An email exchange happens between November and December 2009-12-13
Beijing artist: WANG Qingsong (WQS)
Nordic artist: (Michel Heuvel) ATM-art
MH: Being Nordic, it is very difficult as I worked in France, South Africa , Australia, the US and China. The clothing I wear is made in China and Africa, the paint I use is called Marie oil color, and is produced in Shanghai China. The coffee I drink in liters every morning before@starting to paint is from the highlands in Brazil, and the cheese on my bread I have for breakfast is from Holland. I listen to Grande Exitos, from the Dominican republic. The artist I respect most is from China, and so is my wife. The landmines I removed were in Afghanistan, Angola and all the other places where Nordic people do not go on holiday. The air I breath is polluted in the USA and eastern Europe
WQS: I am Chinese, born in north Heilongjiang Province, grew up in southern Hubei Province, and now live in Beijing. I should say my childhood was spent in South China but my adulthood is mostly lived in Beijing. I longed to be a hero in the oil field but fate designates me to be an artist. I love the old southern town, with delicate terraces, pavilions and rivers. In north China, I miss the warm climate, hazy days, and lots of delicious foodc. But only in Beijing, I can pursue my art career with hope since it is a rich city full of all cultures, all confrontations, and all issues for concern. But I cherish opportunities to visit South China, for example, I like to go to Shanghai and Guangzhou for the cosmopolitan atmosphere and art biennale and fairs. I like Chinese traditional silk and bamboo music, but I also endear western rock-n-roll music. I am touched by the documentary of Michael Jackson gThis is ith.
MH: But of course I am Nordic, in my heart and in my bones I am 100 % Nordic, being Nordic is having lots of options, that I never use but it makes me sleep very well at night.
I can go to the hospital for free, not that I ever do that, but I can.
I will never have to be hungry, not that I am hungry, but if I was the state will give me food
I can enjoy the northern light, not that I ever see it due to pollution.
WQS: I am a Chinese though I claim myself more a Beijinger than a southerner. Being an outsider, without Beijing local residenceship, I must work harder to make more money for life expenses. My sons have to submit more tuition fees. I dont have hospital free service. Everything in Beijing is more expensive for outsiders than Beijing locals. Here in Beijing, as long as you have lots of money, you enjoy certain liberty, respect and honor. It is a dirty fact of life. When I was young living in Yuan Ming Yuan artist village, I was starving though full of expectations. Now I live in an open large studio, sometimes I get lost in where the future for my art extends.
MH: I have the freedom of speech, but nobody will listen to me.
I have the freedom to paint what I want, but nobody will see my paintings.
I can teach my son Nordic traditions, but he will prefer to watch TV.
I can call my brother 5 times every day, but call him once a year as we have little to talk about.
The state will take care of my parents pension, but I would prefer that they would live with me.
WQS: I have the freedom of speech, but only speaking to close friends indoors.
I have the freedom to photograph what I want, but never across that cordon line of pornography and political sarcasm. In Beijing, I enjoy creating artworks in certain degree of freedom. I can invite over 200 nude models to shoot gRomantiqueh. There is never 100% freedom to enjoy. I teach my sons pool and gogo chess. They love both Chinese traditions and foreign gadgets.
I help my brothers and sisters and they also help me back. We are a family.