Archive | 宗教与艺术| Religion and Art

有关宗教与艺术的交叉部分:探寻艺术中的终极关切,终极关切中的视觉形式

与艺术有关的圣经经文

《圣经》虽然没有直接谈及艺术问题,正如没有直接谈及烹饪和时尚,但并不意味着创造万物的上帝是个死气沉沉刻板的保守派,除了欣赏蛋炒饭,衣着白衬衣蓝裤子,就剩下怀揣着红宝书了。

在福音派的基督信仰里,一种关于“反智”和“反美学”的反思是历史的必然,这关乎到一个整全的信仰,虽然看上去这些都不是信仰的核心问题,但却直接影响到作为管家的职分:信徒如何治理这地,是赋予美感和创造性还是将就摆弄了事?另一方面也关系到敬拜的内容,是诚实地(甚至饱经生产的痛苦)去创造,还是从滥情的歌曲中模仿(如同我们青春期从港台歌曲里模仿那种无病呻吟的腔调)。基督徒人文素养的重要性显得迫切而必要,否则,总有些人对艺术和文化产生不必要的误会、歧视和敌意,愚昧地将之归入撒旦的势力范围,不仅羞辱了真理的上帝,也羞辱了人的尊贵,如同葡萄园的管家将园内漂亮的富有创意的桌椅板凳衣裳丢到街上任人践踏,说我们只是要葡萄而已。

这个话题会在今后的文字里慢慢展开。以下是与艺术有关的经文,作为圣经根据:

一、创造:

艺术的创造性是其核心,无论语言、形式都避不开,可以说,没有创造就没有艺术。没有创造的上帝,就没有创造的人。而艺术创造的神学依据及其圣经基础则是:

神说:“我们要照着我们的形象,按着我们的样式造人,使他们管理海里的鱼、空中的鸟、地上的牲畜和全地,并地上所爬的一切昆虫。”
神就照着自己的形象造人,乃是照着他的形象造男造女。
神就赐福给他们,又对他们说:“要生养众多,遍满地面,治理这地;也要管理海里的鱼、空中的鸟,和地上各样行动的活物。”
神说:“看哪!我将遍地上一切结种子的菜蔬和一切树上所结有核的果子,全赐给你们作食物。
至于地上的走兽和空中的飞鸟,并各样爬在地上有生命的物,[我将]青草[赐给]它们作食物。”事就这样成了。
神看着一切所造的都甚好。有晚上,有早晨,是第六日。(创 1:26-31)

在马太福音里,耶稣也提到创新的问题:

没有人把新布补在旧衣服上;因为所补上的反带坏了那衣服,破得就更大了。
也没有人把新酒装在旧皮袋里;若是这样,皮袋就裂开,酒漏出来,连皮袋也坏了;惟独把新酒装在新皮袋里,两样就都保全了。”(太 9:16-17)

二、艺术家 职分的重要性:

耶和华晓谕摩西说:
“看哪!犹大支派中户珥的孙子、乌利的儿子比撒列,我已经提他的名召他。
我也以我的灵充满了他,使他有智慧,有聪明,有知识,能作各样的工,
能想出巧工,用金、银、铜制造各物。
又能刻宝石,可以镶嵌;能雕刻木头,能作各样的工。
我分派但支派中,亚希撒抹的儿子亚何利亚伯,与他同工。凡心里有智慧的,我更使他们有智慧,能作我一切所吩咐的,(出 31:1-6)

摩西对以色列人说:“犹大支派中,户珥的孙子,乌利的儿子比撒列,耶和华已经提他的名召他,
又以 神的灵充满了他,使他有智慧、聪明、知识,能作各样的工;
能想出巧工,用金、银、铜制造各物;
又能刻宝石,可以镶嵌;能雕刻木头,能作各样的巧工。
耶和华又使他和但支派中,亚希撒抹的儿子亚何利亚伯,心里灵明,能教导人。
耶和华使他们的心满有智慧,能作各样的工,无论是雕刻的工,巧匠的工,用蓝色紫色朱红色[线]和细麻绣花的工,并机匠的工,他们都能作,也能想出奇巧的工。”(出 35:30-35)

三、艺术观(基督徒如何看待艺术):

艺术不仅是关于漂亮的东西,按维特根斯坦的话说,漂亮的不一定是美的,美的不一定漂亮。意思是说,艺术判断与真实等其他价值相关,不只是满足眼目的愉悦,更有来自心灵的回响,激起观者对现实的重新审视。意即,好的艺术是形式、内容、价值的完美构建,并带着启示性内涵。

弟兄们,我还有未尽的话:凡是真实的,可敬的,公义的,清洁的,可爱的,有美名的;若有什么德行,若有什么称赞,这些事你们都要思念。(腓 4:8)

四、鼓励基督徒运用艺术:

当用各样的智慧,把基督的道理丰丰富富地存在心里(或作“当把基督的道理丰丰富富地存在心里,以各样的智慧”),用诗章、颂词、灵歌,彼此教导,互相劝戒,心被恩感,歌颂 神。(西 3:16)

待续…

Continue Reading

就地造境:关于“就地造境”艺术展

《就地造境》
——关于“就地造境”艺术展

一、关于境界

在中国传统文化中人生境界是一个挥之不去的问题,许多问题都围绕它展开。在汉语语境里,对“境界”的理解出要源自对形而上生命层面的思考,即人生中的“境界”,是人通过对宇宙、社会、人生的思考,进行道德、文化、心理、审美等方面的自我修养,以达到一定的实践水平或程度,脱离市井价值观,获得内化的愉悦的整全生命,儒家将之视作一种对“成圣人格”的担当。

在中国古代诗词绘画里,“境界”论作为一种精神性规定占有重要位置,对汉语思想产生重要影响,正如清代词人批评家王国维在《人间词话》里写到:“词以境界为最上。有境界则自成高格”……“有造境,有写境,此理想与写实二派之所由分”。出于写境之操练,造境之渴求,文人们往往借助在充满美感的山水间庭院里去默观(contemplation)、感悟、叹息,并转换为文学艺术创作来释怀。其中的“造境”观表明,文人们不满足于对自然景物的表面书写,也不满足于为了艺术而艺术所激发的语言游戏,而期盼外在世界与个体内在理想世界之间搭建一条路径可以互通往来,将或失落或愉悦的心境转换为亲身所处之景观情境,将眼见的自然物象转换为象征性符号性图式来表达作者内心完满世界的预设性场景,实现自身与天地融合,确立一种诗意默观的具东方神秘色彩的自然观。事实上,这种默观意识也并非东方传统独有,在古希腊柏拉图的哲学思想就有清晰的概念和实践,并在后来演变为对位格化神圣之在的知识。而在中国传统文化中,默观式自然观不是将神圣之在作为其理性思维的对象,它在主观上规定了内在平安与愉悦是建立在观者心境之上,预设一个“完满之境”的可能,在客观上规定了将自然万物作为普遍启示的源头。而这种默观式自然观的典型图式就是我们所熟悉的传统山水画,微小人物情景与气势磅礴成峦叠嶂的山水构建起独特的“天人合一”之异象(vision),传递出一种淡泊逍遥的人生境界,人与自然和谐相处的完满理想,这是中国古代文人对人生状态、理想心境在绘画诗词中的追求,这样的图式与理念也因此在相对自给自足的较长时段的内陆文化历史中没有发生较大变动。

然而,这种以“不变应万变”的因袭自然的传统,虽然规定了人格担当、普遍启示甚至对“完满之境”的预设,却没有一个对自然源头与神圣性 (divinity)的承担,表现为在纷繁变迁充满苦难的历史中缺乏“以万变应不变”的对真理的追问与持守,这样的文化内涵也就缺乏超验维度与根本的自足性,表现为在被迫遭遇中国社会、文化的现代性转型之后,关于“境界—成圣人格”的承诺逐渐在持守物质主义的世俗世界以及持守肉身主义的当代人心中渐行渐远,当代人的人生境界需求逐渐被实利的成功学所取代,而工业革命之后的天空和大地也远非上帝创世后“看一切所造的都很好”1)的天地,加之艺术内部任务由古典时期营造完满意识的艺术图式,转变为对当代提出问题意识的艺术形式,因此,今天的人文环境、自然环境,以及艺术家所面对自然时的心境都与古老的传统有着巨大差异。结合自身体验呈现当下心境,比营造完满境界更真实地说明了自身、时代与文化的症结。那么,完满世界与当代问题、理想心境与此刻焦虑、人生境界与肉身需求,这一切的张力告诉我们理想与现实、传统与当下之间存在着巨大落差。我们或许可以借助艺术家在关注自然景观与心灵境况的相关创作中找到更为确切的图像论证,更从一个“失落之境”中明确对另一种“至完满之境”的呼求转向。

二、乡土艺术的内在延续与转向

如上所述,自然作为艺术家表达心境的对象与题材,拥有悠久的传统直到今天。1980年代初期,西南乡土艺术开始崛起,批评界和理论界对它的重视和研究也几乎是同时展开的,无论是“乡土绘画”,还是后来“生命流”2)或其它别的命名,都将地域环境对艺术家精神、风格和图式的影响放在了一个至关重要的位置,认为正是这种地域性的自然和社会因素促进了“乡土绘画”的产生和壮大。1990年代以后,随着城市化的进一步发展和全球化网络时代的来临,“乡土绘画 ”、“生命流”逐渐式微,在国际视野中被更具代表性的“中国经验”所替代,失去了广泛共识与市场,但作为一种艺术方式,在很多云南艺术家心里仍是一个挥之不去的结,这跟本土的人文自然资源有着密切的联系。

在这片自然资源丰富,人文土壤多样而温和的云南,有许多艺术家将对自然风景的表达作为主要的艺术方式,其中以自发性日常性持续性的风景写生与创作为代表,形成云南近半个世纪以来独特的艺术现象,从1960—1970年代的“外光派”3)、“申社”4)到1980年代的“生命流”到今天仍旧三五成群到乡下写生的老中青艺术家们,都可以看到艺术家对融入自然描绘自然的热情。这样的现象既源于也持守着这样两个传统,一是秉承现代派艺术传统与认识论的学院式的关于形式美感及其技能操练的风景写生传统。另一种则是融入了传统默观意识的自然观,传递个体心境与情感的“借景抒情”。如果说“外光派”、“申社”对云南自然、乡土的关注根本上是对少数民族风情韵味、乡土生活场景、造型色彩的演绎与赞美,而“生命流”群体通过借助乡土场景专注于个体意识、感情、生命状态,来讴歌一个集体主义意识形态即将谢幕之际生命的自由意志与独一性,那么今天艺术家们面对乡土风景时则必要面对当代乡村都市化、生存肉身化等问题,进而转向对当代人心灵家园境况的主题性关怀。如果说1960—1970年代云南的艺术流派在言说乡土时一定程度上都因其地域环境形成了各自的艺术方言——地域特征的艺术样式与风格,并因此备受关注获得历史性,那么在城市化进程加速、都市人频繁迁移、多元文化对话的今天,艺术方言已经不能成为我们关注地域人文艺术现象的理由,言说所指的共同主题所具的普遍性与超越性,则显得越加不可回避。我将这种源于地域自然而超越地域自然,受感于个人心境而直指人类普遍心灵境况,将或残缺或完满的外在—内在之境呈现以呼求转向一个“至完满之境”这样一种主题性图式关怀,称为“就地造境”观。“ 就地造境”观在最低层面作为一种方法,表现为园林景观“就地造景”的技术理念,在最高层面作为一种默观体验与艺术创造行为,言说着个体内在心境与人类普遍境况的景观化表达。这里我们选择云南六位艺术家:兰庆星、和丽斌、郭鹏、石志民、孙国娟、雷燕,以及一位广东艺术家麦志雄,一位具有多年中国生活经验的英国艺术家章水(Jonathan Kearney)的相关作品为个案,从不同角度展开对该主题的言说。

三、作品言说

lanqingxing

兰庆星的绘画延续着乡土绘画的面貌并将之内化为一种“先验乡愁”的言说。油画《没有人的风景》中,飘荡的狗、诡异粗壮的枯树、远处的烟囱等意象构成了“枯藤老树昏鸦”一类场景的忧伤,也流露出乡土情结与现代工业发展的张力。在长卷素描《草图》中,杂草丛中被打散的“家园”,篝火、床铺、饭桌、书桌、沙发、冰箱,散落杂草丛,总有个人在那里不紧不慢地转悠、徘徊、无所事事、打发光阴,身体的表情流露出在自家楼底下走失的沮丧,却又自在自为,而不远处简陋的楼房都与“家园”无关。兰庆星画面中的人物、动物都散发着一种专注力,无论是在攀爬、奔跑、搬运、劳作、休息,仿佛一刻不停地在思考,在思考回家的路。而星空下的红土地、岔路、杂草也分明为“专注者”提供机会,也制造更大的困惑。自亚当偷食禁果后,“那人,你在哪里?”5)的声音便永久地回荡在人的灵里深处,虽然我们完全正确地知道我们身在地理意义上的某处,甚至就在家乡,但仍旧摆脱不了一种莫名的乡愁,因为这乡愁并不是来自地图上的某个坐标,而是来自灵里深处的呼唤,作为地上的寄居者,产生出对“终极家园—至完满之境”的思念之情。

“先验乡愁”的情感倾诉也同样出现在和丽斌的油画中,《荒原》系列以黑白表现主义风格赋予荒原—旷野的张狂与虚无,还有画中孤独的小人物。这种大场景与小人物的对照和中国传统山水图式中的对照不同,这里所营造的不是平静淡泊的“完满之境”,而是凸显焦虑与虚无的忧伤之境,以引起人们对“完满之境”的呼求,这里人物的渺小不是出于谦卑的自然观,而是出于无助的人生观。他以荒原—旷野作为场景,凸显当代人身体与灵魂的双重迷失,身心灵的疲态在虚无的荒原 —旷野昭然若揭,而那极力寻求脱离虚无的盼望,正是夸父《追日》6)时所需要的激情与异象。

Shi Zhimin

同样取材于家乡地域自然的还有大理的石志民,大理得天独厚的苍山洱海与城镇本身就是一座奇妙的梦境之城,这是我第一次到达大理的真切感受,既真实又荒诞。或许正是这样的天然品质内化为作者的独特感受,赋予了《冰河》系列幽静、生趣而具超现实特征的冰河景观。如果说自然因为人的粗暴掠夺而失去了承载理想之境的客观事实,那么作为静止的神秘的“冰河”片段则足以构成另一种诗性图像存在的理由。

Guopeng

郭鹏的摄影作品很大一部分取材于昆明的翠湖,庭院、湖面、假山石、竹林等园林景观。如前所述,“就地造境”观在最低层面作为一种实用方法,表现为功能性园林景观“就地造景”的技术理念,通过模拟自然景物,如盆栽、池水、假山,获得一个人工浓缩的清静舒雅的“完满之境”。园林曾为文人士大夫提供了心灵休息与精神生活转场之处,从仕途到内心、从现实到理想、从纷繁到安宁。另一个方面,园林的封闭、逸乐、趣味性品质在很多时候也提供给没落文人逃避现实、腐败糜烂之可能,成为逍遥生活的后花园。今天,在都市生活娱乐化,精英文化保护与传承都缺失的社会,园林则演变为世俗消遣逸乐之用的人民公园,景虽在,境已荡然无存。郭鹏试图借助手工染色的方式呈现一个多彩的迷幻般的园林图像,营造一个陌生化的文人式后花园,以图实现海德格尔所言的“诗意地栖居”。

sunguojuan

孙国娟的摄影《甜蜜已去》系列是对“就地造境”的脑筋急转弯式解读——就地照镜。艺术家手握一枚蝴蝶饰品,温情地躺在路边的镜子里,镜面映射出公园里的桃花,春意盎然,艺术家双肩后面用糖堆积的天使翅膀增添了过家家般的童趣与浪漫。饰品、镜子、糖翅膀构成了浪漫心境的道具。糖在孙国娟多年的作品中一直作为象征性语言使用,一方面意指男权社会中女性被当作“秀色可餐”的品尝对象,另一方面也暗示出女性妄图通过肉身的糖化而永葆青春“永远甜蜜”。虚假易碎的春色镜像与甜蜜的肉身企图共同构成了对女性甜蜜青春破产的宣告。如果说肉身的甜蜜感是活着的唯一尊严与慰藉,而心灵的甜蜜感又被消费主义所吞噬,那么人的失丧与破碎自然无法依靠几件道具来获得拯救。在《甜蜜已去》No5和No6中,艺术家手里的匕首更加剧了“甜蜜已去”身心破碎之后的不安与惶恐。

雷燕的摄影延续“冰冻”系列的方法论,从部队战友到革命物品再到战壕,这些素材被搁置在冰块里再重新拍照,生成考古般的图像记忆,一个女性的军旅生涯也以这种伤感而私密的方式被追忆。在这些与军旅生涯有关的作品中,雷燕把军人还原为男人和女人,把国家机器还原为一张张嫩稚的脸,把英雄纪念碑还原为一座一座人的墓碑,把牺牲还原为代价,把集体主义还原为人与人之间相濡以沫的同在,把革命浪漫主义还原为封存历史中的情怀。生命本身所彰显出的分量与尊贵,比起历史长河中任何一种短暂的主义或国家,都要重要得多,因为生命是有灵魂,而灵魂则会不朽。

Maizhixiong

麦志雄的《圣所?》系列延续以往提炼抽象之后的物与景与色彩的简明冷峻化风格,一种极度陌生化的场景向观者自我呈现。与他过去作品不同的是,艺术家从拒绝对画面中物与景进行任何言说、拒绝对其进行符号性生成、拒绝对其能指与所指的建构可能,到近期画面场景的相对明朗化——灯塔山脉的出现,题目的主动干预——对圣所的质问,提示出艺术家对符号生成的重新思考。在犹太教与基督教里圣所被视为神圣的场所,最内层的位置被称之为至圣所,被认为是耶和华上帝的住所。至圣所只有大祭司才能一年进入一次,献祭与赎罪。而这种人手所建筑起来的场所在全能上帝面前显得过于狭隘,阻碍了人与上帝的关系,并被十字架事件历史性地摧毁,基督教认为,人的罪被洁净不是靠献牛羊的血,而是《新约·希伯来书》作者所言:“弟兄们,我们既因耶稣的血得以坦然进入至圣所”。至于对圣所的追寻,不是那座灯塔,也不是背后的圣山,耶稣对撒玛利亚妇人说:“时候将到,你们拜父(上帝),也不在这山上,也不在耶路撒冷……神是个灵,所以拜他的,必须用心灵和诚实拜他”。7)

JK

如果说前面几位中国艺术家都致力于表达艺术中的问题意识,以呼求一个“完满之境”或“至完满之境”的存在与到来,那么英国艺术家章水的录像作品通过专注于颜料流淌的时间过程,默观华丽而唯美的流淌形态,营造一种冥想式画面,由此构成一定时段内的微观的“完满之境”的视像(optical image)。如果说前面提到的艺术家在很大程度上都以各自所居住的地域场景与景观作为图像素材,那么章水则将眼前的微观事物作为一种“本地经验”,值得一提的是,章水近期作品还尝试使用互联网异地直播的方法展出,这与非数字时代“就地造境”对地点的极大依赖不同,互联网数字时代的到来让这个“就地 ”(spot)、“本地”(location)概念变得多义甚至无关紧要。重要的是呈现出来的“境界”本身。

结语

上面所谈及到的艺术及其图像很大程度上为我们周遭风景与心灵景观的状况提供了佐证与慰藉,另一方面,从艺术中的问题意识或完满意识,我们也获得关于文化与生命更深远的提示。

诚然,地域性的人文自然资源不能成为艺术或艺术家得到历史性认可的先决条件,充其量只是一种身份的含义,一种地域品格、族群文化被广泛认可,是因它在根本上对进行自我反思,面对了人类的普遍共在关系,以开放阔达的姿态走向未来,这是一种文化本身的境界。“就地造境”观以及这个展览旨在提示出这样的历史逻辑而已。正如当年西南的“新具像—生命流”群体在历史中转向“中国经验”的必然,而在更高层面,“中国经验”也必然转回到生命本身。

注释:

1), 据圣经《创世纪》1章31节记载,上帝创造天地六日后,看着一切所造的都甚好。
2), “生命流”是上世纪80年代,西南艺术家从乡土绘画嬗变而来,始于叶永青、张晓刚、周春芽、毛旭辉、潘德海的生命流表现主义画风。艺术家把自身的生活经历、内心经验和情感表达作为创作的主要目的,这种方式也逐渐成为当代西南艺术的人文传统。
3), 昆明外光派:上世纪60、70年代,一大批艺术家活跃于昆明的大街小巷和郊区,在日复一日的风景写生实践中,形成了色彩灿烂而富有表现力的云南油画的独特风格体系,代表画家为裴文琨、裴文璐、蒋高仪、沙磷、苏新宏等。
4), 申社:上世记70年代,由丁绍光、蒋铁峰、刘绍荟、姚中华等40年代生艺术家组成的艺术团体,1980年,“申社”以群体面貌在云南博物馆举办展览,他们的原始装饰风格迥异于当时全国流行的革命现实主义风格,之后,丁绍光、蒋铁峰等移居美国,形成了在国际上产生广泛影响的“云南现代重彩画派”。
5) 据圣经《创世纪》2章15节—3章10节记载,亚当夏娃被蛇引诱偷吃禁果之后,就藏在园里的树木中,躲避上帝的面。上帝呼唤那人,对他说:“你在哪里?”
6), 《山海经·海外北经》里记载名叫夸父的人拼命追赶太阳而渴死,最终化成了桃林的传说。和丽斌以此创作一副名叫《追日》的油画。
7), 引自《约翰福音》4章21—24节

作者:罗菲(TCG诺地卡画廊总监、策展人)
完稿于2009年3月5日,昆明梁源。本文为“就地造境”艺术展主题评论

Continue Reading

Creating Inscape On The Spot

Creating Inscape On The Spot
– On Art Exhibition “Inscape On The Spot”

Written by Luo Fei (TCG Nordica Gallery Director & Curator)

1. About Jingjie(1)

Traditional Chinese culture consists of three strands: Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. These three strands share the same concerns about the existence and freedom of this life. They are concerned with the value and significance of the individual and their physiological needs, promising that any individual can be elevated through cultivation. The ‘jingjie‘ of life is the essential question, with other questions around it.

In modern Chinese language, the meaning of ‘jingjie‘ can be broken down into two parts. Firstly it has a physical dimension, i.e. the boundary between countries. Secondly it has a metaphysical dimension, it refers to a ‘realm of life’, it is the level or degree reached through meditation on morality, culture, psychology and beauty. By pondering on the cosmos, society and life, it suggests a departure from earthly values and a capturing of the wholeness of an internal exhilaration, described by Confucius as the act of ’sanctifying personality’. Unfortunately there is no equivalent in the English vocabulary for ‘jingjie’ which is the core concept of this exhibition. Therefore the author will use ‘inscape‘ to refer to the spiritual and artistical nature of the world and also to connect to the theme of landscape which is another vital element of this exhibition. ‘Inscape’(2) is an old English word which refers to the unique inner nature of a person or an object, especially when seen in a work of art.

In traditional Chinese poetry and painting, the theory of inscape took an important position as a definition of spirituality and exerted significant influence upon the thinking of Chinese language. As Wang Guowei, the famous ci poetry critic in the late Qing Dynasty, argued in his Renjian Cihua(also called The World of Poetry), ‘The most important thing in ci poetry is inscape. A high level of art is reached when there is an inscape… Some are focused on creating inscape, others writing inscape. This is the difference between idealism and realism.’

In the practice of writing inscape and the quest for creating inscape, literati use contemplation, meditation and spending time in gardens and amidst beautiful scenery. The attempt to ‘create inscape’ shows that they are unsatisfied with either the superficial depiction of natural landscape or the language game involved in its representation. Instead they aspire to bridge the outer world and their inner world of ideals. They aspire to transcend their feelings of loss, or joy, with the natural scenery before them, and to transform what they see into a symbolic schema to express the world of perfection as seen in their own mind. This process of transforming the scenes of nature into something that represents perfection is an attempt to reach the convergence of self and nature, a poetic contemplation of nature coloured with a hue of oriental mysticism. In fact, this vision of contemplation is not unique to the East, as ancient Greek Platonic philosophy also describes similar concepts and practices, which later evolved into an understanding of a personal divine being. However, in traditional Chinese culture, the contemplative view of nature does not lead to seeing the divine as an object of rational thinking. Instead, it defines subjectively that internal peace and pleasure is the possibility for a ‘completion inscape’ and is based in the viewer’s mind. Traditional Chinese culture objectively treats everything in nature as a source of universal revelation. A good illustration of such a contemplative view of nature is the traditional landscape paintings that are familiar to us all. Small figures together with overwhelming mountains and water, represent a convergence of humanity and nature, illustrating an inscape of serenity and unfettered freedom and an aspiration for perfect harmony between humans and nature. This reflects the quest of ancient literati in relation to the status of life and psychology, in poetry and painting, a schema and philosophy that had scarcely undergone any significant change during the long history of relatively self-sufficient Chinese culture.

This approach has led to what is called, ‘addressing every change with no change’. Although this attempts a definition of personality and also a definition of universal revelation and even though it outlines the concept of ‘completion inscape’, it does not address the source of nature or the divine. This inability to address these foundational issues, sheds light on the events of history. During recent periods of transition and hardship and the movement of Chinese society and culture towards modernity, there has been a lack of inquiry into truth, the absence of a transcendental dimension. The commitment to ‘jingjie, sanctifying personality’ has become an alien concept in a world where materialism and satisfying personal desires are the priority. Therefore ‘addressing every change with no change’ appears unable to deal with the modern world where the inscape of life gradually gives way to a pragmatic pursuit of success.

The heaven and earth that is left in the wake of the industrial revolution is not the heaven and earth described in genesis, where ‘God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good’(3). What is more, the intrinsic mission of art has evolved from exploring the concept of completion in the classic age to simply raising the consciousness of the problem in the modern age, with no attempt at offering a solution. As a result, today’s cultural and natural environment and the sentiment felt by artists when they consider nature are tremendously different from the ancient tradition. Now, it is much more effective to simply illustrate the problems themselves, to do no more than represent contemporary culture and current sentiment and couple this with personal experience. This approach is much easier than grappling with and attempting to create the inscape of completion.

Therefore, we are now in a world of competing contrasts; completion versus contemporary problems, idealistic sentiment versus present anxiety, the inscape of life versus fleshy desire. All these strains remind us of the stark gap between the ideal and reality, between tradition and modernity. However, there are artists whose work is still concerned with the natural landscape and who are exploring deeper thinking. Maybe they will lead the call for a new type of ’supreme completion inscape’ in these current ‘lost circumstances’.

2. The Context and Transition of Agrestic Art

As described above, nature has been the traditional object and theme for artists to express their ‘circumstances of mind’. In the early 1980s, the Southwest Agrestic Art began to emerge and much critical and academic study developed alongside. Both ‘Agrestic Art’ and ‘Life Flow’(4) and other later art movements, placed great importance on the influence of the geographic environment upon the spirit, style and schema of artists, believing that the nature of Southwest China and other social factors contributed to the emergence and thriving of ‘Agrestic Art’. However, with further urbanization and the advent of the age of globalization and the internet, ‘Agrestic Art’ and ‘Life Flow’ gradually withered and gave the way to the more representative style of ‘Chinese experience’. Despite losing widespread recognition and market opportunities, ‘Agrestic Art’ and ‘Life Flow’ nevertheless remain an enduring influence on many Yunnan artists, not least because of their close connection with local culture and the natural landscape.

In Yunnan where nature is rich and cultural traditions are diverse, many artists choose the expression of natural landscape as their principal form of art. Among them, there has been a unique phenomenon lasting for nearly half a century, which is characterized by the voluntary and persistent daily sketching of the landscape. This is illustrated by the enthusiasm for being integrated into and depicting nature by artists of the ‘Impressionist School’(5) and ‘Shen Society’(6) in the 1960s and 70s , also the ‘Life Flow’ movement in the 1980s and those artists today, old and young, who still go to the countryside to sketch from nature. Such a phenomenon stems from and reinforces two traditions. First is the academic tradition of landscape sketching which is about formal aesthetic feeling and technical practice consistent with a modernistic art tradition and epistemology. Second is the traditional contemplative view of landscape sketching which seeks to capture the sentiment and feeling of the individual, the ‘expression of feeling through the sketching of scenery’. The ‘Impressionist School’s’ and ‘Shen Society’s’ concern about the natural environment and countryside of Yunnan was essentially the expression and extolling of the minority cultures, through depicting scenes of countryside life with close attention given to the colouration. The ‘Life Flow’ school was committed to eulogising the free will and uniqueness of life when the ideology of collectivism was fading away. Today’s artists, when faced with the countryside landscape, have to consider problems such as the urbanization of the countryside and the modern pursuit of satisfying desires (fleshism). Consequently they turn to a different theme, one that considers the contemporary population’s mental circumstances. The Yunnan schools of art in the 1960s and 70s shaped their own art dialects, creating artistic forms and styles with provincial features, formed to some extent by their geographic environment. This led to widespread attention and a historical significance. However, as interesting as all this might be, is it enough to justify giving attention to a provincial cultural and art phenomena? At a time of accelerating urbanization, frequent migration to the cities and increased dialogue between diverse cultures, will the universality and transcendence of these themes, which we are referring to, become even more important?

In response I would like would like to introduce the concept ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’. This concept’s themes and symbolism originate from and yet transcend a provincial nature. It is activated by individual thinking but is projected towards the universal mentality of the human race. It is a call for change, to turn the external-internal inscape, whether complete or incomplete, into ‘Supreme Completion Inscape’.

At the foundational level, ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ is the technical ability to capture a scene from nature, at the highest level, it is a contemplative experience, a practice of artistic creation, an expression of the internal thoughts of an individual and the universal condition of humankind, all in the form of a landscape.

For this exhibition we choose the art works of 6 Yunnan artists, Lan Qingxing, He Libin, Guo Peng, Shi Zhimin, Sun Guojuan and Lei Yan, as well as a Guodong artist Mai Zhixiong, and Jonathan Kearney, a British artist with many years of life experience in China. They have been chosen as their work interprets this theme from various angles.

3. The Artists

The paintings of Lan Qingxing retain the feeling of agrestic paintings and internalise it into a ‘Transcendental Nostalgia’. In his oil painting ‘Landscape without People’, a wondering dog, a bizarre and thick withered tree, a distant chimney, together constitute a picture of sadness hinting at the strain between an agricultural setting and modern industrial development. In the long-frame sketch ‘Scheme’, there is a fragmented ‘home’ among weeds, bonfire, bed, dinner table, desk, coach, fridge, all scattering in the weeds. A man casually wonders about, without doing any serious business, simply killing time, with his posture reflecting the frustration of getting lost near his own house, all by himself, yet the shabby building nearby is irrelevant to ‘home’. The figures and animals in Lan Qingxing’s paintings show a sign of concentration, as though they are constantly thinking of the way back home no matter whether they are climbing, running, carrying things, laboring or having a rest. Yet the red-earth land, small roads and grass under the starry night sky provides suggest opportunity but also seems to cause more frustration. Ever since Adam stole the forbidden fruit, the voice asking ‘where are you?’(7) is lingering in the innermost mind. We may be absolutely certain of our geographic location, we may already be in our hometown, and yet we cannot get rid of a strange nostalgia, which originates not from a certain coordinate on the map, but from a calling in the depths of our spirit, a longing for an ultimate homeland – a ‘Supreme Completion Inscape’ as dwellers on earth.

The expression of ‘Transcendental Nostalgia’ is also salient in the oil paintings of He Libin. The series ‘Wasteland’ endows the wilderness and the void, as well as the little lonely figures in the picture, with the black and white expressionist style. Different from the contrast found in traditional Chinese landscapes, here the contrast between large scenery and small figures is not the serene ‘Completion Inscape’, but an inscape of sadness that highlights anxiety and void, in order to induce a cry for ‘Completion Inscape’. Here the smallness of the figure does not originate from the natural view of humility, but from the helpless view of life. The painter chooses wasteland and wilderness to highlight the dual loss of both body and soul of modern people. Physical and mental fatigue becomes evident against the void of wasteland and wilderness, while the aspiration to get rid of the void is exactly the vision needed by Kua Fu(8) when he was chasing after the sun.

Similiarly, Shi Zhimin from Dali also draws from the local nature in his homeland. The town of Dali, coupled with Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake, are richly endowed by nature and is itself a town of wonder. When I first went to Dali this sense of wonder is exactly what I also felt. The natural characteristics are internalised by the artist giving a unique feeling to the series ‘Glacier’. A view of a glacier is characterized by seclusion, joy of life and super-realism. If nature has lost its ability to encourage inscape as a result of human’s crude plunder, the fragment of a still mysterious glacier may well hit at the existence of another poetic schema.

The majority of Guo Peng’s photography draws on the views found in gardens around Kunming. The scenery in Green Lake park, the lake’s surface, rock-work and bamboo forests. As described above, the concept of ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ at the base level is a practical approach, manifested by the technical ability to capture a garden view. It is an attempt to obtain an artificial miniature of the elegant ‘completion inscape’ by mimicking the natural landscape with flower pots, pools and rock-work. Garden design is used to provide a place of mental recreation and spiritual rest for the literati and officialdom, from official career to inner world, from reality to ideal, from clamor to serenity. On the other hand, the close and extravagant nature of gardens made it possible for the declining literati to escape from the reality and live a corrupted way of life in the backyard of leisure. Today, in a society where over-entertainment is rampant in urban life, and the protection and succession of elite culture is absent, gardens have turned into the People Parks for the entertainment of the general public. Here the manufactured landscape remains as it was, but the inscape no longer exists. Guo Peng attempts to present a colorful myth of the garden through the manipulation of colour, to fabricate an alienated backyard of literati, in an attempt to realise what Martin Heidegger called ‘the perch of poetry’.

Sun Guojuan’s ‘Sweetness Is Gone’ series is an interpretation of ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ by the use of brain teasers – mirroring on the spot. The artist, while holding a butterfly ornament in her hand, is lying tenderly in front of a mirror on the road side. The mirror is reflecting peach flowers in the park, with spring very much in the air. On the back of the artist is a pair of angle wings made of sugar, adding a playfulness and romance found in a child’s household game. Ornament, mirror and sugar wings reveal the stage property of Romantic Inscape. Sugar has been used as a metaphorical language in Sun Guojuan’s art works for years, symbolizing on the one hand women as the object of tasting in a male dominant society, and on the other, women’s attempt to retain their youth for ever by turning their bodes into sugar. Fictitious and fragile, the image of spring in the mirror and sweet fleshy body speak of the bankruptcy of women’s desire to retain youth forever. While the sweet feeling of the body is the only dignity and comfort alive, the sweet feeling of heart has been devoured by consumerism, the loss and fragmentation of humans cannot be saved by simple stage props. In No. 5 and No. 6 of ‘Sweetness Is Gone’, the dagger in the artist’s hand clearly indicates the anxiety and fear after the fragmentation of body and heart when ’sweetness is gone’.

Lei Yan’s photography continues the methodology of her ‘Freezing’ series. Elements raging from photographs of comrades in the army, to revolutionary articles, to images of the trenches are all put in ice cubes and photographed again, generating an archaeological memory of the image, while a woman’s career in the army is recalled in such a sad yet private way. In her work about her military career, Lei Yan reduces soldiers to men and women, the machinery of state to a school of childish faces, monument of hero to one tombstone after another, sacrifice to price, collectivism to mutual help and revolutionary romance to sentiments in the sealed history. The significance and nobility manifested by life itself are much more significant than any transient state in the long river of history, since life has soul and soul is immortal.

Mai Zhixiong’s ‘Sanctuary?’ series retains his simple style of object, scenery and colour and refined abstraction. However the artist has undergone a shift from his previous work and has rejected any possibility of symbolic construction. The scene in the picture in brightened, Beacon Mountain appears but the title is questioning sanctuary, showing the artist’s rethinking of symbolism. A sanctuary is considered a holy place in Judaism and Christianity, the innermost chamber of the Jewish temple was called the ‘Holy of Holies’, regarded as the dwelling place of the LORD God. Only the high priest could enter the ‘Holy of Holies’ once each year on the ‘Day of Atonement’. However, such a place built by human hands appears too small in front of the all-mighty God, hampering the relationship between humans and God. The curtain that blocked the ‘Holy of Holies’ from human access was ripped apart when Jesus died on the cross. Christianity holds that it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats to take away human sin, however, as is noted in the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, ‘we have confidence to enter into the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus’. The quest for the sanctuary, however, is not for the beacon, nor for the holy mountain beyond, but as Jesus told the woman of Samaria, ‘a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem… God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth’.(9)

Whereas the 7 Chinese artists discussed above raise questions in their art as a cry for a ‘Completion Inscape’ or even ‘Supreme Completion Inscape’, the video work of British artist Jonathan Kearney, by focusing on the process of colours following across time, creates an image of ‘Completion Inscape’ in micro scale across a timeframe. If the other artists in this exhibition mainly draw their images from the location in which they are living, Jonathan treats the micro objects in his art as a kind of ‘local experience’. It is worth mentioning that Jonathan has also exhibited his art works via off-site live broadcast over the internet, a remarkable departure from the dependence on, and significance of, location when ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’. The advent of a digital, internet era makes concepts such as ‘on the spot’ and ‘location’ seem insignificant, maybe even redundant. The important thing is the presentation of ‘inscape’ itself.

4. Conclusion

To a great extent the art discussed in this essay provide justification for considering the landscape around us and comfort for our minds and inner self. They also challenge us with profound insights into culture and life.

Provincial, cultural and natural resources should not become the prerequisite for an art movement or artist to receive historical recognition. The reason why a geographic characteristic or ethnic culture is widely recognized is because it carries a fundamental reflection of self and maybe something universal for all humans. The concept of ‘Creating Inscape on The Spot’ and this exhibition are simply designed to introduce such a possibility. Just as the Southwest school of ‘Life Flow’ inevitably turned into the ‘Chinese experience’ movement, ‘Chinese experience’ will itself return to life.

Notes:

(1) Jingjie: the degree or limit of boundary, country, or the accomplishment of people or artworks in spirit, culture or morality.

(2) Inscape: noun, poetic/literary, the unique inner nature of a person or object as shown in a work of art, esp. a poem. ORIGIN mid 19th cent. (originally in the poetic theory of Gerard Manley Hopkins). Know more about this word on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inscape

(3) According to Genesis, 1:31, On the the sixth day of Genesis, ‘And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good’.

(4) ‘Life Flow’ is a school of painting evolved from agrestic painting by some Southwest artists, originating from the expressionist style of life flow paintings by artists such as Ye Yongqing, Zhang Xiaogang, Zhou Chunya, Mao Xuhui and Pan Dehai. The artists choose the expression of their own life experience, internal journey and sentiment as the purpose of their artwork. This approach has gradually become a cultural tradition for contemporary Southwest art.

(5) Kunming Impressionist School: a school of artists, active in the streets and suburbs of Kunming and keen on the daily sketching of landscape in 1960s and 70s, formed a unique style of Yunnan oil painting characterized by gorgeous colours and strong expressive force. Its representatives include Pei Wenkun, Pei Wenlu, Jiang Gaoyi, Sha Lin and Su Xinhong.

(6) Shen Society: an art society formed in 1970s by artists such as Ding Shaoguang, Jiang Tiefeng, Liu Shaohui and Yao Zhonghua who were born in the 1940s. In 1980, Shen Society as a group held a exhibition
in Yunnan Museum, with their primitive decoration style starkly different from the revolutionary realistic style popular across the country. Later, Ding Shaoguang and Jiang Tiefeng emigrated to the U.S. and formed the ‘School of Contemporary Yunnan Heavy Colored Painting’, which has wide influence internationally.

(7) According to Genesis, 2:15 – 3:10, Adam and Eve, lured by the serpent, ate the forbidden fruit and hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden, ‘And the LORD God called
unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are you?’

(8) ‘Hai Wai Bei Jing’ in Shan Hai Jing recorded a tale that a man named Kua Fu exerted his utmost strength to chase after the sun but eventually died of thirsty and became a grove of peach trees. Based on this tale, He Libing drew an oil painting titled ‘Chasing the Sun’.

(9) Quoted from John, 4:21-24.

Continue Reading

Let There Be Light

Per Johansson, who was born 1984 in Sweden, is a post-1980s artist. Different from many post-1980s artists with inhospitality and indifference, Per is a mild and modest person willing to think and communicate. Per is good at seeing the enchanting moments of the mysterious nature: the sun breaking out of a cloud, a tiny part of a lake, or some vaguely seen shadows. These parts of nature are all in some way related to light: in the ripples on the lake, in the fog, in the sky over an island, or in the twinkle below the eyelid when somebody just opens his eyes. Sometimes the light is clear and sometimes it’s vague. Different kinds of light finally become paintings: the phenomenon, the illusion and the vision of light. The phenomenon of light is Per’s observation on light and shadow in nature; the illusion of light is different pictures in his mind; and the vision of light is the spiritualized light Per experiences in prayer, within his soul.

Per has been passionate about light for many years. In the process of his observation and contemplation on light, Per transforms the light into abstract paintings on canvas. They are mainly in warm colors with an atmosphere as light as air, which brings a sense of rhythm into his paintings. Per’s depiction on light is inspired by William Turners (the forerunner of French impressionists) great accomplishments on picturing
light. Different from Turner, Per omits the factors which are interrupting the natural atmosphere, such as forests, trains and bridges which often appear in Turner’s paintings. In addition, Per’s paintings are not so obviously connected to specific religious issues as Turner’s. Per focuses on the light and the reflection of light, creating a pure atmosphere of meditation for both the audiences and himself.

Per never received formal art education. He was born with his love and passion for painting. He paints by intuition and from his own experience, which makes his painting unadorned and simple. Normally Per uses black color as background and on top of this foundation he paints with warm colors to create different levels of light, which is very similar to the style of heavy color painting in Yunnan province. Due to his high ambitions, Per is still working on some technical issues, such as the grasping of drawing style and color, the building of the airy sense. All of these elements need more exquisite skills to make the pictures even more vivid.

I believe Per is a tenacious and persisting painter, very interested in the process of art creation. A metaphor can describe him: if he believes there is water underground, he will dig until water comes out. Per’s pursuit on light comes from the desire in his heart, and his natural inspiration is the dialogue between his soul and God. In this process, Per gets familiar with the phenomenon, illusion and the vision of light.

Among the so-called emerging human beings – the post 1980s people who are closer to consumption and popular culture – there are some persons who still has passion for life and enchanting scenery, which
originates from the thinking on ultimate life existence. Regardless of time, human’s have always looked up gazing for the light, this search for an answer, for light and for spirit is urgent and inevitable. Therefore it’s very valuable that Per, who is such a young artist, already has reached such a high spiritual level.

Luo Fei,January 30, 2008

Continue Reading

要有光

Per Johansson是一位出生于1984年的瑞典80后,和很多80后的冷漠孤傲不同,Per是一名性情温和谦虚善于思考并愿意和人交流的人。Per善于留意自然中神秘感人的瞬间:一面湖水的局部、一束夺出云层的光、一些依稀可见的不确定的影。它们都和光有关系:光在云层中、在湖面的涟漪上、在海岛上空、在雾气中、在梦中、在刚睁开眼的一瞬、还有一些是在脑袋里怎么也躲不掉的,有时清晰可辨,有时只是一些幻影。那些有关光的图像在Per的画面中形成:现象、幻象和异象之光。现象之光是Per对自然中光与影的体察与凝视,幻象之光是Per在头脑里在心灵中挥之不去的一幅幅图像,而作为异象之光,则是一位人格化的光对Per灵魂的吸引,使得Per借助这光也能体察自己灵魂的角落。

Per多年来都对微妙的光产生极大的兴趣和热情,在对光的体察、凝视及默观的过程中,将它们还原为画布上的一幅幅图画,那些图画主要以暖色调为主,营造光的空气感与单纯的气氛,呈现出近乎抽象画的韵律感。Per对光的营造得益于法国印象主义先驱威廉.透纳(WilliamTurner)对描绘光的卓越成就,不同的是,Per踢出了那些干扰单纯气氛的自然场景,如透纳画中的山林、火车、大桥等具体环境因素,也没有透纳晚期画面中那些具体的宗教题材叙事,而是更全身心地聚焦于光与反光本身,使自己和观众都沉浸于一种纯洁的冥思般的氛围之中。

Per从没有受过科班的艺术教育,他对绘画的热爱是发自内心,对画面的把握是凭借直觉和经验,这使得他的画面更多的是朴实的笔法和简单的技巧,他在画布上布满黑色作为底色,然后用响亮的暖色(如柠檬黄)在黑色上使用枯笔层层提出罩出亮光来,这和云南的重彩画技法颇为相似。当然,作为对画面的期盼,Per还有一些技术性的问题需要不断锤炼,比如对笔法和色彩的把握、以及对画面中空气感的营造都需要更加精湛的技巧,如此,画面便能成为更加传神之作。

有意思的是,在艺术道路上,我以为Per是那种相信地下某处有水,便会一直呆在那里挖掘、经营到底,直到水漫出地面的人。他对光的追寻是出于心灵的自觉和渴求,这使得他对自然之启示及与自身灵魂的对话极其关注,在此过程中他也渐渐熟悉他所描绘的现象、幻象和异象之光,以及他自身的精神光辉。

所谓新兴人类——对消费和流行文化更有亲和力的80后,其中也不乏有对生命和异象的热情,这源于人对终极生命存在的思考,因为无论任何世代,对光与精神光辉的仰望与凝视都是迫切而无法回避的。Per作为刚起步的青年艺术家能站在这样的高度,却是难能可贵。

Continue Reading

章水访谈:神学穿过艺术

时间:2006年9月19日下午2点-4点
地点:昆明TCG诺地卡文化中心

章水(Jonathan Kearney www.jonathankearney.com):英国艺术家,从事实验绘画、新媒体艺术以及艺术展览策划等工作。目前为英国伦敦艺术大学研究生导师,前任昆明TCG诺地卡画廊策展人。以下简称章。

采访者:罗菲(以下简称罗)
录音翻译整理:刘敏,罗菲

罗:我在你的资料中看到你过去在英国做过很多的事情。你在英国伦敦大学教艺术,听说你也教授神学方面的课程,我觉得很有意思,很感兴趣,能不能大致介绍一下你工作方面的情况。

章:在大学里我只是教艺术,在英国和这里一样的,并不是很多人对艺术和神学都感兴趣,在欧洲和美国也一样,也许好一点,但是仍然只是很少一部分人懂这个。那么我主要是在伦敦大学工作,每个星期只是教艺术,我们没有专门的神学艺术专业。但同时我在另外一个地方教神学,并不是每个星期,在那里我把艺术也教给那些神学学生,但是在伦敦大学艺术专业里面并没有神学专业,并且据我所知,在英国任何一所艺术大学里面都没有神学方面的专业。

在英文里我是这样表达神学和艺术的关系:神学穿过艺术(Theology throughs the art.),如同太阳光穿过月亮一样。在神学里面我教授什么呢,就是让人们学会用艺术来明白神学的道理。当我说到艺术的时候,它指的是一个非常宽广的领域,不仅仅是绘画,舞蹈,音乐,戏剧等等,它还包括很多很多,在英国,我想没有任何一个地方在教艺术的同时也在教神学。我跟很多人说“神学穿过艺术”,可是没有人明白这个道理,这很奇怪。

罗:所以你尝试让神学和艺术联系起来。

章:是的。我尝试了很多不同的方式。一种就是艺术家在工作室里工作,做作品的时候,思考神学,反问自己:我为什么要做作品?而这个思考首先是从《圣经》开始。

罗:学生也有学圣经的课程吗?

章:有的时候有的地方是这样,他们已经非常了解圣经,他们是基督徒,可是他们并不了解艺术,他们只是了解圣经,这个时候我就教艺术。

罗:他们不是艺术类学生?

章:不是,他们是神学院的学生,他们的课程就是关于如何带领教会,所以他们非常了解圣经。我会向他们教授艺术,英国的大多数基督徒不太清楚圣经贯穿艺术,艺术也反映圣经的道理,艺术是圣经里很重要的部分,许多基督徒并不会以这种方式来读圣经。我不是很了解美国的情况,美国有很多不同类型的大学,有政府的也有基督徒的,也许他们中有一类是教神学也是教艺术的,但是我们英国没有。

罗:欧洲如何?

章:在欧洲,有很多的地方既教神学也教圣经,这种地方叫圣经学院,但是他们中没有任何一个教艺术,没有把圣经和艺术结合起来。

罗:这很困难!

章:是的。非常困难。我了解到有一门新的课程,他们把圣经和艺术有一点点的结合,但是我并不太清楚他们的具体课程,但是希望以后有更多的了解。我回答了你的问题吗?

罗:当然!我只是想更多的了解欧美有关神学和艺术的现状,这些讯息对于关注神学和艺术的中国人来说很重要。

章:我想在欧洲和英国大多数的大学,在艺术学院他们教艺术,他们对精神层面(spirit)感兴趣,但不是圣经上指的属灵层面(spirit)。而在欧洲很多年以前,很多艺术来自于圣经题材,用基督的理念来理解欧洲的艺术是非常非常重要的,那个时候他们为教堂创作绘画,可是是最近一百年来,基督的理念就不那么重要了,多元化的理念变得更重要:
不同的宗教信仰,不同的观念,甚至无神论等等。

罗:宗教不再是艺术唯一的理由。

章:对!那么大学里发生了什么呢?在艺术学院,他们只是了解圣经一点点,只是一个大概,我听说他们不得不有一些关于圣经的讲座,但只是介绍一些非常非常简单的基本常识,这只是为了更多的了解欧洲的艺术而已,可是他们只是模仿,并不理解。所以今天的艺术学院只是教一点点的圣经。在过去,人人都很了解圣经。我在伦敦读硕士课程的时候写的论文里,涉及到神学和艺术的关系,我的老师们明白我的艺术,这对我的艺术很好,但是他们不了解神学,我们不能交流更多,所以他们并不能真正帮到我。因此我要行万里路,读万卷书,和不同的人交流,英国有一些好书,但不是太多。这就是我自己在神学方面不断提高的方式。

罗:如果你参与一个神学艺术课程的教学,你会用什么方式让艺术和神学结合起来?我们知道艺术的训练方式可以有很多非常实验的方法来教学,这种方法和神学教学能结合吗?

章:我想这相当困难。首先,中国和欧洲的艺术教学方法有很大的区别,艺术有许多的方法可以教授,我的方法是同时教授神学和艺术,在教圣经的时候我融入艺术的方式,教艺术的时候我融入圣经,比如先阅读圣经,有关于圣经的课程,然后去工作室画画,或者,去其他地方,去剧院学习跳舞什么的,我们更愿意二者同时进行,他们都是相关的,互相影响。你正在做音乐,你在思考神学,你在思考圣经,或者有一个关于舞蹈的灵感,这些都是互相影响的。我认识一个非常非常有名的神学老师,同时他也是非常非常好的一个钢琴家,他说我们的上帝是圣父圣子圣灵的三位一体,是有三个位格,同时却又是一位上帝,这如何去理解呢?如果你画画,红色蓝色黄色不加思考混在一起,非常非常难看,他说在弹奏钢琴的时候,先弹一个音符,再加一个音符,再加两个音符,那就是非常美丽的合音。所以尽管一些不同的因素混合在一起有意想不到的效果。他从一边教神学也一边教钢琴的过程中对上帝的三位一体的合一领悟到更多。我想这非常有意思。这就是从神学上影响了艺术,从艺术上也影响了神学。我想这也是一种结合方法吧。

罗:那么你认为连接神学和艺术最重要的问题是什么?

章:最重要的我认为要有一个基础,这个基础就是从圣经开始。圣经的一开始就启示,上帝创造了世界,造了一切,造男人造女人,而上帝是按照他的样式造人的。因此,我们也拥有上帝的样式,我们也能进行创造,就像上帝可以创造一样。在创世纪里,上帝要人喜悦他所创造的这个世界,为之祈祷,为之喜悦,创造它,改造它,让它更美好。举个例子,你知道小提琴,上帝没有创造小提琴,是人创造的,上帝只是创造了木头和一切所需要的东西,然而人据此创造了美妙的音乐,如果我们真的是上帝所创造的,那么我们也能用上帝似的创造力来创造这个世界,上帝并没有用同样的方式创造动物和树木,这是在人类身上很特别的东西:我们可以创造,像上帝那样,这是最大的不同。我们和上帝有别,上帝说,要有光,于是便有了光,我们却不能这样做,但是上帝赐给我们一切的想法,我们把这些想法结合起来就能创造出令人惊叹的事物来。假如我们明白了这个,创造力就在圣经的一开始,这意味着我们就是具有创造力的人,这创造力也是我们原本就应该有的。

而且,去创造事物也是上帝赐给人的一项任务,就好像是命令,我们应该去做什么?当上帝创造了世界,他想让世界知道他是上帝,怎么办?比如说,一个国家的国王是如何让他的民众知道他的形象的,假设他在西安,但他想让昆明的人知道他是国王,他怎么办呢?他就在昆明做一个他的雕塑,所有的人都知道,啊,他就是国王!当上帝创造世界的时候,他也想让这个世界的一切都知道他是上帝,而我们也就是他的雕像,只是我们是人,我们会走动,有生命。这就是上帝在圣经创世纪一章二十六节里说:我们要按照我们的形象和样式造人。所以,我们是他的雕像,但不是傻傻的站着不动的那种,我们有他的形象和样式,具备创造力,具备灵,具备思想,具备独立的品格,我们是上帝的使者,我们就向世界彰显,上帝是我们的主。我想这就是最重要的东西。当我们理解了这个,我们就知道,作为艺术家是很好的,但并不比医生老师等其他职业更重要,医生很重要,它能够拯救生命让人健康,但也并不是最重要的,作为艺术家也是一样的,因为他们是平等的。我们艺术家不会帮人看病什么的,我们是用其他的方式帮助人们。

罗:让神学和艺术结合起来这的确很困难,可是它们之间确实有着神秘的联系:艺术、创造力、神性、信念、精神性、希望等等词汇,他们联系在一起。

我想说说当代艺术中的精神性问题。去年我们工作室邀请了一些欧洲的艺术家前来参与我们的艺术活动,发现有一些欧洲的年轻艺术家的作品对于中国艺术家来说有些隔阂,中国艺术家认为他们仅仅是和身体还有游戏精神有关系,而中国艺术家更注重精神层面以及文化层面的思考。当然,那种对身体和游戏精神的探讨也开始影响到了今天的中国艺术家。

章:在过去,中国传统文化中的精神性是非常非常重要的,今天的中国艺术家也沿袭了这个传统。

罗:是的。只是有的艺术家只是运用传统文化的图式,和精神没有关系,就像是传统文化的一张脸,是表面的。

章:几个月以前我到云南大学去参加一个有名的艺术家的讲座,小蓉为我做翻译,我记不得那个人的名字了,那是一个非常大的课堂,很多很多的学生,艺术家发现那里的学生做的艺术像西方的,就对学生们说到:你们不能忘记我们的传统文化,你们毫无精神性可言,但是你们必须要有精神性,你们必须首先思考理念,然后再去画,因为那是中国传统文化的理念!他非常生气,哈哈,说你们都去崇尚西方艺术了,你们必须牢记中国传统文化的理念,他非常生气!

罗:对于中国艺术家而言,我们会问:我们为什么需要圣经,我们有我们自己的传统文化?我们常常把圣经以及神学思考混淆在西方文化的范畴里,一同拒斥在门外了。

章:我刚才说过,中国传统文化非常非常重要,我愿意去学习它,我已经学了一些。为什么重要呢?因为它是人创造的,是最早的人创造的,而最早的人直接受上帝的启示,如同先知,中国的传统文化对于我们理解上帝的话语非常有帮助。

耶稣一直在说”天国”,”天国在这里”,”天国近了”,这和中国传统文化对于世界和人生的思考是不一样的,在英国文化里也不一样,所以圣经不是西方文化,是从你们亚洲来的,但是我们的这些文化系统里都有一部分和”天国”有关,我们去接触这些文化可以更多更深入的理解上帝的话语。

罗:在我成为一名基督徒之前,我认为,艺术是我的唯一希望。我非常崇尚中国传统文化,在我开始接触基督教的时候,我常常带着圣经和论语,老子一起,进行比较。圣经里边说的话,我能在那些中国书里找到几乎一样的话语,许许多多类似的地方。但是后来我发现是不一样的,中国传统文化是人创造的,而圣经是上帝的话语本身。

章:上帝是光,照亮我们的路和我们的艺术,让我们看到希望,艺术充满了光和希望,但是它的源头是上帝,是神学。当然也有偏激的情况,有的基督徒认为圣经是最重要的,其他的文化都不重要,也不接触,这样也没问题,但是为什么不更开放一点呢。

罗:在中国,神学被引入艺术,往往是作为阐释性的理论,是对艺术的阅读和理解,并非作为对艺术的评介,并没有从圣经里找到评介艺术的方法,比如什么样的艺术是好的,什么是不好的,怎么样可以更好?我想这个问题对于艺术家和观众来说都是非常重要的东西,特别是当代艺术,这样一个价值多元化的状况下。因此,有没有一种神学方法来对艺术进行某种评介?

章:这是一个评介机制,这是非常有意思的问题。在西方,很难有一个标准来评介艺术系统,我想很难说什么是好的什么是不好的。但是我从腓立比书里看到这样的话,我想可以用来对艺术进行某种评介:”弟兄们,我还有未尽的话,凡是真实的、可敬的、公义的、清洁的、可爱的、有美名的,若有什么德行、若有什么称赞、这些事你们都要思念”。这些话是上帝要我们去思念的。

第一个词是”真实的”(truth),我们可以从艺术,音乐,舞蹈来看,无论它们表现的是积极的还是消极的,它们都是真实的,就像后面那张有关女人体的画,那不是一张很美丽的画,但是它所表达的是真实的恐惧,这种真实非常重要,是内在的,所以你可以用这样一个标准来判断,艺术源于真实的生活,即使是不美好的事情,这是首当其冲的一个标准。

第二个词是”可敬的”(honour/dignity),也是有尊严的,这对人很重要,如果不给人类尊严,那会是很糟糕的情况,对人类尊严的思考也是艺术中的一个判断之一。

下一个是”公义的”(right),正义,这是一个道德上的尺度,比如说毕加索的《格尔尼卡》,讲述了一个小镇上发生的非常严酷的暴行,许多手无寸铁的老百姓被屠杀,艺术家把这种活生生的惨境告诉给人,事实上是对正义的一种呼唤,所以,这也是一种评判作品的标准。

再下一个是”清洁的”(purity),也是纯洁的纯粹的意思,有的人只喜欢看干净的美丽的艺术,他们不喜欢那种真实的纯粹的东西,比如这两个电影,一个电影是《罗密欧与朱丽叶》,这是一个悲剧,尽管有现实的阻绕,但是他们的爱情很纯洁,很神圣,可是罗密欧和朱丽叶都死了,很悲伤却很美丽的电影,人们喜欢看这个。另一个是《本能》,两个已婚的人始终都想在一起,可是他们都有自己的家庭,他们只是为了性,可是他们的爱欲也是纯粹的,本能的。所以,我
的意思是,对作品纯粹性的认识不是道德上的是非评判,而是还原到人性本身的纯粹状态。

接下来是”可爱的”(beauty/lovely),美丽的,有的事情是美丽的漂亮的,有的事物从形象上看却不是美丽的,甚至不好看,但是却是真实的画面,比如后面那张画中的女人,并不美丽,却给予了诚实和尊严。

有美名的”(good repute),不仅仅是指很出名,对于很多基督徒来说,他们往往关心一个艺术家是否是一个基督徒,如果不是基督徒他们就不认为他是好的艺术家,做的作品将不会好,在生活中也不会是很好,可是这只是其中一个评判标准,然而事实上也并非这样,比如毕加索,我们都知道他的艺术非常非常好,可是他对待女人却并不好,然而你不能说他的艺术不好。

美德”(excellence),就是卓越的意思,这是完美的境界,非常非常难。我认为,对于一个艺术家的评价的最好方式是看他近十年来的艺术实践,而不是单单看一件作品,因为你可以做一件好作品,却很难保持做十年好的作品。比如,你做了五年艺术,我做了十二年,但都只是艺术史中的一个浪花,这些要在五十年一百年之后再回过头来看,还经得起时间和历史的考验的作品才是好的作品。

最后是”称赞”(praise),这是由作品的影响和效果组成的,就是作品本身对人的影响。比如你的作品,有非常强烈的效果,尽管其中有些中文我并不明白,可是我能明确的明白其中的意思和效果,这就是好的作品。在中国,医治艾滋病的药物是很贵的,但是在英国,看病是免费的,或者很便宜,另外,作品中的英文话语强烈的表达了无助的人心里深处的需要。你的作品非常的好,把药物和文字放在一起。

所以,当我们评判作品和艺术家的时候,这些都只是其中的一些办法,可以综合的考虑。

罗:在实验艺术界,人们非常的强调效果的一面,由此作为学术判断的重要标准。

章:是的,效果很重要。可是你看电视节目,广告也很有效果,很快,很漂亮的画面,眼前一闪,鼓励你买东西,可是却不是真实的,它讲的东西和实际的东西是有差别的,甚至是一个谎言。所以效果论只是其中一种判断方法。

罗:最后一个问题是,你如何看待艺术家和先知身份的关系。

章:这个问题非常非常重要,我很高兴你能问这个问题。先知首先作为名词,圣经旧约告诉我们,先知能够预测未来所发生的,先知是上帝的使者,让民众跟随上帝的旨意。同时,先知也是一个动词,一种对未来预知判断的能力,这是人类普遍所拥有的。

先知总是看到未来,思考未来,我们应该怎么走,我们要去哪里?当下中国的现状是什么样的,中国现在改变非常非常的迅速,近十年二十年来发生了什么?未来会是什么样的,我们该怎么做?如果我们做了改变,这将是利大于弊还是弊大于利?

教会里常常有这样的情况,一类人总是在预知未来,是很激进的,另一种是安于现状,觉得现实很舒服很满足,事实上我们两种都需要。

在英国,我见到很多的艺术家,电影制片人,音乐人,艺术家,舞蹈家,他们都像先知一样的创作,他们能明确感受到未来的变化。在中国传统的艺术里,一样的有这 种先知的精神。从圣经上我们知道,所有的基督徒都有从上帝而来的恩赐,而先知也是一种恩赐,我们要去哪里?为什么走这边?我们应该怎么走?

从某种角度来讲,艺术家是不是基督徒并不重要,但是艺术家应该像先知一样具备先知的能力去改变现实,这是非常非常重要的。特别是在今天的中国,艺术家的作品要能够影响全中国的发展,改变中国的状况。

所以,艺术家不仅仅是关心我们自己的艺术,也可以从圣经中更多的理解先知的能力,艺术家本身在做艺术的时候否在结合圣经的这个启示去思考人类的未来呢?关于这个问题我已经思考了很久了。

Continue Reading

© 2018 撒 把 盐. All Rights Reserved.