TAN: Do you recognise the so-called new China that everybody is taking about, where changes are taking place at such great speed?
CG-Q: This new China is not changing that fast, and it’s not that serious a problem.
TAN: You are a consummate experimentalist who has combined traditional materials and methods from the east (from the historical and living cultural traditions of both China and Japan) with strategies from western art history. How important are these Chinese traditions for you?
CG-Q: Just like western art is important to westerners, Chinese traditions are important to me. However, while they are my origins and foundation, they are not my main purpose in making contemporary art. The main purpose in making art is to have fun and to redefine the nature of objects. Where are the limits when an object becomes a work of art? Making contemporary art can throw up obstacles but it does not worry me. I am eternally optimistic;
I am Chinese.
[Image: Cai Guo-Qiang’s Inopportune: Stage One, 2004]