第63期 视觉的结构(2010)

第63期 视觉的结构(2010年)

学术主持:孙冬冬

主题:陈文波 顔磊 梁远苇 李姝睿 刘文涛 刘韡 陈杰 谢墨凛

新作:丁立人 陈晗 葛辉 张武运 张慧明

Issue No. 63(2010)

Theme: Visual Structure

Academic Host: Sun Dongdong

A.T: Chen Wenbo, Yan Lei, Liang Yuanwei, Li Shurui, Liu Wentao, Liu Wei , Chen Jie, Xie Moling

A.N: Ding Liren, Chen Han, Ge Hui, Zhang Wuyun, Zhang Huiming

63

主题:视觉的结构

VISUAL STRUCTURE

学术主持:孙冬冬    Academic Host: SUN Dongdong

中国当代艺术正在发生一个重要的变化,但这一变化却并未因其的重要性而为更多的人所关注,所以不得不说,它到目前为止还只是少数艺术家们之间的一种“共识”。而由这一“共识”联系起来的艺术家们虽无意掀起一场有明确主张的艺术运动,不过他(她)们在各自取向的艺术实践中不约而同地显现出的对于“视觉”本身的兴趣,却使得我们有机会看到了某种有别于上一代中国当代艺术的征候。他(她)们的作品不再定位于充当一种“中国”形象的既定的题材化的回音,而是在主动地或者说自觉地参与客观世界的建构,并不忌讳展露自身物质性的一面。与之对应的是,作为观者的我们一旦将其视做一种基本立场或总体化视角时,视觉作为一种知觉行为,其运作机制的复合性与生效机制的逻辑性也随之在观看中被一一凸显出来。

 

事实上,时下有越来越多的艺术家开始注重作品的“现场感”,在反复地验证视觉与身体之间存有的天然联系。值得一提的是,中国当代艺术界不止一次重申过这一观看模式的价值——其中最为出名的一轮实践是20世纪末至21世纪初的“后感性”的一系列展览——但就目前的情形来看,即便是在一些注重“现场感”的艺术家的作品中,所谓的“视觉性”仍旧属于一种吸引观众眼球的手段,而它在功能上与展厅里照射作品的灯光并无什么区别。同这类游离于作品语法结构之外的视觉性因素相比,将视觉稀释于文化研究的文本之中的做法则同样常见,对于非艺术领域关于视觉问题的跨界研究,笔者除了要表达足够的谦卑之心,也需在此指出其在论述艺术作品时最为“蹩脚”的表现之一——其中大多数文字是很难用以评判出艺术作品在自身领域中的重要性的,或者说,艺术作品在非艺术领域的学术研究中所扮演的角色只是一种有特点的研究素材而已。之所以提到这两点,倒不是想校正它们在做法上的偏差,只是为了给这次专辑的讨论设立两个界标,一个是科学的,一个是文化的。而两个界标之间的那块无主地带,正是文章开头所提到的中国当代艺术的发生重要变化的所在,因为当视觉本身在艺术家的实践中成为他(她)们职业思考中的至关重要的一环时,视觉将不再只领受一种身份,不会只流露出一种习性。即便,最后生成的结果有时看似接近或是雷同,但此时作为一种语言要素而参与建构作品的视觉,实际上却有着迥然不同的面目。

 

为了更加清晰地说明这一问题,我特别选择了八位艺术家的“绘画”作品用以分析比较。他(她)们的作品看上去大都具有我们习惯认定的形式主义倾向。而不管是在历史中,还是在当下,这一倾向最易在意识形态层面上遭受责难,但责难中总会掺杂着一股化不开的因无法轻易介入艺术内部“消遣”时的怨气。虽然,相较于云谲波诡的道德论战,形式主义自身要显得真实与自律的多,但即使这样,形式主义的框架却依旧难以支撑现在对于视觉的讨论,因为视觉归根结底是与我们身体相关的知觉行为,它始终要在不同的主体间漂移,也不可避免的会沾染上个人、群体与社会的习惯抑或是偏见,而敏感的艺术家从不会放过这一点,其中自然也包括视觉与形式主义存在的“亲缘”关系。所以,与其说他(她)们的作品是在取悦感官,还不如说是在召唤我们的身体从日常状态中苏醒过来。

在这八位艺术家中最早做出这一尝试的是陈文波,他凭借着直觉与体验,捕捉到中国社会转型期的“拜物化”心理与视觉表征之间的联系。只是对于他作品的大多数谈论还暂停在画框之内,比如“光”与“物象”以及视觉之间存有的某种联系——不管是对他早期的“维他命”系列,还是对他近期的绘画作品——却低估了他在近几年实践中显现出的跨媒介意识的用意。从用高尔夫球击穿画面,到把原有的矩形画框划分成不规则的形状,再到按照金字塔形态搭建画框的做法,固然可以被理解成是对视觉本身的一种投合,对体验的一种召唤,然而最终实现这一目的却不再是虚拟的“图像”,而是经由那些做法转化为一个个真实之物。这也印证了陈文波始终强调图像文本性对于他作品的重要性的说法,当“图像文本”退居为一种纹理时,眼睛便开始在整体上关注“它”。

 

与之相反地,曾做过陈文波助手的李姝睿却在工作中越发表现出一种进入“纯视觉”世界的决心。她最为人熟知的是以“光”为主题的绘画作品,而经由喷枪喷出的五颜六色的斑点营造出的视幻觉,很容易让人联想到一种亚文化生活方式,用“避重就轻”四个字可以隐晦地表达出与这种“视觉”相伴的生命体验。然而,当身体内缩在肉体维度时,它的自在性却获得前所未有的主张,实现了一种反向的自我确认。所以,李姝睿作品中的视觉总会在空间性与虚无性之间辗转,从某种程度上说,它具有一种心理维度,更像是一种背向外部世界的个人私语,里面也掺杂了些自我保护。而这一点是李姝睿作品中的“眩晕感”与颜磊《追光》系列类似感官最显著的区别。颜磊的《追光》系列作品对应的是一套名利场逻辑,其前身是《光轮》系列,两个系列中的视觉性因素实际上是一种符号,是一种象征,是个体在社会场域运作能力的一种概念化认证,其最显著的特征就是既注重向外辐射“光鲜”,也重视中心化的“等级”形式,而这些都是与颜磊的艺术家身份紧密关联的。与之前三位艺术家相同的是,刘文涛同样在作品中给予“光”以足够的关注,不同的是,刘文涛的“光”表现为一种真正的物质性的反射。他用铅笔在多维形态的布面上顺着形式结构反复画线,最终形成了一层漫射光线的物质表面,其暧昧性的特征与作品在平面/立体之间的视觉游移性共同维系了感官的权利。

 

刘韦的绘画在视觉上总有一种似曾相识之感,这是因为他总在经验层面上调度视觉,微调其作品的视觉特征,而这里所说的经验是一种由物质环境、文化语境、观念与观看方式等等诸多因素组成的信息场,所以,刘韦在绘画方面的实践是一种在“绘画”之外的作为,方式更类似在做装置,而这一点在其新作《对!这就是全部》表现的尤为充分,这批作品的成功之处在于用一种“概念”性视觉表征还原了他(包括我们)无法屏蔽掉的“经验”干扰。有趣的是,梁远苇的《生活的片段》呈现出的繁复性与序列性的图案特征,常令人联想到当下流行的某种艺术的生产模式(颜磊与刘韦是这种模式的代表人物),这种联想或许和她作品在视觉上与壁纸(工业生产的装饰物)相似有关。但梁远苇却是以一种体验(工作/忍耐)的方式完成每一幅作品,甚至以扩大画幅的方式在主动地强化与延长这种体验,美好的视觉伴随着枯燥的生产方式,而画布上逐条弱化的色度,看上去像阳光照射在墙面上的反光,浪漫的表象实则是一台“打卡机”。从这一角度出发,我们可以理解陈杰对于绘画的怀疑,这是对于职业性的一种反思,他在《有限的绘画》作品中借用他人之手重现了职业绘画的另一面。他预先制定了一套工作方法,即便是一个毫无绘画功底的人也能照此操作:将画布等分成数量众多的一厘米见方小格子,随机选一种颜色开始填色,至于下面的颜色与深浅全由操作者自己控制,直到用颜料将所有的格子填满为止。每一小格的颜色看上去毫无意义,就像一个“比特”,可当全部的格子填完时,所有的“比特”又被我们的眼睛整合为颇具秩序感的形式。整个过程伴随着从生涩的慌张、到熟练的兴奋再到化为身体经验反射后的无聊。与他之前的绘画作品相比,这一系列作品虽然带有自嘲,却携带着一股轻松自在的情绪。相比于陈杰的职业反思,谢墨凛对于自动绘画机械的研发在与科技的跨界合作中获得一种自我认同,却也无疑将“绘画”置于一种生产工具与生产对象的关系之中,衡量“视觉”的优劣将拥有一个明确的质检标准,那时,推动艺术世界转动的物质性将被彻底地展现出来,将会看上去前所未有的真实,只是到了那一刻,机器也许会僭越“绘画”的位置居住于艺术的殿堂之内。

在此,我不愿掩饰对于这些作品的个人喜好,这可能只是一种个人的自身感觉,或许我也可能是错误的,但我并不认为它是愚蠢的。因为我不愿像有些人那样,为了拥抱一个概念,用知识与思想掏空自己的身体,无视这些“视觉”之物对于自我的确认,如果说“视觉”将要肩负什么使命的话,那就是进入一种体验,一次次地发现在结构中的主体。

 

 

The Chinese contemporary art is in the process of an important change, the significance of which is yet to arouse the concern of more people. Therefore so far it still remains to be a “consensus” among the quite few artists, who, though void of the intention of raising an artistic movement with a definite proposition, chorused in their manifestation of interests in the “vision” itself in their artistic practices of respective directions, offering us a chance to witness some sign of Chinese contemporary art that distinguishes itself from the last generation. Instead of serving as the echo of an established theme of “Chinese” image, their works actively or spontaneously participate in the construction of the objective world, without abstaining from revealing the aspect of materiality of themselves. In correspondence, once we viewers regard the vision as a basic standpoint or a totalized viewpoint, as a perceived behavior, the complexity of its operation mechanism and the logic of its validation mechanism will be consequently highlighted one by one during the viewing.

 

In fact, at the moment more and more artists started to put their emphasis on the “live feeling” of works, repeatedly verifying the natural relation between the vision and the body. It should be noted that the circle of Chinese contemporary art had more than once reaffirmed the value of this mode of viewing – the most famous round of practices being the “Post-Sensibility” Exhibition series from the end of 20th century to the start of the 21st century – but so far as the present situation is concerned, the so-called “visuality” still remains to be an eyeball-catching gimmick, even in the works of some artists who put focus on the “live feeling”, showing no difference in function from the lighting that shines on the works in the exhibition hall. The approach of diluting the vision into the text of cultural research is just as common as the visual factors drifting away from the grammatical structure of the works. As for the trans-boundary research on the subject of vision in the non-artistic field, with great humility, the author also needs to point out one of his most “awkward” expressions while commenting on the artistic works – that most of his words cannot serve as the criteria to judge the significance of the artistic works in their own fields, or rather that the artistic works only play the role of a characteristic research material in the academic study of the non-artistic field. The reason to mention those two points is not to rectify the deviation of their approaches, but rather to set two landmarks for the discussion of this special, one being scientific, the other cultural. The no man’s land between the two landmarks is where the important change of Chinese contemporary art is taking place, for the vision will no longer just accept an identity and exhibit a habit when it has become the critical link in the professional thinking of the practices of artists. Even though the final outcomes may sometimes seem similar or identical, the vision, which takes part in the construction of works as a linguistic element, in fact has an entirely different face.

 

To give a more explicit picture, I specifically chose the “painting” works of eight artists for analysis and comparison. Their works seem to possess the habitually-presumed tendency of formalism, which is most prone to be rebuked in the sense of ideology whether in history or at present – yet the reproach is always mixed with an insistent grievance resulting from the difficulty in getting involved with the inside “amusement” of art. Though compared with the unpredictable and capricious battle of ethics, formalism appears to be much more real and self-disciplined. Nevertheless, the frame of formalism is insufficient to support the present discussion about the vision, for in the end the vision simmers down to the perceived behavior related to our bodies, always drifting among different subjects, thus inevitably tainted with the habits or prejudices of individuals, groups and the society, a point which sensitive artists never fail to catch, along with the relation between the vision and the formalism.. Therefore, their works is more of awakening our bodies from the daily state than pleasing our senses.

Among the eight artists, CHEN Wenbo is the first to make such an attempt, capturing the relationship between the “materialized” psychology and the surface features of vision during the transition period of Chinese society with his instincts and experiences. But most discussions on his works still stay within the frames, like some relationship between “light”, “physical image” and the vision – whether on his earlier Vitamin series or his recent paintings – yet underestimating his intention of trans-media consciousness in his practices of recent years. From dissecting the original rectangle frame into irregular forms by hitting a golf ball through the picture, to constructing the frame according to the shape of pyramid, the approach could be interpreted as catering to the vision itself, a summon for experience, yet it was no longer the virtual “images” that finally achieve this goal, but rather the transformation into real objects through those methods. This also proves CHEN’s statement about the significance of the textuality of images to his works – when the “image text” retreats into a texture, the eyes will start to focus on “it” as a whole.

 

To the contrary, LI Shurui, who was once the assistant of CHEN Wenbo, has increasingly exhibited in her works a determination to enter the “pure visual” world. Her most known work is the “light”-themed painting, its visual illusion created through colorful dots from spray guns will be easily linked to a sub-cultural life style, and the life experience which accompanies the “vision” could be described as “evading the significant and dwelling on the trivial”. However, when the body shrinks inwardly into the dimension of flesh, its freedom obtains an unprecedented advocation, achieving a reversed self-recognition. Therefore, the vision in LI Shurui’s works always tosses between space and void, acquiring a kind of psychological dimension to some extent, resembling some kind of personal whispers facing away from the outside world, mixed with some self-protection. This is exactly what distinguishes the “nausea” of LI’s works from the similar senses of YAN Lei’s Chasing Light series, which correspond to a set of logics of vanity fair, and succeed the Aureola series. The visual factor of the two series is in fact a symbol, a sign, a conceptual certification of individual’s operational ability in the social field. The most prominent feature is that it put focus on the outward radiation of “brightness” as well as the centralized “hierarchy” form, both of which are closely related to YAN Lei’s identity as an artist. Like the aforementioned three artists, LIU Wentao also give sufficient concern for “light” in his works, what’s different is that LIU Wentao’s “light” is manifested to be a kind of real material reflection. He uses pencil to repeatedly draw lines along the structure of form on the multi-dimensional canvas, finally producing a material surface that diffuses light. Its obscure feature and the visual vacillation between the two dimensions and the three dimensions jointly sustain the rights of senses.

 

LIU Wei’s paintings always bring visually a feeling of “deja-vu”, due to his of constant dispatching of vision and fine-tuning the visual features of his works on the level of experience, which refers to an information field comprised of numerous factors like the material environment, cultural context, concepts and mode of viewing, etc. Therefore, LIU Wei’s practice in painting is an activity outside the “painting”, more like making devices in the manner, a feature particularly distinguished in his recent work Yes! This Is All, which succeeds in restoring his (including our) “experience” interference that cannot be shielded using a “conceptual” visual surface feature. What’s interesting is that the graphic feature of complexity and sequence presented in LIANG Yuanwei’s Fragments of Life will be easily associated with some popular production mode of art (with YAN Lei and LIU Wei as its representatives), possibly due to her works’ resemblance to wallpapers (decorations of industrial production). However, LIANG Yuanwei finished every piece through the manner of experience (work/endurance), even actively reinforcing and extending this experience by broadening the canvas. The beautiful vision accompanied by the dull production mode and the gradually reduced chroma on the canvas looking like the sun’s reflection against the wall, the romantic representation is indeed a “punch-card machine”. From this perspective, we come to understand CHEN Jie’s doubts on painting – a professional reflection, resulting in his reproduction of the other side of professional painting using hands of other people in his Limited Painting. First he lay down a set of working methods so that people without any training in painting could handle this by following the procedure until all the grids were filled with colors. The colors in every grid seems totally meaningless, just like a bit, but as a whole are integrated into a quite orderly form by our eyes once all the grids are filled. The whole process starts with inexperienced flurry, through skilled excitement and ends up with bored body reflexes. Compared with his earlier painting works, this series carries with it a feeling of ease though accompanied with a sense of self-mockery. Unlike CHEN Jie’s professional reflection, on one hand XIE Molin has gained a self-recognition in the cross cooperation between the development of automatic painting machine and the technology, but on the other hand, he has undoubtedly placed “painting” into the relationship between tools of production and objects of production, resulting in a definite quality criterion for the judgment of “vision”. By then, the materiality that revolves the art world will be fully exposed and look more real than ever, but with the probable result of machine usurping “painting’s” position in the hall of art.

 

I don’t want to conceal my personal preference towards these works. I may be wrong, but I don’t deem this personal feeling to be stupid, because of my unwillingness to hollow my own body with knowledge and thinking and disregard these “visual” things’ recognition of themselves, in order to embrace a concept like some people. The mission for the “vision” to shoulder, if any, is to enter a kind of experience and discover over and over the subject inside the structure.

 

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