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交叉的平行线,手迹与心迹

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交叉的平行线,手迹与心迹

王璜生的新作《渗》是一件体量不大的装置作品。在一个长3米,宽1.3米的长方形不锈钢器物中,注满了墨和水的混合物,横贯其中的是一块高1.0米的薄铁板,铁板前后被生宣纸覆盖着,生宣纸表面全部用黄颜色精心滴淋处理,以至于如果不看作品说明,观众会误以为这块铁板是一块特制的类似于宣纸的厚纸板。再加上这件装置作品是在纸非纸展上展出,更给人一种误读,几乎坚信这块非纸的铁板的质地是纸。这块纸铁板被安置在不锈钢池中的墨水间。墨水处于静止状态,而纸铁板则轻灵多变,优雅的轮廓在空中自由舒展。连接这一黑一黄两个大色块的,是墨水与纸铁板之间交界处水墨在宣纸上的痕迹,这些痕迹呈深紫褐色,状如河边的密林。密林的倒影复制于水中。

王璜生将自己的第一个综合性的个展称之为后雅兴,并且征求我的意见。我最初的反应是,这与他在中央美术学院美术馆做的超有机展一样,新颖倒是新颖,但阐释起来可是相当费劲。不过看了他的大部分作品之后,我对这个展览主题倒是十分认可的,因为他的作品与超有机展的作品不一样,并没有那么深奥难懂。

时代变迁与社会转型所导致的艺术变革,与其说是产生了新的观念、手法、形式或趣味,不如说是改变了对人生、对世界、对艺术的不同态度和在生活中的存在方式。当下,我们好像已经很难单纯地从艺术家作品本身的作品性-一种线性思维来判断其艺术的当代性体现,而更注重艺术家整体的生存经验和身份处境,包括他们的自省、思考和信息处理等综合因素的考察。也就是说,对作品乃至艺术家的分析已经扩展并演绎到他们的工作和行为方式的整体状态之中,而作品本身只是其中需要考察的一个环节或层面,其多维度的综合能力和对当代文化的敏锐,以及为我们的社会、我们的艺术生态所带来的有效性影响与作用,或许更为关键与重要。至于其作品究竟如何,我以为既不是最重要的方面,也不能简单地按以往的判断标准来给予衡量与评介。因为,重要的不仅仅是艺术,艺术或许还是人生的一个意外。

水在人类文化的描述和人们的观念中,一般以动、静两种形态为其主要存在方式所谓流水不腐即是从水的流动特性上进行界定,而静水流深则是从水的静止表象切入其内在本质的描述。王璜生在《渗》中对水的使用,即是后一种方式。

说到雅兴,雅俗之辩不可不察。雅在古代文献中的意思是标准和规范,《毛诗序》谓,雅者,正也。言王政之所由废兴也。《荀子荣辱》篇谓,君子安雅,所谓正人君子,即正而有美德者谓之雅。雅兴即高雅的兴趣,古人认为雅人深致,即风雅的人才有深远的意趣。而中国古代文人最喜欢的雅集,是指文人雅士吟咏诗文,议论学问的聚会。雅集一词源于中国文化史上著名的西园雅集。北宋年间,苏轼、苏辙、黄庭坚、秦观、李公麟以及僧人圆通、道士陈碧虚等人会于驸马都尉王诜府邸西园,写诗作文,品茶寻韵。另一个著名的文人雅集则是晋代王羲之在《兰亭序》里所记载的兰亭雅集,暮春之初,群贤毕至,流觞曲水,游目骋怀,其言行诗文之雅为一时之盛。

王璜生是美术馆馆长,也是艺术家、策展人,他以多重身份与角色活跃于中国当代艺术的江湖,其不同身份的转化、交叉、平行在王璜生身上表现得较为明显与充分,这也是艺术界的一种现象。艺术家从事艺术管理与领导工作的同时,在艺术创作上又能不断创新,并兼而得之,二者结合最好的例子之一,在我印象里,前辈中应该是在中国美协长期担任领导工作的华君武了。当然这与他从事漫画创作的特点有些关系。作为艺术家,王璜生从上世纪80年代伊始,就介入到中国当代艺术的进程之中。他在进行水墨创作实践的同时,编辑、出版艺术的杂志和书籍,策划一系列的展览和研讨活动。作为美术馆馆长,王璜生在中国的美术馆公共艺术机构的功能建制上是功不可没的。他1996年任职于广东美术馆副馆长和2000年任馆长后,广东美术馆品牌性的广州当代艺术三年展、广州摄影双年展、中国水墨实验20年展、中国人本纪实在当代大型摄影展、国际交流性展览等等,以及对广东地区美术史的挖掘、梳理、收藏,在美术史和文献的编辑出版等等方面,可以说王璜生的艺术履历与艺术生态的关系,见证了中国当代艺术的发展曲折进程。而他2009年赴京担任中央美术学院美术馆馆长后,广东美术馆的日渐衰落,而中央美术学院美术馆的崛起,也是有目共睹的事实。在一个依靠人治而非机制完善规范的中国现实来说,这也是一个无奈的结局与值得思考的问题。

展出第一天,本来处于静止状态的墨水沿着宣纸逐渐渗化开来,形成现在看到的如密林般的形态。墨水分分秒秒都在动,只是王璜生用某种方法控制了墨水在宣纸上正常的渗化速度,以致于肉眼或人的耐性几乎看不到墨水的渗化。密林的生成在不经意间,每一天去展厅看,密林的形状、高度与色彩、肌理、层次都发生了变化,而这变化又难以描述到底是什么时候发生的,就像时间不经意间地流逝将不变的天空划分成了人肉眼中的白天和黑夜。

按照我的理解,后雅兴也就是雅兴之后。在今天,古代文人的这种雅兴是否还能继续?王璜生的作品,其实不是提出问题,而是表达出他对于今日社会、人生、艺术的态度。在我看来,这种态度,就是走出传统水墨画中那种文人的诗意,直观视觉艺术的真实图像,在更具视觉要素张力的图像结构形式中,寻找今人的精神家园。

王璜生的水墨艺术创作,既承传了中国传统文人水墨绘画的禀赋与气质,又有水墨画革新后与西方绘画相关联的特点,但我更看重的是他在水墨形式上的实验性探索。我记得早在2002年,我们一起策划首届广州当代艺术三年展时,看过

从这个意义上说,时间,是解读王璜生《渗》作品的关键。通过墨水缓慢地渗透在宣纸中的过程,王璜生将时间物化了,时间从而成为他创作的重要媒材。据说,在提供作品说明信息时,王璜生在创作媒材一栏写的是:宣纸、铁板、墨、水、时间。看来,他对时间的思考超越于一般的艺术家对时间的认识,当他将时间上升到作为创作媒材的角度来思考时,起码在观念上,他已区别于他人。

作为一个水墨画家,王璜生出于绘画世家,早在1980年代就已经显示出他对于写意水墨的爱好与才能,当然他的早期作品并未出脱于当时流行的写意水墨,并且也有较强的写生意味,描绘性的现实生活物象成为其表现主体。但是真正使王璜生的艺术得以升华,还是他进入专业创作机构广东画院以后,纵观那时以来王璜生的艺术创作,大体可以分为三个阶段。

他针对911事件创作的水墨装置作品《文明祭》,而他今年在纸非纸中日纸艺术展第一回中展出水墨装置作品《渗》,虽然放弃了传统文人画笔性的规约,却坚持使用了水、墨元素。从表面上看这点具有承传的意义或对传统的尊重,其关键是他利用了水墨渗透的潜隐方式,这在中国传统的思维中是对中国水墨艺术本质的一种物理形态的表现。他把动态、通透的水墨流变和相对静态的硬边铁板予以并置,再慢慢融合成墨与水的景观,实现了在一个新的语境中自由穿越的可能性,反映了作为艺术家的王璜生,既利用中国传统的思维方式对物态本身的认知和态度,又赋予了一种具有通约性的形式结构。这是我理解这件作品的中国性、当代性显现的个案之一。其实,要真正和当代发生关系,就不必强调把笔墨或墨性本身视为一个前提,或者将其视为一个思考的因素。在图像技术处理相当发达的今天,艺术家可选择的技能手段和材料似乎已不在话下。而且中国传统水墨艺术形成了一套非常完善的评价体系,所以要变革,必须在概念、观念和语言方式上有所变化,这是水墨画家面临的一个主要难题。也许真正对传统水墨发挥颠覆性作用在于思想观念和方法论,才能使中国的水墨艺术创作带有一种本质意义上的推进。因为,对当代文化境遇的思考和敏锐,将导致对旧有艺术形式在方法论上的改造,而艺术家需要的是用一种规定为艺术的方法来体现这种思想和观念。

在后现代艺术批评语境中,时间,既不是古典论断认为的那样具有线性的发展轨迹清晰可辨,因此可以用过去、现在、未来切割有序,古典主义的时间更多时候被空间化了;又非现代阐释中柏格森所描述的那样是绵延,作为绵延的时间拒绝将自身空间化,它的存在不是线性的,而是同时的,多维的;在后现代主义者看来,时间的本质具有非连续性、偶然性、

第一个阶段,是90年代早中期他在广东画院时期的创作。这一时期王璜生的创作,主体是画行云、流水、草屋、星座、屏风等,概言之,画天地万物及其相互关系。以天地为代表的系列作品,表现了气势礴大的中国文化,着重于画面小空间与大千世界的沟通。通过对假山石、园林、花木的描绘,进而触及画家的心灵,使人在精神世界中拥有万物,与宇宙相通。这一时期,他的作品具有杯中乾坤,俯仰天地的宏大胸怀。

而从他2009年开始创作的线索系列,到2011年的游象系列作品中,我以为不能简单地从他所谓以往作品的具象到抽象变化来进行评介,而是从他面对复杂的生存境遇方面给予阐释。在我看来,王璜生并非仅仅专注于中国水墨绘画的意境、情结的隐秘性,而是通过缠绕的线体表露一种内心化的倾诉,从而使画面的整体结构形成一种多声部的合奏式基调,或者说是围绕着同一种心绪的多声共鸣曲。他的实验水墨创作,正是由他生存处境和态度所决定的,意味和强化了一种对现实的无奈和无法把握的无限冲突与矛盾,仿佛被裹狭在其中的我们,没有起点也没有终点。线与线的交叉、隔空,墨与白与灰的对比,在无形与有形、虚与实的结构中,都融入一个现实所处的尴尬境地。除了这种内心的叙述话语,以及多声部共鸣的复调式结构之外,王璜生的艺术还在于他图像的处理上进行的一系列视觉张力的设置。这种张力并非只是体现在墨荷、缠枝、向日葵等某个自然物象、景致之中,而是使整个画面处在一种饱和的张力场中。他有意打乱了结构的次序,把它切割成无数的碎片,然后在斑驳背景上痕迹的连接,在真实中引进梦幻,并随着它们伫立、摇曳和具有魅惑的姿态,无疑为他艺术表现的内心上,提供了广阔而又深邃的生存背景,提供了一种沉郁、惆怅的神秘。而这种神秘的震颤,铺垫了视觉主干的质地,达到了真实和梦幻产生间隔与交杂,使清晰变成如梦似幻的影像,这种影像再与真实形态的叠加来拓展主题的容量,使单纯的线性思绪变成水墨氤氲,并升腾为弥漫性因素。这是一种相互关系的感触。同时,我揣测他的艺术创作还具有放诞的行为意识。这不是指涉他在具体生活中的行为举止,而是指在他的艺术创作中的放诞情态。这种放诞,就是狂放中具有怪诞的意味。作为放诞的艺术家,多半有非凡的才智,向往精神的自由自在,仰慕人格上的超迈拔俗,追求样式上的随意与无拘无束。或许日常工作的繁杂琐碎,抑或烦闷的情绪导致了王璜生在守望星辰时,灵魂出窍般地游象踪迹。

不可确定性,它尤其使主体感到了缺失。在没有目睹事物怎样变成现在而不是以前,或者说怎样变成今天这样而不是昨天那样时,主体的当时不在场使当下的描述变得贫乏,缺乏确凿的或直接的证据。面对时间呈现的现在这个样子,主体变成了鲍德里亚所说的带有滞后性,意即来晚了。主体对时间的体验呈现为非连续性的、断裂的、任意的,就如观者在观看《渗》时候的感受。观者在观念中、在常识里知道,随着时间的流逝,墨水在宣纸上渗化出来的形状和色彩时时刻刻在变化,但是,这种变化太过缓慢,以致于肉眼看不出来。而当肉眼看出来这种变化时,面对变化,观者似乎成为一个来晚了的人,他对此刻呈现的水墨的变化的感知是滞后的、偶然的、不连续的、片段的、碎片的和任意的。

第二个阶段,1990年代后期至新世纪初,王璜生主事广东美术馆。这一时期,他为广东美术馆的事业发展呕心沥血,投入很多时间,没有更多的时间专注于大幅创作,转而创作了一批小幅的花卉作品。这个后来被定名为悠然的系列作品多为彩色的小作品,其中透露出他努力走向抽象、运用笔墨更加不拘一格,关注的重点是表现对象的抽象性关系。王璜生笔下的花瓶,和现代生活有关系,其潇洒自由的表现、着重于笔、水、纸诸中国画元素的探索。王璜生笔下的画面点划披离,落英缤纷,高扬一种自由无拘的精神。

那么,王璜生的这种探索是止于形而下层面的形式,还是建构于实验水墨的当代精神审视的形而之上呢?显然,他都是有所思考的。在他的作品中,虽然是以一种水墨混沌的语言来表达意向的,但观者能明显地感受到时代变迁和社会转型期间,传统与当代、东方与西方的矛盾与冲突,展现了生存的困境、人性的紧张扭曲和心理的焦虑。这是王璜生个人经验、状态的直接性展开,也是他纪实与虚构的实验方式。王璜生的这些作品之所以能够引起我的共鸣,恰恰是因为我们也正在经历类似作品中的繁复的心理状态,而他作品图式瞬间所传达的意象,以及那些令人困惑的状态仍在继续发生着,我们仿佛像是在夹缝中遭受生存与精神挤压的都市人,很难寻觅到真正活着的姿态和精神的栖居地。所以容易产生共鸣,但这共鸣本身还需要进一步反省,因为引起共鸣的内容不是个体自我自然生长出来的,也不是个体自我主动求索得到的,而是一个时代和社会强加给我们的,几乎没有谁能够躲避和拒绝这种强加,我们只好按照时代和社会的规定性成长,到后来就造成这样的历史事实:我们以为是我们个人的,其实差不多是我们大家共同的经验和处境。

然而,时间在《渗》中空间化的呈现似乎又是古典的。首先,《渗》使观者看到墨水浸透了宣纸,而宣纸上的水墨又湿了铁板,铁板因而渗锈了,锈又渗过宣纸,凝结在其上,成了铁在纸上开的花。锈花在黄的纸铁板映衬下呈深紫色,深紫色的锈花比衬得墨水呈深蓝色,一眼望去,一幅古典意蕴深厚的水墨画卷展开在眼前,而其创作手法和呈现方式却又是以装置这一后现代艺术形态呈现出来。尤其是纸铁板的整体造型象一幅中国传统卷轴长卷,文人气息浓郁,不但改变了铁的质感,而且改变了铁作为工业文明标志的特性。此外,水墨在生宣纸上自然渗化所形成的肌理,与一般水墨画家常用的撞水、撞粉法效果相似。王璜生将一般水墨画家的日常劳作交给了自然来替他完成,或者让渡给了作品《渗》自己来完成。《渗》每天、每时每刻都在劳作着,在渗着,在代替他进行着他永远都在生成中的《渗》的创作。从某种意义上看,王璜生的《渗》横跨了古典与当代艺术。

第三个阶段,王璜生于2009年调入中央美术学院,任职中央美院美术馆馆长。这一时期,由于对中西现当代艺术的广泛接触,视野开阔,他的水墨画艺术进入一个广泛的探索时期,既有前两个时期风格的深入与延续,也开始向更加纯粹性的现代水墨艺术过渡。最引人注目的,是王璜生开始超越前期作品中那种对笔、墨、色、线综合性的均衡表现,转向对水墨艺术基本元素的深入研究,这一探索的结果,是王璜生笔下一批以线条为特色的作品的诞生。这批作品的线索可以追溯到2008年-2009年王璜生画过的树木枝条。这批作品虽然保持了中国水墨画的笔韵,但具有很强的现代视觉形式。我个人是非常喜欢这批作品的,它们具有美国画家波洛克作品中的那种行动性,从作品的观看过程中,观众可以感受到艺术家的激情以及绘画时的速度感。

冯博一 评论家,策展人

《渗》的文化意义的所指似乎更引人深思。当观者的视线穿过《渗》这件作品悦目的表面时,其背后所看到的,则是中国古典文化与当代工业文明、中国古典审美意境与当代艺术形态之间的对话。这对话又因了墨水在宣纸上非常缓慢地变化而变得具有了历史感。诚然,习俗的更改,观念的更替,社会的转变,文化的变迁,多是在缓慢、不经意间形成,这被文化史学家描述为历史的常态。而这样的缓慢变化经常会使本来博弈的双方变为相互渗透。当水墨使铁板生锈时,仿佛工业文明被传统文化消化了;而当铁锈穿透宣纸,在宣纸上遍地开花时,又似乎工业文明覆盖了传统文化;但当细究铁锈的立足之地时,又发现它若不是沾附在宣纸上哪里来的一派似锦繁花般的绚烂?而这如花的铁锈,虽是铁的产儿,却也是水墨催生而来。如此说来,这二者此时已不分彼此,而是你中有我,我中有你,互相作用下,新由此而生。

王璜生近期作品中的线条非常自由,过滤掉了许多东西。但他坚持线条中有中国画的笔墨,使自己的作品保持着中国画特有的笔墨意味。当然,处在转型探索的初期,这批作品的质量并不均衡,好的作品给人以潇洒自由的感觉,个别不好的作品看上去就比较单薄。与美国抽象表现主义相似,王璜生的作品在体量上也由小品走向巨幅,他画过不少丈二的大画,但画面结构与形式却更加单纯。王璜生认为,画大画给他带来了解放感,非常愉快。当他挥笔向纸时,在画面上具有充分的线条自由,而画画的过程也由于偶然性的加入,摆脱了传统写意画的程式,使得画画的行为与痕迹都特别丰富。这符合王璜生一贯的作风,他画画要的是好玩和痛快,虽然是专业画家出身,但他一直有一种业余的心态即无功利的态度。而王璜生的绘画理想就是想摆脱一看就是中国画的东西,在画面上寻找更现代的语言形式和精神意象。他喜欢在线条的自由行走中传递出一种创造过程中的灵气,使画面中的空间获得流动的感觉。

2012年5月6日

从这个意义上说,王璜生的《渗》,也许表明了他对待文化的一种姿态,这种文化姿态表现在王璜生对古典文明与当代文化,田园传统与工业文明,古典审美意境与当代艺术表现形态之间关系的思考中,正如他的装置作品所呈现的一样,在不停歇地、时刻地,渗着。

纵观王璜生的水墨画,三个时期的绘画面貌有很大不同,似乎追求的旨趣方向各异。但我认为,其间有一些共同的东西。无论是写生风景或是写意花卉,我们可以暂时放弃对于王璜生不同时期绘画的整体形象的观看。专从局部观察,王璜生在不同时期的创作中,始终保持着对于单纯性的笔墨符号的组织并置的关注,对于线条、墨迹等单纯性的构成要素质量的关注。这构成了他作品中的现代性的价值。在他的三个时期的作品中,我们都可以看到,某些笔墨的痕迹,在表现物象和形体的同时,如树枝、花叶等,逐渐脱离主体形象,追随画家心绪,在画面上自由组合,形成新的视觉结构关系。与蒙德里安作品中的抽象性发展相似,王璜生近期作品中的线条的交织,其实来源于他早期作品中树枝的相互缠绕。

The Crossed Parallels Reform in art led to by the changes of times and society has not so much changed different attitudes towards life, world, art and living ways in life and different living ways, as having produced new concepts, approaches, form or interest. At present, it seems that its quite difficult to judge the contemporaneity of art with a kind of linear thinking way, namely purely from the nature of artists work itself; but rather, we pay more attention to the integral life experiences and identity in the environment, including observation on comprehensive elements like their self-retrospection, meditation and information process. In another word, analysis upon artworks and artists has been expanded and represented in the integral condition of their work and behavior form, while the work itself is merely one layer to be regarded; maybe the multi-dimensional comprehensive capability and the keenness towards contemporary culture, as well as the effective influence and significance brought to our society and art ecology are more important and critical. As to how on earth the works are, I do neither regard it to be the most important aspect nor measure or comment it with the past criterion. Because it is not only art that is important, maybe art is no more than a fortuity of life.

郭红梅 中央美术学院美术史博士,中央美术学院美术馆研究人员

这种现代性的价值追求其实在石涛的时代就已经开始。相对于传统绘画要求负载政治、道德与文学的价值,石涛将绘画的视觉性置于创作的中心地位,他突出个人基于对自我的了解,代山川而言,履行天赋的责任。搜尽奇峰打草稿的过程其实超越了传统的程式化权威结构,建立起在个人实证经验上的认识论框架。石涛正是在这样一种主体性原则上,建立起一种与个人心迹相符合的新的笔墨结构和语言形式。

Wang Huangsheng is a Director of art museum, and an artist and curator as well. He is active in the contemporary art circles of China with multiple identities; the transformation, crossing and parallel of different identities represent obviously and amply on Wang Huangsheng, which is also a kind of phenomenon in the world of art. While being engaged in managing and leading art career, some artists can constantly make innovation in art creation and gain achievement in both; one of the best model who could combine the two works well should be, in my memory, Hua Junwu of the older generation who worked as a leader in China Artists Association for a long term. Certainly this had some relationship with the feature of his cartoon art creation. As an artist, Wang Huangsheng has engaged himself in the process of Chinese contemporary art from early 1980s (Modern Art: The Fuzzed Nationality and Diversified Personality, by Wang Huangsheng, 1st Issue, 1986 of The Trend of Art Thought ). When he was doing ink and wash painting creation, he also edited and published magazines and books of art, and curated a series of exhibitions as well as seminars. As the director of art museum, Wang Huangshengs donation in the function construction of public art institutions like art museums in China can never be obliterated. When he took the position of vice-director of Guangdong Museum of Art in 1996 and director in 2000, the Guangzhou Contemporary Art Triennial, Guangzhou Photo Biennale, China Experimental Ink and Wash 20 Years Exhibition, Humanism In China: Contemporary Record of Photography Exhibition as well as international communication exhibitions as brand of the Guangdong Museum of Art , together with the exploration, classification and collection of the art history of Guangdong area, the edition and publishing of art history and other documents, as the art career record of Wang Huangsheng and his relationship with the art ecology, has witnessed the tortuous process of development of Chinese contemporary art. Yet from when he was transferred to Beijing as the director of CAFA Art Museum in 2009, Guangdong Museum of Art went downhill gradually and we could all see the blooming of CAFA Art Museum. In Chinese reality which depends on the rule of man rather than institution to complete rules, this might be a somewhat helpless outcome and a problem worth reflection.

2012年1月15日

王璜生的近期作品,让我想到著名画家尚扬最近在清华大学美术馆举办的重要个展,其主题是日志与手迹,这一主题标示了当代艺术中艺术家对于个体心性的自我品味与不断反思的重要性。在某种意义上,艺术作品中的线条与色彩,都是一种绘画过程中的痕迹,它们也是画家内心世界的外在表达。手迹即心迹,王璜生作品中的线条组织看似杂乱无序,其实反映了画家内心对于画面视觉构成的敏感,也映现出画家当下的心绪流淌。这种反映主体精神能量的画面形态,其实与传统文人画的诗意和雅兴无关,它们更多的不是来自绘画中的文学传统,而是来自于当下的社会现实与视觉文化环境,具有丰富的象征意象。

Wang Huangshens ink and wash art creation has both inherited the spirit and quality of Chinese traditional literati ink and wash painting, and shown characteristics of the reformed ink and wash art which is associated with western painting; however, what I value more is his experimental exploration in form of ink and wash. In my memory, early in 2002 when we co-curated the 1stGuangzhou Contemporary Art Triennial, I saw his ink and wash installation work Civilization Sacrifice (2002) pointing to the 911, while this year, his ink and wash installation work Seeping exhibited in the Paper Non-Paper: The 1st China-Japan Paper Art Exhibition, although given up the rules on brush in traditional literati painting, but elements like water and ink were still kept in use. Superficially, this point showed the meaning of inheritance or respect for tradition, but whats critical is that he utilized the way to show ink and water, namely seeping, which, in traditional thought of China, is a kind of physical representation of the essence of Chinese ink and wash art. Wang juxtaposed the flowing ink and water with the comparatively still hard edged iron plate, and then slowly merge them to show the landscape of ink and water; he realized the possibility to go freely through a new context and reflected that, on one side the recognition and attitude towards material in a traditional Chinese thought of Wang Huangsheng as an artist, and on another side, the formal structure which has something universal bestowed by him to it. This is one of the study case in which I understand the Chinese nature and the reflected contemporaneity. In fact, if you really want to be related to contemporary, it is unnecessary to emphasize brush or ink as a premise, or a factor to concern. Today when image processing technique is fairly well developed, approaches and materials available for artists are no longer problematic at all. Moreover, a set of very complete comment system has been established in traditional ink and wash art of China, therefore, to reform, one must make changes in concept, idea and linguistic form, which is a main difficult problem the ink and wash artists are facing. Maybe it is precisely the ideology and methodology that could make overwhelming impact on traditional ink and wash, and could make essential steps forward in the ink and wash art creation of China. Because, meditation and sensitivity upon contemporary cultural context will lead to methodological changes to old art forms and what our artists need is to reflect this thought and concept in a way defined to be art.

Seeping: A Cultural Attitude Wang Huangshengs recent, Seeping, is a small size installation. A rectangular stainless-steel device of 3m in long and 1.3m in wide is full of mixture of ink and water (called as ink-water following), and a thin iron plate of 1m in high traverses it. The front and back of the iron plate is covered by raw rice paper. Surface of those rice paper has been processed with yellow drops, so that if one does not look at the caption, he shall assume that the plate is a thick cardboard similar with rice paper. Additionally, this installation work is shown at the exhibition Not Only Paper, it gives viewers a misreading: they almost convince that this hard texture of iron plate, as like this non-paper is real paper (paper/iron-plate), and this paper/iron-plate is placed in the ink-water within the stainless steel pool. Ink-water is in stationary state, while paper/iron-plate changeable, its elegant contour stretches freely in the air. Traces of water and ink in rice paper between the interface of ink-water and paper/iron-plate connect two color blocks of black and yellow. And these traces appear as dark purple-brown, such like dense forest along the river. And reflection of jungle is copies in water.

殷双喜 中央美术学院教授

Yet from his Clue Series started in 2009, to the Moving Visions Series of his works created in 2011, they could be commented in the way of the so called from figurative to abstract which was for his earlier works, but rather, they need to be interpreted from the complicated life circumstances he faced. In my mind, Wang Huangsheng is not merely focusing on the conception of Chinese ink and wash painting as well as the secrecy of emotion, but rather, he revealed a kind of internal outpouring through the twining lines, thus he could make the integral structure of the picture form a kind of ensemble-style tone with multi-voice, or in another word a kind of multi-voice sonata around the same mood. His experimental ink and wash creation was defined by his life circumstances and his attitude, signifying and emphasizing a kind of helplessness towards the reality, as well as a kind of uncontrollable endless conflicts and paradox, which are similar to us among them who have neither starting point nor end. The crossing of lines and spaces between them, the comparison between ink and white, grey, have all merged into an awkward state of the reality in the structure of formless and concrete, true and false. Except for the narration discourse from the inner heart, and the multi-tone structure with multi-voice resonance, Wang Huangshengs art is also special in his image processing which set a kind of visual tension. This tension is not only reflected in some natural objects and sceneries like lotus, twinning branches and sunflowers, but rather, he put the whole picture into a kind of saturated scene of tension. He disordered the structure intentionally and cut it into countless fragments, then he connects their traces on the mottled background, and introduced dream into reality; moreover, along with their charming postures of standing, dancing and others, undoubtedly, broad and profound survival background, and a kind of gloomy and melancholic mystery are also provided for his inner artistic representation. This kind of mysterious tremble has bedded the essence of main visual body and achieved the spaces between dream and reality as well as their merging; the clear changed into illusory images and then this kind of images are overlapped with realistic shapes to explore the capacity of the subject; pure linear thought changed into ink and water and is raised to become permeating factors. This is a kind of sensation of mutual relationship. Meanwhile, I think, his art creation also has a kind of wild behavioural consciousness. This does not refer to his behaviour in specific life, but to his wildness in his artistic creation. This wildness means the fanciful sense in his unconstrainedness. Bold and wild artist mostly owns outstanding ability and wisdom, they pursue freedom in spirit and admire transcendence in personality, moreover the randomness and freedom in style. Maybe the busy and trivial daily work or the depressed and bored mood has led to Wang Huangshengs Motion/Imagination traces in his Watching the Star like an astral trip.

In the description of human culture and attitude, water has two forms of static and dynamic as their primary modes of existence - so called flowing water does not rot defines flow characteristics of the water, and still water runs deep s a description from waters still imagery to its inner nature. Wang Huangsheng uses the last mode in Seeping.

2012年5月1日

Then, is this exploration of Wang Huangsheng a form stopped on the immetaphysical level or a metaphysical insight of contemporary spirit constructed on experimental ink and wash? Obviously, he had reflection on both of them. In his artworks, although he used a kind of chaotic language of ink and wash to express his willing, yet viewers could obviously sense the age vicissitudes as well as the conflicts and contradictions between traditional and contemporary, oriental and western in a social transformation period, and that his works reflected survival dilemma, tension and distortion of humanity, and the psychological anxiety. This is direct unfolding of Wang Huangshengs personal experience and condition, as well as his experimental approach on facts record and fiction. The reason why these artworks by Wang Huangsheng could raise my sympathy is precisely that we are also experiencing the similar complicated psychological condition expressed in these works; the imagery expressed in his pictures in a flash as well as those confusing conditions are still going on; we urbanites who are living a life under both survival and spiritual pressure like in a crack, can hardly found the authentic posture of living and the rest of spirit. This is why sympathy is easily raised; however, the sympathy itself needs further reflection. Because the content that raised sympathy is not growing up naturally in individuals or pursued actively by individuals, but is imposed on us by this time and society while hardly anyone could avoid and refuse this imposed thing; we can only grow up under the rule of time and society and then the present historical facts are made: we think this is our personal thing, but actually it is almost the common experiences and situation of all of us.

This image was taken at noon on the first day of exhibition, the still ink-water gradually infltrated along rice paper, formed the jungle-like state as now we see. Ink-water move every minute and every second, only Wang Huangsheng controls in some way the seepage velocity of ink-water, so tht naked eyes or peoples patience almost cannot see the seepage of ink-water. Jungle emerges casually, when one visits the exhibition hall each day, the shape, height and color, texture, and layer of jungle had changed and it is difficult to describe when these changes had happed. As like casual passing of time divids unchanging sky into day and night in human eyes.

Post Refined Joy: Traces of Hand and Heart Wang Huangsheng named his first comprehensive solo exhibition as Post Refined Joy and asked for my opinion. My first response was that it was quite innovative but was very difficult to interpret, just the same as the Super-Organism exhibition curated by him at CAFA Art Museum. However, after viewing the majority of his works, I gave high recognition to the exhibition theme because his works, different from the works of Super-Organism, were not so esoteric.

Feng Boyi Critic, Curator

In this sense, time is the key to interpret Wang Huangshengs Seeping. By the process of ink-water slowly seepaged in the rice paper, Wang Huangsheng materialized the time, so time becomes an important medium in his work. It is said that when Wang Huanghsneg provided information on works, he wrote in the column Medium: rice paper, iron-plate, ink, water, time. It appears that his thinking of the time go beyond other artists awareness of time; when he thought of time rose to a creative medium, at least in concept, he is distinct from the others.

Speaking of refined joy, the debate of the refined and the popular must be carefully studied. The refined means standards and norms in the ancient literature, so-called Refinement is Correctness in Prelude of Mao Poem. Its the reason for the rise and decline of emperors reign. Chapter of Honor and Disgrace of Xunzi said that Gentlemen are satisfied with the correct path. The so called gentlemen are the men who are correct and virtuous are called the refined. The ancients believed that refined men have profound joy which means only the refined men have profound joy and charm. And the refined gathering which were favored by the ancient Chinese scholars means the gathering in which scholars recite poetry and discuss knowledge. The word refined gathering originates from the famous Refined Gathering at West Garden in the history of Chinese culture. In the Northern Song Dynasty, Su Shi, Su Zhe, Huang Tingjian, Qin Guan, Li Gongli, Monk Yuantong and Taoist priest Chen Bixu gathered to write poems and articles, drink tea and seek rhymes at the West Garden in the mansion of Commandant Wang Shen who was the son-in-law of the emperor. Another well-known scholarly gathering is the refined gathering at Orchid Gathering recorded by Wang Xizhi of the Jin Dynasty in his Preface of Orchid Pavilion. At the beginning of late spring, a large number of talented people arrived. They played the drinking game, viewing the distant landscape and broadened their minds. The refinement of their words, deeds, poems and articles reached the peak of that time.

May 6, 2012

In context of post-moderism critique, time cannot be distinguishable as linear trace of development as classical assertions., so it can be cut orderly as the past, now and future. The time of classicism is spatialized often; and it is not stretch as Bergson described in modern interpretations, because stretched time refuses to be spatialized and its existence is not linear., but simultaneity, multi-dimensinal; in the opinions of post-moderists, the nature of time is non-continuity, contingency and uncertainity, in particular makes the subject feel of absense. Without witnessing how things become now instead of before, or today instead of yesterday, the subjects absence at that time makes the current description more poor, lacking of clear or direct evidence. Confronted with like this shown by time, the subject has a hysteresis, as like Baudrillard had said, it means come lately. The subjects experience of time appears as non-continuity, broken and arbitrary, just as viewers are watching the Seeping. Viewer knows by concept and common sense that, with the passing of time, shapes and colors seepaged by ink-water in the rice paper always change so slow, that it is invisible to the naked eyes. And when you see it with the naked eye, in the face of change, viewer seems to be a late coming people; his perceptioon of changes of ink-water is lagging, incidental, non-continuous, fragmental and arbitrary.

As I understand it, the Post Refined Joy means after refined joy. Today, is this refined joy of ancient scholars still able to continue? The works of Wang Huangsheng actually do not raise a question, but express his attitude towards todays society, life and art. In my opinion, this attitude is walking out of the scholars poetic quality in traditional ink paintings, directly facing the real image of visual art and seeking the spiritual home for contemporaries in the image structure and form with more visual extension.

However, the spatial appearance of time in Seeping seems to be classical. Firstly, it enables viewer to see that ink-water seepages through the rice paper, and ink-water in rice paper wets the iron-plate, and iron-plate effuses rust, thus rust seepages the rice paper, condensed on it, and become flowers in paper by iron. Rust flowers on yellow paper/iron-plate is dark purple, and deep purple rust flowers set off the ink-water as deep blue; with a glance, it looks like a classical ink painting, and its creation and presentation are rendered by installation of postmodern art. Especially the shape of paper/iron-plate looks like a piece of traditional Chinese scroll full of flavour of scholars; it not only changes the texture of iron, but also the properties of iron as a sign of industrial civilization. In addition, texture formed by natural seepages of the ink on rice paper is similiar with methods hit the water or hit the powder which used most often by artists. Wang Huangsheng gives the day-to-day works to the nature, or delivers to the Seeping itself to complete. Seeping works each day and all time and infiltrates, creates the work for him. From some point of view, Wang Huangshengs Seeping comes across the classical and contemporary art.

As an ink painter, Wang Huangsheng was born into a paining family. As early as 1980s, he showed his enthusiasm and talent on freehand brushwork. Certainly, his early works did not free themselves from the popular freehand brushwork of that time. Moreover, they have strong sketching characters with the descriptive real life images as subject of expression. But the time for the real sublimation of his art is after he entered Guangdong Painting Academy, a professional institution for art creation. Throughout Wang Huangshengs art creation since that time, it can be divided into three phases.

The cultural significance of Seeping seems to be more thought-provoking. When viewers sight goes through the beautiful surface of Seeping, what he sees behind is really the dialogue between classical Chinese culture and modern industrial civilization, between classical Chinese aesthetic and contemporary art forms. This dialogue has a senes of history because of the slow changes of ink-water in rice paper. It is true that change of customs, replacement of the concept, change of society and culture, mostly are formed slowly and inadvertently, which is described as the bistorical norm by cultural historians. And such a slow change often makes the both parties of the game to mutual osmosis. When the ink rusts the iron plate, it appears that industrial civilization has been digested by traditional culture; while rust goes through the rice paper and makes flowers on it, it seems that industrial civilization covers traditional culture; but when you discuss carefully the rust, you can find that if it is not attached to the paper, wheres the beautiful flowers? The flower-like rust is the child of iron, but born from the ink-water. That being said, both are common at this time, there is you inside me, by the interaction, the new is born.

The first phase is his creation at Guangdong Painting Academy in the early and middle 1990s. The subjects of Wang Huangshengs creation in this period were floating clouds, flowing water, thatched cottages, constellations and screens. In short, he painted all the things between heaven and earth and their mutual relations. The Heaven and Earth series expresses the majestic Chinese culture and focuses on the communication between the small space of picture and the big world. Through the portrayal of rockery stones, gardens and plants, his paintings touch the painters soul and make people possess everything in the spiritual world and connect with the universe. During this period, his works have great mind which contains the heaven and the earth.

From this meaning, Wang Huangshengs Seeping may indicate his stance toward culture, which expressed in his thinking on relationship between classical civilization and contemporary culture, pastoral tradition and industrial civilization, classical aesthetic mood and forms of contemporary art, as like in his installation works, seepages ceaselessly and constantly.

The second phase is from the late 1990s to the early new century; Wang Huangsheng took charge of Guangdong Museum of Art. During this period, he devoted much of his energy and time to the development of Guangdong Museum of Art and had no much time to focus on the creation of large-scale works. Instead, he created a group of small works of flowers which was named as Leisure series later. This series of works are mostly small colorful works which reveal his efforts to approach abstractness, his more unrestraint using of ink and that his focus is the abstract relations of expression subject. The vases under Wang Huangshengs brush are related to the modern life. The unrestrained expression focuses on the exploration of Chinese painting elements such as brush, water and paper. The picture under Wang Huangshengs brush is scattered with dots and lines like falling flowers which advocate a free spirit.

Guo Hongmei PhD in art history of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Researcher of CAFA Art Museum

The third phase began with Wang Huangshengs transfer to China Central Academy of Fine Arts as the curator of CAFA Art Museum in 2009. During this period, because of extensive contacts with modern and contemporary art of both Chinese and Western, his art vision was wider and his ink painting entered a period of extensive exploration which not only has the deepening and continuing of styles of the first two periods, but also begins the transition to more purely modern ink painting. The most impressive is that Wang Huangsheng began to transcend the comprehensive balanced expression of brush, ink, color and line in his early works and turned to the in-depth study of the basic elements of ink art which led to the creation of a group of works with lines as unique features. This group of works could trace back to the tree branches painted by Wang Huangsheng in 2008 and 2009. Although this group of works maintained the rhyme of Chinese ink painting, they have strong modern visual form. Personally, I am very fond of this group of works. They possess the motion sense expressed in the works of American painter Pollock. In the process of work viewing, viewers are able to feel artists passion and the sense of speed in the painting.

January 15, 2012

The lines in Wang Huangshengs recent works are very free and a lot of things are filtered out. But he insists that the lines have brushstrokes of Chinese painting which makes his works maintain the unique brushstroke meaning of Chinese painting. Certainly, in the early stage of transformation exploration, the qualities of this group of works are not even. The good works give a feeling of unrestrained freedom and some lesser works look insubstantial. Similar to the American abstract expressionism, Wang Huangshengs works move towards large-scale paintings from small ones. He painted a lot of large paintings, but the picture structure and form are purer. Wang Huangsheng thinks that drawing large paintings could bring him a sense of liberation and make him very pleasant. When he wields the brush on the paper, there is full freedom of lines in the picture, and with the fortuity, the process of painting has cut loose from the pattern of traditional freehand brushwork which enriches the acts and traces of painting. This is in line with the consistent style of Wang Huangsheng, what he wants from painting is fun and happiness. Although he is a professional painter, he always has the mind of an amateur, namely the non-utility attitude. The painting ideal of Wang Huangsheng is to get rid of what seems to be Chinese painting at the first sight and seek more modern language form and spiritual image in picture. He likes to convey a kind of divine breath in the free walking of the lines during the process of creation which gives the flowing feeling to the space in the picture.

Throughout Wang Huangshengs ink paintings, the painting features in three different phases are quite different. It seems that they pursue different goals and directions, but I think there are some things in common. Whether it is landscape sketch or freehand flower, we can temporarily give up the viewing of the overall image of his paintings in different phases. Observing from details, we can see that in the creations of different phases, Wang Huangsheng always keeps attention on the organizational juxtaposition of pure ink symbols and the quality of pure component elements such as lines and ink mark. This constitutes the modernity value in his works. In his works of three periods, we can see that while expressing physical image and form such as branches, flowers and leaves, some traces of ink gradually separate from the image of subject, follow the mind of the painter and freely combine in the picture, forming a new relationship of visual structure. Similar to the development of abstractness in Mondrians works, the interweaving of lines in Wang Huangshengs recent works actually comes from the entanglement of branches in his early works.

In fact, this pursuit of modernity value already began in the times of Shi Tao. In comparison with the requirement of traditional painting to carry with it the values of politics, ethics and literature (poetic quality), Shi Tao put the visual sense of painting in the central position of this creation. He highlighted individuals self-understanding, spoke on behalf of the mountains and rivers and fulfilled the God-given responsibility. The process of searching all the wonderful peaks for sketching actually transcends the traditional and stylized authority structure and establishes the epistemological framework on personal empirical experience. Based on such a subjective principle, Shi Tao established a new ink structure and language form which is consistent with personal trace of heart.

Wang Huangshengs recent works remind me of famous painter Shang Yangs important solo exhibition held in Tsinghua University Art Museum. Its theme is Diaries and Scripts which marks the importance of artists personal taste and constant reflection on individual disposition in contemporary art. In a sense, lines and colors in art works are a kind of trace in the process of painting. They are also the external expression of painters inner world. Trace of hand is trace of heart. The lines in Wang Huangshengs works seem to be organized in a disorderly way. They actually reflect not only the sensitivity of the painters heart on visual composition of picture, but also his current flowing of mood. This picture form which reflects the spiritual energy of subject actually has nothing to do with the poetic sense and refined joy of traditional scholars painting. The majority of them does not come from the literary tradition in paintings but from the current social reality and visual culture environment and possesses rich symbolic images.

Yin Shuangxi Professor of China Central Academy of Fine ArtsMay 1, 2012

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