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[译事春秋] 英译:这就是陈墙  李旭/文

(2009-08-12 09:10:51)
标签:

抽象艺术

装饰

观看

色彩

分类: 译事春秋

 “抽象”,已是当代美术的老话题了。今天,画家陈墙正以自己的方式进入这个似乎已经相当“传统”的区域。

    回首现代美术史,“抽象主义”是其中极其重要的遗产。然而,在国内当代美术发展的现状中,我们暂时无法找到清晰而明确的抽象发展脉络,仅有的个案是零散的,偶然的、非集团化的,有时甚至是策略性的。

  陈墙的作品,是这些少数个案中的近期典型。

  其实,陈墙的动机并不神秘、并不复杂,视觉的单纯反映和图像的本质生命是他最为关注的东西。他认为,人类的视觉功能可以分为两部分:观看和读解。他在日记中写到:“人们的日常意识总是将读解的范围无限扩大,使得人们逐渐丧失或忘却了观看功能这一本能的存在”。一幅画,首先是为了被“看”的,其次才是被“读”的,也就是说,映入眼帘的第一印象是首位的,文学、历史、哲学、宗教等等内在的涵义是第二位的。

  陈墙在他的学院训练时期就已经获得了相当扎实的写实功底,毕业后,他放弃了那条已有太多人走过的路,开始了很长一段旨在探测自身极限的实验。

  最初,他抱者排除“绘画观念”的目的在纸上涂了起来,刻意的造型和预想的设计被抛到脑后,笔在纸上下意识地动,手为了眼睛的需要不停地劳作着,陈墙有时觉得自己只是在“做记号”。1989-91这三年间,它涉猎了各种自由形式的可能性,千差万别的图像背后也渐渐显现出属于他个人的性灵。对综合材料的尝试也是始于此时,纸张的质地微妙差异以及油、水、胶的渗化和排斥都使他非常着迷,这一期间,他的这些实验小品数以千计。

  1993年,是陈墙树立风格的重要时期,技术手段也随艺术符号的明确化而初步成型,但轻松随意的样式可能导致的草率也引起了他的注意。这个问题在94年得到了解决,陈墙开始对“装饰”有了特殊的兴趣。他认为:“纯粹的装饰能将‘观看’从‘读解’中解放出来。似乎装饰是为观看而存在的。”

  此时,画面上开始出现规则有序、平衡对称的图形,由弧形的线条所组成的框架编结而成,线条上覆盖以繁密的圆点群。从做底开始,陈墙的劳作过程就充满着冲突与平衡,规则的网格与轻快的笔触层层重叠,图形的正与负、加与减、覆盖与消解,呈现出一连串、一系列的堆积与中和,这种游戏式的过程,极端复杂又充满智慧。

  1995年以来的作品,色彩所占的地位越来越重要,媒介由纸张转向布面,尺寸也有所增加,制作方式则走向新的极限。精致华丽而不失灿烂、奇异迷幻而不失唯美,透过这些错综复杂得令人眩晕的图像,已不难看出陈墙所独有的超常耐心以及精确的整体控制能力。

  至此,以颠覆“观看-读解”关系为初衷的努力已经逐步演化为对视觉极限的挑战,同时,对“装饰”这一概念的重新理解也淡化了“纯艺术”和“工艺”之间的固有边界,陈墙正以一种奇特的态度进入一块罕见的“中间地带”。照片和印刷品已经不可能再现这种惊人的“观看”效果,这不能不说是令人遗憾的,观看者一定要面对原作才会明白,陈墙是在做一件怎样的事情。

  “这是什么?”——第一次看到陈墙作品时,多数观众的脑子里肯定会闪过类似的问题。希望这篇短文已经给了您一种解答。

 

Cliché as it is in the field of contemporary fine arts, the word “abstract” can best represents the area that Chen Qiang is approaching in his unique manner. 

  In retrospect to the development of modern fine arts, “abstract-ism” is arguably an important legacy. However, regarding the current scenario in China, we can hardly find a clear-cut trace of the development of abstract art, except a few sporadic and random cases that are not incorporated into the entire scene, some of them merely serving expedient purposes.

  The artworks of Chen Qiang are typical of the few successful cases in recent memory.

  In fact, Chen’s initiatives are anything but mysterious or complex. What he cares about most is the immediate visual response and the essential spirit of the pictures. He believes that subjects can provoke two kinds of responses, viewing and thinking. Just as he notes in his diary, “People always tend to incessantly ponder on the meaning of the subjects in their minds, yet they gradually forget that they are functionally something to be viewed by their eyes.” Any picture, first and foremost, is to be viewed before its meanings are to be considered. In other words, the first impression of an artwork reigns supreme, while its literary, historical, philosophical and religious overtones are subordinate.   

   Chen Qiang has acquired solid realistic approaches in his academic years, and after his graduation, he gave up the beaten path and started his artistic experimentation to challenge his own limits.

  At the very beginning, he just dropped some lines randomly and subconsciously on the paper with no idea of any particular pattern or design. The work of his hand just tended to please his eyes. Sometimes, Chen even felt that he was merely making some random marks. Between 1989 -1991, he explored all possibilities of random drawing, and behind these utterly different images his own idioms started to emerge. In this period, he also started to try various materials, and got fascinated by the minute differences in the texture of the paper, the seeping effects of water and oil. He produced several thousand experimental miniatures in this period.

  The year 1993 proved decisive in the formation of Chen Qiang’s style, and his technical approach became full-fledged. He came to notice that the random approach may produce sloppy works. The solution was found in the following year, when decorative patterns started to kindle his interest. “Purely decorative designs can prevent the audience from “thinking” about a picture at the first encounter, as decorative motifs are just for the sake of visual appreciation.”

  From then on, well-balanced, symmetrical patterns started to appear in his paintings in an orderly manner, where lines and stripes are covered with closely-knitted groups of dots. Right from the beginning, his work brims with conflicts and the pursuit of balance, where the overlapping of grills and light touches, maneuvering of addition and omission, covering and clearing up coexistence, making the painting process a complicated game riddled with wisdom and gimmicks.

  Colors play an increasingly important role in Chen’s post-1995 paintings. He gave up paper in favor of canvas, and a large format became his favorite. Innovative approaches continue to emerge, delicate and flamboyant, fanciful and appealing. From the dizzying patterns in these paintings, we can easily discern the unusual patience and precise overall control that characterize his creations.

  By this time, the effort to solve the dilemma between viewing and thinking has evolved into an attempt to challenge the limit of visual art. And the redefined concept of “decoration” has removed the border between “fine arts” and “crafts”. Chen Qiang has entered a new “middle ground” where his staggering art cannot be properly captured in printed copies or photos. To understand what Chen has done, one must face squarely his original works.

  You may well ask “What is this?” at your first sight of Chen Qiang’s artworks. I hope that my foregoing article can give you a satisfactory answer. 

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