Big Tail Elephants: Liang Juhui, Xu Tan, Chen Shaoxiong, and Me
This discussion was moderated and recorded by Lin Yilin in 1993. The Chinese transcript can be read here. The English translation is by Lina Dann; the footnotes have been provided by Lina Dann, Yu-Chieh Li, and Sarah McFadden.
Big Tail Elephant Group was founded at the end of 1990. It held two large-scale exhibitions in Guangzhou—one in January 1991, and the other in October 1992. In July 1993, Big Tail Elephants held a conference that was limited to the four members of the group, and so I took on the job of moderating the discussion. Our main topics included the characteristics and directions of Big Tail Elephant Group, the group’s cultural background, and the artistic concepts and works of its members.
Lin Yilin: Xu Tan, your artistic style is already fairly mature, and your works are hardly unfamiliar to your peers in China. An artist such as yourself could simply go on following his original path. What convinced you to join Big Tail Elephant Group?
Xu Tan: Although I’m new to the group, I have collaborated with its members for quite some time. I think Big Tail Elephants has a unique trait, one that I believe is found valuable everywhere in the world. In this group, every artist's individual creation is encouraged and supported, and you can feel the liveliness of creativity; it is a place of freedom, such that our collaboration generates a force—a lasting potential. The openness of our working structure is the source of our confidence in the future.
Liang Juhui: Besides what you just mentioned, is there anything else about Big Tail Elephants that appeals