主题：卓凡 琴嘎 卢征远 杨穹 梁硕 胡庆雁 刁伟 康靖
新作：李磊 谢墨凛 南方 王长明 贺祖斌
Issue No. 71(2011)
Academic Host: Liu Libin
A.T: Zhuo Fan, Qin Ga, Lu Zhengyuan, Yang Qiong, Liang Shuo, Hu Qingyan, Diao Wei, Kang Jin
A.N: Li Lei, Xie Moling, Nan Fang, Wang Changming, He Zubin
Without construction there can be no destruction
——finding the “access” into oneself
Academic Hosts: Liu Libin
In terms of the inheritance and the innovation of art, it seems that the majority believes that “without destruction there can be no construction”, whereas I have more faith in “without construction there can be no destruction”. The former is based upon the narrative mode established by the “Evolutionism”, largely relying on bringing forth the new through the old; while the latter puts more faith in the gradual change upon the traditional foundation, or the “sudden change” brought about around some key factor when the accumulation has reached some certain degree. The “change” is almost impossible without the inheritance or the long-term saturation in tradition.
Therefore, when it comes to the experimental art, I believe the transformation from “the non-experimental” to “the experimental” should come as a natural process, instead of some juggling toying with “quiz shows” or some game of “material replacement” or an experiment filed to turn the experimental art into a “concept”. “Experiment” and “trial” may seem related, but the avant-garde pursuit for fame of the former reveals a striking gap from the progressive stand of exploration of the latter.
As a matter of fact, most beginners of art start from the techniques of fine arts – Chinese practice their calligraphy and painting after the classical models while the westerners are diligent in the sketch training. Those techniques offer you a “crutch” to learn painting, whoever succeeds in transforming that into an “access” into oneself will turn out to be valuable, in other words, to establish a “passageway” between oneself and one’s heart through hardship. The saturation of techniques of fine arts can be regarded as a “passageway”. XU Bing once said the practice of sketching David helped transform him from a crude person into a refined one. During the process of painting David, XU Bing tried to exhibit all his painting capabilities until there’s nothing more to show, i.e. he pushed himself into a circumstance where the activity of painting could no longer be carried out. It was just in this “dead land” that he discovered his strengths as well as his weaknesses while learning the methods of handling and controlling problems during the process.
The departments of Print and Sculpture are considered to be creatively active in the Central Academy of Fine Arts. The focus on “the singularity and the plurality” and “the contingency and necessity of transfer print” in the process of producing print works has offered them an easier access into the so-called contemporary artistic creation. Through different approaches, the Sculpture Department also manifested a similar activeness as the Print Department. While ensuring the foundation of cultivating the traditional sculpture techniques, the Sculpture Department has presented a great many rising young artists with independent thinking in the relatively open education of elicitation-mode, which put its core on the study of problems.
The 8 artists of this special were selected from the participants of “Carving + Modeling – SUI Jianguo and His Students” Exhibition in 2010. The exclusion of SUI Jianguo, YANG Xinguang and WANG Sishun was due to the fact that Fine Arts Literature had already done specials for them. As for the 8 artists who made the list, we included some of their more recent works in addition to the old ones, completing the selected topic of this special.
With the rise in numbers of “installation” works, people came to feel the embarrassing situation of “sculpture” in Chinese contemporary art, on the other hand, people were also given an opportunity to reflect upon the current value of “sculpture” and rediscover its possibilities. The works displayed in the “Carving + Modeling” Exhibition seemed “non-sculpture”, yet they were interrelated with academic sculpture in innumerable ways. Instead of the more-often-focused original artistic form, I attach more significance to the inheritance relationship between those works and academic sculpture. This exhibition of SUI Jianguo and his students on one hand embodied the creative layer bred by the academic sculpture of Central Academy of Fine Arts, on the other hand, it offered a case for the Chinese sculpture for reflection.
Besides, the title of the exhibition – Carving + Modeling, drove at the emphasis on the action of those words. It aimed to highlight the purity of artists’ creative procedure in this transformation process, underlining its transcendence over and boost towards the academic “sculpture” system. “Carve” and “model” can be regarded as mathematical terminologies like “add” and “minus”, as well as the most basic operation of artistic techniques. Is it possible to reactivate an art form when it’s compressed to the most original layer? When the most basic manual approach of an art form is re-manifested, will the cover and shield received during its evolution process be powerfully and completely stripped off? Whether it will evoke the “material nature” of the material used by artists? This “material nature” possesses the silence and strength to break the existing confines of the academic sculpture as well as the composure and calmness to look in the eye of the uproar and fickleness of the art world.
From the material to the heart, that can be regarded as a summary of the creative journey of SUI Jianguo and his students as artists. The pursuit of the artists in this special to question the “material nature” of the material based on the sculpture techniques learned by them, is in fact an excavation of their own temperament.
In correspondence with the course of the “long march”, QIN Ga performs “sculpture” on his own body. His Territory, which was built through the pile of animal bones, demonstrates the valiancy and wild nature once possessed by a nation. QIN looks at this world through the eye of “sculpture”. ZHUO Fan shifted from the obsession with sculpture techniques into the grasp of details of technological methods and means, exhibiting his unique way of concern for the real world through the ridicule and continual questioning of animal bodies and human bodies. LU Zhengyuan randomly scrapes and spreads the paint, after which he uses large-sized painting to describe the status of paint, “to paint the paint with paint”, the light “randomness” of the former and the heavy “deliberateness” of the latter, mix the ridicule and grandeur together. What is that? By LIANG Shuo produces the negative space lengthened by sculpture through the pouring of bronze, turning coincidence into eternity based on the materialization of the void. His installation work Temporary Structure humorizes “fit” – the only reason for two items to come together is because one can fittingly thrust into the other. So what’s LIANG teasing about? It could be the relationship between two sexes, or the chaotic reality of China… KANG Jing scrapes off the bark and his own hair, then carving the tree trunk to be “bark” and making a toupee with real hair. So what’s the reason for distinguishing the real from the fake? What’s the standard? What’s the possibility of the transformation of different material natures? Rather than viewed as a sculpting process, The Modeling of One Foot could be regarded as an obscure and intense relationship between the modeled “foot” and the real “foot” to highlight the issue of “representation” through the sculpture techniques borrowed by the artist. HU Qingyan inexhaustibly “scoops out” something from the marble, which was used to simulate daily necessities, endowing the majestic creation with everyday traces in the transformation of material natures. Recently, HU radicalized the aforementioned creative process in The Story of a Pile of Mud. By linking end to end a series of imitations, HU created a “Serial” of imitation in The Story of Imitation. Whereas in The Story of a Pile of Mud, every process of imitation is a complete “denial” of the result of last imitation, just like a bunch of “one-act plays” of imitation.
From the material to the heart, is an endless road of self-exploration of these artists, whereas to view the heart through heart, can be regarded as something commonplace in their creative process. The clear tendency of their artistic creation can be viewed as a rather valuable new phenomenon manifested by the Chinese sculpture, the emergence of which has provided a new probability for the “sculpture”, showing the possibility of “sculpture” as the support for sculptors’ (as human beings) thinking.
Finding the access to enter oneself, touch one’s heart and find problems through professional hammering and tempering, is exactly the keynote of the title “without construction there can be no destruction”.