URBIS (New Zealand) - Yang Fudong
August-September 2015 issue
Word count: Free
1. How do you conceptualise your set designs - especially those within a residential context– what sparks the look or mood of those interior spaces?
When creating the work, different works has different setting and design. No matter interior design or exterior design thought about my space, the most important is to have a feeling of breath, just the sun shines on the plants.
2.After that, what process do you follow to create them? Drawings? Moodboards? Computers based design?
Normally I will tell them what setting proportions I need, and it is always a balance between the ideal and reality. I describe my thoughts and demands detail to the Art Director in my team, during my shooting production, I would like to try some second chance/ discovery. (Sometimes I will have a simple handmade sketch myself. )
3.Are there any particular textures, materials, furniture makers that you particularly enjoy working with? (names please and why them?)
I love different kind of things with design, and they appeared in my film. Such as a 1930s, 1940s, Shanghai Art Deco furnitures, they are a combination of western design and Shanghai style. They were very modern and fashion at that time in Shanghai.
And I like traditional Chinese furnitures, especially the Ming Dynasty ones, their shapes are simple but elegant, and particular wood they would use for making it.
4.Are there any interior designers who you admire or consider influential in your own installations?
The interior designers and film art directors I know are most from China, and including some excellent Chinese architect-ors. They have unique idea and creativity, their building they designed are very special.
5.In some of your works (like your film for fashion label Prada - First Spring), you blend traditional Chinese elements with Western elements. Do you see your work as a conversation between both or as a mirror of what is happening internally in your country?
When creating my work, I rarely consider what is absolutely the eastern, what is absolutely the western. In fact, The eastern and the western have a lot of aesthetic thoughts in common. They could be combined and worth appreciated from each other. Collaboration with Prada, I have learned and experienced a lot. It was a very special creation experience.
6.How is local Chinese craftsmanship being changed by your country’s economic boom? Are traditional arts, crafts etc being re-imagined?
I agree, with rapid economic development, local craft will have a strong impact from commercial interests, not just in China. Traditional crafts and design is very important part of culture, should be supported and protected, improve its living environment. If they are only driven by economic interests and make the unique traditional culture disappear, we would only have a description on the book about them in the future.
7. What have you found most difficult, challenging going from a black and white palette to a full colour work like The Coloured Sky: New Women II? Why the change?
Sometimes Colourful is a pure colour indeed, To me New Woman II feels closer to childhood, like the way the wrapper of a candy had a dazzling rainbow colour when you put it against a sunbeam.
I have made a lot of black-and-white films before, but this time I chose digital video to make a coloured work. This was a very important experiment in understanding the ways that colour video can improve or change the narration. Also New Women II makes me think that I might need to incorporate painting, installation, video and mix them together in my future works. This project has given me some fresh ideas — perhaps this kind of freestyle creation can give me the courage to explore new things and support other breakthroughs.
8. If there is one piece of advice you can give audiences watching the work that you are bringing to Auckland… what would it be?
It is my first solo show in New Zealand, and it is my first time to come New Zealand. Here I say hello to everyone. My latest new work ‘The Coloured Sky, New Women II’ (2014), which is finished in end of last year will be exhibited in Auckland Art Gallery. It is a five-screen coulour installation work commissioned by ACMI (Australia) and Auckland Museum. Hope the audience in New Zealand would like it. In the same show, it will also exhibit other single channel films and important film installation piece of mine, welcome to see it in Auckland Museum.