• Tessa Valkier

Interview with Reny

Last Monday, our curator Jade had a great conversation with Reny about the topic Urban Semiotics. Reny (born 1994) is a Chinese artist with a background in interior design but has now embraced urban art also known as graffiti.

[Translated from Mandarin]

1. What is the impression of the city and your relationship with a city?

The city in my opinion is a symbolic unit with attributes. The city is the carrier of all human activities; the individual and the space, individual is born from the space, the space serves the individual, at the same time, the individual unit can also be switched to the value unit to serve the urban space.

2. What do you think is the relationship between graffiti and the city?

Graffiti is a very selfish, individualistic and personal expression in the urban space, which has a certain direct destructive effect on the city, and the destruction itself even creates. The city also embraces the existence of graffiti, providing more possibilities for graffiti. When added it could be the rebirth of something new, rebel, or encourage strong expression with so many possibilities and energy injected into a city.

3. What affects your impression of the city?

Different points in time and space have different reactions to different characters or stories, the current mood and what is received affects the impression of the city.

4. Why did you choose graffiti as the medium of expression?

The method of creation is mostly <graffiti>, but in my definition graffiti has to exist in the streets. So this time, it may be an attempt to break away from the familiar tools and mediums of creation. And its in the space where I live, to reconstruct it with a way full of energy and surprise is attitude towards life.

5. This work is called "imagined city", so what are the things of your imagined city have and what does it look like?

The picture I'm curious about and imagining is if the city were to break away from all known fixed forms and de-identify under the city, reducing urban attributes to their weakest, or combining with the dream world.

6. You've participated in neighborhood and communities residencies; do you see it as a way for you to make a connection with the city? How has it touched you?

I think so. What is touching is that if you can bring even a small part of the impact to the created neighborhood through a small personal creation, it will be different from what it was before. As long as there are people who will stay, then I feel that there is a connection and it is real. By graffiti making to make the transformation and connecting people by the work and hearing them talk about it and observe how they feel about it. It is really something significant

7. What is the most emotional city? What's the story?

The most sentimental city would has to be my hometown. Because it holds a lot of memories, it is also the city where you are fortunate enough to be able to participate in the most changes. Because it's a small city, I think of what it was like before him when I go anywhere. "The elementary school has changed its name, this road has been widened, and this shop is still here". You can also hear the old man of the family telling stories of these spaces before again. It's all pretty interesting, but also these changes would make me wonder, the signs keep changing, so what happens if you remove the signs?

8. As this exhibition goes from offline to online in Paris, to present of your work in a distant place what do you think about it and your expectation?

I think in a way, the creative process would be lost, but also it has been given the new meaning, in this digital age, the cyber place could also be a white wall to create and leave my trace.

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