Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Xue Jizhong
Xue Jiye is a Chinese surrealist painter and sculptor.
What does art mean to you?
Art is a part of my life, it’s my work and my entertainment.
What excites you the most in what you do?
New ideas and good completion.
What have you learned about yourself through your art?
I don’t need to know myself through art.
Some parts of you are only known to you and they are solely yours. You may not agree with others’ understanding of you, but these disagreements are also a part of you. You are the sum of yourself and how others see you. You don’t need to care too much about what you are.
Do you remember the first piece of art or a particular artist that you obsessed over?
It may be Chinese paintings or comic books. You may not know much about the Chinese environment. When I was a child, there was no art from other parts of the world to see.
How important is it for you to understand the context surrounding a piece of art – where it was created, by who etc.
This is very important because you need this knowledge to supplement the aesthetic background outside the work itself, why it is presented in this way, who and which events have affected it, etc. There is no reason for something blank with no feelings and no methods. There should be a core of all learning.
You’ve mentioned that reality now bores you and as a consequence ‘your mind stretches beyond reality into the world of dreams and imagination’. Is there a particular fictional reality you would like to live in and why? Be it a book, film, anime etc.
A picture is a window to another world. You create things out of the window. That’s the fun of painting. I mean that
the real world is the world we determine together, your world is my world, but the world in the paintings is my own creation. The same goes for music, books, movies, animation – it’s the same. We create a new scene in the common language, which is an interesting thing.
What kinds of questions are you asking yourself when you are creating?
I don’t need questions, I rather need skills and time.
What factors define and influence you the most?
The most basic and simple things of human nature, such as desire, cost, choice.
Did you reach your personal definition of happiness? What does happiness consist of for you?
Happiness should be easy – do what you love.
Would you say there is a sense of darkness in your art? Why? Do you generally embrace your dark thoughts or avoid them?
All my paintings can be described in many other ways. Darkness is probably my preference. I don’t know where it comes from. People’s tastes are very complex. I like the sad and gloomy emotions of Russian musicians. But in fact, my painting styles are various, some are not dark, but almost all are a little sad and dreary.
Is your national identity important to you in what you create? How/Why?
The influence of culture on people is imperceptible. My paintings never involve current affairs and politics – those things are just the same repetition from ancient times. Your audience is people who live in the same real-world as you do. They will consciously add their attitude to your work.
Good work should be suitable for all times.
What things or topics are you exploring right now?
There is a Chinese saying 做一天和尚撞一天钟 – let it be.
What are you trying to convey to humanity with your work? How do you want your work to echo in the culture?
The word “human” is too big. What I want to do is to make my work satisfying first and foremost, and let others just be.
Who are the true monsters of society?
All of us.
What is it that we’re meant to do as humans?
We can’t choose what we should do. Today’s world is the queen ant. We, ants, only wait passively to do what it guides us to do.
What is one thing that you would want to wipe out from existence?
Erase the idea of what you want to erase, everything that exists is reasonable.
What was the wisest thing you’ve ever heard?
Cats and dogs decide to live with humans.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?