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Preface for Zhu Wei's Contemporary Art Exhibition in Taipei 2016

 

Lu Hong

 

In Chinese contemporary art scene, Zhu Wei's creation is indeed a signature one: on the one hand he sticks to the traditional imperial court (gongbi) painting media and outline-and-color technique; on the other hand he boldly moves away from the traditional fine brush painting's patterns and forms, and created brand new imageries and composition that contain distinct features of the times. There is no doubt that the intercourse between the tradition and present has accomplished his art. For example, from 90s of the last century to today, he has created excellent works like "The Story of Beijing" series, "Sweet Life" series, "The Ink and Wash Research Lectures series", "Vernal Equinox" series and so on. During the process he originated the approach of using processed rice paper with ancient sense as the grounding, he has also successfully created bold soldier, red flag, five pointed star, lattice window, banana leaf and other artistic symbols full of personal features. Actually this is a process that new subjects and new sense, including “socialism experiences”, entered traditional conventions and reshaped them, which is very rare! Today, people seldom talk about the conventional representation problem in Chinese painting when touching Chinese painting and contemporary ink and wash. Some even think that Chinese art has always been emphasizing the conventional representation; it is like this in painting as in opera. Once Mr. Jiang Zhou said in an article that “development of Chinese traditional painting is a process solving the relationship between formula and reality, rather than cancelling the basic formula to rely on because of the existence of this relationship. No formula, no Chinese traditional painting.” I agree to him a lot and here I want to supplement something: the artistic representation formula of traditional fine brush painting not only showed a special aesthetic assumption, but also formed a set of special representation principle and thinking logic. Heritance and development could only be gained through good training up to a precise extent. Looking back to those outstanding painting masters in the history of China, all of them had precisely grasped the traditional formulas before they could create their personal ones. With a profound and overall understanding of the art history of China, Zhu Wei of course knows well about this point. His brilliance lies in that he can on one hand well inherit the representation formula of traditional fine brush painting, while on the other hand well re-construct the new tradition of fine brush painting with new subjects, new ideas and new experiences, which made him feel free to do brand new artistic manifestation. I believe that audiences from home and abroad will all feel that his works are both traditional and contemporary, and world-oriented with Chinese characteristics.

In the new era emphasizing artistic invention and personality expression, Zhu Wei keeps good tension between “creation” and “reservation” which well worth learning from for other painters. The inspiration he gives us is: when seeking for the expression of contemporary life, what's important is not only to inherit the traditional expression, but also to figure out a way to innovate and enrich it. Against the background that contemporary art is going on a globalized homogenous development, this pursuit of differentiation expression is particularly important.

We can fully believe that, from the artist's logic of artistic creation, Zhu Wei's works displayed in this exhibition are actually a reasonable advance based on previous foundations. As we can see, both his new works the "Curtain" series and "The Ink and Wash Research Lectures series" present his customary red curtain symbols. However, except for a few works there is a meeting representative who wears Chinese tunic suit in front of the curtain, more works present either red curtain symbols only, or symbols like sculptures of the former Soviet Union, lamb, Taihu stone, hand, etc. in the foreground. According to the artist's interpretation, here the red curtains imply meeting and inculcation, as well as a special kind of ideology in the modern China, and in these works, the sculptures of the former Soviet Union in the period of socialist undoubtedly symbolizes its tremendous influence on Chinese people; the Taihu stone symbolizes Chinese characteristics and geographical features; lamb symbolizes generations of tamed Chinese people... to save words, I won't explain them one by one. In Zhu Wei's opinion, "Nowadays people are coerced by the ongoing large-scale economic movement, by the commercial Great Leap Forward, and by the inflated exaggerations in commerce, while every family has mortgage loans and inexpensive car, pop music and jazz, computer, cell phone and internet, however, the foundation of the society has never been slightly changed but has been strengthened. This is the present condition of Chinese society which makes people feel helpless." From this perspective it is not difficult for us to understand Zhu Wei's latest installation; that is a number of eyeless and mouthless "animals with human faces" indicating the current living conditions of many Chinese people. They are all with the same feature and look very dull, numb and slow... I believe these works will inevitably arouse interactions and associations from some audiences. Recently he has created several new paintings, which, though are not to be brought to this exhibition, I am paying close attention to. In these works he no longer paints on rice paper or silk but on newspapers that people are very familiar with. Since what he paints are red curtain and related symbols, it is more profound in the expression of concept. People who knows the history of art all knows that the master Picasso and Klee also have done similar experiments, and compared with the latter two whose exploration were purely in forms, Zhu Wei is to emphasize the mind control performed by the manipulated modern medias. It could not be more wrong if someone thinks Zhu Wei's experiment on newspapers is just in the form or material.

Zhu Wei expresses his hope for the future through the brilliant fruits in his painting "Vernal Equinox", which I believe also could be the inner reason why he mixes the seemingly unassociated works in this exhibition.

This serves as the preface.

At Yan An Hotel, Shanghai
January 10, 2016

 


Born in Jiangxi province in January 1954, Lu Hong was graduated from Hubei Academy of Fine Arts in 1981. Now he is the executive director of United Art museum in Wuhan, visiting professor and master students' supervisor of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Hubei Academy of Fine Arts and school of fine arts in the Central China Normal University, visiting researcher at Hubei Museum of Art, researcher at the National Center for Contemporary Arts, the national First-Class Artist, and a member of the China Artists Association.

 

 

 

 

 

 

序言:2016朱伟台北当代艺术展

 

鲁虹

 

在中国当代艺术界,朱伟的创作面貌是非常突出的:一方面他仍然运用的是传统工笔画的媒材或相关勾线与染色技巧;另一方面他又大胆超越了传统工笔画的艺术图式与造型套路,直接从现实中转换出了具有鲜明时代特点的全新图像与画面构成方式。毫无疑问,正是往来于传统和现在之间才成就了他的艺术。比如,他从上个世纪90年代到现在,已经分别创作了《北京故事》系列、《甜蜜的生活》系列、《中国日记》系列、《水墨课徒研究》系列与《开春图》系列等优秀作品。由此,他在独创了将熟宣纸做旧的手法时,还成功地创造了光头男(军)人、大红帷幕、五角星、格子窗、芭蕉叶等具有个人特点的艺术符号。应该说,这是新的艺术题材与新的感受——包括“社会主义经验”进入传统工笔画程式,继而对其进行改造的过程,是非常难得的!现如今,人们在谈及当代工笔画的创作时,一般很少提到程式化表现的问题。有些人甚至认为,程式化表现是传统工笔画走上千篇一律道路的原因。这当然是极大的误解。事实上,与西方艺术相比,中国艺术一向十分强调程式化的表现。绘画如此,戏剧亦然。江洲先生曾经在一篇文章中说过:“国画的发展是解决程式与现实的关系,而不是因为这种关系的存在,便取消基本的赖以生存的程式。国画没有了程式,也就没有了国画。”我很同意他的看法,在此想补充一下:即传统工笔画的艺术表现程式不仅体现了特殊的审美假定性,也形成了一套特殊的表现原则与思惟逻辑。只有很好地加以训练,然后达到精确的地步,才有可能继承与发展。纵观那些中国艺术史上的优秀绘画大师,无不是精确掌握了传统程式,又创造出个人化程式的人。熟读中国艺术史的朱伟当然知道这一点,他的过人之处就在于:既很好地继承了传统工笔画的表现程式,又用新的题材、新的观念、新的感受重构了工笔表现的新传统,这就使他能从容自如地进行全新的艺术表现。相信中外观众都会感到他的作品既是传统的,又是当代的;既是中国的,又是世界的。

在一个强调艺术创新与个性表达的新时代,朱伟在“创”与“守”之间保持了很好的张力,其探索之路很值得同道借鉴。他给我们的启示是:在寻求对于当代生活的表达时,重要的是不仅要努力沿续传统的表达方式,还要想办法有所创造、有所丰富。而在当代艺术有着全球同质化发展的情况下,这种保持异质化表达的追求显得特别重要。

从艺术家的创作逻辑来看,我们完全可以认为,朱伟在本次展览中展出的作品其实是在过去基础上的合理推进。恰如大家所见,他的新作《帷幕》系列与《水墨研究课徒》系列都表现了他惯用的大红帷幕符号。不过,除了少数作品在前景上还有身着中山装的开会代表外,更多的作品要么是只表现大红帷幕符号,要么是在前景上呈现了前苏联的雕塑、小羊、太湖石与手等符号。据艺术家本人解释,在这里,红色的帷幕既暗示着会场与灌输,也暗示着近代中国与一种特殊的意识形态,而作品中前苏联社会主义时期的雕塑无疑象征着其对中国人巨大的影响;太湖石乃象征着中国特色与地域特征;羊则象征着一代代被驯服了的中国人……限于文字,在此就不一一解读了。在他看来,“虽然现如今人们被正在进行大规模的经济运动,商业大跃进,各行各业的商业卫星所裹挟,每个家庭多了贷款按揭和简陋的汽车,流行音乐爵士乐,多了电脑手机和网络,但这个社会的基础未有丝毫改变,甚至得到了加强,这就是中国当代社会现状,让人们束手无策。”从这样的角度看问题,我们并不难理解,朱伟的最新装置,即众多无眼无嘴的“人面动物”作品其实暗示了一些中国人的实际生存状态,他们千人一面,显得十分呆滞、麻木与迟钝……相信这些作品必定能够引发一些观众的互动与联想。他最近创作了一批画,虽然此展没拿来,但深为我所关注,在这些作品中,他不再用熟宣纸与绢作画,而是采用了人们司空见惯的报纸。由于画的是红色帷幕与相关符号,故其作品在观念的表达上更显深刻。熟悉艺术史的人都知道,大师毕加索与克立也曾经做过类似艺术实验。相比起来,后二者是在做纯形式的探索,朱伟却是借此强调人为操作的现代媒介对人们思想的控制。如果有人认为朱伟用报纸作画是在玩形式与玩材料就大错特错了。

在名为《开春》的作品中,朱伟借灿烂的果实表达了他对未来的希望。按我的理解,这大概就是他将若干貌似不搭界的作品放在一起展出的内在原因吧。

是为序。

2016年1月10日于上海延安饭店



鲁虹,1954年1月生,祖籍江西。1981年毕业于湖北美术学院,现为武汉合美术馆执行馆长,四川美术学院、湖北美术学院与华中师范大学美术学院客座教授、硕士生导师,湖北美术馆客座研究员,国家当代艺术研究中心研究员,国家一级美术师、中国美术家协会会员。