第111-112期 何谓“现成品绘画”?(2016)

第111-112期 何谓“现成品绘画”?

学术主持:夏可君

主题艺术家:姜吉安、邱世华、梁绍基、陈光武、徐冰、小华、张耒

新作艺术家:李继开、薛松、朱雅梅、钱忠平、葛震、王斌、张广慧、李峰

第111-112期封面(小)

主题词:何谓“现成品绘画”?

WHAT IS “READY-MADE PAINTING” ?

学术主持:夏可君

AcademIC HOST: XIA KEJUN

现成品绘画(Ready-made Painting)?这几乎是一个“悖论”(Paradox)或“吊诡”(Aporia of Double Bind)的概念。绘画不是因为“现成品”(Ready-mades)而导致终结的吗?现成品的出现,如同德·迪佛(Thierry de Duve)所言,让艺术成为“艺术一般”(Art General),成为关于艺术的艺术或“元艺术”(Meta-Art),而绘画仅仅保持为“特殊艺术”(Special art)。而且现成品扩展了“物性”的概念,不再局限在二维平面的错觉以及物性的描绘上,而是直接让“任一物”都可以成为艺术,艺术可以接纳所有物,而不再仅仅是艺术品,而是物品、商品、器物、自然物,甚至非物或者无物(No-thing)。或者说,绘画对现成品的接纳,不就是美国“后达达主义”、抽象材质的绘画或者概念绘画以及日本的“物派”已经做过的吗?但似乎都过于脱离了绘画平面的限定性。因此,如何充分保留绘画的平面性与手感的唯一性,以及对现成品的接受与肯定?“现成品”与“绘画”的结合,是否已经改变了二者?如果塞尚是绘画大师的代表,杜尚是现成品的始作俑者,如何可能结合二者?二者的对峙不就是西方现代性艺术的内在症候或者根本危机?即“怎么做都可以”与“怎么做都不可以”之不可能的结合?这就是现代性艺术在“可能性与不可能性之间的双重束缚”(Double Bind between Possibly and Impossibility),但艺术不就是面对自身的“不可能性”而使之重新“可能”才有着新艺术的出现的?
提出“现成品绘画”,这是面对当代艺术的危机,这是中国当代艺术试图贡献出自己新艺术原理的一次机会。

一、现成品与当代艺术危机

现代性绘画的根本危机乃是由杜尚的“现成品”带来的。“现成品”的出现,带来了如下几个后效:
第一是现成品所体现的“简单化方式”:(1)放弃了传统的视觉艺术,不再诉诸于视网膜感知与审美判断,而是走向概念的命名游戏。(2)打破了艺术门类,迫使艺术家做“元艺术”——关于艺术的艺术,成为“一般艺术”或“艺术一般”,不再是绘画或雕塑等 “特殊艺术”。(3)打破了天才创作与借用别人的区分,不再是天才的唯一创造,而取决于一次偶发的邂逅与即兴的命名。(4)打破了物性的区分:任一物、任一现成之物,都可以成为作品,不仅仅是创造物,也是其他的器物、其他的艺术品,甚至礼物与自然物等等,这些物之间不再有区分,都可以成为艺术品,可以直接挪用,甚至还不留下作品,任其消散,最终也就取消了作品。(5)现成品触发了“无用”的艺术,因为这些器物或者人造物丧失了已有的功能,连审美功能也丧失了,更为体现出康德所要求的“无目的”了。或者对应了虚无主义的诉求,或者打开了对于“无性”(Nothingness)的新理解,让“物性”转化为“无用性”,这是现代性艺术最为根本的诉求!
其二,杜尚不是没有认识到现成品与绘画之间纠结难分的关系,这在《大玻璃》与《被给予》两个精心制作的大作品上体现出来。对于现成品与绘画的关系,杜尚主要还是集中在现成品的制作上,或者把现成品与雕塑相关,其实杜尚的小便器等等都是具有雕塑的特点,(1918年的《旅行雕塑》就直接如此命名)尽管又废弃了器物的雕塑感,回到纯粹的物感。《大玻璃》名为《甚至被她们的光棍们剥光了衣服的新娘》也是接续之前关于“新娘”的系列绘画作品,《新娘》与《处女》,尤其是1912年转折时期的《从处女到新娘的转换》(Transition of Virgin into a Bride)这个绘画作品,杜尚试图解决一个悖论:如何保持处女性,却又成为进入性关系快感的新娘了,这几乎是基督教童真女,圣灵感孕的现代艺术版重现,即如何通过第四维的时空折叠施行转换(Transition)或转化(Transform),既要保持物性的非人为制作(“处女性”),但却又具有绘画视觉的快感与已成事件(“新娘性”),杜尚已经开始面对“现成品绘画”的复杂问题。但总体而言,还是舍弃了绘画性,尽管在1917年他还是做出了《艾娜梅涂刷阿波利奈尔》(Apolinère Enameled)的“准现成品绘画”:这是以现成物、厚纸、油漆锌板、铅笔等绘制而成,涂刷也是对绘画的反讽。杜尚晚期的现成品也试图回到绘画上来,《被给予》就是模仿库尔贝《世界的诞生》的写实绘画,其充满色情爱欲的窥视、“观看”甚至就是直接实现女性阴道的穿越,但这并非其绘画性,而且丧失了平面性。因此,问题依然在那里,如何既要保持物的现成性,又要有着人为制作性?现成品是去除人为制作性,随意偶发的挪用或者游戏,保持处女性的梦想——这难道不是一个自然性的梦想或错觉?
其三,杜尚现成品的后效还并不在当时,虽然当时有1920年代至1930年代“达达主义”与“超现实主义”的响应,这在阿卡比亚的概念绘画与曼·雷的摄影作品上有所体现,但主要影响还是出现于1950年代之后,这就导致了概念艺术的出现,哪怕概念绘画也主要在“现成品”上展开:(1)沃霍尔与博伊斯的作品或“非作品”,几个小时的摄影镜头不动,有着现成性,大量商业符号的挪用都受到现成品概念的影响。博伊斯大量利用了现成品,乃至于改变为社会雕塑。但总体上还是丧失了绘画性,无法回到平面性上。“人人都是艺术家”也是为了抹去区分。(2)贫穷艺术,其实也是挪用现成品,只是更为赋予现成品以其伦理的“意义”,更为摧毁现成品,使之接近非作品。(3)极简主义走向建筑物式的绘画,回到了雕塑上,但离开了平面,其实也来自于现成品的刺激,或者借用了现成品的理念,但走向了弗雷德所言的“剧场化”。这在日本的“物派”更为明显,尽管以自然物进入平面,但还是基本上丧失了绘画性。(4)扩展为音乐上的表演,比如凯奇的4分33秒也是现成品理念的戏仿,演奏即是不演奏,不为即是有为的颠倒。
其后果是艺术的边界消失了,艺术演变为社会学、商业资本与个人好奇的附庸,或者沦为技术的附庸,如果接续杜尚自己更为复杂化的方向就是艺术对技术的依赖,当然已经没有杜尚对科学问题持续研究的那种耐心,比如杜尚《大玻璃》对相对论或者第四维的复杂研究,他还写出了大量笔记。

二、元绘画的问题

回到绘画,绘画之为特殊的门类,如何摆脱自身的特殊性?一旦波洛克开始滴洒时,绘画不再是特殊性的了,让个体生命唯一性的能量投入,身体似乎也是另一种现成品。一旦美国抽象表现主义面对艺术发生的可能性条件本身,绘画不再有任何再现的对象,而是走向表现平面本身、画框界限以及颜色本身,这样的绘画“可能性条件”的元绘画,绘画获得了暂时的合理性,但随着单色绘画的出现(取消了颜色,这也是某种概念绘画),又导致了绘画的终结。
其实绘画早就已经接纳了某种程度的“现成品”,但并非现成品,而是各种现存的材料,材料并非现成品——因为现成品具有自身完整的物性,要看得到这个物性本身,而不是成为绘画的一部分,不是服从于绘画的造型需要。
已有三个阶段的艺术接纳了如此的现存物:
(1)1912年左右的综合立体派就以报纸直接粘贴在画布上,毕加索的很多作品就是如此。但这还是作为绘画造型成为了绘画的一部分,报纸本身独立的物性并没有体现出来。
(2)1950年代劳森伯格或后达达主义的很多作品,尤其是其《组合》系列或集成性绘画(Combines),似乎已经是现成品绘画了,看似有着绘画性,但更多地加入了现成物,或者拼贴物、复制品、个人照片等等,都被置于平面上,受到剪贴画的影响,接续了综合立体派的拼贴性,也有高度的抽象性,依附于墙壁但不再是二维平面,而是突出来,也不同于极简主义走向空间雕塑的场域化。这些物虽然是现存物或实物,而且物性的特征明显,但更多体现为装置作品,也许说成是一种装置性绘画而更为明确?或者说仅仅是现成品的复杂化与并置,这也与后来极简主义脱离绘画平面相通,只是还保留了些许的“绘画性”,但其实并非绘画,因为缺乏绘画性。这些作品或者过于图片化,利用摄影照片,不是从绘画性本身出发,更多是绘画的现成品(Ready-mades of Painting),其重点落实在现成品上。
(3)于是出现了大量的装置性绘画,比如基佛的作品,把大量现成品比如玫瑰花等等直接贴在画布上,而且呈现为装置性的,或者打破绘画平面的,但这依然还是过于材质性,却丧失了绘画性,即绘画性并不够,而我们的现成品绘画,重点落实在“绘画”上,而并非现成品上。
——对物性的接纳,也是西方艺术客观性的另一种态度,以便拓展绘画性,但问题是:既没有充分拓展绘画平面,反而让平面过于被这些增补之物干扰了,绘画本身的平面性并没有被尊重。
无论是后来丰塔纳的划破画面,还是昂塔伊(S.Hantai)的褶皱画面,都是面对现成品或者即兴偶发动作的压力,或者回到画布本身的特性上,已经开始接近现成品绘画了。

三、杜尚的次薄或虚薄

无论是现成品的雕塑化,还是绘画的材质化,都并没有结合现成品与绘画,当然更没有“虚薄地”(Infra mince)转化。
对于杜尚,问题并没有如此简单,而是更为复杂,还有着另一种更为“复杂化的方式”来实行“转化”(Transform):(1)尽管有着简单直接的现成品,比如《泉》的小便器或《折断之前》的雪铲,但是从1916年至1925年做了8年的《大玻璃》之为现成品,却并不那么轻易,而是为了传达第四维的幻象发生,是带有科学研究的现成品艺术,隐含有对第四维绘画的想象。(2)杜尚也并非没有想回到绘画,比如以绘画为隐喻的“准绘画作品”《艾娜美涂刷阿波利奈尔》有着现成品,有着绘画性,甚至针对绘画的动作,但似乎还是无法回到绘画上来。(3)在1937年之后,他写作隐秘的“次薄”(Infra mince)或“次厚度”(Infra thin)的笔记时开始了探索,试图连接现成品与绘画,在很多地方设想一种现成品绘画的可能性。(4)这在后来做了20年而不宣示的《被给予》上有所体现,这个作品无疑有着对库尔贝绘画作品《世界的诞生》的戏仿,但却依然不是绘画,而是装置作品。
因此重要的是回到那个1980年代后才被发现的“次薄”笔记,当代的艺术史家们试图去发现一个“尚未完成的杜尚”(如同这本出版于1993年的论文集《The Definitively Unfinished Marcel Duchamp》所醒目提示并且深入展开的研究),显然,这个“尚未完成”在于重新思考现成品所带来的革命性影响及其后果,尤其是次薄笔记对现成品的反思,如何保留现成品,又超越现成品的概念,还与绘画有着关系,这如何可能?因为笔记的第一条就是:“可能性是一种次薄。”“几管颜料成为一幅修拉画的可能性是可能作为次薄的具体解释,可能含有生成的意思——自身向着他者过渡,发生在次薄中。”“次薄是忘记的寓意。”
——在这个座右铭语段的思考中:涉及绘画,但是强调绘画本身已经是工业制剂,比如颜料不再是工作室秘密调制,而是直接挤出来。而为何单单提及修拉的绘画,其点彩最为明显,但其虚薄的素描作品却让人着迷,但如何与现成品发生关系?而最为体现可能性的已经不再是之前的现成品了,现成品不再能够彻底实现由自身向着他者的过渡与转化,《大玻璃》的转化仅仅是幻觉,之前现成品的转化方式并不虚薄,过于直接的概念一次性命名了,还没有体现出忘记的寓意。如何忘记?恰好是去掉命名的概念游戏,是悬置之前现成品的概念,这也是为何杜尚在1936年左右开始制作《手提箱》系列,这也是杜尚对之前现成品的缩小聚集,是自我的彻底总结与自我了断,是现成品的纪念碑,是小小的现成品艺术的“骨灰盒”罢了!这也是为何他后来基本上并不制作现成品了。因此,杜尚关于次薄的笔记不可能用来解释现成品,恰好是要超越现成品的危机,保持现成品对于“物性的无用性”与“艺术一般性”的诉求,但又要打开艺术之新的可能性,但杜尚后来又似乎并未实现,做了20年的《被给予》也没有充分体现“次薄”。
即杜尚试图重新连接现成品与绘画,以“次薄”或者我们所言的“虚薄”的方式。我们重新理解为“虚薄”(Infra minces):乃是加入中国文化“虚淡”的美学,使之更为虚化、更为薄透,保持自然性(如同“处女性”),还有着绘画性,但又接纳了现成品。

四、超越当代艺术的悖论:虚薄的过渡性

当代艺术一直面对自身的剩余与无余状态,即所谓的“余性”(Remains)状态。这乃是因为艺术面对的仅仅是自身的剩余(Remain)或者无余(Remains without Remains)状态,艺术不再直接可能,艺术必须面对自身的危机与合法性的论证,不再想当然地直接具有普遍性,现成品艺术也不能,除非展现自身的无用性,艺术必须承担普遍性的任务但又觉悟到自身的无能力,如何让无用成为大用?如同庄子的智慧所言的。
这倒不是因为艺术不够格,而是太容易了,古典时代是“怎么做都不可以”(如同塞尚接续古典绘画大师《不可识的杰作》的困惑,绘画就是进入混沌的失败),因为人不是神,艺术是无限的;但当代艺术则是太容易了,“怎么做都可以”(这是杜尚开始的“轻省”与“轻易”),只要一次性命名的突发性与偶发性机制;当然二者其实有着反转,因为上帝死了,一切都有可能,但也意味着,一切都不再可能,因为没有了标准与法则;“怎么做都可以”——也意味着自身标准的丧失,一切似乎过于容易了;“怎么做都不可以”——意味着艺术无法建立绝对的准则,丧失了与绝对的关联感。
其实现代性本身就是面对有限短暂过渡与无限永恒坚固二者之间的断裂,为了弥补此断裂,艺术开始走向“元艺术”,试图成为艺术本身,但又在与“元艺术”的合一中自我取消了。艺术越是要成为“艺术一般”,试图一次性完成艺术本身,却越是在取消着自身。如同绘画不断抽象化与不断单色化,也是面对“元绘画”的逼迫,绘画也就走向自我终结与自我抹消。因此,如果艺术还有着可能性,乃是面对这个多余的“余性”:面对“怎么做都可以”与“怎么做都不可以”的无余境况,二者“之间”(Between)没有了“余地”,如何在二者之间打开一个余地,让不可能性与可能性可以并存,而不是消除张力,否则就不具有现代性了。当代艺术如果体现为杜尚与塞尚之间的典型矛盾,即现成品与绘画的相互背离,但无论是现成品还是绘画都必须面对自身的无余状态,才可能重新生成为“艺术一般”。
现成品的出现带来了“艺术一般”的直接显现,绘画成为元绘画导致了绘画的终结,那么,结合二者,并且给出可以承受的“余地”,这是可能的吗?让塞尚与杜尚和解,在一个展览上同时出场,甚至在一个作品上体现出来,这是可能的吗?这难道不是最为“吊诡”的事情?
如何保留现成品的物性,还回到绘画的平面性?问题是——为何要回到平面性?平面性乃是限制的标志,回到平面意味着回到限定上,回到人类最初与世界相遇时的那种原初直觉上。现成品是没有限定与随意的,因此要让二者再度结合,让一个无限度的概念艺术与有所限定的平面绘画二者结合起来。而保留绘画的平面,也是为了保持与传统的连接性。
当然,如此的现成品将不再是之前的现成品,如此的绘画也不再是已有的绘画了。一个新的艺术作品如何可能做到:它确实是来自于现成品,却几乎看不出是现成品,但又有着现成品的物质细微触感;它确实是一幅绘画作品,却看起来不是一幅画,又有着绘画所必须具有的所有“微妙”?而且二者还是内在融合的,即“虚薄的”与“余性的”融合,有着细微与精微的过渡。
那么,现成品绘画结合的一些前提条件是什么?一个是杜尚自己的“次薄”概念,“次薄”的笔记中已经隐含了连接现成品与绘画的可能性:因为“次薄”是自身向着他者的过渡的可能性,现成品可以向着绘画性过渡,反之亦然。只是这个过渡需要更为“自然”与更为“虚化”,中国思想的贡献可能就开始出现了,因为水墨性的艺术精神更为自然化,更为虚淡化,把虚淡的气息加入到现成品与绘画之中,这就把杜尚的“次薄”向着庄子式的“虚薄”深入!并且连接二者,这是杜尚与塞尚都无法梦见的,如同塞尚试图连接古典的坚实性与印象派的模糊性,但却一直无法达到总体的浑然性,反而是晚期水彩作品更为虚薄;如同杜尚强调艺术是忘记的隐喻,即绘画也要看上去体现遗忘的状态,而且还有着个体的手艺,又接近元绘画,这些问题还并没有解决。

五、现成品绘画

这就有了现成品绘画的可能性,那么,现成品绘画如何结合?具体而言:
一方面,如何是“现成品”却又不同?这要接受杜尚对“次薄”的思考,现成品已经不再是第一种简单化的现成品挪用或者概念游戏,而是需要持久的工作,如同复杂化的现成品,但还要进一步对物进行剩余化处理,并非完整的现成物,而是要经过“剩余”乃至于“无余化”(Remain-less)处理的“物”,或者更为虚薄、更为薄化的物。如同杜尚所言:“玻璃上的画从没画的那面看产生了次薄。”这就是它试图接近绘画,但又要看似没有画过。
现成品之为现成品,确实是现存已经被制造出来了,不是艺术家第一次创作出来的,要保留与现实的直接联系,与日常的联系。现代性是一个物化的时代,也是对物的客观性与命定性的尊重。但是又并非杜尚的简单化的现成品,而是经过虚薄化的,所谓“虚薄化”或者“次薄化”,乃是更为减低现成品的直接性,现成品是直接拿来的,但要经过某种处理,这个“处理”即要有着对现成品的薄化处理,并非直接挪用,需要在绘画性的关系中被重新处理过。
另一方面,如何还是绘画但又并非传统的绘画?绘画乃是材质—基底—物象三者的统一,但是当代性的绘画要解决的是波洛克以来的问题:如何离开画布还能够带来新的绘画平面?如何保留绘画现成品的一些特点,比如画布、材质等等?
中国的水墨性艺术可以带来转化的启发,单靠西方绘画不再可能。这与塞尚面对的疑惑相关:即如何抵达自然的虚薄气息。塞尚是西方艺术之父,后来的立体派以及表现主义、抽象画都与塞尚相关。如果是绘画,既要有着绘画性,又要有着对平面之新的打开,但打开的是“无维度”(Non-dimension),因为无维度是真正的敞开——是对无限的接近——是元绘画的体现。绘画也要改变自身,具有艺术一般的概念,即不再仅仅是画一幅画,或者形成某种风格,而是具有一般性的元绘画,但又并非抽象绘画或者概念绘画。如何做?这是接纳现成品,也接纳自然性,因为自然其实是最为具有一般性的,这是生成新的自然化的物象,任何人类之物因为劳动的区分与等级制化,其实并不具有一般性,而只是具有特殊性的,这也是水墨艺术为何已经具有一般性,如同山水画其实并非一个画种,而是绘画重建人类与自然的一般性关系,因为有其内在的生长性。而且水墨材质,尤其是水之为现成物,之为自然物,可以化生万物。
这里有着三重转化:一个是持久的工作与哲学化或者一般化的主题相关,发现物的剩余性;一个是次薄化,但需要更为“虚薄化”,这是对杜尚次薄的扩展;一个是与绘画的新关系,即改变了绘画又保留自身现成品的特点。
现成品绘画,一方面是要看到现成品,即物性,形成的器物,这是对物性的肯定,在绘画上要出现物性,并非绘画的一部分,尤其是自然物,这是新的东方性,也是虚薄开始的可能性,因为自然提供了混沌虚化的可能性,物的自然性也是对杜尚“处女性”的保持;另一方面则是要保留“绘画性”,肯定平面本身的必要性,平面但是要被新的无维度打开,不能没有绘画的难度。同时,二者还必须有内在的融合,微妙的相互关联与过渡:这是虚薄的触感。
现成品之为现成品,乃是实物,保持实物的器物性,这是现成品;另一方面,乃是绘画性,要有绘画性,而且是新的绘画性,如果绘画性消失了,就不是绘画了。二者是绘画式现成品还是现成品绘画?前者偏向于装置场域,后者偏向于绘画。
现成品绘画要让我们同时看到一方面是有着实物性,另一方面是绘画性。但是又不是外在并置与挪用,如果这样,要么是概念绘画,要么是对材质的抽象绘画征用,从综合立体派到美国抽象表现主义,甚至到物派都是如此。因此,它必须是虚薄的结合,内在的相互过渡,微妙的过渡,而且是反转,相互的转换。
即,新的现成品绘画艺术有着几个转变:一个是有着虚薄的气息;一个是元绘画,但并非抽象绘画与概念绘画,而是接纳自然性,有着生长性,对自然性的发挥,不同于日本物派也是对整个水墨传统艺术内在精神原理的重新激活;一个是打开新的无维度的无限平面,并重新发现材质与现成品的关系,也建立材质与心灵的关系,是庄子“心斋”空间的敞开。
现成品绘画是有待于重新发现的艺术。虚薄的现成品绘画就是如此,一方面现成品看似无为的是唯一性的即兴与邂逅式相遇激发的命名,但是现在需要使之有为,比如水墨是最为体现无为性的了,但是要使之有为,激发新的丰富的形式,尤其是时间性的书写;但另一方面,绘画看似有为的是最为体现视觉操作与个体手艺的,但是要无为,越是“有为的”要转化为“无为的”,让绘画技术体现出无为性,让空无来为,让自然来为。而且这两个方面需要相互虚薄的转化,“怎么做都可以”——现成品——要向着怎么做都不可以转化,因此需要有为地精心制作;“怎么做都不可以”——绘画——要向着怎么做都可以转化,看似随意,又更为空灵。

六、中国现成品绘画的几个案例

现成品之为物的剩余化,平面本身的无维度敞开或者自然内在气息的生长性,这是现成品绘画的基本特征,否则达明·赫斯特的“蝴蝶绘画”也是现成品绘画了,运用了蝴蝶这个自然物之为现成品,还有着绘画平面的视觉错叠,但是并不虚薄,并没有打开无维度,而且过于装饰性与概念图解了。
让有为的——更为无为化,让无为的——更为有为化,“真空”还要“妙有”,二者不可偏废,但又要相互转化。这是一种新的哲学,这种哲学我们命名为“无用的解释学”与“余化的哲学”,是打开现代性悖论之间余地之可能性的哲学,即面对德里达所言的不可能性与可能性的双重约束,可以在“其间”承受之,这是“余地”的打开,使之更为具有之间的“间域”或存活的余地,如同庄子所言的“以无厚入有间,恢恢乎游刃必有余地”这之间的余地的现代性敞开。
我们就看到现成品与绘画结合的可能性,其所形成的乃是“余象”(Infra-image):要有着现成品的现实直接性与物性,但又要经过虚薄化的处理,仅仅是物的剩余化。要有着绘画平面的打开,但又并非封闭于绘画平面上,而且绘画要有着内在的生长性,这个生长性似乎是还没有完成的,有待于完成的,从而具有元绘画的指向。
在当前中国已经出现了几位艺术家,他们的作品具有了现成品绘画的一些特点,有着自己对于现成品绘画可能性的开放理解,有着对现成品与绘画之间微妙转化的体现。
1.姜吉安的绢本茶叶作品,要我们从“绘画作品”上茶叶细微卷曲的古典诗意,以及现成品打开的“文人生活空间”进行游走式品鉴:一方面,姜吉安把宣纸以茶叶浸透,使之生成为茶色,把茶粉调胶后粘贴喝过的茶叶于浸透宣纸的平面上,茶叶的树枝等等也是以茶粉所染,这就充分利用了现成品的物性,与个体日常啜饮过的气息相关,但都有所剩余化处理,有着绘画性。这与他之前的《剩余价值》系列“绘画性”作品相通:那是把绢烧成灰,混合于矿物质,以工笔方式来作画,最后留下残剩之物的画面凸凹起伏的余象,此绘画的余象图像对应于置于旁边的残剩之物(即绘画所使用的颜料与绢本的混合物),已经让绘画平面与现成品之间有着对应关系了。另一方面,画家让普洱老茶的茶叶与茶色作品进入装置空间,系列茶具与书写作画工具的直接呈现如同文人的书斋式空间,既有着绘画的平面性与系列性,还有着场域空间的展开与品读。姜吉安的作品有着现成品,但经过了剩余化处理;有着绘画性,但所画乃是运用了喝过的茶叶及其卷曲的诗意形态;并且走向了场域空间的打开,让现成品与绘画之间,有着更为场域化的过渡,有着日常性与隽永的诗意。这正是日本物派与极简主义所不具有的。
2.邱世华的空白绘画,要求我们来回行走,反复接近与远离作品,在可见与不可见、“外观”与“内观”之间“转化”。就“外观”直接看,即表面看起来是一幅抽象画,一片空白,什么都没有看见,只有亚麻粗糙布料的痕迹与肌理,这是保留了布料的现成品特性,但是利用了水墨的虚薄特性,即水墨性更为虚透与虚薄,如同杜尚梦想的“次薄”,因为水墨的渗透性经过转化,让亚麻布生成为一张宣纸,具有吸纳性与渗染性,这是对亚麻布现成品的剩余化。就“内观”来看:无心之心看,走马观花式地看,可以看出画面里面的无维度,平面的玄远意境并没有维度,没有固定视点与角度,需要移动中反复观看,可以看出古典山水与现代风景的融合,而且还在生长之中,体现了自然的浑化性与无尽生长性。邱世华的作品,不是已有的绘画,而是绘画一般,因为邱世华作品面对的是绘画与视觉本身:没有什么可见,一切是空无,但是却可以愈看愈多,越是空无化越是实有化,里面有着千岩万壑,有着自然的无尽生发,有着对绘画的逆转——越是抽象,但却越是具体;越是具体的景色,但却还保持着无尽的生长性与变化性。越是看起来像一个现成品的概念绘画,但却越是像一幅印象派的风景画;越是看起来像一幅现代的风景画,却越是有着古代山水画的余影;超越了具象与抽象的西方式对立,使之来回过渡,这正是杜尚所梦想的虚薄艺术,保持自然生长性的“微妙的过渡”与“遗忘的寓意”的新艺术。
3.梁绍基的蚕丝作品,尤其是《平面隧道》,要求我们从自然与人为最为细薄、最为梦幻的方式来:一方面就是蚕丝,是蚕吐丝的自然物,这是让自然物来到了绘画上;但另一方面,又组合为圆形与方形并置的平面作品,看似极简主义。他的作品既非绘画,也非现成品,又好像是现成品与绘画,因为自然之物的生成、细丝的镂空与云影具有丰富联想的诗意,这是西方现成品不具备的,但又不是绘画,因为并没有绘画手工,但是一旦如此方圆结合与展示又极具有抽象绘画的美感。这是让自然来为,如同梁绍基的蚕丝影像作品,让吐丝蠕动的蚕丛显露出文字的诗意运动形态,似乎那是自然在无意识的自动书写。
4.陈光武的水墨阴阳书写,要我们从四个面,即从绘画与空间的关系上,从有为与无为的虚薄结合上,分开与综合地观看:“阳性”的这个书写层面是绘画性的,但是打开了无维度的文字想象空间,是对汉字与书法的剩余化书写,并且越来越接近于万物涌现之初的浑化状态;而“阴性”的层面则是铺在第一层下面的,根本不可见,且是无所为的,是现成品,但利用了水墨的渗透性与虚薄原理,而且不为人所控制,其实本来就仅仅是一张废弃的,作为绘画垫底的现成品宣纸而已,但生成为更具有匿名意味的作品,既非抽象画,也非文字画,而是难以言喻的痕迹;而且阴阳并置分立,也结合了有笔与无笔,解决了波洛克以来的对峙及其对绘画取消的可能性;而阴阳间隔又融合,也不同于传统内在的阴阳互转,而是经过了间隔与空间化之后的并置,但又是与内在的虚薄相结合的,这是虚薄之间间隙的建立,保持着自身向着他者的微妙过渡。
5.徐冰的《背后的故事》装置性绘画作品,要求我们从正面与反面两个方面来看,以一块毛玻璃区分开二者:从作品的“正面”看,似乎是一幅古代的山水画,青绿典雅的山水画,但其实根本没有绘画,不是画出来的;而从玻璃的“背面”看,却是一些垃圾袋,一些寻常物或者现成品,再经过染色与灯光处理之后,把二者不可思议地结合起来了。正面看是一幅古典高雅的绘画——但其实并没有作画,充分体现出无为性,从反面看则是一些现成品,垃圾袋与残碎之物等等,这是把贫穷艺术与垃圾艺术、把无用之物,转化为高贵的绘画性视觉艺术,这是奇妙的反转,从残余到盈余的转化,这是现成品与绘画的另一种结合方式,以装置与反转、以反讽的方式来结合,这是与徐冰早期1980年代《天书》上对汉字的假字化或无用性处理,与1990年代《中英文书法》作品上,他让不可读的中文向着可读的英文转化,是对文字与文化边界这两种方式的再次拓展。
6.郁涛以组合与切割书册做出的现成品,让我们明确触感到现成品绘画的双重性,即书本的剩余内容意义与书本形态本身的物性形式,让内在的内容反转到外在形式的丰富显现上,重新面对画、物品与绘画三者之间的关系,这是一个三重的内在转化。其一,要保留物的“物品性”,而不是去描绘一个物;其二,要成为“画”,有着画工的持久工作,但还保留物之物性;其三,还是“绘画性”的,确实给人以绘画平面的第一直觉,但又并非传统的绘画方式。郁涛对于现成品绘画的独特发明,是通过裁切收集的书册、画册、系列报纸与日常笔记等这些“物品”,然后反复种色与筛色,使之呈现为看似材质式的抽象作品,又看似装置性的绘画作品。郁涛的工作让我们看到了现成品绘画的另一种样式,他把现成品做成似画的物品,强化物品,但又似乎是画,看似现成品即书本,也是画,因为上面有着抽象的复杂肌理与迹线,还隐喻着伤口的暗示性治愈伦理,但还是物品,即在反复制作与把玩中,在沿袭传统日工与物性工作的伦理态度上,生成为一个如同古器出土的时间包浆物,现成品绘画只有充分接纳时间性,才可能与西方概念绘画的一次性制作或者时间表面堆积区分开来。
7.小华的作品,则让我们看到了手工线条与绘画工具本身的内在关系,现成品绘画乃是以其形式的微弱与无意又好像让世界与自然从空无中第一次显临。在小华的作品上,一方面,那些细密的手工缝线与铁丝线,在黑漆漆的平面上,看似夜晚闪烁的星空,有着撕裂但又内在消音;另一方面,那些画框无所用,并不提供绘画平面,被艺术家镂空之后以空无生成出微妙,拟似自然风景的联想形态,如同传统石头的触发想象,不是绘画却甚似绘画,这是对“似与不似之间”美学观的重新表达。现成品绘画是激发我们重新思考人类与艺术的关系,小华的作品保持了边界的脆弱性与不确定性,让观看者内心不止息地颤栗。
8.张耒的现成品绘画,则是一种占梦术一般的转化,看似一块日常的被单画布上,有着两块触感不同的质地,一块就是日常已有的画布吉祥图案,另一块则有着绘画的细微模拟,这是在日常与梦幻之间的并置,这也是现成品绘画的另一种诗意构想。张耒的现成品绘画还充分接纳了时间性,在日光下的暴晒,让现成品被单的颜色发生改变,让绘画回到平面无为的同时又极为奇特地接纳错觉,让艳丽的颜色与时间的锈迹相互转化。张耒的现成品绘画体现了渴望记忆抚爱的内在冲动,在他人程式化的手工性与自己谦卑的绘画性之间,在自然的默然作用与人为的让出之间,在看似平常平淡的生活与充满白日梦想的期许之间,张耒的现成品绘画在模糊边界时,让我们重新回到身体与世界的原初关系上,让我们去触摸时光的痕迹。

Ready-made Painting ? This concept is almost a “paradox” or “aporia of double bind”. Isn’t painting ended by “ready-mades”? The appearance of ready-mades, just as Thierry de Duve put it, makes art the “art general” , the art about art or “meta-art” , while painting only remains as “special art” . And ready-made extends the concept of “physical property” . It is no longer limited in the two-dimensional illusion and the description of physical properties, but directly makes “anything” become art. In this way, art can adopt everything, no longer just artwork, but goods, commodities, implements, natural objects, and even non-object or no-thing. Or rather, the adoption of ready-mades by painting is just what has been done by American “Post Dadaism” , abstract material painting or conceptual painting and Japan’s “Mono-ha” . But all these seem to be too far away from the planar definiteness of painting. So, how to keep enoughplanarity of painting anduniqueness hand feeling, as well as the acceptance and affirmation of ready-mades? Whether the combination of “ready-mades” and “painting” has changed both? If Cezanne were representative of painting masters and Duchamp the initiator of ready-mades, how could they be combined? Isn’t the confrontation between the two the intrinsic symptom or fundamental crisis of westernmodernity art? This is just like the impossible combination of “right to do anything” and “wrong to do anything” . This is the “double bind between possibility and impossibility” of modernity art. But doesn’t new art occur when one makes it “possible” again when faced with one’s own “impossibility” ?
The proposal of “Ready-made Painting” is a chance for Chinese contemporary art to contribute new artistic principles when faced with crisis of contemporary art.

Ⅰ Ready-mades and Contemporary Art Crisis

The fundamental crisis of modernity art is brought by Duchamp’s “ready-mades” . The appearance of “ready-mades” has broughtfollowing several effects:
Firstly, the “simplified way” embodied in ready-mades: 1.abandons traditional visual arts, no longer resorts to retinal perception and aesthetic judgment, but rather turns to conceptual naming game; 2.breaks art category, forcing artists to do “meta-art” : the art about art, to be “general art” or “art general” , no longer be “special art” like painting or sculpture; 3.cancels the difference between genius creation andborrow from someone else. It is no longer the onlycreation of genius, but depends on a chance encounter and an impromptu name; 4.breaks the distinction among physical properties: any object and any ready-made can become a work. There is no longer distinction among creations, other implements, other artworks, even gift and natural objects, etc. All of them can be works of art, can be directly embezzled, even not leave a work. They are allowed to dissipate, and the works are canceled with them. 5.Ready-mades trigger the” useless” art, for these implements or artificialities have lost the existing functions, even the aesthetic function. They embody the “purposelessness” required by Kant even better, or to say, they meet the demands of nihilism or provide a new understanding of “nothingness” . Translating “physical property” into “nothingness” is the most fundamental appeal of modernity art!
Secondly, the fact that Duchamp has also realized the entangled relationship between ready-made and painting is demonstrated in his two elaborate great works, namely, the “Large Glass” and “Be Given” . In terms of the relationship between ready-made and painting, Duchamp mainly focused on the manufacture of ready-made or correlated ready-made with sculpture. In fact, Duchamp’s works like urinals all embodied the characteristics of sculpture (the “Travel Sculpture” in 1918 was directly named so), though they again abandoned the sculptural sense of implements and return to pure substance feeling. Naming the “Large Glass” as “Brides Even Unclothed by Their Bachelors” was also to continue the previous serial painting works about “bride” . Through “Bride” and “Virgin” , especially in the painting of “Transition of Virgin into a Bride” created in the transition period of 1912, Duchamp tried to solve a paradox: how to keep virginity while becoming a bride that enjoys the sexual pleasure. This was almost the modern artistic recurrence of Christian innocent virgin and Immaculate Conception, i.e. how to implement transition or transform through fold of the 4th dimensional time and space, maintaining the non-human factor of physical property (“virginity” ) and in the meanwhile possessing the visual pleasure and completed event (“attribute of bride” ). Duchamp has begun to confront the complex problems of “Ready-made Painting” .On the whole, he still abandoned the painterliness, though he created the “ready-made painting-to-be” of “Apolinère Enameled” in 1917: the work was based on finished product, ground paper, oil paint rolled tin, pencil, etc., and the brushwork was also an irony to painting. Duchamp’s ready-mades of later period also tried to return to painting. “Be Given” was a realistic painting that imitated Courbet’s “Birth of the World” . It was full of erotic peep, and by “view” , it even directly realized the pass through female’s vagina. But this was not painterliness and it also lost the planarity. Therefore, the problem was still there. How to maintain the readiness of objects while possess artificiality? Ready-made is a random accidental embezzlement or a game without artificiality. Isn’t the dream to keep virginity a natural dream or illusion?
Thirdly, the effects of Duchamp’s ready-mades last not just back then. Though he gained responses from “Dadaism” and “Surrealism” in 1920s and 1930s, which was demonstrated in Picabia’s conceptual painting and Man Ray’s photography works, the major effects appeared after 1950s, which led to the emergence of conceptual art. Even conceptual art was mainly created with “ready-mades” : 1.the works or “non-works” of Warhol and Beuys possessed readiness with photographic lens fixed for several hours, and the embezzlement of a large number of commercial symbols was all affected by the concept of ready-made. Beuys used so many ready-mades that the painterliness was lost as a whole and planarity could not be resumed even when he changed them into social sculpture. “Everybody is artist” was also meant to eliminate difference. 2.Arte povera was also embezzlement of ready-mades, only that it destroyed ready-mades to a larger-extent and made them close to non-works, so as to endow the ready-mades with ethic “meaning” . 3.Minimalism turned to architecture type of painting. They returned to sculpture, but broke away from planarity. This was also stimulated by ready-mades or borrowed the concept of ready-mades, but they marched towards the “theatricality” according to Fried. This was more apparent in Japan “Mono-ha” , which entered plane as natural objects, but still basically lost the painterliness.4.Expanding to musical performances, for example, John Cage’s 4 minutes 33 seconds was also a parody of ready-made concept, the perversion of playing and not playing, undone and done.
The consequence is the disappearance of art’s boundary. Art is turned into the dependency of sociology, commercial capital and individual curiosity, or the dependency of technology. If we continue Duchamp’s more complicated direction, the art would depend on technology. Of course, we have lost Duchamp’s patience for continuous research on scientific problems. For example, Duchamp carried out complicated research on relativity and the fourth dimension through “Large Glass” , and he even wrote a lot of notes.

ⅡThe Problem of Meta-painting

Back to painting, painting as a special category, how can it get rid of its own particularity? OncePollock starts dribbling, painting is no longerparticular. Allowing the input of individual life’s unique energy, he body seems to be another kind of ready-made. Once the American abstract expressionism is faced with the possible condition of art, painting no longer has any objects for recurrence, but expresses the plane, frame boundary and color itself. With such meta-painting of painting “possibilities conditions” , painting is temporarily rational, but the appearance of monochrome paintings (color is cancelled, this is also a conceptual painting) leads to the end of painting.
Actually painting hasadopted “ready-made” to some extent long ago, not finished product, but all kinds of existing materials. Material is not ready-made for the later has its own complete physical property and one can see the physical property itself, rather than a part of painting or be subject to the modeling of painting.
Three stages of arthave accepted such existing objects:
1.Synthetic cubism in around 1912 directly pasted newspapers on the canvas. Many of Picasso’s works were just like this. But still it became part of the painting as painting modeling and the independentphysical property of newspaper itself was invisible.
2.Many works of Rauschenberg or post-Dadaism in 1950s, especially the “combination” series or combines, already seemed ready-made paintings. They seemed to have painterliness, but they added more existing objects, or collages, reproductions, personal photos, etc., and all these were placed on the plane. Affected by clip art, they inherited the collage property of synthetic cubism together with high degree of abstraction. Attached to the wall, they were no longer two-dimensional but stood out, and they were also different from minimalism’s field domain towards space sculpture. These objects were existing objects or material objects with obvious physical characteristics, but they were more embodied in installations, or rather installation paintings. Or to say, they were just complication and juxtaposition of ready-mades. It could also be interlinked with the abandon of planarity by minimalism, only that it maintained slight “painterliness” . But in fact it was no painting for lack of painterliness. These works had too much images with photographic works, they didn’t set out from painterliness itself, but more about ready-mades of paintings with focus on ready-mades.
3.So there appeared a large number of installation paintings, for example Kiefer’s works pasted plenty of ready-mades such as roses directly on canvas and they were presented as installations, or broke painting planarity. But they still emphasized too much texture to have enough painterliness, while our ready-made paintings with their focus on “painting” , rather than ready-mades.
-The adoption of physical property is another attitude of western art, so as to expand thepainterliness. But here is the problem: the plane for painting is not sufficientlyexpanded; while the plane is interfered by these supplementary things and the planarity of painting itself has not been respected.
Both Fontana’s cut pictures and S.Hantai’sfolded pictures reflected their pressure when faced with ready-mades or impromptu accidental actions. Or they returned to the characteristics of the canvas itself and their works were already close to ready-made painting.

ⅢDuchamp’s Infra Thin or Infra Mince

Neither the sculptural ready-mades nor the textured paintings combined ready-mades with paintings, and of course there was no infra mince transformation.
For Duchamp, the problem was not so simple, but more complex. There was a more “complicated way” to practice the “transformation” :1.despite the simple and immediate ready-mades like urinal in “Spring” or snow shovel in “Before broken” , his ready-made work of “Large Glass” , which took eight years from 1916 to 1925, was no easy thing. It was a ready-made artwork with scientific research to convey the illusion of the fourth dimension and it had implied imagination of the fourth dimensional painting. 2.Duchamp also sought to return to painting, for example his “Apolinère Enameled” was a “painting-to-be” which took painting as a metaphor. There were ready-mades, painterliness, and even actions for painting in it, but it still seemed couldn’t go back to painting. 3. After 1937, he started secret explorations in his notes of “infra mince” or “infra thin” , trying to connect ready-mades with paintings and imagining the possibility of ready-made painting in many places. 4.This was embodied in his work of “Be Given” , which took 20 years with no declaration. This work undoubtedly imitated Courbet’s “Birth of the World” ; still it was not painting, but an installation.
So, what is important is the “Infra mince” note founded in 1980s. Contemporary art historians tried to find an “Unfinished Duchamp” (as the in-depth studyreminded and carried out in the memoir of The Definitively Unfinished Marcel Duchamp, which was published in 1993). Obviously, the “Unfinished” was based on the second thoughts of the revolutionary influence and its consequences brought by ready-mades, especially the “infra mince” note’s reflections on ready-mades. How could it be possible to keep the ready-mades, go beyond the concept of ready-mades and in the meanwhile be related to painting? The possible is an infra-thin: The possibility of several tubes of color becoming a Seurat is the concrete “expression” of the possible as infra thin. The possible implying the becoming: the passage from one to the other takes place in the infra thin. allegory on “forgetting”.
In the reflection of this motto: it involved painting, but stressed that the painting itself already became industrialized preparations, for example, the pigment was no longer secret modulation in workshops but be squeezed out directly. The reason why it mentioned only Seurat’s painting was that it had the most obvious stippling, and the infra mince in his sketch works was fascinating, but how could it have anything to do with ready-mades? Previous ready-mades could no longer best reflect the possibility, and ready-mades could no longer thoroughly realize the transition and transformation from themselves to others. The transformation in “Large Glass” was just illusion. The transformation of previous ready-mades was not infra mince, but direct conceptual naming and it had not yet shown the implied meaning of forget. How to forget? It happened to be the conceptual game to remove names and to suspend concept of previous ready-mades. This was also why Duchamp began his “Suitcase” series in around 1936, and why he narrowed and assembled previous ready-mades. It was the thorough summary and personal settlement of him, the monument of ready-mades and the “cinerary casket” of the little ready-made art. This also explained why he stopped produce ready-mades later. So, Duchamp’s note about “infra mince” could not be used to explain ready-mades, on the contrary, it meant to go beyond the crisis of ready-mades. Duchamp tried to maintain ready-made’s appeal to the “futility of physical property” and “universality of art” , and in the meanwhile open new possibilities of art, yet it seemed he failed to realize it in the end. The work of “Be Given” took him 20 years, yet didn’t fully embody the “infra mince” .
Duchamp tried to reconnect ready-mades with painting with “infra mince” or in an” infra Thin” way. We understood it as infra minces, which added the “weakness” aesthetics of Chinese culture, which made it with more imagination and more thin. It keeps the naturalness (just like “virginity” ) and painterliness, and in the meanwhile adopts ready-mades.

Ⅳ Paradox beyond Contemporary Art: Infra Minces Transitivity

Contemporary art has always been faced with its own state of remains or without remains, known as the remains state. This is because art only faces their own state of remains or without remains; it is no longer directly possible. The art has to confront with its own argument of crisis and legitimacy, and it doesn’t have direct universality. Neither does ready-made art, unless it shows its own futility. Art has to undertake the task of universality, but also to realize its own disability. How to make futility useful? Just as Zhuangzi’s wisdom told us.
This is not because art is not good enough, but rather it is too easy. In classical age, it’s “no right to do anything” (just like Cezanne’s puzzlement to continue classical painting master’s “Unknowable Masterpiece” , painting is the failure to enter chaos), for man is not god, and art is infinite; but contemporary art is too easy, it’s “right to do anything” (this is the “relax” and “easiness” started by Duchamp), and it only needs the burstiness of one-time name and accidental wit. Of course, there is actually a reversal between the two, for when god is dead, everything is possible, but it also means that everything is no longer possible, for there are no standards or rules. “Right to do anything” also means the loss of their own standards and everything seem too easy, while “no right to do anything” means there is no absolute criterion for art, thus losing the association with absolute.
In fact, modernity itself is the breakage between finite short transition and infinite eternal solidness. To make up for the breakage, art starts turning to “meta-art” , trying to become art itself, but it cancels itself in the unity of “meta-art” . The more the art wants to become “art general” and tries to finish art itself one time, the more it cancels itself. Just like the continuous abstraction and monochromatization of painting are also forced by “meta-painting” , and in this way, painting ends and cancels itself. Therefore, if there is any possibility of art, it is in the face of this extra “remains” : facing the state of without remains between “right to do anything” and “no right to do anything” . When there is nothing “remain” in “between” , how to open a scope between the two and make impossibility coexist with possibility, rather than eliminate tension, otherwise, there would be no modernity. If contemporary art embodies the typical contradiction between Duchamp and Cezanne, then the contradiction is the mutual deviation of ready-mades and paintings. But both the ready-mades and painting have to face their own state of without remains, and only in this way can they become again the “art general” .
The emergence of ready-mades brings the immediate appearance of “art general” , while the process of painting becoming meta-painting brings the end of painting. Then, is it possible to combine the two and offer bearable “remains” ? Is it possible to let Cezanne make peace with Duchamp, attend the same exhibition, or even appear in the same work? Isn’t it the biggest “paradox” ?
How to keep physical properties of ready-mades, and in the meanwhile return to theplanarity of painting? The question is: why to return to planarity? Planarity marks limitation, and returning to it means going back to limitation, to the primal instinct when mankind first encountered with the world. Ready-mades are casual without limitations, so we need to combine the two, namely, the unlimited conceptual art and limited planar painting. And to keep the planarity of painting is to keep the connectivity with tradition.
Of course, such ready-mades are no longer the previous ones, and such painting is also no longer the same as that in the past. How could it possible for a new artwork to be: originated from ready-mades and have the subtle material touch of ready-mades, yet without any evidence; be indeed a painting and with all the “subtleness” of a painting, yet looks not like a painting? And the two are internally integrated, i.e. there is a fine and subtle transition between the combination of “infra mince” and “remains” .
Then, what are the preconditions for the combination of ready-mades and paintings? One is Duchamp’s concept of “infra mince” , and his note has implied the possibility of connecting ready-mades and paintings: since “Infra mince” is the possibility of transition from oneself to the other, ready-mades can transit towards painterliness, and vice versa. Only that the transition needs to be more “natural” and more “weak” , thus emerging the contribution of Chinese thought, for the art spirit of ink painting are more natural and more weak. Adding the weak breath into the ready-mades and paintings, this is the penetrating of Duchamp’s “infra mince” into Zhuangzi’s “infra thin” ! The connection of the both is beyond the dreams of Duchamp and Cezanne. Just like Cezanne tried to connect solidness of classical with vagueness of impressionist, but he never succeeded to achieve the overall completion, while his watercolor works in later period became more weak; also Duchamp emphasized that art was a metaphor of forget, and that painting should visually embody the state of forget, and in the meanwhile reflect individual skills and close to meta-painting. These problems have not been solved yet.

Ⅴ Ready-made Painting

It is possible for ready-made painting, then, how can ready-made be combined with painting? In this regard:
On the one hand, how to be “ready-mades” yet different? This has to accept Duchamp’s reflection over “infra mince” . Ready-mades are no longer a simple embezzlement of ready-mades or a conceptual game, but work that demands long time, just like complicated ready-mades, but it also needs further remaining process of products, not complete finished products, but the products that go through “remains” and even “remain-less” process, or to say thinner products, just as Duchamp puts it: “The picture on the glass generates infra mince when looked from the unpainted side.” This means it tried to be close to painting and yet wanted to be never been painted.
Ready-mades are indeed on hand and have been manufactured, not first created by artists, and they have to keep direct link with reality and daily life. Modernity is a materialized age, and also the respect to the objectivity and qualitative property of objects. But it is not Duchamp’s simplified ready-mades, but has been made thin. The so called “infra mince” or “infra thin” is to further reduce the substantivity of ready-mades. The ready-mades are taken to undergo some kind of process, such “process” is the weakening process of ready-mades. It is not direct embezzlement, but need to be processed in the relation with painterliness.
On the other hand, how to be painting but not the traditional painting?Painting is the unity of material-base-object, but contemporary paintingis to solve the problem since Pollock: how to leave the canvas and also bring new painting plane?How to retain some characteristics of ready-madesin painting, such as canvas, material and so on?
Chinese ink art can bring inspiration for the transformation, which can no longer be realized with only western painting. This is associated with the doubts Cezanne faced with: how to get natural weak breath? Cezanne is the father of western art and the subsequent cubism, expressionism, abstract painting are associated with him. If it is painting, it need to have painterliness and a new scope of plane, which has to be non-dimension, for the non-dimension is the real open: the approach of infinite: the the embodiment of the meta painting. Painting also need to change itself to have the concept of general art, i.e. it is no longer just drawing a picture or forming a particular style, but to be meta-painting with generality, but not abstract paintings or conceptual ones. How to do? It is to accept ready-mades, as well as naturalness, for nature has the most generality. It is to generate new naturalized image. All human’s products actually don’t have generality due difference of labor and hierarchy, they only have particularity. This is also why ink art has possess generality, just like the landscape painting is not a painting genre, but to rebuild the general relationship between human and nature through painting, for there is internal growth in it. What’s more, the texture of ink painting, with water as its ready-made, is a natural thing and can be transformed into anything.
Here is a triple conversion: one is related to lasting work and philosophy or general topic, finding the remains; one is the transition towards “infra mince” and “infra thin” , and this is an expansion of Duchamp’s “infra mince” ; the last is the new relationship with painting, i.e. changing the painting while maintaining the characteristics of ready-mades.
Ready-made painting, on one hand, has to see and recognize the physical properties of ready-mades, and reflect it in paintings. Yet the physical properties are not part of paintings, especially natural things. This is the new oriental property and the possibility for the start of infra mince, for nature provide possibility for chaos and grammaticalization. The naturalness of things is also the maintenance of Duchamp’s “virginity” . On the other hand, ready-made painting need to keep “painterliness” , recognize the necessity of plane itself, which has to open new non-dimension and keep the difficulty of the painting. At the same time, the two must also achieve internal integration, with subtle correlation and transition: this is the virtual thin touch.
Ready-mades are ready-mades due to the fact that they are physical objects with material properties. On the other hand, new painterliness is required. It would be no painting if there is no painterliness. Would it be painting ready-made or ready-made painting? The former prefers device field, while the latter tends to painting.
Ready-made painting embodies both physical properties and painterliness. But it is not external collocation and embezzlement; otherwise,it would be either the conceptualpainting, or abstract painting expropriation of materials. Synthetic cubism, American abstract expressionism and Mono-ha are all like this. So, it has to be the combination of infra mince with internal subtle transition, and mutual transformation.
In other words, new ready-made painting art has several changes: first is to have week breath; second is meta-painting, not abstract painting or conceptual painting, but to accept naturalness with growth and naturalness. It is different from Japan’s Mono-ha, and it reactivates the inherent spirit of the whole traditional ink painting art; third is to open a new non-dimension infinite plane, and rediscover the relationship between texture and ready-mades, rebuild the relationship between texture and spirit, this is the open of Zhuangzi’s space for “purifying the heat” .
Ready-made painting is the art to be rediscovered. Infra thin painting is just like this. On the one hand, ready-mades seem inaction of the name stimulated by unique improvisation and encounter, but now we need to make it act, for example, ink can best demonstrate the inaction, but we need to inspire new rich form, especially timeliness writing; on the other hand, the promising painting embodies the most visual operation and individual skills, but we need to turn it into inaction, the more “active” it is, the more “inactive” we need to make it. Make the painting skills reflect inaction; we need to make emptiness and nature active. And these two sides need mutual infra thin transition. “Right to do anything” : ready-mades: need to be transformed as wrong to do anything, which needs active elaboration; “no right to do anything” : painting: need to be transformed as right to do anything, which seems casual, yet more intangible.

Ⅵ Cases of Chinese Ready-made Painting

Ready-mades as material remains, non-dimensional open of plan itself and the internal growth of nature are basic features of ready-made painting; otherwise Damien Hirst’s “butterfly painting” also belongs to ready-made paintings. The “butterfly painting” takes the natural butterfly as ready-made and has visual fold of painting plane, yet it is not infra thin and hasn’t opened non-dimension, and too fanciful with too many conceptual diagrams.
Make active inactive and make inactive active. It takes “vacuum” and “delicate things” and mutual transformation of the two. This is a new philosophy we named “useless hermeneutics” and “remaining philosophy” , which can open the possibility between modernity paradoxes, i.e. when faced with the Derrida’s double bind of impossibility and possibility, it can open a “between region” or scope for survival in middle room, just as the modernity open of regions said by Zhuangzi “put thin product into room, there will be surplus room” .
The possibility of the combination of ready-mades with painting brings the formation of infra-image, which has the real substantivity and physical property of ready-mades, and also undergoes infra thin process and is only the rest of things. It need to have a opened painting plane, yet is not confined to the plane, and the painting shall have internal growth, which seems yet complete, remains to be done, thus pointing to mata-painting.
Currently,there are already several artists in China, whose works have some characteristics of the ready-made paintingand their own open understanding of the possibilities of ready-made painting, and whose works embody the subtle transformation between ready-mades and painting.
1.Jiang Ji’an silk scroll tea-leaf works want us to carry out wandering appreciation of the classical poetry embodied in the slight curl of tea-leaves in the “painting works” and the “literati life space” opened by ready-mades:on the one hand, Jiang Ji’an soaked rice paper with tea and made it dark brown and pasted the used tea-leaves on the plane of soaked rice paper with gluedtea powder, and all the branches of tea-leaves were also dyed by tea powder, which gave sufficient play to the physical property of ready-mades. It was associated with the breath of individual daily drink, yet underwent remaining process, thus having the painterliness. This is the same with his previous “painterliness” work of “surplus value” series, which burnt silk into ashes, mixed it with minerals and painted in traditional Chinese realistic painting way, and in the end the leftover presented a concavo-convex infra-image. The infra-image of the paintings corresponded tothe leftoverplaced next to it (i.e. the mixture ofpigment and silk scroll), so Jiang had already made painting plane corresponding to ready-mades. On the other hand, the painter put the tea-leaves of Pu’er Tea and dark brown works into the device space, and the direct presentation of tea set and writing and painting implements were just like literati’s study room. The works had both the planarity and seriation of painting, as well as the open and read of field domain. Jiang Ji’an’s works have ready-mades, which have undergone remaining treatment, and also painterliness, which used the poetic form of the curl and used tea-leaves.Beside, his works have open space, which have more field transition and practical and meaningful poetry between the ready-mades and painting. This is exactly what Japan’s Mono-ha and Minimalism lack.
2.Qiu Shihua’s blank painting requires us to walk back and forth, repeatedly keep near and far away from the work, and “transform” between the “appearance” and “introspection” . Take a direct view of the “appearance” , it is just an abstract painting, all blank without anything, and only the trace and texture of coarse linen cloth, which retains the fabric’s features as ready-made, but it also makes use of the infra-thin feature of ink, which is more virtual and weaker, just as the “infra mince” dreamt by Duchamp, for the permeability of ink after conversion makes linen a piece of paper, which has the properties of absorption and permeability. This is the remaining treatment of linen as ready-made. In terms of “introspection” : one can see the non-dimension in the painting with a random and cursory glance. The profound and lasting artistic conception doesn’t have any dimension or fixed view-point and perspective. It takes moving and repeated view to see the fusion of classical landscape and modern landscape, which is growing, reflecting the integration and endless growth of nature. Qiu Shihua’s works are not existing paintings, but painting general, for his works deal with the painting and vision. The works are blank without anything to view, yet you can see more as long as you watch. The emptier means the more real. There are innumerable mountains and valleys, endless growth of nature and reversion of painting: the more abstract the more specific: The more specific the scenery is, the more endless growth and changes it retains. The more a conceptual painting looks like a ready-made, the more it seems an impressionist landscape painting; the more it looks like a modern landscape painting, the more infra-image of ancient landscape painting it has. It goes beyond the western opposition of concretization and abstract, and realizes transition back and forth, which is exactly the infra mince art in Duchamp’s dream, a new art that keeps the “subtle transition” and “oblivious moral” of natural growth.
3.Liang Shaoji’s silk works, especially the “Planar Tunnel” , require us to experience it in a finest and most fantasy way between nature and human: on the one hand, it is silk, the natural object produced by silkworms; this is the presence of natural thing in painting. But on the other hand, it is a planar work with collocated circles and squares, looks as if Minimalism. His works are neither painting, nor ready-made, but seems to be both ready-made and painting, for there is rich poetry in the generation of natural objects, pierced filaments and cloud shadow, which the western ready-mades lack. They are not paintings for there is no painting handwork, yet the combination and collocation of circles and squares show the beauty of abstract painting. It gives full play to the nature. In Liang Shaoji’s silk images, wriggly silkworms demonstrate the poetic movement of characters, which seems unconsciously automatic writing by nature.
4.Chen Guangwu’s Yin-yang Calligraphy requires a separated and comprehensive view from four sides, namely, the relationship of painting and space, and the infra-thin combination of active and inactive: the “Yang” calligraphy is painting, yet it opens the non-dimensional imagination of characters and it is the surplus writing of Chinese characters and calligraphy, and is more and more close to the integrated state at the emergence of the universe; while “Yin” lays under the first layer and is invisible and inactive, it is ready-made with the permeability of ink and infra thin principle. It can’t be controlled, and is actually just an abandoned piece of ready-made paper as the bottom of painting, but it is generated into a more anonymous work, neither the abstract painting nor character painting, but with unspeakable traces. Besides, the collocation and separation of Yin and Yang also combines pen and no-pen, and solves the standoff since Pollock and its possibility to cancel the paintings. The interval and integration of Yin and Yang are also different from the traditional inner conversion of Yin and Yang, but a collocation after interval and spatialization and yet is combined with internal infra thin. This is the establishment of gap between infra thin and retains the subtle transit from itself towards others.
5.The device painting of Xu Bing’s “Background Story” requires us to see from the front and the back sides, using a frosted glass to divide the two: from the “front” side of the work, it seems an ancient landscape picture, green and elegant, but in fact there is no painting; while viewed from the “back” side of the glass, they are some trash bags, some usual things or ready-mades. The dye and light make the incredible combination. It is a classical and elegant painting on the front—but actually it is not painting, actually embodying enough inactiveness; and there are some ready-mades, trash bags, residual broken things, etc. on the back side. This is a wonderful inversion from the poverty art, rubbish art and useless things to noble painting visual art, a transition from residual to surplus. This is another way to combine the ready-mades and painting with device, inversion and irony. This is another expansion of Xu Bing’s pseudowords and futility treatment of Chinese characters in his early work of “A Book from Heaven” in 1980s, and his transformation from unreadable Chinese toward readable English in his “Chinese and English Calligraphy” in 1990s.
6.Yu Tao’s ready-mades from the combination and cutting of books give us a clear touch of the dualism of ready-made painting, i.e. the surplus meaning of the books and the physical form of the books. It allows the inversion of inner content to external forms, and it is a triple inner transformation of picture, items and painting. First, it needs to keep the “article properties” of items, rather than describe an item; second, it need to be a “picture” with lasting work of painters and retains the physical properties in the meanwhile; third, it need to have “painterliness” , giving people the first instinct of painting plane yet not traditional painting way. Yu Tao’s unique invention of ready-made painting is based on the cutting of “items” such as collected book, brochures, newspapers and daily notes, then make them present as seemingly both material type of abstract works and device painting works after repeated color and screen color. Yu Tao’s work let us see another style of ready-made painting. He makes ready-mades items that seem like paintings, he emphasizes items yet looks like paintings. It seems that the ready-mades are books and also paintings, for there are abstract complex texture and trace on it with metaphor of the wound healing ethics. But still it is item, i.e. in repeat manufacture and play and in inheritance of ethical attitude towards tradition daywork and physical work, it becomes a thing covered by time just liked unearthed antiques. Only when ready-made painting takes enough timeliness, can it be different from the one-time production or time accumulation of western paintings.
7.Xiaohua’s works let us see the inner relation of manual line and painting tools. Ready-made painting seems the first appearance of the world and nature from the void in a weak and casual form. In Xiaohua’s works, on the one hand, those fine manual suture and wire lines on black plane seem shinning starry sky in the night with the sound of tearing yet is internally removed; on the other hand, those painting frames are useless and don’t provide planes for painting, and they are delicate as association of natural scenery when pierced by artist. Just as the imagination triggered by traditional stones, it is not painting but seems painting. This is the revoice of the aesthetics of “between resemble and not resemble” . Ready-made painting stimulates us to rethink the relationship between human and art, and Xiaohua’s works retain the vulnerability and uncertainty of boundaries, letting viewers’ hearts shiver.
8.Zhang Lei’s ready-made painting is a kind of oneiromancy transformation. On a seemingly normal quilt canvas, there are two pieces of different textures; one is the normal auspicious patterns on the existing canvas, while the other is a microscopic simulation of painting. This is the collocation of daily life and dreams, and also another poetic conception of ready-made painting. Zhang Lei’s ready-made painting also fully embraces the timeliness. He exposed the quilt under sun and let the color of ready-made change, allowing the painting to return to planar inactiveness, and in the meanwhile strangely accept delusion, realizing the mutual conversion of gorgeous color and the rust of time. Zhang Lei’s ready-made painting embodies the inner desire for memory and caress. Between others’ stylized handwork and his own humblepainterliness, between the silent effect of nature and artificial concession, and between the seemingly ordinary and insipid life and expectations full of daydreams, Zhang Lei’s ready-made painting let us return to the original relationship of body and the world and let us go to touch the trace of time at the fuzzy boundaries.

Xia Kejun

本文发表于《美术文献》2016年第1-2期 总第111-112期

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