When I met her for the first time I was struck by her intelligence and sweetness. A curious and energetic young woman. On her kitchen table, I remember seeing some small painted tiles, arranged to compose the mosaic of our daily lives...
Hu Huiming is a Chinese artist, who lives and works in Italy. Her art is “based on skepticism, doubt, lies and knowledge”. She investigates reality and illusions.
I would like to start with the most challenging question: What is art for you?
Since ancient times, culture and art have served power and politics in China. Art is the most useless and, at the same time, the most forward-looking thing. Whether because of its relationship with technology or its foresight into the future of humanity, it is unmatched by other disciplines. As the crystallization of human wisdom, art is an important symbol that distinguishes human beings from other animals. As the invention of tools aimed at improving production, art is a tool for thinking and recording. For me, the most important function of art lies in its ability to touch and move people, and to resonate with them, expressing the homogeneity of the real world in a personal way.
How did your adventure as an artist begin?
In fact, before I was 25, I had never thought about becoming an artist, but after studying art for many years, I suddenly realized that if I didn’t work on art, I wouldn’t know how to spend the rest of my life because exploring the world of art allows me to grasp the meaning of being alive. In the last year of my undergraduate degree, a work that my professor didn’t appreciate became a part of the Celeste Prize. At that time, that fact showed me that rebellion and independent thinking are an important part of growth.
In your personal website, you declare that your work “questions the seemingly exclusive pairs of reality and fiction, totality and fragment, certainty and doubt, presenting them as a unit”. Can you clarify what you mean?
All existences in the world are mutually opposing and interdependent. Because of the existence of reality, so there is fiction. And only when there is an understanding of a complete concept, we can recognize the meaning of fragments. Art is an effective tool in expressing reality through falsehood, falsehood which is sometimes more real than the reality we believe in.
Your works are paintings, videos, installations, performances... How do you choose the “medium” to convey your ideas? And how does the medium influence the idea itself?
For me, the way of expressing art is based on the idea. The language of art is similar to the language of humans. The mediums I use depend on my language ability and on my ability to convey the idea. I hope that my way of expressing myself has no boundaries and that I can convey my ideas in a touchable expression and strike a balance between inspiration and rationality.
Could you describe a work and/or a project you are particularly fond of?
I would like to talk about one of my recent works titled White soft rest. It was produced after a long and painful reflection which took place in response to the pandemic that has affected the whole world for the last two years; a reflection that made me abandon that controversial dimension of my earlier works so as to leave room for a less noisy but more inclusive work, which invites the viewer to a participatory understanding of the world. I positioned it at a 60-degree angle between two white walls inside the AAIE Art Center. An irregularly sewn and stuffed cotton veil hangs from above and drapes onto the ground, eventually occupying the entire portion of the floor in that corner. The white cotton, inside the patterns created by the seams that intertwine with the natural folds of the veils, gives the effect of a vast neural network that extends over the floor.
The visitors can sit or lie down on it. I wanted to create an inclusive and comfortable space for a moment of tranquility and rest in this chaotic world. This project aims to combine the aesthetics of abstract painting and informal art by using white veil and polyester fiber cotton to create a spatial and touchable installation. In a white space, feeling the candor, the informal ambiance, the softness, the refuge of humanity, as well as the pandemic that has swept the world for two years, intensifying our joys and our sorrows, and confirming the insignificance of human beings.
What do you think about the contemporary Chinese and Italian art scene?
In my opinion, the difference between Chinese and Italian contemporary art is similar to the relationship between artificial intelligence and human intelligence. First of all, due to the difference in the political superstructure, the living space and objectives of artists are different. Of course, I cannot deny that there are many intelligent and sensitive artists in China, but the entire system can be compared to a kind of artificial intelligence screening. In this system, artists create artworks according to some specific procedures and models. Of course, the Chinese government has great ambitions to win the praise and respect of the world through soft power, to use art and culture as a business card in its own hands. Contemporary art in Italy plays another game: it mainly relies on a free and mature market, but, compared to other Western developed countries, the art scene is perhaps more concerned with local promotion rather than global promotion.