Le Journal Interviews

Qiu Jie Interview

Qiu Jie Interview

What is your work influenced by? How has your work evolved, and where do you think it will go next? What about the political element?

Qiu Jie: I am a romantic, nostalgic and pictorial artist, not a conceptual artist. Firstly, in my pictures, I always search for the beauty of the conversation, the colour, and the brightness. For me, the image of the political can be changed often to attract people. I experienced the Chinese Cultural Revolution, then I lived in Europe for 25 years.

Therefore, naturally in my work, there is something like political background. In Europe, we have free thinking and liberty, but it is more difficult to earn money than being an artist in China. So, as an artist, it is always very hard to live. Maybe this kind of difficulty is important for an artist to evolve.

Qiu Jie
Qiu Jie, Fille au parasol, 2015 (detail)

Is it true your works take a long time to complete?  Does this intimidate you when you first start? Do you have the scale of the project in mind when you first envision it?

QJ: For the big pictures, it is normally completed between 4 months to a year. From the beginning, I just have some ideas for the whole subject and it evolves each time when I work on the picture. Sometime I will pause my drawing and wait until I have the further ideas or inspiration. So, I can start several pictures in the same time, it is very important to pause for a while, just like we have to give time for maturing wine and the whisky!

You use humour to frame the political content in many of your works, how do you think this impacts the viewer’s experience and understanding of your work? How important is this, particularly given our current global political situation?

QJ: My pictures are not meant to excite the global political situation. But people are free to read and understand my work and come up with different interpretations and meanings. And sometime, they can think of something which I have never thought.

Cat faces appear frequently in the work, why is this? What is the reference/meaning?

QJ: In Chinese, cat is called “Mao”, which is the pronunciation with the Chairman Mao. This is a joke ever appeared in my work. I don’t know it is good or not, but it is just for fun.

What’s next for you in 2017? Do you have an exhibition coming up?

QJ: For the moment, I am working on my Chinese painting and I will have an exhibition in April 2018 in Geneva.