Ahead of Qu Guangci's international debut at London Design Week, we caught up with record-selling sculpture artist from Beijing to talk about his art collective X+Q Art, a design project with wife and fellow sculptor Xiang Jing.
I always believe that being a sculptor is a spiritual profession that is closest to God, because as a sculptor you are creating and shaping lives, too
Dazed Digital: What is X+Q Art?
Qu Guangci: For me personally, X+Q is an extension of my artistic creation, a platform where we can explore the relationships of art, society, design, life and philanthropy, as well as the scope and depth of collaborations among them.
DD: Of all the artistic mediums, why were you drawn to sculpture?
Qu Guangci: Sculpture is one of the most ancient art forms in the world, even older than painting in some cultures. It is an art of solid form, creating three-dimensional artwork by shaping hard materials. It has a slightly limited form comparing with other art forms because of its practice, which, in particular, demands all-around art skills and commitment to the profession. I always believe that being a sculptor is a spiritual profession that is closest to God, because as a sculptor you are creating and shaping lives, too.
DD:As Ai Weiwei has shown, being an artist in China can threaten your liberty and right to self-expression. Have you been affected by this? How is the atmosphere for artists in Beijing?
Qu Guangci: Many contemporary artists, especially in China, take the challenge and confrontation against the system and authority as a core theme and direction in their artistic creation as their artistic language. But as a matter of fact, there are many other artists in China working in different artistic directions. Their ideas and works are all very interesting and worth looking into. You will find all kinds of artists with various ideas working in Beijing, they influence and inspire each other while remain independent. It is relatively free and quite creative-friendly.
DD: Artists have been criticised for seemingly blending business interests with art. How do you feel about the artist as businessman?
Qu Guangci: Nowadays the boundary between art and business is increasingly blurred - they influence each other and promote each other. Art is promoted through business approaches, while business is marketed in the name of art. If you look around, you will find many artists who are really businessmen, while some business owners are artists indeed. As for myself I was never bothered by the identity issue, and never thought about label myself in that way. As I have said, whether art or business is not the fundamental concern, my passion lies in the arts and X+Q is more like a social practice, a public art project. It is a platform for us to experiment. There hasn’t been anything like us before!
X+Q Art showcase: Squint South Kensington, 1 North Terrace, London SW3 2BA, from 2pm on Thursday 20 September.