第76期 忧郁的热带——广州青年当代艺术家观感(2012)

第76期 忧郁的热带——广州青年当代艺术家观感(2012年)

学术主持:胡斌

主题:黄一山 黄立言 韦路 林伟祥 许东生 秦晋 周钦珊 曾忆城

新作:古原 龚剑 刘大鸿 张立 申亮  蒋国蓉

Issue No. 76(2012)

Theme: Tristes Tropiques: Impressions of the Young Modern Artists in Guangzhou

Academic Host: Hu Bin

A.T: Huang Yishan, Huang Liyan, Wei Lu, Lin Wei Xiang, Xu Dongsheng, Qin Jin, Zhang Qinshan, Zeng Yicheng

A.N: Gu Yuan, Gong Jian, Liu Dahong, Zhang Li, Shen Liang, Jiang Guorong

76

忧郁的热带——广州青年当代艺术家观感

学术主持:胡斌

“忧郁的热带”是法国人类学家列维—斯特劳斯的一本名著的书名。在那本书里,他以锐利的笔触描绘了自己所到访的南美洲、太平洋岛屿、东南亚等地热带区域的人群部落的基本形态,“它所揭示的世界是一个没有命运,没有最终目标,只有残迹的世界。”(James Boom)有人分析说,热带缘何忧郁,这与闷热的气候和混乱肮脏的环境有关,而实际上中国亚热带的某些城市,比如广州的一些场所也有类似的情形,而正因为这种环境才使其呈现出繁盛的状貌。应该说,“忧郁”更多的是指作者旅行于这些区域的心情,而生活在那里的人们多处于一种茫然的乐天气派中。借用这个题目来展现广州当代艺术的某些方面,谈不上与这本书有什么关联,我只是觉得它契合了有些青年当代艺术家的气质。

 

粗略想来,在温湿的南方,在繁花似锦、人群熙攘、传媒发达、所谓得风气之先的花城广州,当代艺术应该能够成为区域文化的前沿潮流或时尚先锋。而实际上,相对于北京、上海等城市来说,广州当代艺术的民间活动和收藏还谈不上有多浓厚的氛围;为数不多的一些当代艺术机构沿着自己既定的轨道运行着,甚少出现什么火爆场面和惊人之举;自然形成的几处艺术家聚集地也没有任何文化产业上的示范效应,更多地是为生活和创作寻找一个安稳之地。记得2008年广州召开过一个“当代艺术的热与冷”的研讨会,那很明显是针对金融海啸形势下当代艺术的状态而来,但有与会者就说,广州的当代艺术从来就未曾火热过,所以现在也谈不上冷。

 

倘若反过来看,这样的状态也意味着广州的当代艺术还没有被收编到星棋罗布的各种阵营当中去,艺术创作更多的是以艺术家的自我意识倾向与个体选择为前提,少了一份艺术生产中心区域利益追逐的焦灼心态。当然,受全国当代艺术潮流的影响,广州当代艺术家的作品也会有些流行符号的影子,但总体看来,急功近利地追摹和复制他人的成功图式的现象还比较少,表达方式较为多样化。

 

就青年当代艺术家而言,他们当中有的以卡通动漫及其变体为图式进行创作,不过这大都是基于自身的生活和趣味选择,渗透着青春的玄思和戏谑,带有某种流动性和生涩感,而非一味地打造精致新奇的醒目标志,以致于在如今这个扁平化图式喧嚣的时代难为观者所注目;有的执著于艺术语言的内在锤炼和沉静的思索,而不屑于直白的社会反映式的图绘;有的坚守着极具实验性的边缘探索,外界躁动的艺术流行风和市场效应并不能消弭其一以贯之的前沿精神。各种艺术取向杂陈又不太张扬,这样便使得广州当代艺术的区域整体效应显得不那么突出,好比热带雨林中的植物,千奇百异,充满着旺盛的生命力,却多少有些寂静。

 

广州的艺术家表达方式和层次多样,较少聚集在某个标签下面,虽然也时有某些口号抛出,却难以汇集较强的力量并持续下去,他们自足于以自己习惯的方式活动,但我们还是可以对现在的广州青年艺术家梳理出一点脉络。如果笼统来分的话,有一些艺术家可以归入“新卡通”的范畴,虽然他们跟“卡通一代”的团体没有什么关系,但大体是采用一种图式感特别强(以流行时尚符号,特别是卡通、动漫的表达图式为主体),颜色较为绚丽,手法多为平涂的呈现方式,他们的表达与这个时代的视觉表征甚为契合,同时也可在上辈的某些当代艺术家那里找到师承资源。而另一些青年艺术家则与“广东快车”(以“大尾象”为班底扩充的广东当代艺术代表集体)及其相关组织(如博尔赫斯书店、维他命艺术空间等)有更为紧密的联系,当然,他们的联系主要是源于艺术创作方式和趣味的相近,他们大都偏向于对生活的智性转换和观念探索,而不是视觉表征的直观呈现。而在这两大取向之间,我试图找到另一些难以归类的,个体创作方式比较特别的,触碰到社会或身体体验当中的冰冷感的一些青年艺术家,他们在这个浓稠而潮湿的夜空里星星点点地散发着幽幽的光。将他们从上述取向中剥离开来,并不就代表他们与之没有任何联系;并且也很难用“忧郁”一词来概括他们的特点,我只是想反映他们那样一种冷静的、潜藏的思索和不趋时流的精神内质。

 

在本专题要介绍的艺术家中,黄一山、韦路、林伟祥、黄立言、许东生都以油画创作为主。黄一山的作品最突出的一点就是以极其冷漠的方式来呈现一个程序化的世界。在他的画面中,不管是纯粹的物件还是活生生的有肉感、有温度的动物或人,都被抹杀了界限,一律变为惯常操作中的“试验品”。从表达对象到图式构成,再到表达手法的高度理性的程式化,带给我们的是一个历史经典与身体体验、社会现象糅合一处,冷峻却又荒诞无边的世界,它由此形成对技术化、被控的时代的人们心理的深刻影射。韦路的作品像是他个人兴趣的一个百宝箱,他往里面放入各种喜欢的构件,漫画、动植物标本、机械模型、影片片段……这些物象差异如此之大,他却能以神奇的想象力和灵活的手法将他们连接在一起。而在这琳琅满目的视觉景观中,我们得以洞察作者内心的秘密以及图像世界背后的社会心理机制。林伟祥不辞劳苦地在他的“花布”丛林里呈现七情六欲的琐屑生活画幅,绚烂、诡秘而又静穆幽深,在这样的画面气氛底下纠绕着迷醉、执着、空洞、微讽、疑虑、不安等复杂的情绪。与某种喧嚣混搭的表达相比,黄立言的作品显得更为内在幽谧,他画面里那些据说来自于电影、书籍、音乐以及日常生活细节触发的物象,在观者看来,似乎更多地应与潜意识或梦境中的景象有关。他以独特的画面景象对忧郁、骄傲、恐惧、悲伤、寂寞等心理感觉进行了极富个性的链接和阐释。他力图从表层化的陈述中逃逸出来,哲人般地注视着当下的时代境况,以自己的内心体验介入生命意志及表象世界的严肃关注。许东生的画面显得沉静凝固,但他所表现的却常常是某一不明的、突然的瞬间情境,呈现出一种强烈的戏剧舞台感,然而这舞台似乎是梦幻中的,影影绰绰,无限迷蒙,却又步步惊心。他像是在某种不能把控自己的眩晕中努力地张望着这个世界;作品在富于神性和冷峻气质的诗意氛围中透视着对灵魂无所皈依的肉身幻化状态的反思。

 

专题中的两位女艺术家性格差异很大,但在创作旨趣上却有某些共同之处。就周钦珊而言,不管是那偏于内心修炼的以规整的细线排列而成的抽象画,还是温情与残酷交织的装置或影像作品,我们都可以看到,她从个体,特别是女性个体出发,来书写着某种夹杂伤痛又不失纯真的体悟,而这种体悟直接根源于现今这个混乱的、破碎的时代给予个体的遭遇。另一位女性艺术家秦晋,也主要选择隐秘的私人经验的话题,比如将承载个人记忆的衣服焚毁,以呈现出某种悲剧式的美感。她的作品往往在温情中渗透着不安,沉静中蕴藏着紧张和冲突,比如将秋千悬挂在高层大楼的幕墙上,用熨斗将衣服重复熨平直至焦黄,在仿古的座椅下面装上两把明晃晃的铡刀,如此,正体现出她所说的细腻情感中所含有的粉色的暴力和残忍。

 

最后要介绍的一位艺术家曾忆城,有过较长时间的媒体工作经历,主要采用摄影的创作方式,现在也逐步延伸到其他领域。从作品中,我们可以看到其情绪和思考方式的变化。供职于媒体时,他的“时装摄影”透射着妖娆、欲望、规训之间的缠绕与对抗,他在此基础上构建着“美丽都市”的虚幻之梦,后来,他越来越冲和恬淡,作品日渐呈现出某种禅意。从以自己一段没有结局的爱情为蓝本、仍然潜藏着些许青春躁动与哀伤的视觉诗篇,到后来的基于平常物象的空灵、舒缓、富于哲思的表达,他越来越希望“通过摄影观看世界的同时,也在观看自己的内心”。

 

这,就是我想向大家陈述的广州当代艺术的另一个版本。当然,它仍然只是众多版本中的一个,又或者版本并不重要,重要的是在这片土地上发酵的艺术和思想。

 

 

TRISTES TROPIQUES

IMPRESSIONS OF YOUNG MODERN ARTISTS IN GUANGZHOU

 

ACADEMIC HOST: HU BIN

 

In his Tristes Tropiques (or A World on the Wane), the French anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss wrote with sharp descriptive force about the basic form of the tribal peoples in the tropical areas of South America, some Pacific islands and Southeast Asia that he visited. “It exposes a world without fate and destination, but only with vestiges” (James Boom). As some analyzed, the tristeness lay in its muggy weather and disordered and dirty environment. However, just like some cities of China in the subtropical zones, for instance, Guangzhou, it was this environment that made these cities look prosperous. Thus, one should say, “triste” referred more to the writer’s mood when he travelled in those places, while the local people usually stayed vacant and optimistic. By borrowing this title to display some aspects of the modern art in Guangzhou, I simply feel that it goes in accordance with the temperament of some young modern artists rather than associate this article with the title.

 

Think roughly: in the humid South, especial the flower city Guangzhou with its flowers blooming, crowds bustling, media developed, and fashion leading, modern art could become the cutting-edge trend or the fashion pioneer. But in fact, compared with cities like Beijing, Shanghai, etc., the civilian activities and collecting of the modern art in Guangzhou does not boast strong atmosphere; very few modern art institutions run on their own tracks with rare appearance of lively scenes or amazing actions; several naturally formed gathering places of the artists simply serve as stable places for the lives and creation of the artists without any demonstration effect in any cultural industry. As far as I can recall, in 2008, a seminar about “The Fever and Cold of Modern Art” was held in Guangzhou. Obviously, it aimed at the state of modern art under the situation of the financial tsunami. And as some conferees said, the modern art in Guangzhou had neither been hot before, nor could it be described as cold now.

 

If we look in turn, this state also means that instead of being incorporated into various groups, the modern art in Guangzhou creates with the inclination of the self-consciousness and individual choices of the artists as the precondition, while with less anxious state of mind in chasing interests in the central area of the artistic production. Of course, under the influence of the trend of modern art around the nation, the works of the modern artists in Guangzhou mirror some popular symbols. But in general, with diverse ways of expressing, the phenomenon of seeking quick success and instant benefits by imitating and copying others’ successful patterns rarely appears.

 

As for the young modern artists, their works, penetrated by the whims and jokes of youth and possessing certain liquidity and an unskilled sense are out of their own lives and interest choices. Based on the image schema of cartoon, and comic and animation, some of the works don’t aim at making delicate and novel signs to attract people’s attention, thus, they stay almost invisible in this narrow noisy era of schema. Committed to the inner tinkering of the artistic language and quiet meditation, some artists disdain the direct image description of the social reflection. And some of them, whose constant frontier spirits never vanish due to the restless popular trend of art as well as the market effect in the outside world, hold on to the experimental marginal exploration. With various non-assertive artistic approaches, the general effect of the modern art in Guangzhou does not stand out, just like the plants in the tropical rain forests, various and fantastic, full of vigor and vitality, but more or less too quiet.

 

The artists in Guangzhou have diverse ways of expression and different levels; they rarely gather together under certain labels; though throwing slogans out sometimes, they hardly sustain by collecting stronger forces. Satisfied by the usual ways of actions, the young artists in Guangzhou could still be made clear. Generally speaking, some of them can be classified into the range of “new cartoon”, even though they have nothing to do with the group of “the cartoon generation”. Most of them adopt an image with strong schema (and with the popular fashion symbols, especially the expression schema of cartoon, comic and animation as the body) in which the colors look splendid, and the technique employs Ping-tu as the mode of presentation. Their expression goes with the visual characteristics of the time and could also be found as the succession of the teachings from the modern artists of the last generation. Other young artists have close contact with “Guangdong Express” (a modern artistic representative group enlarged on the basis of the “Big Tail Elephant”) and its relevant groups (such as Libreria Borges and Vitamin Creative Space, etc.). Of course, lying in the similar approaches of artistic creation and interests, they prefer the intellectual transfer and concept exploration to the direct display of the visual characteristics. Between these two approaches, I attempt to find out some young artists who are hard to be classified, and whose individual creative methods are relatively special. By touching the coldness of the society and the body, they diffuse dim light here and there in the dense damp night sky. That stripping them from the approaches above doesn’t follow that they have nothing relevant. And it is also hard to use “triste” to summarize their characteristics. I only mean to reflect their calm hidden thought and the internal spirit of not following the trend.

 

This subject will introduce several artists Huang Yishan, Wei Lu, Lin Weixiang, Huang Liyan and Xu Dongsheng whose major works are paintings. The most impressive feature of Huang’s works is to show a programmed world in an extremely cold and detached way. In his painting, everything—whether simply an object or lively animals or human-being with flesh and warmth—turns out to be an “guinea pig” with the boundaries between them obliterated. From presenting the objects to forming the image schema, to the highly rationalized stylization, Huang brings us a cold and extremely absurd world of the mixture of historical classics and bodily experience and social phenomenon, and thus deeply alludes to the mentality of people in the technical and controlled time. Wei Lu’s works seem as a treasure box of his personal interests which contains his favorite component parts of various kinds, such as comic, animal and botanical specimens, mechanical models and movie clips…He could combine these things of great difference together with his magical imagination and agile techniques. Right in the beautiful visual spectacle can we perceive the inner secrets of the author and the social mental mechanism behind the world of pictures. Lin Weixiang spares no pains in displaying the pictures of trivial life which is full of emotions and desires in his forest of “colorful canvas”. Under the splendid and secretive atmosphere of solemnity, serenity and depth, the complicated emotions of enchantment, persistence, void, slight mock, doubt and uneasiness get tangled. Compared with certain noisy and mixed expression, Huang Liyan’s works seem more secluded and serene. Those objects which are said to have come from movies, books, music and trivial life details appear to have a closer relationship with the images in the sub-consciousness and dreams. By linking and illustrating the psychological feelings of melancholy, pride, fear, sadness and loneliness with special pictures and individuality, he attempts to escape from the superficial description and to stare at the current circumstance of the time like a philosopher, and to get involved into the serious attention of the will to life and the superficial world by his inner experience. Though still and static, the paintings of Xu Dongsheng usually express some unknown and sudden momentary situation and present a strong sense of drama on the stage, which, however, seems to be dreamlike, shadowy, misty and shocking in each step. It looks as if he tries very hard to look at this world in an uncontrolled dizziness; in the poetic atmosphere full of divinity and cold temperament, his works see through the reflection of mortal body in a state of change while the spirit goes nowhere.

 

The characters of the two women artists in the subject differ a great deal while sharing some similarities on the creation purport. As for Zhou Qingshan, we could see that her works, might they be the abstract paintings arranged by the structured fine threads which are more of self-improvement, or the devices and videos interwoven by tender and cruel feelings, write some understanding mingled with pain and purity. This understanding directly derives from the individual experience in this chaotic and broken era. Another woman artist Qin Jin, also mainly chooses topics of secret personal experience, for instance, burning clothes of individual memories presents some tragic beauty. Her works usually reveal uneasiness in the tender feelings, or hold anxiety and conflicts in serenity, such as hanging the swing on the curtain wall of the tall buildings, repeatedly ironing the clothes to be sallow, or instilling two gleaming fodder chopper under the antiqued chairs, which, as she says, embodies the pink violence and cruelty in the delicate emotions. The last artist to be introduced is Zeng Yicheng who has a longer working experience in the media. He mainly adopts the creation method of photography and extends to some other fields now. In his works, we can perceive the change of emotions and ways of thinking. When working in the media, his “fashion photography” reflects the entanglement and confrontation of fascination, desire and discipline, on which basis he constructs an illusory dream of a “beautiful city”. Later, as he becomes milder and more indifferent, his works gradually reveals some meanings of Zen. From a love story without result, and some visual poems with the adolescent restlessness and sadness lurking, to the ethereal, leisurely and philosophical expression of common objects, he more and more hopes to “observe the world and his inner world through photography”.

This, then, is another version of my introduction of the modern art in Guangzhou. Of course, it still serves as one of many versions. Or perhaps what matters is not the version, but the fermentative art and thoughts in this land.

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