16 September 2010
Ai-Wen Wu Kratz
1. Where and how would you display your work in an ideal situation?
As a professional artist, I would like to have my work exhibited in museums and respectable galleries.
My basic desire is to have them viewed in a large, uncluttered space. My large works need to be viewed at a distance. To fulfill my role as a visual artist in relation to society, I am most happy to exhibit my works in a public space, so as to bring art to the life of others. I think the arrogant attitude of Clyfford Still is wrong. Like elected government officials, artists should have servitude at heart. Still regarded his own works as being holy. He proclaimed that all those who wish to view his works ought to travel (so as to receive the blessing of seeing HIS art!) Art is in the field of humanity. How could Clyfford Still fulfill such a serious mission?
In group exhibitions, I want to see my work among the good company of strong works.
2. If expository writing is good at elucidating and proving a point and
descriptive geometry gives us the tools by which to map objects in space
in relation to one another, what kind of an apparatus does art afford us?
What does art do best?
The apparatus in art is the power to evoke and to connect; to speak without words; to reach without extending our hands. The hidden yearning, the basic goodness, the silent murmur in everyone's heart comes across in art. (Perhaps, an additional social dimension would be to reach out to social outcasts - so sad and sorrowful).
Imagine driving along a highway with a median planted with flowers versus one with a plain solid
concrete bank. With the hope of lowering the crime rate, Lady Bird Johnson initiated the wild
flower project along the highway and parks. In a way, this is the contribution of art to society.
Visual art, like its sister arts, holds the magic to heal and to respond to spiritual needs.
3. What can you expect from your audience/fans/viewing public? What would you
like them to know about your work?
I hope the viewer is able to recognize that I have a poetic and fluidity in my gestures. Aesthetic could be a "bad" word in our time, but those who respond to my work are most likely drawn by the aesthetic direction that my works project. In addition, my creativity might intrigue them.
I would like to share that my works come from the purity of my heart, and from the much-treasured memories that sustain an internal fire that it will never die from obstacles.
4. Marcel Duchamp said - "Enough with retinal art!" What is your reaction as an artist to this statement?
"Enough with retinal art!" could be an exclamation of Duchamp's personal dismay at what he saw around him.
Retinal art cannot and will never be cleanly wiped out from our society. Some, in fact, the majority, will always keep the tradition of retinal art alive. Blessed are those who find it a pure joy! Other artists follow suit because they do not know any better: they are not versed in art history, or do not have a sense of duty as a practitioner in relation to the passage of time, or have no interest in intellectualism .
How can one escape "retinal art" when one eats from a plate and sit on a chair everyday. Art and its applications are all around us, from a pair of shoes to a pitcher that pours out juice. "I don't know art, but I know what I like." Unknowingly, this frequently-heard proclamation is an acknowledgment and validation of "retinal art."
I admire Marcel Duchamp and am grateful that history is dotted with intelligent minds like Duchamp's and
Joseph Beuys's. The majority of common practitioners in the art will sleep through the centuries.
"Enough with 'retinal art'!" could reflect a decision of Duchamp's not to go the route of "retinal art", but rather to delineate a new direction with serious thinking, thereby, enacting a different attitude he dared espouse.
5. Do you think that there is still room for art movements in today's
There is room for art movements at any juncture in the history of art. Yes - even in the pluralism of our time.
Great thinkers give birth to movements. Each movement needs an unselfish thinker who has a pure interest in
intellectual exchanges. An unselfish thinker is someone who is dedicated to intellectualism and not personal glorification.
6. What is one question you wished we had asked you about your art? Please
feel free to answer it.
Where will you be going from here?
Recently, I told a fellow-artist that in our studios, we need to keep "pushing." I meant we should not to give up or worry, but keep working. Here is a story; perhaps it is my version of an original. An old thrifty man prayed his heart out: "Lord, let me be the one who win the l o t t e r y this time! Just once, please!"
His earnestness evoked a voice from above: "You need to spend the money to buy one ticket, at least!"
The same is true for me: if I do not invest the time to do my studio work, I will never find my way.
My way is to attain what I want to see in my works when they are up on the wall. So far, mine are still in
the arena of "retinal art." I hope to develop as an artist through continuous working and thinking.