”I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand”
To tell someone you love, why you love her or him, is not easy. Even more difficult is to say for the first time the magic words : I love you ! And it should be difficult. It requires courage because it always includes a risk. To open-up yourself, to be emotional, with the possibility to encounter a rejection. To fail. It is the same thing with action art. The artist does not know before if he or she will succeed. If the people who experience it will like the work, or if it at all will communicate with them. It is a risk.
For an action artists it is about to take risks. To do something that she or he doesn’t know will be a success or a failure. The painter in the studio, the sculptor, the photographer or the video artist can hide or throw their work if it is bad. In action art this is not possible. It is an art form where everything happens in front of us, in real time. And it is not rehearsed like in theater or dance. It is there, live and it is real. It takes courage. Just like love.
When you think about it, art and love have many things in common. Like love, art is completely subjective. The person you love is beautiful to you, but maybe not to others. Which of course has no significance - to you. It is not their love that is important, only yours. Yes, the qualities you find in the person you love will hardly be seen by others. And in this sense art is like love.
Of course, we can all see when someone is attractive, someone who is beautiful according to a standard image of beauty. But there is a difference between visual beauty and the beauty of love. Someone who is handsome is not necessarily beautiful in a profound sense. Beauty is something which we feel, and it does not only include a visual aspect. But much much more. It comes from within. Small things that one discover with time, through experience and even imagination. I know many people who are not that visually handsome, who do not possess the standard image of beauty, they can even be visually unattractive. But they can be beautiful because of their humour, intelligence, imagination and sometimes because of their actions.
Everyone can see and remember visual beauty, but beauty of love is so much more. It is about life, about experience, about knowing, understanding, and especially about feeling. It is profound, and not superficial. It is not an image, it is something real. It is human. If love is beautiful in itself, it is because it is something universal, something that everyone have experienced, that everyone knows the feeling of. Furthermore, when you are in love, you usually don’t know why. You can not explain it. In this sense love is similar to action art.
It is this beauty that I search for in art. A beauty that makes me feel more profound, that makes me question myself, the world and my life, that makes me understand things better, and that makes me love others. Making me feel that I still have a body and a mind, that I have emotions, and that I like to share them. An art that is not superficial, that is not simply a surface, that is not only money or fame. That is not only hanging on a wall to look at. I do find this in action art. Of course not in every art work. But when it is good, it can make me tremble, it can make me feel things I can’t explain, make me understand more. Sometimes it can even make me cry. It can touch me without me knowing why. I can only feel it, without having to understand everything. Just like with love.
When we are in love, we don’t ask what it means. We only live it, experience it, feel it. This is also true for action art, you can not always explain what you feel, and you don’t need to. Of course, you can ask yourself questions of why ? What does it mean, why am I in love with this person. What are the qualities in this art work that makes me tremble and think.
Also, just like love art is profoundly equal.Love comes to everyone. It does not make a difference between ordinary people and specialists, academics or peasants, women or men, rich or poor. Like with love, art is there for anyone to live, explore and experience ! Art is something that we can never fully grasp, or get the full meaning of, that questions us, that comforts us, that makes us try to become better humans. Does it sound idealistic ? Well, it probably is. And I am not scared to say that I am an idealist. Because if we lose our ideals, our wishes and our thoughts, our feelings and our dreams, I believe we have lost art and more importantly we have lost ourselves. We have lost love.
What is the function of love ? What is the purpose of art ? I do not want to answer these questions but would like you to think about them as to find your own answer. To explore and feel what these questions really mean for you. You will find your own answer and of course I will find mine. And our different answers are all valid, despite the differences. And these differences are important for ourselves indvidually but also as a collective. Just like in love and in art. Our differences in what we find beautiful is the strength that makes love and art so much more interesting, so much more challenging and influential in our own lives. It is important to let all flowers bloom.
It would be boring if there were no differences in our own appreciation of love or of art. And art or love or life for that matter should not be boring. It should give us something more profound, make us laugh or for that matter think, tremble or engage us in a dialogue with the other.
Guangzhou Live have since its start had the intention to give everyone the possibility to see and experience the work of artists from China and abroad. To give access to the most experimental creation in the field of action art. We do hope that some art works that you will experience and explore at Guangzhou Live will touch you. That you will find a beauty in them. Not only visual, but of every other aspect of humour, intelligence or humanity. Something that speaks to you about your own experiences and maybe even about your own life.
Guangzhou Live wants to show a the diversity of action art, to present different artists who represent different tendencies in contemporary action art. Guangzhou Live also tries to reach out to everyone, to show the liberating aspects that is inherent in action art. Creating a bridge between experimental art and the society at large, with its main intention to present the avant-garde to the people. To make the avant-garde popular.
Guangzhou Live is in this sense not just another art festival, but an example of how an interest in experimental art can be stimulated, and more importantly, sustained, through time and a continuous renewal. As such Guangzhou Live has given birth to a direct and human proximity and exchange between the artists and its audience of villagers, university students, art students, children, mothers, elderly as well as blue and white collar workers. Guangzhou Live wants to reach out with art to everyone, and we do take it serious. It is one of the festivals foundations.
It is also, if anything where Guangzhou Live makes a difference, and is different in an innovating way. We do not separate people in categories, we do not wish to have an audience exclusively with an academic background. No we want to reach out to everyone, to the people. And it is important to us. Because no one understands art better than any other. Everybody can understand and feel, think and imagine. Just as we all can love. Love and art are eternal. Art and love can make a difference in our lives.