HomeBiographyArtworksSealsArticlesPublicationsReviewsConversationColumnNewsChinese PaintingContact

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inscription in this Era

 

Zhu Zhu

 

In our tradition, literati had always been good at both writing and painting. However, most artists nowadays have given up the pursuit of writing. As a curator, I felt that if an exhibition requires them to write something, they feel like being tortured. They would rather receive interviews than to face the blank paper alone, as if they were dizzy abysses...

Their reluctance to write reflected the loss of our traditions, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they lack reading; probably they are just too shy of their own words. On one hand, since the inscription on painting is no longer required, they stopped daily exercise in that aspect. Compared with their professional visual technique, their writing appeared more and more amateur. On the other hand, there is an attitude extended from probably the modernism elite consciousness that asks artist to hide behind their works and let the work to manifest itself, leaving a mysterious space that is full of imagination forces between the artist and viewer.

As an ink painter, Zhu Wei treated writing more like a traditional intellectual. In his early works, he retained the tradition of inscription--friend Cui Jian's rock music lyrics or his notes, which are integrated with the pictures. What's more, in recent years, he has written a large number of essays at the invitation of magazines that could be collected to make a volume. For him, "the ancient painters could play musical instruments, write poems or articles, and even went to rich people's house as retainer to talk about sundry stuffs, including astronomy, geography, anecdotes from past and today and the way of being a true man. We contemporary painters don't have those opportunities, but we can do things that the ancient painters can't too. Take me for example, besides painting, I also carve woodprint, make sculpture in the factory, write column essays for art magazines and shoot movie for rock music bands. All these must be the extension of ink painting." The words besides the painting seemed short, cynical and sarcastic, the same as his paintings, that personal tone implied fury and pride of Ba Da Shan Ren (Zhu Da)’s “supercilious look into the sky”, as well as the agility and tease of Jin Nong's Dong Xin’s Inscription on Paintings. If we view it from a literary perspective, he probably inherited the Twenty Years Witness of the Bizarre Present. or Lu Xun's ironic and banter writing style. His expression has rich Beijing tone. Whatever he said is both amusing and thought-provoking. The frequently appeared slangs that the Pekingese always say conspired to the colloquial and vivid effects. I even doubt that he told his ideas to a recording pen first and then transformed that into texts.

For the 30 years of contemporary art, Zhu Wei is a witness, a predecessor as well as a stander-by. In the 1990s when he already had overseas influence and entered the commercial tracks, the majority of Chinese artists were still struggling to survive. However,, with the new century's coming, the whole situation has seen significant changes, which led to his disappointment. He didn't indulge himself in that disappointment, but he began to criticize and ironize both the western and home arts through comparing his personal experience and contemporary art context. Like what I expressed in my article Absent Attendee, 'It is precisely his particular experiences and anxiety, reflection on the price he paid and involvement and witness of contemporary art evolution that resulted in his essay style--aggressive, sharp and extreme." What he highlights is the discourse hegemony of western colonialism:

Over the decades, whether you are vanguard or not, "85" or '"post 89", the peoples who are serious about art and with some culture responsibility are more or less feel depressed. No matter what they may say, their dreams have been shattered. For example, if we visit other people's home, and make a pizza with the flour and eggs we brought and their kitchen appliance. They would praise you if it tastes good. But if you want to make a Jianbing(the Chinese pancake), they would be unhappy immediately.

On the other hand, he became increasingly sensitive and appalled by the colonization trend of the Chinese contemporary art. For example, with an amazed and surprised mood, he discovered that "Richter alone is half of Chinese contemporary art history", and that imitation received great success:

Over 100 Chinese painters imitated Richter’s focus-out approach, however, at the end of last year, the price of Richter’s paintings were not as high as half of Chinese painters', and were also not as well sold as the Chinese painters'…

"The fake" exceeded the genuine painting. In Zhu Wei's view, it's already not worship or imitation, for in which there was still some kind of sincerity and recognition efforts, but the Chinese contemporary art has turned into an anxious trend-following and partial steal, completely failed the research and analysis of western art, but only sought for the crash shaping of "contemporary" look.

As contemporary art was not born in our homeland, the artists, critics, art dealers can only act like what railroad guerrillas did when they were fighting the Japanese intruders--everybody hold a rake, as long as there is train driving near, regardless of the consequences, they use their rake to pull the stuff out of the train, without considering how much they can get.

However, Richter is changing and the western contemporary art is moving forward. For the pace-following Chinese contemporary art, sticking to go along other people's tracks is no doubt a thing without ego and future.

The Chinese contemporary art has been pulling all sorts of things together constrainedly. We are just imitating to make every art form that the western has. In the 21 century, the western contemporary art is progressing rapidly. It's sad that we have no idea what would go in fashion next time and even can do nothing about it.

In those writings, Zhu Wei analyzed the western centralism, the negative impacts of commercialization and a most urgent mission: the remodeling of culture subject. As for his identity, he stressed the significance of rejuvenating ink paintings. Surely, he had made the further recognition that the basis lacked for remodeling is that "today's artists are not strong enough to paint with the strength of their personalities."

  "Art should follow the times;" art should correspond to reality and voice for the society, this has been the consistent claim of Zhu Wei. He is also realizing that claim through writing essays. In contrast with the careful consideration of personal styles and repeated adjustment of an artist in painting, those words are more wild and agile, which inscribed on our times with satire like "cactus spines".

 

May, 2012

 

(This article is the preface of Zhu Wei's collection of essays Behind Of Your Time, First Published on Oriental Art . Master, September 2012, p.54-57)

Zhu Zhu, born in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province in September, 1969, is a poet, curator and art critic. The main exhibitions he curated include “Yangtze River Bridge”(2007), “Starting Point:The ‘Stars Art Society ’Retrospective Exhibition”(2007), “Individual Case—Artists in Art Critique”(2008); he also worked as co-curator in the "Reshaping History" exhibition with Lv Peng and Gao Qianhui (2009).

 

 

 

 

 

题写在年代的风气中

 

朱朱 

 

    尽管在我们的传统里,诗文与书画是文人们兼擅的事情,不过,如今的艺术家们大多放弃了文字表达的追求,我在策展中不时有这样的体会:如果有一个展览需要他们提供自己的文字,对他们来说几乎就是一场折磨,在迫不得已的情况下他们宁可接受访谈,而不愿独自面对空白的纸页,仿佛那是一座令人眩晕的深渊……

    这样的事实固然映现了传统的涣散,不过,艺术家不愿动笔,未必就是因为他们阅读修养的缺失,而很可能因为羞怯于自己的文字——既然在画面中题写诗文已经不再是必需,这方面的日常训练也就停止了,相对于他们的视觉技艺的专业性,他们的文字技艺就愈来愈显得业余了。在另一方面,大概是从现代主义的精英意识那里,延伸出一种态度,要求艺术家们尽可能地将自己隐匿在其作品的背后,只让作品说话,以便在自己与观众之间保留一个具有神秘感和想像张力的空间。

    也许是身为水墨画家,朱伟对待文字的态度更近于传统文人,他的一些早期作品中仍然保留了文字的题写——友人崔健的摇滚歌词或者自己的笔记——与画面构成一体;不仅如此,在最近的几年中,他应杂志之邀写下了多篇杂文,其数量足够结成一集,在他看来,“古代的画家画画之余弹琴、写诗、做文章,甚至作为门客到有钱人家里白话天文地理、古今大事、做人之道。当代的画家没这个机会,但可以做古代画家做不了的事,比如我就画画之外还刻木版画,到工厂去做雕塑,给艺术杂志写专栏,给摇滚乐队拍电影,但这一切必须是水墨画的延伸,必须有水墨的影子。”这些出现在画外的文字显得短小、冷峻、讥诮,与他的绘画一样,那种个人语调里潜伏着八大山人“白眼向天”的愤激与桀骜,同时也不乏金农《冬心题画记》的灵动和戏谑,如果我们是从文学的角度来看待,他所接续的大概是《二十年目睹之怪现状》或鲁迅式的针砭时弊、嬉笑怒骂的书写方式;有些特别的是,他的表达带着浓重的京腔,其典型的特性就是什么世面都见识过、并且在说起什么来的时候总是既逗着你又噎着你,朱伟显然熟稔于此道,那些被北京人挂在嘴边的俚语俗词频现于文中,形成了口语化独白的生动效果,以致我有些怀疑,他是对着一只录音笔讲述了这些东西,然后再将它们整理成篇。

    对于当代艺术的这三十年,朱伟既是亲历者、先行者,又是旁观者。当他于上世纪九十年代在海外形成影响并且进入到商业化轨道中时,绝大多数的中国艺术家尚且默默无闻地挣扎于生存,进入到新世纪以来,整体格局发生了明显的变化,这也直接导致了朱伟在心理上产生了落差,不过,他并非陷入到这种落差之中而无法自拔,而是通过将个人历程与当代艺术的脉络进行对照,进而展开了对于西方与本土的双重批判和讽刺,正如我《缺席的在场者》一文中所阐述过的,“恰恰是他所特有的经历与焦虑,对自身代价的痛惜与反省,以及对当代艺术进程的参与和见证,造成了他杂文的夹枪带箭、尖锐而偏激的特点”,他的笔下首先凸显的,正是西方殖民主义的话语霸权:

    几十年下来,不管前卫、后卫,“85”还是“89”,认真做艺术的、有点儿文化使命感的,心中多少还是有点失落,不管嘴上多硬,他们的梦其实是破灭了。就像我们到别人家去做客,你用自己带来的面粉和鸡蛋,用人家的锅碗瓢勺做了个披萨,人家吃着一致说好,夸你了不起,说中国人的手艺还真不错,Great!你说我再给你们摊个煎饼,众人当时就把脸拉下来了。

    另一方面,他变得格外敏感和怵目于中国当代艺术的殖民化倾向,譬如,他怀着惊愕的、近于不可思议的心情发现,“里希特一个人相当于半个中国当代艺术史”,并且,这种模仿竟然还可以获得很大程度的成功:

    中国有一百多个模仿里希特画焦点不实的,但去年年底他的画价格反而还没中国艺术家的一半高,而且还没中国艺术家的作品抢手……

    “赝品”赛过了真品,在朱伟看来,这甚至已经不是崇拜和模仿了,因为,如果说在崇拜与模仿之中还包含着某种真诚与认知的努力,而中国的当代艺术则已经演变为急不可耐的跟风与一鳞半爪的窃取,全然不从根本上追究与辨析西方艺术的来龙去脉,只求“当代性”面目的速成:

    由于当代艺术这趟火车不是从自家开出来的,艺术家、批评家、艺术二道贩子等等等等,大家摸不着头绪,只能玩当年打日本鬼子时铁道游击队那手,人人手里都拿着耙子,只要火车开过来,不管三七二十一抡圆了就是几耙子,划拉多少算多少。

    然而,里希特本人还在不断地变化,西方的当代艺术火车还在不停地向前开,对于亦步亦趋的中国当代艺术而言,循沿他者的轨道而行,无疑是一件没有自我和未来的事情:

    中国当代艺术东拼西凑,如今也跟头把式的拼凑齐全,西方那边有的行当我们也一一对应。进入二十一世纪,西方当代艺术也在急速向前发展,下一步会出现什么流行什么我们始终无法想象甚至束手无策。这也许就是中国当代艺术的悲哀。

    在这样的写作中,朱伟为我们辨析了西方的中心主义,商业化的负面影响以及一个最为迫切的使命:文化主体的重塑,而出于他自己的身份,他强调了复兴水墨的意义,当然,他也更进一步地认识到重塑所缺失的基础在于,“今天的艺术家没有回到人,不能以人格的力量来作画。”

    “笔墨当随时代”,艺术应该回应现实,针对社会发言,这是朱伟的一贯主张,他运用杂文这种体裁同样是在实现这一主张,与艺术家对于个人风格的缜密思虑和转型过程中的反复调整所不同的是,这些文字更恣意更迅捷,它们以仙人掌般带刺的笔触,直接题写在年代的风气中。

 

                                                          2012年5月

 

(本文为即将出版的朱伟艺术随笔集《走在时间的后头》前言, 首次刊发于《东方艺术.大家》2012年9月刊,54-57页

     

朱朱,1969年9月生于江苏扬州。诗人、策展人、艺术批评家。策划的主要展览有“长江大桥”(2007年),“原点:‘星星画会’回顾展”(2007年),“个案——艺术批评中的艺术家”(2008年),吕澎、高千惠共同策划“改造历史”展览。(2009年)等。