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【评论】汪民安:自然,断裂和苦涩

2011-04-27 13:46:08 来源:艺术家提供作者:北京外国语大学外国文学研究所教授 汪民安
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  尚扬有一种独特的思考自然和处理自然的方式。在早期的作品中,他就将自然本身直接作为一种碎片展示出来,自然像一块块补丁似地缝补在一起,这种缝补构成了一个平面。它挡住了人们的视野。自然的纵深感消失了,它的丰富性和层次感消失了,它的空间和时间的无限性也消失了。人们对于自然的想像遭到了无情的约束。自然被缝补在一起,呈碎片状,它破绽百出,千疮百孔。自然,在此不是一个有机的延伸,不呈现出一种“自然状态”,也就是说,它不是一种自然本来的应然形态。

  这预告了尚扬的基本看法:如今,自然改变了它的先前面孔——无论是作为一种物质性的自然,还是作为绘画对象的自然。自然呈现出一种斑驳的破碎状态,人们在尚扬这里根本感受不到自然之美。我们在这里看到的是什么?是伤疤,是粗糙,是皲裂,是破败,是磨砺——事实上,人们无法从优美或者崇高的角度去看待尚扬的自然——人们也无法在尚扬的作品中看到抚慰人心的东西,看不到那种悠远,闲散,缥缈,诗意,玄妙乃至虚无——尚扬的“风景”脱离了中西两种风景绘画的传统。在这里,自然既非神在其中出没的地带,也非诗意蕴藏在其中的地带。自然如此之丑陋,如此之破败,如此之僵硬,如此之突兀,人们在这些作品面前多多少少有些抵触——这不是风景画,尚扬的画不是激发人们对自然的迷恋,尚扬的画不是用来静心欣赏的,人们不会因为美学被吸引到画框之中。相反,他恰恰是用来破坏观赏的。这与其说是去吸引观者的目光,不如说是去让观者的目光离开;与其说让观者沉浸在自然中,不如说让观者被自然所刺伤。从这个意义上来看,尚扬的画构成了观看的马刺——他是反观看的,是反欣赏的,是对所有的对自然存在着美学幻觉的人们的一个有意惊扰。

  自然固有的优美和崇高的消失,“风景”的消失,或者说,“意境”的消失——它的另一面是什么?尚扬很少画“人”,但是,我们要说,这些画中的古典意义上的自然的消失,它同样也意味着自然和人的古典关系的消失,尤其是,古典意义上的人的消失。自然和人不仅是一种相互依偎的关系,而是一种组装的关系,自然和人构成了一个有机的机器整体,它们是一个无法拆开的装置——这个装置如此之紧密,如此之牢不可破,它们犹如母子关系:自然生育了人,人生活于自然的怀中,并且也只能在这种怀中而生活。自然的容貌的改变,一定伴随着人的容貌的改变。尚扬在这里画出了自然的历史变异,它真正隐藏在这后面的是,人-自然这种组装机器的改变,人的面孔的改变。生育者发生了变化,被生育者也发生了变化。反过来同样如此,被生育者发生了变化,生育者也发生了变化。这是一个整体之变,是整个组装机器之变。皲裂是自然的容颜标志,这难道不也是我们现代人的脸孔的标志?现代人不也是如同尚扬的画面上的自然一样是由一堆碎片所缝合?自然改变了它的面孔,人又何尝不是?人的脸孔的改变,或者说,现代的脸孔,正是随同自然的面孔的改变而改变的。

  问题是,这种自然发生了怎样的改变?它是如何被改变的?

  在尚扬的《游山玩水》中,实际上已经给出了一个答案,人们对待自然不再谦卑了,他们在游玩自然,戏弄自然,在俯瞰自然。事实上,尚扬的作品,极少出现人物,这里画出来的人物,非常少见,他们是一种自大类型的人物,他们在空间上凌驾于自然,他们玩弄自然于股掌之间。他们无论是从空间上,还是从体量上,都远远地凌驾于自然之上。人和自然的纽带撕裂了,人和自然的组装关系被拆散了,现代观念和技术在重新组织对自然的想像。尚扬画面上的自然的皲裂感,画面上的自然中出现的一些粗犷线条,一些额外的闯入性图表和方格,一些莫名的数据和标记,一些现时代的俗语和俚话,一些不合时宜的蛮横插入性符号,所有这些都带有工业机器本身的挖掘痕迹,它记录了钢铁开凿自然的雄心、苦涩和粗暴。自然受到了技术的折磨。然而,这种折磨被称为计划,绘画上的这些符号,记载的正是现时代的对自然的“计划”,这是被“计划”性地撕裂的自然碎片。自然,现在被纳入“计划”和理性计算之中,这正是“董其昌计划”中的警示力量。这种警示,恰好又是通过反讽来展示的:事实上,董其昌,无论如何,都是生活在反计划的时代——董其昌的作品,正是对自然进行规划之前的自然的自然表述。

  那么,这种针对自然的“计划”是从什么时候开始的?自然如何改变了它的面孔?在《董其昌计划- 2》中,我们看到了自然的变更历程。(仿)米元晖的山水、(仿)倪瓒的山水,以及网络时代的山水,被拼贴在一起构成一幅三联画。它们风格和形态迥异。自然山水本身的变迁在此一目了然。正是借助于艺术,我们能看到,人们的自然的想像在发生改变。历史在变动,自然的观念也在变动。正是在这个意义上,尚扬将历史和时间引入了自然的概念中。自然到底是什么?人们是将自然作为历史和文化的对立面而定义的。自然之物,就是无历史之物。但是,尚扬恰恰将历史引入到自然的概念之中,自然有它的命运,有它的传记,有它的历史,有它的生涯——自然,最根本的意义上有它的文明。就此,尚扬将自然变成了一种意识形态。冲突,争斗,抵抗、竞技和绵延一直出没在自然和自然的历史中。自然,现在是人们想像的一种自我保存的封闭的自在之物,不是一种客观的物本身。现在,自然有了自己的文化——它并非文化的对立面。在这个意义上,尚扬明确地将自然/ 文化的经典对立消除了。所有这一切,都是借助于将时间引入到自然之中来呈现的:有米元晖的自然,有倪瓒的自然,有网络时代的自然。人们对于自然的想像和理解如此得迥异——不仅是表达风格的

  迥异,而且还是因为历史的变迁而导致的迥异。

  “董其昌计划”系列,尚扬大都是将几种不同的自然形态拼贴在一起,他采用的是二联画或者三联画的方式,这种拼贴,看上去既是一个整体,又呈现出明显的断裂。它们在形态上犹如一个整体,是一个自然的全貌,它们构成一个完整而饱和的空间。但是,在质地上,在构造方式上,在气息上,它们又如此地隔绝。同一个空间内展现出了两种如此悬殊的异质性。一个整体性的自然,为什么被不同的面貌撕裂?这种拼贴,构成了一种剧烈的对照:原初的自然和被损毁的自然;诗意的自然和计划的自然;自足的自然和人工的自然;艺术的自然和机器的自然;喷绘的自然和手绘的自然。画面上的这种剧烈对照的异质性,与其说是将它们拼贴起来形成一个整体,不如说是画出了它们的深深的沟壑,这种沟壑正是经由时间的川流雕琢而成。历史,总是粗暴地切断了自然的文脉,将它切分为二。而在尚扬这里,还切断了再现自然的艺术的文脉。一种自然风格消失了,我们不得不说,一种艺术风格也随之消失了,随之而来的是,一种生活风格也消失了。

  这正是尚扬关注的核心问题。他全力以赴想表达的,即是自然,生活和艺术这三者在今天同时发生的变化。尚扬将这三者视为一体性的,它们不可分割:生活锻造了自然,自然锻造了艺术,艺术锻造了生活;反过来同样成立:生活锻造了艺术,艺术锻造了自然,自然锻造了生活。即是说,古典的自然,生活和艺术构成一个整体性的配置,然而,它们在今天坍塌了。这不仅意味着这三者都改变了它们各自的语义,还意味着它们自身也彼此切割开来,它们彼此作为对立面:生活在自然的对立面,自然在艺术的对立面,艺术在生活的对立面。这种对立和切割不仅令尚扬充满感伤,还让他背上了重负。尚扬是如此地不适应这个变化,以至于他的画如此之严肃,如此地不苟言笑,如此得滞重。对于他来说,一种欢乐的艺术,一种轻松的艺术,一种犬儒的艺术是决不可能的。甚至是,尚扬决不会将艺术作为一种美学的消费对象去对待,艺术跳出了美学的范畴,而闯入到文化政治领域。尚扬为自然撰写的一个艺术传记,苦涩而沉闷——这种苦涩和沉闷不仅是艺术风格上的,而且是智性和文化上的。这种苦涩沉闷的绘画,当然是对今天的绘画习性的有意偏离,这种偏离,我们用另一种说法是,他将一个批判的知识分子传统引入到当代绘画由消费主义所主宰的体制之中。

  NATURE, FRACTURE AND GRIEF

  Professor at the Research Institute of Foreign Literature Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University

  Wang Min'an

  Shang Yang's art features a unique way of dealing with Nature. Presented in his earlier works, Nature is fragmented into small pieces, "patched up" on the canvas by the artist without spatial depth. In consequence, when interpreting his ideas of Nature, viewers tend to feel lost in a situation where: the sense of depth and grounding is completely dispelled; the temporal and spatial measurement has disappeared; and the possibilities of Nature are unmercifully limited. Nature no longer extends in an organic way; its expected state of existence and evolution is facing traumatic challenges.

  Shang Yang's basic viewpoints on Nature – as itself, or as its form on the canvas – is changing. His Nature is mottled, no longer a natural beauty; what we see is rough skin with scars and wrinkles and a tough soul suffering from devastation – in fact, it is not as splendid or overwhelming as people expect it to be. We can't feel soothed either as there are no profound, tranquil, flowing, mysterious, or vain elements in Shang Yang's Nature – it has isolated itself from both the Chinese and Western traditions in painting landscapes. Nature abruptly appears in front of people – so ugly, ruined and stiff that people feel it is too offensive to stand before it. It is not traditional landscape painting: it neither draws our instinctive obsession towards Nature, nor allows us to appreciate it in tranquility. Shang Yang is attempting to alter the practice of art appreciation – instead of capturing attention by creating beauty and comforting the soul, he distracts the viewer from his paintings and hurts them. Shang Yang's paintings are composed as a spur against the viewer – he employs anti-appreciation, anti-enjoyment; he aggressively disturbs people's illusion of the positive relation between Nature and beauty.

  What hides behind the change in Nature when its inherent grace and awe vanish, specifically with the disappearance of "scenery" or the "poetic imagination"? Shang Yang seldom includes any human figures in his painting, which indicates the end of the traditional relationship between Nature and human in a classical sense. Nature and humans have interdependently composed an organic mechanism, a too tight and stable connection to dismantle. Mother Nature gives birth to humans who live in its embrace, and so the changes in Nature will follow the changes of humans. Shang Yang's portrait of the historical change in Nature has implied the change of humans, and the relationship between the two. Nature is a mirror of contemporary people, it has scarred and winkled skin just like ours; it's fractured pieces suggesting the contemporary statement of modern humans.

  The questions to be asked are: What changes have happened to Nature? How did it change?

  In the "Sightseeing", Shang Yang has provided an answer: humans are no longer humble to Nature; they play with it, laugh at it, and discriminate against it. Those rare human figures depicted in this work are selfesteemed; they stand aloft above Nature, trying to control and govern it. Humans have broken their bond to Mother Nature; and re-constructed their relationship by applying modern perceptions and technologies. The "scars" and "wrinkles" of Nature created beneath Shang Yang's hand – the rough lines, unexpected forms and panes, unaccountable data and marks, modern sayings and slang, and improperly connected symbols – have recorded the ambition, grief and cruelty of an iron-and-steal era. Nature is suffering – anguishing under a planned project as described in the above lines and signs. Shang Yang uses the "Dong Qichang Project" to imply a dangerous fact: that Nature is included in human's analytical project to be exploited. Mind you, Dong Qichang from the Ming dynasty lived during an anti-planning period, while his works presented a statement of Nature before it was entrapped by human action.

  When did these projects toward Nature begin; and how? The "Dong Qichang Project-2" has revealed the transformation. Shang Yang has juxtaposed Shanshui (lit. mountains and waters) of various forms and styles from different times – an imitation of Mi Yuanhui's Shanshui, an imitation of Ni Zan's Shanshui, and Shanshui of the internet age. Thus, we see the transformation of Nature in the mindset of humans which follows a historical progression, integrating the concept of history and time back into Nature. Contrary to the common concept that defines Nature as being immune to history and culture, Shang Yang believes that Nature has its own history and culture. Nature is not isolated or objective, but with conflicts and competition, oppression and resistance occurring all the time.These reasons signify the differences of the three types of Nature presented in the "Dong Qichang Project-2" – each pertaining not only to the style of expression, but also to the lapse of time. From this point of view, Shang Yang has eliminated the classical contradiction between Nature and culture.

  In the "Dong Qichang Project", Shang Yang has placed two to three different natural features side by side to compose a central space with visible fractures. In terms of the form, it is completely integral, constituting a panorama of Nature; however, each section possesses a sensually unique texture and composition. Therefore, we find pairings of contradictory heterogeneities existing in the same space, arousing dramatic conflicts – the original Nature and the destroyed one; the poetic and the projected; the self-contained and the artificial; the artistic and the mechanical; the air-brushed and the hand-painted. From this viewpoint, Shang Yang has painted the huge gap generated over time between the two halves of a contradiction, rather than composing them as a whole. History has disconnected the context of Nature; and Shang Yang has cut off Nature's artistic reproduction, and when a style of Nature vanishes the corresponding artistic style, and even a life style will also surely end.

  This demands the focus of Shang Yang – to convey the change of the interdependent aspects of Nature, life and art; as he believes that these three aspects are closely associated with each other in a cycle: life shapes Nature, Nature shapes art, and art shapes life; and vise versa. However, the integration of a classical Nature, life and art is collapsing today. All of them change their semantic meanings, cut out their ties and set against each other: life is against Nature, Nature is against art, and art is against life. The opposition and breaking of these connections have filled Shang Yang with a grief and burden. He feels it is so arduous to adapt to the change resulting in his paintings satiated with seriousness and heaviness. Art for him is not for entertainment or cynics; not even for aesthetic consuming. He is writing an art biography, grieved and discouraged not only by artistic styles, but also for the intellect and culture. His intended drift away from the prevailing painting methods is a way of instilling an intellectual critical tradition into the consumer-dominated system of contemporary painting.

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