第62期 后实验时代的水墨(2009)

第62期 后实验时代的水墨(2009年)

学术主持:彭莱

主题:陈苏平 魏青吉 李彦伯 雷子人 曾健勇 阎盈汐 李佳 杨大治

新作:曾梵志 张强 史金淞 王卫 高虹

Issue No. 62(2009)

Theme: Ink Painting in Post-Experiment Era: A Special on the Contemporary Ink Painting

Academic Host: Peng Lai

A.T: Chen Suping, Wei Qingji, Li Yanbo, Lei Ziren, Zeng Jianyong, Yan Ying Xi, Li Jia, Yang Dazhi

A.N: Zeng Fanzhi, Zhang Qiang, Shi Jingsong, Wang Wei, Gao Hong

62

后实验时代的水墨——当代水墨艺术

彭莱

水墨的当代性探索,始于上世纪九十年代一场被冠以“实验”之名的创作潮流。当时的一批艺术家,通过抽象、装置乃至行为等观念形式与传统水墨媒材的对接,试图去“实验”水墨语言及其内涵­的现代转换。尽管这种被称为“实验水墨”的探索饱受来自不同立场者的发难,但其从文化的源头探问中国当代艺术的走向,试图把水墨这一中国古老的语言体系带入当代文化语境的努力在今天看来依然具有现实的意义。纷纷扰扰的争议平息之后,我们看到,水墨并没有真的穷途末路。

水墨的当代表达,或者说,以水墨这一凝聚着传统文脉的语言方式表述当代生存的体验与认识,正逐渐成为水墨领域的新课题。如果说“实验”一代艺术家们打破了水墨的传统审美价值体系,他们借鉴现代艺术观念重建水墨话语方式的探索突显出一种文化批判精神的话,那么,当下一些创作者在水墨语言对当代情感、经验、认知的表现力,对当代文化表达的敏锐性和批判性等方面的建构,则隐约显现出了与“实验”一代相异的价值取向。从这个角度来讲,当代各种形态的水墨创作可以理解为“实验”之后水墨当代性的课题的深化。

然而,水墨如何表达当代的生存体验与文化精神?至少就目前而言,这样的课题尚处在众说纷纭、各说各话的阶段。要对当下水墨创作的格局做出客观的梳理与评价并非易事,“暗流涌动”、“柳暗花不明”也许是更合适的修辞。因此,这里以“后实验”来指称当代水墨发展的这个特殊阶段并不意味着实验水墨的寿终正寝,也不是说水墨艺术已然确立了某种光明的方向。事实上,水墨的当代实践仍然走在歧途纷呈的路上,只是就当下这个阶段而言,它在意识倾向上流露出较为浓厚的后现代色彩。正如本期专辑­所推荐的八位艺术家,他们的作品风格、路数不尽相同,亦很难归类。也许这恰好可以反映当代水墨领域多样并立的创作现实,代表着在“实验”之后水墨的当代表达中多元化的审美追求。

值得关注的现象是,生于上世纪六十年代末到七十年代的一批人开始成为水墨领域新的实践力量,他们的水墨话语在价值与内涵上显示出与“实验”一代不同的征象。这一代艺术家正经历着历史与艺术语境的剧变:精英主义悄然退场,代之以后现代主义的解构与怀疑思潮;在二十世纪以来围绕水墨本体的诸多争辩渐次平息之后,多元并存的立场成为主流,对于这一代艺术家而言,从事水墨创作与其说是一项背负着使命感的事业,不如说是一种关乎个人的成长背景或情感取向的表达需要。水墨艺术的前景是光明还是黯淡,当下的创作对于传统来说是衔接还是背离,诸如此类的问题或许都不再是第一位的,重要的是:选择了水墨,并且乐在其中。

正因为此,宏大叙事在这一代的创作中并未形成主流,个体的生存境遇和体验成为艺术表达的出发点。随之而来的,是当代水墨在审美与图式上对日常经验、个体认知的重视——“实验”时代观念至上的艺术理念和精英化的文化立场正在被一种尊重趣味化与差异性的后现代立场所取代,更为个性化、多样化的表述风格组成了当下水墨创作纷呈而陆离的格局。与此相对应的,还有图式和语言的开放姿态。水墨的传统审美价值体系已然被打破,当代不少创作者更倾向于以一种出入古今中西的姿态打通艺术的界限,在更宽泛的意义上理解和利用传统。在他们的创作中,对水墨语言的表现力的发掘与探讨既不同于对传统笔墨经验的摹仿,也不是简单的形式嫁接或解构,而是一项与艺术表达的经验、认识或趣味密切相关的工作:它指向更开放的形式观念,并由此建构与个人气质、体验相契合的图式语言;它并不避讳当代与传统的关联,甚至以在个人、当代与传统视觉形式之间建立某种持续的“相关性”为理想。

雷子人与魏青吉也许正可以看做是当代水墨创作者寻求这种“相关性”的两种范本。他们的作品都因某种趣味性,或者说“气韵”而彰显个性,但各自却是站在传统与现代的天平两端——前者与传统视觉形式有着某种天然亲和力,后者则更具有后现代视觉形态符号化的特征。雷子人与都市生存体验密切相关的系列作品在形式和技术上很大程度保留了水墨材料的纯粹性和“笔情墨趣”的审美意味,但这并不妨碍他以独特的才华驾驭手中图像,赋予水墨以鲜活的当代感。他表现身边沉溺于火热生活中的芸芸众生,以想象、变形,甚至移花接木的手法营造出生活的荒诞与生动,我称之为“生命感”。魏青吉则完全置身传统图式系统之外,以更开放的艺术史的视野,杂糅古今中西多种图像元素再造了一个符号化的水墨世界。他的作品包含了个人经验对大众文化的认知、概括与判断,其中的明快、幽默而意味深长的特质恰到好处地诠释了后现代的超然、独立的文化精神。

来自鲁迅美院的陈苏平与李彦伯应该代表着在“实验”之外探求以水墨形式表达个体经验的那一类画家。陈苏平的作品中,人与风景构成了陌生而不确定的关系,他以水墨的灰色调与线条的质感营造出心灵的幻境,画­中重建的风景隐约可见传统山水的空间结构。而李彦伯的水墨画­则以鲜明的“树上人物”图式巧妙地把观念性与水墨图式的诗意传统连结起来,他将传统艺术中“折枝”、“云山”等意象移植到对当代人的生存状态的描述与调侃中,在一个重构的陌生情境中解析人类生存中各种荒诞性和危机感。两人的图式都保持了与传统水墨形式的某种关联,却都指向了对当代个体的生存经验的幽微关怀,不同的是,前者的表述方式是感性的,后者更趋于理性且突出了一种批判意识。

如果说,雷子人喜欢以“他者”的身份陈述“在场”的生活不同,那么,杨大治与曾健勇则习惯以第一人称来建构自己的心灵轨迹。他们的作品与一种“心碎的力量”有关,或者说关乎童年的记忆。曾健勇借鉴了当代艺术中一些卡通化和脸谱化的图像要素,以娴熟的水墨渲染技巧画出一个个相似又不同的“小伙伴”,这其中寄托的童年的感受似乎隐喻了画家对一个特殊时代的体认。相比之下,杨大治作品里的童年形象、卡通布娃娃或天使,则更突出了对个人感知的即时而细腻的表达,他的作品在材料上并不限于传统的水墨,而是将各种材料的质感化为形式的触觉,他以童话与幻象解构生命的威严,以“轻盈”化解了“沉重”。

两位女性,李佳与阎盈汐的艺术风格显然不同。李佳以彩墨的形式表现他人生活的《婚礼系列》与《行人系列》,给人以冷静、清冽的感受,她以纯净的笔调把当代人亲近与疏离的关系隐喻在记忆中的遥远世界里,她的世界,宽厚而稳定。阎盈汐的作品则是充斥着尖锐的预感的,《卧轨系列》较好地传达了女性生存经验中的细腻的不安与焦虑。

 

Ink Painting in Post-Experiment EraA Special on the Contemporary Ink Painting

By PENG Lai

The contemporary exploration of the ink painting originated from a creative current titled “Experiment” in the 1990s. The artists then made attempts on the experiments of ink painting language and modern transformation of its meaning, through the means of joining conceptual forms such as abstraction, devices and even behaviors with the traditional media of ink painting. Though under all sorts of attacks, the exploration of the so-called “experimental ink painting” made great efforts to inquire about the trend of Chinese contemporary art from the cultural origin and strived to bring the ancient Chinese language system of ink painting into contemporary cultural context, all of which still maintains its practical significance in today’s world. Once the confusions and controversies have finally quieted down, we find out that the journey of ink painting is far from hitting its end.

The contemporary expression of ink painting, or rather, the expression of the experiment and cognition of contemporary existence through ink painting – a language immersed in traditional culture, has gradually become the new subject in the field of ink painting. The “Experiment” generation of artists broke through the traditional aesthetic value system of the ink painting, and their exploration to rebuild the way of ink painting language through borrowing modern artistic concepts highlighted a cultural criticism, while the next generation of creators have vaguely presented a value orientation rather alien to that of the “Experiment” generation in their expression of contemporary emotions, experience and cognition as well as their construction of sensitivity and criticalness of contemporary cultural expression through the language of ink painting. From this perspective, the varied creation in the field of contemporary ink painting could be perceived as the deepening of the contemporary subject of the ink painting in the“experiment” period.

Yet how could the ink painting express the contemporary experience of existence and cultural spirit? As for now, the subject is still open for discussions and opinions. It’s far from easy to offer an objective combing and evaluation for the complicated situation of current ink painting creation, which maybe more appropriately described as “a surging undercurrent” and “obscure future”. Therefore, the title “post-experiment” referring to this special period of the development of contemporary ink painting does not mean the official declaration of death on “experimental ink painting, nor that the ink painting art has already established some bright direction. As a matter of fact, the contemporary practice of ink painting is still set on a road with diversified directions. It’s just that as far as this period is concerned, it presents a rather rich post-modern color in the tendency of awareness, as shown in the 8 artists recommended by this special. Their styles and approaches differ from each other, thus disabling a clear classification, which may properly reflect the diversification of creative reality in the filed of contemporary ink painting, representing the diversified aesthetic pursuit of contemporary expression of ink painting after the “Experiment”.

What needs to be noted is that the artists born in the 1960s and 1970s have started to become a force of new practice in the field of ink painting, and their language of ink painting has begun to show different appearance from the “Experiment” generation in values and meanings. This generation of artists is experiencing the dramatic change of historical and artistic contexts – the elitism has quietly bowed out, succeeded by the deconstruction of modernism and the wave of skepticism; the diversified co-existence has now gained the upper hand since the cool down of all sorts of debates over the ink painting and the noumenon of Chinese painting since the 20th century. For this generation of artists, the pursuit of ink painting creation is more a need of expression concerning individual growing up background or emotional orientation, than a career burdened with a sense of mission. It is not important anymore that whether the future of the ink painting is good or not, or present practice connect with or betray from the traditional. Most important of all, they choose ink painting and enjoy it.

And it’s because of this that the grand narrative did not become the mainstream of the creations of this generation, instead the individual situation and experience of existence serve as the starting point of ink painting. Along with the establishment of individuality, the contemporary ink painting highlighted its aesthetic and graphic concern of daily experience and individual cognition, a tendency of which progressed the contemporary ink painting to gradually step out of the concept-supreme creative idea of the “experiment” period and the cultural stand of elitism and idolization, substituted by a post-modern stand of respecting the fun and differences, with more delicate and diversified individual expression becoming a potential feature of the contemporary ink painting. What corresponds to that is the open gesture of graph and language. Under the circumstance that the traditional aesthetic value system has already been smashed, a great many creators of contemporary ink painting are more prone to a more unconfined attitude to break down the barriers of art and to understand and use traditions in a broader sense, rather than the roads taken by the traditionalists who maintain the ink-centered aesthetic standard and by the experimentalists who stick to the road of concept-supreme. In their creations, the excavation and discussion of the expressive force of ink painting language is different from the imitation of traditional ink experience as well as a simple grating or deconstruction of forms, but rather a project closely related to the experience, cognition and fun of artistic expression; it points to a more open concept of forms, upon which is constituted the graphic language in accord with individual temperament and experience; instead of avoiding the association of the contemporary and the traditional, it has even made its ideal to establish some sustaining “association” among individual, contemporary and traditional visual forms.

LEI Ziren and WEI Qingji could be fairly regarded as two examples of contemporary ink painters searching for this “association”. Both their works’ individuality are highlighted because of some fun or “artistic conceptions”, which respectively stand opposite at the two ends of tradition and modern – the former enjoying some natural affinity to the traditional visual forms, while the latter possessing the feature of symbolization of more post-modern visual forms. LEI’s works, which show a close link to the metropolitan experience of existence, have to a great extent preserved in forms and techniques the purity and aesthetic implication of ink of the material of ink painting, without hindering him from employing his unique talent to manipulate the images and endow a fresh contemporary feeling to the ink painting. He paints people immersed in the intense lives, creating the absurdity and vividness of life through imagination, transformation and even substitution, which I call “a feeling of life.” On the contrary, WEI steps totally out of the traditional graphic system to recreate a symbolized world of ink painting with a more open horizon of artistic history and a variety of graphic elements both ancient and modern, Chinese and foreign. His works contain the individual experience’s cognition, judgment and summary of the mass culture, the light, humorous and meaningful features are a perfect interpretation of the post-modern detached and independent cultural spirit.

CHEN Suping and LI Yanbo are both graduates from Luxun Academy of Fine Arts as well as representatives of painters in search of expression of individual experience through the form of ink painting out of the “experiment”. Human and landscape form a strange and uncertain relationship in CHEN’s works. He produced a mental mirage using the grey tint of ink and the texture of lines, and the space structure of traditional landscape painting could be faintly detected in the reproduced landscape of his paintings. LI’s ink paintings employ the striking pattern of “people on the tree” to subtly combine the conceptuality with the poetic tradition of ink painting patterns. He transplanted the images of “broken branches” and “cloud mountains” in the traditional art into the description and ridicule of the state of existence of modern people, deconstructing all sorts of absurdity and feeling of crisis in human existence against a reconstructed strange circumstance. Both their patterns maintain some connection to the traditional form of ink painting while pointing to the subtle concern for the experience of existence of contemporary individuals, the difference being the former expressing in a sentimental way while the latter is more inclined to sensibility, highlighting a critical awareness.

Unlike LEI’s preference to use the identity of “other” to state the differences in lives “on the spot”, YANG Dazhi and ZENG Jianyong are more used to constructing spiritual tracks in the first person. Their works are all about a “broken-hearted power” or rather memories concerning childhood. ZENG borrowed some cartoonized and stereotyped graphic elements in contemporary art to create a lot of similar yet different “little buddies” using the skilled rendering technique of ink painting, in which is entrusted a feeling of childhood which seems to serve as a metaphor for the painter’s cognition of a particular time. In contrast, the childhood images, cartoon rag dolls or angels in YANG’s works gave more prominence to the timely and delicate expression of personal perception. The materials of his works are not limited to the traditional ink painting, instead he tried to transform the texture of all kinds of materials into tactile sensitivity of forms. He deconstructs the authority of life through fairy tales and mirages while replacing the“heaviness” with “lightness”.

The artistic styles of the two ladies LI Jia and YAN Yingxi are distinctively different. The Wedding Series and The Pedestrian Series by LI adopted the form of colored ink to present the lives of others with a calm, clear and chilly feeling. She used a pure style to paint the close and alienated relationship of modern people in the metaphor of a distant world in memory, a tolerant and stable world of hers. YAN’s works, on the other hand are soaked with acuminous premonition, The Series of Lying on the Rail is a fine expression of the delicate nervousness and anxiety in the female experience of existence.

 

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