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Sculptor Per Hüttner Talks about His New Show at Zendai

Swedish artist and curator [Per Hüttner's](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/events/78277/) sculptures, all of which are inspired by his favorite writers, are being shown at [Zendai Contemporary Art Exhibition Hall](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/listings/art/has/zendai-contemporary-art-exhibition-hall/), now through January 16th.

What brought you to Shanghai?
I have had a very long love relationship with China. It started when I came here in 2003. As a matter of fact, it was both strange and magical. I was based in Los Angeles at the time, so I came from California and I had this image in my head of China being very exotic and very different, but when I got here, I felt strangely at home. I have this recurring notion when I am in China that I must have been Chinese in my last life. I obviously feel like a foreigner there. I look different and cannot speak the language. But I remember vividly leaving the airport in Xiamen and entering the city. There was nothing strange or exotic at all about what I saw, smelled or heard. It was just very natural and that feeling has always stayed with me on all my visits to China, a sense of calm and almost feeling of serenity in all the surrounding chaos.

Shanghai is very special to me. I have made a series of collaborations both with Li Xiaofei and Zendai over the years, so it is a little bit like coming home. I am a man who has no home and so many homes in the world!

Tell us about your work that's currently on display at Zendai.
I have a passionate love of everything that is unknown, inspiring and thought provoking and the only thing that stops us from experiencing reality in new ways are the limitations in our minds. The exhibition traces ways of perceiving the world that surrounds us in different ways. I draw from my two favorite philosophers Zhuang Zi and Henri Bergson. There are very profound similarities between the two, even though they are separated by 2500 years and half the globe and the former’s writing remains a constant inspiration to me – something which is recurring in the publication that comes with the show.

So the four videos are embedded into a sculptural installation which is both like a spiders web and a museological presentation of powerful and yet mundane objects. It is very beautiful and it has been such an amazing putting together this show.

In three words, what inspires you?
Passion, curiosity and change

How does your home country play into your work, if at all?
My work is centered around my ongoing process of renegotiating on Sweden, Swedish culture and being Swedish. It is a small country and the underlying tension in my work comes from a sense of belonging and not belonging. It is a relationship that is conflictual (and I mean that in a very positive sense) and I am prouder and prouder every day about where I come from and the relationship is getting more productive. But it has taken me 25 years to get to that point.

How do you see the art scene in Shanghai?
It is very contradictory, because most exciting Chinese that I have seen has been in Europe and the US. But Shanghai is catching up quickly. Zendai has always had a very strong program and Rock Bund is very exciting and the gallery scene is getting more impressive every day. So, there is a great future for art in Shanghai. Let’s hope that Himalaya grows into a real centre for visual art in Shanghai.

What's hanging above your couch?
I had an intern from Hong Kong a few years back and she said that coming into my flat was to come into an iPod. My walls are all white and not a single art piece or other image can be found on any wall. I guess it is like all my musician friends who never listen to music when they are not working.

However, leaning against a mirror in my living room, I do have a small painting by Liu Ying from Guangzhou (she opens a show at the observation society in GZ at the same time as I do) of a blood thirsty nurse. I guess she and I agree on liking white pristine surroundings with a taste for blood ;-)


Where: Zendai Contemporary Art Exhibition Hall, Bldg. 101, No. 1436 Jungong Lu, 杨浦区军工路1436号101幢, Tel: 3521-0988

When: Now 'til January 16



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