A spread from a printed book with hand-applied ink calligraphy in the margins.

Photograph courtesy of the artist

Photograph courtesy of the artist

Dreaming With: Sun Xun

In the lead up to the opening of Part 2 of the Triennial, our Dreaming With Q&A series provides an exclusive glimpse into the artists’ lives and studios.

Where have you spent your time during the pandemic?
I stayed with my family in a very beautiful southern city [in China]. Earlier in the spring I went back to Beijing and worked with my team day by day…

A group of people are gathered together while two of them are cooking food. Three others look at their phones.

Photograph courtesy of the artist

What books, music, movies, or podcasts have inspired you recently?
I read some philosophy books, including on the Buddha, Chinese history, and some western philosophers. They taught me how to make art. I also traveled to some great places.

A couple dozen stone figureative sculptures are arranged on on tiers cut into a rock wall. Most appear to be religious in nature

Photograph courtesy of the artist

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on my first feature film. It’s a big job.

A grid of twenty-four rectangular drawings. Among them are a horse, bird, and whale drawn in black and white. There are colorful drawings of underwater scenes as well as a calligraphic work.

Photograph courtesy of the artist

What artist or work of art has most recently had an impact on you?
Actually, I did gain more interest in Chinese calligraphy. Lots of past masters have helped me to understand art, even life. Art and life are the same thing sometimes.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Several [group] exhibitions and two solo exhibitions. [I have] an upcoming solo exhibition at a Vancouver art museum in the next month. Another one will be in Shanghai in the middle of 2021. It’s going to be a very magical situation in 2021.

A large drawing is spread across the floor of a studio. It is several feet long and features a figure standing in front of waves. A few people appear at work around the drawing.

Photograph courtesy of the artist

What do you want viewers to take away from experiencing your work in the Triennial?
I hope people think about what they should trust. Sometimes we forget the most important things and we lose the way. For example, people trust GOD or trust the CHURCH? God is truth and the Church is a way to look for truth. We trust democracy and freedom, but why do we trust? Are democracy and freedom destinations or a way to somewhere? Democracy and freedom are like two beautiful cups. But what we put in them is the important thing. The cup is not a cup anymore if we put nothing in it. Or if we put some nauseating fluid in the beautiful cup, is the beautiful cup still beautiful? Whatever the case, we should not lose our nimble wit. People need real thinking and not just some lexicon. Lexicon is a LIAR! 

A black and white horizontal drawing of several skulls that seem to be tumbling across the ground.

Photograph courtesy of the artist

Are there any fun facts about your practice or your work in the Triennial that you would like to share with readers?
Look at the world! Everything before your eyes. Did you see? Please jump out of the body and think with GOD together. You will know: WHAT IS THE WORLD? 

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Sun Xun

On View: Part 1