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Interview of Susie Luo

China Academy of Art
Parsons School of Design
Sculpture and Painting

Sussie Luo was born in Wuhan. Her childhood, marked by multiple surgeries and near-death experiences, deepened her perception of life. Seven years of dance training and ten years of traditional painting experience have heightened her self-awareness, with art illuminating her life during solitary moments. From 2017 to 2021, she studied traditional painting and technology art at the China Academy of Art. From 2022 to 2024, she studied Parsons School of Design, focusing on painting and soft sculpture installation art. Her primary themes revolve around the body, femininity, race, environmental migration, and emotional flux, utilizing stretchable materials such as stockings to create a series of works.
Please introduce yourself and your previous artistic background. Have the source of inspiration changed in your artistic creation trajectory of your continuous artist career?
Just call me Suki (Sussie). I studied at the China Academy of Art and the Parsons School of Design. I studied dance for seven years and painting for twelve years, and I am currently a full-time artist. I am currently a full-time artist, mainly working on soft sculpture and easel painting.

My inspiration, more often than not, I think of it as something drifting, which basically comes from the feelings and collisions of my subjective world with the objective world. It is the result of chance. It may be my photographs, or sometimes my dreams, but they may all be metaphors of my own body (feelings) reacting with the environment.

For example, I have a series of works that use the soft medium of stockings. I think that apart from the femininity of stockings, it is more like a kind of mimicry of epidermal, like the moulting behavior of some insects and the cultural function of masks, in which they put on extra skin layer by layer, which is a remodeling and stretching of their self-image. The ebb and flow of this type of movement often takes me back to when I was a child learning to dance. (Dancing often involves stretching one's body and pushing the boundaries of the self to a certain extent. This stretching of the self seems to me like a sort of rebirth, a new state of being. Dance often brings me into a state of forgetting my surroundings, into a state of oblivion, which I think is also very conducive to focusing on the state of the self itself.) One word ----- “Beautiful pain”, Fragile but powerful.
SusieLuo013.jpg -Nest, Soft Sculpture Installation, panel, pantyhose, nails, 24ΓÇÖ x 24ΓÇÖ
As a multi-media contemporary artist (please allow me to say), do you think your artistic creation has changed? Ás a contemporary artist, what is your mind and concept?
My art creation has had many attempts and studies in the types of media, for me I don't want to be categorized by contemporary or non-contemporary, I just like to do what I want to do, as for the market, I think it will arrive one day, for an artist, an artist just needs to focus on what he/she is passionate about, everything else can be reconsidered later, and time will have the answer. In addition, contemporary artists need to pay attention to the pain and alleviate it at the social level. Contemporary art is like a big laboratory nowadays, everyone is trying hard and occasionally work out some interesting results, but the final definition needs to be left to time, I think.

After I enter this threshold and officially become an artist, I will slowly realize that it cannot be separated from my own experience and situation. Or in a narrower sense, I think most artists' purpose of creation is just to reflect the formation of another kind of self. My works are often in conjunction with my experiences, and I will reflect on what my role is in a sociological sense, whether there is some kind of generality in my thoughts and feelings, and how I express and write about them. I think about my discourse and context.

It's interesting that in my interactions as an artist with different audiences, they are also reflecting back on matters from their own experiences of self. For example, one of my professors of black ethnicity gave the advice that skin color should be diversified, and a white professor would say, “Who doesn't have suffering?” and things like that. I agree with what they said, but I want to emphasize that we are in fact only looking at the world from our own perspectives and through a small hole.
SusieLuo016.jpg -Molting, Soft Sculpture Installation, panel, pantyhose, nails, 35ΓÇÖ x 35
In addition of being an artist, Susie, you are also a dancer. When l review your work, you are like many contemporary artists who advovate tenderness, strangeness and flexibility. In the production proccess of soft sculpture, does the use of silk screen involve your personal experience and artistic concept?
At first I would fall into a state of egolessness when I was dancing, but later I realized that it was very similar to when I was painting, in that the purpose of both was to break through the limits of my own body and space. It is true that dancing is a very hard thing to do, but at the same time I can gain complete control over my body. With each challenge to my subjective consciousness during training, I feel that it opens up my sense of self even more, and during performances I often enter a space of forgetfulness, where I am able to naturally and fluidly blend my emotions and body into the music. In my current art installations, I also focus on rhythm, space, emotion, self-awareness, and tension.
(ps: The use of this material is due to the childhood experience of practicing dance in tight pantyhose lambskin dance shoes. This flexible skin-like material itself possesses an emotional language, which I think has a great deal of room for creative expression.)

This memory of the body has directly influenced me to pay more attention to “their syntax” when I make my works later on. I often think that even though my works are made from a private point of view, when they (the viewers) interact with them in a certain way, they actually go from being viewers to being creators. I'm just making something personal, it can be anything, female or not, and the final interpretation hopefully comes back to the viewer.

SusieLuo012.jpg -Inside, Soft Sculpture Installation, panel, pantyhose, nails, 15ΓÇÖ x 15Γ
Can you briefly talk about your artist's family tree and how are they inspired you?
For myself, I'm not particularly enamored with or viewed as an icon artist as a standard, and I think that viewing others as the only thing makes me somehow limited in myself. Most of the time when I create something, the idea comes from my feelings and intuition, which makes me feel that my work it should be like that the inspiration comes to me more like, all of a sudden. I'm not too offended by the work, the expression of the work has a very personal background, I don't read what I don't understand for the time being, I'll continue to understand what I'm interested in. I think, no matter what kind of big icons, in the personal art world, they are more like some kind of NPC presence, the main thread still has to be the artist's own.
How do you define "installation art"? As a three-dimensional art form, what arethe characteristics and advantages of two-dimensional painting art?
To me, installation art is more like artworks that have gone out of the gallery than traditional art, such as the concept of public art proposed by Beuys. Installation art, or a lot of off-shelf art, puts forward a certain kind of conceptualization, which is a kind of philosophical category, and it can have a more sensory experience, giving the audience a more immersive experience. For example, sounds, smells, etc. In addition, it can also break, set, and even preset the audience's different feelings, which is a very magical thing.
SusieLuo015.jpg -Waving, Soft Sculpture Installation, panel, pantyhose, nails, 81ΓÇÖ x 37Γ
As an artist who has held many exhibitions, what constructive advices do you havefor young artists and the commercial market of art?
First of all, I am also a young artist, it's hard for me to give advice to many people, from my personal feeling, I think artists must care about themselves and society, find the part that touches them, the part that belongs to them, and gradually make themselves comfortable and self-compatible in this process. find yourself, take your seat. From the market point of view, the market does not need too many artists, but it needs enough quality works. If there is not enough motivation, young artists have many other interesting things to try while they are young.
Susie Luo, an artist blending dance and art, explores themes of femininity, race, and emotion through soft sculptures and paintings. Drawing from personal experiences, her work invites viewers to engage deeply, transforming perspectives. Luo emphasizes authenticity, societal engagement, and quality in the art market for emerging artists.
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