Frost Art MuseumPaves Way ToMiami Art Week

By Michael Juelle
Frost Art Museum exterior facade - photo by Ryan Troy

Frost Art Museum is getting an early start on Miami Art season with the unveiling of two extraordinary new exhibits this Saturday: ADinfinitum and A Global Exchange: Geometric Abstraction Since 1950. ADinfinitum will fill the entire third floor of the museum with the brilliant photographic masterpieces of world-renowned Chinese artist Wang Qingsong while A Global Exchange exhibits thirty works of geometric abstraction by over a dozen intercontinental artists. Wang Qingsong, who is recognized internationally as the master of photographic art in China, will present a special lecture.

Tropicult secured interviews with the artists: the fascinating Mr. Wang Qingsong himself, as well as the very talented Ms. Cristina Ghetti, whose mind-expanding work will be exhibited as part of A Global Exchange. We obtained some great insight into their methods, their purpose, and the pieces that will be on show at the Frost Art Museum.

Also, see: Museum Basel: Your Miami Art Week Museum Guide

ADinfinitum An Interview with Wang Qingsong

wang qingson - competition

In your career, you have created artwork in many different forms: paintings, sculptures, photographs, and even video. How do you decide which medium is best to portray an idea or message which you want to express?

There is never any fixed medium for what I want to express through my art works. I choose the most appropriate medium. If I want to make a visual artwork from two dimensions, I will use photography/painting. If I think three dimension, I might choose a sculpture. Now I move on further to video. If I want to express time and space, I need video, whose features are more than painting, photography or sculpture. Much of your work seems to reflect many of the societal changes which have occurred in China in the past several decades. Are you hoping to share aspects of recent Chinese history or culture with the rest of the world through your art?

First, I want to document what is being happening here in China. Second, if my artworks can communicate with the audience through exhibitions, that will be appreciated. We can share empathy with each other because China has its unique changes different from the western countries.

In several of your pieces, such as Thinker and Can I Cooperate with You, you use corporate Western logos. What does this iconography represent to you?

These foreign iconic images are nothing more than symbols, which show off in every corner of the Chinese society. Chinese people think China has these corporations. Every three days, McDonalds opens its franchise. They are mixed together with Chinese local products. So I choose these symbols because they are already localized.

wang qingson - can I cooperate with you
Although much of your work is focused on your homeland, do you hope to make Westerners perceive their own culture of capitalism and consumerism differently with your powerful socioeconomic symbolism? 

The globalization has mixed up China with the west. Like hybrids, these foreign products are localized like monsters, like a fruit hybridized from apple and pear. So, cultures, when intermingled, can create a very mixed hybrid, never to be identified with each culture. But the general public feels like these [are] consumerism and capitalism. But for me, I feel a strong compelling doubt towards this mixture, which are expressed into conflicts and contradictions in my artworks.

Many of your pieces, such as Competition and Dream of Migrants, are wonderfully elaborate with an impressive sense of size and magnitude. Which of your pieces do you think was the most difficult to put together? Which of your pieces are you most proud of?

My earlier works, in the beginning of my artworks with photography, I like Thinker a lot. For Chinese traditional culture/values, I favor Night Revels of Lao Li. Competition and Follow Me are both more representative of what I am in favor of making a critique about. There is nothing proud of making any of my artworks. Pretty interesting stuff. I’m excited to see which of Wang Qingsong’s brilliant works are on display at the Frost, and what he has to say at his lecture.

A Global Exchange: Geometric Abstraction Since 1950 An Interview with Cristina Ghetti

You have a very specific, enthralling way of composing the geometric designs in your work. What initially attracted you about the study and composition of geometric abstraction?

I had always been interested in abstraction, it was always natural to me. “Space, time, material – are they one with light?” said Moholy-Nagy, I like that question. This is an art that refuses to be contained by its own perimeter, that ruptures the boundary between the object and the space around it, that introduces dynamic forms to give the illusion of motion and volatility. It gives me a sense of freedom, I feel that it has infinite possibilities.

As a musician, I sometimes have moments where I feel I can “see” the music in my mind as colors and shapes. Your work evokes a similar sensation in me as if the shapes in the image is a representation of sound or feelings. Is this synesthetic effect intentional on your behalf?

Absolutely, I’m very interested in synesthesia, my work takes its inspiration from vibrations, music or mathematical functions, the waves, and the colors have the aim of presenting that energy that moves our universe. I’m also asking myself and the public, to wonder about our perceptual possibilities of [comprehending] reality.

Do you find that you draw inspiration from any specific aspects of nature, or of your own environment? Is there a specific setting or environment that you feel most comfortable working in?

I find inspiration in nature, but not in its aspect, [but] in its rhythms, its colors. My work does not proceed from observation, it is nevertheless connected with the experience of nature. It is an exploration of a fundamental human experience: sight.

Your work is aesthetically pleasing while also having an “optical illusion” effect that seems as if it could be commercialized in many different ways. Does the idea of commercializing your artwork in any way appeal to you, or do you wish to keep your paintings strictly in the realm of artistic expression?

People often prefer for you to be one thing or another. Painter, sculptor, photographer, film-maker, industrial designer: what am I, what am I not? I place great emphasis on programs and production, and I believe in erasing the boundaries between the arts and crafts. I could be very comfortable designing carpets, clothes or producing audio visual live sets. I would like to have time to investigate other fields. I believe that art can be in any place, not just in museums and art galleries.

Lately, you have been experimenting with new media, including the TANGU electronic device. What was the inspiration behind incorporating these new forms of media into your work?

colur-thinking-compositionSome years ago I had completed a Master’s [Degree] in New Media Applied to Art at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, [and was] willing to incorporate new media into my work. And I think the possibilities are exciting, thus new media allows me to propose interaction with the public in my work, create audio visual immersive works. It’s another part of my work. Actually I work in both fields, I don’t feel a contradiction in being a painter and using new media, I’m just an artist and I investigate with all the media I can access. Tangu, was a prototype of an interactive carpet, when you walk or dance on it, the patterns and colours change with the public interaction. I had a great time working on that project.

Be sure to visit the Frost Art Museum on Saturday, November 8th for the opening of these two incredible exhibitions. The museum is located at the Modesto Maidique Campus of Florida International University, and admission is always free.