The Art Assassin

a nonfiction novel by Albert Wang

About qi peng’s interview portraits

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“Are artists, gallerists, etc. slaves to the system of the contemporary art world?” is the question that I choose to focus on. After watching the movies “Frost/Nixon” and “Interview,” I decided to set my sights on clarifying the social and professional relationships with the international art market. I am hoping to deconstruct through these “interviews” the Hegelian dialectic of master/slave that tends to get applied to the gallery director/artist and other art professional relationships. In February 2009, I decided to transform myself into a “fine arts journalist” through examiner.com as a long-term performance artist in order to investigate these myths about the art world.

With the ongoing series of verbal portraits in the form of “interviews,” each multi-panel artwork is a visual and textual representation of the person I am interested in. I am hoping to convey the human face behind the social labels of “gallery owner,” “curator,” “artist,” etc. to demonstrate the uniqueness of the individual. These portraits could have references to each other as artists talk about each other, etc. The richness of the contemporary art world is reflected in my conceptual installations just like the way August Sander attempted to capture his whole milieu of his social world.

A lot of the time, my “interviews” are a comfortable balance between the new media art and more traditional works on paper. I see these portraits as evidence of a relationship which is created through a deliberate or chance meeting through Facebook or the internet. I feel that having close relationships with people need to be mirrored within a new paradigm where our fast-paced lifestyles force us to meet new people in novel ways.

It is ironic that the formal structure of the media “interview” is the most effective method for my attempt to capture and describe the essence of our humanity that is overlooked all too often within the contemporary art world where magazines like “Art + Auction” are focused on the artist as a branded product or the gallery as a supermarket of works.

In the future, I am hoping to create an index examining these relationships among the characters using flowchart drawings on drafting paper, similar to the way that Mark Lombardi attempted to connect entities within his own intellectual galaxy of information. I inject humor and wit into delineation of these relationships which often are treated too seriously as a professional connection.

My conceptual art project will result in ongoing volumes each with 50 interviews as an artist’s book, each “interview” converted into limited edition prints, and installations that point out the human connections amongst the personae. I think that each portrait I “photograph” will capture my friends, strangers, celebrities, and respected authorities in a new light that will free the viewer from the slavery of “stereotypes” and “labels” that characterize sociological studies of the contemporary art world.

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Written by qi peng

May 11, 2009 at 10:18 pm

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