Qui Shihua – Interview with Artist

St.Moritz Art Masters Winter Exhibition – February 08 – 24, 2013: Interview with Qui Shihua, Artist of the exhibiton “White Landscapes”


1. On your long search to inner freedom you seems to have found it trough the taoism. How did you get to this point? And can you describe us your way to get there?
In general, when a person finds himself cornered in a hopeless situation in life, society or work, they rise above it to find inner peace. Actually, I have been interested in Taoism for a long time, which has nothing to do with my painting, but comes directly from life. At that time, I had no work, and I didn’t want to look for a new job, so I locked myself in at home. It was a long and gradual process, during which I discovered important things about painting. In fact, painting naturally became a part of it. It took me a long time to realize this in my work, but in fact it started a long time ago.

2. Is the formalistic execution of your landscapes the ultimate form you would see your work being executed or could we expect an other level in the future?
I am not sure. It changes according to my state of mind. I believe it is endless, but I don’t know exactly how the formalistic execution will change in the future. In fact, it is always changing, but perhaps the audience does not notice this. Only certain people who have followed my work for a long period of time and have a deeper understanding of myself will be aware of these changes. Without searching for change, my work is always in a state of change. I am sure that in the future, my paintings will reach a new level. I have never stopped going forward.

3. How would you see yourself and your work in the breathtaking development of the Chinese art and culture in the last 15 years?
China’s environment and social context are my resources, which have both pros and cons. Sometimes I am not sure myself. I don’t feel anything special about my paintings, just that I have done my job. The Chinese context might not influence me directly, but I am sure that it has inspired me and changed my perspective on things. My most recent paintings are very different to the paintings that I made in the past – they are always changing. For me, painting is a process of meditation – there is no way to differentiate between the painting and myself, which together form a whole. Through the artistic practice of painting, I react to myself, and react to the painting. I establish an interactive relationship between the painting and myself.

4. Being brought up and educated in a more socialistic society it doesn’t show nowadays any of that influences. Would you say that you are totally free from that influence?
In general, all of the schools have influenced my work. I have not consciously tried to break free from them. From the beginning – when I started painting – to the present day, I have always studied all painting styles and tried to be neutral in my stance towards the different schools – everything has happened naturally.

5. What do the mountains and the winter landscapes mean to you? Especially here in the winter landscape of the Engadin?
Mountains and the landscapes are myself, and vice versa. There is no distinction between the other and the self, neither between objects and people.

Beiing, January 25, 2013

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