Part 4: European, American and Chinese art is that all?

I asked the British-born Chinese artist Gordon Cheung, 37, what he thinks about art and its globalisation.

Many European galleries have tried to set foot in China, especially in Hong Kong. However, the cultural understanding for European art is still missing in China. You are Chinese but you were born here in London. Do you have any difficulties to understand the European culture?

Gordon Cheung: I am represented by galleries in China, London and other galleries in Europe and in the US as well. Art is a very niche area, but I have tried to create art which has a universal meaning. Its colour, its materiality or you could also call it the visual poetry. When talking about art, you have to consider that contemporary art is a Western language. It is a Western product, as it merges, other cultures will develop their own version of it.

Have you ever had any difficulties in understanding the European culture or other types of art?

Gordon Cheung: The only difficulties to understand art from different countries was after the Royal College.  I was recommended by a public art space to go to Pakistan. There was a high-tension time, but I went and it was the most amazing time ever. Also, the artists I met during my stay where completely aware of artists from the Middle East, Far East, India, America and Europe. If I were to ask students at my university, could you name me any Pakistani artists, they would have not known any, because our education was focused on America and European art. The art market is so strong there and the same artists are shown again and again. Only now,  people are slowly becoming more and more aware of other artists and this has only changed, because China has become what people foresee as the economic power in terms of money. I mean it makes business sense to look at other art now. (Laughing)

Are you friends with artists in China?

Not yet not. (Laughing) I am friends with artists from all over the world. I mean, London is such a multicultural place.

What do you think about American art?

I think it is brilliant. Contemporary art is the historical intervention of America and a way of how they have documented their history.

And in comparison to European Art?

Looking for art I feel has a lot of creative spirit around it and how much risk the artist is taking. These are the kind of artists I am interested in, regardless whether they come from.

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