Sun Xun Finds It Impossible to Be a Foreigner In New York

What happens when a gallery is turned into a theater space?

In December, we shared part one of a two-pronged video interview with Sun Xun in conjunction with his show “The Time Vivariumat Sean Kelly Gallery (see Sun Xun Taps Into History and Politics at Sean Kelly). “The Time Vivarium is a show in two parts that has spanned as many months. For the first installment, Xun and his assistants were in residency at the gallery completing new works before the eyes of visitors, who were encouraged to ask questions and interact with the artist.

The works made during this residency, as well as those completed in the six months prior, have been transformed into a film sequentially. For the second phase of the exhibition, the gallery has been turned into a theater space where the film is displayed. Xun’s colorful, dramatic paintings depict China’s past and present, drawing heavily on his father’s stories of the cultural revolution.

In this exclusive interview, the artist discusses topics like the impossibility of being a foreigner in New York (“New York is a city with no foreigners, because people are from different cultural backgrounds”), how Chinese culture is perceived in Western society (“Our perceptions of other cultures come from our interpretations based on our own civilizations and habits, and we live with those imaginations”), and the challenges being a multimedia artist (“The painting is against the motion. Motion doesn’t like painting.”)

Video filmed by artnet News director of digital media Aaron Sherman. 

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