The Roving Figures: The drawings of Karin Häll

The Roving Figures
– The drawings of Karin Häll

I walk slowly into myself, through a forest of empty suits of armor.
– Tomas Tranströmer

Swedish artist Karin Häll stuck several sketches of different sizes and shapes on the walls of her studio in Chuangku art community at Kunming: An eye, a tree, some gloomy faces, and The Life and Work, an artist’s handmade book from the coarse sandpaper. I was fascinated by the figures on these randomly arranged scrapes. They were lively yet slightly gloomy. It seemed as if they were talking to each other, yet they seem to have nothing to do with each other. These are moments from “life and work”, and figures invited by the artist to present themselves in between.

Karin was fond of drawing since she was a child. She was seriously criticized by the teacher for sketching in the textbooks, and was even asked to restore the books back to how they were look like. I can very much relate to her experience. Workbooks, textbooks, desks and walls could all be our canvas. No one can stop a person from drawing, just as you can’t stop a child from growing up.

We used to hike together on the outskirts of Kunming, enjoying the nature and overlooking the city. Drawing, she says, is much like hiking. It makes one relieved from the mental pressure. There is no pressure from “self-judgment” to do “official works”. I totally agree with that. Casual painting is very similar to hiking or walking. No specific reason or goal is needed. You’re just walking and drawing. After letting go the inner anxiety, you feel very much refreshed. They also often give people the illusion that we are busy and focused. In fact, more often than not, we are just being idle and distracted. It is said that the mind works best when distracted. Thoughts emerge naturally in inactivity, and then vanish automatically. Figures become the extension of roving thoughts, which in turn leads people to association and observing. That’s how we got the figures on the scraps of Karin’s paper. They are like the footprints of hiking in the hills, fresh, natural, firm and steady.

Karin’s drawings feature powerful lines and bold color bulks, emphasizing the contour of the figures and the stereoscopic aspect of them. This may have something to do with her sculpture practice. Her figures always start with bulky objects. In a recent exhibition, Karin used sculpture and finished products to make scattered black blocks on the wall. It seems as if they were fragments floating in the air or debris salvaged from the sea. In another work, “The Order of Things”, she put gloves, boots, books, plants, flowerpots and mud balls on a hilly setting of artificial hair. That very much reminds us the spaces in Giotto’s paintings, and the grotesque rocky mountains. The “finished” sculptures also offer us glimpses of Karin’s daily drawing practices: moving lines, wraparound bulks, and simple forms. Generally speaking, Karin would keep objects and figures apart from each other. But she could somehow make them associated with each other intrinsically. Those objects or figures are usually only half done. Or that’s how she intents people to see. This makes the figures detached from the roving thoughts, while the viewer’s attention is channeled to wander among the objects. She keeps the objects malleable, maintains the traces, and exposes the undertone. These are the labor work of her hands – covering, modifying, smearing, and emphasizing. That’s also how Karin works on her drawings. The traces of daubing and emphasizing are visible, and the paper being cut, bound, sewed and stuck. Although the drawings seem casual and were done freely, they demonstrate how she can control over the figures and strength to get particular feelings noticed. I think that’s the spirit.

As far as I can see, these figures are different moments from “life and work” that share common spiritual temperaments – fun, mysterious, and gloomy. For example, she likes to draw her left hand, figures from Nordic mythology, portraits shrouded in contemplation, and faces in the shadows. Besides, there are more bulky figures, such as houses, clouds, shoes, gloves, etc. This temperament might have come from the unique spiritual realm of northern Europe, championing simplicity and black. It reminds me of the patients in the ward of Munch’s paintings. Of course, there are some lovely and fun figures too. These figures, which are not deliberately created, have the same spiritual temperament. This is like a person who walks in a certain gait and posture that can be recognized from a distance.
An artist’s drawing is the most private stage, in which figures or texts are slowly come to present themselves. While the artist acts as the master of ceremonies, the figures come to look for their creator. It’s like how the Swedish poet Tranströmer put it that it’s not he who was looking for the lines, but the poems seek for him, begging to be presented. This is a mysterious process. Because of this, an artist or poet is not working on a mission that must be accomplished. Instead of forcing herself to create masterpieces, she just shares this process with others.

Without setting any frames and goals, she paints and smears freely. This is like natural breathing, strolling in the mountains, enjoying moments of silence, and preparing the figures to emerge. This is the pleasure and reflection brought to me by the mysterious and wonderful drawings of Karin Häll.

Luo Fei
September 30, 2019, Afternoon
Prague Cafe, Kunming
Translated by Nathan XiaoThe Roving Figures
– The drawings of Karin Häll

形象的漫游

形象的漫游
——有关卡琳·霍尔(Karin Häll)的手稿

穿过一座没有装备的森林
我慢慢走入我自己。
——特朗斯特罗姆(Tomas Tranströmer)

瑞典艺术家卡琳·霍尔在昆明创库工作室的墙上,贴满了不同尺寸和形状的速写小画:一只眼睛、一棵树、一些阴郁的面孔,还有一本由粗粝砂纸做成的艺术家手工书《生活和工作》……我被这些凌乱纸片上的形象(figures)吸引,它们鲜活,略显阴郁,好像在彼此说话,又互不相干。它们来自“生活和工作”的时刻,它们是艺术家在“生活和工作”的间隙邀请出场的形象。

霍尔自小热衷于绘画,曾因为童年在课本上随意涂画遭到老师的严厉苛责,被要求恢复书本原貌。我十分同情她的遭遇,因为我有与她极为相似的经历,作业本、课本、课桌、墙壁都可能成为我们的画布。谁也阻止不了一个想要画画的人,就像你无法阻止一个孩子长高。

我们曾在昆明郊外一起远足,享受自然,眺望城市。她说,画画的状态很像远足,可以缓解精神上的压力,更没有做“正式作品”那种来自“自我判断”的压力。这一点我完全赞同,随性涂画和远足或散步的情形非常相似,不需要具体的理由和目标,只是为了走走,画画,释放了内在的焦虑,然后感到精神饱满。它们也常常给人一种人们正在忙乎、正在专注的错觉。事实上更多时候,只是无所事事的状态,分心的状态。据说,在分心的状态下,心灵运作状况最佳。思绪在无所事事中自然出现,又自动消散,形象成为思绪漫游的延伸,引发联想和观看。于是有了霍尔那些纸片上的形象,如同在山野远足留下的脚印,鲜活,未经雕琢,步伐稳健。

霍尔的这些绘画通常使用概括有力的线条和色块,强调形象的轮廓线,强调体感,这或许与霍尔做雕塑有关,形象从块状物开始。在最近的一个展览上,霍尔用雕塑和现成品在墙面上以分散的黑色块状,构成一种漂浮在空间里的碎片感,仿佛从大海里打捞出来的残骸物。在另一件作品“事物的秩序”(The Order of Things)中,她使用了手套、靴子、书籍、植物、花盆、泥团,放置在人造毛搭建的如小山丘一样的背景上,那样的场景甚至让人想起乔托(Giotto)绘画中的空旷景象,奇异嶙峋的石山。我们也能从她那些雕塑“成品”中看到艺术家日常涂画的状态:运动的线条、概括的块状、拙朴的形态。大致上,霍尔让物与物、形象与形象保持着距离,又内在地彼此关联。那些物体或形象,通常处于一种半完成状态,或者说,艺术家有意识让人们看见这种状态。这使得形象在思绪漫游状态中具有一种游离感,也让观看者的注意力可以在事物之间漫游。保持可塑,保持痕迹,让事物暴露着它自身的一些底色——来自双手的劳作:覆盖、修改、涂抹、强调。这种工作方式在霍尔的绘画手稿上同样存在,保持着对画面涂抹和强调的痕迹,对纸张的裁剪、装订、缝纫、拼贴等等。尽管这些绘画看上去比较随意,似乎信手拈来,却也流露出艺术家对形象和力度的把控,为了让特定的感受被注意到,我想,那就是精神。

在我看来,这些来自不同“生活和工作”间隙的形象拥有某些共同的精神气质——好玩、神秘、阴郁。比如霍尔多次画到自己的左手,那些来自北欧神话里的形象,还有那些笼罩在沉思气氛中的肖像,阴影中的面孔。以及更多的,是一些块状形象,房子、云朵、鞋子、手套等等。这种气质或许来自北欧特有的精神世界,崇尚简约,崇尚黑色,令人想起蒙克画面中那些病房里的人。当然,也有一些可爱和好玩的形象。这些并非刻意塑造的形象具有共同的精神气质,和一个人步行时所具有的步调和体态相似,让人们从远处就可以认出步行者。

艺术家手稿也是最私人的舞台,形象或者文字在其中慢慢出场,艺术家在其中扮演司仪——形象在绘画中寻找画家。正如瑞典诗人特朗斯特罗姆说,不是他在找诗,而是诗在找他,逼他展现诗。这是一个神秘的过程,正因为如此,艺术家或者诗人不是在完成一件必须完成的任务,她无需强迫自己创造杰作。她只是把这个过程与人们分享。

在没有设定任何框架和目标的情况下,自由自在地绘画、涂抹,犹如自然的呼吸,犹如山野漫步,享受寂静时刻,让形象出场。这是卡琳·霍尔那些神秘而精彩的手稿带给我的愉悦与沉思。

罗 菲
2019年9月30日下午
在昆明布拉格咖啡馆

泰国声音漫步

Luo Fei, a sound diary album made in Thailand during blurborders project, 2019
Luo Fei’s sketch from Phattalung, Thailand
recording on a island, Phattalung, Thailand

以下是部分实地录音,录音器:Zoom H5,立体声录音,建议安静环境佩戴耳机收听。如需购买高质量音频,请与作者联系,谢谢!

泰国帕他仑,早晨五点半出船,去往一座小岛,20190807

早上七点,清晨的銮湖,鸟鸣、虫鸣、汽笛声……20190809

岛上(帕他仑)Thalae Noi island, 20190807

帕他仑,湖边摇曳的树枝 Phattalung 20190806

在客栈听雨 聊天 listen to the rain and chatting in a rainy afternoon, Phattalung, 20190810

绿色环保集市声音漫步,Tainod Green Market Soundwalk,20190811

曼谷华昌站,一个简易船只停靠的地方。 Hua Chang Pier Bangkok,20190731

20190804 Bangkok metro

漂移的身体

小商品里编织出来的情境与美学
关键词:情境、仪式、游戏、关系、体态……

snarte谞空间部分现场作品及观察笔记

“在云上”这个来自云南高原的现场艺术活动第一次来到了历史名城南昌,它把那种专注于即兴表演、自然场域和东方诗学的艺术体验带到了南昌的观众面前。艺术家们分别在SNARTE谞空间、欧罗巴商业广场和南昌之星摩天轮旁的红谷滩大草坪上展开表演,这三种不同属性的城市空间为艺术家们的表演提供乃至规定了相应的情境,一系列基于特定场域的临时行动由此开启。在这三个现场,场域与表演形成一种相互构建的关系,剧场、商场和休闲空间让表演和观看表演都具有了特定的形式,比如剧场环境让表演显得更加仪式化,观众也更加专注;商场里的表演与消费空间发生着一种异质性的关联,观众处于观看与游走之间的状态;而红谷滩草坪上的表演则显得放松很多,更具游戏感。场域与表演的互构关系,正是上世纪70年代以来各类现场艺术的特质,也是“在云上”现场艺术节独特之处,让身体在不同场域中被重新生成、重新连接,与文化、社会、自然共同编织出临时的异质的场域。由于艺术节几乎每天都处于不断游走的状态,身体成了漂移的身体,场域因为表演的介入也成了漂移的场域,这或许正是“在云上”的隐喻吧。

——罗菲(“在云上2019”学术观察)2019-8-27

现场艺术的观察笔记与速写

blurborders in Thailand

blurborders International performance art eXchange

第四届模糊边界国际行为艺术节
今年主题——亚洲风味

8月2、3、4日下午5点—7点
曼谷文化艺术中心 bacc

2 – 4 August 2019 THAILAND
BANGKOK ART AND CULTURE CENTRE,Bangkok
8 – 10 August 2019
Pak Pra Talaynoi,Phatthalung
11 August 2019
Tainod green’s market & cummunity,Phattalung

ARTISTS:
Keninchi Takeda
Shin-ichi Arai
Riko Takahashi
He Libin
Luo Fei
Deng Shangdong
Pramil Lama
Delphine Richer
Wilawan Wiangthong
Vasan Sitthiket
Aor NOpawan
Mongkol Plienbangchang

Curators: Aor NOpawan, Mongkol Plienbangchang

see more info on facebook

Mongkol Plienbangchang’s performance at BACC, Bangkok
Luo Fei, Walk Piece, BACC, Bangkok
Luo Fei, Art For The People, Thailand, 2019
Luo Fei, Art For The People, Thailand, 2019
blurborders artists, 2019