主题：高铭研 胡昀 廖斐 卢佳炜 陆平原 苏畅 唐狄鑫 张乐华
新作：刘野 汪凌 双飞 靳卫红 吕俊杰
Issue No. 64(2010)
Theme: Shanghai 2010 Beginnings
Academic Host: Biljana Ciric
A.T:Gao Mingyan, HuYun, Liao Fei, Lu Jiawei, Lu Pingyuan, Su Chang, Tang Dixin, Zhang Lehua
A.N: Liu Ye, Wang Ling, Shuang Fei, Jin Weihong, Lv Junjie
最近在看《比耶稣还年轻》这本书（该书是纽约新美术馆同名展览的相关出版物），其中包含了对全世界那些比耶稣还年轻的一代人的分析和考察。文章来自各种媒体，从《纽约时报》到非洲的主流报刊，从不同角度分析年轻人，或所谓80年代这一群体的各种需求。这些文章的共同目标是怎么以更快的速度让这一代成为他们的消费群体。 其中一篇文章谈到中国的这一代人，作者把他们叫做 “酷的一代”。
“酷”，90年代出现的这个词主要是表达对一个东西的认可，追求与众不同的、讲究个体的独立性。其实“酷”很少会挂在如今这个群体的嘴上，更加为他们所认可的词可能是“牛B” 或“爽”。还是和“酷”有不一样的。更有趣的定义是 “i”一代，字母“I” 在这是用小写的形式，就像“I” 在 “iPhone” 和“iPod” 前面的那个“i”，“i”在这代表自己，但是这个“自己”是马上可以分享给大家的、是给予群众的，但又是离“舍己利人”有一定的距离的。 这种“i” 其实是个表演形式的开始，个体和群体早已变得十分模糊。
“酷”应该是他们的追求，不管他们现在自己酷不酷。所以到底是属于“酷”的一代，还是“i” 一代？似乎有点说不太清。也许 “i” 一代的定义和身份、生产交流的途径应该是更贴近他们的日常。
他们在上海应该是一个小集体，他们围绕一些想法会一起工作，互相之间有分工，但是还是保留个体的创作空间。 他们不前卫。前卫其实往往会暗示着对长辈的价值判断和体系所带有的一种很强的杀气，但其实他们对长辈是很认可的，只是他们会想尽办法去保持距离，为了避免走同样的路。 有时成功有时失败，但是他们很清楚其中的危险。
Shanghai 2010 Beginnings
By Biljana Ciric
About the “i” Generation:
Invited by The Fine Arts Literature and FU Xiaodong to edit and curate this issue, I accepted the honor and finally landed my choice on the group of young artists living and working in Shanghai.
Recently I was reading Younger than Jesus (publication of the namesake exhibit of New Museum of Contemporary Art of New York), which comprised of analyses and examinations of this younger-than-Jesus generation all over the world. The sources of these articles varied from The New York Times to the mainstream African journals. Various demands of the young generation or the so-called 80’s generation were analyzed from different perspectives in those articles, the common goal of which was to find out how to accelerate this generation on their road of becoming consumers. Among them there was one article talking about this generation of Chinese youngsters, referred to as the “cool generation” by the author.
Cool, a word emerged in the 90s, embodies the recognition of certain things, the pursuit of what is out of the ordinary and the independence of individuality. In fact, hardly can you hear this word coming out of the mouths of this generation, who identifies more with words like “A-game” or “Ka-ching”. The even more interesting definition is the “i” generation with “I” in small letter, just as “I” in “iPhone” and “iPod”. “i” here stands for a sharable oneself, while still keeping some distance from altruism. The “i” here is actually the beginning of the form of performance, obscuring individuals and groups.
Regardless of being “cool” or not, they still chase after it. So whether they should be defined as the “cool” generation or the “i” generation is still debatable. Maybe the definition, identity and means of communication of the “i” generation should be brought closer to their daily lives.
Actually I more often than not refrain myself from the discussion on differences and common traits of generations, since a great many baffling “definitions” and misunderstandings have been conferred upon those artists born in the 80s. But the truth remains that they were indeed born in the 80s, therefore, I agree with the idea that this group belongs to a generation whether you accept it or not. Mannheim said that “a generation” is a bit like a “class”. Belonging to a generation or a class doesn’t necessarily mandate an awareness of their own, but you values, possibilities and limitations may well be the common traits of this generation or class. Hence being a part of a generation means you share some characteristics with him or her, whether you recognize it or not.
Without a question I do not belong to their generation, but I get to meet them quite a lot. And since most of them have already participated in my exhibitions, I could safely call some of them my acquaintances. I often ask them “What do you want to do?’ or “How would you imagine yourself in 5 years?” for which I haven’t obtained a definite reply yet, but rather the clear answer of what they don’t want.
I think maybe this is what attracts me. Hiding behind their uncertainty are more potentials.
The factors of a certain “generation” or decade did not come into my mind while I was choosing the artists. The choice of the 8 artists is based on their ability to present something different or maybe my expectations on them.
What’s important is that a lot of things had changed the time they took their first step in art. There is no critics around to discuss artistic theories and issues like what’s art’s impact on the society, nor anyone to persuade them that such conversations between them were quite valuable in the art circle. The tight bond between critics and artists was probably severed 10 years ago. The readers could note that most introductions of young artists were written by artists.
Meanwhile, the relationship between art and money intensified. The revelry of the art market bombarded them with countless temptations of the market and possibilities to work with galleries. Yet there is still only one gallery in Shanghai.
Perhaps the older generation put too much faith in the nobility of art while these people lacked such expectation for art. Instead the art is still placed at an indefinite position in their lives. The reason for their choosing the path of art is definitely based on some particular relationship, which may be connected to the older generation, the reason for which is not revealed to us yet.
The Collective Force
A small community in Shanghai, they collaborated on some ideas with division of duties while preserving individual creative space. They are not avant-garde, which often implies a murderous confrontation against the values, judgments and systems of the senior generation. Instead they quite approve of the elders while maintaining a distance in order to avoid the same path. Sometimes it works and sometimes not, but they are fully aware of the danger.
This young community was a new comer in the realm of art, but their era and what they possess are quite a departure from that of their seniors, especially in Shanghai.
They staged a great deal of group activities in Shanghai last year, trying to find some new ways of expression (which they called “the new mode of fun”) and strategies of existence.
Seldom can the native young artists’ works be exhibited in the galleries of Shanghai any more; it has almost become an impossibility, leaving the impression of an utter lack of artistic activities of youngsters here.
It seemed that these young men had already made their strategy and choice.
Last April the young artists of Shanghai found an old building in the District of Yangpu for their “Jump”, which was organized by GAO Mingyan and LU Jiawei, who invited a bunch of familiar and unfamiliar artists, including young artists from Hangzhou, to join the jump. There was no restriction except for one rule: jumping off from a specified height. Everyone jumped, the viewers as well as the participants. It was never treated as an “artistic activity” but rather a group activity, hence no invitation of viewers and no propaganda.
Actually such activity was done by a lot of people in the art history, for examples, the famous photo of Klein jumping off the window, the “FLY” of Yoko Ono by inviting friends to fly off the stage using all kinds of ways. It’s not an original idea, but it succeeded in attracting people through the “inartistic” action, which sometimes baffled people as to their intention while bring some new thoughts and possibilities to this artistic environment.
Another example from last year is TANG Dixin’s “Street Gallery” – a project initiated by young artists, who were not represented by galleries, most of whom were jobless and without channels to sell their works, and whose working conditions and demands were understood by few galleries. TANG’s “Street Gallery” operated exactly according to the regular mode of galleries but with works that are suitable for street vending, with profits divided 50-50 between him and the artists. This kind of action from an artist represented a utopian attitude towards the artistic market, circle and economy, a bit unconvinced yet hoping their actions to be noted and understood by others. An independent operation system, the “Street Gallery” is more of a way of expression to those artists. It sounds like a wish and an instinctive action, but also evokes a lot of thought: why did they do this and how to understand these actions, etc.
The “Young Artist Sale Store” was also a collective strategy of existence of young artists. Without support from the galleries, they created the concept of a mobile discount store to exhibit their works through other space and gallery resources.
The collective force turned most of these activities into reality. Perhaps it didn’t touch the lives of most people, but it was particularly significant to the artistic group. This kind of group-oriented boosting is only temporary, but once the collective force wears off, it’s still early to separately predict the road they will individually pick.
The Artistic Life and Individual Path
I’m more than the observer, curator, partner and friend of these artists, and occasionally serve as the “filter” and the supporter of their thoughts. Some of them are utopian while some can be immature, but what’s really important is the real action, only after which the consequence is revealed.
Their art originates from the ridicule of monotonous life and reality. It’s hard to assign a clear definition to their method of working, which has only just begun. But we could get a rough picture of their tendencies as individuals and the thinking of works through the introduction of some of their works by Fine Arts Literature. Their methods of working vary from scrambled ideas to group activity and back to individuals, while unique temperament of each individual artist develops along the process.
It’s too early to discuss the individual artistic development of those artists. After all art is a profession, which imposes a great deal of requirements on the individual development, and a quite different “profession” at that.
The only thing irreplaceable is the talent, which is hardly mentioned in our discussion of art, but deserves more attention with the accumulation of time and works viewed.
But the talent needs to be nurtured, for too easily it will be worn down by life and its growth requires the tender care of rational structure of knowledge. Only with delicate shaping can it be turned into an individual universe, which will bring new experience to this world.
Everything has just begun.
Special thanks to the 8 recommenders and the support they provided.