雅昌首页
求购单(0) 消息
尚扬首页资讯资讯详细

【评论】余虹:“大风景”:尚扬的艺术世界

2009-10-29 10:07:19 来源:艺术家提供作者:余虹
A-A+

  每次看尚扬的画都让我重新思考艺术问题,并对今天形形色色的艺术犯疑。
  
  1.关于“艺术”这个问题
  在不少当代中国艺术家那里看不到“艺术”,这真是一件叫人莫名其妙又让人悲哀的事情。也许,在经过后现代艺术理论洗礼之后还这样提问过于老旧,因为据说人人都艺术家了,何况那些以艺术为业的艺术家,但我还是觉得艺术是罕见的珍宝,不是随便什么人按社会习俗和权力的要求或者随心所欲就可以搞的东西,也许它是最不能习俗化、权力化和随心所欲化的东西。
  “艺术”是什么?哪里有“艺术”?这个问题将我引向尚扬。
  我曾以《尚扬:艺术家》(1994)为题写过一篇文章。在这篇文章中我称尚扬是中国艺术界少有的真正的艺术家,我以为这不仅是谈论尚扬的最佳角度,也是考察并寻找当代中国之真正艺术的最佳角度。可惜的是,由于多种原因,这篇文章的思路并没有得到有效地展开就被搁置了,好在近十年来尚扬为我们提供了更为成熟的艺术作品和艺术经验,得以让我旧话重提,了此心愿。
  尚扬的作品总让我想起法国诗人马拉美的名言:写诗就是文字与白纸的搏斗。一张白纸就是一个黑洞,一切脆弱无力的文字都会被它吸收掉,只有真正有力的文字才能战胜黑洞的吸纳而自立于白纸之上,因此,但凡拙劣的诗总让我们感到纸面空洞无物,而一首伟大的诗哪怕只有几个字也足以让我们忘记白纸的存在。尚扬的作品是这样的文字。
  其实,只要我们稍加注意就会发现,纸上的文字和口头表达的文字是多么不同。一些在特殊场合借助于特定的手势、表情、声调、氛围和言说者的身份等非文字的因素而让人激动的文字落在纸上就可能死去,口头交谈或演讲中的文字是由非文字的因素来保护和支撑的,纸上的文字则全无庇护,人去楼空,它必须自己把自己支撑起来。画面上的色彩、线条、造型又何尝不是如此?
  以此为参照,我将新时期以来的作品分为两大类:“言说性的作品”和“书写性的作品”。言说性的作品寄生在非艺术的因素之上,比如有意炒作,咋咋呼呼,哄抬身价;比如跟潮追风,攀龙附凤,鸡犬升天;大多数“功夫在画外”的流派风潮之作和投洋人所好之作均属此类,这些作品一旦脱离它寄生的母体就会死亡。书写性作品与此不同,它无须非艺术的行为来支撑自己,它自己就足以将自己支撑起来,“凡•高的向日葵无需太阳”,因为它自己就是光。
  执著于书写性的艺术是尚扬成为真正艺术家的首要标志。尚扬曾对我说,他有几次被“言说”的喧嚣所诱惑而蠢蠢欲动,但最终还是被“书写”的静寂所召回而冷静地面对自己的艺术。20世纪80年代末90年代初是中国艺术界前卫时尚的爆发期,不少艺术家凭借前卫之风而暴得大名,此刻的尚扬也被卷入其中,作了一些前卫实验性作品,如《新娘》(1991)、《早茶》(1992)等,这些作品也在前卫言说的氛围中获得了成功(《早茶》参加在中国香港和澳大利亚举办的“后89中国新艺术展”,由香港汉雅轩收藏;《新娘》参加2001年芝加哥国际艺术节展,由美国私人收藏),但尚扬并未因此而兴奋,相反他被莫名的烦恼所缠绕,他很快感到这不是他要做的事。他要做什么呢?他要远离“闹市”回到“孤寂”,回到“自己的艺术”。
  尚扬说他自己独有的艺术观念是在1991年之后形成的,那就是忠于自己的视觉和心灵。相对于一味迎合洋人、紧追洋风的艺术家,尚扬说他要“做一个有思想的中国艺术家,而不是做一个争风逐浪、风光一时的艺术家,我希望,一看作品就知道这是一个有思想的中国艺术家做的”;①相对于只求市场效果而不惜粗制滥造的艺术家,尚扬说“我认为作品是要真心面对自己的,我无法批量生产”。一旦远离形形色色的风潮与中心,尚扬便站在了自己独有的边缘位置上,得以“冷静地面对自己的艺术”。②
  何为尚扬自己的艺术?
  “艺术”之于尚扬“自己”是一种神圣的事物,是让他敬畏和让他以身相许的事物。尚扬曾这样深情地说:“受着心的驱使,我选择了绘画,这可能是我一生中最称得上聪明的一件事。”③对尚扬来说,选择绘画也就选择了成为自己,因为尚扬天生是画家。尚扬是幸运儿,因为没有多少人像尚扬那样能选择成为自己,人世的阴差阳错总让大多数人远离自己而遗恨终生。
  艺术成全了尚扬,对艺术的感谢与挚爱使尚扬保持了对艺术的敬重而远离了俗常艺术家对艺术的轻慢和利用。正因为如此,尚扬才不会将色彩、线条、形体、构图、画布、画框、画笔、画刀等等看做纯粹为我所用的工具,它们有自己的存在和生命,它们以人所不知的方式存在着并能造就出人意表的艺术,因此,不是以我之先设的意志役使工具和材料,而是让工具和材料按人所未料的方式自行其事进而激发我的创造,以工具材料之无限引导我之有限,这便是尚扬艺术创作的空间不断拓展的奥秘之一。
  海德格尔曾如此谈到真正的艺术与现代伪艺术的区别。海氏说现代伪艺术被现代技术的力量所控制,他称之为被安放于技术的“座架”,此座架的根本特征是极端的人类中心主义和主体中心主义,即置身于其间的人以为他有权并有能力肆意地支配和利用他者(自然、他人、神灵),技术的人以为他的意志就是一切。海德格尔说艺术在现代变成了技术,不是说现代艺术在技巧上现代化了,而是说现代技术的统治在根本上改变了艺术的态度。海氏认为真正的艺术是非人类中心主义和非主体中心主义的,真正的艺术家最显著的品质就是对自身之外的他者的敬畏,他者(自然万物、他人与神灵)不是我的意志的象征,他者的存在对我总是一种意外、一种神秘和一个奇迹。艺术之为艺术,就在于它让事物自己呈现而不是强行要事物按我的意志呈现。
  尚扬说他经常在画布面前“折磨”自己,苦苦思索,出神发呆,因为他很难随心所欲地画什么,他总是在一遍一遍地尝试中等待材料、技法中出现的奇迹来牵引自己的创作构想,他总在寻找什么,而不是自以为是地创造什么,那被寻找之物才是艺术,它向虔诚而坚韧的寻觅者走来。自行出场的色彩、线条、构图与意蕴自立于画面,它们无须借助画家的签名,也无须各种炒作的灯光,它们自己的美就是光。看尚扬的画我们会忘了尚扬,也忘了喧闹的艺术界,他的画就是一切。
  所以我说,尚扬自己的艺术就是尚扬自己从作品退出而让作品自立的艺术。
  我看艺术展有一种习惯,凡是未能抓住我视线的作品我会一扫而过,我不会先看名头再看作品,而是相反,只有当作品本身抓住了我的视线,我才会留意某某作之类。我相信只有那些靠自身的力量叫眼睛惊讶而令灵魂感动的作品才是真正的艺术,眼睛和灵魂对艺术有一种天然的亲近与敏感。我不信任任何非视觉和非灵魂的艺术判断,无论他以学术之名还是以权力之威。
  先哲有言:人之视不同于动物之视,动物之视视之以眼,人之视视之以心。“心之眼”是天然的艺术鉴赏家,能否抓住并打动心之眼是衡量艺术力量的根本标尺。不过,人心封尘弥久,其视也难明,唯自我洁净的勤者,那些澄明的眼睛才是艺术的看护者。当尚扬面对自己那些似乎成功的跟风之作仍心烦意乱时,他的眼睛告诉他“这不是他要做的事”。尚扬的眼睛将尚扬一次次从远离艺术的路上拉回,“我的问题最终都得落实在视觉上。????我不得不讲究表达,讲究视觉样式的选择和组合。我考虑的问题很多,但这些问题如果与视觉表达无关,那么我一定会放弃它。”④尚扬如是说。
  视觉第一,这是尚扬之作为一个艺术家所坚持的首要原则,不过,尚扬执守的视觉绝不是纯审美的形式主义视觉,而是有深度意蕴的视觉。尚扬有一颗灵动、敏感而充满爱意的心,他无法使自己的艺术远离人世的苦难与疑难,也无法将自己的心与眼一分为二,他的作品总是那么“好看”,也总是那么“动心”。
  尚扬的心之眼专注于什么又在他的画布上呈现了什么呢?什么是尚扬独特的视觉世界?大风景!
  虽然,“大风景”是尚扬用来命名其1990年代部分作品的语词,但我认为它完全可以用来命名尚扬自1980年代以来的所有艺术作品。
  1996年尚扬在谈到他的《大风景》时说:“我们,当然也包括我们的艺术都生存在世界这片大风景里,作为一个艺术家,我的工作无法不去这样诘问和思索。同时与看重作品的精神性相等量,我亦以全部的热情去探寻作品的呈现样式和语言样式,这二者在我的艺术创作过程中浑为一体,已难以分清孰先孰后,孰轻孰重。”⑤2003年尚扬再次谈到他的《大风景》,他说:“这些年来,我一直以《大风景》表达我对人与环境、以及人类生存前景的关注。”⑥
  尚扬将自己作品的精神性品质定位为对“世界这片大风景”的诘问和思索,即对人与环境的关系、以及人类生存前景的关注。海德格尔说人生存的环境就是他生存的世界,人与别的存在者之不同就在于他是在世界中的存在者,人生即入世,人死则去世,“世界”是人为自己建造的栖居之所,是人的家园和生存的必要条件。令人忧虑的是,几千年的文明史是人类不自觉地建造世界家园又不断地破坏世界家园的历史。今天,人类世界已岌岌可危,家园将毁,人类何居?据此,海德格尔才说现代世界中一切真正的诗人、思想者和艺术家的神圣使命就是唤醒人们的世界意识,以自己特有的方式守护人类的“世界家园”。显然,尚扬是这样的艺术家。
  在尚扬的作品中我们的确可以看到他对世界家园持续不断的关注和忧心,看到他为表达这一关注和忧心所作出的艰苦而卓有成效的努力。与诗人的“歌唱”和思者的“论说”不同,艺术家尚扬对世界家园的思索与言说是“呈现”。尚扬的天才在于他发现了“世界”与“风景”之间的视觉关联,他将自然的、社会的、观念的、情感的“世界”转换成可视的“风景”,他以“风景化”的方式将“世界”状况以及“人与世界的关系”呈现给人的视觉,以艺术家的“看”唤起人们对世界家园持续不断的关切与守护,在此,“风景”不再是闲适审美的轻飘之物,“世界”不再是神秘莫测的无形之在,二者的奇妙结合产生了尚扬独特的视觉空间:大风景。尚扬是“世界之家”的朋友与“看”护者,他的作品为世界守夜,在此意义上,我们才能掂量出尚扬“大风景”中“看”的分量,也只有在此维度才能见出尚扬作品内在的精神性品质和视觉传达品质相互转换的基础。
  我将尚扬的“大风景”分为三大类型,与他创作的三大时期对应。“前现代大风景”,以“黄土”系列为代表,创作于1980年代的武汉时期;“后现代社会大风景”,以“大风景”系列为代表,创作于1990年代的广州时期;“后现代自然大风景”以“山水”系列为代表,创作于2000年开始的北京时期。
  
  2.前现代大风景:“黄土”系列
  1980年代初,以研究生毕业创作《黄河船夫》一举成名的尚扬并没有因此而自得,他在其后的夫子自道中说:“《黄河船夫》是研究生毕业创作,采用俄罗斯画法,主要是熟悉这种画法,也容易通过。当时时间紧,不可能探索新的画法。我并不喜欢苏联的油画,夸张的色彩,平淡的造型,笼统的欢快情调,不涉及画家的个人情感,深入内心的少,叙事成分多。特别是苏式的四固定方法,我不喜欢。在大学时我对苏式绘画就有自己的看法,尽管当时全盘苏化,对苏俄画家和作品奉为表率”。⑦出于对苏式绘画的不满和对自己独特表达方式的追求,尚扬从1981年开始几度到秦晋高原写生,结果有了风格和表达方式大异于时风的“黄土系列”。在这些作品中我们初次看到了尚扬的“大风景”,看到了尚扬艺术之独特的视觉关注与表达。
  让我们看看《黄土高原母亲》(1983)、《车儿》(1986)、《一家子》(1987)等作品,这些作品的一个显著特征是取消透视的三维空间构图,它们没有通常意义上的近景、中景与远景,也没有通常意义上的前景与背景,画面上的人与环境的关系是非透视的。作品的构图实在太妙了,因为它提供了一种最佳的视觉样式来直呈黄土高原的人生状态和对此状态的质朴关切。从根本上“看”,黄土高原的人生状态在本质上还是非透视的,这不是说在一种自然视觉中那里没有一种由焦点透视给出的事物之远近大小的空间关系,而是说生活在那里的人迄今都还没有从他们的环境中分离出来,他们还没有真正成为不同于黄土地、不同于窑洞、不同于他们所使用的工具的“万物的灵长”,一句话,他们还不是周遭环境的主人,他们看上去就是黄土就是窑洞就是农具,人与周遭环境的浑然一体才是这片土地上最本质的视觉风景。
  长期在黄土高原写生的尚扬曾经被这样一个问题所困扰:在这片土地上究竟是人在改造环境还是环境在改造人?是人人化了黄土,还是黄土土化了人?为什么一身黄土的人那么容易消失在黄土的背景之中?为什么在这里人的皱纹与黄土高原的七沟八梁那么难分?这是一个什么世界?怎么与我们所熟悉的那个“人定胜天”的世界如此不同?
  显然,“黄土”系列所呈现的世界是一个前现代的世界,因为现代世界的根本标志就是人与环境的分离,他走出了自然,也独立于社会,正是这样一种人的出现,自然和社会才成了他的背景,也是随着这样一种人的出现才有了以人为中心的透视(西方文艺复兴时期出现了这样的人,故而有了透视学)。一个天地人尚未彻底分离的世界在本质上是非透视的、非人类中心的,尚扬没有像别的画家那样将它变成透视的(尽管这些作品中还有一部分保留了一些透视的痕迹)和人类中心的,在此,我们看到了尚扬对他所要表现的对象的理解与尊重,他搁置了由学院训练出来的惯于透视的眼睛,也抛弃了由现代社会教育出来的人类中心的自傲,他让对象本有的视觉样式在画面上呈现。
  “黄土”系列不仅在构图上让我的视觉惊讶而感动,它那取消多彩的单色调子也让我叫绝。人与环境的无区分状态在此被直接涂抹成昏天黑地的黄,一种既浑茫厚重又透明纯净的黄。尚扬之看与俗常写实之看相距何其遥远,在自然写实的视野中我们当然分辨得出黄土高原的色彩,至少天空有白云,地上有蓝花,但在尚扬的眼中一切都是黄的。一切都是黄的,这才是这个世界之生命的本色。“生活的现实使画面苦涩、压抑。我总用黄褐色的调子,别无深意,只是感到没有必要去改变色调。”⑧尚扬说陕北民歌总是直着嗓子唱,它不懂得转弯抹角,他的色彩也如此,直来直去,将黄土地的泥土直接堆上了画面,那就是有名的“尚扬黄”。
  无论是非透视的二度平面构图还是单色调的尚扬黄都与时下的写实油画大相径庭,在自己的视觉和权威的视觉之间尚扬首次选择了前者,开始了“自己的艺术”历程。
  
  3.后现代社会大风景:“大风景”系列
  “黄土”系列告诉我们在同一地球同一时间,人们所生活于其中的“世界”以及他们与这个“世界“的关系是多么不同。
  1993年尚扬到广州华南师范大学工作,此时的广州是中国改革开放的前沿,也是中国最时尚、最具后现代特点的城市,这个城市深化了尚扬对后现代世界的关注。
  早在1991年尚扬就注意到后现代问题,那时他创作了这样一幅油画,画面的桌子上有三把壶的倒影,与倒影对应的却只有两把壶,这是怎么回事,看该画的名字便会了悟:《致利奥塔-Ⅱ》,这是献给后现代大师利奥塔的,再看画面,后现代的荒唐混乱便跃然画上。
  尚扬说后现代社会的根本景观是莫名其妙的混乱和碎片化,各种毫不相干的事物与碎片会同时出现在同一空间,比如广州这个城市,各种传统的、现代的、奇高无比的、奇矮无比的、金碧辉煌的、破败丑陋的、洋气十足的、土里巴几的建筑与人混在一起,传统社会的等级秩序与有机整体性被彻底地破坏了;此外,后现代社会中人与社会的紧张进一步加剧,社会的外部风景和人心的内部风景都紧张地搅在一起,人的呼吸越来越困难。
  对后现代社会状况的特殊敏感和关注使尚扬的“大风景”在题材、主题和表现样式上都发生了很大改变。在这一时期,尚扬首次用“大风景”来命名自己的作品,并进一步明确了自己的艺术目标。
  对尚扬来说,要实现自己的艺术目标十分不易,因为他面临的首要问题是:如何让和谐有序的画面巧妙地呈现后现代世界混杂无序的碎片状态和人心的异化?尚扬的工作是成功的。应该说1990年代以来,不少中国艺术家都敏锐感觉到后现代世界状况之混乱与碎片化,但很少有人像尚扬那样机智而成功地呈现了这一状况,问题的关键在于:后现代世界状况之混乱无序是不能简单搬上画面的,画面有画面的要求。对艺术而言,画面的要求是绝对的,否则它就不是艺术。画面的要求不是别的,就是尊重视觉,尊重视觉对和谐有序的基本要求。不少以后现代生活世界为主题的作品之所以一塌糊涂,令人生厌,就在于它蔑视并糟蹋视觉,肆意地对待画面,将后现代的混乱无序直接涂鸦于画布,这样的作品根本就不是什么艺术,而是后现代垃圾的一部分。
  尚扬是如何处理后现代世界状况之混杂无序与画面之间和谐有序的矛盾呢?或者说:尚扬是如何将混杂无序的后现代世界状况嵌入画面和谐有序之结构的呢?
  1991年尚扬在创作《新娘》时将一些透明广告和包装纸的碎片随意地组合在一起罩在蒙娜丽莎的画像上,得到一种奇特的结构性效果。后来尚扬又在民间百纳布的拼合结构中得到进一步启发,他发现这种结构对表现后现代空间关系十分有效。民间百纳布的拼合结构常常将一些在色调上和形状上难以协调的碎布片拼合在一起,这正是后现代社会各种事物之间的空间关系,同时,民间百纳布的拼合结构又出奇地有序协调,它正是尚扬要找的后现代视觉图式:破碎而整体。这一发现使尚扬非常兴奋,但尚扬仍未简单地利用这一民间图式,而是给了它一种山体风景的轮廓,从而获得了“大风景”系列的基本图式。
  在《大风景—赶路》(1992)、《有倒影的大风景》(1993)等作品中,尚扬将一些彼此毫无联系的事物放进了他那既破碎又有序的“百纳布山体拼装结构”,从而使后现代破碎混乱的世界景观既以喜剧性的方式直呈于画面,又不失画面的整体和谐有序。尚扬的这一高招在其后有了进一步的改进,他在“百纳布山体拼装结构”中叠加了“地层内部的剖面结构”,从而使这一结构的空间更为复杂、更具象征意味,其视觉效果也更轻松幽默,它像一幅教学挂图,谁都见过,但谁也没见过。在这样一种结构中,尚扬将世界历史的时间性风景放了进去,那些各自显赫一时的恐龙、香烟、汽车、高楼、人影等最终都沉积在不同的岩层,成为尚扬视觉平面的共时性物象,比如《许多年的大风景》(1994)、《许多年的大风景-2》(1999)等。
  为了以更触目的视觉样式呈现后现代世界的危机和它对人心的挤压,尚扬的大风景在1994年后成了火山内部剖面中的景观(见《94大风景-1》《94大风景-2》《94大风景-3》《大风景诊断-1》《大风景诊断-3》《大风景诊断-4》),成了由人体的病理透视胶片组构的内部影像(见《大风景诊断-5》),成了以医疗教学挂图式的肺部风景(见《深呼吸》)。问题的尖锐性突现在干裂的、黑洞般的人的肺部,人的基本生存器官已被破坏,呼吸变得困难。尚扬说:“从社会的各种关联中,‘呼吸’已经失去了它本应有的自然态。一个正在全面物化的现代社会使所有空间(物理的和心理的)都显得挤迫起来。‘呼吸’的被指令和剥蚀,几乎弥漫在所有人的生存空间和生命过程里,问题其实尖锐和迫人。但是,如同对于呼吸的无意识一样,它们并未被真正明确地意识到,其迫人和尖锐之处也正在此。”⑨
  尚扬的“后现代社会大风景”以呼吸的困难而告一段落。
  4.后现代自然大风景:“山水”系列
  1995年尚扬在《大风景诊断-1》中巧妙地借一架飞机投在火山上的阴影而给自然风景打了一个巨大的叉,这似乎预示了他其后的创作对人与自然的关系的集中呈现。
  1997年尚扬离开广州到北京首都师范大学工作。相对于广州的商业喧嚣与挤迫,北京似乎平静一些,这更适合于尚扬静观的艺术天性。如果用一个词来概括尚扬三个时期的艺术风格,可以说武汉时期的“前现代大风景”是天地人未区分的“浑茫”,广州时期的“后现代社会大风景”是社会的紊乱和人被异化而呈现的“躁动”,北京时期的“后现代自然大风景”则是对自然的非自然化以及人与自然关系发生可怕的变化所做的“沉静”表达。
  北京时期的“后现代自然大风景”在色调上明显地偏离了“尚扬黄”而呈现出“尚扬灰”,一种纯净、轻盈、透明而几近于白色的灰,这种灰过滤了尚扬黄中的滞重但留下了它的凝重,一种隐隐在心的重量。在背景图式上,“后现代自然大风景”也放弃了“百纳布山体拼装结构”而更多地利用了中国山水画的基本轮廓,一种被“风化”的轮廓,一种模糊不清几近于无的轮廓。
  尚扬“大风景”在表现样式上的变化并非偶发奇想,它同样是题材和主题变化的结果。后现代的自然已非自然,山水已非山水。尚扬说:“2002年,我在“山水画入门”系列作品完成后写了这么一句话:‘学习描绘山水画的母本已经变得面目全非,何以入门?”⑩作为母本的原初山水已经不在,它消失了,“风化”了。“风化”正好为尚扬呈现山水质变提供了视觉表达的依据,并为尚扬在画面上尝试一种中国式的极少主义提供了契机(见《风化日志02.8.29》《风化日志03.1.29》)。
  表现自然山水的质变和人与自然关系的质变是尚扬“山水”系列的主题。为了更深入地表现这一主题,尚扬还机智地利用了中国山水画的经典作品。在尚扬看来,中国山水画的经典作品再现了原初的自然山水,它是已经消失的自然母本以及人与自然和谐相处的“见证”,比如董其昌的山水。尚扬发现在董其昌式的山水与现代山水之间存在着巨大的视觉反差,一旦将这两种山水并置,自然的异化就会以触目的样式呈现出来。在《董其昌计划-2》中,尚扬就以多幅图式并置的方式来呈现自然的异化,董其昌式的自然山水不仅风化,而且“网络化了”,它最后变成了“非典”时代的网络山水。
  至于人与自然关系的质变,尚扬在中国古人的画中也得到一种启发。在古人的山水画中,人总是很小,他谦卑地栖息于博大的山水之间,与山水为一,而在今天,人变得越来越大,他自大地将山水把玩于股掌之上。尚扬对我讲过这样一种感受,他说在1957年以前,武汉的长江、龟山和蛇山一带的山水还十分壮观并令人敬畏,人站在那里会感到自己的渺小和与自然的融合。自1957年开始,那里的山水以及人与它们的关系发生了巨大变化,1957年一桥飞架南北,长江顿时变小了,1980年中期龟山上耸立起巨大的电视塔,龟山顿时变小了,蛇山上建起了巨大的黄鹤楼(该楼原被古人建在山脚下,古人懂得不能妄占山水),蛇山顿时变小了。随着这些巨大建筑的出现,人与山水之间比例关系发生了根本改变,人变大了,山水变小了。
  人与山水之间比例关系的改变在根本上隐喻着人与自然关系的质变,正是抓住这一视觉要素的隐喻性,尚扬创作了“游山玩水”系列。在《游山玩水-2》中,尚扬借常见的中国画山水图式重叠呈现了两种人与山水的关系,山下的人很小,分明是古人,山上的人很大,分明的一个现代旅游团。现代人奇怪地长大了,大到了可以肆意地“游山玩水”的地步。
  尚扬说他这一时期的创作深受中国画的启发,不仅在作品的精神性品质上,也在视觉表达的方式上。中国画的精髓之一是它的“辩证法”:以有限表现无限与相反相成的绝处逢生。所谓色无色,形无形,愈静愈动,愈虚愈实,“道者,反之动也”。尚扬深得其中奥妙,并在这一时期的创作中作了充分的发挥与尝试,使他的油画呈现出一种中国气质。2003年尚扬曾如此深情地谈到他对中国画的感谢:“一开始学油画,觉得它很有表现力。但学进去之后,在反观中国画的时候,就发现它的魅力对我是有终无结的,中国辉煌的文化传统对我来说是有终无结的。我有一个想法,怎样在油画的范畴中把紧紧拉住我心的中国的东西用进去,又使它不变成比较浅在的图式化作品。当然,真理和谬误之间仅一步之差。有时我常常分析自己,是不是有这个能力,但这无疑给了我一个挑战,这正是我工作的主要目的。”
  作为对这一挑战的应战,“山水”系列以中西合璧的样式呈现了后现代自然的大风景。
  我们穿越了尚扬的“大风景”,从前现代的世界走到后现代的世界,边走边看,真可谓“风光无限”,然而在观光之余,不免有问:这样的风景尚扬还能画多久?尚扬的一段话解除了我们的疑虑:“绘画界,不论是中国的还是外国的,加上今天的许多画家,都采取这种方式,当他发现了某种风格,发现了某种题材,就把它作为自己长期追求探索和表达的一种样式,不断摸索下去。这样的例子很多。而且,就我看来,也常常认为,这样的例子也是值得效法的。我是很真心地看待这个问题。要把一件事情开拓到在别人看来无从开拓的地步,还能做出鲜活的艺术来,是件不容易的事情。”
  我相信尚扬是真心的,因此我也相信尚扬的“大风景”还在峰瓣路转处。

  (原载《文艺研究》2004年第5期)


  Great Landscape: The Art of Shang Yang
  Yu Hong

  Whenever I look at Shang Yang’s paintings, I would rethink of the question of “art” and become suspicious of the various forms of so-called “art” of today.

  1. Concerning “Art”
  It is really a strange and sad phenomenon that no “art” could be found in the works of so many Chinese artists. Maybe it is too outdated to ask such a question in an era which has been baptized by post-modern artistic theories, since everybody is said to have become an artist, let alone the artists --- those who live on art. In my eyes, however, I still regarded “art” as rare treasure. It is something that cannot be mastered at will, nor does it subject to any social customs or power. 
  Then what is “art”? Where can we find “art”? These questions bring me close to Shang Yang.
  I once wrote an article under the title of Shang Yang: An Artist (1994), in which I called Shang Yang a real artist in China. I reckon that is the best point of view to appreciate Shang Yang as well as examine and find out real art in contemporary China. Although it was a great pity that I did not have the opportunity to further elaborate that article for various reason at that time, I could fulfill my “old dream” now thanks to Shang Yang’s more matured artistic works and experiences in the past decade.
  Shang Yang’s paintings always remind me of the words of the French poet Mallarme:“Writing a poem is a fight between words and blank paper.” A piece of blank paper is just like a black hole which would absorb all weak words; Only those really powerful words could resist the absorbency and stand on the paper. As a result, a bad poem gives us a feeling that there’s nothing on the paper whereas a great poem, even if it contains only a few words, could distract us away form the existence of the paper on which it is written. Shang Yang’s paintings are just like such powerful words.  Should we be a little bit more careful, we could easily find out the great difference between words that are written down and words that are spoken out. Words that sound sensational on special occasions with the aids of particular gestures, expressions, tones, atmospheres and the status of the speakers would probably become lifeless when written down. In oral communications and speeches, words are protected and supported by non-verbal elements, while words written on paper have no support but to depend on themselves. Isn’t the same true with colors, lines and shapes in paintings?  Accordingly, I divide the paintings in China since 1979 into two categories: paintings that are like words spoken out and paintings that are like words written down. The former have to depend on non-artistic elements such as raise-act, following trend, etc; most of the faddish works or works that try to cater to foreigners’ taste belong to this category, which would soon die if they were separated from the parent body. The latter are quite different from the former category in that they can support themselves on their own. “Van Gogh’s sunflowers need no sunlight” because itself is light.
  Shang Yang is a real artist primarily because he sticks to the art with real strength. He once told me that for several times he tried some fashionable paintings at the temptation of the bustle of faddish works, but was finally persuaded by the serene of art with real strength and tried to pursue his own art. The late 1980s and early 1990s saw an explosive development of fashionable works in the art circle of China, from which many artists gained fame. Shang Yang, who was also involved in the trend, tried some successful works, such as The Bride (1991), Morning Tea (1992). (Morning Tea was exhibited on the “Exhibition of Chinese New Art after 1989” and was collected by Hanart T Z Gallery, Hong Kong; The Bride was displayed on the 2001 Chicago International Art Festival Show and was collected by an American.) However, Shang Yang was not a bit excited about his success. Instead, he was troubled by inexpressible worries. He soon realized that what he really wanted was to return to “loneliness” and his “own art” away from the noisy world.   Shang Yang said that he did not form his own artistic viewpoint----that is, be faithful to one’s own vision and heart----until after 1991. Compared with some artists who merely seek to pander to foreigners’ tastes and follow foreign trends, Shang Yang claimed that he wanted to be “a thoughtful Chinese artist” rather than a faddist, and hoped that his paintings could be a mirror of his thought ①; Compare with those artists who seek for quantity at expense of quality, Shang Yang believed that “any paintings should be done with sincerity”. “I just cannot allow myself to produce in batches.” Said Shang Yang. He was able to “face his art calmly” once he got away from the various trends and fashions.②
  Then what is the art of Shang Yang?
  As for Shang Yang “himself”, “art” is a sacred thing, towards which he holds respects, awe and devotion. He once said with deep feeling that “Driven by my heart, I chose painting, and that perhaps is the wisest thing I’ve done in my life.”③ To Shang Yang, choosing painting is choosing to be himself, for he is born an artist. He was lucky because only a few people could choose to be themselves, while the majority would harbor a life-time remorse for failing to do so due to all sorts of accidental mistakes.
  Art helps Shang Yang to be himself. Unlike some vulgar artists who despise and take advantage of art, Shang Yang retains respect for art out of gratitude and affection. Thus he would never treat colors, lines, shapes,compositions, canvas, picture frames, paintbrushes, etc. as merely tools. He believes that such thing have their own lives, that they exist in ways unknown to human beings and would create unexpected art works, so an artist should leave the tools and materials to work at their own will, to inspire his creative mind, and to complement the finite of the artist by their infinite instead of using them according to his own wills. And this is precisely one of the secrets why Shang Yang could develop vast space for his artistic creation continuously.
  Heidegger once described the difference between real art and modern pseudo-art as follows: modern pseudo-art is subject to the power of modern technology, or, in Heidegger’s words, modern pseudo-art is placed on a technological base, which is characterized by extreme anthropocentrism and subject-centrism, that is to say, those who are within the framework of the base believe that they have the power and ability to dominate and take advantage of other things at will, i.e. nature, other people and gods; men of technology regard their wills as everything. When Heidegger said that nowadays art has changed into technology, he did not mean that modern art has become technologically modern, but that the dominance of modern technology has radically changed people’s attitudes toward art. According to Heidegger, real art is by no means anthropocentrism and subject-centrism, and the essential character of a real artist is that he shows awe and respect for other things beside himself---those “other things”(nature, other people and gods), whose existence are always a surprise, mystery and wonder to the “self” of the artist, are not symbols of the will of the “self”. What makes a work art is the fact that it leaves things to demonstrate themselves on their own rather than by the force of the artist’s will.
  Shang Yang said that he always pondered bitterly and lost himself in thought in front of the canvas, for him found it rather difficult to paint arbitrarily. He always tried again and again, waiting for the wonders in materials and craftsmanship to inspire his imagination. He is always looking for something rather than creating something as he pleased. That “something” is art. The colors, lines, compositions and implications created out of intuition are able to support themselves on the canvas without the aid of the fame of the artist or any rise-art. Their own beauty is the sunlight. Looking at Shang Yang’s paintings we would forget him, forget the hustle and bustle of the art circles; only his painting are left in our mind.
  That’s why I say that the art of Shang Yang is to withdraw himself from the paintings and leave the paintings themselves to stand alone.
  When I go to an art exhibition, I would neglect those that cannot capture my eyes at first glace. I would not look for the name of the painter before looking at the painting. Quite on the contrary, only when the painting holds my attention at first glace would I then notice whose work it is. I believe that only those that can surprise our eyes and touch our souls by their own charms would be called real art, for eyes and souls are natural judges of art. I do not trust any artistic judgment from some academes or influential people if the judgment is not depend on the eyes and souls.    One ancient sage pointed out that men and animals are different when looking at things, for animals look only with eyes whereas men with minds. “Mind’s eyes” is a superior connoisseur of art. Whether a painting could attract and touch the mind’s eye should be the basic critic for assessing its artistic strength. However, the minds of most people have been covered by the dust of the noisy world thus it is difficult for they to see clearly. Only those who keep themselves clean from the worldly dust and retain clear and bright minds’ eyes are tutelary of art. When Shang Yang was disturbed by his “successful” faddish paintings, his mind’s eye told him “that was not what he wanted” and called him back to art. “All my problems come to one: Vision… I have to pay attention to ways of expression, to the selection and combination of visual patterns. I always bear many things in mind, but if they have nothing to do with visual expressions, I would certainly give them up.” Said Shang Yang.④
  Top priority to vision---that is the key principle Shang Yang as an artist adheres to. Yet what he persists in is by no means formalism vision, but vision with deep implications. With a quick and sensitive mind full of love, Shang Yang simply could not separate his works from miseries and perplexities of the world, nor would he separate his mind from eyes. That is why his paintings are always so “beautiful” and so “touching”.
  Then what is Shang Yang’s mind’s eye absorbed to? What does he manifest on the canvases? And what is his unique visual world? The answers are the same: Great Landscape.
  Although “Great Landscape” is the name that Shang Yang gave to some of his works in the 1990s, I believe that it is a proper name for all his works of art since 1980s. When Shang Yang mentioned his series of painting Great Landscape in 1996, he said: “We, including art, all leave under the great landscape of the world. As an artist, I have to interrogate and think in this way in my work. I pay much attention to the spirits of the painting, at the mean time devotes all my enthusiasm to seeking for ways of expressions of my works. Spirits and expression patterns are such an integral whole in my paintings that they’ve of equal importance.”⑤ In 2003, when Shang Yang referred to his series of Great Landscape again he remarked: “In recent years I have been expressing my concern on the relationship between man and environment and the future of human beings through Great Landscape.”⑥
  And that’s precisely the spirits of Shang Yang’s paintings. Heidegger said that the environment man live in is the world they live in. The difference between man and other existence lies in the fact that men are existence in the world. When a man is born, he enters the world; when he dies, he leaves the world. “The world” is the habitat man built for themselves, the home of man and a requisite for human survival. What is disturbing is that the history of civilization is a history of man’s building a home for themselves and destroying it simultaneously. Now that the home is on the verge of destruction, man will face the imminent danger of no habitat to live in. That’s why Heidegger said that the sacred duty of all real poets, thinkers and artists nowadays is to arouse people’s awareness to protect the “home” for mankind. No doubt Shang Yang is such an artist.    Indeed we can see in Shang Yang’s painting his concerns and worries of our home and his arduous and successful efforts to express them. Different from the “sing-song” of poets and “argumentation” of thinkers, Shang Yang as an artist expresses his reflections on our home through “demonstration”. He is a genius in that he has discovered the visual relation between “the world” and “landscape”. He transforms the nature, social, conceptional and emotional “world” into visible “landscape”. By doing so, he demonstrates the condition of “the world” and “the relationship between man and the world”, and calls for people’s care for their home. In his paintings, “landscape” is not merely a frivolous thing for leisure and aesthetic, neither is the “world” a mysterious invisible thing. The wonderful integration of “landscape” and the “world” gives rise to a particular visual space in Shang Yang’s works: that is scenery. Shang Yang is a friend and guard of our global home; his works holds vigils for the world. Only in this sense can we understand the significance of “Great Landscape”, and only from this aspect can we see the base for inter-transference between the internal spiritual and visual transmission characters of Shang Yang’s works.
  Corresponding to the three difference different period of his creation, I have categorized Shang Yang’s “Great Landscape” into three major types, i.e. “Pre-modern ‘Great Landscape’”,represented by his series of paintings about people and lives on the loess plateau, which were produced in 1980s in Wuhan; “post-modern social ‘Great Landscape’”, created in 1990s in Guangzhou and represented by series of “Great Landscape”; “post-modern natural ‘Great Landscape’”, created in early 2000 in Beijing and represented by series of mountains-and-waters painting.  2. Pre-modern Great Landscape: Series of paintings about people and lives on the loess plateau.
  In the early 1980s, Shang Yang became famous overnight for his graduate work “Boatmen of Yellow River”. But he was not at all contented, saying later that “the painting has adopted the traditional Russian techniques because I was quite familiar with them and it would be easy to get passed. Time was very limited then, so it was impossible for me to explore new techniques of painting. Actually I do not like the oil paintings of the former Soviet Union, which are characterized by exaggerating colors, pedestrian shapes and general cheerful appeals. Such paintings do not involve any personal feelings of the artists; they just tell something but never go deep into the artist’s heart. I especially dislike the method of four fixed positions. I had my own opinions of Russian techniques of paintings when I was at college, although at that time they enjoyed the greatest esteem as China practiced wholesale Soviet Unionization policies.”⑦Dissatisfied with Russian techniques of painting, Shang Yang went to the Qinjin plateau several times to paint from nature since 1981 in pursuit of his unique styles. As a consequence, he produced series of paintings about people and lives on the loess plateau, the styles and ways of expressions of which were quite different from the main trend at that time. It is in these works that we see Shang Yang’s “Scenery” for the first time and get to know the unique visual expressions in his art.
  Let’s have a look at of the following works of Shang Yang: Huangtu Gaoyuan Mother (1983), A Vehicle (1986) and A Family (1987). One striking feature of these paintings is the deletion of the perspective three- dimensional space composition. There is no close shot, no medium shot and no long shot in these paintings; there’s no foreground or background either. The relation between human beings and environment in these works are by no means perspective. The composition is wonderful in that it provides the best visual pattern to directly demonstrate the life conditions on the loess plateau and the artist’s sincere concern for them. Basically speaking, the life conditions on the loess plateau are by no means perspective in nature. That is to say, people living there have not yet been separated from the environment so far, and have not yet become “masters of all things of creation” who are different from the loess land, cave dwellings and farm tools they use. In a word, they still have not become masters of their surrounding environment. They look like the same as the loess land, cave dwellings and farm tools. Thus the essential visual scenery on this land is the integrality of man and the environment.
  When sketching on the loess plateau, Shang Yang was disturbed by such questions: “is it man that remake nature or nature that transforms man on this land? Why could people there with yellow dirt all-over merge into the background of loess land so easily? Why do the twinkles on people’s faces there look so much alike the gullies and ridges on the loess plateau? What sort of world it indeed is? Why is it so different from the world where we reckon that man can conquer nature?”    Evidently the series of paintings on people and lives on the loess plateau show us a pre-modern world, since a modern world is basically characterized by the separation of man from environment: Man walk out of nature and become independent in the society. When such a man appears, nature and society become his background, and man-centered perspective emerges. (Such man appeared in the west during the Renaissance, so the study of perspective developed.) A world in which man and nature are not completely separated is by no means perspective or man-centered in essence. Shang Yang, unlike other artists, did not transform such a world into a perspective and man-centered one in his paintings (through to some extent there were traces of perspective in these works). He showed his understanding and respect for the things he wanted to demonstrate and let them reveal themselves on the canvases in their intrinsic visual patterns.
  The series of paintings about people and lives on the loess plateau surprise and touch me not only by their compositions, but also by their monotonous color---yellow, dignified and pure yellow, which embodies the integrality of man and nature. What a different scenery Shang Yang’s paintings show to us! We certainly can distinguish the color of the loess plateau within the natural horizon, at least there’ re white clouds in the sky and blue flowers on the ground. Yet in Shang Yang’s eyes, everything is yellow---the natural color of life in the world. “Reality of life casts bitterness and depressions over the paintings. I always choose the color of yellowish-brown, for I feel there is no need for change of colors.”?? ⑧Shang Yang commented that when people in northern Shaanxi Province sing folk songs, there is no turning tune. The same is true with Shang Yang’s use of color in his paintings, that is to say, he shows the color of the loess land directly, the color of the famous “Shang Yang Yellow”.
Either the two-dimensional composition or the monotonous color of Shang Yang yellow is quite different from the fashionable realism oil paintings at that time. Yet, Shang Yang chose to be true to his own vision and began his journey of pursuing art.  3. Post-modern social Great Landscape: series of Great Landscape.
  The series of paintings discussed above show us that even on the same earth at the same time, the environment people live in and their relationships with the world would be entirely different.     In 1993, Shang Yang went to work in South China Normal University in Guangzhou. At that time, Guangzhou was China’s forward strip opening to the outside world as well as a metropolis with typical post-modern features, where Shang Yang deepened his concern of the post-modern world.      Early in 1991, Shang Yang began to pay attention to problems existed in post-modern world. He produced a painting where there were only two teapots corresponding to three reflections on the table. What’s wrong with it? See the title of the painting--- To Lyotard-II, and you will understand: the painting is for Loytard the great master of post-modernism. The painting vividly shows the absurd and chaos of the post-modern world.
  Quoting Shang Yang’s words, the basic landscape of a post-modern society is chaos and fragments, with entirely unrelated things appear in the same space at the same time. Take Guangzhou for example, it is a mixture of man and various buildings, traditional and modern, tall and low, magnificent and shabby, outlandish and rustic. The traditional social stratum and organism have been completely destroyed, and the relationship between man and society has been intensified.
  Sensitivity to and concern for the problems of post-modern society led to great changes in the subjects, themes and ways of expression in Shang Yang’s paintings of Scenery. It is during this period that Shang Yang named his paintings “Great Landscape” for the first time and set more definite goals in his pursuit of art.
  It was indeed not easy for him to realize the goals, for the primary difficulty he confronted was how to reveal the chaos and disorder of the post-modern world and the alienation of human mind in a harmonious picture. Shang Yang did a good job. Though many Chinese artists had realized the confusions of the post-modern world since 1990s, few succeeded in representing them in paintings as Shang Yang did. The crux of the matter is that one cannot simply draw the confusions of the post-modern world mechanically. There are absolute requirements, i.e. respect for vision and its demand for harmony and order, for the general appearance of a painting. Otherwise it is no art. Many paintings taking post-modern world as subject looked so terrible and disgusting in that the painters, disdainful towards vision, casually handled the tableau and simply scrawled the chaos and disorder of post-modern world on canvases. Such works were rubbish rather than art.    Then how did Shang Yang deal with this problem? Or, in other words, how did he manageto implant the chaos and disorder of post-modern world in the harmony and order of the general appearance of a painting?
  In 1991 when Shang Yang was painting The Bride, he put some transparent poster paper and wrapping paper together at random, and overspread them on the portrait of Mona Lisa, gaining an unusual compositional effect. Later he drew inspiration from the structure of folk Baina Cloth (a kind of cloth made up of odds and ends of cloth of various colors and shapes),which could vividly reveal the space correlation in the post-modern world. In more details, folk Baina Cloth constitutes pieces of cloth which are not concordant with each other in colors and shapes (that’s precisely the space correlation among different things in a post-modern society), yet its structure is in order and harmony---that’s the very visual pattern Shang Yang searched for: on the one hand it is broken, on the other hand it is integral. He was quite excited at this discovery, but did not simply follow such a structure. Instead, he gave it the outline of a massif, which became the basic pattern of the series of “Great Landscape”.
  In some of his paintings such as Great Landscape--- Hurry on with Journey! (1992), Great Landscape with Inverted Image (1993), etc., Shang Yang inserted many utterly unrelated things in his broken as well as ordered “combined structure of Baina Cloth and mountains”. In this way he successfully exhibited the broken and chaotic scenery of the world in a comic style without harming the integrality and harmony of the general appearances of the paintings. Later on he modified the structure by paintings. Later on he modified the structure by overlaying a “profile structure of stratums”. The modified one, more complicated, symbolic, and more humorous in its visual effect, looked like mobiles that no one had even seen before. Things existing at different times in the history were put together in the new structure, for instance, dinosaurs, cigarettes, cars, tall buildings and shadows of man were deposited at different layers of rocks and became synchronic in Shang Yang’s works. Examples could be found in Great Landscape for Many Years (1994),Great Landscape for Many years-II(1999), etc.
  Since 1994, Shang Yang adopted more striking visual patterns in his paintings to reveal the crisis in the post-modern world and its squeezing of human mind, for instance, the profile of volcanoes (see 94 Great Landscape-I, 94 Great Landscape-II, 94 Great Landscape-III, Great Landscape  of Diagnosis-I, Great Landscape of Diagnosis-III, Great Landscape of Diagnosis-IV), pathologic roentgenoscopy film of human bodies (see Great Landscape of Diagnosis-V) and lungs in medical mobiles (see Deep Breathing). Lungs are requisite organs for human survival, yet they are black, parched and destroyed, making it difficult for people to breathe. And that’s where the problem lies. In Shang Yang’s words: “ ‘Breath’ has lost its natural state because of its correlations with other things in the society. All the spaces (whether it be physical or psychological) become overcrowded in a society where everything is being materialized. Actually, ‘breath’ is eroded and such a phenomenon pervades in almost everyone’s life and living space. However, people are still not quite aware of that, the same as they are unaware of breathing. And that makes the situation compelling.”⑨
  The difficulty for breath marked the end of Shang Yang’s post-modern social scenery during this period.  4.Post-modern natural Great Landscape: series of mountains-and-waters paintings
  In 1995, Shang Yang made use of the shadow of a plane on the volcano which left a mark of fork on the landscape in his Great Landscape of Diagnosis-I,. This seemed to have indicated the epitomizing of the relationship between nature and man in his later works.
  In 1997, Shang Yang left Guangzhou to work in Capital Normal University in Beijing. Compared with the hustle and bustle of Guangzhou, Beijing seems to be much quieter, and more suitable for contemplation. To summarize Shang Yang’s artistic features in his three creation phases, the first phase of “pre-modern great landscape” in Wuhan demonstrates the “integrity” of nature and man; the “post-modern social great landscape” in Guangzhou reveals the “restlessness” caused by the messy society and the alienation of man, whereas the “post-modern natural great landscape” in Beijing is “serene expression” of the denaturalization of nature and horrible changes in the relationship between man and nature.
  The series of post-modern natural scenery in Beijing deserted the “Shang Yang yellow” and employed “Shang Yang gray”, a kind of purified, light and almost transparent gray, which preserves the density but filters the stagnancy of “Shang Yang yellow”. Besides, in terms of background patterns, Shang Yang gave up the “combined structure of Baina Cloth and mountains” and borrowed the basic outline of Chinese traditional mountains-and-waters paintings, a weathered and very vague outline.  Changes in expression patterns resulted from changes in subjects and materials. Nature in the post-modern world is no longer nature at all. “In 2002, when I have finished the series of Introduction to Mountains-and-Waters Painting, I wrote down such a line: Since the nature, the model for mountains-and-waters paintings have changed utterly beyond recognition, how can we learn the rudiments of it?”⑩ In other words, the previous purified nature had disappeared. It had been weathered through the progress of civilization. And the word “weathered” provided not only foundation of visual expressions of qualitative changes in mountains and waters for Shang Yang, but also an opportunity to try Chinese-type Minimal Art on the general appearance of a painting. (See Elegance Log 02. 8. 29 and 03. 1. 29.)
  The theme of the series of mountains-and-waters paintings is to represent the qualitative changes occurred to nature and the relationship between man and nature. In Shang Yang’s opinion, the classic works of Chinese traditional mountains-and-waters paintings such as those of Dong Qichang’s, which have reproduced the original nature, are witness to the already disappeared natural model for scenery and the integrality of man and nature. Shang Yang discovered that Dong Qichang’s paintings have distinctively different visual effects compared with modern ones. Juxtapose the ancient and modern paintings, and denaturalization will come to your eyes in a striking way. Thus, in Dong Qichang's Plan-II, Shang Yang did so to reveal the denaturalization of nature. As a result, the mountains and waters of Dong’s style have not only been weathered but also interknitted, and finally, they became non-typical mountains and waters interknitted.    As regard to the qualitative changes in relationship between man and nature, Shang Yang also gained inspirations from Chinese ancient paintings. In ancient people's great landscape paintings, man is always small and dwell among the vast mountains and waters humbly; they are integral with nature. However, in modern paintings, man’s image has becoming bigger and bigger to such an extent that he disposes nature to his heart’s content. Once Shang Yang told me that the scenery along the area of Yangtze River, Kwei Mountain and Snake Mountain in Hubei Province used to be grand and awesome. Facing them, man felt small and was only a minimum part of it. But since 1957, the relationship between man and nature there had changed dramatically. In 1957, a huge bridge was built over the Yangtze River; in the mid 1980s, a huge TV tower was set up on the top of Kwei Mountain; and a magnificent Yellow Crane Tower was also built on the Snake Mountain. Consequently, those once grand rivers and mountains suddenly became small. With the appearances of these huge artificial architectures, the proportional relationship between man and nature radically changed: man was enlarged while nature was dwarfed.
  Actually, changes in the proportional relationship between man and nature indicate the qualitative changes of relationship between man and nature. It is in the light of this embodiment that Shang Yang created the series of Traveling in Mountain and Dabbling. In Traveling in Mountain and Pabbling Tour-II, he employed the common patterns in Chinese traditional scenery paintings to show two different kinds of relationships between man and nature. The man’s image at the foot of the mountain, which is representative of the ancient people, is small, while the images of a modern touring group on the top of the mountain are much larger. Modern man’s image is enlarged so much that he can go sightseeing willfully.
  Shang Yang admitted his indebtedness to the enlightenment of Chinese paintings in this period of artistic creation not only for the spiritual characters but also for patterns of visual expressions. One essence of Chinese paintings is its utilization of the principles of dialects: to express infinite through finite and to be both opposite and complementary to each other. For example, stillness sets off movement, and nothingness sets off substantiality. Shang Yang deeply understood it and made full use of it in his artistic creation, adding Chinese flavor to his oil paintings. In 2003, he once talked with deep feelings about his gratitude towards Chinese paintings: “When I began to learn oil paintings, I found it very expressive. But later on when I had learnt more about it, I suddenly realized the endless charms of Chinese paintings and cultural traditions to me. And I have been thinking about how to insert the charms of Chinese paintings into oil paintings without resulting into superficial works. Of course, one step further, and truth will become mistakes Therefore I frequently evaluate myself to make sure whether I have the ability to realize this goal. No doubt this is a challenge to me, yet it is also the primary target of my work.”
  As acceptance of this great challenge, Shang Yang interweaved the fine points of Western art with traditional Chinese painting to exhibit the natural sceneries in the post-modern era.  We have traveled through Shang Yang’s Great Landscape from the pre-modern world to the post-modern world with splendid sceneries to appreciate. But besides appreciation, we still have a question: How long can he keep drawing such sceneries? Shang Yang’s answer relieves our doubt and worries. He said: “In the field of painting, both at home and abroad, it is common that once a painter discovers a style or a subject which attracts him, he will keep on exploring it.

返回顶部
关于我们产品介绍人才招聘雅昌动态联系我们网站地图版权说明免责声明隐私权保护友情链接雅昌集团专家顾问法律顾问
关闭
微官网二维码

尚扬

扫一扫上面的二维码图形
就可以关注我的手机官网

分享到: