主题： 李明 马笑萧 李富春 王欣 王小峰 陆扬 张乐华 李琳 孙慧源 欧文婷 崔绍翰 陈园 黄丽芽 胡筱潇 杨俊岭 戎瑾君 林科 易连 曹澍 邓吉赟 张剑云 冯晨 张大海
新作：孙汉桥 宋永红 徐牧原 佘松 潘微 李玉娟
Issue No. 60(2009)
Theme: A Conversation on the “Small Production”
Academic Host: Shao Yi, Zhang Liaoyuan
A.T: Li Ming, Ma Xiaoxiao, Li Fuchun, Wang Xin, Wang Xiaofeng, Lu Yang, Zhang Lehua, Li Lin, Sun Huiyuan, Ou Wenting, Cui Shaohan, Chen Yuan, Huang Liya, Hu Xiao Xiao, Yang Junling, Xu Jinjun, Lin Ke, Yi Lian, Cao Peng, Deng Jiyun, Zhang Jianyun, Feng Chen, Zhang Dahai
A.N: Sun Hanqiao, Song Yonghong, Xu Muyuan, She Song, Pan Wei, Li Yujuan
A Conversation on the “Small Production”
Conversationists: SHAO Yi, ZHANG Liaoyuan and FU Xiaodong
Date: June 2009
ZHANG Liaoyuan once wrote about the backgrounds for the emergence of the small production in Small Production, Don’t Stop:
“1. Hangzhou’s problem is not the lack of good exhibitions, but rather the utter lack of exhibitions – not even a bad or condemned one;
2. Everyone is too focused on achieving the spectacular, hence the lack of passion for the ordinary, the fear of embarrassment and the lack of courage to be the small one. Too many thoughts yet too little action;
3. Too much attention being attached to the exhibition itself resulted in the neglect of the significance of mutual communication in the activity as well as the dynamics and possibilities accumulated through the communication;
4. Instead of choosing good works, we should bring more and more people to participate, allowing even the worst idea an opportunity to present itself;
5. What we want is not a stiff exhibition but a lively party, like playing billiards.”
I invited SHAO Yi and ZHANG Liaoyuan, the initiators of the small production activity, to participate in this conversation concerning all kinds of problems of the “small production”, which have been held 8 times since Aug 2008, with young artists of Hangzhou and Shanghai as its major participants.
FU Xiaodong (hereinafter referred to as “FU”): Where did the small production first begin?
SHAO Yi (hereinafter referred to as “SHAO”): The first time and the second “barbecue” of the “small production” were in my studio, and the third time in Riyue Square. We didn’t notify a lot of people for the first one, just 10 plus. People who just graduated also joined to have a look and requested to participate in the second one.
FU: What was the first timers’ state of mind? And did that state of mind change after 8 times?
SHAO: It surely changed, due to the reactions of the outer world, though the inner minds stayed unchanged, continuing to carry out the original mode of creation of the small production. We have always emphasized that it was not an exhibition, but rather a party, communication, a shared joy.
ZHANG Liaoyuan (hereinafter referred to as “ZHANG”): The outer world has a misunderstanding about us. We were in no way meaning to create a kind of strategy to respond to the current situation.
SHAO: It was mere coincidence. The financial crisis was no where to be seen the first time we did it, but it struck all of a sudden during the second and third times. The small production seems to be anti financial crisis. We don’t deal with the market, nor curators, exhibitions and galleries. The small production was just a random name, which developed to be a fixed pattern in the eyes of the outer world. That’s a misunderstanding.
FU: What’s the biggest criticism from the outer world on the small production?
SHAO: The biggest criticism is on the quality of the works. As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care. We have discussed about elevating the quality of the works through cutting down the participants, which doesn’t equal shutting down the door, but rather making better of the stuff we already have.
FU: The emergence of the small production reminds me of Xavier’s “self organization” – a non-commercial non-official civil organization for people sharing the same interests to exchange some thoughts within, in order to achieve the disintegration and defiance against the domination of mono-culture. This temperament of small production is not necessarily its intent. For instance, it’s against the commercial systemization and power system of the art. Its unconscious rebellion against the system is another mode, thus an exception.
ZHANG: In fact all the artists participating in the small production also collaborated with galleries, for instance, I have long been collaborating with and supported by the gallery. I thought the collaboration with galleries would continue. Besides, we could play with each other with relaxation in Hangzhou. As long as we can enjoy ourselves and do our stuff relaxed, that’s enough.
FU: If the small production is not an exhibition, then what is it?
SHAO: I don’t know what it is. We never thought about giving it a definition. As far as I’m concerned, it may well be a communication. We sit down and have a chat, a party, that’s the feeling. For example, the main reason to hold a barbecue at the second time is trying to emphasize to not treat it as an exhibition.
ZHANG: With so many artists in Hangzhou, so many people who are thinking of doing things or doing things but rarely getting in touch with each other, this offered a chance for us to play together.
FU: After the event, did your contacts or exchange of thoughts become more frequent? Was the artistic ecology of Hangzhou changed a bit more or less?
ZHANG: That’s for sure. I didn’t know a thing about Flying Together Art Group, but we gained a lot of knowledge and understanding through it. Also there are more and more activities by Flying Together Art Group.
SHAO: I don’t belong to the generation of Flying Together Art Group, and not connected to them in anyway, but we hang out all the time now, together with Spade Art Group , with whom I also had no possibility to associate. Ones who changed most are the young ones. Without those activities, many of them would choose to leave Hangzhou for Beijing. The so-called Hangzhou Clan of a couple of years ago shared same tastes in their works as well as in chatting. If not, it will be hard for them to mingle together.
FU: Why did they all participate in the small production?
SHAO: Some people, who were on the threshold of knowing the contemporary art, including some in the business of creative ideas, were interested in taking part in it. We don’t have a threshold. Suppose there’s a fan of the contemporary art, he hasn’t been to any exhibition, his works are rather naive and he couldn’t get into anywhere else. The small production is not the un-famous only, famous people could also take part in it.
FU: How did you notify the artists to participate in this activity before the exhibition?
SHAO: If any trait, it should be the works we do everyday, rather than the especially custom-made works for the small production and showing them at the exhibition. We just set up a date and come together to look at the works we did. The first time we had a list, most of whom were people we knew. The second time, people they knew also took part. What’s more, we posted a message on the net, which drew a lot of people. We got 30 plus here in Hangzhou. The third and fourth times we had the most participants.
ZHANG: If analyzed from an academic perspective and examined in the mode of system, it shows quite a difference, which is in fact very normal and especially simple, something everyone has experienced – being able to do only small works before, we kept on this state of creation. We just pulled us together.
FU: Did the small production expand your original definition of the works? The small production more or less possesses some creative tendencies, for examples, of daily lives, trivial matters, even poverty, low-cost and small size.
ZHANG: Definitely. Take me for instance, it would never occur to me to modify this thing, instead I would always put my thought on something big, a fixed idea. Very few people now can calm down and view works. These are all things around you in daily lives. One glance and one would discover they are home-made, books, paper, with some modification for fun. The small production is a more relaxed attitude.
SHAO: The small production was just a name for the first activity, which we didn’t use for the second and third times but changed it back in the fourth and fifth. We are not emphasizing that you have to make a small thing, but rather that anything, be it something in the experiment or something being made in daily lives, can be presented, even unfinished. Once a female post-graduate student asked what she could bring to qualify as a small production. The problem may lie with us too, for we had aroused some misunderstandings. These people don’t have much money, thus they could only make something that wouldn’t cost. This tendency is decided by objectivity rather than our pursuit.
FU: How did you communicate after each small production? And what were the topics?
SHAO: We wanted to have a communication, but every time was different. The most formal one with most people was focused on some personal works. We didn’t review any plan before the small production. I didn’t know what ZHANG Liaoyuan did, nor did he me. But we each would have an illustration of one’s own works, based on which questions would be brought up to each other. It’s a relatively formal discussion, carried out more in small ranges. People could have participated a lot of times, I still wouldn’t know their names.
FU: About the development of the small production, is it possible to expand its size or is it still concentrated in Hangzhou?
SHAO: We don’t have a predicted development, maybe some sort of modification. Just let it be.
ZHANG: We attach great importance to the free identity of every artist. Everyone came here to play, but that didn’t mean he belongs to the small production. Everyone is free to come and go with no limitation, let alone gangs or clans, which is very important. On the other hand, it wasn’t as exciting and harmonious as the outer world imagined. In fact it was quite flat and dull with nothing interesting. The real communication took place inside each group. If we try to force a label on them, it would be detrimental to the development of each small group.