主题：方力钧 王兴伟 卢昊 杨述 周铁海 景柯文 薛松 魏光庆
新作：梁硕 王彦萍 李津 孔奇 梅一 钟乐星 邱汉桥
Issue No. 93(2014)
Theme: Why choose 1960? (Ⅰ)
Academic Host: Ji Shaofeng
A.T: Fang Lijun, Wang Xingwei, Lu Hao, Yang Shu, Zhou Tiehai, Jing Kewen, Xue Song, Wei Guangqing
A.N: Liang Shuo, Wang Yanping, Li Jin, Kong Qi, Mei Yi, Zhong Lexing, Jin Guoming, Qiu Hanqiao
Why Choose 1960? ( I )
There is no doubt that the generations born before and after the 1960s have directly faced both the end of a great era and the beginning of another great era. An indisputable fact is that their life experience and artistic styles bear deep imprints of the 1960s and they are the identity and the knowledge pedigree of the 1960s, while their culture standpoint and persistence have followed a spiritual belief even after the disappearance of political idols and the rise of blind capitalism worship and continued their creative passion up to now, which is undoubtedly the motive power to push forward the development of contemporary art.
Those born in the 1960s, who seldom have the heaviness and pathos consciousness or the relaxed and game-playing psychology featured by those born in the 1950s and 1970s respectively, are the transitional body over the transitional years as well as the observers for the other two generations fortunately. This determines their fate: a refusal to mediocrity. The fact has verified that the generation of the 1960s has not only inherited the idealistic and heroic feelings but also sustained great responsibilities of cultural renaissance in line with their genuine spiritual appeal, caused people to perceive the vitality, ideal and mission of this generation from a different perspective based on their attention to humanity and human’s living conditions and through individualized, differentiated and original visual narration, affected this era with their ideal and passion and borne the spiritual traits of this era consciously. Through their visual narration, we clearly hear the voice in the heart of this generation and catch a glimpse of their spiritual portraits, independent cultural standpoint and respect to ideal and morality.
- Cultural Memory with Socialist Experience and Its Cultural Characteristics
Chairman Mao Zedong ever emphasized that “art and literature are subordinate to politics” to explain the unavoidable relation between art and politics. This consciousness was misinterpreted and exaggerated during the ten-year Cultural Revolution and brought about the artistic concepts, methods and propositions which are known as the “three-combination” creation mode, the “three-highlight” creation method and the “red and bright” representation method and have deeply influenced the ideology and expression methods of the generations born in the 1950s and 1960s who exactly make up the main body of China’s contemporary art force. Bei Dao and Li Tuo highlighted the significance of this generation to Chinese society in the Editor’s Note of “Special Issue for the 1970s” of Today. “This generation we are talking about here is relatively concrete and mainly refers to the one that has spent the adolescence and youth in the 1970s. This generation has grown up in such special historical environment that a special adolescent group is trained owing to the particularity of growth and it has played an important and special role in the history of China after the Cultural Revolution.” For the art circle, a group of artists conducted historical reflections on their cultural memory with socialist experience through image narration, like Deng Jianjin, Ding Yi, Fang Lijun, Fang Shaohua, Jing Kewen, Liu Ye, Lu Hao, Mao Yan, Su Xinping, Wang Xingwei, Wang Yigang, Wei Guangqing, Xue Song, Yang Shu, Yue Minjun, Zhang Enli, Zhou Tiehai and so on. The reason why these artists formed a cultural phenomenon is because the advancement of their personal art course is accompanied by the development of Chinese contemporary art. Through differentiated visual expressions, rich and diversified individual narrations, they achieved and developed the mirror image of China’s contemporary art. Their fate and experience, or their visual narration, are undoubtedly in close relation with the social, political, economic and cultural development. We can see the changes of lifestyle and thinking pattern caused by the transformation of social structure behind the constantly changing visual scenes of these artists.
- Traits of Visual Narrative Logic
(1) The Cynical Realism Becomes An Identity
As, Fang Lijun and Yue Minjun are the representatives of cynical realism and their visual images have manifested the boredom, superficialness, depression and perplexity of the generation of the 1960s, but in fact these reflect a spiritual dilemma in the course of social transformation from planned economy to market economy in the 1990s. Their subversiveness, strong personality and inner experience of personal experience have undoubtedly contributed to the glory and dream of this generation, while independent characters, free spirit, especially the pursuit of free lifestyle behind art, initiated by them have profound enlightenment significance. Yue Minjun’s The Ninth CPC National Congress in Gutian is an important work in his “Scene” series and it presents an event where the politics far overweighs the artery and the scene with dissociated characters is empty, lonely, vacant and inconceivable but arouses endless deliberation that lasts permanently.
(2) The Invasion and Popularization of Pop Paintings
As a representative artist of “pop culture”, Wei Guangqing still “thinks over contemporary issues in a historical manner” and the meanings contained in his works are usually comprehended as a subtle expression for the transition from visual culture to multi-culture in the course of surpassing tradition and contemporary society. There is an inner relation between Wei’s painting theme and style logically. Wei’s art does not only transcend history and culture but also goes beyond cultural limitations owing to his imaginative depth and sensitive cultural concern. Wei’s visual image gives a psychological, emotional and cultural implication and his rich thinking is usually hidden in the writing and coverage of “being ingenious in heart”, while the anxious experience and daily distress of individuals have always reflected the cultural characteristics brought about by the transformation of social structure.
In Fang Shaohua’s image world, we can see that classical images are dissociated from original historical context and coded into new visual symbols and that a self visual pleasure, namely the deliberation on the deep morbidity of the consumer society, is released during the embezzlement and imitation of classical images. Fang, with an extremely personalized visual way, highlights the thinking on contemporary society and artistic life. Hence, it is not difficult to find in his image world that the sanctity of classics is deconstructed, the critical spirit of rationality gradually gives way to the deliberation on the realistic anxiety and that urbanized visual experience conveys Chinese experience of Fang Shaohua style, i.e. the spiritual symbol of individual will, after the absorption of expressionistic forms. Fang’s recent works are featured by strong conceptuality and liable to pure and abstract expression, from which we can perceive arbitrary and carefree painting as well as a surge of inner passion.
Xue Song’s visual expression has strong pop characteristics and contains reconstructed, concatenated and fragmented historical memories so that it exhibits the cultural characteristic of historical fragmentization. Xue’s vision is open and pervaded with a thought on traditional culture, a desire for contemporary culture and an indifferent observation and anxiety for turbulent and volatile international situation, but the transcendence of time, space and region and the collision of different civilization forms, especially the importance attached to historical memory and socialistic visual memory and image narrative methods, provide a steady stream of ideological sources for Xue Song.
(3) The Logic of Abstract Narration
Over the decades, Ding Yi has tirelessly repeated “Appearance of Cross” that leaves a deep impression on this era, which is not only his memory of working experience but also a symbol of his visual expression and even becomes an important visual string in contemporary art. Ding Yi records our era, cities and life in a straightforward and rational order and painting goes back to form and spirit and conveys international vision and spiritual strength of this era in the seemingly meaningless depiction.
Wang Yigang, with the courage of constant self-breakthroughs and transcendence and through the explosiveness sent forth by the overlaying, coverage and spatulation of pigments, the entanglement and crisscross of lines, fosters the rhythm of life and the vehemence of painting and lets the readers feel the vigor of life, the avoidance of existing rules and regimes behind image pictures, freedom and mankind liberty behind art.
(4) The Passion of Expressionism
The key words of Deng Jianjin’s visual narration are composed of eroticism, taboo, violence, lust, sex consciousness, adolescent anxiety and restlessness and he, through passionate brushwork and the shining primitive and wild impulse and excitement, seems to be metaphorizing the fact that sex is wonderful but dangerous in line with the observation and contemplation on drama, scene feeling and gender consciousness.
Mao Yan shows off inherent artistic passion and brilliant talent. With fascinating gray tone, obscure and illusion-like neurotic figures together with vanished background, Mao’s works let people be faintly aware of restlessness in peace, purity in complexity, profoundness and meaningfulness in exquisiteness. The figures painted by Mao Yan are an expression of his life experience and a self portrait of his spirit but actually an attitude towards the contemporary society and artistic life.
Su Xinping has been devoted to the deliberation on the relation among the mankind, the nature and the society all the time. In the daily painting, Su conveys the rational deliberation from the inner heart and the process of seemingly sensation-based painting brings visual pleasure, passion and everlasting imagination about the future to him.
Jing Kewen’s visual image conveys the lifestyles, living conditions and memories under the planned economic system and reflects the historical memories of individual and public space in the 1960s and 1970s. On one hand, we can see the object remains and visual symbols from the years of widespread revolutionary ideology. On the other hand, the political narration of contemporary China is left behind and arouses the deliberation on public disclosure generated by the combination of historical narration and personal experience.
Lu Hao’s visual expression is imbued with close attention to living environment and conditions, in which there is a passion of magnificent narration as well as ease and parody of micro-narration. Lu’s memories about Beijing’s landscape and recent diversion from landscape to portrait reveal the power of inquiry and the light of thought. What is it that makes our world so? Lu’s onlooking and examination of contemporary society and artistic life are concealed in the inquiries from inner heart and the portraits. He feels lonely because of deliberation and in turn sets his passion aflame on canvas because of loneliness.
Yang Shu’s painting is featured by the properties of abstract expressionism but has an obvious tendency of bad painting. Yang’s conceptuality and wild painting sense let the readers experience a surge of inner passion and perceive the freedom of painting, while the visual images convey a wild but not vulgar painting sense of seeking for abundance and force in simplicity and bring about contemporary emotive reason, poise and charm.
(5) The Parody and Game-playing Psychology
Liu Ye’s visual narration has strong parody traces and game-playing psychology. The loneliness, confusion, sorrow and the alienation from reality come from the parody of classical figures and masterpieces, while the sense of alienation also makes up his visual narrative characters.
Wang Xingwei’s image world features a sense of humor. Though he constantly plays jokes with the art history, he has stronger conceptuality. In fact, he is defending the dignity of painting as a method and pondering on our survival reality and cultural method in ordinary, trivial and meaningless moments. His excitement of thinking and mobilization of visual experience enable him to reach an arbitrary state without overstepping the bounds.
Zhou Tiehai’s diversified and volatile artistic styles, ranging from graffiti, video and digital image to oil painting, have undoubtedly left impressive trances in the contemporary art circle and his visual expression, especially the changes of survival reality and life concept brought about by the consumerism age, is sensitive, smart and unconventional. What types or styles to select is not important to Zhou Tiehai any more. Instead, what count are the expression of passionate imagination, the insight into contemporary society and artistic life and furthermore the disclosure of the relation among cities, nations and the society.
(6) Alienation of Daily Experience and Defamiliarized Visual Experience
Zhang Enli has volatile artistic styles as well, regardless of his diversion from figures to still life, or a diversion from vehemence to peace. Zhang’s expressionistic passion and extensive brushwork convey a restrained and peaceful atmosphere in a rare and commendable manner. Zhang also make an attempt on space painting and architectural structure itself becomes a part of painting. Zhang’s diversified expression approaches fill his image world with richness and ambiguity.
III. The Emphasis on Reflections of History and the Relation between History and Reality
If the self values of the artists in the 1980s are realized through the criticism of form, the fulfillment of self value of the artists and the emphasis on survival experience of individuals in the early 1990s become main approaches of artistic narration. For example, Yue Minjun, Fang Shaohua, Wei Guangqing, Xue Song, Jing Kewen, Wang Xingwei and Zhou Tiehai all show this creative tendency.
As we are ushered into the second decade of new century, a new chapter of the history is opened, followed by many social conflicts and differences, but peaceful, rational and orderly development will be a symbol for the maturity of our society. As is known to us, the life of artists lies in reality and the artistic characters lie in sincerity. The artists are sensitive to the changes of times and capable of making correct judgments about the society. The diversity of art and the diversity of society have been never so convergent as they are now. The rapidly developing society and the increasingly open system make it difficult for us to make effective value judgment about current artistic phenomenon. Everything is under development and comes swiftly and violently. When we haven’t figured out these artistic phenomenon and artists yet, they have found a way deep into the narrative logic of the contemporary art history.
Since there is no ready-made historical clue in culture and art and the political, stylish, capital clues are intertwined.
The 1960s Graphic Art Exhibition is only an inception and it will be further deepened and continue to explore the installations, sculptures, images and behaviors of the artists in the 1960s…
SPRINGS SPACE OF ART has been devoted to unremitting and in-depth researches on the phenomena in the 1960s and created a platform for collision and exchanges of multidimensional ideology as well. The visual expression methods of the artists to participate in the 1960s Graphic Art Exhibition reflect strong vitality of multi-culture and tolerant and open consciousness of cultural diversity and it is owing to rich individual spiritual experience and visual experience of each artist that the multiple interpretation space of cultural sharing and participation are realize.
The unremitting researches on the artistic phenomenon in the 1960s will be not only a direction of efforts for SPRINGS SPACE OF ART and a cultural self-consciousness of this generation but also a research subject of long-term concern in the future.
August 7, 2014 22:25 at Sanguandian, the East Lake