that their children want to learn art. A common phenomenon is that after the graduation exhibition, the students' works moved out of the exhibition hall can neither be sold nor stored appropriately, especially the ceramic sculptures which are difficult to carry and store.
I offered two lectures to students in Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts in 2007 and put forward a concept that students' creation should be combined with campus construction. Designate even a few walls on campus for students to paint to their heart's content. Why does the campus have to spend plentiful money to invite masters to create ceramics? The advantages of Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts lie in the vast campus, where students can take photos, find inspiration, design sculptures and display them in the public space of the campus, thus realizing the combination of students' works and campus atmosphere. Not in museums or indoors, students' graduation exhibitions should be set up on campus and displayed outside, which is also conducive to the cultivation of students' team spirit in that large-scale sculptures require teamwork instead of being completed by one's own efforts. Some students have strong hands-on ability, some are good at communicating with Party A, and some are proficient in computer design. Students form groups freely and implement the design by giving full play to their personal advantages. Their works can be displayed on campus for one, three or even five years, and those that fail to stand the test of time can be replaced by the works of graduate of the next years, which may bring vitality to the Academy of Arts. However, this requires the university to firstly develop a fairer evaluation mechanism, while the students passing through the evaluation can also mention their experience of participating in public art creation in their resumes after graduation, which can be said to kill two birds with one stone. In addition, students can even be allowed to use materials other than ceramics, such as cement, steel, wood, etc. to conduct composite creation, while the industrial waste after safe treatment can also be applied for re-utilize and recreation, which is not only environmentally friendly but also conducive to the development of students' creativity. Thirdly, it is suggested to carry out the creation of public service consciousness and the ingenious design with practical value. For example, many large public spaces in China may only place a few benches lacking design sense for pedestrians to rest at present. Whereas, making unique benches will not only embody practical value but also decorate public space, which could be a topic worthy of study and can also be extended to public environmental facilities such as road signs and street lights in campus for students’ study. I will show my students the photos taken around the world and tell them that the theme of public art does not necessarily have to be high-end,magnificent and classy, and that the details of life can be incorporated into art. A road sign that combines practicality and aesthetics will always be retained. I hope to achieve the promotion of this concept throughout the country.
As the spiritual home of students, it will be a meaningful practical experience to endow students with the opportunity to participate directly in public projects and campus construction by provide them with part of the public space of the campus. 
What is your subsequent creation or project? Would you like to share it with readers?
From the end of September to the beginning of October 2018, the International Academy of Ceramics held an event at the Yingge Ceramic Museum in Taiwan, and one of my works was also included in the exhibition. It is a two-dimensional and three-dimensional combination of landscape painting, which assuming the plane landscape in front, and the three-dimensional landscape behind. The work is placed in a wooden box and upside down on the top of the box, which is not necessarily visible to the audience. There are six mirrors in the box and two small holes on the front, the back, the right and the left. In addition, small lights are installed in the box. You are advised to look at the work in the way of looking at a zoetrope, that is, to put your eyes close to the box to see numerous flashes and images, which fail to be told from being real or illusory. We are now living in a world where it is difficult to distinguish reality from illusion, while the Internet, as a virtual world, is exhibiting increasing authenticity. It is my hope is to achieve the portrayal of this era with this work.
In addition, we have just talked about the book I am writing, which is temporarily named The Milestones of World Ceramic Culture. In view of the fact that I have said that folk ceramics is a common cultural phenomenon in the world, my wish is to find out the highlights of ceramic art of all nationalities in the world and share them with readers, which is a huge project. In spite that most information can be accessed online at present, I am not satisfied with talking on paper and my objective is to conduct field investigation to various countries in person. At this point, one of the advantages of IAC has to be mentioned, that is, its members are almost all over most of the countries, who, apart from providing essential reference information for my writing, recommending their ceramics sites and museums to me, but also accompanying my visit and the communication with local people. I wish to write about the feelings for the locals in the book. With multiple countries and regions having been visited, I plan to visit the remaining quarter in the next one to two years. In addition to a large amount of information, I have also collected certain excellent works to complete the manuscript, which will be shared with you in the book. 

我们发起了陶艺家的期待 这个热门话题,希望由您来推荐一位艺术家作为我们下一位采访对象,陶瓷艺术的魅力在于我们对陶瓷烧制最终效果的期待,读者对您的推荐也十分期待!
 We have launched the hot topic of expectation of #The Expectation of Ceramists and are looking forward to your recommendation of an artist as one of our next interviews. The charm of ceramic art lies in our expectation of the final effect of ceramic firing, while the readers are eagerly waiting for your recommendation!

At present, there is a phenomenon in China, that is, the artists who make speeches on large occasions and take part in key exhibitions are all renowned artists or leaders of universities. I have a suggestion for that. Since Jingdezhen is now a focus in the world and a great number of foreign friends are attracted to visit it, I hope the attention can be shifted to students from more remote colleges and universities, while the focus on their works may bring about great inspiration. We may be accustomed to paying attention to Jingdezhen Ceramic University and the eight academies of fine arts, which already possess sufficient publicity ability, numerous high-quality exhibitions and excellent students. Nevertheless, students in the more remote and unknown colleges and universities are also working hard and desperately in need of opportunities. Therefore, I think these young people should also be given more attention and opportunities. In spite of failing to compare with the coastal areas where the transportation is convenient, a number of outstanding students here are also working very hard to carry out creation, which deserves more attention. I will provide assistance in your contact with them.
目前韩国记者站在进行三个系列主题的采访报道:一、韩国学院派艺术家和大韩名匠系列。二、来韩的外国艺术家系列。三、在韩各种艺术交流活动系列。本次对于Suku Park的专访,将是CAC驻韩记者站的首次发声,接下来,我们会陆续更新更多精彩内容,敬请关注!


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