Artist Stevens Vaughn is flying in from Asia to exhibit at Ch.ACO for the second time. In 2018 he delighted us with Red Army GuanYin Buddhas in porcelain. In 2020 he brings an installation with a social message titled "You are the center of your world". A golden dragon throne with a participatory aspect which invites you to of assume the throne in order to take responsibility of being the center of your own world.
By Ch.ACO Team
Stevens Vaughn, the artist
If you had to define your artwork in one concept, what would it be?
“Playful”. It is very important in art that we do not get caught up in the process. We have to be in the emotion of the moment. My art is a fluid movement shaped by the circumstances of my life, a non-dualistic ontology related to the 900th century AD Daoist art construct Yipin, painting outside the lines.
What inspires you?
My greatest inspiration has been people. One aspect of being autistic is that I cannot study, I can only learn. One of the key things for me in life has been meeting extraordinary people to learn from.
What does the art fair Ch.ACO mean to you?
Ch.ACO is kind of a microcosmos of what is happening in contemporary and traditional art in Chile. I think the most important thing about Ch.ACO, is that it enhances an ongoing dialogue about the role that art will play in the future of Chile. The Ch.ACO art fair and a key part of how art is flourishing and developing in Chile.
How has Asian culture influenced you in your artwork?
As Laozi has been quoted to say “be still as a mountain and flow like a great river”. I think the key thing to understand of Asia, is that water is the most powerful element. Water breaks stones, so when we talk about my life as a spring rain on the high mountains it is a very Daoist concept. Rocks cannot break the water, but the water sculpts the mountains, something evident in the magnificent Chilean landscape. I think this is the part that moves me, softness is the most powerful element for change.
"You are the center of your world", Stevens Vaughn
Which place in Santiago/the world connects you with art?
I would say the most important reason to choose a country is because of your friends and people you know. I came to Chile because it is a beautiful country, but moreover because of the friends who brought me here. I have had the privilege of living in, and visiting many countries I chose Chile because of an extraordinary energy, which is unique in the world. For me the smile of my friends, is the best art I can see in the world.
What does it means to you come, coming to Chile with this artwork?
I chose to create the throne in response to the tremendous changes Chile is facing. It is important now that we use art as a visual language to facilitate dialogue concerning societal challenges. I firmly believe that nothing has ever been built through criticism. The Japanese construct of MA space, refers to a timeless space, where people can come together and seek communality in their dreams.
What does it mean “you are the center of your world” ?
There is a belief in Asia, that when a person sits on the throne, it is required to have divine wisdom and courage and the ability to be a unifying factor. It is very important for people to understand that every person has an opportunity, it is a metaphor for people who are willing to take responsibilities for change. You cannot assume any position of power unless you are willing to accept the responsibility. The throne encourage all the peoples of Chile who want to make a change, to come and join each other together on a collective throne, and for Chile to assume it's role as a leader in the world.