13 Questions with Gao Weigang

A golden staircase leading nowhere, shattered fragments of mirror embedded on canvas, these and other works in an exhibition by Chinese artist Gao Weigang will invite visitors to examine their material desires at Espace Louis Vuitton. I talked to the artist ahead of the opening March 12.

Tell us about the artworks you will be exhibiting?

There will be a golden staircase (“Superstructure”) similar to the one previously exhibited in Shanghai, which was titled “No Way!”. It is hung with a flatness in an alluring and distant way. The reflective surface of the work mirrors the distance between desire and reality. Another piece will be “Line-3”, golden tracks guiding us quickly to our destination. There are sharp knuckles on the tracks that seem to caution the road to success is inevitably filled with some twists and turns. This artwork encourages us to reflect on the phenomenon that is apparent in our society today, where we foolishly think we almost have complete control of the world. The length and form of the exhibition space reminded me of a train tunnel.

What was the general idea you wanted to explore?

To explore the idea of life as a constant struggle, especially in the face of temptation and so-called victory when it is difficult for us to see our own weakness and hypocrisy.

What's the most indispensable item in your studio?


Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?

At any moment in life. I believe that one doesn't search for inspiration to create; rather, it accumulates until a certain time when the idea naturally emerges.

What's your favorite place to see art?

The Internet.

What's your favorite post-gallery watering hole or restaurant?

After an exhibition, I normally either return to the studio or go back home for dinner rather than going somewhere for a drink.

What's the last show that you saw?

Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA

What's the last show that surprised you?

James Turrell’s exhibition at LACMA was so good that it cannot be described with words.

Do you collect anything?

I collect artworks by other artists, such as photographs, installations, paintings, and videos.

So what's the last artwork you purchased?

Video art by MAP office.

What work of art do you wish you owned?

I don't have a particular desire to possess/keep a certain type of art. I need to see it before I can want it.

What's your art-world pet peeve?

I don't take a liking to things and events that are violent or pornographic, because I believe there's already far too much of these in real life.

Who's your favorite living artist?

Ai Weiwei. He is more than just an artist; he is also a proud activist who uses visual arts as a platform to communicate his message on social issues. He plays an important role in my personal artistic trajectory, posing a great influence in helping me with my inspirations. This is, of course, only my personal view.

As first published on Blouin Artinfo.