Text by Irina Rusinovich
How has your experience of living and working in Berlin influenced your artwork?
I have lived in remote villages and also in international metropolises with diverse cultural backgrounds. Berlin was a city I chose after conducting a rough investigation following my graduation from an art university. Berlin is international, with a rich artistic atmosphere and a relatively inclusive culture. As long as one desires it, puts in effort, and has a bit of luck, one can come into contact with various people and experiences on different levels. This is crucial for my artistic work. I aspire for the expression in my artwork to be diverse, inclusive, and expansive.
All of my past experiences seem to have led up to this moment. I have accumulated a plethora of fascinating artistic materials, and now I plan to slowly digest and comprehend them, expressing them in appropriate artistic ways.
© Maximilian Gödecke 2023
What role does your Chinese heritage play in your creative process?
Having a Chinese cultural background and exposure to Western culture, I have been fortunate enough to experience both. Additionally, due to my strong curiosity and eagerness to explore and genuinely understand new things, I have developed a unique perspective in how I perceive things and create artworks.
Are there any particular artists or movements that have inspired your work?
Yes, all of my growth experiences, significant events in my life, the people I’ve encountered, the books I’ve read, and the artworks by artists I admire have influenced my thoughts to some extent, which in turn affects my artistic creation. The artist who has had the greatest impact on me is Rumiko Takahashi, a Japanese manga artist. I started reading manga in elementary school and delved into various genres. Takahashi’s ‚Mermaid Saga‘ series had a profound impact on me as a young child. I was instantly captivated by her deep and beautiful artistic expression. She has created many works in different styles, but this particular series left the deepest impression on me.
What message or emotion do you aim to convey in your artwork?
My artworks are a reflection of myself, my experiences, my thoughts, and my language. I create these artworks because I need to express myself. As a social creature, human beings are currently the only known intelligent beings capable of introspection and self-restraint, constantly grappling with loneliness, confusion, and skepticism about everything. My artistic creations serve as signals that I send out, hoping to find curious individuals who are willing to read and understand me, to listen and engage in mutual warmth and communication. Alternatively, in a different time and space unknown to me, I hope to offer a warm signal to a similar presence, providing solace and making it feel less alone.
© Maximilian Gödecke 2023
How does your art address cultural differences between China and Germany?
At first glance, Chinese culture and German culture may appear to have many differences, but in my eyes, the human pursuit of knowledge and profound intellectual wisdom are remarkably similar. The significant surface differences arise due to various constraints encountered. The direct exposure to these two cultures has accelerated the integration of my understanding of culture, humanity, and the world. This allows my artistic expression to extend more effectively in my artwork.
What challenges have you faced as an artist living in a foreign country?
For myself, it’s not a problem because I enjoy new experiences and am eager to learn, which can be achieved in any country. Conversely, for many traditional native Germans, the presence of ‚foreign immigrants‘ or ‚Asian women‘ may pose more challenges. However, for me, it’s the same in any country or location because I naturally embrace and enjoy the diversity of different experiences. Sometimes, I even deliberately provoke a more conservative traditional atmosphere.
What advice would you give to aspiring artists who are looking to follow in your footsteps?
Firstly, I do not recommend anyone to follow in anyone else’s footsteps. Always maintain a skeptical mindset and explore yourself and the world with curiosity.
ABOUT Yan Jun White
email@example.com • www.yanjunwhite.com
B I O G R A P H Y
I am a painter who studied arts at the Luxun Academy for Fine Arts in Shenyang, China. My paintings are a reflection of my versatility, as I experiment with different techniques to express my inner self. As a resident of Berlin, I am inspired by the vibrant
art scene and constantly strive to push the boundaries of my own artistic expression
1982: born in Shenyang, China, lives and works in Berlin
E D U C A T I O N
2013-2018: Luxun Academy for Fine Arts, Shenyang, China:
Bachelor Studies Fine Arts, majoring in Oil Painting, finished with a Bachelor of Arts 1997-2000: Beihong Art Middle School, Shenyang
A R T P R O J E C T S / E X H I B I T I O N S
May 2023: ‘Pelzige Freunde’, Solo Exhibition, Kiste Berlin Apr 2023: ‘Spring Group Exhibition’ 2023, lite-haus Berlin Mar 2023: ‘In Blue’ Solo Exhibition, Made In Wedding Berlin Dec 2022: Group Exhibition at Aviatrix, Berlin
Nov 2022: Lancini – Kunstgalerie, Berlin
Dec 2021: Own artwork at ‘Neunundneunzig Weihnachtskunstausstellung’ Feb 2021: Participation at exhibition at ‘Galerie Taube’, Berlin
Jan 2019: Participation at exhibition at ‘Galerie Taube’, Berlin Sep 2018: Participation at exhibition at‘Galerie Ducati’, Shenyang
Oct 2017: Participation at the exhibition of the nine most important art academies in China
P R O F E S S I O N A L E X P E R I E N C E
2000-today: Free Artist, art teacher and chinese language teacher
Interview by Irina Rusinovich
Fotos © Maximilian Gödecke 2023