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    Lawrence Weiner’s Enlightening Blenheim Palace Intervention

    “Within a Realm of Distance” at Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire is an awe-inspiring new exhibition by the American artist Lawrence Weiner, a central figure in the founding of Conceptual art. Continuing his ongoing engagement with a medium that he describes as “language + the material referred to,” Weiner has integrated a selection of his works throughout the ornately furnished Palace rooms, as well as the monumental exterior of the spectacular 18th century building.

    Conceived by the artist in close collaboration with Blenheim Art Foundation and co-curator Christian Gether, Director, ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, the intervention showcases significant, site-specific works created especially for the Palace as well as works conceived by the artist over the last few decades. Using the building’s historic collections as the framework for his artistic vision, Weiner invites viewers to engage with his work within the context of the rich heritage of the Palace.

    Michael Frahm, Director, Blenheim Art Foundation, describes the experience of “Within a Realm of Distance” as “a journey through a simultaneous reality created within the structure of Blenheim Palace.” According to Frahm, Weiner has “redefined the artist-viewer relationship using language as his primary medium” and “continues to challenge the cultural status quo by exploring propositions about our relationships to objects and places.”

    Blenheim Palace is the home of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The Blenheim Art Foundation was launched in October 2014 by Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill, a dedicated collector of contemporary art, with the aim of establishing a new programme of contemporary art at Blenheim Palace. “Within a Realm of Distance’” is the second exhibition by the Blenheim Art Foundation following the inaugural exhibition “Ai Weiwei at Blenheim Palace” (2014).

    “Within a Realm of Distance” is at Blenheim Palace until December 20, 2015

    LAWRENCE WEINER AT BLENHEIM PALACE

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  • 10/20/15--00:44: Illinois
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    Sneak Peek: What to See at the 2015 Paris Internationale Art Fair

    The inaugural edition of the gallery initiated contemporary art fair Paris Internationale takes up residence within a grand “hôtel particulier” in the heart of Paris between the Arc de Triomphe and Palais de Tokyo at 45 Avenue d'Iéna from October 20 to 25, 2015.

    Paris Internationale 2015 brings together 41 select exhibitors from 14 countries including 34 galleries and 7 non-profit spaces. Exhibitors include 1857 of Oslo, Antoine Levi of Paris, Chapter of New York, Michael Thibault of Los Angeles, and Supplement of London, to name a few.

    The fair will also present an evening of live performances and events curated by Vincent Honoré as well as a daily talk program curated and moderated by the Austrian magazine Spike in conjunction with Fondation d’entreprise Ricard.

    The live program will explore Paris Internationale as a “vector for memories and fantasies” and will consists of a series of uncanny of tableaux vivants and happenings where a “fantasied Paris (from the 70s) haunts the present of an international avant-garde.”

    Taking place on Wednesday October 21 and by invitation only, the live program stars Juliette Blightman, Adam Christensen, Mathilde Fernandez, Renaud Jerez, La Femme, Noé Soulier, Zoe Williams and will feature an on-going soundtrack by a DJ.

    Paris Internationale is an independent non-profit association founded by Alix Dionot-Morani, Marie Lusa, Antoine Lévi, Guillaume Sultana that aims to promote contemporary art through national and international collaborations with artists, curators, non–profits, and project spaces.

    Click the slideshow for a sneak peek at some of the works being presented at Paris Internationale 2015

     

    Exhibitors 2015

    1857, Oslo
    Antoine Levi, Paris
    Bianca D’Alessandro, Copenhagen
    Bodega, New York
    Carlos/Ishikawa, London
    Chapter, New York
    Christian Andersen, Copenhagen
    Clifton Benevento, New York
    Crèvecoeur, Paris
    Croy Nielsen, Berlin
    Deborah Schamoni, Munich
    Emanuel Layr, Vienna
    Emmanuel Hervé, Paris
    Freymond-Guth Fine Arts, Zurich
    Gregor Staiger, Zurich
    High Art, Paris
    Joseph Tang, Paris
    Koppe Astner, Glasgow
    LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina
    Laurel Gitlen, New York
    La Salle de bains, Lyon
    Lulu, Mexico City
    Michael Thibault, Los Angeles
    Paradise Garage, Los Angeles
    Praz-Delavallade, Paris
    Proyectos Monclova, Mexico City
    Room East, New York
    Sabot, Cluj
    Samy Abraham, Paris
    Sandy Brown, Berlin
    Shanaynay, Paris
    Stereo, Warsaw
    Sultana, Paris
    Supplement, London
    Supportico Lopez, Berlin
    Temnikova & Kasela, Tallinn
    Torri, Paris
    Treize, Paris
    Triple V, Paris
    Truth & Consequences, Geneva
    Union Pacific, London

    Paris Internationale

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  • 10/20/15--03:57: Top 5 Dessert Cafes in Kyoto

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    ARTINFO访谈 William Lim: 40年源于东方的设计灵感

     

     

    William Lim的所有作品都与身份这个主题有关。 闻名于他的建筑、公共装置、和艺术,这位香港本土设计师一直在孜孜不倦地探讨他家乡的设计与传统文化之间的紧密联系。 这个月, Lim的作品于ArtistTree 展出。展览将涵盖他 40年的建筑、 装置、和绘画作品,并伴随一系列的讲座与讨论会活动,致力于引发一场关于香港的传统和艺术的更广义的对话。

    这次展览是由William Lim亲自策展, 以下是Blouin ARTINFO向Lim 提出的几个问题。

     

    Blouin: 这次展览背后的理念是什么?

    William Lim: 作为一个在香港生活的中国人,我的身份赐予我的背景和传承一直以来对我的思想起着决定性的影响。 这个展览展示了我的设计作品: 草图、绘画、设计的过程、还有一些我收集的能带给我灵感和启发的东西。

    我想对现在的年轻设计师表达两个想法。 第一,设计是一个漫长的过程。 不要期待在大学毕业后一两年就可以取得重大的突破。创作出能真正代表你的作品是需要更多的时间和学习的。

    第二,我希望他们都能认真去了解、发现他们的文化,并且从中摄取灵感。 设计必须要与它的背景相连。 无论你在哪里创作, 那个地方的社会背景都必须能从你的设计中体现出来。

    我不是让每个人都去了解亚洲艺术,但是如果身在香港,你应该这样做。 你在为谁而设计?设计需要与人们的生活方式相连,因为那确定了人们将如何实用你的设计。

     

    Blouin: 这个展览不仅是关于你的作品。 在标题是Origin of Thoughts 那部分的展品里你收集了一些曾经启发过你的物品。 其中都有些什么?

    William Lim: 都是一些乱七八糟的东西。 我的灵感来源于许多不一样的地方。 比如说香港的环境,那不是一个单纯可以触碰的东西,而是不同东西的混合。 一块很老的石头。一个我在街上捡到的中国传统式的鸟笼教会了我如何用竹子制作模型。还有一些我多年来从中国、日本、泰国收集回来的物件。有一些 Frank Lloyd Wright 设计的东西里你能明显从里面看到日本的影响。还有一些是我自己设计的。

     

    Blouin: 你有许多设计都用到了竹子?

    William Lim: 我认为竹子脚手架是非常能代表香港的东西——世界上没有另一个地方制作脚手架的方式和香港一样。 香港的脚手架只用到尼龙绳,没有钉子。 它的可持续利用性很高。同时这也是一个发扬香港设计的很好的方式。每当我在海外工作的时候我都喜欢用竹子。 我在威尼斯、中国各地都这样做过。竹子是个非常灵活的材料。 我能够轻易地组装和拆卸。

     

    Blouin: 你返回香港之前在美国康奈尔大学学习。 你一直都觉得自己是一个香港的建筑师吗?

    William Lim:  我花了一段时间去适应回到香港后的生活。 我在这里的创作和在美国的是不一样的。 在这里,我要和更有限的空间打交道, 香港更加的商业化, 我们做的每一个设计都会有标价。 一开始我很难适应。人们会说:“噢,你是在为发展商工作,因此你无法设计出好的作品!”

    但是设计是条双向道。 如果我们能做出好的、有力的设计, 它往往在 盈利上也是成功的, 商业模式其实给我更好的机会去做好得设计。

    在香港的建筑师的拥有最有利的条件就是一切都能很快发生。在其他地方,你可能需要等八到十年的时间让你的项目被建成,而在香港只需一两年就可以了。 但这也是一个劣势:你被迫使要想的更快,更有创意,和更灵活。你没有那么多的时间去完善你的设计。还有更苛刻的客户。

     

    Blouin: 你同时也是一位艺术家。 你是如何通过装置和艺术作品来表达你的想法的?

    William Lim:  装置可以是非常直接的和实验性的。 它会让快速地意识到自己的一些想法。 最近我也在做家具设计——一个手推沙发。 这是一个非常具有香港特色的东西, 它能让人们了解香港文化的流动性和灵活性。

    但是我觉得我能更多地把香港元素融合在我的一些相对永久的作品里,比如说酒店设计。我常常与艺术家们合作。 他们去创造能够放在这些建筑设计里的作品。 我认为这些探索让我们能够更好地去传达我们的文化。

     

    William Lim/FUNDAMENTAL: 40年源于东方的设计灵感

    由9月5日展至27日, 在ArtisTree, 香港。

    williamlim-article-cover

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    Lisa Reihana to Represent New Zealand at 2017 Venice Biennale

    The Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa announced Lisa Reihana as New Zealand’s artist for the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 and also announced Rhana Devenport, director of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, as the curator for New Zealand’s presentation.

    Auckland-based Reihana, and artist of Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Hine Ngāi Tū descent, will present her panoramic video “in Pursuit of Venus [infected]” which will feature additional scenes and will be accompanied by a newly commissioned series of photographic works.

    “In Pursuit of Venus [infected]” is an animated re-imagining of French entrepreneur Joseph Dufour’s scenic wallpaper “Les Sauvages De La Mer Pacifique” (1804), a twenty-panel composition of exotic themes that mirrors a widespread fascination with the Pacific voyages of the time.

    Alastair Carruthers, Commissioner for the 2017 Venice Biennale, says “’in Pursuit of Venice [infected]’ has already captured a huge New Zealand audience and international attention with its sensuous reimagining of people, place and time.

    “In Venice 2017 Lisa Reihana will present a further evolution of her vast and beguiling vision, with new accompanying work.  The exhibition will be irresistible,” Carruthers added.

    Eleven high-calibre proposals were received for New Zealand’s presentation at the 2017 Venice Biennale. They were assessed by a Selection Advisory Panel, chaired by Arts Council Chairman, Dr Dick Grant.

    in Pursuit of Venus [infected] (still)

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    Warhol Museum Curator Resigns, Cuban Artist “El Sexto” Set Free, and More

    — Warhol Museum Curator Resigns: Dublin native Bartholomew Ryan has resigned from his post as curator of Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum after less than five months on the job. Ryan, who previously worked at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, did not give a reason for a departure, but did say that he plans to stay in Pittsburgh and to work as an independent curator. The Andy Warhol Museum has launched an international search for a new curator. [Washington Post]

    — Cuban Artist “El Sexto” Set Free: The Cuban street artist Danilo Maldonado (a.k.a. El Sexto) has been set free after 10 months in jail for attempting to release two pigs — with Cuban leaders’ names painted on them — in a public park. Though he was never charged, the artist had been held since December 25 and accused of “disrespect toward government officials”; in Cuba, that’s worth up to three years in prison. Maldonado’s case received less press than the simultaneously detained artist Tania Bruguera’s, but Amnesty International recently took up his cause: “We are very happy to learn that in the end he is being freed,” said Amnesty International’s Robin Guittard. “He’s just an artist who tried to do an art show, to use his legitimate right to freedom of expression. That should never lead people to be sent to prison. That’s a very cold reminder of what’s the situation of freedom of expression today in Cuba.” The artist’s mother, Maria Victoria Machado, added: “A government that doesn’t let itself be criticized starts to lose credibility.” Meanwhile, Maldonado has already been recognized for his work, receiving the Human Rights Foundation’s Vaclav Havel International Prize for Creative Dissent this past April. [WPArtnet]

    — Brugnara Sentenced to Seven Years: After a rollicking trial, art fraudster Luke Brugnara has been sentenced to seven years in prison. The former real estate mogul claimed he was starting an art museum, then refused to pay for the works he had gallerist Rose Long send him to furnish it, including a Joan Miró drawing, a George Luks painting, a series of Picasso etchings, 16 paintings attributed to Willem de Kooning (though their true authorship has since come into question) — and, perhaps most notably, a bronze cast of Edgar Degas’s “Little Dancer,” which remains missing to this day. “I’m a victim. My family is the main victim,” Brugnara said, pointing at assistant U.S. attorney Robin Harris. “Look at her smiling. They wonder why I’m an asshole. They’re taking my tax dollars and using it against me.” (It’s worth noting that 471 days of that sentence were tacked on due to Brugnara’s “frequent tantrums and abusive tirades” in the courtroom.) [Courthouse News]

    — Mystery Basquiat Turns Up in Nashville: An unsigned and undated work by Basquiat, still being touted as “authenticated as original,” is going up for sale for $2 million in Nashville. Seeing as the record for a Basquiat at auction is $48.8 million, this one could be a great deal — if it’s actually authentic. [NYO]

    — Send African Art Home: An op-ed in the Guardian makes an urgent plea for major works of African art currently on view at European institutions, including the Nefertiti bust at the Neues Museum in Berlin, to be returned to their respective countries of origin. The authors suggest a curious solution: repatriate African art without a transfer of ownership, thus allowing Africa to benefit from its cultural patrimony (and to generate profits from tourism), without engaging in complex and lengthy restitution processes. [Guardian]

    — Monuments Men Foundation Closes: Dallas-based Robert Edsel, who spent 14 years preserving the stories of 345 World War II soldiers known as the Monuments Men, who helped to save art from destruction, will close the foundation he started to promote their work. The foundation was closely involved with the “Monuments Men” film and book, which detailed how the group saved more than 5 million works from the Nazis. [Dallas Morning News]

    — Ethiopian-born painter Julie Mehretu sold a painting to raise money for the forthcoming film “Difret,” produced by Angelina Jolie-Pitt, about a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl who is subjected to the longstanding tradition of marriage-by-abduction. The film premieres in New York on October 23. [Vogue]

    — Marianne Boesky Gallery will now represent self-taught Alabama artist Thornton Dial, 87, whose work was recently acquired by the Met. [NYT]

    — A young woman and man have been charged with stealing $6,000 in jewelry from the ICFA Gallery in Palm Beach, after leaving the woman’s name and phone number in the gallery guest book (along with several obscene drawings). [Sun Sentinel]

    Warhol Museum Curator Resigns, Cuban Artist “El Sexto” Set Free

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    Alternate History of Hip-Hop: “The Rap Year Book”

    “The Rap Year Book” is meant to start arguments. Written by Shea Serrano (a staff writer at the sports and culture website Grantland) with illustrations by Arturo Torres, it boasts what seems at first like an undemanding premise: pick the best rap song from every year from 1979 through 2014, and elaborate on the choices. Sounds simple, right? But then you start digging into the details. Take 1994, for example: “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G and “New York State of Mind” by Nas both came out within a few months of each other. How do you choose between the two? Is one really better than the other? Go back a few years, and you’ll find “Fight the Power” by Public Enemy as the best song of 1989. A smart choice, but couldn’t every song Public Enemy released have been the best song of that specific year? You could have filled an entire book with all the best rap songs that came out from 1988 through 1994, vibrant and sonically diverse years for the genre as it was exploding into the mainstream.

    And that’s the point of this book. It’s not trying to be definitive, or to make too strong of a case for each pick. It wants you to disagree, and Serrano wisely acknowledges that his choices will start debates, mentioning other songs he knows others would have picked and including alternate picks at the end of each chapter by other writers (a bevy of young music critics), offering an alternate version of what the “The Rap Year Book” could be in other hands. 

    What makes “The Rap Year Book” special and not just a listicle is that it’s is bursting with information and is often hilarious, going on wild tangents. The 1985 chapter on Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s “La Di Da Di,” the prototypical storytelling rap consists mostly of a story about a date Serrano went on as a junior in high school and how he got tricked into thinking he found a $100 dollar bill; the 2004 chapter on “Still Tippin’” by Mike Jones (an inspired choice) features a lively glossary of Houston slang. Deeply informed but willing to get personal and weird, “The Rap Year Book” deserves to be on the shelf next to “Ego Trip’s Book of Rap Lists,” its clear ancestor and possibly the smartest book about hip-hop ever published.

    In the spirit of the book, and because I was constantly scribbling notes on scraps of paper while reading “The Rap Year Book,” I’ve provided my own alternate list with a playlist below. (Click on each link to find respective song.)

    1979:Funky 4 + 1, “Rappin' and Rockin' the House”

    1980:Tanya Winley, “Vicious Rap”

    1981:Funky 4 + 1, “That's the Joint”

    1982:Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force, “Looking for the Perfect Beat”

    1983:K-Rob vs. Rammelzee, “Beat Bop”

    1984:T La Rock & Jazzy Jay, “It's Yours”

    1985:Schoolly D, “P.S.K.”

    1986:Boogie Down Productions, “South Bronx”

    1987:EPMD, “It's My Thing”

    1988:EPMD, “You Gots to Chill”/ De La Soul, “Jenifa (Taught Me)”

    1989:Slick Rick, “Children's Story”

    1990:Ice Cube, “AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted”

    1991:A Tribe Called Quest, “Check the Rhime”

    1992:Pete Rock & CL Smooth, “T.R.O.Y.”/Dr. Dre, “Deep Cover”

    1993: Wu-Tang Clan, “Protect Ya Neck”

    1994: Nas, “It Ain't Hard to Tell”/Method Man, “Bring the Pain”

    1995: Mobb Deep, “Shook Ones Pt. II”

    1996: Fugees, “Fu-Gee-La”

    1997: The Beatnuts, “Off the Books”

    1998: Cool Breeze, “Watch for the Hook”/Juvenile, “Ha”

    1999: Pharoahe Monch, “Simon Says”/Hot Boys, “We on Fire”

    2000: Three 6 Mafia, “Sippin' on Some Syrup”/Dead Prez, “Hip Hop”

    2001: M.O.P, “Ante Up”

    2002: Royce Da 5’9, “Boom”

    2003: Missy Elliott, “Pass That Dutch”

    2004: Jay-Z, “99 Problems”

    2005: Lil’ Kim, “The Jump Off”

    2006: Lil’ Wayne ft. Birdman, “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy”

    2007: U.G.K, “International Players Anthem”

    2008: Lil’ Wayne, “A Milli”

    2009: Big Boi ft. Gucci Mane, “Shine Blockas”

    2010: Waka Flaka Flame, “Hard in the Paint”

    2011: Jay-Z & Kanye West, “Otis”

    2012: Future, “Same Damn Time”

    2013: Migos, “Versace”

    2014: Vince Staples, “Blue Suede”

    Rap Yearbook

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    VIDEO: Curatorial Walkthrough of the New Broad Art Museum

    Joanne Heyler, the founding director of the Broad Art Museum in Los Angeles, takes ARTINFO through highlights of the museum’s inaugural hang — which includes Chris Burden, Jeff Koons, and Takashi Murakami.

    The Broad Museum Los Angeles

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    Sterling Ruby Mines His Studio and a Sub for Gagosian Paris

    Gagosian Gallery is presenting American artist Sterling Ruby’s first solo exhibitions in Paris at its Rue de Ponthieu and Le Bourget galleries from October 18 to December 19, 2015. Best known for his multifaceted practice, which spans painting, ceramics, collage, video, and photography, textiles, sculpture, and installations, Ruby is one of the world’s most influential contemporary artists.

    Central to the exhibition at Gagosian Le Bourget are the artist’s new “YARD” paintings. The textural, celestial “studioscapes” are executed using rollers and brooms on a canvas laid directly on the studio ground, a process that imprints the characteristics and debris of the floor onto the surface. On the edges of each painting, Ruby has attached fabric, cardboard, and other studio fragments.

    “The studio has become a kind of excavation site for me. Years of accumulated material and work are spread through the buildings, almost like a dumping ground. This setting has taken my work to another level of cycling through materials,” Ruby explains.

    “There is this idea that projects are laid to rest, but over time these things that are always present as material or as remnants are dug up and reassessed, catalysts are created between works from the past and new works.”

    The Gagosian Le Bourget show features a series of new sculptures made from industrial parts sourced in the vicinity of Ruby’s LA Studio, including an American submarine. Resembling bulldozers, drag cars, and plows, the battleship-gray hybrid abstractions are juxtaposed with a series of soft sculptures that resemble overturned lit candlesticks as well as a selection of the artist’s vast bleach-stained black fleece “DEEP FLAG” works.

    Sterling Ruby

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    Hou Hsiao-Hsien On His Wuxia Epic “The Assassin”

    The most beautiful film of the year is undoubtedly “The Assassin,” the latest from Taiwanese master Hou Hsiao-Hsien. Filmed in Japan, central China, and Inner Mongolia, the film highlights the director’s foray into the wuxia genre, telling the Tang Dynasty-set story of Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi), who as a child was forcibly handed over to a nun named Jiaxin (Zhou Yun), who trained her to be an assassin. Now years later, Yinniang, after failing to kill a target on instructions from Jiaxin (she sees the target’s young son and suddenly can’t execute), is sent back to Weibo, where she was born, to kill Lord Tian Ji’an (Chang Chen), the governor who is also her cousin.

    This only begins to explain the many layers to explore in “The Assassin,” which unfolds quietly, even meditatively, despite its atmosphere of violence — it might be the first film to feature an entire fight sequence from across a lake, about as far away as possible, and still have it be more breathtaking than most quick-cut cinematic assaults. It’s a film that requires, even demands, multiple viewings. The first time you watch you might be too awestruck — each frame is as beautifully composed as a classical painting — to fully piece together what is happening.

    While in town for the New York Film Festival, Hou spoke with ARTINFO, via a translator, about the reasons he wanted to make “The Assassin,” his struggle with finding the right backdrop for the film, and his thoughts on continuing to shoot on film.

    What was your interest in the wuixa genre and why did you decide at this point in your career to make a wuxia film?

    I’ve wanted to do a wuxia film for a long time because throughout my life I’ve read a lot of wuxia short stories. But it wasn’t until college that I started to read the Tang Dynasty story that I adapted for “The Assassin.” If I wasn’t going to do it now I was never going to do it. It has been very difficult in the past to shoot wuxia films because of the scenery, and I couldn’t only shoot it in Taiwan. So in order for me to do this film I needed to shoot in China, and in order to shoot a film in China you need to have everything prepared. That’s why it took a long time to get everything organized.

    Could you talk about the research that went into making “The Assassin”?

    In terms of research, because the Tang Dynasty short stories are written in a very specific language, you have to be of a certain intelligence to even understand what they are, because some of these stories are only a page but they tell an entire story. Even as a child when I read all these wuxia short stories, it just helped gain an understanding of the Tang Dynasty short stories I read later. So all these stories are a part of me; it’s not really research. The most research came with doing the sets for the film, which was difficult. There were very specific types of structures during that period, and the only place that still had them were Japan, which were built by these monks who went back, during the Tang Dynasty era, to study. But every 20 years they take them down and rebuild them, but always in the same style. So when I went to Japan to look at these places to shoot the film, it happened to be during the time when they were taking down these structures. So we couldn’t use them.

    What did you end up doing?

    I wanted to build these structures in a studio, and make them with removable walls so they could be used for different purposes. But when I asked a few architects nobody wanted to do it [laughs]. It was too difficult. I ended up building sets in Taiwan, but they were not exactly my original idea, they are more traditional sets. I think Martin Scorsese was using some of the sets when he was shooting in Taiwan recently.

    What was the writing process on “The Assassin” like?

    I collaborated with two people this time, T'ien-wen Chu, who I’ve worked with before, and her niece, Hai-Meng Hsieh, who is a historian. She added factual elements to the script.

    Do you stick closely to the script while you’re shooting?

    It depends on the day and what’s happening around us. The discussion is really on plot during the writing. That is the essence of the script. But while we’re shooting, things might change in terms of dialogue. This was always the story I wanted to adapt as my wuixa film. Even though I did a lot of research, this is still my own version of the Tang Dynasty. If I had the ability to go back in time and see what the Tang Dynasty is like it wouldn’t look anything like what we see on screen; the people wouldn’t look anything like what we see on screen. This is my version.

    How much of the visual look of the film is pre-planned and how much is figured out in the moment?

    I wanted to have natural wind and natural light for every scene. So I set up each scene to be where the natural light would fall. That’s how we decided on where the camera will be in each shot. Mark [Lee Ping Bin, the cinematographer] is so comfortable with the way I work — we’ve been working together since “Flowers of Shanghai” (1998). He just shows up, sets the camera up, we quickly talk about the shot and most of the time we’re in agreement. It’s very fast. There’s not a long process in terms of getting what you see on the screen.

    Could you talk about the choice to begin the film with a black-and-white sequence, and the shifting aspect ratios during different scenes?

    There was always an idea that before the credits roll, before you even see the title of the film, it would be shot in black-and-white. I wanted to introduce the era and set the stage, but no matter what, it was always going to move to color after the credits. I shot in 1:1:41 aspect ratio, a rectangular frame, which I thought that made the characters look good. It only changes when you see the woman playing the instrument to a [wider] 1:1:85 aspect ratio because the instrument was too big [laughs]. I wanted to fit the instrument in the frame. I thought about switching the frame even more, to make it look like a comic book, which would have been interesting. It just didn’t happen, but I’m thinking about doing it, maybe, on the next film.

    Is it important for you to continue to shoot on 35mm?

    It’s been eight years since I last put out a film, but it has always been film to me. So if I was going to shoot on digital or any other format I would have to do extensive tests. For “The Assassin,” I didn’t have enough time for that, and for the look of the Tang Dynasty film worked better for the lushness of the scenery. I originally thought of shooting on a 16mm Bolex camera, and I actually brought two of them to shoot with for “The Assassin.” But when Mark would start shooting, he couldn’t see through the eyepiece on the camera because it was so small. He said, “Let’s just go back to 35mm.”

    “The Assassin” is currently playing at the IFC Center.

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    Hou Hsiao-Hsien "The Assassin"

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