Artist Paul Chan on breaking new ground

The artist, activist, publisher and Hugo Boss Prize winner launches new work at the Guggenheim alongside a trio of erotic fiction

Arts+CultureQ+A

At the end of last year, controversial artist and publisher Paul Chan scooped the coveted Hugo Boss Prize – awarded every year to an artist who has made an outstanding contribution to contemporary art in any medium. The winning artist not only recieves new levels of international recognition and prestige, but $100,000 and a solo exhibition at New York's Guggenheim Museum. Chan presented his career's work alongside latest project “Nonprojections for New Lovers,” which – staying true to his penchant for animation and video work – reinterprets contemporary sculpture and installation through digital mediums to evoke the imaginings of the mind in motion.

Exploring a variety of new creative avenues, power conducted shoes are rigged up to video projectors where flickering otherworldly images are animated, reflecting a ghostly phantom figure constructed with billowing white nylon, digital animation is juxtaposed with a material sculpture for “Tetra Gummi Phone,” and prototypes for the about-to-be-launched new book series New Lovers (courtesy of his experiemental publishing company Badlands Unlimited) sit on a shelf. The trio of books include emerging works by upcoming erotic writers and emphasises his commitment to working within different mediums to creatively explore the boundaries of art. As The Hugo Boss Prize 2014: Paul Chan, Nonprojections for New Lovers opens at the Guggenheim, we get a glimpse into the multi-disciplinary’s mind and speak to him about winning the prize, his exhibition and latest book release, amongst a series of dashes, dots and hyphens.

How does it feel to win the Hugo Boss Prize – what does it mean to you as an artist?

Paul Chan: It means and feels something like this.

A \ / //o\ beautiful thing

| .-’-. |

  _|_______ -- / \ -- ______|__

`~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~`

is an indeterminate figuration

-. / \ --

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~^~^~^~~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~`

`~^_~^~^~-~^_~^~^_~-= made 

reasonable

by feeling. =====

What do you hope visitors that come to the Guggenheim to see your work at the solo exhibition will take away from it?

Paul Chan: The useless


. .    . ☾ °.  . • ○ ° ★  .  * .      

.   °  . ● .  ★  ° ☾ °☆  ¸. ° ☾ ☆ ¸. ¸  ★  :. 

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* .

Could you tell us about the work you exhibited – “Nonprojections for New Lovers” (2013–), New Lovers (2015), and “Tetra Gummi Phone”? (2014-15)

Paul Chan: The “Nonprojections” are works I began making in 2013 and are a peculiar mutation from a larger series of works called “The Arguments”. They more or less consist of video projectors connected to cords and shoes that conduct electricity, and project more and less than nothing. “Tetra Gummi Phone takes the notion of what moving images can be in yet another direction. And instead of using light to project, it uses air. 

New Lovers is a series of erotic fiction Badlands Unlimited is publishing this spring. The series consists of three novellas by three great writers and they come in beautiful paperback editions and ebooks. We’ll be launching the books with a reading and signing at the Guggenheim on March 10th at 7pm.

You have said before that you believe your own human ‘self’ is a one of the aspects of your performance art. How do you think it will affect your work to gain the kind of recognition you have always tried to avoid – are you worried your work will be limited by you being categorised or labelled as an artist?

Paul Chan: The | `-.-’ / .-’ ‘-. | ‘ `-. ( ) |

`-._ .---’|( \ / \ `-’ /

`--.( \ ) \`-’ / |( `--’

\\ // `-._.-’ \ / \freedom -’ ‘--. _..-._

/ _ \ .-’ `-. _.---._

/ .’ ‘. \/ \-.__.-’ `.

| ( ) | _ to make what .--’ ‘--.

/ _ \ .-’ `-. _.

/ .’ ‘. \/ one wants is the `-.

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| ( ) | _ \ _ .-. \

\\ // | `._.-’ |

\\// \ /

/ `-. .-. `-._ _.’cunning of the `-’_ ) .’ ‘-.

`-.__ _ ( `’ / \

`--’ `-’ /.-. `-/ |/ \ / thing’s --. _..-._

/ _ \ .-’

/ `-. / ( own reason.

__

.--’ ‘ `--’__

(

Do you feel that the communal aspect of your art can act as a social framework, where people can create in a kind of universal language?

Paul Chan: A work wins the dignity of existing as an element of social {

life } when it renounces its likeness to

the living.

What inspires you to provide a performance based platform for other creative people – would you say it has grown out of your own political activism? 

Paul Chan: How a work =

made offers more insight into the world than how faithful {

it } =

in representing it.

Do you consider each work separately with its own individual meaning, or every work as more of an ongoing process, part of a whole?

Paul Chan: __.-’ Every work -._ . . . ¤

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]|’’|[ (((“”)))_.-^-._

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●★●― radiates ★―●★●

▬▬▬.◙.▬▬▬ the power of

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The Hugo Boss Prize 2014: Paul Chan, Nonprojections for New Lovers is now on at New York's Guggenheim Museum and runs 13 May, 2015

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