gooood team interviews creative individuals under 35 years old from all over the world, some are pioneering founders, some are clients, some are ordinary practitioners. gooood is trying to record the authentic living and working states of this era. Your recommendations and suggestions are appreciated!
gooood Under 35 NO.49 introduces curator and critic Cui Cancan.
出品人：向玲 / Producer: Xiang Ling
编辑：武晨曦，陈诺嘉 / Editor: Wu Chenxi, Chen Nuojia
Cui Cancan is an active Chinese independent curator and critic.
Since 2012, he has curated almost 100 major exhibitions, including group exhibitions like Hei Qiao Night Way (2013), Rural Wash, Cut and Blow-dry(2013), FUCKOFF II (2013), Unlived by What is Seen (2014), Between the 5th and 6th Ring Road in Beijing (2015), The Decameron (2016), Rip it Up (2017), Spring Festival Projects (2018) , The Curation Workshop (2019) and Nine-Tiered(2020). He has curated artists’ solo exhibitions such as Ai Weiwei, Bao Xiaowei, Chen Danqing, Chen Yufan, Chen Yujun, Feng Lin, Han Dong, He Yunchang, Huang Yishan, Jiang Bo, Li Binyuan, Liu Gangshun, Liu Jianhua, Li Qing, Li Zhanyang, Ding Muer, Ma Ke, Mao Yan, Qin Qi, Sui Jianguo, Shijiezi Art Museum, Shi Jinsong, Shen Shaomin, Tan Ping, Wang Qingsong, Xie Nanxing, Xia Xiaowan, Xia Xing, Xiao Yu, Xu Zhongmin, Xu Xiaoguo, Zong Ning, Polit-Sheer-Form, Zhang Yue and Zhao Zhao et cetera.
Becoming a curator
I studied oil painting at Nanjing University of the Arts in 2004. During that period of time I was always willing to find something to do with my fellows and in the field of art it was nothing more but doing exhibitions. As a young student, I worked hard on exhibitions, but I actually did not have a clear orientation for what I was supposed to do, and honestly I could not say I’m a really talented person for that. It wasn’t until 2013 that I truly found my groove about making exhibitions and have maintained such passion ever since.
▼崔灿灿在展览现场，Cui Cancan at an exhibition
What does a curator do？
“Curation is a job of stringing gems together.”
Today is an era of curators. What does a curator do? We have a dozen of gems, and then we need to find a string to thread these gems into a necklace, and there are countless ways to do that. In simple terms, curating is to decide what can be seen and what can’t be seen in an exhibition, which is the first step. The second step is about the way of seeing, which refers to its rhythm, its priority, as well as its speed. This is the technical aspect of seeing. The last and the most crucial step is, what the exhibition will ultimately express. In addition to presenting as an individual work, an exhibition also appears as a story, a concept or a judgement of value. As what I’ve just said, curation is a job of stringing gems together. It has many facets, and in some way it is a bit similar to the process of making a movie, where except for the actors, all the positions are held by the organizers.
▼崔灿灿位于北京草场地的工作室，Cui Cancan’s studio in Caochangdi, Beijing © 照片由崔灿灿提供
“When doing an exhibition, experience can be completely useless.”
I would not like to give a clear definition of curating, because it is a verb rather than a noun. There are good and bad curators, but you can’t authentically evaluate an curatorial language or method as good or bad. Just like literature and architecture, it is not about either style is better, but there are some technical means in it that often require experience. However, what is absurd is that when you do an exhibition, your experience can be completely useless, because each time you are dealing with a new problem, you have to communicate with a new artist and a new object. Ultimately it requires a curator to understand all the components and concepts related to the entire exhibition, which is also the foundational capacity that a professional curator is supposed to have.
Curating is actually a very simple process. First of all you need to decide what to do and what the idea is, and then the second step is to look for different perspectives of an object and try to find its chains of evidence, which here means the pieces of art. To take a simple example, a tomato smashed on the wall may represent a kind of violence; when stamped on by a high heel, it becomes pornographic; and when it is placed on the table, it exists only as a food. After building such a logical model that connects the concept with its practical object, it turns to the third step to proceed the specific empirical work, such as where the venue is, at what time the exhibited will be held, and in what kind of context it will come into effect. Basically it depends on our awareness and thinking. Curating in some way is like doing boxing: when you stand on stage, you are not likely to spend time considering which hand are you going to throw a punch with. Your action relies on a long-term training, through which it gets into your body and becomes part of your consciousness, as if it is innate. Curating is the same way. It is a momentary judgement you make when you are faced with changes that may come at anytime without a controllable criterion.
▼工作中的崔灿灿，Cui Cancan during working © 照片由崔灿灿提供
Exhibitions, galleries and audiences
“We care about the audience, but we do not please the audience, because the audience ratings are not the core issue for us.”
A good exhibition must be a culturally controversial one.”
I would like to accept the invitation to do exhibitions for an art museum or a gallery if it gives me a good impression. Exhibitions are the final destination for artworks to go to other than a collection. An art museum may have four to five exhibitions a year, and it needs a curator to help decide the most important exhibition and its concept for the year. In this way, it’s more of a cooperative and interactive relationship between us and the institutions.
We hope that the audience can understand the exhibition, and we will intentionally build the access for them to understand, but the audience does not determine the purport of the exhibition. An exhibition has its publicness, but when it arouses public issues and discussions, it should produce both praise and controversy, since being “criticised” and “disliked” is also a part of its mission. A good exhibition must be a culturally controversial one, because what it faced with is not only the traditional and radical forces, but also those who are not interested in what you discuss on. We care about the audience, but we do not please the audience, because the audience ratings are not the core issue for us. You can never stop an artist from creating for the reason of having no audience. To realize the ideas and concepts is much more important.
There are no good or bad exhibitions per se, but there are good or bad within the same genre. We can’t say that a children-oriented exhibition is not as good as one on Picasso. If the audience is children, then it’s a good exhibition as long as it is helpful for children. Your audience can be people from specific groups, for example, people with disabilities, or villagers from a rural region in western China. In such a case, the exhibition doesn’t have to take responsibility for any other context, like for Europe or the Venice Biennale, because all other values will become insignificant when the objective of the exhibition is to express the artists themselves.
▼“策展课”展览现场，策展人：崔灿灿 © 图片由崔灿灿提供
The exhibition photo of “The Curation Workshop” , curated by Cui Cancan
▼赵赵个展“西部三部曲之二”现场，策展人：崔灿灿 © 照片由崔灿灿提供
The exhibition photo of Zhao Zhao’s solo exhibition, curated by Cui Cancan
“An important function of art is to provide a disengaged and discursive imagination that is outside the practicability.”
“Art exhibitions must be trying to escape from the shaping power of the times on us. I think this is, at least for me, a very important thing to pursuit.”
People may say it is hard to understand exhibitions, which is quite normal, and I can’t understand many of them either. For the public, the first thing is to let them enter a pleasant and“exceptional”life from the bustle of everyday life. It is good enough if you can spend some leisure time experiencing an exhibition. When you find yourself immersed in some special feelings and getting some meaning from it, it would be fantastic. Finally, if you are able to root a kind of reflection in this exhibition, having a new understanding of some issues, I think that is the in-depth communication we aspire to facilitate through exhibitions.
The value of art does not lie in providing its audience with a practical outcome. What it offers is a kind of feeling, a judgement that is hard to clarify. It does not come close to the truth, but it tries to discuss the truth; It does not come close to the fact, but it tries to question the fact. An important function of art is to provide a kind of disengaged and discursive imagination that is outside the practicability. Many people say that we are living a boring and tedious life today, but it would be much more boring and tedious if we lose these so-called boring works of art. Contemporary art can offer its audience a value, which can be marginalized and non-mainstream, but ultimately it gives us an exception to the mundane existence. Art exhibitions must be trying to escape from the shaping power of the times on us. I think this is, at least for me, a very important thing to pursuit.
▼崔灿灿过往展览的海报（部分）, Some posters of past exhibitions curated by Cui Cancan © 照片由崔灿灿提供
How does art confront the era of commerciality？
“I don’t think that art has to confront commerciality…because the real value of art has nothing to do with commerciality.”
“Art can provide a “illusory nobility”, and human beings need such illusory nobility.”
I don’t think that art has to confront commerciality, because the latter is actually a great thing. All the systems you can see, and the emergence of an industry, are progressed by commerciality as the lubricant. There is nothing faster than the commercial driving. For the artists, it becomes rather simple: they don’t need to think about whether their works can sell or not, because what they produce in fact is not a commodity. The same is true for the curators. We seek for the meaning of the development of a thing, and only when we are aware of the end of its growth, as well as the side effects that this huge consumption and capital brings to art, our percipience will dictate us to intentionally keep a distance from it.
Although commerciality has its greatness, there is no need to indulge in it, because the real value of art has nothing to do with commerciality. Art can provide a “illusory nobility”, and human beings need such illusory nobility. Art is one of the most difficult things to industrialize due to its impractical qualities. It is impossible to discuss the relationship between art and commerce in the same way as describing the correlation between a #9 screw and a #9 nut.
▼布展前，崔灿灿在展览场地兜圈，Cui Cancan circling at the venue before the exhibition opens © 照片由崔灿灿提供
Methods and Objects of interest
“If there must be a definition, I would say chaos is the innate quality of my exhibitions.”
“There is no clear profile of what I should do in my mind, because it is more important for me to inspire and stimulate creating itself.”
Over the years I have tried to eliminate my own style, but it seems to still have left some impression on others. If there must be a definition, I would say chaos is the innate quality of my exhibitions, and then chaos can probably be the symbol of my style. I have engaged with about 100 exhibitions since 2013, including sports events, parties, competitions, traditional and experimental shows. I do everything I can imagine. There is no clear profile of what I should do in my mind, because it is more important for me to inspire and stimulate creating itself.
There are three types of artists that I am most interested in. The first is whose work spans a sufficiently large period of time, through which you can have a review on the relationship among society, history and individuals. Such kind of artists can act as a guider who point out the access to the past and the future. The second type of artists are the “odd”ones who create works that I have never seen before, and they are distinct from the majority of the mainstream artists. In other words, they emerge as exceptional cases that can greatly inspire the curators. For example, a few years ago I collaborated with artist Zhang Yue who produced a work showing 8000 shades of white（there are about 100 shades of white in the Pantone colors）. He collected a series of white colors from various environments and contexts, such as the white of a skirt from a photo in the Vogue magazine, the white of a wall at 3:00 pm on a road in Jinan City, and also the white of a tablecloth from a movie scene. What he has done can be regarded as madness, and it is such kind of peculiarity that makes me so attracted. The third type is the new-generation who create with brand new tools and methods, like Zhao Zhao, whose practice involves in design, fashion, but also antiques and contemporary art. When you find a new group of artists who have a totally different way of working and living, you will naturally exposed to new horizons and possibilities. From my point of view, doing exhibitions for these three types of artists is also a kind of restoration to myself.
▼2013年张玥个展“不明真相 ”，策展人：崔灿灿 © 照片由崔灿灿提供
Zhang Yue’s solo exhibition“You Miss the Truth” , 2013, curated by Cui Cancan
▼2016年赵赵个展，西部三部曲之一：塔克拉玛干计划，策展人：崔灿灿 © 照片由崔灿灿提供
Project Taklamakan by Zhao Zhao, presented on his solo exhibition in 2016, curated by Cui Cancan
Nine-Tiered Pagoda: Working with architects
“I realized that they do have a different way of thinking, and I tried to learn and get close to that thinking.”
I came into contact with a very large number of architects thanks to my working on the exhibition “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”, and in the meantime I became quite interested in architecture. As the main task for architects is to realize a real building, the exhibition here is more like an appendant result of their creativity, which is a bit similar to an archive, or a place for them to breathe from those complicated work of engineering, bidding and consultation with clients. Working with architects is quite different from what I did with artists, since we often have more collision of ideas and interesting arguments. For instance architect Zigeng Wang once told me that “my architecture does not serve your exhibition.”I think it makes sense, but on the other hand my exhibition does not serve his architecture either. They are just two different starting points, neither of which serves the other. When I collaborated with architects, I realized that they do have a different way of thinking, and I tried to learn and get close to that thinking to understand how their narrative of space differs from mine. Anyway, there is still a great excitement in terms of the collaboration, since I’m always stimulated by the things I have not known before. But after this excitement occurs, it will be the time to rethink about what can be used and what needs to get rid of. In a given space, for example, architects may take corridors and staircases as dominated elements rather than the exhibition area, while from our perspective such elements would be a huge waste of space. This might be the difference of our concepts as I just mentioned.
Nine-Tiered Pagoda ①: Polit-Sheer-Form Office (PSFO)’s solo exhibition “Unity is Strength”. Architect: Wang Zigeng; Graphic designer: Liu Zhizhi
(点击查看展览详情，Click here for more details about the exhibition)
3年前我去山西和河北看了很多寺庙和塔。塔是一个非常特殊的结构，它的壁画，它的雕塑，它的建筑是一体化的，甚至来说是先有一个故事，然后才有了塔的每一层。九层塔的概念寓意着，当你进入美术馆的时候，你获得的是一个综合性的感知，它包含了建筑、空间和艺术，包含了文字和阅读，是这种完整的流程给予了你一个故事，因此我希望用九层塔去呈现这样一种综合感觉。展览也是这样，它需要空间，也需要平面设计，并且这是刚需，也是有益的合作。所以这个时候我想，为什么大家不联名合作呢？为什么我们非要把彼此搞成甲乙方关系？我觉得这是我做九层塔的一个初衷。一开始我也不知道要做什么，我就找到这个项目的另一个发起人建筑师刘晓都（都市实践 on gooood）一块商量，怎么样把建筑、设计和艺术结合在一起，后来我们就想到了这样的方式。这种方式是需要磨合的，我们也为此做出了很多调整。
I went to Shanxi and Hebei province about three years ago to see a number of temples and pagodas. I think a pagoda is a very special structure, with each tier telling a different story, and of which the murals, the sculptures and the architecture are all well-integrated. In this sense, Nine-Tiered Pagoda suggests an idea that when you enter a venue for exhibition, what you are supposed to acquires is also an integrated perception. The venue contains the architecture, the space, the artwork, the descriptive text and also the act of reading. It is this complete process and flow that tells you a story, and this is what I tried to convey with Nine-Tiered Pagoda. It is the same with exhibitions, which needs both physical spaces and graphic designs as a rigid demand. So at that point, I thought, why don’t we take this opportunity to collaborate? Why must we work separately as opposite parties? This leads to the entry point of the plan for Nine-Tiered Pagoda. At the beginning, I was not sure about what I could do and therefore I got in touch with Liu Xiaodu (URBANUS on gooood) , the architect who was the other initiator of the project, discussing how to combine architecture, design and art all-together. While there were conflicts in the actual process of realization, both of us have made a lot of compromises to optimize the result.
▼九层塔：空间与视觉的魔术②：李青个展 “陈列与重现”，建筑师：李涵 ；平面设计师：梅数植
Nine-Tiered Pagoda②: Li Qing’s solo exhibition “Display and Replay”. Architect: Li Han; Graphic designer: Mei Shuzhi
“Nine-Tiered Pagoda can also be perceived as “Cloud Nine”, which symbolizes nine universes or nine choices.”
The process was that we started by selecting different creative mediums, including paintings, installations, videos and performance art. We hoped to find works that necessitate spaces and would have an interesting interactive with the spaces. Then we provided these selected materials for both the architects and the designers, asking them to respectively work on spatial and graphic design. Each of these nine spaces has an area of 300 square meters, with a same shape and a same budget. In September this year, we will see nine architects’ spaces and nine artists’ works merging together to form nine different exhibitions, just like the section of a building that contains varying scenes and contexts. In this way,“Nine-Tiered Pagoda”can also be perceived as “Cloud Nine”, which symbolizes nine universes or nine choices, and each of the choices is simultaneously the one made by the architects and the one that the artists lead the architects to make.
Nine-Tiered Pagoda③: Mao Yan and Han Dong’s exhibition “My Poet”. Architect: Wang Hui; Graphic designer: Zhu Sha
Nine-Tiered Pagoda④: Li Binyuan’s solo exhibition “Cinema Paradiso”. Architect: Wu Linshou; Graphic designer: Jumping He
(点击查看展览详情，Click here for more details about the exhibition)
这时候艺术家、建筑师、设计师面对的工作都是一样的，都是将这个基础世界的点、线、面不断地置于新的情境，不断地使其产生变量，使其接近于无穷。九层塔的每一个项目都是既要去讨论建筑、设计、艺术三个领域之间的关系，又要试图让其围绕着一个议题。比如说建筑师王子耕（Pills Architects on gooood）那一组，包括艺术小组政纯办和设计师刘治治，都在讨论集体主义美学在不同学科中的呈现，名字叫“团结就是力量”；建筑师李涵（绘造社 on gooood）、设计师梅数植、艺术家李青那一组都在讨论城乡结合部的边缘文化；建筑师王辉 （都市实践 on gooood）、设计师朱砂那一组，用迷宫的空间方式，重新设计我们抵达毛焰绘画和韩东诗歌的动线和路径；建筑师吴林寿 （WAU Design on gooood）、设计师何见平，艺术家厉槟源，为我们呈现了一个有着身体记忆，温暖的天堂电影院；建筑师张永和 （非常建筑 on gooood）给我们搭建了一个古典的意大利议会式的广场，然后做了很多内外空间的处理，它让观看方式非常多元，艺术家陈文骥、丁乙、梁诠、谭平的作品在空间中获得了全新的状态，设计师韩家英又给了另一种组合方式；建筑师马岩松（MAD on gooood）的这一组，艺术家是刘韡，设计师是广煜，这一组试图讨论的是对形式感知的想象，是关于形式和力量、未来、时空、动势、幻想的关系，展览的名字叫做“形式的狂想”。
This is when the artists, the architects and the designers are all faced with the same task to constantly place the points, lines and surfaces of this fundamental world into new situations and to draw forth the variables to bring it closer to infinity. Each of the projects in Nine-Tiered Pagoda tries to discuss the relationship between the three fields of architecture, design and art, and in the meantime to make the their narratives stick to a single topic. For example, the team that includes architect Zigeng Wang (Pills Architects on gooood), artist PSFO and designer Zhizhi Liu, discussed the presentation of collectivist aesthetics in different disciplines, and their exhibition was named as“Unity is Strength”. Architect Li Han (Drawing Architecture Studio on gooood) , artist Li Qing and designer Mei Shuzhi investigated the marginal culture in the rural-urban fringe. Architect Wang Hui (URBANUS on gooood) and designer Zhu Sha used the spatial form of a labyrinth to redesign the routes and paths that lead to Mao Yan’s paintings and Han Dong’s poems. Architect Wu Linshou (WAU Design on gooood), designer Jumping He collaborated with artist Li Binyuan to present a “Cinema Paradiso” with physical memory and warmth. Architect Chang Yungho (Atelier FCJZ on gooood) built a classical form that was similar to an Italian parliament square through a series external and internal interventions, allowing for a diverse way of viewing, through which the art pieces of Chen Wenji, Ding Yi, Liang Quan and Tan Ping have gained a brand new status in the space. Architect Ma Yansong (MAD on gooood) collaborated with artist Liu Wei and designer Guangyu on discussing the imagination of the perception of form, which referred to the relevance of form to the power, the future, the space and time, the kinetic potential and the fantasies revolving around the title of “Forma Fantasia”.
▼九层塔：空间与视觉的魔术⑤陈文骥+丁乙+梁诠+谭平 群展“相似的结果，不同的路径” ，建筑师：张永和；平面设计师：韩家英
Nine-Tiered Pagoda ⑤: Chen Wenji + Ding Yi + Liang Quan + Tan Ping, group exhibition “Similar Results, Different Approaches”. Architect: Chang Yungho; Graphic designer: Han Jiaying
（本展览已于2021年5月9日在深圳坪山美术馆开放，The exhibition has been open from May 9th, 2021 at Pingshan Art Museum）
Nine-Tiered Pagoda⑥: Liu Wei’s solo exhibition “Forma Fantasia”. Architect: Ma Yansong; Graphic designer: Guang Yu
（本展览已于2021年5月9日在深圳坪山美术馆开放，The exhibition has been open from May 9th, 2021 at Pingshan Art Museum）
“The “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”advocates a boundary-breaking approach to establish a new discipline that lies in the intersection of architecture, design and art.”
When incorporating art and architecture together, we are trying to discuss the same issue, and on the other hand, we have to give up some of our ingrained habits. It is possible to have architecture, art and design mixed, but when it is really realized, the objective will be altered to identify where the boundary is. When you try to break the boundary, confirming the boundary becomes a more important thing. It is in some way like a story of revenge, where giving up the revenge can sometimes lead to a more profound ending.
It is not the purpose of all the cross-disciplinary practices we do today to force yourself to become another person, but to find your own situation and state of being to expose yourself to more options. “Option”is similar to “possibility”, which I think may be the most meaningless and boring word in the world, because everything is associated with possibilities. However, it is still necessary for us to have the ambition of creating something meaningful and effective. Even if I’m working on a project that is “meaningless”and“boring”, in a society enslaved to stereotype and pragmatism，it is the so-called “meaningless”and“boring”that reflects the essence of effectiveness.
In other words, we have been lacking a quality cross-disciplinary practice that neither caters to the immediate influence of celebrities, nor sticks to professional barriers. The “Nine-Tiered Pagoda”advocates a boundary-breaking approach to establish a new discipline that lies in the intersection of architecture, design and art, which shows a practical need between these three professions and in the meantime retains their respective expertise and strength to achieve the synergy. It is a hands-on project that mixes ideas, methods and methodologies, and also a strategic union in which the participants can cooperate and expand their development realms together. It represents the ambition to create an unprecedented field and career.
▼崔灿灿和刘晓都、张永和在九层塔展览现场，Cui Cancan, Liu Xiaodu and Yungho Chang at the exhibition of “Nine-Tiered Pagoda” © 照片由坪山美术馆提供
▼崔灿灿和刘晓都、马岩松、广煜在九层塔最新一场展览的开幕式论坛，Cui Cancan, Liu Xiaodu, Ma Yansong and Guang Yu at the opening forum of “Nine-Tiered Pagoda” © 照片由坪山美术馆提供
The Curation Workshop: exploring new curatorial languages
“When we talk about historical changes, it is equally important to examine the change of ourselves.”
The Curation Workshop discusses on new curatorial methods and languages that I have always been interested in. The first edition of the workshop is titled “Curation and Design”, and the second is “Story and Structure”. Both workshops intend to talk about the ways of telling stories. While many exhibitions are concerned with how to represent a specific cultural issue, The Curation Workshop focuses on the methodology and the versatility of language itself. The era of traditional narrative is gone, and we can no longer present modern art in the same way as we do to classical art, since the classical logic is no longer adaptive to contemporary issues.
▼第一届策展课：策展与设计，The Curation Workshop I: “Curation and Design” © 照片由崔灿灿提供
We intend to make The Curation Workshop a long-term project. Maybe it will be ended with a handbook for exhibition curating. Rather than realizing projects physically ( none of the structures made by the 19 curators has been really built), the aim of The Curation Workshop is to allow us to imagine some “exhibitions that can barely been achieved”, which are like houses that can never been constructed. For example, one of the projects during the workshop built a sewer-like passage for the audience to enter the exhibition hall, which boldly broke the traditional narrative of a magnificent space for an exhibition hall. Some of the projects invited the audience to play the role of curators; some interpreted the exhibition area into an answer sheet; while some were organized in the same random mechanism as of the Duotone Ball Lottery. The Curation Workshop is an exhibition of exhibition itself. It was endowed with the mission to become idealistic, providing a sort of useless imagination, and ultimately liberating the creativity that has been long restricted by institutionalization and reality. The best way to achieve liberation is to enter a completely personal and private imagination and creation only about ourselves. Therefore, The Curation Workshop indicates a value of utopianism, which can push us to get aware of the fact that there are numerous options and methods with which we can promote historical changes. And when we talk about historical changes, it is equally important to examine the change of ourselves.
▼第二届策展课：故事与结构，The Curation Workshop II: “Story and Structure” © 照片由崔灿灿提供
Never Reminiscing About The Past
“The new things are too fascinating for me to waste time reminiscing about the past.”
I rarely look back on my past exhibitions, because I believe that what we actually pursue can only be reviewed when placed on the axes of our whole lifetime. Without this long-term process of self-inspect, any talk about “success” or “effective results” will be reduced to a trap. It is just an embodiment of self-praise. But I often reflect on my failures, and these failures have nothing to do with others. Only if you understand the failures and mistakes can you step forward to fully devote yourself to what you have been doing. There’s a poem by Tao Yuanming about a plant called Mujin (hibiscus flower) that blooms in the morning and falls at night. It is a lament for the fleeting life. A little flower realized that its life was just a short trip, and for our human beings, we know we have infinite careers but limited lives, and we begin to realize that our creativity is so insufficient and pathetic. For me, there is still a great deal of work to be done. The new things are too fascinating for me to waste time reminiscing about the past.
▼崔灿灿在展览作品前，Cui Cancan standing in front of an artwork © 照片由崔灿灿提供
I’m now preparing a retrospective exhibition for photographer Liu Heung Shing who is the first and only Chinese to have won the Pulitzer Award. Solo exhibitions for Ai Weiwei, Chen Danqing, Tan Ping, Li Qing and Zhao Zhao are also now in progress. This June in Beijing there will be a group exhibition of new generation artists, architects and designers. In September I will curate for Yung Ho Chang’s solo exhibition in Shenzhen, which will feature his installation series, and this is also the most interesting part I think in a pure spatial experimentation. In November there will be a multi-medium exhibition in Nanjing that combines fiction, poetry, film and art, and in the second half of the year there may be a project of Botanical Garden in Southern China which includes practitioners from various disciplines.
▼刘香成个展部分作品，Part of works on the solo exhibition of Liu Heung Shing © 刘香成
“Art comes from an ambition to change. This may be a classical and grandiose statement, but also what I genuinely want to believe.”
I receive nearly 100 project invitations every year, but I only choose the ones that are intriguing and challenging. I’m always looking for new things to do from the fields I was not known before, which I think can greatly reenergize my creation and everyday work, just like the sources of living water.
I’m always with the expectation of changing our cultural situation and political reality, so as to achieve a better social system and context. Art must come from an ambition to change. There is misery existing in the world, and there is a cruel reality that we are unwilling to face with due to all the shame and vanity we have. Then what is art? Art is the desire to reveal and change the reality. This may be a classical and grandiose statement, but also what I genuinely want to believe. Art has its historical ambitions, which means to change our cultural situation today, and also to change our perceptions and judgements of both the old and new worlds. However, it doesn’t really matter whether they can really be changed in the end — the ambition to change is sometimes more significant than the result of change.
Cui Cancan has won CCAA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award) Art Review Award for Youth, Critics’ Award in Chinese contemporary art by YISHU, Annual Exhibition Award by Art Power 100, Nominee for Lincoln Curator Prize by TANC Asia Prize, The Best Artist Solo Exhibition of the Year Award by Chinese Contemporary Art News, Best Exhibition Award by Gallery Week Beijing, Annual Curator Award by Art Bank, et cetera.