by Zolton in New Trends on Saturday 12 July 2008

I interviewed the mysterious Suitman some time ago for the Australian magazine, Riot. Even then it was clear that, with his immaculately pressed suit and crisp white shirts, he was an icon – both stylistically and conceptually. So it’s no surprise to hear about his latest adventure, The New Grand Tour, ‘an episodic art project featuring revolving guest artists with hyphenated cultural and geographical backgrounds. The artists and documentary crew travel together to different parts of the globe and express through art exhibitions the subject matter of the towns and cultures they visit’. Given this interesting manifesto, we caught up with a few of the artists involved (other interviews to run in the coming weeks), including Suitman, asking him if he was surprised by how dynamic — or not — the Chinese art scene is, given the rather conservative regime in power there? ‘No, I was not surprised at all. Chinese art has been going strong for last ten-fifteen years; internationally and domestically. The Chinese government recognizes the possibilities of financial gain in art industries and they are certainly extending supporting to art and artists. Of course, there’s still censorship of content. But so does America and rest of the world, by right wing government and religious groups’.

Who conceptualized the New Grand Tour and what will it mean for those who get to experience it?
‘Federico Tan, Asia marketing director of Diesel, approached me to have a show. And from that point, the team was created’.

Do you feel that ‘art’ always had a unifying effect across cultures or does it actually accentuate differences?
‘It’s all about sharing. And this tour was based on exchanging culture and gathering inspirations. And most importantly, sharing. I envisioned this as artists-PaciCorp traveling through globe and giving and sharing our thoughts and financial support to children’s education in rural areas and help them have better lifestyle standards’.

Where to from here for the New Grand Tour?
‘There’s talk of Central America, Cuba, Africa and Brazil’.

suitman