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用风景疗伤:“就地造境”艺术展主题讨论(一)

用风景疗伤——“就地造境”艺术展主题讨论(一)

关键词:就地造境、境界、精神、风景、心灵、疗伤

参与讨论:罗菲、和丽斌、雷燕

时间:2009年5月13日下午3点

地点:TCG诺地卡画廊

inscape-discussion_8

一、关于“就地造境”艺术展

inscape-discussion_1罗菲(以下简称罗):我们先来回顾一下这个展览,从4月3号开展到现在已经有一个月了,陆续有一些观众来,虽然有的艺术家已经离开昆明了,但我还是希望有一个思考的机会。当然,这个展现的现场气氛和创意集市那样的现场是没法比的,但是在展览主题层面试图去挖掘一些有深度的东西,也是对我这几年来所做的展览的一个反思。今天我们这里有三个人来讨论,其他的参展艺术家我会通过网络来联络最终整理出来他们的意见。

和丽斌(以下简称和):其实之前罗菲我们也聊过几次,最早有这个思路就开始聊了。就我理解的,这个展览最终想呈现的理念是一个立体的东西,展览现场只是一个部分,其他包括多次的讨论、讲座、小范围的写生,这些东西最终收集整理成一个文献,包括可能到其他城市的展览,最后成为一个完整的东西。

我们现在看到的主要是一个诺地卡的展览现场,一个很精细的、很明晰的展览。我个人觉得通过不同艺术家不同的创作经验来呈现“就地造境”,如果数量上再多一点,各种图片等形式更丰富一点,因为我们参与者还有罗菲对理念是有一个很清楚的脉络,但是对于一个普通观众只看到了一个展览的局部,还是有一点点遗憾,如果作品再多一点,空间再用起来的话会更好。因为细心的观众会慢慢地看,但是一般观众很快就看完了。

罗:从纯粹展览现场的角度说,我也同意这样的看法,布展前通过电脑对作品的筛选与实际作品在展览效果方面有一定出入,包括作品尺寸、数量等方面考虑与实际情况有差距。以后如果在其他城市展览的话会根据场地空间有一个补充的机会。

雷燕(以下简称雷):我刚才也说过了,这是一个学术性的展览,策展人的思路是很清晰的,从题目上就很好的体现了观念,每个选取的艺术家很多都是一直关注风景,理的很清晰,整个展览就显得很有个性。不像有的展览,主题是一个主题,但与作品表达是不一致的,但是这个展览没有这个问题,每个作品后面都是有相应的想法。刚才提到作品比较少,但我觉得主题并没有被消解,通过梳理,通过个案的分析,可以完善这个展览,让他更学术,更精神,更艺术,虽然章水的作品很抽象,但是你可以看的进去,不管是风景写生还是其他的,他都营造了一种精神境界,所以我觉得这个展览还是非常有力量的。

罗:谢谢。我想展览作品的数量和质量没有直接的关系,这个展览最开始的初衷就是三四个艺术家的展览,后来在交流的过程中不断的发展,有一段时间发展的非常大了,卷入很多事情和人,后来因为经济危机的影响我又回到了初衷,其实这个主题要做,可以大到双年展的规模,也可以只有三四个艺术家的规模。根据具体情况来做吧。

做这个展览的主要不是放在展览的现场,要是注重现场可以用其他思路去做,把它做得更好,重心是在参展艺术家内心的想法,以及艺术家们怎样通过这个展览来看待一些问题,这个展览在各种条件限制的情况下,也只是一个抛砖引玉的效果。在今天中国当代艺术这个大的生态环境下,绝大部分作品都充满了焦虑、虚无,还有犬儒的生活状态,艺术中不再相信什么,不再倾听那些非常隐微的声音。而我做这个展览的动机就是鼓励自己和大家去倾听微小的声音,而这需要一种安静的状态。

和:我觉得这个展览很有意思的一个地方在于,它是有一个很清晰的主题,但这又不是策展人设定主题,艺术家来根据它创作,现在有很多这种类型的展览,最后往往变成一个方法论的演示,我觉得“就地造境”最有意义的一点是,策展人是在长期思索这个内在现象和这个主题之后而做出的策展,而且对参展艺术家都有一个长期的观察和了解,他是首先有了这个关注点,然后对艺术家个案做了长期的观察的基础上挑选的艺术家,而且每个艺术家都有各自独立的方式,同时和“境界”、 “风景”又有关联,他们以不同的视角呈现出来,像不同的镜面互相映照后产生出来的效果,再加上对话、讨论,会引申出一系列有意思的问题。

雷:我同意这个说法。今天在市场环境下,艺术家关注心灵越来越少了,和几年前相比,可能更多的思考艺术的市场价值,这也不是说不好,只是艺术家对更深层次的东西思考会越来越淡。我觉得这个展览个案很有意思,可能不是很市场,但是带有艺术家心灵的东西。与生命经历有关的作品20年以后会留下一些痕迹,这就是艺术家走过的历史,它的意义可能比迎合市场的作品的意义要大得多。

二、心灵的声音

inscape-discussion_2和:另外“就地造境”很有意义的一点是,罗菲提出的这个“造境”观,“境界”是一个很久没有人再提的词了,相对比较陌生了,今天的艺术,因为市场和资本的介入以后,普遍的出现一个媚俗的现象,大家都考虑怎么好看,就是做一个好看的视觉的东西,当然好看是艺术的一个因素,但不是最重要最根本的要素,一个艺术家应该给社会的是一种深度的、精神性的东西,他创造的东西应该是能触动大家的东西,不是一个快餐,若干年之后就被遗弃的东西。但是一个精神性的东西就是放在若干年以后他都是有启示性的,“就地造境”提出一个境界观的话题,而且不仅是一个现场的展览,可以在后面的一系列的活动中延伸。

雷:确实这个展览现场后面的东西更重要,毕竟他传递了一种今天的文化取向,艺术家肯定是追求一种精神至上的东西,就是一种境界,艺术家就是要带动,用视觉的方法传递自己的心境或者一种精神,让普通观众能有一种领悟。

罗:看来大家对精神性的东西都有很高的期待,特别在云南确实有这样一种资源,有条件很容易融入到自然当中,你们两位平时是怎么获得这种精神境界的诉求呢?是通过在工作室里工作,还是出去的机会,或者其他什么契机?

和:肯定是通过绘画来完成这种诉求,或者说自我的表达,但是这种精神的引领,就是一种沉思,默想,随时随地都可能发生,有可能在自然之中,也有可能在人群之中,就我自己来说,在工作室中是呈现的部分,但创作以外的引领更多的是冥想,是自我提升的最有效的方式,并不是看书这些,看书只是和另外一个人交流,不能达到自我的提升。像我在创作“荒原”的时候,就是要把自己的精神灵魂引领到一个远离都市的地方,最重要的是对我自己的意义,我自身需要去到这个地
方,对观众来说其实是次要的。

雷:我的创作过程是很普通的,近几年主要用图片和手工的方式,作品都带有我生活经历的痕迹,选择这种方式来创作比较适合我的工作经验,当然要使这些材料和创作手法和传递的信息吻合,我会反复的实验。创作必须要进入这种状态,要自己走进去,才知道你要诉求的东西,在这样的过程中你就达到了一种精神的诉求,进入一种很极致的状态。比如我在用手工做东西,专注不专注是完全不一样的。在我的迷彩作品里,我最喜欢的是那个酒瓶,我觉得我在做那个酒瓶的时候很专注,好像有那种超越的感觉,所以这个东西很耐看,放在哪里都很好看,因为它里面有一个极致点,这就是精神。

罗:所以对雷姐来说,专注于创作过程可以构成一种冥想的状态,也可以看出要达到境界并不指某种苦修,而是对手中东西的热爱和专注,一种真诚。这种状态本身就可以生长出我们说的境界。今天说到境界好像是很古典的东西,说简单点境界就是人生命的水平度。而这个水平度离原来的本我越远,境界就越高,这是我的理解。

而丽斌的体会,是通过日常思考的方式。你能不能和我们分享你走到“荒原”的感受。

和:其实我自身也还在行走的过程中,自身的一个迷吧。一个还没完全揭开的迷,现在的状态就是一种需要,一种召唤,为什么不是很柔美的风景,或者植物很茂密的自然,因为这些对我都没吸引力,冥冥之中这种荒芜、原始、空旷、冷酷,对我内心的牵引和冲撞更大,我期待着去到一个非常凛冽、冷俊的场景,为什么这样我自己也不知道,就是那么多年挥之不去的图像。

罗:那这样一种冷峻、严酷的场景是否会让你感到惧怕?

和:不怕!恰恰这种东西对我有很大吸引力,如果真的一天去到这样的场景可能就很圆满了。

罗:你提到荒原对你的呼唤,有一种声音对你吸引,就是把自然人格化了,这可能就会源自这样几种理念,一种是自然神论,就是认为自然界有一位造物主,或者是泛神论的世界观,他们认为神存在于自然一切事物中,还是你认为是一种像基督教的人格化上帝的观点,还是跟这些都没有关系?

和:它可能是从自然、宇宙来的,但更多的是一种自我体验,或者更接近神秘主义,他还没到一个宗教的范畴,就是召唤,但是不具体,没具体到上帝、宗教这些。

罗:最近雷姐又去了一趟边境(中越),能不能跟我们分享一些那里的过去和现在。

inscape-discussion_3雷:这次去主要是继续完善02年做的《子弹穿过年轻的心》的作品。那是一个图片作品,主要是表现是对那场战争的反思。我这次去主要是拍了一些更鲜活的东西,是拍录像。这次去很巧,正好是老山战役25周年。当年我上去的时候,老山基本上是废墟,树都烧焦了,光凸凸的,25年过去了,树已经长的非常茂密了,非常好看了,现在2个小时就可以从麻栗坡开车到老山,老山成了一个旅游的地方。随着中越关系正常化,边境生活很正常,边贸往来很热闹。我现在做的DV作品,主要还是通过现在的繁荣与我的图片作品《子弹穿过年轻的心》做一个反比,进一步论证战争的阴谋,战争是政治家的游戏。对老百姓来讲,都不希望战争,今天打完了,明天又和了,战争是没有意义的,整个世界人民都是希望和平。我用我的作品来阐述我的观点。

关于刚才和丽斌说的风景,我觉得是被抽空的风景,是他心里的风景,非常个人的风景,不是那种现实中的风景了,所以我觉得他的画是很精神的,内心是封闭的,那种封闭是无法言说的东西,他的精神状态是被凝固掉的。

和:对……雷姐说的对,自然的风景可能它是开放的,它对人是打开的,可以从各种通道进去的,但是个人的风景它就是很个人化的,可能对没有密码的人就进不去,虽然绘画是很直观的东西,但也不是对所有人都很直观,对不是一个类型的观众他就无从进入,可能看到的就是一堆颜色在那里,我也接触到各种各样的观众,有的观众什么都看不到,就看到一个小人,我觉得我表达的是很具体的,但是为什么有些人看到的是抽象的呢?或者是只看到那么个小人,确实是只有一个通道,可能有的别的东西会是发散的,但我的东西是只有唯一的通道,如果那个通道不对的话就看不到它的内核。

雷:每个人面对作品的时候,视觉经验是不一样的,感受也不一样,有着不同的解读。其实你的画也可能有很多通道,只是你没感觉到,你进入的只是你的状态,但是其他人可能会发现一个暗道,他就进去了,每个人是不一样的。为什么有的人看作品的时候他会感动,这种感动可能是作品使他联想到了什么。有一次我们去写生,我画了一张风景画,后来被一个北京人买走了,我自己觉得这张画不怎么样呢,但是后来想这张画可能触动了他的某跟神经,他可能觉得曾经到过这个地方,他就喜欢这张张画了。所以他不一定要读懂你的精神,但是他看到了一点他生活的痕迹,他就会喜欢它。所以作品的通道不是一个,你可能是一个通道进去的,但是可能有100个通道是暗藏在里头的。

和:我说的这个通道是一个最深入的通道,就像你埋藏宝藏一样,设置很多路径,但是通向宝藏的只有唯一一条路径。也会有共鸣、触动、感动,但是是不同类型不同层次的,而那种特别能心领神会的观众,说玄妙点可能是他和我都来自同一个地方,或者上世都是同一种动物……

罗:说到这里,我想到一副图画,艺术家的作品就像是一个有宝藏的地方,有很多通道可以到达那里,那些通道的入口可能是与人的感情世界有关,可能与一个人的家庭有关,可能跟一个人的某段经历有关,诸如此类,但是只有一条通道是从艺术品通向艺术家本人的。艺术家挖到了自己的宝藏,那个点会自然的散发出去形成网状,观众都可能通过这个方式感受到作品。

和:艺术的欣赏是这样,构成一个很宏观的情景,不是艺术家一个人的事,所以为什么做展览重要,就是艺术家和各种各样的观众群互动,这个过程是非常有意思的,这其实也是一个创造的过程。

罗:所以我们说艺术做出来之后,就不再属于艺术家了,就发散开了,就像一把伞一样,艺术家是手柄这个部分,艺术品是顶尖点,但它却可以散发通向很多末端。所以这个展览其实是可以通向大众的,虽然题目是境界,好像不食人间烟火,但其实它是一个很谦虚的展览,去探讨人的心灵问题,所以我想有机会,它甚至可能和“心灵夜话”那样的电台节目结合在一起,艺术家创造的风景能为观众提供什么?如果针对人的话,艺术家的工作就不单是为艺术系统里的东西,也要覆盖在人的内里。

和:我觉得罗菲就很合适去开一个叫“心灵夜话”的栏目。而且是以风景作为药方,用风景来疗伤的。其实风景在云南的语境下,几代人在画风景,现在还在画,它对艺术家的作用是很大的,但一定要有更大的作用才会吸引人去画,尤其是现在,一个有病的时代,人都是有问题的,人的心灵就更重要。

罗:这是很有意思的,后现代艺术发展到博伊斯的“社会雕塑”就已经提示出艺术对社会的巨大作用,而我们如果用风景来疗伤,我觉得这也是一种出路,特别对云南的风景艺术是一种出路,就是说它最终是走向人本身,不只是专注于风景、或地域。如果能发展到用风景疗伤,这个展览会更有意义。

雷:其实不单是艺术家内心有风景,每个人心里都有风景,这种风景也许是一个梦,也许是一个幻想,但肯定是有的。用每个人心里的风景来疗伤,人人都可以成心理咨询师。心理咨询师会让心理有问题的人画画,他可以从画里解释病人的心理状态,所以说画疗伤肯定是可以的。

录音整理:田瑶
谈话参与者共同校正

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风景疗伤

不得不承认,“就地造境”展清冷的现场与清高的主题都自然地把大众、包括大多数艺术家都拒斥到了一个边界上,一边是以往观展经验里所期待的视觉餐宴,一边是需要观者自觉留意那隐微的声音。从喧嚣热闹的艺术party退下来静下来,是件很难的事,从日常繁忙生活中退下来,进入别人和自己的一片静瑟的内心,更难。这是一种境界,需要制造,所以叫“就地造境”。

风景在东方人的审美功能里,不只是一个被欣赏被描绘的对象,更是观者在其中冥思默想,获得医治的场,特别对于艺术家而言。有时需要这样的经历,在风景的图像中、风景的场域中,让自己的内心得以完全敞开在万物面前,在朽败的花里看见自己内心的伤口,在峻拔的大山面前看见自己的卑微,在荒芜的旷野里看见自己的迷茫,在日出之际看见自己的盼望,在垃圾成山的风景里看见自己的贪婪,在华美的花朵身上看见自己的繁华顺利也不过如此,在不种也不收的空中的飞鸟身上看见造物主的恩典,在天空与大地间看见一种奇妙的作为,人的尊贵。

如果说风景艺术在当代还有值得深入推敲的价值,那就用风景来疗伤吧。

广告:前几天我、丽斌还有雷姐接受昆明电台都市调频楠月的采访,谈“就地造境”艺术展。节目将于本周六(5月9日)晚上8点03分播出,昆明电台都市调频fm102.8兆赫,节目约9点结束。欢迎昆明的朋友关注。

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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.

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关于这次写作

对于文中(就地造境)的学术性特征与价值立场,需要说明我个人的写作初衷与原则是基于这样2个理由:

1,主题的学术性写作,而非以往的随笔式或新闻式写作。这要求写作逻辑的严谨慎密,用语的规范并力求精准,思想上的严肃,避免感觉的浮漂,如此也就自然形成一种学究味较浓的风格,也自然为许多读者制造了阅读障碍。所以我对该文的第一批读者说,你们能读下去就给我意见,不能读下去立马撇开就是,不用紧张,因为这只是“内部讲义”。据说古希腊哲学家写作须具备两种能力,一种是非常严肃晦涩的学术性文章,被称作内部讲义,仅供师生间使用——这一方式延续到后来就是我们所知道的德国哲学的写作方式。而另一种写作是针对公众的,由于那时人们的受教育范围不够普及,受教育程度也不深,所以哲学家必须写成故事,让大众能明白一些哲理——这一传统延续到了俄国,所以今天看俄国只有小说家如陀思妥耶夫斯基,而没有哲学家。但并不意味着俄国没有哲学。对我而言,这次写作是先写“内部讲义”,再写新闻稿,最后与大家讨论,是这样的顺序,因为我首先要知道我自己要对自己说什么。写作中我也尝试过用通俗易懂的方式,但我发现那样的写作让我在主题观念的表达上会出现许多漏洞。

2,文中的价值立场,即含有并表达一种价值信念,这一点也是写作的初衷。时下一个展览的艺术评论或相关文章总给人一种花瓶的感觉,只见知识的铺张,行话的絮叨,虚无的蔓延,不见价值的立场。以谨慎的态度对待事情自然重要,但当怀疑的结果就是为了继续怀疑,而非对绝对真理的靠近(如果相信真理是相对的,那么就只能继续怀疑),那么无论怎么努力仍旧是一种虚无,虚无本身就是当代社会价值意义混乱的表现,艺术家对当代社会进行批判却不碰“虚无”,如同隔靴搔痒。对价值意义的期盼与肯定不只是社会与普遍人的需要,作为精神活动的艺术及其主体艺术家本身也更需要整体的价值意义(艺术的、美学的、人文的、生命的)。

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“就地造境”艺术展

当我昨天才把近七千字的“就地造境”的展览评述写完时,才真正完成了对展览理念基础的搭建,或者说才真正知道了自己到底想要讲什么——原来是这么一回事,难怪每次当我要把展览的想法与人分享,总是模棱两可,特别是跟西方人分享更是困难,最后只是把这个展览简单地说成是关于landscape,到现在我才知道,哪只是风景那么简单!

展览的题目“就地造境”是比较有趣的自造词汇,很多艺术家都能从中意会。然而这个题目的翻译却断断续续反反复复讨论了可以说一年多的时间,直到最近我才定下这个“Inscape On The Spot”作为各种翻译方案里最接近原意的一句,或许将来会有更好的翻译吧。其实仅仅是一个词的翻译倒是不难,难的是展览核心概念及其连带概念在评述文章里不同语境下的使用,为了让展览理念、相关概念、文化背景、文化理解能在英文里得到较好的阐述,确实折腾了不少精力。文章已发去翻译,等稿子回来后再看看效果。

这里先提前放上展览预告,欢迎关注。

就地造境

“就地造境” 当代艺术展 公告

展览简介:
“就地造境”当代艺术展以一种人文主义立场对本土近年来与风景、心境有关的艺术作品进行梳理,从中国传统文化里的“境界观”出发,以六位云南艺术家、一位广东艺术家以及一位英国艺术家的相关艺术品为个案,深入探讨当代人的心灵境况与生存现实,从而期盼一个愉悦心境与和谐家园的到来。这个展览的人文内涵涉及对传统文化的反思,对精神价值的看重,对本土人文历史的回顾等。展出艺术品包含油画、摄影、录像、装置等总共约十六件艺术品。

理念阐述:
“境界”作为一种文化含义,是关于人通过对宇宙、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,获得发自内心的愉悦生命,儒家将之视作一种“成圣人格”。在古代,许多画家词人通过到自然风景中去体会万物的奥妙,获得一种安静淡泊的心境,以及对人生的思考,这样的方式也传承到了今天艺术家的风景创作。

在这片自然资源丰富,人文土壤多样而温和的云南,有许多艺术家都充满着描绘自然风景的热情,创作出了大批优秀影响深远的艺术作品,形成云南近半个世纪以来独特的艺术现象。我将那些画面源于地域风景,与艺术家个人心境相结合,表达对人类普遍心灵境况这样一种主题性关怀,称为“就地造境”观。“就地造境”观在日常生活中最常见的就是园林景观“就地造景”的理念,但作为一种艺术创作,它以艺术家个人融入自然、与自然对话,并将艺术家内在心境与人类普遍境况进行景观化的表达。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探讨。

展览中所谈及到的艺术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,同时我们也获得关于文化与生命更深远的提示。

关键词:境界、心境、自然观、风景艺术,乡土艺术、就地造境

展览信息:
主办:TCG诺地卡画廊
支持单位:云南艺术学院美术学院
策展人:罗菲
学术总监:和丽斌
艺术家:郭鹏,和丽斌,雷燕,兰庆星,麦志雄,石志民,孙国娟,章水(Jonathan Kearney)
艺术类型:油画、摄影、录像
开幕时间:2009年4月3日星期五,晚上8点开幕
展期:4月3日–5月29日
展览地点:TCG诺地卡画廊,昆明市西坝路101号,创库内。
相关文章:《就地造境》,《风景三十年》
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媒体支持:《民族时报》,《向上》,《大观周刊》,都市时报,生活新报,昆明日报,春城晚报,云南信息报,《艺术当代》等
网络支持:艺术个案,艺术国际,art218,99艺术网,雅昌艺术网,谷草网等
展览安排:本次展览将在四月初开幕,并以四月五月作为“就地造境”主题月,展开相关艺术家个人访谈、主题论坛、高校讲座等学术活动,旨在回顾本土风景艺术、探讨关注本土人文环境、关顾个人心境与生存现实等话题。

———————–English——————–

“Inscape On The Spot” art exhibition

From a humanistic perspective, the contemporary art exhibition “Inscape On The Spot” sorts the native artworks related to landscape and mentality, and with the artworks of 8 artists, 6 from Yunnan, one from Guangdong and one from Britain, as cases, analyzes the circumstances of mentality and reality of life of contemporary people, thereby reveals the concealment of pleasant mentality and harmonious homeland in vanity. The humanistic meaning of this exhibition involves the reflection of traditional culture, the accentuation of spiritual value, and the reminiscence of native humanistic history. The artworks on show include oil paintings, photography, video and installation, about 16 items in total.

Related essays:
Creating Inscape On The Spot“, written by Luo Fei
“Thirty Years of Landscaping “, written by He Libin

Curator: Luo Fei
Academic director: He Libin
Artists: Guo Peng, He Libin, Lei Yan, Lan Qingxing, Mai Zhixiong(Guangdong), Shi Zhimin, Sun Guojuan,Jonathan Kearney(UK)
Host by: TCG Nordica
Opening: 8:00 pm, 2009/April/3 (Friday)
Exhibition Duration: 2009/April/3-May/29
TCG Nordica opening time: Sunday:close, Monday:17:00-22:00, Tuesday-Saturday,10:00-22:00
Add: TCG Nordica. Xi Ba Lu no.101, Loft, Kunming
Tel: 0871-4114691,4114692
*Free Entrance*
联系邮箱/contact: luofei#tcgnordica.com(发送时将#改为@)
网址/website: http://www.tcgnordica.com

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关于风景的对话

在和丽斌工作室讨论,从左至右:和丽斌,毛旭辉,霍蓉,兰庆星,赵磊明

文章中毛旭辉先生简称“毛”、和丽斌先生简称“和”、兰庆星先生简称“兰”、罗菲先生简称“罗”、赵磊明先生简称“赵”。

时间:2007年11月17日下午
地点:和丽斌工作室、赵磊明工作室、兰庆星工作室
人物:毛旭辉、和丽斌、兰庆星、罗菲、赵磊明、周正清、张晋熙、杜澎
录音整理:霍蓉、肖春晔、高棻蔚、罗军

风景与传统

和丽斌:从我个人的气质来说,我一直以来都喜欢很有质感的东西,它们有很强的存在感。在虎跳峡是在画山的感觉,山的质感和色彩有很多变化。

毛旭辉:从你毕业以来的创作都带有这样的线索。我最早认识的是你的画而不是你这个人。在艺术学院的展览画册里,你在画布上拼贴破碎的玻璃和镜子,运用黑白调子。后来,你又运用报纸的材料来做烧焦的山水。到现在,你在材料上的革命好像就没有了。 Continue Reading →

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