TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang
What if fashion is no longer an adjective used to describe an individual, but a way of life? What if an elegant gentleman is no longer the knight on a white horse, but a racer on the tracks? For our September issue, we are honored to invite Sphinx Ting to do our cover shoot at McLaren Taipei and to have a chat about the journey of how he went from being an actor to becoming a curator.
創作展覽的時候，丁春誠說他就是個瘋子，短短不到兩年的時間，從ONE ART TAIPEI、疫情退散 COVID19DAILY 公共藝術計畫、BREAK THE BARRIER 塗鴉藝術展到四月份剛結束的自說對話藝術展，會發現它們都有一個共同點：關注時代的社會脈絡與議題、跳脫傳統藝廊的框架、將藝術療癒被廣泛的探討，而他說如果可以，他可以做的更多。
在對話的過程中，你會不斷聽到他強調「藝術策展的本質就是分享。」他一直努力在做自己喜歡的事情，達成自己的目標，如今他希望運用公共藝術計畫的形式，跟大家建立一個對談。「藝術創作必須要有實驗性，才能建構出有靈魂的作品。」當創作方式越多元，跳脫傳統藝廊策展形式，觀賞更多與AR、VR科技結合的藝術沈浸式體驗的作品，這是我們可以期待的。講起Rene Magritte比利時超現實主義畫家可以說是影響丁春誠很深的一位藝術家，或許兒時那段課本裡的邂逅，就埋下了他走上藝術領域的因子，如果可以穿越回歷史古代與Rene交流，丁春誠說參觀Rene的工作室或是跟他喝一杯是一項不錯的選擇，最後臨走前再跟他說上一句：「by the way我跟你同一天生日。」
Sensitive, thoughtful and independent, Sphinx was never conformed or changed by the world. Trying to live an unrestrained lifestyle, he spent a lot of time last year working with his engineering team as he tried to examine art from an ordinary perspective. Even on the day of our cover shoot, Spinx still paid his visit to the construction site to make sure everything was running smoothly before arriving at McLaren Taipei. This is the exact kind of pure and regular life experience he is enjoying right now.
“I like all the different versions of myself because they are what created a complete Sphinx Ting.”
To most people, thirty is an age where they feel unsure about their future, family and career path. However, Sphinx finds thirty to be his best moment. It is when he studied abroad at Beijing Film Academy. Immersed in creative thinking and positivity, Sphinc enjoyed the drive and ambience of Beijing City. He became more productive and kept a regular schedule for creating. Everyday, he took the same seat in front of his computer and completed two feature film scripts in just over a year. Sphinx also worked with different local artists and helped them design and create various art derivatives. His intention was simple: he wanted to step out of his comfort zone and explore the potential of international film and the art industry, in order to find the product of the clashing of culture and perspective.
“My mind is set whenever I start doing something and it doesn’t change unless deviation and obstacles happen. Even so, I try to solve it myself and if there are still doubts, that’s when I consult the wise people around me who have always supported me. They have always been my teachers who offer an objective analysis and guide me to find the answers to my problems.” Sphinx is someone who knows his pace very clearly. After graduation, we enter the real world and experience brand new understandings of life. We become a bigger part of society and begin to construct our own way of interpreting this world. So when he returned to school to study again, Sphinx already had a clear direction and knew what he wanted. When he traveled to London, he wrote a love story that is based on real-life events. Due to his job, he also got the chance to travel. Of all the places, he is drawn towards the rich cultures of Europe and favors Madrid of Spain.
The Perfect Sphinx
Being authentic is a necessity for performers. Returning to the aspect of living, Sphinx is just someone who is enjoying his life. After removing the glamours of being an actor, he finds himself more capable of accepting the most authentic version of himself. After reading the book What Every Body is Saying, written by an ex-FBI agent, he understands how body language can help improve his performance. “When you are reading a line that you don’t agree with, but you still need to portray a reaction that fits with your character, that’s when you need the proper body language to help you find the right portrayal. For me, this is the biggest difference between being an actor and a curator.”
From his social media, you will find that he spends most of his time with himself and nature. As someone who enjoys solitude, Sphinx finds that there is a beauty to solo travel. But there is also another part of himself that is the exact opposite. “During exhibitions, I have a hard time falling asleep and I’m always extra-excited.” He is still drawn towards the spark of human connection and remains curious and inspired by social communications.
When asked if he is able to accept his imperfections, Sphinx admits that he has a lot of flaws. For example, he always sets the same strict standards for himself for the people he cares about. However, recently, he has begun to understand that each individual is different and realizes that the definition of success varies from person to person. He wishes that he can remain un-conformed by society and to acutely understand the changes of his perceptions. “I am more than grateful that I was born into a healthy, complete family. I chose not to partake in our family business and focus my time on my creative career. Maybe someday I’ll finally reach a mentality that is relatively perfect.”
Celebration of Art
When it comes to exhibitions, Sphinx says he is like a mad man. In less than two years, from ONE ART TAIPEI, the COVID19 DAILY art program, BREAK THE BARRIER, to the exhibition on self-conversation that was held in April, they all have the same commonalities. They all focus on social issues, break the conventions of art galleries and explore the benefits of art therapy. Sphinx says if he could, he would do more.
Art is never just art. Sphinx realizes art can also be combined with different fields of professions. Let’s say medicine, why not apply some basic psychology into a certain part of the exhibition? This is one of Sphinx’s expertises, which also allows him to gather data and feedback for each exhibition. He wants his exhibitions to be approachable, so that the viewer can create a personal connection with the artwork itself. From his experiences as a curator, you will find that while he is creating these exhibitions, they are also shaping him to become who he is right now. Curation is the extension of Sphinx’s free will. After an array of exhibiting experience that subverts the imagination and having received positive feedback from participants, he has acquired enough energy to produce more creations that will exceed our imaginations. Sphinx reveals that he is now reconstructing the 54-year-old TEKTITE HOUSE and will return in the fourth season.
Factors of Romance
Through our conversation, Sphinx continues to emphasize the essence of art curation is sharing. He had always been working on what he likes and reaching his goals. Now, he hopes that through the form of public art projects, he can establish a platform for communication. “Art creations must also be experimental in order to construct works that have souls.” With creative methods diversifying, we can break away from the form of conventional galleries and enjoy immersive experiences through methods like augmented reality and virtual reality. Speaking of artists who had inspired him, Sphinx says it is Belgian surrealist painter, Rene Magritte. Perhaps the encounter with the artist in the textbook when Sphinx was only a kid is what inspired his path of creating art. If he could travel back in time and meet Rene, he would want to visit the painter’s studio or have a drink with him. And before he returns to the present, he also wants to tell Rene, “by the way, we share the same birthday.”
Sphinx is a straightforward person who puts his thoughts into actions immediately. From drawing sketches to crafting, he made a chair and gave it to his father as a gift for Father’s Day. In his mind, life is never a competition. An artist who focuses on experiencing, Sphinx pays attention to the process rather than the results. Towards the end of our interview, we talked about regrets in life. He chuckles and says maybe he should’ve listened to his family and attended the National Collegiate Athletic Association for basketball. Perhaps Sphinx would’ve experienced a completely different life trajectory and become a boy who loves basketball and is passionate about art. Who knows?