“和好与恩典”艺术节(挪威)

受挪威策展人Barbro Raen Thomassen及挪威利勒桑市艺术协会邀请,中国艺术家朱久洋、苏亚碧和罗菲将参加2017年4月1日在挪威利勒桑市举办的“和好与恩典”艺术节。其中包括“和好与恩典”艺术展,展览由上述三位中国艺术家及三位挪威艺术家Julie Arntzen, Laila Kongeyold和Gunnar Torvund共同参与。
艺术节将于4月1日下午2点在利勒桑美术馆开幕,开幕式上安排有罗菲的第一场行为表演。4月1日至4月6日期间有来自欧洲的艺术评论家、策展人、艺术家、诗人分享交流欧洲艺术传统中的相关精神表达,其中4月5日由中国艺术家、策展人罗菲分享关于中国当代艺术里的相关精神性议题。艺术节将于4月16日的复活节当日闭幕,分别安排有朱久洋与罗菲的行为表演。
此次艺术节正值北欧国家纪念马丁·路德宗教改革五百周年,各地都在举办相关的活动,今年整个的主题是“和好”。
​昆明TCG诺地卡文化中心作为此次艺术节的合作方,自1999年创办以来一直关注东西方跨文化交流,推动本地区当代艺术的发展。罗菲作为TCG诺地卡文化中心的艺术总监,与北欧国家的艺术界有着频繁而密切的文化交流,长期参与并主持本地当代艺术的国际交流。艺术家苏亚碧也曾于2003年受邀参与TCG诺地卡“糖和盐–中国与瑞典的艺术协作项目”,2012年参与中国-瑞典艺术家“桥梁”交流项目,并在瑞典乌普萨拉美术馆等地举办展览。艺术家朱久洋曾于2014年参与TCG诺地卡在丹麦、挪威等地举办的“先知性艺术”论坛,长期参与和主持中国当代艺术里信仰与艺术的对话。

朱久洋《落水者》个展短评

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朱久洋《落水者》个展短评

文/罗菲

朱久洋的“落水者”系列延续着他近十年来在终极追问方面的精神诉求,并发展了他个人化的绘画语言风格。在2007年《失落的记忆》系列油画中朱久洋描绘了大地和海面上的不断涌向天上高歌赞美的人群、和睦的夫妻、彼此洗脚的弟兄……而今“落水者”系列油画手法更加凝练,平面化的色域,极具张力的红蓝搭配,无处不在的汹涌的海浪……其雕塑作品《落水者》的原型更是来自油画《“失落的记忆”系列W》,一个在大海里手握浮木表情坚毅的男人——那似乎是他自己。

朱久洋是中国当代艺术领域在表达终极关怀方面极具代表性的艺术家之一,他擅长以悲亢、激昂、浪漫和民俗化的手法来描绘人的处境。他的艺术情感饱满,画面苍茫而沉郁,这与他曾在陕北高原放牧的成长经历有很大关系,他以视觉艺术的方式传唱着辽阔大地上的信天游。

和许多这类宏大叙事的作品不同,他在作品中极力引入基督教的救赎意识,他作品中的形象往往指涉现实和灵性两个层面,他们既是自己,也象征着人的灵性处境,就是人与上帝的关系。正如此次个展上的“落水者”既是那些落入水中受困的人,更是行走在水面上充满信心的信仰者。其行为表演《盲人宣言》(2015)里的盲人以陕北说书方式吟唱《世界人权宣言》文本,也象征着黑暗困境中的人对公义和自由的竭力呼求。《迷途的羔羊》(2013)里的一千只羊更是直指人类的迷失,以及为人的罪而受被挂在十架上的羔羊耶稣基督。《等到和好的那一天》(2014)里被惨遭杀害的女孩父亲在孤独地等待与杀人者的家人和好,正如圣子耶稣被人羞辱残杀,悲痛欲绝的天父却来寻求与人和好那样 ……

朱久洋的艺术通过这些具有象征性的画面来讲述人与上帝的故事,有着强烈的基督教存在主义气质,他通过描述人的处境对人当下的虚无处境发出深刻批判,他将人的无助和荒诞显明出来。他拒绝理性自明,却选择以“信心的一跃”来回应“那人,你在哪里?”的远古召唤。朱久洋的艺术充满人的悲亢和孤独,却隐含来自永恒者义无反顾的爱与怜悯。

2015年9月29日

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《落水者》 朱久洋个展
Drawing person – The Solo Exhibition of Zhu Jiuyang

策展人:郭宇宽
执行策展:舒昌莉
展览时间:2015.9.13—2015.9.28
开幕时间:2015.9.13 15:30
展览地址:上空间(北京市798艺术区陶瓷三街)
策展机构:NO装艺术联盟 三板斧艺术策划工作室
支持单位:三板斧艺术基金 《三板斧艺术评论》杂志

On Zhu Jiuyang’s Declaration of the Blind

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On Zhu Jiuyang’s Declaration of the Blind

By Luo Fei
Date and Time: February 6, 2015, 10 p.m.
Dialog: Over QQ Voice Message

Note: “The Declaration of the Blind” – the latest conceptual art by the contemporary artist Zhu Jiuyang – was premiered at the 99 Art Gallery and the Four-Dimension Art Space in Beijing on January 18 and 19, 2015. Five blind folk storytelling artists from Northern Shaanxi reinterpreted the full text of the “World Declaration of Human Rights” (hereinafter referred to as the “Declaration”) with their dialect. I had a dialog with Zhu Jiuyang on the background and the expression of his concept for this performance.

Luo Fei: How did you get to know these five blind people from Northern Shaanxi’s Yanchuan County?

Zhu Jiuyang: Years back, I watched the “Blind Storytellers”, a documentary by a young director Bai Zhiqiang. That was about a blind storytelling team from the Qingjian County in Northern Shaanxi. I was great touched and would like to one day work with them. Initially, I was thinking of inviting that group of blind people to perform. They used to be the members of the Performing Arts Propaganda Team during Mao Zedong’s era. However, they are too old now, and it’s rather difficult for me to work with them. Later on, Mr. Bai Zhiqiang introduced me to Mr. Cao Baizhi, a famous talking and singing artist in Yan’an. He then introduced me to this blind storyteller team. They come from Yanchuan, performing with Piba, or Chinese lute, while the previous team played with three-stringed instruments. Among five of them, only one can see a little bit.

Luo Fei: What did they normally sing previously?

Zhu Jiuyang: They used to sing Northern Shaanxi’s folk tales, plus they have been a self-organized Performing Arts Propaganda Team in the county.

Luo Fei: For this project, you spent three years traveling back and forth between Beijing and Northern Shaanxi.

Zhu Jiuyang: That’s right. Back and forth for three years. I thought it was going to be very simple, kind of like as long as I give them the “Declaration”, then they would go ahead and do it. Then I realized that’s not the case at all. It turned out that the adaptation of the “Declaration” into Northern Shaanxi storytelling performance required professional skills and was time-consuming. Because Mr. Cao was busy at that time, I literally said, for a couple of times, forget about it. Being generous, Mr. Cao agreed to help me with it in the end. Besides, it’s not easy to communicate with the blind team, as the ways of both thinking and working differ greatly from person to person. And the content for them to sing was totally new. The stories they were familiar with were the ones that have been passed down from generation to generation, those were easy to remember. There were also those songs that have been composed by the government about parsing socialism. They were all easy to remember. However, this was different in that it’s foreign to them and difficult to remember as there’s no plot in the “Declaration”. Mr. Cao was the only person who can talk to them. It occurred to me later that apart from him, I could have never been able to finish this project.

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Luo Fei: Could they understand your idea and cooperate actively?

Zhu Jiuyang: We practiced for a long time back to their hometown in Northern Shaanxi, but only one day at Beijing. That’s their first time to Beijing, and nobody really took them seriously back to their hometown. Mr. Cao explained the project to them and encouraged them to come over. I personally offered them financial support. Initially, only three of them wanted to come. Later on, as I said I could pay their air tickets and took them to the Tiananmen, the other two agreed to come too. It’s their first time to ride on the plane, and first time to Beijing. I also promised to take them and show them around at the Tiananmen Square. Actually they could not see anything there, so we just walked around the Square. At least they had their wish fulfilled.

Luo Fei: Did they feel something special when they sang this “Declaration”

Zhu Jiuyang: To begin with, it was a performance without plot, so it’s difficult for them to memorize. Then, some of them were worried whether they would be in trouble because of this. To which I told them that China is also a member of the United Nations, as well as a party of relevant treaties. Of course, they became understand the idea of the “Declaration” while working on the project and lamented that: “Oh, all humans are equal?!” I never specifically asked about their understanding on rights and they have never heard of the “Declaration”. Perhaps it all best summed up in one of the lines they sang: “Well, there’s never equality any time.” Perhaps they have felt something in the whole process. As one repeats one phrase again and again, it would press and influence his/her heart and mentality with something. This is the significance of the project from another perspective.

Luo Fei: Do you think they will take the “Declaration” back with them to their mountain areas in Northern Shaanxi?

Zhu Jiuyang: No one likes this at the grassroots level. They prefer those that are interesting and amusing. This is not fun.

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Luo Fei: The “Declaration” is a text composed of a total of thirty provisions, while traditional Northern Shaanxi storytelling is primarily about contents that are telling stories and entertaining. Are there any challenges for the audiences?

Zhu Jiuyang: For one thing, subtitles were not offered to the audiences, so they did not really understand what was going on. And I did it on purpose. Because, to me, this was primarily a project, not a show, so work was very ironic. It was indeed difficult for the audience to sit in a factory building without heater and to finish watching it. Fortunately, it went rather well with the live performance!

Luo Fei: It is the interestingness and the seriousness of the “Declaration” that formed the sharp contrast, and that in turn rendered the irony to the “Declaration”, as the traditional “storytelling” actually talks about fictional stuff. Besides, as I was watching them performing, it seemed as if the leading Pipa performer was on a rock show.

Zhu Jiuyang: That’s right. In fact, I have always thought that the folk arts in Northwestern China have very strong characteristics of modern music, like the folk songs, storytelling in Northern Shaanxi, and even the Qinqiang (or Shaanxi opera). Their talking and singing are actually the direct expression of their heart.

Luo Fei: Compared with other works of yours, what are the major inspiration and challenges?

Zhu Jiuyang: Mainly the relationship between the stage, music and contemporary art. Both the stage and music are unfamiliar to me. I dragged the stage and music into my works, yet could not present them as a show, and it was a performance art after all. It’s rather difficult to keep the boundary, as it could easily become a show if you were not careful. Apparently it’s not bad to have made it like a show! Why can’t it be a piece of work at the same time?

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Luo Fei: Looking at your personal creation course, you’ve been very good at introducing the scenarios and objects of your life experience, such as the flocks in your paintings and performances. For this time round, you introduced the blind storyteller team from Northern Shaanxi. From the perspective of Christian arts, you are expressive in your rendering of religious imageries. The paintings and on-site work – the “Lost Sheep” (2010), for example, obviously managed to introduce the Christian idea of “lost sheep” to the viewers. Likewise, the blind people have special connotation in the New Testament, suggesting the objects that are pitied and healed by Jesus. Jesus’s parable on the blind leading the blind was to teach the absurdity of the dead end of self-righteousness. The Blind Leading the Blind (1568), a famous distemper on linen canvas, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder was an excellent work on this theme.

Zhu Jiuyang: I think this is a special religious experience of mine that most of other artists lack. The voice of sheep in the “Lost Sheep” was a strong metaphor, pointing to a state of mankind. This time, the blind also meant to be metaphorical. According to the biblical narrative, we are all blind, thus cannot see the truth. So the metaphor of the blind is what I would like to address. This is the very thing I’ve been seeking, that is why my works do not specifically aim at any political view but humanity. It’s because in the problem of mankind, they are in nature political too. This will make the work more profound.

Luo Fei: That’s what brought the multiply levels of publicity in your works, being political or concerning public life for one thing and spiritual the other. The very act of the blind singing the Declaration on Human Rights has become an imagery of how the spiritually blind yearn for care and freedom. We know that the direct cause for people to draft the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” was their reflection on the World War II. So, you made the “Declaration of the Blind” to discuss the reflection and longing for the beautiful existence of human being after men’s departure from God and escape from the Garden of Eden. Do I understand this right?

Zhu Jiuyang: In fact, the “Declaration of the Blind” was not just an expression of the reality, and I never give voice to any political situation. The truth is that I did it more from the perspective of humanity, while mirroring this problem somehow in some way. And ultimately it is an inquiry into human being itself. Aren’t we blind too? In today’s society, how far we are away from the right of true freedom. While the blind is singing to the sighted the rights and freedom of human being, isn’t it the same as enquiring our own hearts?

Luo Fei: Be it the live performance for the “Lost Sheep” or the “Declaration of the Blind”, you have introduced the most marginalized and strange objects to urban life, herds of nomadism for the former and folk storytelling from the mountainous region for the latter. It created a tremendous tension on the site, and formed a sort of confrontation. In the “Lost Sheep”, for example, the hanging sheep was unceasingly moaning and bleating, coupled with the tension between the wolf masked sheep and the rest of the flock. Those blind people performed in the “Declaration of the Blind” were a group of people from the bottom of the society with little education. With a group people joyously singing “Declaration of Human Rights”, just like the bleating sound of the hanging sheep, causing people to watch with embarrassment and anger. I think you have handled the absurdity of the rite well, and it’s like some of the scenes in your paintings. Whether it’s the bleating lamb hanged up in the air or the blind people singing the “Declaration on Human Rights”, they have been place at the center of a theater to be watched, or even be spitted on. It’s absurd and sacred at the same time, just like when Christ was crucified on the cross. It is not the strong that speaks out loud, but the weak that has been scorned at – the helpless lamb and the sightless and unprotected blind – this is what makes your works “absurd”. And its sanctity lies in their effort to give voice for others in spite of their suffering.

Zhu Jiuyang: When the artists look for resources and materials to apply in their creation, they are inseparable from his personal life experience. One winter evening many years ago, I was walking on the darkening road in the countryside. The air was mixed with the smell of soot, then I heard a still small voice: “Delicious konishii-” I saw a man, bending over, was dragging a cart while repeated breathing that one sentence. The small voice was cut to my heart. It occurred to me at the moment that the gentlest voice turned out to be most powerful one.

Luo Fei: Thank you for your sharing!

About “Declaration of the Blind”:
Artist: Zhu Jiuyang
Work: “Declaration of the Blind”
Formats: On-site Photograph, Video
Cooperating Artists: The Blind Storytelling Team from Yanchuan County, Northern Shaanxi
Performance Venues: Beijing Song Zhuang 99 Art Gallery, Original Four-Dimension Art Space
Props: Stage, white cloth, storyteller instruments
Content: “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”
Adaptation: Cao Baizhi
Length: About 40 minutes

Zhu Jiuyang: Waiting for that Day of Reconciliation

Waiting for that Day of Reconciliation
An interview with Zhu Jiuyang

Note: Early in the morning on June 4, 2013, I got a phone call from Zhu Jiuyang in Beijing. He introduced me to his current work-in-progress, a piece related to the Yao Jiaxin case.[1] He described how in this work, he wanted to incorporate reflections on the concept of charity, and asked whether I’d be willing to write something about this. He had plans to organize a seminar with Su Xiaohe (an independent literary critic and writer on fin economics) and include the participants’ discussion as part of the work itself. It’s an extremely timely discussion to be having in this day and age, and one of great importance. I realized that this work of Jiuyang’s was destined to be an ambitious, controversial experiment that would require me to reflect on the possibility of mixing Chinese contemporary art with current events and personal development.

At 9pm on the evening of June 5, 2013, we had the following QQ conversation.

Luo Fei: This work of yours reminds me of Wang Nanming’s book “The Rise of Critical Art: The Chinese Problem Situation and Theories of Liberal Society.” He believes that contemporary art is no longer art for art’s sake, nor is it the use of new techniques for technique’s sake. Rather, contemporary art is art that seeks to critique public opinion. This sort of art participates in the same public discourse as the media and popular events. Its core purpose is to bring about “justice” – meaning that it also seeks to advance human rights.
In the Yao Jiaxin case, the judicial aspects of justice were achieved. But on a deeper level, the case provokes a more pointed reflection on the concept of “forgiveness” – an issue that can never be resolved or indeed even influenced by the law. It seems to me that this work of yours on the one hand is a work of critical art that seeks to generate public discussion and uses public events in order to criticize the extreme hatred and pent-up anger present in Chinese society. On the other hand, you discuss public opinion on very personal and even spiritual terms, hoping to bring about the mutual forgiveness that is true basis of any “harmonious society.”[2] Without social justice, without the inner peace and a sense of being at ease with oneself and the world, there can be no true societal “harmony.” How did you first come up with the idea to use the Yao Jiaxin case?

Zhu Jiuyang: When I’m creating works, I honestly don’t think about it so much – sometimes, I just act on a feeling. An artist’s way of working is related to his or her own approach to living life. I wasn’t trying to be express certain problems in a rational or deliberate way, the way a critic would. For the past few years I’ve been painting on an easel, but I’ve grown increasingly dissatisfied with this and so tried to do some live performance works – ones that would allow me to intervene in society through the medium of art. At the time I was actually thinking of a different project, and the title “Waiting for that Day of Reconciliation” came immediately to mind.
I think biggest problem between people is that we hurt one another. Throughout the whole of human history, there has been violence between people of different ethnicities and of different nations – even between governments and their own people. The only way to escape this sort of pain is forgiveness and reconciliation. At first I didn’t think to bring this idea into my work and didn’t pay too much attention to the Yao Jiaxin case. But later on, I saw the two sides fighting endlessly during the lawsuit, and felt that this event was no longer just a problem that remained between these two families, but rather an indication of a deep-seated socio-cultural problem. It was in fact an event of collective violence, because the whole of society came to participate in it. Even to this day they continue to fight. Everyone uses their own moral compass and sense of what is right to judge everyone else and demonize others. I thought, the only way to leave behind the injuries one has suffered is forgiveness. But does this concept of forgiveness exist in our culture? What helps us understand the feeling of being forgiven? In the end, I decided to create this work.

LUO FEI: You first contacted parties on which side of the case?

ZHU JIUYANG: Honestly, I’m not so great at dealing with interpersonal relationships, and at first was a bit nervous. I first contacted Yao Jiaxin’s family’s lawyer over the internet. When I explained why I’d done so, he told me directly: “There’s no chance of being forgiven, no chance of reconciliation.” I thought even so that this response was also part of my work, and considered going to meet personally with Yao Jiaxin’s father. Last fall, I went to Xi’an, and it just so happened that Dr. Shi Hengtan of the Academy of Social Sciences was also there and intended on going with a friend to call on the Yao family. At the time I didn’t over-think the visit, telling myself that visitors who come with good intentions are never turned away. I even forgot to call in advance, thinking that since I didn’t have his phone number, it might be better to simply show up at his door. I had no idea that Yao Jiaxin’s father would kick us out, chasing us away in such a violent manner.

LUO FEI: I noticed that on June 14, Yao Jiaxin’s father wrote this on Weibo: “Am commemorating the second anniversary of the evacuation of the weiwen troops from my humble home! Sending my thanks to the New City Politics and Law Committee, the Changle Road Police Station, the Changle Road Street Office and other maintenance of stability personnel – for your kind “care and concern” that year, I express my sincere gratitude!” Do you think he wrote this thinly veiled sarcastic message because he didn’t want to push himself back into the heart of the storm of public opinion? Their family was also a victim of the power wielded by the media and public opinion.

ZHU JIUYANG: Perhaps. This was quite a big blow for me. I started to have doubts whether I should continue with my work. Later, I started with a different family, and through them followed a trail of inquiries that finally led me to Zhang Miao’s family. Zhang Miao’s father isn’t an educated man – he’s just an ordinary farmer – but he’s extremely friendly. We talked a lot, and he went over the ins and outs of the event. When I explained why I had come to him, he told me very firmly that he was willing to reconcile with the other family, and also to cooperate with my project. He felt that reconciling with people was always a good thing to do.

LUO FEI: He was willing to forgive the other family?

ZHU JIUYANG: He was very willing. Perhaps he didn’t completely understand what it means to merely “forgive,” but he understood the concept of full “reconciliation.” He even said, “Both children are no longer with us – there’s no need for the adults to continue bearing grudges against each other.”

LUO FEI: I know that you yourseLuo Fei are a Christian. In the Christian faith, there are clear teachings on the matter of forgiveness. This kind of forgiveness stems from the idea that though we are all sinners, we’ve already been forgiven by God, who is pure and righteous. Because of this, Jesus’s grace has entered our lives, and through him, we can forgive those who have sinned against us and even love our enemies. In the Christian faith, the foundation for reconciliation between men is the reconciliation between men and God. When you were speaking to him about pardon and forgiveness, did you speak to him about this?

ZHU JIUYANG: I didn’t say much about it. Because this was an art project, I wanted to say these sorts of things in a different way.

LUO FEI: I see that in the first portion of your work, there is a photo of you and Zhang Miao’s father. You’re dressed in a white robe, looking into the distance. Mist rises from the field, as if it were a fairyland and you were waiting for the coming of the Messiah. You use this ritual approach to highlight a different kind of spiritual freedom that can exist in a world full of hatred.

ZHU JIUYANG: Right. I deliberately chose springtime, wheat fields and a sort of ritual-like approach because I think that all that is most positive, most longed for and most full of love in the world is related to that which is holy and to that which is part of the natural world.

LUO FEI: Why did you want to wear a white robe? It’s as if you were a priest directing the gaze of believers to the world beyond. In a past interview, you said that artists should return to their old function as priests. This photograph seems to illustrate this point.

ZHU JIUYANG: Honestly, I didn’t give it too much thought. At the time I thought the white outfit and the mist were necessary for the image. They endow the image with a sort of upward-looking, yearning feeling. Waiting is a certain manifestation of love, and love is innately a very sacred thing.

LUO FEI: The second portion of your work is a live performance in which you sit together with Zhao Ming’s father waiting for Yao Jiaxin’s father to appear. Did you invite him to attend? How long did you wait?

ZHU JIUYANG: I performed this work during the seventh annual “Guyu Action (谷雨行动)” Performance Art Festival in Xi’An. The furniture came from the Zhang family’s house. I sat down with the old gentleman, and we waited. Before, I’d wanted to contact the Yao family through Weibo, but their lawyers kept scolding me. Since we were unable to get in touch with Yao Jiaxin’s father, we could only use this method to solicit his appearance.

LUO FEI: In your performance, you don’t lay out any objects related to the case itself, such as the car that caused the accidents, the fruit knife, or even any photographs of the people involved, relevant dates, license plate numbers, and so on. What I mean is, the scene appears very calm instead of dramatic.

ZHU JIUYANG: The stage was set very simply. There was a table and two chairs. I took the old man’s hand in mine, led him to his seat, and then came down. We sat until the majority of the audience had already left, and then I went back up and took his hand again to lead him back down. It ended up being a few dozens minutes of quiet waiting.

LUO FEI: How did he feel about the project?

ZHU JIUYANG: I really didn’t ask him. He’s an especially straightforward man, and didn’t express much. He was just willing – willing to reconcile, willing to be waiting there together for the other man to appear. I think this is due to his nature.

LUO FEI: This event also reminds me of Beicun’s novel “I Have a Meeting with God.” The first half of the story is about a murderer struggling with whether he should plead guilty. The second half is about the victim’s family and whether they should forgive this admittedly guilty person. The story is fascinating, and also goes into the supposed public reaction to the incident, with most people divided into two camps that fought to the bitter end over whether the good man could go to hell while the repentant villain went to heaven. Really, though, the question of whether the involved parties could possibly forgive each other is one that can only be resolved by the profound struggle within their own hearts. Third parties like the general public and the media are always immersed in mere rhetorical flourishes and moral arguments.
There is in fact an advantage to literature, which is its narrativity. It is able in a single to story to depict all sorts of inner struggle. As a contemporary artist, a visual artist, what mode can one use to fully express this kind of human complexity? To depict not just the assumption that peace will be made, but also the spiritual journey from hatred to reconciliation, from inhibition to liberation? This is a great challenge for an artist.

ZHU JIUYANG: Yes, visual language must extract the essence of a lot of different things, put them together, and use a very simple image to express the sum. Unlike literature, it has no narrative, which is very challenging for artists’ own ability to seize images.

LUO FEI: Consider, for example, a work of Hong Kong artist Pak Sheung Chuen’s called “Waiting for Everyone to Fall Asleep.” During the night, he stood outside an apartment complex and didn’t leave until all the people inside had turned out their lights and gone to bed. There’s also his piece “Waiting for a Friend,” in which he stood in the Kowloon Tong MTR Station until a person he recognized did in fact appear. These are all works associated with the concept of “waiting.” He says, “Time acquires meaning because of waiting.” I’m thinking, if you had taken your work beyond mere “waiting” and tried to attain some form of achievable “reconciliation,” it might have been even stronger. For example, if you had searched the whole country for another man named Yao Qingwei (Yao Jiaxin’s father) and befriended him. Then you would have achieved “reconciliation” within the logic of your own artistic concept.

ZHU JIUYANG: I still don’t totally understand these works. Perhaps there are many other works like them. I think your idea is a good one, but the crux of this piece remains its ability to reflect our societal problems rather than something more conceptual. I think this is a serious point to make: that we must wait until the day they finally reconcile. The focus on this social aspect makes the work purer.

LUO FEI: Now more and more television programs publicly broadcast the breakdown of marriages, of relationships between neighbors, between wives and mother-in-laws, parents and children. It’s sparked debate over whether the media is convincing people to consume the suffering of others. Crises in interpersonal relationships evolve into a form of entertainment, and those who initially intend to accept others end up instead being ridiculed. We all seem to underestimate the media’s influence on public opinion. What do you consider the artist’s role in these sorts of public spectacles to be?

ZHU JIUYANG: When I was creating this work, I also considered whether doing so would bring them further pain. I often would put myself in their shoes to think it over. As an artist, I came up with an abstract concept that generated discussion. When artists use their works as a way to participate in public discourse, our duty is to enter into these works in a responsible manner. For example, I have to consider whether creating this work is in line with the rest of my artistic vision. I’ll say it again, artists should return to their role as priests. The priest is that person who stands between man and his fellow man, and between men and god.
In this work I wanted to express the following questions. 1) In our spiritual lives, we are missing a form of love that goes beyond the carnal. If we each judge others from a position of moral superiority, by what standards do we determine our own righteousness? 2) In our culture, we typically mourn the victim and hate the murderer. We lack the ability to feel sorry for both victim and murderer at once. Yu Hong once wrote, “We lack a conviction that all life is of equal value.” 3) If it’s not possible to popularize such values, then is it even possible to have forgiveness in our lives? Why is our culture and society always trapped in a cycle of violence? We may be able to use hatred to bind the wound, but within there is still decay.
Before making this work, I watched a movie called “Life’s Collisions,” which is about the car accident of a Chinese exchange student in South Africa. The incident ends in a manner beyond any Chinese person’s expectations, with the victim’s family not only deciding not to prosecute the person responsible for the accident but even going so far as to comfort the perpetrator’s family, saying, “This was an accident; you shouldn’t be too upset.” Also there’s the case of the Virginia Tech massacre, in which the killer Seung-Hui Cho and his 32 victims were together all subjects of public mourning. These are all things that we have never encountered in our culture.

LUO FEI: Do you believe that reconciliation is possible between the two families?

ZHU JIUYANG: I believe that they will reconcile. This work is not yet over – it won’t be until they reconcile. I will continue to keep in touch with them. I don’t know how many years it will take. I might have to wait a lifetime until I’m able to hold hands with the elders of both families.

LUO FEI: The completion of your work depends on how determined the two families are to finally put their hearts at ease.

ZHU JIUYANG: Exactly.

—–

[1]. The Yao Jiaxin case, called “10•20” by the Xi’an police, was a homicide case involving a college student of the same name. On October 20, 2010 in the middle of the night on Xuefu Boulvard in the university district of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, Yao accidentally hit a pedestrian. When he got out of his car and found the victim Zhang Miao noting down his license plate number, he took out a knife, stabbed him eight times and drove away, leaving him for dead. While fleeing the scene, he then hit yet another pedestrian at the entrance to Guodu Nan Village, and was surrounded this time by witnesses who detained him and called the police. After the matter was reported by the media, it was a cause of great concern for the Ministry of Public Security. On January 8, 2011, Yao Jiaxin underwent a public trial for “intentional homicide” at the Xi’an Municipal People’s Procuratorate. At 8am on June 7, he was executed via lethal injection in Xi’an.
[2]. “Harmonious society,” a concept also known by its full title “Harmonious Socialist Society,” was proposed in 2004 by the Chinese Communist Party as a strategic target for China’s social development. It refers to a social state in which all sectors of society are in harmony, on good terms with each other, and working together with one mind. The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee formally proposed this concept of “Building a Harmonious Socialist Society” during its fourth plenary session on September 19, 2004. The abbreviation “harmonious society” has since come to stand for this concept in its entirety.

to start from art 400* Translated by Becky Davis 本文中文原文请点击这里

* This interview has been published in the book of <To Start From Art 从艺术出发>, written by Luo Fei

对话朱久洋的《盲人宣言》

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关于朱久洋的《盲人宣言》

文/罗菲

时间:2015年2月6日晚10点
对话形式:QQ语音

按:2015年1月18、19日,当代艺术家朱久洋最新的观念作品《盲人宣言》分别在北京99美术馆和四维艺术空间举行了首演,来自陕北的5名民间盲人说书 艺术家用方言演奏了《世界人权宣言》(以下简称“宣言”)全文。笔者就此次表演的一些背景和观念表达与朱久洋进行了对话。

罗菲:你跟那5位来自陕北延川县的盲人怎么认识的?

朱久洋:几年前我看到青年导演白志强的纪录片《边走边唱》,拍摄的是陕北清涧的盲人说书队的故事,我当时就特别有感动和他们合作一个作品。最初是想用他拍的那群盲人来演出,他们以前是M**文艺宣传队的,但现在年纪太大了,合作太困难。后来白志强介绍我认识了延安著名曲艺家曹柏植先生,他给我介绍了现在这个盲人说书队,他们来自延川,是用琵琶演奏,之前那个说书队是用三玄演奏。他们五人中有一个人可以看见一点点。

罗菲:他们以前主要是唱什么的?

朱久洋:他们以前主要唱陕北的民间故事段子,也是县里面自发组织的文艺宣传队。

罗菲:为了这件作品,你用了三年时间往返北京和陕北。

朱久洋:是的,来回三年时间。我开始以为特别简单,觉得只要把“宣言”的文字稿给他们就能唱出来,后来才知道不是那回事。把“宣言”做成陕北说书是需要改编的,这个太专业了,而且改编需要花大量时间,曹老师也忙,中途好几次我都说放弃算了。曹老师是个老好人,最后还是答应给我做了。还有就是跟盲人的团队沟通特别难,每个人的思维和工作方式都不一样。再加上这次演唱的内容对他们来说也是全新的,以前的说书都是祖传下来的,容易记,也有政府编的歌唱社会主义好的曲子,那些都容易。这个对他们来说没经验,又没有故事情节,不好记,也只有曹老师才能和他们沟通,后来我发现这件作品没有他就没法做。

罗菲:合作过程中他们能明白你的意思并积极配合吗?

朱久洋:我们在陕北老家排了很长时间,在北京就只排练了一天。他们是第一次到北京,他们在老家也没人重视。曹老师给他们解释这件作品,鼓励他们过来,我也给他们一点报酬补助。一开始只有三个人愿意来,后来我说给你们买机票,带你们去天安门,结果另外两位又答应了。这是他们第一回坐飞机,第一回来北京,我也答应带他们到天安门广场转转,到了天安门也看不见什么,就是在广场走走转转,也算是了了自己一个心愿。

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罗菲:他们唱这个“宣言”有什么特别的感受?

朱久洋:首先,这个演出没有故事,又不好背。其次,一开始他们中也有人的担心会不会有麻烦,我说中国也是联合国的会员国,更是相关公约的缔约国。当然,在合作的过程中,他们还是领悟了“宣言”的要义,感叹到:“哎呀!原来人人还是平等的呀?!”我没有特别问他们对权利的理解,他们从来也没有听说过“宣言”,也许就像他们有一句里唱的:“唉,那什么时候也不得平等。”但可能在唱的过程中会渐渐感受到什么,当一个人反复说一句话的时候,这句话也许就会在他的心和思维里产生作用,这也是这件作品的另一种意义。

罗菲:你认为他们会把“宣言”带回陕北的山里吗?

朱久洋:民间没有人听,民间都想听好玩的,这个不好玩。

罗菲:“宣言”是总共三十条组成的条例性的文本,而传统陕北说书里表现的都是讲究故事性和趣味性的内容。这对观众来说是否构成挑战?

朱久洋:首先,现场没有安排字幕,观众基本都没听懂,这也是我特别的安排。因为我觉得,这首先是一个作品,不是一场演出,正因为这样,作品有了很强的反讽性。对于观众来说,在一个没暖气的厂房里坚持下来,真的不易,不过现场效果还非常好!

罗菲:正是“说书”表演的趣味性和“宣言”的严肃性形成了极大的反差,也使得“宣言”带有反讽的意味,因为传统“说书”里说的内容其实都是虚构的。另外,从他们几位的演出表情来看,带头弹奏琵琶的那位像在唱摇滚。

朱久洋:是的,其实我一直认为,西北的民间艺术都有很强的现代音乐特点,像陕北民歌、说书,甚至秦腔,这些说唱都是把自己的感受用很直接的方式表达出来。

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罗菲:这件作品和你以往的作品相比,给你最大的刺激和挑战是什么?

朱久洋:主要是舞台与音乐和当代艺术的关系,舞台和音乐是我特别陌生的。我把舞台和音乐拉进作品里,但又不能做成演出,毕竟它是行为艺术。这个度很难把握,弄不好它就成了一场演出,不过现在看来就是一场演出也很好!为什么这就不能成为作品呢?

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罗菲:从你个人的创作历程看,你一直很善于引入你生活经验里的场景和事物,比如你绘画和行为里的羊群,这次又引入陕北的盲人说书队。从基督教艺术的角度看,你也善于表达这样一种带有宗教气息的画面,比如绘画和现场作品《迷途的羔羊》(2010年)里将明显带有基督教意味的“迷失的羊”的形象引入现场。盲人在《新约》里同样有特别的含义,象征被耶稣怜悯和医治的对象,耶稣也谈到“盲人引路”找不到出路的自以为义的荒诞,艺术史上表现这个题材的有勃鲁盖尔著名的油画《盲人引路》(1568年)。

朱久洋:我想这就是我特殊的一种宗教体验,这也是其他很多艺术家没有的。《迷途的羔羊》里羊的声音有很强的隐喻,指向人的一种状态。这次盲人也有很强的隐喻性,在圣经的叙述里,我们每个人都是瞎子,看不见真理的人。因此盲人的隐喻性是我特别强调的,我特别在找这种东西,就是我的作品不明确指向一种政治,而是指向人,因为在人的问题里他本身就带有政治,这样作品就深入一些。

罗菲:因此你的作品具有多层次的公共性,一方面是政治或称公共生活的,另一方面却是灵性的。盲人演唱“人权宣言”这个行为成为灵里瞎眼的人渴求被关怀和得到自由而发出呼求的象征。我们知道,《世界人权宣言》起草的直接原因是对第二次世界大战的反省,那么你的《盲人宣言》则是对人类背离上帝,逃离伊甸园之后的人类美好生存的反省与渴望。可以这样理解吗?

朱久洋:其实《盲人宣言》这件作品不仅仅是对现实的一种表达,我从来不会直面政治发声,事实上我更多是从人的层面来做这件作品,但又可能映射出这个问题。最终还是对人本身的一种追问,难道我们不是瞎子?在今天这个社会里,我们离真正的自由权利有多远,当盲人把人的权利和自由唱给明眼人的时候,这难道不是反问我们的内心?

罗菲:无论是《迷途的羔羊》现场还是《盲人宣言》现场,你都直接引入对都市生活来说极为边缘和陌生的对象,比如前者是游牧生活中的羊群,后者是大山里的民间说书,这使得现场具有非常强烈的张力,形成一种对抗。比如《迷途的羔羊》里被悬挂的不断呻吟嚎叫的羊,还有戴着狼面具的羊与其他羊群在羊圈里的紧张气氛。这次《盲人宣言》里来自底层社会的盲人本身就是没有受过什么教育的人群,这样一群人欢天喜地地高唱“人权宣言”,这与被悬挂的羊的呻吟一样,引起人们看热闹的尴尬和愤怒。我觉得你在作品里把握住了那种仪式的荒诞感,和你的绘画里的有些场景很像,无论是被吊起来嚎叫的羔羊还是唱“人权宣言”的盲人,他们都被放置在一个剧场的中心任人观看甚至唾弃,它是荒诞的,也是神圣的,正如基督被钉在十字架上的场景一样。发出强大声音的不是强者,而是人们所不屑的弱者——不能自救的羔羊和无法看见也得不到保护的盲人,这正是你的作品“荒诞”的地方。而其神圣性又在于他们不顾自己的受苦处境一直在为他人发声。

朱久洋:艺术家在寻找自己创作资源和材料应用的时候,是和他的个人生活经验不能分不开的。很多年前一个冬天的傍晚,我一个人走在渐渐发黑的乡村马路上,空气里夹杂着煤烟的味道,这时我听到一个柔弱的声音:“卖红芋咯——”。他一个人弯着腰,拉着架子车不停的重复着一句话,那柔弱的声音特别扎我的心,那时我想,最柔弱的声音才是最有力量的。

罗菲:谢谢你的分享!

关于《盲人宣言》:

艺术家:朱久洋
作品名称:《 盲人宣言 》
作品形式:现场图片,视频
合作艺术家:陕北延川盲人说书团
作品实施场地:北京宋庄99美术馆,原创四维艺术空间
道具:展台,白布,说书所用乐器
内容:《世界人权宣言》
改编:曹柏植
时间:约40分钟

现场视频:http://v.qq.com//page/i/l/z/i01460bz8lz.html