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SCOPE 艺术客

September 1 2017 二零一七年九月一日



September 1 2017, SCOPE

SCOPE What's Happening | Zhu Wei On the International Influence of Ink Painting

As an honest man who's rare in the contemporary art world, Zhu Wei's painting always goes straight sharply into the heart of a matter. He is the first artist adopting concept into ink painting. He depicts his feelings toward the present society by inheriting traditional techniques and cultural mentality. He makes the tradition and contemporary a combined force to rebuild some kind of cultural confidence through drawing upon the current nutrients. So far, it has been thirty years.

The "Virtual Focus : Zhu Wei 1987-2017" held at the National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta is a terminus of an exhibition tour, which had been held at the Today Art Museum in Beijing, the Art Museum of Nanjing University of the Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Singapore. A touring exhibition though it is, its structure varies from place to place. The exhibition in Jakarta gathered about 30 pieces of works from around the world, including 4 groups of large-scale sculptures. They covered almost all phases of the artist's career, not only to show context of the artist's artistic creation of all these years, but also in a way of imprinting the era, to delineate the exploration and development of Chinese contemporary ink painting.

Whether contemporary ink can keep up with social development in terms of both format and content, whether it can reflect reality, are the most important issues that contemporary ink are facing with. Curator Lu Hong believes that "in an era of novelty and individuality being overwhelming emphasized, Zhu Wei perfectly keep the tension between 'innovation' and 'tradition'. His exploration is invaluable to his contemporaries. We can learn from him that it is essential to preserve tradition as well as to try to innovate when we want to express ourselves. Especially in the current contemporary art world when a trend of global homogeneity emerges, keeping a rooted identity or maintaining a special expression is extremely important."

On the other hand, the influence and authoritative voice of contemporary ink art has always been an urgent problem. Since the early 90s, Zhu Wei has entered a relatively standardized international art system. When his works has been constantly collected by the world's leading museums and collectors, Zhu Wei has also become the first representative Chinese contemporary ink artist being promoted to the international stage. Through an on-the-spot investigation, his Indonesia exhibition this time provided us with the opportunity to observe the influence of ink painting abroad as well.
 
The Influence and Voice of Ink Painting - A Dialogue between Scope and Zhu Wei

Scope: Although this is not a retrospective, thirty years from 1987 to 2017 is indeed a period of time. In the past three decades you have witnessed the development of Chinese ink painting, and since the 90s, you have attended a large number of overseas exhibitions. Based on your experience, what is the current situation of the influence of Chinese ink painting?

Zhu: Objectively speaking, the influence of ink painting is limited only to Asia and among Chinese around the world. In face it's exaggerating to say Asia. It's only China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macao and Southeast Asia. For India, Central Asia where the ancient Egypt and Babylon cultures located, and the Two Rivers in West Asia region, there were two different ancient civilizations and cultures, both of which have longer history than China in the world.

When ink painting spread to South Korea, they changed its name to "Korean painting". When ink painting came to Japan in the Song Dynasty, the Japanese strictly followed the existing format of ink painting. Since the exotic ink painting has never been changed or developed in Japan, today's Japanese ink painting still retains features of painting in the Southern Song Dynasty and artistic conception of theliterati painting, which is called "Nanhua (Japanese Literati Painting)". Although being in Asia and close to East Asia, most of the Southeast Asian countries are island countries. Before building up their own language system, they experienced late development of civilization and the later European colonization. Language system of some of these countries, such as Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia, are evolved from European language. Their writing and pronunciation is more similar to European language. Other countries like Philippines and Singapore simply use English as their official language. Both situations formed a natural barrier to Chinese hieroglyphs culture.

Scope: In the current trend of increasingly homogenization, the connotation of Chinese art has been largely hollowed out by the concept of "contemporary". Although ink painting is grown in China, penetration from outside world and cultural dislocation from inside both made it no longer pure. It easily brings tensions to ink painting's cultural identity as well. How do you understand the relationship between contemporary ink painting and contemporary Chinese art?

Zhu: Ink painting carries values of slave system and feudal society as well as trace of social development for thousands of years. The function of ink artworks is more to describe or record, to show artist's skill, or to just complain, than to introspect. That limits ink painting's depth, breadth, and even its highest level as an art form. There is a vast difference between values of ink painting and contemporary art, which continually affect the development and dissemination of ink painting in the past and in the future. That is so called internationalization.

Scope: Context is always a base point when talking about many issues. From a global perspective, the Chinese contemporary art is actually in a state of aphasia, while the authoritative voice of ink painting is precisely in the hands of Chinese people. What is your opinion on these two different phenomena?

Zhu: Aphasia is a sure thing. It takes more than a hundred years for the Western contemporary art to develop from its initiation to today's achievement. When a contemporary art exhibition was held at the National Art Museum of China in 1989, it was the beginning of Chinese contemporary art. The curator stood on the steps of the National Art Museum and announced loudly to the world: the Chinese artists spend only ten years to complete the journey that the Western artists have gone through for centuries. This sentence proves everything.

Along with oil painting, contemporary art is an exotic as well. If you use somebody's IP (Intellectual Property), you must respect his/her habits, custom and preferences. You have to understand its context, so as not to make a fool of yourself. Being modesty is not a bad thing. First come, first served. We need more veneration as well as education.

Ink painting is another thing. It's our own original. With a history of more than 2,700 years, and 2,000 years longer than the history of oil painting, the authoritative voice of ink painting is always in our hands. When Li Xiaoshan said "Chinese painting already reached a dead end", his statement has never been questioned by any Western art critic or art historian. It proves the authoritative voice is in our hands, and only we can explain and predict ink painting's future. Of course, we hope more countries and more artists from all over the world can enter in this art form, as it already did in the Western contemporary art, to serve for human being's ultimate ideal.

Scope: Even the authoritative voice of ink panting is in our own hands, its influence is still very limited. It's difficult to establish a real equal dialogue with the West, and in the meantime, an evaluation system of ink painting has never been set up successfully. What do you think could be the reason for these?

Zhu: It's the different values. Values and theory system recognized by an artist is the basis of any form of art. Art is never a nonsense play. Our contemporary art looks ugly and poor because we are only imitating the surface, but never going deep down to the reasons. Our artists are seldom able to understand these values, thus some artworks looks so awful that even the artist himself is dumbfounding. How can we establish a dialogue based on imitation? It's like a primary school student tries to have an in-depth conversation with a university professor, not to mention the equal dialogue.

The evaluation system of ink painting has always been there, but its values orientation is far away from the Western contemporary art, as far as a donkey's lip cannot match a horse's jaw. I will not dwell on it here.

About Zhu Wei

Born in 1966, Zhu Wei is a contemporary artist and an explorer of Chinese contemporary ink art. His ink paintings began to show up in large international exhibitions from early 90s, and have since been featured in over 200 exhibitions world-wide. More than thirty different albums of his paintings and retrospectives of his artworks have been published. 43 domestic and foreign museums have added his more than 70 artworks to their collections.

 

 

 

 

《艺术客》二零一七年九月一日

Scope发生 | 朱伟谈水墨画的国际影响力

朱伟是当代艺术界中少有的坦诚者,其绘画也有着一针见血的凛冽,是最早将观念引入水墨画的艺术家。一直以来,朱伟沿袭传统的手法和文化思维,描绘对当下的感受,并使得传统和当代成为一股合力,通过当下的养分重建某种文化信心。至今,已有三十年。

此次在印尼国家美术馆·雅加达展出的"虚拟的焦点——朱伟1987-2017"作为巡回展的终点站,此前曾于北京今日美术馆、南京艺术学院美术馆、新加坡当代美术馆巡回展出。虽是巡回展,但展览结构因地而异,不尽相同,此次在雅加达的展览聚集了大概30件从世界各地调集而来的作品,几乎涵盖了艺术家各个时期的创作,其中更有4组大型雕塑,梳理了艺术家多年来的艺术创作,以时代印迹的方式勾画出一条中国当代水墨的探索发展之路。

当代水墨能否从形式内容上跟进社会的发展,能否反映现实,是当代水墨所面临的最重要的问题。策展人鲁虹认为: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,这种强调民族身份或保持异质化表达的追求特别重要。

另一方面,当代水墨的传播影响和话语权,也一直是急需讨论且迫切解决的问题。而自90年代初,朱伟就进入了相对规范的国际艺术系统的机制之中,作品不断被世界著名的博物馆和专业修养完备的藏家收藏,成为最早被推展到国际舞台的中国当代水墨艺术家代表人物。这次朱伟在印尼的展览,经过实地的考察,无疑为水墨辐射的论题开启了一个观察的切口。

水墨的传播和话语权

《Scope艺术客》 对话 朱伟

Scope: 虽然这次并非是回顾展,但从1987到2017年恰好三十年,契合了一个时段,在过去的三十年中,您几乎见证了中国水墨的发展,且自90年代起,您就一直大量频繁地在国外参展,就您的经历体验而言,现今中国水墨传播和受众的情况是?

朱:水墨画的传播和辐射范围客观地说仅限于亚洲或者世界各地有华人的地方,说亚洲那还是好听的,其实仅限于中日韩,港澳台地区和东南亚。印度和古埃及以及古巴比伦所在的中亚以及亚洲西部两河流域地区是另外两个文明古国和另外两种文化,他们的历史更加悠久,源远流长。

水墨画传到韩国改叫"韩国画",宋代的时候传到日本,日本人严格遵循水墨画的既有格式加以继承,由于是舶来品无法创新发展,所以至今保留着宋时期的水墨特征和文人画意境,称作"南画"。东南亚国家大部分是岛国,人类文明发展起步晚又加上后来被欧洲殖民,虽然地处亚洲离中日韩很近,但由于还没来得及形成自己的文字,比如越南、印尼、马来西亚,他们现在的语言文字是从欧美文字体系演变而来,书写和发音更接近欧美,菲律宾、新加坡索性直接使用英语作为官方语言,这就天然的对使用象形文字的中国文化形成了阻隔。

Scope:面对愈加同质化的时风,中国艺术的内涵很大程度已经被"当代"这个概念掏空,水墨尽管生长于中国本土,但外界的渗透和文化的断层也使其本土化的发展不再纯粹,且容易陷入到文化身份的紧张当中,您怎样理解当代水墨和中国当代艺术之间的关系?

朱:中国的丹青水墨承载着几千年的奴隶和封建社会的价值观和社会发展的痕迹,作品更多的是描写记录,展示艺术家手上的功力,最多只是抱怨,几乎没有反思的意思,这就定位了水墨画作为一种艺术形式它的深度广度乃至最高水平,它和当代艺术的价值观有着天壤之别,这一点在过去和将来都影响着水墨画的发展和传播,也就是人们俗称的国际化。

Scope:在谈论很多问题的时候,语境都是一个基点,从世界范围来看,中国当代艺术实际上处在某种失语的状态,而水墨的话语权恰恰在中国人手里,对于这样两种截然不同的话语表症,您的看法是?

朱:失语是应该的,西方当代艺术的发生发展有一百多年的历史才初步形成如今的面貌。一九八九年中国美术馆的当代艺术大展,当代艺术在中国初现端倪,策展人站在美术馆的台阶上高声向世人宣布:中国的艺术家们用了短短的十年时间就走完了西方艺术家们一百年来走过的路。这句话就证明了一切。

当代艺术连同油画一起完全是舶来品,用他人的IP就要尊重他人的习惯、风俗、喜好,了解它的脉络走向,避免一知半解弄出笑话。谦虚一点不是坏事,凡事儿要有个先来后到,要有敬畏,要有教养。

水墨则不然,它完全是我们自己的原创,有两千七百多年的历史,比油画的出现早了两千多年,它的话语权当然在我们手里。李小山提出的中国画穷途末路说,西方艺术家批评家历史学者没有一个站出来质疑的,这就证明了它的话语权在我们手里,只有我们可以发声解释以及预测它的未来,当然,我们也会和西方当代艺术一样希望更多的国家和更多来自世界各地的艺术家参与其中,为人类的终极理想服务。

Scope:虽然水墨的话语权掌握在中国人手里,但它的影响力目前还是很有限的,难以跟西方形成真正平等的对话,且水墨的评判标准体系一直没能建立起来,您认为问题可能出现在哪里?

朱:价值观不同。任何艺术形式背后都依托于艺术家们所认可的价值观和理论体系,不是在瞎玩。我们的当代艺术玩起来难看,捉襟见肘,是因为我们只是在表面模仿,不知其所以然,我们的艺术家很少有这方面价值观的体验,故有些作品让人看着很难受,艺术家自己也哭笑不得。这种模仿的路数怎么能构成对话,就像一个小学生怎么能完成和大学校长的对话,就更别提平等对话了。

水墨的评判体系其实有,一直都有,只是它的价值取向和西方当代艺术相去甚远,可以说驴头不对马尾,这里就不方便细说了。

关于朱伟

生于1966年,当代艺术家,中国当代水墨的探索者。自九十年代初开始以水墨画在国际大型展览亮相,在世界各地举办超过200次大型展览,先后出版三十部不同文字的绘画专集、回顾专集。国内外有四十三家美术馆、博物馆收藏了其超过七十件作品。