Interview with Mr. C.C. Wang

This interview was conducted by eChinaArt.com President Gan Yu and assistant Dave Zhou at Mr. C. C. Wang's home in New York City on August 20, 2000.

Following contains selected questions from the interview with Mr. C. C. Wang along with his daughter Y. K. Wang.

Question: Mr. Wang, what is your view on the reform in traditional Chinese painting?

Wang: In any genre, most artists would 'sing the same old tune' (tune referring to Chinese opera), and the more the old tune played, the less the people are willing to hear it. The general public has a high tolerance for accepting something new. Many artists in China refuse to release the grasp on tradition that constrains them from developing. As for me, I like to 'sing new tunes'. I have to create a style of my own, where I can say "that's me".
When you mention Chinese opera, how do you associate performing arts with Chinese painting?

Wang: I believe visual arts and performing art have many similarities. Western art can be described as drama and Chinese painting as opera. In Chinese painting, the rhythm is stronger and layering is more complex. I said layer, by that I meant the visual composition, space, line and the voice of the brushwork which the rhythm and motion is expressed.

Question: How much have the 50's - 60's movements of Abstract Expressionism of the New York School influenced you?

Wang: I never stop searching for new ideas. I detest [copying] other ideas, as I have said before, 'singing old tune'. I prefer to create 'new tunes'. When I arrived in New York in the 60's, Abstract Expressionism was the new movement at that time. I am always fascinated with Abstract Expressionism for its ideas. I have experimented with these ideas. I was able to find similarity between Chinese painting and Abstract Expressionism.

Question: What are your most recent works?

Wang: I mainly paint calligraphy and sometimes, I will paint landscape. Although at my age, I have not been painting in large quantities and the sizes of my paintings are smaller.

Question: Mr. Wang , do you paint every day?

Wang: Yes, every morning I wake up to write for several hours. Some days, I would have some of my old students come to my studio to paint, and occasionally I will paint with them.

Yu, Gan: Thank you very much for Mr. C.C. Wang's support. It's is very inspirational. I also would like to specially thank Y. K. Wang and Zhou Gen Bao for their time and contributions to this interview.


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