Interviewer：Zou Yuejin (Professor of China Central Academy of Fine Arts)
Venue：College of Humanities，China Central Academy of Fine Arts
Zou Yuejin (Zou hereinafter)：To fit to the theme of“Animal Instinct?”that I had chosen for“China Arts”，I have adopted a series of works which you had created and are related with animals．I’m just wondering when，for example，you had begun to create these works and what is the major incentive for such creation?
Gao Xiang(Gao hereinafter)：Such works had been created since 2002，which had something to do with the position of men and women in my heart and what they impressed me．At the beginning，the image was composed of woman of large size and man of small size．Horse，then，had been added to my works since 2003，which most likely reflects its affinity to me，subconsciously．I personally have a fantastic perception on horse，as if a sense of mystery and complexity is embedded in the creature．It would be interesting，in my opinion，that horse be included in my series“Wh0 is the Doll?”．Until 2005，horse had gradually become the major figure of my works，with scene of a small man and one or more horses in the image．
Zou：To be exactly，the works with horses had been created since 2003?
Gao：Yes．But I did not yet have a clear image in my mind at the time when l was creating these two series．I made it just because it was pleasant to me I gradually transferred from“Wh0 is the Doll?”series to“The dreams?”series since the time passes by，with much more complex ideas and thoughts in my mind．The former one expresses my psychological perception on men and women，while the latter has something to do with my internal experience．
Zou：In the studies on the pre-historical grotto fresco，some scholars had found that the animals that had been mostly frequently painted are horses and oxen．They concluded that these two animals were in fact symbols that represent male and female sexes，which could also be related with some primal wizardries and rituals．It is special in Freud’s theory of dream interpretation to make argument on the significance of animal in a dream from the perspective of gender．I presume，therefore，that it might have something to do with your non-consciousness when figure of woman has been gradually weakened，while horse has turned to be main subject in the image you created．As you have just said，“Who is the Doll?”series expresses your perception on sex and gender from the perspective of real life，while“The dreams?”series has something to do with the exposure of your non-consciousness．I would say that continuity exists in the context of gender in both of your series.
Gao：It is not clear in my own mind and it is just a perceptional need．What you have just said is most likely true．
Zou：Horse has occupied a great area in your“The Dreams?”series，while the figure of man is quite small in size，which can also be seen in“Who is the Doll?”in which there is a similarity between the size of woman and that of man．Would I be able to say that horse，in your own mind，would represent maternity and an object you could rely on？I’m just wondering whether horse has had brought you some other impacts in your life，for example，whether you know some girls whose animal sign is horse?
Gao：Possibly！But I really do not know whether it is driven by non-consciousness．
Zou：It is not non-consciousness if you know it．
Gao：I have．However a clear view on the artistic direction I would follow．I was used to think that horse sometimes Was the outstretch of myself，but sometimes not．It seems to have its own life other than me．The small figure in the image represents myself, who has different relations with horse in different images，sometimes interdependent and sometimes in conflict．
Zou：I would say that horse bears a great weight of your sensibilities，at least unconsciously．Love and dislike…but in general，you are dependent on it and admire it．
Gao：Quite true．I myself really intend to express my sensibilities and conceptions through symbolization．
Zou：With which issues of gender did your intended expression have relations when you were painting“Who is the Doll?”
Gao：What I was thinking about at that time is that I wanted to experience the psychological imbalance of social position of men and women from a fair-minded perspective．I was very happy in the process of expressing such imbalance．However, some foreign viewers had not got accustomed to it psychologically when my works were exhibited abroad，for they thought such type of painting was a challenge to their vision．
Zou：Does it have something to do with your own life experience?
Gao：More or less．For example，I feel that marriage is very different from when you were falling in love with somebody．
Zou：In your image，women are large and men are small，does it mean to express your cognition on the status of men or raise a question：Who is the Doll?
Gao：It is a perplexity for me，too．I am intending to raise a question to every one，especially to myself．
Zou：I should say that women you painted are very pretty,who seems to be able to turn men into doll．More complex questions are perhaps behind the question of who is the doll．As you have known，feminism and feministic painting started at the mid-90’s in China，so has your artistic thought been affected by such trend or developed completely from your own experience?
Gao：80％ is based on my own life experience，I’d say．And the cultural background you just mentioned has indirect impact as well．
Zou：Male artists are in a male-centered position．However, you seemed to have expressed something else in a very implicative manner．In the specific social structure and family structure，a man may be likely unable to be in possession of male-centered power recognized by the society, so he would become psychologically complicated．Therefore，your painting is unique and interesting since you have thought and expressed such an issue from the perspective of power of two genders．In“Who is the Doll?”series，you had paid much attention to the psychological reflection of gender relations in the external society, and it changed in“The dream”series，in which you paid much attention to the internal spirit of yourself or something related to non-consciousness．
Gao：In“The Dream”series，my psychological changes in different times，would make the relationship between man and horse in the image change．
Zou：Is it required by expression or by composition to paint two horses?
Gao：Both．From the perspective of composition，two horses are stronger；from the perspective of expression，horse may be gentle or atrocious，which is similar in human．In my opinion，horse is extension of my soul and has something off emale identity in it implicitly, perhaps just as you have said．
Gao：It seems so．I could feel a sense of poetry in the painting in this way．
Zou：What is the relationship between the representation of tranquility and boldness and your life experience? Over looking，for example．
Gao：Appearance of overlooking has been frequendy seen in my paintings．It represents my expectation for the future，but meanwhile with a sense of uneasiness．
Zou：In the art history, the typical works representing dream is super-realism of Dali．But you do it in a more classic way, paying much attention to brushwork．It is neither dassic true-life nor pure abstract，but it is integral．The scale between horse and man would bring viewers a strange sense of modernity．Of course，it is relevant to the theme of dream you want to express．
Gao：Adoption of artistic skill is related to my own personality and the object I want to express．It will be a deviation from my pursuit for dream iftrue-life skill is strongly applied；while it will not have me moved iftrue-life skill is not applied at all，for it is not realistic．
Zou：When has glass installation begun? I regard that contemplation on space，environment，material and significance is the most valuable thing in these works．
Gao：It can be dated back to 2000，when I had made several pieces of glass installation-ancient furniture of Ming and Qing Dynasty style．Moreover, I am very interested in the theme of space and the title of my Ph．D dissertation is“A Contemplation on Space”．Through using organic glass and multi-element materials in my exploration on the space change，I hope it can bring some new possibilities to both artistic language and spirit．
Zou：Have you ever thought about using classic Chinese gardening technique to express space，for example，through borrowed scenery with windows and gates?
Gao：Yes，I have．I have been inspired by the technique of borrowed scenery since I had read a great number of gardening painting albums．Aside from it，however, contemplation on combination of painting and environment has come into being in my mind．
Zou：There are two ways：one is to make a frame around installation works，incorporating the natural or artificial environment into the image of the installation．By doing so，environment becomes scenery of the image and it will change with the change of visual angle．The other is to make the painting and environment as one，without frame．Which one do you prefer?
Gao：At the beginning，I used flame iust as a support for my works．Then I used floor screen，which means that the works could stand without support．And then roundness is adopted，able to make the works and environment as one．You could say that I’d prefer tlle latter．Or to be more specific，I’d prefer the technique that combines dassic borrowed scenery and contemporary concept of background adaptation．
Zou：One more question：since your works can become a part of any space，which effect do you expect to see，incidental effect arising from the entrance of the works into space or the inevitable effect you expect．The latter is environment-sensitive．Such as Henry Moore，who thinks that his sculpture would produce a better effect when it is located at an environment without too complicated background，like in a meadow．
Zou：Now we come to the third main question．It is obvious that your works feature strong brushwork, with firm classic foundation．However, your installation is relatively contemporary．How do you understand the combination of brushwork and installation in your creation?
Gao：I am an artist who attach great attention to tradition．It is my intention to combine them，whatever they are Western or Chinese．However I do not hope to achieve this through movement and patch-up of traditional symbols，but through natural spiritual combination．I just have attempted to combine brushwork and public art or installation in most recent years．
Zou：In my point of view, the original significance of the painting is no more there when brushwork becomes a part of your installation works，i．e．it is conceptionized and modernized．In general，your installation mainly expresses your perception on the life experience in modern times and it is the most successful area in your attempt．Art itselfwould，in my opinion，be powerful only when one should respect his own life experience．
Zou：How do you think about some art styles that are popular nowadays?
Gao：I appreciate the art styles that would maintain independence and attach attention and focus to contemporary times and self internal experience of life．