Sculptor Qu Guangci Puts The ‘Q’ In X + Q
Prominent Chinese sculpture artist Qu Guangci, whose high-profile fans include Cartier, Elton John and Lane Crawford, came to London last week to showcase his latest business venture X + Q (稀奇). Over his career, Qu’s solo work has sold for jaw-dropping amounts at auction, yet for X + Q the artist has taken the brave step to work with his wife on a collective design project. Going against the ever-increasing prices for works of contemporary Chinese art, the stated aim of X + Q is to create handcrafted limited-edition pieces available to everyone — without the need to get a second mortgage on their house. “Art should be a gift that people can share,” Qu says. “You don’t need an auction house to buy these pieces, just a home in which to display them.”
Recently, Jing Daily caught up with the Beijing creative and half of X +Q during his international debut at London Design Week.
Jing Daily (JD): For those who have not yet heard of you, what is X + Q all about?
Qu Guangci (QG): The name X + Q comes from the first letter of my name and the first of my wife’s (Xiang Jing). We are established artists in the Chinese contemporary art world and we wanted [to create] a public art project that puts art on a commercial and business platform. Making sculpture pieces that can be enjoyed by a larger group of people and, more importantly, shared as a gift. I wouldn’t say this is simple art. Each piece has a story of modern China behind it and we want to see people share that story.
JD: Some would say you’re a brave man to work with your wife.
QG: (Laughs) They would be right, but neither of us wants to lead an ordinary life. This ironically gives us more freedom, as we lead very independent lives both artistically and spiritually, which you can see in our work. We create separate pieces and place it into the X + Q project. You can tell from the pieces that we are incredibly individualistic artists. We don’t get involved in each other’s work.
JD: How do you manage to balance the potentially dangerous mix of business and pleasure?
QG: We close the door when we are creating and working. Artistically speaking, there is no fighting or even discussion. My art is hard to communicate, so it is all very separate. When it comes to the business aspects I take the reins, and if [Xiang Jing] agrees she collaborates and if she doesn’t, she doesn’t get involved.
JD: Your pieces are works of collectable modern pop art. Where do you draw inspiration from?
QG: From life. Part of a conversation, a line from a movie, something I see when I walk down the street. I have a piece which was directly inspired from the movie Harry Potter and his magic carpet. There is also a movie called Born Invincible where a man is invincible but incredibly lonely, and I connected with that.
JD: Why do you think the popularity of Asian art is growing so much in the West?
QG: The East and West are like two different worlds, and they see the world from completely different perspectives — the art reflects that. The result of globalization in every field of the world and approaches to the artistic language are being diluted and therefore [the two are] becoming increasingly similar. I don’t like this. I don’t want to see this. It is the differences that make our world beautiful and cultural clashes make art interesting and unique. We need to communicate that it’s the artistic differences that are the most precious things in art and in this world.
JD: What is next for you and X +Q?
QG: For me, a small private gallery of my own so I can continue to work with different artists and projects and showcase [my] collaborations. For X+Q, international development with stores in New York, Italy, China and London.
Spiritually the goal is to keep being creative and finding an outlet for that. I can plan all I like, but it’s the surprises that are hiding around the corner that make life truly colorful.
Alexa Beatriz is a London-based Economics graduate and independent journalist from Spain. In addition to being the UK correspondent for AnyWearStyle.com, Beatriz is the blogger behind www.thebeatrizpotter.