第78期 概念超越——重新勘定的“工笔画”边界(2012)

第78期 概念超越——重新勘定的“工笔画”边界(2012年)

学术主持:杭春晓

主题:张见 杭春晖 郑庆余 姜吉安 郝量 徐华翎 秦艾 彭微

新作:王天德 李嘉儒 刘一原 朱雅梅 葛洪强 侯勇

Issue No. 78(2012)

Theme: Conceptual Transcendence: Redefineing the Boundaries of the Traditional Chinese Realistic Painting

Academic Host: Hang Chunxiao

A.T: Zhang Jian , Hang Chunhui, Zheng Qingyu, Jiang Ji`an, Hao Liang, Xu Hualing, Qin Ai, Peng Wei

A.N: Wang Tiande, Li Jiaru, Liu Yiyuan, Zhu Yamei, Ge Hongqiang, Hou Yong

78

概念超越

重新勘定的『工笔画』边界

CONCEPTUAL TRANSCENDENCE

REDEFINING THE BOUNDARIES OF THE TRADITIONAL CHINESE REALISTIC PAINTING

 

学术主持    :杭春晓    ACADEMIC : HANG CHUNXIAO

成为概念的“工笔画”,是一种“负担”。因为它对“技术”的强调,使观者容易忽略“绘画”的意义——观看世界的通道。在工细、严整的意向下,“工笔画”形式美成为观看中心,关乎“图像何以生成”、“认知何以呈现”等问题,却不为人重。这导致“工笔画”成为远离当下的“传统”。问题在于:它真如我们想象的“传统”吗?答案是否定的。也许,你会诧异——它与“写意画”的并置,不是传统“本已有之”的划分吗?事实,并非理所当然的“想象”。“工笔画”以及它与“写意画”的“并置”,是二十世纪初为应对西方写实主义冲击而“诞生”的——“中国画学,南宋以前多工笔,宣和以后渐尚写意,遗貌取神,实为绘事中之超诣,不但作画为然,凡诗文皆有此境界,至造极处,可意会而不可言传。今人见西人油画之工,动诋中国之画者,犹偏执之见耳”⑴。也即,为说明中国画同样具有再现之“工”,消除“偏执之见”,“工笔画”被明确为与“写意画”相对的画种概念。此前画学文献中,我们看不到这一区分方式。

今天,重提这一话题并非为了判断前人“对错”,而是为了反思“工笔画”概念产生之初的“意图”,抑或历史意志。传统画学中,绘画类型的标准或以描绘对象,如山水、人物、鞍马、花鸟等;或以绘画气格,如神品、能品、妙品、逸品等,鲜有方法区分。究其缘由,绘画在中国人眼中是“通神”、“悟道”的,用什么方法达到并不重要,重要的是画面最终能否给人这样的体验。所以,无论描绘手段工细与否、率性与否,都可以“妙逸”,亦可“神能”。但这种主观化读画方式,在二十世纪初遭遇冲击。基于进化思想的西方写实主义,为中国画提出了描摹、刻画的课题,即自然主义的审美样式——假设世界具有客观真实,作为平面性的绘画能够以某种幻觉方式再现客观的真实。于是,绘画目标发生了变异:传统感悟型“观气”阅读不再“高逸”,恰恰成为一种诟病,即金城所谓的“偏执之见”。为了纠正“偏执之见”,就要在传统中寻找“再现”自然的基因,方法自然成为关注中心。因为只有方法客观,才能纠正阅读的主观化。从某种角度看,中国画被“工笔画”、“写意画”区分,是西方科学主义观看方式冲击下的产物。表面上“名词”改变,实则乃“读画经验”的被迫转向:以对描绘目标的客观性验证代替画面效果的主观性感悟。

基于如此逻辑,“工笔画”概念产生之初就带有西方文化的强大基因,而非我们自己的“传统”。需要明确的是,指出这点并非倡导“民族主义”——去除异域基因重归传统。恰恰相反,是针对以“工笔画”为“传统”而不容改变的创作理念。很显然,今天的文化际遇是各种文明混融、杂糅的状态,试图纯化自我血统的努力都是不切实际的妄自菲薄。尤其“工笔画”领域,更是如此——其概念之初就带有被动的杂交性质。正因为杂交而改变的“读画经验”,“工笔画”带来的“画得像不像”、“画得准不准”、“画得细不细”等评价标准,才具有判断的合法性。也正因为这种杂交,“工笔画”概念的产生才为中国画的审美经验提供了另外的可能——激活传统言说能力,使二十世纪中国画在描摹、刻画自然的能力上有了显著转变。然而,任何新概念的“激活能力”,总会因新规范的产生而走向“封闭”。其文化表征显现为类型边界的自我确定。正如今日“工笔画”,在主题化、再现化、造型化等创作思想的确定性中;在勾勒填色、三矾九染等创作形式的确定性中;甚至是岩彩、重彩等创作材料的确定性中,越来越成为一个自我封闭、边界明确的绘画概念,并因此而以“传统”自居,排斥新可能。殊不知,这种自视为传统的概念,本身就因为破坏传统而产生。就此而言,“工笔画”作为概念根本不具备代表“传统”的稳定基础——它是一个在“流变”中改变传统绘画言说方式的概念。那么,今天任何固化“工笔画”观看方式、创作方式,乃至画种边界的行为,都是“概念”产生初衷的背离。也即,今天的“工笔画”不应该,也不可能成为封闭的画种。它必须在不断的自我审视中保持“流变性”,并因此不断自我激活、拓展边界。因此,提出“工笔画”的概念超越,并非否定“工笔画”,而是为了在重新勘定的边界中激活“工笔画”创作——在新视觉结构中显现传统绘画资源的言说能力。正如“工笔画”产生之初,曾以“读画经验”的改变实现传统绘画资源对“描摹”、“刻画”自然的激活。今天,“工笔画”的“概念超越”,也存在类似目标:抛离“故步自封”的文化姿态,实现创作对于“当下”的介入能力、言说能力。

只有这样,既有“绘画资源”才不会成为老旧“传统”(在既定视觉结构中言说既定目标),才会在新言说方式中释放它们潜在的表达能力。理解这一点,对任何既定文化样式的转型,都甚为根本。道理很简单,只有言说方式带来的结构改变,原有文化样式才能具有自我更新的空间与能力。值得注意的是:近年来工笔画领域涌现的一批新类型创作尝试,正是“工笔画”言说方式转换的努力,显现出“画种”自我激活的动力。从20世纪90年代相对零星的个案探索,如徐累的“图式言说”;到近年来大量出现的群体化创作,如姜吉安的“观念视觉”、徐华翎的“视看再造”、彭薇的“架上突围”,以及张见、秦艾等多人的“图像重构”,众多“新奇”的视觉结构不断地消解、重构我们概念中的“工笔画”边界,并带来全新的言说方式:从“自然主义”、“审美主义”等既定逻辑的言说工具,转变为“视觉”与“意图”、“观念”重新互动,并因此实现言说目标的开放。毫无疑问,这种努力使“传统”成为重新体验的通道,而非古典情怀的悼念,也因此使看似传统的画种具备了“当下”介入能力。更重要的是,创作群体内部的新作及更年轻画家的不断涌现,显现出“重新勘定边界”的努力正处于开放性、持续性的状态下,仍充满了多种可能、未来,而非封闭化、样式化的“画派”。而这,无疑使类似探索保持了一种活力,处于自我审视的不断“运动”中——试图突破传统经验束缚,释放中国画对当下文化体验的表述能力,从而成为近年来中国画领域最为引人注目的“当代化”运动。

当然,“新工笔”的“当代化”,不同于我们习惯概念中的“当代艺术”。它并非西方艺术史逻辑中的“当代”诉求,而是发生于中国画自我逻辑的“意义”结构中——重构文化传统与今日生存体验、文化经验的表述关系。当然,如此判断不是否定它会带有“当代艺术”的影响,甚至介入“当代艺术”问题的可能,而是理论层面进行的某种“意义”归纳。但值得警惕的是:“归纳”对每个个体而言,皆非完整性概括。因为个体面对问题的逻辑各自不同,经验的方式、结果都会有所差异,结果自然多元化,带有理论无法概括的丰富性。也正是基于如此原因,提出“新工笔”的“概念超越”,并非艺术风格学上的历史判断,而是基于它所具有的文化“激活”功能:以视觉结构的改变,谋求“传统资源”的当代言说方式,并成为显现“传统”正在遭遇的某种“深度裂变”的文化表征。

注释:

⑴金城:《十八国游历日记》,P180,载沈云龙主编《近代中国史料丛刊·续编》第205册,台北文海出版社1976年版。

2012年6月8日于望京

 

 

 

 

 

The conceptualized “traditional Chinese realistic painting” is a “burden”, due to its emphasis on “techniques” easily resulting in viewers’ neglect of the meaning of “painting” – a path to view the world. Under the delicate and neat intention, “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” now has the beauty in forms as its center of viewing, concerning itself with questions like “how to produce the image?” or “how to present the perception?” while neglecting the focus on human beings. As a result, “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” drifts far away from the current “tradition”. The question is: is it really that “traditional” as we imagine? The answer is negative. You may be surprised – its juxtaposition with the “the free sketch painting” is a division that has been long in existence, isn’t it? Actually, it’s not as taken granted as “imagined”. “The traditional Chinese realistic painting” together with its juxtaposition with “the free sketch painting” were “born” as a response to the western realism at the turn of the 20th century – “the mainstream of the Chinese painting before the Southern Song Dynasty is the realistic painting, but after the reign of Emperor Huizong of Northern Song Dynasty, the trend has shifted towards the free sketch painting which put more focus on the spirit instead of the appearance – a truly extraordinary quality of the painting. It inspired not only painting but also literature, producing supreme works that present unspeakable yet amazing beauty. The lashing on Chinese painting from those in favor of the realism of the western painting was deeply rooted in prejudice.”⑴That is to say, “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” was defined as the counter concept of “the free sketch painting” in order to show that Chinese painting does not lack in the department of “realism” of representation and eliminate “prejudice”. The division was nowhere to be found in the previous literature on painting.

 

I didn’t bring this up to judge our predecessors, but rather a reflection on the initial “intention” when the concept of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” first came into being, or the historical will. In traditional painting, the standards of painting genres are distinguished based upon the objects of painting, such as landscape, people, horses, flowers and birds, or the styles of painting – supreme, vivid, skillful or fantastic, lacking in methodical division. An investigation into this will find the Chinese regarding painting as a means to get in touch with the holiness and penetrate the philosophy of life, providing the viewers with such experience, regardless of the ways by which to achieve that effect. Therefore, a painting can be skillful and fantastic as well as supreme and vivid, be the means of depiction realistic or free-style. But such subjective viewing approach came under huge impact at the beginning of the 20th century. The western realism which was based on the thinking of evolution brought up the subject of portrait and depiction, which is the aesthetic mode of naturalism – presuming objective reality does exist in the world, the plane painting can reproduce the objective reality through some illusionary method. Thus the change in the objective of painting: the traditional inspirational viewing approach was no longer “lofty and supreme”, instead it became a drawback, a “prejudice” according to JIN Cheng. In order to rectify the “prejudice”, we need to search for the gene of “reproducing” the nature in the tradition, naturally pushing methods into the center of attention, for the subjectification in reading could not be cured without an objective method. From a certain angle, the division of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” and “the free sketch painting” was the product of the impact of western scientific viewing. It’s a coerced diversion in “the experience of painting reading” which superficially appeared to be a change in “nouns”: replacing the subjective appreciation of the effect of the frame with the objective verification of the depicted objects.

 

Under such logic, “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” was born with a strong gene of the western culture instead of our own “tradition”. What needs to be established here is that pointing it out is not an advocation of “nationalism” – eliminate alien genes and return to traditions. On the contrary, it was directed against the creative ideas that deemed “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” to be “tradition” with no room for change. Evidently, the cultural encounter of today is a melting pot of varied cultures, making any attempt to purify one’s own lineage an impractical belittling act, which is especially true in the field of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” – born with a passive hybrid quality, because of which “the experience painting reading” was changed, bringing about judging standards such as “whether it’s lifelike, whether it’s accurate, or whether it’s delicate”, granting validity to the judgment. And it’s exactly because of this hybrid that the birth of the concept of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” could offer other possibilities to the aesthetic experience to the Chinese painting – activating the traditional expression capability, enabling remarkable change in the Chinese painting’s ability in the depiction of nature. However, the “activation ability” of any new concept will eventually be “sealed off” due to the birth of new criterion, with its cultural representation as the self-determination of the genre boundary, just like today’s “traditional Chinese realistic painting” gradually becoming a self-sealing painting concept with definite boundaries under the certainty of creative ideas of thematization, representation and modeling; under the certainty of creative forms of sketch, color filling and multiple rendering; and even under the certainty of creative materials of rock colors and enriched colors, posing itself as “the tradition” and shutting the door to new possibilities. In fact, this self-posing traditional concept was born for the very purpose of breaking the tradition. For that matter, “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” as a concept didn’t possess the stable foundation to represent “the tradition” at all – it’s a concept that changes the expression pattern of the traditional painting in “the flow and change”. Therefore, any attempt to consolidate the viewing approach, creative pattern or even the genre boundary of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” is a deviation from the initial intention at the birth of the “concept”. That is to say, today’s “traditional Chinese realistic painting” shouldn’t and couldn’t become a sealed-off genre of painting. It needs to maintain the “flow and change” under unceasing self-scrutiny, thus continuously self-activating and boundary-broadening. As a result, putting forward the notion of the conceptual transcendence of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” is not a denial of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting”, but an activation of the creation of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” in a redefined boundary – to present the expression ability of the traditional painting resources in the new visual structure, just like the traditional painting resources activating the depiction of nature through changing “the experience of painting reading” at the beginning of the birth of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting”. As of today, the “conceptual transcendence” of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” is also entrusted with such goals; casting away the “resting-on-the-throne” cultural stance, and enabling creation to exert its ability of intervention and expression into “the now”.

 

Only in this way could the “painting resources” be prevented from turning into the archaic “tradition” (expressing the set objective in a set visual structure) and fully release their potential expressive ability in the new expression pattern. It’s indeed fundamental for the transformation of any set cultural mode to understand this. The reason is simple – the original cultural mode cannot have the self-upgrading space and ability without the structural change brought about by the expression pattern. What’s noteworthy is that a bunch of new-type creative attempts in the filed of the traditional Chinese realistic painting in recent years were exactly the effort in the transformation of the expression pattern of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” to present the self-activating dynamics of “the painting genre”. From the exploration of the sporadic individual cases of the 1990s, such as Xu Lei’s “Graphic Expression” to the group creations gushing out in recent years, such as Jiang Ji’an’s “Conceptual Vision”, Xu Hualing’s “Recreation of the Viewing”, Peng Wei’s “Breaking out on the Easel” and “The Reconstruction of Image” by Zhang Jian, Qin Ai and others, numerous “bizarre” visual structures were continually dissolved to reconstruct the boundary of “the traditional Chinese realistic painting” in our concepts and bring the brand new expression pattern: shifting from the expression tool of the set logics of “naturalism” and “aestheticism” into the interaction between “the vision” and “the intention” and “the concept”, thus achieving the opening of the target of expression. This endeavor undoubtedly transformed the “tradition” into a path of re-experience instead of a classical mourning, thus equipping the seemingly traditional painting genre with the ability of intervention into “the now”. What’s more important is the incessant surging of new works and younger artists in the creative group is a clear symbol of the endeavor of “redefining the boundary” in an open and sustainable status, full of possibilities and future, instead of a sealed-off and formatted “painting genre”. And this will unquestionably help similar researches maintain a kind of energy and stay in the continuous “movement” of self-scrutiny – attempting to break through the constraints of traditional experience and release Chinese painting’s expression of the current cultural experience, thus becoming the most remarkable “contemporization” movement of the Chinese painting in recent years.

 

Of course, the “contemporization” of “the new Chinese realistic painting” is different from the “contemporary art” that we’re familiar with. It’s not a “contemporary” appeal in the western art history logics, but rather something happening in the “meaning” structure of the self logics of the Chinese painting – reconstructing the expression relationship between the cultural tradition and the current survival experience and cultural experience. Certainly such judgment is not a denial of it being influenced by “the contemporary art” or even its possibility of intervening “the contemporary art”, but some induction of “meaning in the theoretical sense. What should be alerted is that to every individual an induction is never a complete summarization, for individuals differ in logics when confronted with questions, which leads to variances in the approaches of experience and results, resulting naturally in the diversity of results, an abundance that cannot be summed up in theory. And it’s exactly because of this that the “the conceptual transcendence” of “the new Chinese realistic painting” was brought up – instead of a historical judgment of artistic styles, it’s based on the cultural “activation” functions that it possesses: pursuing the contemporary expression pattern of “the traditional resources” and becoming the cultural representation that manifests “the tradition” currently encountering some “in-depth fission”.

 

Note:

⑴ P180 A Tourist Journal of 18 Countries by Jin Cheng, published in Volume 205 of Modern Chinese History Series — Sequel edited by Shen Yunlong. Taipei Wenhai Press 1976.

 

 

 

Hang Chunxiao

Written in Wangjing on Jun 8, 2012

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