Interview with Sui Jianguo

Interviewer: Sandro Orlandi

Artist: Sui Jianguo

Location: Sui's studio

S: Sandro Orlandi

Sui: Sui Jianguo


S: Why didn’t you create your work The Blind Man by observing a real person?


Sui: If I was watching, I will keep thinking if it looks like the person, but if I don’t then I will be working without limits. If I create by observing the work would be a realistic artwork, an imitation of nature or some artwork by some abstract painters.


S: It’s a unique statement, because there’s some close connections between visual sense and tactile sense. But in this work, you choose not to see it because you don’t want it to affect your feelings, emotions and thoughts. You just want to show people what you want to show.


Sui: Yes.


S: The result is more important than the process. Just like touching a woman’s body but you cannot see her.


Sui: Actually I learned it from Rodin, he can’t see clearly in his old age, so he decided to touch because it’s really interesting.


S: Beethoven was still composing while he was deaf. Are these sculptures relevant to a certain person or an image or completely based on feelings?


Sui: No it’s completely irrelevant but people will have the feeling that it looks like something.


S: What’s the name of your production?


Sui: Somebody told me it looks like a person. I did it with my eyes closed, so I named it The Blind Man sculpture.


S: So when do you think that a work is finished and there is no need to continue?


Sui: It could be a long or short period of time. I usually make many productions and make selections from them, the rest will be abandon. I still need to magnify it before finishing it. Then I can say a work is finished, no matter how long you did it. The process of enlargement should obey many rules, which originated from Europe.


S: I’m really interested in how you made it. Did you enjoy the freedom in the process of creating this? Have you find something about yourself that you haven’t noticed before?


Sui: If I did it with my eyes open, I would be troubled by a lot of thoughts. It would be easier when I close my eyes, but now I don’t need to. When I create with open eyes I would think if it should be looked like this or that, in the end I found out that if you stop caring about it and let your body do the work, everything would be done perfectly.


S: If others make the same kind of artwork, using the same procedure, will there be any difference? Where is the component of art and artist? Is your action and texture different from others? Or what you have chosen is different?


Sui: I make my selection according to my preference.


S: I’ve noticed that your works are different. So are they related or not? How did they develop?


Sui: Actually we aimed at different problems. I was a professor in college for the sculpture department because I have spent 5,6 years thinking the relationship between the Chinese art education and the western system. I would still do the same thing after 6, 7 years.


S: If other artists revived, what will they think when they seen your works?


Sui: I think if they are sculptors maybe they will see different interest points from my works. No matter what, it’s a dialogue and the understanding of the history of sculptures. Before I have also made many other different sculptures. Maybe it’s because that our society changed so rapidly that artists are forced by it.


S: I think you will lose a lot of things if you magnify it.


Sui: Your giant sculptures are shocking, but it’s the smaller ones that will lead you to your world.


S: Your invitation of the making process is really interesting, just like a book that is written by a monk is very different from a book that is printed.