张华的后院与生活世界

张华的后院与生活世界

文:罗菲

首次拜访张华的工作室和他的后院,着实被他亲手建造出来的环境所吸引,一个混合着庭院趣味和民间手艺的地方,它隐藏在昆明西边一个老式居民小区的最里面,隔着围墙,背靠一条偶尔运货的铁路,周围有正在建的高楼,院落里的情况可以被楼上的邻居看的清清楚楚。但你在里面不会在意这些,你会注意到石榴树、桃树、松树、筇竹、青苔、盆栽、朽木、石道、水缸……还有一些艺术家雕琢的石头,艺术家亲手搭建起来的用于遮风挡雨也可以遮挡邻居好奇心的简易房子。在一些角落和空中,你还会注意到由铜片做的蜘蛛、鲤鱼、仙鹤、凤尾、松枝、甲马、傣族灯笼和一些现代抽象雕塑的元素,这些铜作简洁、锋锐而有生气。毫无疑问,这是一个让人产生好奇心,让人逍遥自在的地方。

十年前,张华把他北京宽敞无边的loft风格的工作室关掉,搬回昆明家中,然后倒腾成了工作室,家被安置在附近不远处另一个小区,原先厨房外的一小片空地被慢慢养成了现在这个院落的模样。这个地方不像他北京工作室那样能在里面制作大型作品,这里仅能容纳艺术家自己和几位友人,但却和自己的生活协调在一起。他顿时感到心安,因为在体量硕大的loft工作室里他常常感到难以专注。在那里,似乎一切的工作都是为了某个远方——上海、香港、纽约、巴塞尔,那些巨大的作品似乎跟自己也没什么关系,它们不过是从一间冰冷的生产空间转移到现代展览制度里的任意展览空间。在这个意义上,艺术家已经被艺术系统所异化,艺术和他的生活没有关系。直到回到昆明家里他才发现,原来这个普通的居民小区才是自己最熟悉的地方,种上几棵树和几株竹子,让作品也在这样的地方生长,自然心安。

回到昆明后,张华开始打石头,再后来,他开始制作一些铜作,像民间工匠那样,一个木墩、一把手锤、一把凿子就可以干活。他在家对面的商铺购买原材料,在附近的朋友那里找到了大理鹤庆银铜加工手艺的传承人。在云南,银铜的加工手艺在茶马古道上有着数百年的历史,这些手艺至今广泛存留在一些地州的日常生活中,如炊锅、脸盆、水壶、饰品还有用于藏区宗教场所的器物。

张华的专业是雕塑,在他早年具有代表性的那组雕塑中,他把学院里每天都要面对的经典石膏像变得像易拉罐一样皱褶,那是他尝试对雕塑进行去经典化、去学院化改造的开始。随着他后来对石头及金属工艺的兴趣,他越发对材料在手中的可加工性以及日常生活中的运用感兴趣。灵感来自那些有生活痕迹的物件与形象,他在废弃建筑石料上雕琢出隐约肖像,用废墟钢筋和铁丝做成山水图形,然后也从云南各个村落收集藤筐、竹篓、铜锅铜盆,民间的甲马与瓦猫、道家的仙鹤……正是这些形象布满了那个隐秘的工作室院落。他也会像民间工匠那样在铜片上反复烧制、敲打,好让这些铜作拥有饱满的手工痕迹。

显然,张华的艺术不是学院式的,而是来自他自己的生活世界。按照胡塞尔的生活世界理论,生活世界不是一个有待探讨的课题世界,不是一个有待解决或发明的问题;对待生活世界的态度是对待一切的基础,是自我主观视域的地平线;它应该是一个直观的世界。哈贝马斯进一步发展了这个想法,他认为生活世界是人们在日常生活中进行相互交往的舞台。

这或许为我们更进一步走入张华的后院以及那些铜作提供了一个恰当的角度。你能从他铜作形象的来源、制作与组装方式看到一些云南民间工艺的办法与态度,你也可以看出他受到现代雕塑的影响,还有日本宅院美学的影响。但这些都不是他拿来研究或发展的对象,他只是把他自己的现代视野和他在云南的地方经验轻松的混合在了一起。当有人尝试去描述或定义张华这些具体的铜作时,他反复警告:你不要去定义它,你说它是雕塑吗?是装置吗?是剪纸吗?是工艺品吗?都不是!你说它是什么的时候它就什么都不是了。是的,四不像。但同时也意味着它们具有一系列让人熟悉的面貌。与其说这些事物是艺术家个人院落趣味的一部分,不如说它们是张华生活世界的一部分,他拒绝把这部分劳作从生活中分化出来。

这也为我们提供了今天反思当代艺术系统的问题角度,那个一面在批判非地方,一面在制造非地方;一面在批判异化,一面在制造异化的系统。我们的生活和艺术究竟是怎样的关系?按生活世界的逻辑,当生活成为一个课题,它实际上就成了一个对象而不是背景,艺术的情况也一样。我们对艺术空间的想象是不是总是像飞地那样的乌托邦?还是也可以回到社区,回到街坊,回到生活的地方?

这样一个伴随着叮叮当当的敲打声,烤着茶与酒,连接自我、邻里、万物生灵、平凡手艺与地方经验的生活世界,这样一个可以滋养主人的院落,难道不正是我们曾企图去往远方要实现的生活吗?

2020年12月23日,昆明

延伸阅读:作为生活现场的“后院”

几个词

在云上2020的文献展现场,空空间

几个词——在云上2020观察笔记

罗菲

后疫情

一个原本依赖便捷廉价全球旅行而组织起来的现场艺术节在2020新冠大流行面前像所有其他事情一样遭遇停顿。开春,世界各地的人们滞留在乡下,滞留在岛上,滞留在居民楼里。好在网络成为了共同的替代现实。原本四方游走,主张在地表演的“在云上”今年基本只能“云上”表演。这一年线上内容呈爆炸性增长,观看被彻底组织起来,屏幕成为绝对的霸权。还是有一些人尝试通过实践或者讨论在孤立中重新建立起身体经验和地方经验。重新去理解关系、理解地方,或将是后疫情时代的重要命题。

串门

今年“在云上”的线下活动直到七月份才被和丽斌重新组织起来,在每两周举行的现场活动中,青年艺术家们也建立起一个互助的临时小组,一起表演、一起吃饭、一起深夜长谈……不止“在云上”,和丽斌这几个月也组织了其他类似活动,如“书写”展也是通过连接几位志同道合者相互“串门”、走访工作室和请客吃饭来形成一个临时的紧密群体。在后疫情时代,“恢复串门”成为克服孤岛效应的自救之道。

即兴表演

关于表演,由于“在云上”大部分表演都是现场即兴,一种可以理解为专注于身体、环境以及周边物件三者之间关系的表演方式,专注于现场随时可能出现的某种动势,由表演者去把握或者利用它。“在云上”现场艺术节通常把即兴表演作为参与者的基本工作方式,艺术家们在不同空间、不同地方持续游走。这对参与者的身体挑战非常高,过往许多参与艺术家都感叹参加“在云上”会很辛苦,参加完两周的艺术节做了十件作品都是很正常的事,有的艺术家整一年的表演作品几乎都是在“在云上”完成的。指出这一点在于,“在云上”强调艺术家在陌生空间、场所以及文化环境里的即兴发挥能力,通过表演赋予空间一种具有创造经验和感知能力的地方性。同时,也通过不断激发出来的身体语言的潜能,使得身体能以某种未知的面向去触发身体对空间的感知能力,比如和丽斌擅长的“盲画”就是在关闭视觉感知经验下激活身体其他感官对空间的感知和响应能力。最后是时间,表演是时间性的艺术,如何开始、何处暂停、何处收尾、能否继续,这些都构成表演中的关键。

空间

废墟、街道、空屋、草原、山野、废弃工厂、废弃铁道、艺术空间……表演可以在任何空间与场所里开展,艺术家借着身体表演“收复”了这些原本被遗忘的地方,使得有关地方的经验与记忆以表演的面貌被勾勒出来。这些地方也为表演提供了强大(有时远大过作品)的视觉与文本语境,使得身体表演、空间和地方形成相互阐释的互文关系。

观察与观看

作为受邀观察员,我尝试从一些微观的具体情况入手,比如我会去留意表演所在的环境,环境声音、交通状况、光线与时间、气氛、周边建筑的历史与质感。艺术家从哪里获得“表演道具”,附近的五金店还是就地取材还是提前自备。我会注意表演者的状态,他们如何把握表演的节奏又如何结束一场表演。

作为观察者,我会留意一些合适的观看角度与距离,不同的观看地点可能会导致完全不一样的观看感受。某种程度上,即兴表演本身就是去表演中心化的,它把表演者所处的物理与人际关系激活出来。这也意味着观察也需要多角度多层次,这正是图片或者视频所不具备的。换句话说,在空间里去经历一场表演和在屏幕上的观看不可同日而语。当然,为了屏幕而产生的表演是另一种情况。

有了上面这些词,我们或许可以理解表演是如何发生的:是什么成就了一场精彩的表演,是什么让一场表演昏昏欲睡,是什么让一场表演具有了灵性,是什么让表演与环境产生了明显的相互渗透,是什么让我们因为这场表演对空间与地方产生了新的感知。

2020-12-11

相关回顾公众号图文见“地球上空的八十八朵云”

Memories Drifting Across The Room

Memories drifting across the room

Text: Luo Fei
English Editor: WenLan

Over the past three decades, the description of Chinese contemporary art has largely consisted of a series of macro narratives about the present and the future around mainstream topics such as globalization, identity politics and consumer society. The recent COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing uncertainty of global mobility, the atomization of individuals and the fragile reality of interpersonal relationships seem to make people want to look back to the past and reflect on those experiences of growth and intimate relationships. This looking back may provide some comfort to our current state of fragility and uneasiness. In the science fiction novel “Three-Body Problem” by Liu Cixin (刘慈欣), humans in crisis constantly spit out the memories of a golden age, ruminating on them at leisure. In the novel, the UN Secretary General launches the Human Memorial Project which collects materials and objects that represent the memory of human civilization. These materials of civilization, these human diaries and other objects are ultimately sent off into space with unmanned spaceships and released. Whether in times of crisis or in more prosperous times, memories and memorials are essential, because people are forgetful animals.

The recovery of personal memories that have been involved in the torrent of history forms a description of the history of personal growth. It is a method that diverts from cultural integrity or social framework. This kind of work starts with a partial description of something: lingering images, a traumatic experience or unforgettable years. Sometimes, artists will start by unconsciously collecting everyday objects, and these will result in a story by themselves. This practice has already produced some excellent works in Chinese contemporary art. Song Dong’s (宋冬) early video works document him stroking his father’s body and collecting old things in cooperation with his mother. He Chengyao (何成瑶) took a nude photo with his mother suffering from mental illness. Ma Qiusha (马秋莎) talks about her experience of repressed development with a knife in her mouth, and so on. These traces with loved ones and their own past also constitute a process of self-healing, a path to growth and reconciliation. These micro-narratives based on personal development history and family relations constitute another clue to understanding Chinese contemporary art, which is rooted in Asian society in general and interpersonal relationships in China in particular. This provides us with an angle to view the next two rooms with.

Lu Lirong’s hometown, Video Environment projection, 2020
Lu Lirong’s hometown, Video Environment projection, 2020

Lu Lirong’s room

Lu Lirong (吕丽蓉)is from Yuanling County (沅陵县) in Huaihua (怀化), western Hunan Province. Her parents are both local middle school teachers. Lu Lirong and her younger brother enjoyed a comfortable and warm family life in the 1980s. In Lu Lirong’s memory, her parents often visited the small town to find skilled tailors to have fashionable clothes and skirts they saw in magazines made. New clothes were worn almost every month. This was the most exciting memory of Lu Lirong’s childhood.

Lu Lirong attaches great importance to familial affection. Subtle things and scenes will evoke her yearning for her family, which is inseparable from the harmonious and warm family environment she experienced as a child. Almost every week they would walk down the mountain road to their grandmother’s house, a smoke-blackened timber house filled with the smell of burning wood. Here, she would sit by the fire and watch the adults chat. Since childhood, she has had a particularly close relationship with her father. She can still recall the image of her father carrying her in a bamboo basket on his chest, and the smell of fried meat with chili peppers cooked by her father. However, when she was fifteen years old, her father fell ill and passed away. From then on, her mother carried the burden of managing the family on her own. At 24 years old, Lu Lirong had just started working, and then her mother died. She collected and sorted out her mother’s belongings, which mostly consisted of her clothes. These clothes, a whole pile of them, had always been with her. Even the quilt that was made by the family for her mother when she was ill in hospital is still preserved today. Lu Lirong said that she was reluctant to throw it away in order to preserve her mother’s smell. All items of her mother’s clothing are still well kept, and in Lu Lirong’s later creations they have become lingering images.

Lu Lirong not only collects the everyday belongings from her parents and grandparents. Over the past two years, since she became a mother, she has also deliberately collected biological samples. After giving birth to her second child in 2019, Lu Lirong saved the placenta, together with a glass of breast milk. These particular samples originate from the unique human tissues and liquids of a mother’s body, and they also become “items” that the artist intends to keep. They are the link between her mother’s world and the world of her child, and represent the biological cycles of gestation and nutrition. They maintain Lu Lirong’s imagination of the maternal realm and the memory of the family. In another recent exhibition, she created a womb-like environment where people can step inside and experience the baby sounds.

These clues provide us with two key words to understand Lu Lirong’s artistic creation: maternal imagination and family memory. Lu Lirong consciously collects the relics left by her family: clothes, bedding, unprocessed fabrics, and even the wooden pillars of abandoned houses in her grandmother’s village. All of this she carried to her studio in Kunming, as if she could rebuild the Yuanling home of her memories at any time. Lu Lirong’s room at Wu Art Space is therefore an autobiographical memory space, built with these columns.

In this memory space, these objects seem to have retained the smell, breath, gestures and even thoughts of the preceding owners. In Lu Lirong’s room, these objects will tell us about their past and present lives. They will tell us about the spiritual world of their owners, without having to wander in the boundless darkness of space.

Lei Yan, Sacred Objects, paper sculpture, 2020
Lei Yan, Sacred Objects, paper sculpture, 2020

Lei Yan’s room

Completely different from the upbringing environment of post-80s artist Lu Lirong, Lei Yan (雷燕) was born in a military family in the 1950s, when a career in the military was regarded as the ideal. Her parents and two sisters are all soldiers. Lei Yan joined the army at the age of 14 remained a soldier for 30 years. It is hard to imagine that this delicate woman has participated in many front-line battles. As soon as she became a recruit, she joined the Laos resistance against the US. Later, she battled in the defense against Vietnam. Lei Yan has performed exemplary service in the army. Her roles have included soldier, cook, health worker, nurse, drawing technician, technician, office employee and so on. Her artistic ability, evident since childhood, has also been recognized by the military. Her works have been exhibited in the National Army Art Exhibition. In the late 1980s, Lei Yan was admitted to the PLA Academy of Arts in Beijing, and here her horizons were broadened. In the late 1990s, she commenced contemporary art creation based on photography and installation. In 2001, she and her friend Song Ziping (宋梓萍) set up a studio in the Chuangku Art Community (创库艺术社区) in Kunming and regularly participated in international art exchange programs. Among her peers, she has a unique career span and rich life experience.

Military life shapes people, and it does so in more ways than making a person part of commandeered collective action through absolute discipline and obedience. On a personal level, she usually hid or suppressed some of her emotions. For someone was not only born into a military family but also grew up in the army, her destiny to become a disciplined, capable and strong character was sealed since before she was born. As is often the case with individuals with strong self-awareness, she consciously notes her own mental state. She privately observes innocuous or, conversely, unusual places and imagines something impractical. These underlying emotions and thoughts find a suitable place to hide, until one day their host invites them to the forefront. For example, in one of Lei Yan’s early oil paintings, a soldier is suspended in the air like a curious child, gazing into the distance with a pair of binoculars.

On display in Lei Yan’s room is a series of “Sacred Objects”. She has been creating these objects since 2016, continuing the artist’s long-time interest in handmade objects and materials. She uses transparent sulfuric acid paper to recreate military objects such as sickles, axes, grenades, mortars, kettles, bugles, candlesticks, satchels, bullet bags, communication equipment, shoes and caps. For a soldier with 30 years of military experience, these objects are the everyday objects that accompanied her military career. These objects also come from scenes that linger in her mind: the daily drills, intense military operations, everything that can happen when you hold your ground.

Sulfuric acid paper is a fragile but highly malleable material. Molded into objects by the artist they look wrinkled, following a specific rubbing process. They look like stone tablets, solemn and quiet in the dim light. They stand like monuments of the artist’s personal history of her development. The works evoke memories of her past life at any time, as if it was a lifetime ago.

Soldiers generally don’t project private attributes, but Lei Yan has transformed these collective military objects into images with private memories and poetic imagination. In this collection of works, the heavy weight of war and history is transformed by an almost frivolous sense of touch. The works can be easily crumpled, bringing a sense of disturbance. This is precisely the effect of this group of works in terms of material, form and feeling. They reflect the artist’s sensitivity to materials. These paper sculptures no longer just seem to be an artist’s imitation of an original. They appear to be a layer of skin shed by the original, left behind in Lei Yan’s memory space.

Lei Yan, Sacred Objects, paper sculpture, 2020

In the two rooms created by Lu Lirong and Lei Yan the histories of their personal development have been captured, described and commemorated in the form of objects. This has been conceived through reflection on their past lives, the preservation, shaping and narration of themselves or their family and the recovery of personal memories that have been involved in the torrent of history. These images, which were flickering in the depths of consciousness, have briefly been solidified in their respective rooms, and we are invited to enter them and meet them.

Written in a rainy night, Kunming
3 Nov, 2020

阅读中文原文:《记忆在房间漂泊》