LaiHuan Interviewing Gao Yan
Lai: Why do you like photography?
Gao: It is probably because the feature of photography as a medium makes it possible for me to express my thinking in the viewing process, enabling a relationship between my viewpoints and the reality I am concerned with. I like the limitation of photography, for its mechanicalness is the limitation, yet, at the same time, the special feature distinguishing it from other forms of artistic medium. Althoughthe reality reproduced in the image is incomparably clear, the sense of unfathomable mysteries prevails. The advantage of photography does not lie in telling viewers what this is, but initiating the entrance to a more complicated reality via artist’s questions during the process of informationrevealing.
Lai: What is art?
Gao: There are many answers to the question. For artists, it is a need for expression.
Lai: What could young people do nowadays, that would make you admire them?
Gao: I have a cousin who just started college. He is more proficient in operating cellphones, which makes me admire him. For young people, I think it would make me appreciate and admire them if they could live their own life, rather than hurrying off to learn varied skills in order to adapt to the society.
Lai: What did you do when you were twenty-one?
Gao: When I was twenty-one, I put all the photos I took in France on the wall in the house I rent in Paris. Although I did not know much about art at that moment, it was the first exhibition in my life. Later I left Paris and went to École Supérieure d'Art du Nord-Pas de Calais/Dunkerque-Tourcoing for exam. I remember that the day I arrived was Sunday and the school was closed. Right before I was going to leave, a window on the first floor opened. A French student friendly invited me to jump in through the window and join their partyin the school. It was in the building that I discovered the inside was full of laughter and cheers, dancing and singing, and I decided to stay here.
Lai: Did you feel proud of your identity while you were in France?
Gao: I was troubled by the identity issue while I was in France.In fact, to live in France is very hard for foreigners, especially for immigrants without legitimate identities, most of whom live in the critical state where they are eager to integrate into the French society but are not recognized. One of my photography projects, En Transit, was conducted around the theme of crossover life among ethnic groups in the context of globalization, recording both the private and public space of foreigners living in France.
Lai: What do you think about China’s politics?
Gao: What I think about China’s politics is reflected in the exhibition The Third Arrangement.
Lai: What impression does Organhaus leave you?
Gao: A friend told me that Organhaus is the No. 1 in Southwest China. It is a remarkably experimental space, existing in an excellent artistic ecology, and quite cosmopolitan as well. Besides, Mr Liu, who set up the exhibition, is highly professional.
Lai: If you are going to give your own child sex education, how are you going to teach him?
Gao: The issue of sex education for Children, you draw my attention to it. I shall do thorough research on this.
Lai: Please describe a student who made a strong impression on you.
Gao: There was a student named Zhang Yu in the Department of Photography, who is currently studying photography in Japan, left me with the strongest impression. He is the only student who told me that “I will be an artist” since I became a teacher.
Lai:How are you going to present images in thirty years?
Gao: How to present imagesin the future depends on current interests and thinking. Thirty-year is too far away. My current work plan is for five years only. I hope we could have a conversation again in thirty years.