主题：黄淋 吉磊 吴昊 徐跋骋 李大鹏 董健 黄秋霞 石羆
新作：周颢 沈爱其 欧阳东宁 王爽 沈蕾 刘志画
Issue No. 87(2014)
Theme: The Post-linguistic Context
Academic Host: Lan Qingwei
A.T: Huang Lin, Ji Lei, Wu Hao, Xu Bacheng, Li Dapeng, Dong Jian, Huang Qiu Xia, Shi Pi
A.N: Zhou Hao, Shen Aiqi, OuYang Dongning, Wang Shuang, Shen Lei, Liu Zhihua
the post-linguistic context
学术主持：蓝庆伟 ACADEMIC HOST: LAN QINGWEI
Context is a necessary concept in historical research. Different from its literal meaning, the “context” here refers to a non-linguistic element, which, in the written language, is often created through the related texts. During the thirty-year development of the contemporary art in China, from the introduction of the word “art” to China to the review of modernism in the 1980s, the contemporary art has transformed from text to language, from enclosed to open, from impossible to possible, which formed the basic context for the development vein of the art during the 1970s and 1980s.
Through the development of the contemporary art in the late 30 years with the promotion of the first ten-year market economy in this century, there has been the continual advent of auction myths and idols. The anti-system representatives successfully fostered a new “system” accidentally, which is just like the idol fostered by the Israelites regardless of the dissuasion by Moses in the Ten Commandments. Reviewing the history, we can always sketch a conclusion for each past stage. The ideological emancipation in the 1980s and the reform and opening up in the 1990s were rather a slogan-like hard landing, which needed a longer time to set what they absorbed and rectified in order. And when asked about the conclusion of the present circumstance, no one can make an accurate answer – or unwilling to make.
At present, the actual environment is usually castigated. All the dissatisfaction and helplessness about the real life are quite similar with the heavy-heartedness in the lines “The sky and earth forever last; here and now I alone shed tears” (Ode of Climbing the Youzhou Tower by Chen Zi’ ang). However, the satisfaction brought by the material life seems to have solved these problems that since taking care of the world is impossible, we may just manage ourselves alone. It is not odd for this thought to generate in China. Since the 1980s, China has been compared with the western countries in various aspects, which naturally revealed our drawbacks – the defects in the system, the different values and the gap of the people’ s quality. Therefore, in the age of globalization in the “global village”, the contexts of China and other countries seem to have been integrated. However, the root of the problem lies in the uniqueness caused by regional discrepancy and the differentiation of geopolitics. Reviewed from various classic literature or artistic works in the history, the unique background of the authors is usually the origin of their works. We may be admiring others’ system while the western authors may be just admiring our circumstances. In the process of social development, order is one mode, so as chaos. The blind evaluation of their good or bad makes no sense. What is focused now is the issue of possibility, which the two modes may both have plenty of but show out through different forms. At the beginning of this century, that several Chinese artists who resided abroad before came back to China triggered a discussion in the art sector. Before the complete expounding of their homing intention by the artists themselves, no explanation was to be blamed. However, there appeared the problem of idealism – why did they come back from the desired west to the east? There was no suspicion of nationalism. For artistic creation, location change may enable one to further his understanding about his previous and present contexts lest he should rejoice too soon because of failing to see the truth.
Rather than remodeling idols, it would be better to insist the decease of the God. In daily life, the change brought by Ma Yun, the legend in China’ s e-commerce sector, is huge. It is not unusual for a cable to link between two crossable worlds, but the key lies in its subjecting the right of equality to the individual end rather the collective one, ridding the netizens off the predicament of no scout to discover the talents depicted in the lines “the common people listen to but cannot appreciate the music; the player may as well commutes through the wind playing the delicate music alone” (Listen to the Bi Li (an ancient wind instrument) Music Played by An Wanshan by Li Xin). The thought which tries to seek the real equality through network is not strange any more at present; because the present is the future and those who insist tomorrow to be the future are also the freaks without self-consciousness who are living in the past boiled by the yesterday-occupied warm water. Rather than seeking Bo Le (a famous person good at telling the quality of horses in ancient China, which means the talent scout) and the swift horses (which means talents), what should be sought is the self.
Since the beginning of the 21st Century, the life of the youth in the new generation has been stretched constantly in China where the public order and social rules has been reconstructed, which may lead to their confusion and loss of confidence about the future. On the premise that the present system does not change, new social cells are increasing, with the new-style art galleries, foundations and international art exhibitions in the field of art overcoming various difficulties to deliver their own values and propositions through the new rules. The word “the post-linguistic context” seems to be abstruse in its literary meaning, but in fact it is just a kind of developing pattern which stressed more on the development of the internal clues of the subject or that the subject can choose the environment freely to a certain degree so that the social groups will not form the similar character due to a unified social context. The concept is not proposed aiming at the entirety but rather shows in the individuals or a group within certain limits. The post-linguistic context society at present enjoys various forms and the international cultural background. With the joint of the modern and the post-modern features as well as its own cultural tradition, the cultural context has made new changes. Today’ s China may just be the social ecological system admired by countless peripheral composers, in the aspects of the system, the inkling of the post-colonialism or post-modernism, and more specially the coexistence of the classical culture and modern context, the new system and modern artistic tradition formed since 1949 and 1978. Due to the intertexture of various contexts, the post-linguistic context is in fact a new context, which is just a cultural representation that emphasizes the non-unitary-centric view. And the key of the new context lies in the abandonment of myths, the belief in restoring the self and the adjustment of the self at present – instead of the one according to the past standard – as the future one.
The post-linguistic context: Extended Territory and Weathered Homeland
Many people would ask that “what is the post-linguistic context?” To conclude it in a brief word, I prefer to describe it with the sentence “the post-linguistic context is just a suggestion”. Along with development since the reform and opening up till today, China’ s contemporary art has been facing with various conceptual or substantial questions such as “what is contemporary art?”, “what kind of art is contemporary art?”. Questions like these seem to be boring but cannot stand being probed into. The appearance of these questions just represented the expectation for rules and the academic responsibility of the new art practitioners. Admit it or not, as the pathfinder of China’ s contemporary art, they are a batch of people full of great idealistic and heroic passions, striding forward with the mind to “dominate the world”. However, for the artists who progress by forging the future at present, apart from the consistent and keen idealism, they need to carry forward the “pragmatic” attitude and action. In fact, we can more or less describe some representation of the “contemporary art”. Just like when facing the present time, we always hope to communicate through a simple rule – which, of course, is based on the universal values. Context like this is actually what the younger generation of artists in particular should face under the present globalizing circumstance.
“The post-linguistic context” also has its representation. According to the features presented from the works of the present artists, the four units including “urban consciousness”, “local generation”, “self-creation” and “gender character” are set, which are also presented from the reflection on the urbanization construction of the international context and the noumenon of ourselves.
No matter the time of 20 years ago or today, urbanization has always been the common memory – and of course memory has different forms – just like the memory of the rural areas for the generation of “educated youths”, which is accompanied by the industrialized production and urban reconstruction. In this unit, the artists make different probe into the vein, scenery, old houses, industrialization and time traces in urbanization, which are just the presentation mode of the city and the self in their eye.
The process of urbanization, no matter how fast or complete, cannot wipe away people’ s reflection of their memory. Corresponded to urbanization, the question of localization appears. The city delivers us a new life style while we are pursuing the past traces in the vivacious city. In this unit, the artists do not cast their eye to the grand conception of city, but instead present the element of the urban and local traces with some details.
The extended territory brings life with new possibilities while the weathered homeland may arouse a tinge of sorrow. No matter the extension of territory or the defense of tradition, their final presentation depends on the individual self. In this unit, the artists have their own distinctive creating ways, in whose works there exist the intertexture of context as well as individual feelings and this context is just the present context in China.
Feminism plays an important role in the history of art and the gender issue is also a significant link in various researches. However, in the development of the contemporary art in the 21st Century, feminism has continually shed off the simple and crude gender tag and its specialty. It is not the development of feminism or male chauvinism but the necessary result of disparking the artistic boundary. Or is it more proper for us to call it the third gender?