主题：“每个人的东湖”艺术计划 未知博物馆 雄黄社 三分钟小组 Forget Art 绿校
新作：杨鸿 方鹤 熊莉钧 梁伟
Issue No. 67(2010)
Theme: Self – Organization in 2010
Academic Host: Fu Xiaodong, Yan Shuli
A.T: Everybody’s East Lake Art Project, Unknow Musuem Group, Xiong Huang Group, Forget Art Group, Lv Xiao.com (Green School)
A.N: Yang Hong, Fang He, Xiong Lijun, Liang Wei
雄黄社和forget art是两个有趣的“自我组织”，他们由艺术家组成，有明确的纲领和宗旨，但他们主要以策划艺术项目的方式，邀请其他艺术家们围绕这些项目来进行创作。他们项目有着更为明确的艺术理念和态度。雄黄社的“骄傲”、“天涯”等项目的实施，不在正式的艺术空间机构展出，没有固定的展示场所，没有展览时间限制，甚至作为策展方，他们放弃了参展艺术家作品的知晓权和判断权，让艺术家自由参加，自己负责作品。他们所做的系列项目，很明显是对目前当代艺术有组织机构、有商业或学术目的、有策展机制的艺术展览方式、艺术机制的逆向而行，探讨在这个机制之外的艺术的可能性。forget art小组的项目的策划理念正如这个小组的名字一样，“忘记艺术，或也有可能得到艺术”，除了在“龙泉洗浴”项目中和雄黄社同样对现有艺术的界定、艺术边界的可能性、艺术与社会的关系等问题作出了思考，forget art小组还针对当代艺术在快速市场化的这个阶段出现的许多好大喜功的、刺激感官的、材质与精神上都很铺张浪费的艺术作品提出了质疑，forget art强调一种对生活的微干预、极少主义、低调、节制的美学观。
Self-Organization in 2010
Academic Hosts: FU Xiaodong YAN Shuli
In my view, the opening of the exhibition by Ai weiwei with his 100 million sunflower seeds at the turbine hall of Tate Modern marked the end of the era for great artists. Large sum of funds input, top of the art musuem, the focus of worldwide medias, all together finally ushered in the arrival of the great symbolic event. In sharp contrast with it, most artists’ studios in Black Bridge art zone or Railway art zone of Beijing only have 60 square metres or even smaller which are short of heating supply and only visited by the neighbors. For the young artists in Beijing, although the happy mood of not having to be removed again are not over, they begin to worry about how to suvive from this cold winter. These are two realities existed in the same art field. When the post-economic crisis era comes, the reform of the art by the commerce has been deepened and capitals inflow to the channels which can bring interests and spread more effectively. Economic benefits brought by the Big Man never decline while the “useless” long-tail effect here are directly being cutted off. In this situation, experimental arts encountered with the danger of losing all their platforms while have little market before. Since unable to obtain capital allocation, more artists spontaneously united together. Just like the situation of the underground art throttled by the political systems in 1980s, these new risers finally found their own way under the oppress of the commercial systems. They launched many guerrilla warfares at non-art musuem space, the public space, the urban or even the bathroom. Voluntary participation and loose structure, equal social relations and the same class, diversity of identities and main styles of installtaiton art and readymade art , non-judge on the works and establishing some new rules, all these are the main characters of these various organizations with different names. These characters makes it possible for many young artists to do some “putting all the resource together” works. It also leads to many projects which can not completed by only one person and the project with conflicting values, different directions and plenty of thinking points. The signature is not important any more. All the mode of production for Contempoary arts deeply changed, from the processing factory to do one great artist’s one ordered piece of work with large capital input to the separated, collecitve, anonymous and low-cost creative unite. All these makes contempoary art more active and turn to be the powerful productive force for the new art ecology. I have no idea that what is the future of these self organiztions without the support of the country, the commerial resource, even any fixed orgainzation and market relation. Perhapes they will not establish non-profit organizations dominated by the artists as what they do in the Euramerican art systems. Perhapes they will finally stop when they feel tired. Perhaps they will go to the same side of the system that they object to now and turn to be the new victor of the art musuem. We don’t know anything about that now. All we have to do is waiting for the history to give us an answer.
By FU Xiaodong
As was mentioned about the artistic group in the discussion of the previous issue, within these twenty or more years of China’s contemporary artistic development, the artistic troupes and groups organized spontaneously by the artists themselves have always been extremely active and occupy an important proportion in the avant-garde. Different from the artistic groups that create one piece of work together, which serves as the main focus of the previous theme, this issue mainly introduces the self-organizations by the artists who devise, discuss and carry out artistic projects, and create individual works of various kinds according to the projects. In these organizations, every artists enters as an individual creator, thus the relationship between the artists is relatively loose and free.
At the beginning of China’s contemporary artistic development in the 1980s and 1990s, self-organizations by the artists presented a rather active appearance. During that time, the artistic ideological trends surged in large numbers, and the art circles were saturated with discussions. The establishment of those artistic troupes and groups had a great deal to do with the artistic discussion ambience as well as the experimental interest and wish of the artistic media.
In the 21st century, with the rapid development and internationalization of China’s economy, its contemporary art stepped into a phase of rapid commercialization and internationalization and exposed itself in a state of blowing out between the year 2006 and 2008. The high auction price together with international capital came into China’s contemporary art, stimulating our contemporary art market. As far as we could recall, in the past few years, capital from various sources flooded into our contemporary art; art galleries were established everywhere; people held biennales, triennials and even big art fairs. In the face of the establishment of those large or small art galleries from home and abroad, and the nonstop art exhibitions and activities, our contemporary art had never encountered courtesy and attention like this, nor had it been restricted and troubled by so many new problems. Stimulated by the market, the market value of the artistic works which presented themselves as commodities turned out to be an important yardstick of value and the discourse of power, and penetrated every section of the mechanism such as artistic production, communication and reception. It exerted so great an influence that people marveled at the power of capital from the individual creation of the artists to various academic activities and even to the collections of the art galleries. Nevertheless, right behind this balloon blown up rapidly by capital, the independence of contemporary art as well as the spirit of avant-garde had been greatly threatened. Meanwhile, the spiritual value of art and its social meaning were relatively ignored.
In 2009, due to its economic crisis, China’s contemporary art went back to a relatively true state, and more and more people began to reflect on those various problems existing in the previous period. Inquires such as “what is art”, “why do we need art”, “what is the relationship between art and society”, and “how to create, why to create and for whom to create art” were raised again. Different kinds of artistic mechanisms and systems of contemporary art formed rapidly were questioned, in which several self-organizations by the artists played an important vanguard role over again. Artistic projects, activities and behaviors of various self-organizations became extremely active at the end of 2009 and the year 2010, which aroused more attention. Most of the ideas and practices of these self-organizations, as well as the reasons of catching public attention, whether they came out of the result of rational thinking or spontaneous consciousness, concealed the reflection on the superheat towards China’s contemporary art in the previous period. This issue introduces six current active artistic groups and projects by the artists, which represent several directions and attitudes towards the response and reflection mentioned above.
Unknown Museum Group is a creation group co-worked by the young artists in Shanghai, who carry out projects such as meditation stage, unknown museum and utopian house. And the name Unknown Museum Group itself delivers the idea to reflect on the current artistic value production mechanism and open the pluralistic value space. The artists emphasize that every project is the sum to raise questions, to discuss and to put into action, and it is a process to think instead of a certain induction or presentation of some result. The process of the meditation stage project exists in the self-reflection and self-concern of the participants, rather than depend on the maintenance of real space or mechanisms. Also in their “when we talk about art, what exactly are we talking about” project, they scattered the artistic woks and living goods, the boundary between which is rather obscure, in a certain space, and it is up to the viewer to judge what objects belong to the living goods or artistic works, and to decide whether this space is a place to chat or to meditate. Unknown Museum Group also expects to communicate with some other spiritual fields such as sociology and philosophy, so as to provide a stage to open and demonstrate one’s mind. Generally speaking, the artistic projects of this group is the result of the mutual discussion and rational thinking of the artists, and involved the reflection on some important problems of contemporary art while representing the tendency of current artists to do the academic thinking again on those problems such as how to maintain the dependent spirit of art, pay attention to the spiritual value of art, extend the artistic boundary and its possibilities, as well as to establish open artistic mechanisms.
Compared with the theoretical tendency of Unknown Museum Group, Lvxiao.com(green school) and Three Minute Group embody an artistic ecology beyond the control of the specialized, commercialized, and capitalized artistic production mechanism. They represent a creation state which is wild, plebeian, individual, equal, free and active. As an internet group, Lvxiao.com(green school) sets blog as a stage where any young man who does artistic works could post his own piece of work and communicate with others, and who can be an undergraduate or graduate from the art institutes, or a total amateur art-lover who never receives any standard art education. The unique ideal state of this internet stage which is free, open, unrestricted and without identity difference between an artist and an amateur endows it with brilliant vigor, and keeps the original impulse, passion, happiness or idealism in their artistic works. Compared with the social universality of the stage in Lvxiao.com(green school), Three Minutes Group represents the creation state and ideas of the young artists of the art circle who were born in the 1980s, and who, by making use of internet stage such as douban group and their friends, communicate and do artistic works within their circle. Still, the group has people of various kinds and video art lovers from different fields. Creation here does not aim to enter certain thematic exhibitions or the selling of some galleries, or to expect the realization of some academic or market value, but serves as a form for the individual’s self-recognition and mutual identification, and an interesting living state. It doesn’t need any serious academic discussion or criticism, nor does it involve any theoretical argument or value judgment; its characteristic is to keep a frolic and merry communicative fashion like that in a party. In every activity, the person who would be the one to set the theme is decided by drawing lots. The participants then create their works according to the theme, thus their works look more like the assignments handed in every time by the whole group, in which they could be audiences as well as readers. Someone would probably question the power of these works produced by such a group which is loose, inter-communicative and without any academic discussion. However, such kind of group which doesn’t involve any commercial interest, which has no theoretical argument and no boundary between an artist and an amateur, does establish a creation stage which is relatively free and dependent beyond the current artistic mechanism which is occupied by the fights among various kinds of capital and academic powers, and endows the young artists the rights to amuse themselves, and to enjoy the happiness of creating through art.
As two interesting self-organizations, Xionghuang Group and Forget art Group are composed by artists. With clear guiding principles and objects, they mainly invite other artists to create works according to the projects conducted by them, and their projects bear much clearer artistic ideas and attitudes. Such projects as Pride and The End of the Earth by Xionghuang Group are not exhibited in formal artistic institutes, nor do they have fixed exhibition places or time limits. Even the conductors themselves give up the rights to know and judge the list of woks by the artists, and make the artists to participate freely and be in charge of their own works. Obviously, the series of projects they conducted go right in opposite with the art exhibition forms and mechanisms of current contemporary art which has certain organizations, commercial or academic purposes and curation mechanisms. Just as its name suggests, Forget art Group bears the same conducting idea, which is to forget art, or perhaps for getting art. Besides its thinking in its project Longquan Scouring Bath on problems like the definition of contemporary art, the possibility of artistic boundary and the relationship between art and society, which Xionghuang Group considered as well, Forget art Group also questions those artistic works which crave for ambition in greatness, stimulus to the sense organs, extravagance and wastefulness in both material and spirit in this period of contemporary art’s fast commercialization. It emphasizes an aesthetic attitude of slight interference, minimum, low profile and temperance in life. In a sense, the artists in Forget art Group could be regarded as the advocators in contemporary art field to practice thrift and protect environment in art.
Due to a social event in which a well-known enterprise decided to build a large-scale estate project in the East Lake Scenic Spot of Wuhan, the architects Li Juchuan and the artist Li Yu in Wuhan launched Everybody’s East Lake Art Project. If accomplished, this estate project is vey likely to occupy a large part of the shore and water surface of the East Lake, or even stuff a part of the lake. Thus, it arouses the attention of the Wuhan citizens to care about the future of the East Lake. Proposed under this background and delivered through internet and friends, this art project is open to anyone as long as he does not produce any piece of work to do damage to the environment. In the interview of the initiators, they mention that the point of the art project is not to create artistic works, but to launch a common activity in the form of art. They believe that though the form of art does not aim to solve problems in reality, but it can expose the real problems, conflicts and plights, which is also a kind of resistance. The question that whether a certain space to discuss public issues could be created through artistic activities, or whether every individual could create a place he needs in a city which is constructed by various political and economic powers, needs thinking by everyone in this Everybody’s East Lake Art Project. Actually, this art project is right beyond the discussion of art, but points to those questions like the relationship between art and society, and the influence that art exerts on society. To be specific, it even goes beyond the questions above, and points to the social problems. Not being a project with an aim for art, Everybody’s East Lake Art Project appears in the era when consumerism is prevalent in the artistic field, and calls attention to the importance of the spirit of the gadfly in the artists.
Apart from the self-organizations mentioned above, there exist many other artistic groups, organizations, projects and exhibitions spontaneously conducted by artists who remain to be active and catch a lot of attention in this period, such as Social Youth, the series of projects launched by Waza Group. Though different, the self-organizations attempt to build an open spiritual stage which breaks the difference between professionals, and professional and non-professionals, and to stimulate the communication between art and other artistic fields and social fields; which reflect on current artistic communication, exhibition, reception and value judgment; and which make efforts to protect the independent spirit and critical spirit of art.The birth and activities of these self-organizations in a sense implicate the basic appeal to the independent artistic spirit in current commercialize art.
By Yan Shuli