Descending

Descending
— An Exhibition Review

By Luo Fei

In a room of the cultural space that has been adapted from an abandoned factory, there is a set of installation made of steel on the floor. It’s only as high as the knee, yet it almost filled the entire room. Audiences have to walk along the wall to go around it to observe it. Thick hemp ropes were tied tightly and neatly on the frame. The ropes went through the sleeves and pant legs of T-shirts and pants of different shades of green. They were from local second-hand market. They are either made stretched flat or slightly loosed hanging on the hemp ropes. The whole frame looked like a sturdy safety net, as if to catch fallen objects from the sky. From the knots on the frame and the ink marks whipped on the three pieces of paper exhibiting nearby, one can obviously feel the sense of power and determination.

As you get near this “safety net,” you could vaguely hear a low male voice (Chinese) and a crispy female voice (English) were reading something. Ah, it’s a poem – “Imaginary Routes”. It’s portraying a number of descriptive pictures, from the descriptions of open landscape quickly zooming in to narrations of the human condition. It’s a sound of self-reflection and contemplation. It seemed that the situation was tense. The contemplation and struggle that were hanging right above the earth was readily felt, like a very low cloud floated near from afar. The whole poem was hanged on the translucent paper next to the entrance to the “safety net”.

It’s a work by the Norwegian artist Sveinung Rudjord Unneland and the Danish writer Andreas Vermehren Holm during their stay in Kunming.

Also put on display were some Polaroid photos that Unirande and Holm took on the streets in Kunming. All of them were partially painted green, like the fences used to enclose the constructing buildings. It’s done in a way as if the city is always under construction – in fact that is the case. That is exactly what the exhibition is all about – a visible, never-finished world and an unseen and never-weary crowd in it.

In a society where social Darwinism is popular, life is bound to be an “Ascending Movement”. However, under the logic of the global capitalist economy, the people at the bottom always face the reality of being expelled. They are expelled from where they stay, where they work as well as their former life, and in turn they make a part of the creatures in the biosphere expelled from their habitat. Dignity is simply something too luxurious.

It seems that Unirande and Holm did not mean to present a tragedy, nor a hymn to praise the proletariat, but simply to outline, describe and examine the overall situation of mankind. It’s those who are at the bottom of the social landscape and put in the wide landscape that are interwoven, mutually constructed and stretched to form a solid “safety net”. Because everything will go back to the earth. And everything starts from here.

The exhibition combined the knowledge of the social framework and the contemplation related to existence, and mingled them with their visual forms and literariness. They formed a perceivable and readable passage that invites us to experience the inherent power of this “Descending Movement.”

December 6, 2017

“下行运动”展评

下行运动 Descending
——有关“下行运动”展评

文:罗菲

在这座由废弃工厂改造的文化空间的一个房间里,摆放着一座由钢架搭建组合的装置,只有膝盖那么高,几乎塞满了整个房间,观众只能围着它的四周,沿着墙垣边走边看。架子上面规整地绷着粗粗的麻绳,绳子穿过一些绿色系的T恤和裤子的袖筒和裤筒。那是一些从本地二手市场淘来的衣物,被麻绳绷得平展或稍微松弛。整个架子看上去像是一个结实的安全网,似乎为了接住来自高空的坠物。从一个个系在架子上的绳结,还有一旁展示的三幅绳子鞭策在纸上的墨痕,能让人看到一种力量和决心。

当你靠近这个“安全网”,你能隐约听到一些十分低沉的男声(中文)和清脆的女声(英文)在念着什么——那是一首诗,《想象的路径》(Imaginary Routes)。声音是一些颇具镜头感的画面,从开阔风景的描绘迅速拉近到对人类处境的叙述,自省与沉思的声音。处境似乎有些紧迫,可又能感受到那些悬置在大地之上的沉思与挣扎,像是远远飘来的压得很低很低的云。整首诗挂在“安全网”入口旁的半透明的纸上。

这是挪威艺术家斯韦宁·乌尼兰德(Sveinung Rudjord Unneland)和丹麦作家安德里亚斯·霍尔姆(Andreas Vermehren Holm)在昆明驻留期间创作的作品。

展览上还有一些是乌尼兰德和霍尔姆在昆明街头拍摄的宝丽来照片,上面都被局部地刷上了绿色,像是建筑物围挡施工所需,以至于这座城市看上去总是处于施工状态——事实上也是。这正是整个展览所要呈现的,一个看得见的永不完工的世界和一个看不见的永不疲惫的人群。

在社会达尔文主义盛行的社会,生活注定是一场“上行运动”(Ascending Movement)。在全球资本主义经济的逻辑下,底层人群总是面对着被驱逐的现实,从土地上、工作中和曾经的生活中被驱逐,又把生物圈的一部分从生境中驱逐。尊严,是极其奢侈的。

乌尼兰德和霍尔姆所呈现的似乎并非一个悲剧,也不是一首颂扬队无产阶级的赞歌,而是对人类自身普遍处境的塑造、叙述与审视。作为社会风景里的底层和作为广阔风景里的人相互交织、相互构建、相互拉伸,形成一张结结实实的“安全网”。因为一切都将回落大地,一切,也都从这里开始。

展览把社会框架里的知识与有关存在的沉思糅合在视觉形式与文学性中,它们形成一个可感可读的通道,邀请我们在其中经历这场“下行运动”内在的力量。

2017年12月6日

看不见的星球

阿尔弗雷德·瓦加斯伍德《海啸》2008 瑞典

看不见的星球

文 / 罗 菲

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在百科词典的定义里,环境既包括以大气、水、土壤、植物、动物、微生物等为内容的物质因素,也包括以观念、制度、行为准则等为内容的非物质因素;既包括自然因素,也包括社会因素;既包括非生命体形式,也包括生命体形式。狭义的环境,往往指相对于人类这个主体而言的一切自然环境要素的总和。

人类赖以生存的环境,在自然生态方面,自两百多年前的工业革命以来发生着前所未有的变化,上世纪八十年代开始的全球化使得地球成为一个彼此关联的社区——地球村。人类在共享工业文明和全球化成果的同时,人类和这个星球上的其他生命体也共同承受着人口和消费爆炸式增长所带来的一系列环境压力和威胁,如全球变暖、生物多样性锐减、核污染、土地荒漠化等等。2002年,诺贝尔化学奖得主,荷兰大气化学家保罗·克鲁岑(Paul Crutzen)正式提出“人类纪”的概念,因为人类活动对地球的影响足以成立一个新的地质时代,其中最主要的影响来自远超任何世代的二氧化碳排放。这意味着,千万年后,未来的地质学家根据岩石和沉积物的痕迹能绘制出一条清晰的人类活动线,正如今天人类能分辨出侏罗纪恐龙的痕迹和寒武纪生命大爆炸一样。哈佛大学生物学泰斗爱德华·威尔逊(Edward O.Wilson)认为:“人类已经成为地球生命史上第一个具有地球物理学力量的物种”。人类作为地球生态系统的参与者,在全面改造这个星球的同时,也在其中被改造。

在这样的背景下,自二十世纪七十年代以来,生态环境议题在西方艺术领域和文化研究领域开始引起关注和讨论,人们意识到生态批评成为刻不容缓的命题,艺术无法绕开人们生存的场域和文化内涵被简单欣赏。艺术家、策展人、批评家通过生态批判、伦理批判来重新审视日渐荒漠化的环境,审视自然恶化、动物锐减与人类入侵的矛盾,由此形成一系列重要的展览和引领前卫艺术运动的作品,如贫穷艺术、大地艺术、生态艺术的形成。艺术家们在环境方面的视觉叙事与反思,成为我们今天不可忽视的内容。有关环境的反思也成为我们今天解读艺术作品的另一种伦理视角。

李季《最后的大自然No.1》220X250cm 布面丙烯 2009-2010年

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艺术家们对环境议题的关注,在基本层面上,作为一种主题关切,以艺术媒介在感觉和认知层面唤起人们对当下环境问题的关注,如刘一帆、熊王星等艺术家拍摄的野生动物题材中呈现人类行为对动物的疏离与伤害。向卫星以后期数字加工的手法,把野生动物置入到城市生活环境里,既饱含期待,也是一种微妙的荒诞感。雷燕用纸做的鸟反映动物在水泥丛林里撞上玻璃幕墙后的结局。苏家寿的油画表现漫天飞鸟与满地塑料垃圾形成的冲突感。岩完的画面表现工业污染与人的精神状态之间的潜在影响。

在文化层面,环境问题如同疾病一样,被艺术家当做一种隐喻并发展为对深层现实的批判,如应博睿画面中的化工服形象所突显的隔离感。贾乙的绘画表现那些像被包裹的树一样的人的隔离状态。资佰的图片中成山的人类垃圾画面让人想起太平洋上的“垃圾共和国”,它们在威胁水生生物的同时,通过食物链,又重新回到人类自身。作为象征图像,这件作品也同时指向了人类内在而普遍的无法被满足的饥渴感。挪威艺术家阿尔弗雷德·瓦加斯伍德(Alfred Vaagsvold)的《海啸》项目是一个持续多年的大地艺术计划,在挪威的教堂、乡村、城市、海岸等不同地点实施,成千上万件被穿过的衣物形成一个个戏剧性的场景,俨如“他者”(人类或者外族)的入侵与覆盖,也可以被看作过度消费和生产过剩带来的威胁。

过量生产与消费引发艺术家对废弃日常物品的再利用,并从中发展出物质的语言力量,如薛滔的装置《震》采用废旧报纸做成,一种坍塌却又稳定的形式,这件作品与2008年汶川地震带给艺术家的内心震撼有关,具有贫穷艺术的气质。与贫穷、粗粝相反的是标准化的奢华感,消费时代人们崇尚光鲜、艳丽、流线型的事物,如张晋熙描绘的那样,人自身成为被抛光磨平的玻璃制品,精致易碎,画面充满怀乡的气息,却难掩消费时代精神的虚无。挪威艺术家马丁·哈里(Martin Haarr)的摄影记录那些人类行为在自然中留下的平静的异样感,如堆积在田地里的动物饲料包装仿佛一条巨大的昆虫,石头缝里废弃的人类生活物件俨如散落的人体器官。

作为后现代艺术策略,艺术家利用既定的艺术史中的图像来描述当下问题,如李季《最后的大自然》系列一和二分别纂改自戈雅的《1808年5月3日夜枪杀起义者》和米勒的《晚祷》,以此表现作为食物链顶端的人类对动物的驯化及大规模杀戮。朱岚茎利用北宋经典绘画王希孟的《千里江山图》进行城市化改造,幽静空灵的画面变得喧嚷繁忙。
艺术家也通过营造某种理想环境来表达内心的期待,和丽斌在行为艺术《巢》中,用枯树枝筑起一个巨大的鸟巢,让自己住进去,成为荷尔德林式的“诗意的栖居”。张华采用建筑废弃石料、钢筋《再造》山水画和庭院般的意境,以片段的诗意来抵消现实的废墟感。

环境保护作为一种观念形态,鼓励人们改变生活方式,注重对地球资源的可持续管理与发展。荷兰艺术家薇拉·纽文霍夫(Vera Regina van de Nieuwenhof)最近用一年半的时间从阿姆斯特丹骑行到东京,并途径昆明,后来回到昆明定居。她用自行车内胎做的骑行者装置呼吁人们绿色出行,并重新发现我们自己内在的动力。

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居住在云南的艺术家们从主题关切、文化隐喻、诗意表达、生活方式等层面,呼吁人们对日益严峻的环境问题做出回应与关注。因为在我们习以为常的生产生活方式背后,正塑造着我们共同的、唯一的星球。

张华作品《再造》

“看不见的星球”一个与环境有关的艺术展

居住在云南的艺术家们从主题关切、文化隐喻、诗意表达、生活方式等层面,以摄影、绘画、雕塑、装置、行为艺术、录像艺术等方式,呼吁人们对日益严峻的环境问题做出回应与关注。TCG诺地卡画廊主办的“看不见的星球”也以此介绍与环境表达相关的二十余位云南的艺术家们。“看不见的星球”环境艺术展通过艺术展、讲座、英语角等形式,引起人们对环境议题的关注与思考,对生活方式的反思和改变的可能性。因为在我们习以为常的生产生活方式背后,正塑造着我们共同的、唯一的星球。

策展人:罗菲、王蓓

艺术家:阿尔弗雷德·瓦加斯伍德 (Alfred Vaagsvold挪威),和丽斌,贾乙、李季、雷燕、刘一帆、马丁·哈里 (Martin Haarr挪威)、苏家寿、薇拉·纽文霍夫 (Vera Regina van de Nieuwenhof荷兰),Paper小组(王蓓+杨辉+沙玉蓉+黄越君),薛滔、向卫星、熊王星、应博睿、岩完、资佰、朱岚茎、张晋熙、张华

展览开幕:2017年11月4日晚8点
展览日期:2017年11月4日——11月26日(周日闭馆)
开幕行为艺术:和丽斌,Paper小组
主办:TCG诺地卡画廊
地点:昆明市西坝路101号创库艺术社区内

讲座一:艺术表达与生态伦理
对话嘉宾:李季、薛滔
主持人:罗菲
语言:中文
时间:2017年11月8日 19:30–21:00
地点:TCG诺地卡

讲座二:跨越边界 穿越文化
——有关自行车环球骑行、跨文化交流及环境保护
主讲:薇拉·纽文霍夫Vera Regina van de Nieuwenhof(荷兰)
语言:中英文双语
主持人:罗菲
翻译:蒋艺美
时间:2017年11月14日19:30–21:00
地点:TCG诺地卡

From Pets to Animals

From Pets to Animals
—— Li Ji’s animal painting and photography

By Luo Fei

Li Ji was known by the art world in the1990s and early 2000 for his series “Ladies and Pets”, which depicted some well-dressed ladies with different animals, implying a delicate interdependent relationship between them. This series is slightly erotic, humorous and yuppie. The ladies and pets in these photos are not actually themselves but roles being shaped by some kind of culture. Besides, since either ladies or pets have been carefully domesticated by their “masters”, they know not only how to please their “masters”, but also how to show their soft and tamed side. However, their “masters” are not in these paintings, because what indeed tame the women to sexy ladies and animals to pets are invisible but ubiquitous consumerism, patriarchalism and anthropocentrism.

For Chinese contemporary art in the 1990’s, the artists were generally vigilant, or could be said as having not yet adapted, to the rise of consumer society, hence they usually expressed severe criticism to the human alienation and physical materialization in the consumer society. Similarly, the world revolved around patriarchal society and anthropocentrism reached its domination and possession by the materialization of women and animals.

Li Ji revealed in this series not only his interest and thoughts about people – the “ladies”, but also his knowledge and extraordinary love to animals – the “pets”. Grown up in a family of intellectuals, Li Ji has shown a strong curiosity about all kinds of knowledge since young especially in biology. He is even more familiar with his mother’s books than herself. His interest in the living conditions of animals around the world is so strong that he always dreams of going to Africa to see the wildlife.

Li Ji started his wildlife discovery in 2009, when he just completed the “Ladies and Pets” series and then photographed wild animals while visiting national parks and nature reserves with his wife in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and other domestic places like Yunnan, Tibet, Qinghai, Hoh Xil and so on. In every trip he would return with countless adventurous stories and fantastic wildlife photos, even though he has encountered with the danger of life and death several times.

As an artist, Li Ji responds to the rapid disappearance of wildlife in the world with the conventional means in visual art. From 2009 to 2011, he painted a series of modified masterpieces of Western art history, such as Miller’s “Late Prayer”, Goya’s “May 3rd, 1808 Nightmare” and Manet’s “Lunch on the Grass”, turning these human’s godliness, gallantry and livelihood into a denouncement to the tragedies of the large-scale massacre mankind implemented on wildlife. In this series, by misappropriation and codification to the masterpieces in art history, Li Ji responded to the world’s classic contradictions: Does human develop and evolve at the cost of eliminating animals (especially large animals) ? Furthermore, will this irresponsible and insatiable destruction of anthropocentrism be the final call of mankind in world history? In contrast to his critique of consumerism in the ” Ladies and Pets ” series, the critics and allegories of anthropocentrism are simpler in painting style but are filled with deep compassion.

Artists tell the story of world history with the story of art history. It is interesting that it is the artist – we – this group of Homo sapiens who have the ability to tell the stories, and turn these imaginative things such as art, justice, history ultimately into the common values and social norms. In the view of researchers of contemporary human history, it is precisely because of such a “cultural evolution” about the “cognitive revolution” that begun 70,000 to 30,000 years ago, making Homo sapiens on the road of “gene evolution” leave the animals far behind, and thus began to rule the animals.

In the 18th century, one of the four pioneers of the French enlightenment, Buffon assumed: “Human domination of animals is a lawful rule that can not be destroyed by any revolution. Which is not only a natural right, a power based on some eternal principles … people have thought, so he becomes the master of all creatures without thought at all. “A the same time, aware of the animal’s misfortune: “Let the animals feel uneasy and fearful, let them flee, let them become more wild than the nature is human, because most of the animals are only calm, safe, controllably and unharmfully breathe the air, eat the food on the ground. “(Quoted from Buffon ” Natural History “).

However, the glory of human nature after the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, the revolution in science and technology, the expansion of Homo sapiens in the world may have long been not only to disturb the animals but also the earth, including human beings themselves. Of course, from the history of the evolution of the world, the mass extinction of animals did not begin in any campaign in the past two or three hundred years, but began 70,000 years ago with the birth of Homo sapiens. Only the industrial revolution exacerbated the extinction of species, not just terrestrial creatures, but also marine life. So, for those who live today, to record and describe the animals who are expelled by human and are still disappearing, means personal comfort or self-examination and change in human’s own crisis?

In recent years, through trips in the wild nature, Li Ji has photographed the hovering buzzard in the sky, vulture, long tail lobular monkey playing in the jungle, vigilant leopard on the road, brown bears foraging in rubbish, the rare Bengal tiger。。。As Yuval Noah Harari, a contemporary Israeli historian, wrote in his book, A Brief History of Humankind: “From ancient times to the present, the whole animal community has suffered the most important and most damaging power from this group of homo sapiens wandering around and telling the story”. But in Li’s painting and photography, wandering around is no longer the story telling people, but the animals constantly on the alert of people.

Since 2012, Li Ji has created a number of paintings of single small wildlife in the studio, such as African spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, Asian jungle cat and Cambodian bison. These animal images are mainly derived from Li Ji’s own photos or related books, as he tries to avoid the dramatic sense that normally presented in this kind of pictures, to show their daily lives instead. Owing to his understanding of animal habits and physical structures that learnt since his childhood, his modeling ability built up in academic studies, and ability to capture the decisive moments in photography, Li Ji is good at epitomizing and capturing the shapes of different species of animals vividly and accurately, supplemented by some lines and colors, so that these animals are more dynamic and expressive, while maintaining their natural beauty.

As an artist, Li Ji also regards his painting in this stage as an exploration of “return to painting”, which could be interpreted as a balance to the excessive conceptualism in contemporary art world. This idea of returning to media has been expressed by more and more artists in recent years not just in painting, but also in other media such as performance art. Li Ji, however, did not return to the formalism painting which abandoned meaning and cultural functions. He was exploring another possibility of expression contemporary painting.

In the West, ecological criticism has become an urgent proposition both in the field of cultural studies and contemporary art since the 1980s, for people realized that art can not be simply appreciated without common life scenes and cultural connotations. By ecological and ethical criticism, artists, curators and critics re-examine the increasing desertification, and the conflict among natural deterioration, drastic animal extinction and human invasion. Today, this kind of environmental-oriented scrutiny and criticism has become a global theme in contemporary art. In this sense, Li Ji’s animal photography and paintings will provide the most basic textual support for ecological art.

Nowadays, the animals hanging around us are neither domesticated animals nor objectified animals being consumed in “Ladies and Pets”. They wander, forage, seek for a home and try to live together with mankind. At this moment, what are we searching for?

Jun. 16th, 2017

FROM PETS TO ANIMALS – Li Ji Solo Exhibition
2017.07.08 – 08.26 / 10:00 – 18:00
ANART OFOTO Gallery
​2F, Building 13, 50 Moganshan Rd., Shanghai, China

从宠物到动物——有关李季的动物绘画与摄影

从宠物到动物——有关李季的动物绘画与摄影

文/罗 菲

李季在20世纪90年代和2000年初因画“女郎与宠物”系列而被艺术界所知,画里是一些打扮艳丽的女郎和依附在她们身上的各种动物,他们彼此之间维系着微妙的相互依存的关系。这些画作整体带着轻微的情色、幽默和雅痞趣味。画面里的宠物和女郎并非他们自身,而是被某种文化改造后的角色扮演。并且,无论是女郎还是动物,都已经被他们的“主人”精心驯化过,他们知道如何讨好“主人”,也知道如何向“主人”展示自己柔弱乖巧的一面。只是他们的“主人”并不在画里,因为那些塑造女人成女郎,动物成宠物的,是不可见却又无处不在的消费主义、男权社会和人类中心主义。

在20世纪90年代的中国当代艺术叙事里,艺术家们普遍对消费社会的到来保持着警觉,也可以说是尚未适应,他们往往较为激烈的艺术方式批判消费社会里人的异化和身体的物化等问题。男权社会和人类中心主义盛行的世界也是通过对女性的物化和对动物的物化来实现统治和占有的。

对李季而言,除了对“女郎”——人的兴趣和思考,还有他对“宠物”——动物世界的博学与超乎常人的热爱。成长于高级知识分子家庭的他自小对各类学问表现出强烈的好奇,尤其生物学,他对母亲的生物学书籍比母亲自己还谙熟于心。他对世界各地的动物生存状况的兴趣像个心结,以至于他从小的梦想,就是去非洲看野生动物。

李季的野生动物发现之旅始于2009年,那时他阶段性地结束了“女郎与宠物”系列绘画,他和太太先后多次前往印度、尼泊尔、斯里兰卡等地的国家公园、大自然保护区,以及国内的云南、西藏、青海可可西里等地拍摄野生动物。每次出行他都带回无数惊险的故事和精湛而罕见的动物图片,甚至差点几次丢掉性命。他对野生动物的兴趣很多时候难以被身边人所理解,动物世界似乎仅存于偶尔晃过的电视节目和明信片里。在他去过的部分大自然保护区,当地人甚至从未听说之前有过华人造访。

作为艺术家,李季仍然用视觉艺术的传统来回应全球野生动物急剧消失的现状。他在2009年至2011年期间画了一系列以西方艺术史的经典图像改造的绘画,比如米勒的《晚祷》,戈雅的《1808年5月3日夜枪杀起义者》,马奈的《草地上的午餐》,这些关于人类的敬虔、英勇气概、男女生活的画面,全都成了对人类大规模屠杀大型野生动物的悲剧性场景的控诉。在这个系列里,李季以艺术史经典图像的挪用与纂改来回应这个世界自智人诞生以来的经典矛盾:人的演化和发展是否是以消灭动物(尤其大型动物)为代价的?以致更严峻的问题是,这样一种人类中心主义的不负责任的、贪得无厌的破坏,会否成为人类最终在世界历史里的谢幕表演?与他之前在“女郎与宠物”系列里那种艳俗美学和调侃态度批判消费主义不同,这组对人类中心主义的批判与讽喻在绘画风格上更加朴实,却充满深深的悲悯之情。

艺术家用艺术史的故事来讲述世界史的故事。有意思的是,正是艺术家——我们——这群智人,具有讲故事的能力,并且把艺术、正义、历史这些想象的事物,最终变成人类共同的价值和社会规范。在当代人类史研究者看来,正是因为这样一种距今七万至三万年前的“文化演化”的“认知革命”,使得智人在“基因演化”的道路上把动物远远地甩在了后面,并因此开始了对动物的统治。

而在18世纪时期,法国启蒙四大家之一的博物学家布封(Buffon)看来:“人类对动物的统治是一种合法的统治,是任何革命所无法摧毁的,这是精神对物质的统治,这不仅是一种自然权利,一种建立在一些永恒不变的原则基础上的权力……人有思想,因此他便成了根本没有思想的所有生物的主宰。”布封同时也意识到动物的不幸:“让动物们感到不安,避之唯恐不及,让它们四散奔逃,让它们变得比本性野性万分的正是人类,因为大部分动物都只求平静、平安,尽量有节制地、无害地呼吸空气,食用地上的食物。”(引自布封《自然史》)

然而,人性的光辉在经历了启蒙运动、工业革命、科技革命之后,智人在世界上的扩张可能早已不只是让动物不安,甚至让大地也开始不安,包括人类自己也惶恐不安。当然,从世界演进历史来看,人类对动物的大规模灭绝并非始于近两三百年来的某场运动,而是始于七万年前智人的诞生。只是工业革命加剧了物种灭绝,不只是陆地生物,也包括了海洋生物。那么,对于生活在今天的人而言,去记录去描绘那些被人类驱逐且仍在消失的动物,究竟意味着个人意义上的慰藉,还是人类在自身危机中的自省和改变?

近些年,李季游走在野生动物出没的地方,用相机捕捉空中悬停的大鵟、兀鹫,丛林里玩耍的长尾叶猴,路上警觉的花豹,人类垃圾旁觅食的棕熊,还有运气极佳才能偶遇的孟加拉虎……当代以色列历史学家尤瓦尔·赫拉利(Yuval Noah Harari)在《人类简史》里写到:“整个动物界从古至今,最重要也最具破坏性的力量,就是这群四处游荡、讲着故事的智人”。不过在李季的绘画和摄影里,四处游荡的不再是会讲故事的人,而是那些随时提防着人的动物。

自2012年,李季在画室画了许多单个野生动物的小幅画作,如非洲斑鬣狗、灰背胡狼、亚洲丛林猫、柬埔寨野牛。这些动物形象主要源自李季自己拍摄的图片或相关图书,他尽可能避免使用通常动物摄影所追求的那种戏剧感的画面,转而表现它们更为日常的情形。得益于自小对动物习性和构造的了解,得益于他在学院传统中练就的造型能力,还有摄影中练就的捕捉决定性瞬间的功夫,李季总是能十分生动而准确地概括并捕捉那些不同种类动物的形态,辅以一些块面化的色彩与运动态势的线条,让这些动物更具运动感和表现力,同时保持它们自然的美感。

作为艺术家,李季也把这段时期的绘画看作“重返绘画语言”的某种探索,这可以被理解为对当代艺术领域过度观念主义而做出的自我平衡。近些年,这种重返媒介语言的想法在越来越多的艺术家身上表现出来,不只是绘画,也包括行为艺术在内的其他媒介。只是李季并没有在绘画上重返那种去意义、去文化功能的形式主义绘画,他在探索另一种当代绘画表达的可能。

在西方,自20世纪80年代以来,无论在文化研究领域还是当代艺术领域,人们都意识到生态批评成为刻不容缓的命题,艺术无法绕开人们生存的场域和文化内涵而被简单欣赏。艺术家、策展人、批评家通过生态批判、伦理批判来重新审视我们这个日渐荒漠化的环境,审视自然恶化、动物锐减与人类入侵的矛盾。今日,这种基于环境的审视与批判正在成为全球普遍的当代艺术表达议题。在这个意义上,李季的这些摄影与动物画作,将会为生态艺术的叙事提供最基础的文本支持。

如今呈现在我们面前的那些四处游荡的动物,已不再是“女郎与宠物”里被驯化的动物、被物化的动物,不再是被消费的动物。它们在大地上四处游荡,觅食,寻找可安息之处,寻找与人类共处的故事。而此时,人类又在寻找什么?

2017年6月16日

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FROM PETS TO ANIMALS – Li Ji Solo Exhibition
从宠物到动物 – 李季个展
开幕 / Opening: 2017.07.08 / 16:00
展期 / Duration: 2017.07.08 – 08.26 / 10:00 – 18:00
一个艺术 ANART 全摄影画廊 OFOTO Gallery
​中国上海 莫干山路50号13幢2楼
​2F, Building 13, 50 Moganshan Rd., Shanghai, China

Painting Makes the Soul Visible

Painting Makes the Soul Visible (excerpt)
Essay on Bai Xuejuan’s Art
-By Luo Fei

On a number of palm sized notebooks, a great many variety of colorful patterns filled the pages. There appear to be some traces of natural growth. One of the covers reads: I’m afraid of waking up, for the dream would be gone. The one who didn’t want to wake up from her dream is Bai Xuejuan, a painter from Yunnan and is now living in Gejiu, a small city in southern China only about 200 kilometers away from Vietnam. She’s a high school teacher there. However, she’s been painting about Nordic islands in recent years: places where human beings are few, forests deep, and iced rivers flowing.

This is due to the residence program that Bai joined in the Nordic Watercolor Museum between February and April 2011 in Sweden. For this three months program on Tjörn, she witnessed how the ice melted in Scandinavia, and the rigid winter changed to the warm early spring. She spent these whole three months in her cabin next to the Pacific. Two diaries were jotted down and countless watercolors painted. And only a few new friends visited her occasionally. The minimalism manifested naturally around her in Northern Europe began to fascinate her. Even back to the mountains of Yunnan, those images related to the Tjörn kept coming back to appear on her paintings. I can feel the characteristic transparency unique to the Nordic in both her watercolors and oil paintings, light and thin, loose and soft. The free-flowing in her paintings is reminiscent of Edvard Munch. Just that one doesn’t sense the desperate darkness, but the bright and poetic flowing.

For Bai Xuejuan, cultural collision and blending are external and concrete, and she does not study art as a cultural matter. When it comes to art, by following the experience deep inside of her heart, she’s been continuously recording like diaries the trajectory of her inner feedback on life, surroundings and her own feelings. She captured in her paintings those moments like cruising the sea, walking in the night or strolling aimlessly. Those are the times that the burden of reality was kept at a distance, and the ones for thoughts and drifting away. To drift is both for the soul to breathe and to escape.

Rather than delving into the texture of a particular piece of leaves or a stone on the ground, Bai does not regard the world as a stable substance, but a series of flowing, breathable and free forms. Going up and down, they are plain and simple, yet grow like a poetry. They are as free as if one falls into a trance. At this very moment, painting makes the soul visible.

和丽斌的临界状态

和丽斌的临界状态

文/罗 菲

2005年末,和丽斌在丽江拉市海村子里推着堆满画材的板车,一天画了近百张风景油画。次年,他开始了“荒原”系列油画,凛冽寒风里一个微小的人兀立其中。那之后,和丽斌开始做行为,他在喧闹的酒吧里把自己关进狭小的用布包裹的屏风,透过光线和声响在布上勾勒外界形象。他在一个播放家乡录影画面的塑料棚屋里拼命原地奔跑,扬起的灶灰呛得他难以为继。他在楼顶把自己裹在黑布,聆听城市入夜的声音,并在地板上描绘出来。他奋力让自己从钉在墙上的影子里挣脱出来。他捡一整天的树枝,筑巢,把自己赤身露体藏进去……这些细节和场景是艺术家和丽斌过去十多年的作品片段在我脑海里闪回的画面。他钟情于自然,着迷于黑夜的进入与出来,着迷于人——自身在某种困局里奋力突围,最终进入某种释放与安息的叙事逻辑。

和丽斌善于在作品里营造自身与自然对话,自身与自我较量的情境,这些对话与较量同时发生在身体层面、观念层面和时间层面。他通过建立几近于封闭的情境,使内在的对话与较量发展到一个临界状态,然后引爆或释放,这也是和丽斌的许多作品具有观赏性的因素。由此产生的爆发力可以是某种画面表现力、某个决断的行动或某次漫长压制后的释放。

这样的表达方式在和丽斌近期“盲山计划”里得到更为极致的体现,他在黑夜里“盲画”,关闭自己以往的观看经验,关闭来自智性的判断。尤其在普者黑实施的长达30米的“盲山计划”中,观看、经验和思考都被悬置,艺术家完全依靠身体直觉和想象来推进。外在障碍成为达成内在增长的契机。在“盲画”过程中,每一次推进都是冒险,因为一切推进或失守都不可见(至少暂时),也都成为艺术家自身与自然、与时间、与自我不断关联的痕迹。

在黑夜里,绘画这一拥有悠久历史的艺术实践被逼入临界状态:可知与不可知之间,可见与不可见之间,可画与不可画之间。唯一能确定并不断被确定的,就是在广袤自然环境中的艺术家自身的存在和自我的增长,这种确认在漫长黑暗中通过对话和较量来完成。这让绘画成为摄影一样,在暗中显影,在日光之下观看。

当艺术被引入临界状态,艺术的当下性就被重新激活。当一切可见之物变得不可见,自我及其与周遭的关联,就成为一切观看的目的。黑夜,成为艺术苏醒,自我觉醒的通道。这种自我觉醒并非祁克果意义上的跳跃式的,而是显影式的。

和丽斌在“盲山计划”中以反观看的方式达成对未知自我的观看,与未知现实的关联,以漫长的“盲画”方式让绘画的可能性重新显影出来。而那些从黑夜中进去又出来产生的遗留物——绘画,竟也出奇地令人惊艳。

2017-6-6

“盲山计划——和丽斌个展”
策展人:艾艾
学术支持:和文朝 / 唐佩贤 / 罗菲
展期:2017.6.16—7.25
学术研讨会:2017.6.16,14:30—17:00
开幕式:2017.6.16,17:30
地点:北京草场地国际艺术区327号,进行时空间