The artist Gao Bo talks about himself on the eve of his exhibition in Florence
The beginnings, the works and the total conception of art and works of the artist
When did you become interested in art?
When I was 7 - 8 years old, I began drawing on walls and floors using chalk sticks and red bricks. Thinking back today, I realize that I began creating street art at a pretty young age. To pursue my inclination I studied fine arts and music, but in China it was all very academic. I understood the real path I wanted to take only when I arrived in France in 1990. I started from zero in Europe, but my work as an artist found its identity.
Your works are defined as total artworks, where photography, painting, writing, videos and performance merge. Tell us about the origin and reason for this choice.
It comes partly from music, I love opera, which Richard Wagner conceived as a total artwork. At the same time, the more I work, the more I want to express myself, and I realize that every language has its limits. I can photograph a pebble, but I’ll never capture its weight. So I take a pebble and print a photograph on it and the weight becomes present. Performance helps the artist to go beyond his own art, he himself becomes part of his artwork.
You have an exhibition this summer at the new IN’EI gallery in Florence. What works will we see?
I wanted to present three works: Mandala Offerings, which are large-scale Tibetan portraits, Disappearing Figure and an installation on the notion of value in collaboration with the artist Aron Demetz.
How do you know Florence? Which is your favourite place?
I don’t know Florence well yet, but I can’t wait to spend some time in the city for my exhibition. For now, my favourite place is the impressive room full of Renaissance paintings in the IN’EI gallery.