Sunday, November 7, 2010

Void on Fire: On Nadim Abbas' works

photo courtesy of the artist

Void on Fire

Venus Lau

“The fire runs, and hollers on the blank page”

Liu Wai Tong, “Mysticism, a Song of Failure”

Telling stories with the body itself, narrative cannot avoid the trajectory of moving from one door (material or imaginary) to another, walking or rushing between being and becoming, presence and absence. The window, which constitutes one of the primary moments of imagery in the visual language of Nadim Abbas, acts to interpret the door, demonstrating its dialectics of inside/outside without bringing it into ontological existence. For Abbas, the window is sometimes a gasp voiced in the midst of a confrontation between mirror images and sometimes a fountain of bliss for the voyeur. One portion of the installation “I Would Prefer Not To”(2009) is a line of windows formed by dark glass mounted with window grates. In “Untitled” (2000), the viewer is seduced to look through a window into a boxlike white room without doors. “Perspective Studies” (2001) places wheelchairs, light, and windows in a set intended to test the viability of optical illusions, the black-and-white checkered floor twisted nauseatingly out of space.

This interest in windows also extends to the grates and frames so ubiquitous throughout the city-scapes of of Hong Kong and South China. “The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Again” (2007) represents yet another attempt to interact with the possibilities of the window, here in the form of a sound installation making explicit reference to Marcel Duchamp. The work develops strata of signification, juxtaposing a porn magazine clipping resembling Duchamp's “Étant donnés,” window grates framing images of waterfalls, and a chair covered with cacti.

Within the household, the installation of window grates is typically intended to either prevent robbery or avoid small children falling out--these different aims that are actually one: the prohibition of traversal (through the window). Abbas further consolidates this interdiction by hanging his window frames on solid walls, a limit in contact with the rejection of continuity. Abbas is not, of course, the first person to transform observations of these grates into art. Mainland Chinese artist Liu Chuang's “Split Landscape” (2005) marks a similar such interrogation of the spatial functions of such extensions to the window, extracting the visual elements of a three-dimensional cage-like grate form once popular in Shenzhen and turning it into a stainless steel sculpture with a highly formalized and flattened visual presentation. This same object clearly serves different purposes in the practices of these two artists: Liu is concerned with researching a geometric aesthetic of the grate as an image by peeling it off from the functionality of the defensive structure, while Abbas displaces the windows in order to dissolve the dialectics of inside/outside through a discontinuity in visual perception raised by a physical aluminum veil. The window, here, is like a ship--Foucault's heterotopia par excellence--a “placeless place ... closed in on itself and at the same time ... given over to the infinity of the sea” (Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces”). It goes nowhere and everywhere.

Besides the window, the figure of the Rorschach test image makes a significant appearance in the practice of Nadim Abbas. The window grate patterns from “I Would Prefer Not To” actually correspond to ten strictly symmetrical inkblots from the Rorschach, while “Untitled (14-03)” (2010) consists of a set of drawings mingling the outlines of such inkblots with the floor plans of apartments in Hong Kong in which there occurred a homicide or suicide on 14 March within the past 15 years. This project creates an imaginary non-space defined only by absence. Less obviously, example “Ornament and Crime” (2008) involves an installation constructed out of white pipes through which observers roll ceramic fengshui balls before smashing on the floor. The symmetrical design of the pipes here certainly resonates with the Rorschach test images, if remotely. Abbas makes reference to clinical psychology again in “I Would Prefer Not To,” another component of which is a specimen box of different manga action figures intended to correspond with MCMI-III (Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III) disorders. In comparison with the hype of psychoanalysis adopted as cultural theory in the art world, Abbas is far more concerned with psychopathology. The body, which Schilling calls an “unfinished biological and social project,” is manipulated and fragmented by the clinical gaze, while psychology expands and limits the possible dimensions of the subject through language. Here, art cuts into the human body without the presence of the latter.

Nadim Abbas’s latest project, “Cataract” (2010), is consistent with a certain obsession with windows and grates, including a light box highlighting an image of a waterfall (similar to that used in “The Bride Stripped Bare”). But this is only half of the project: the other half is a continuously running shower system within an environment making reference to a certain filmic anxiety, mirroring the imagery of the waterfall in a different register. The continuous artificial waterfalls may resemble the cylindrical lamp depicting the Iguazu Falls that features prominently in Wong Kar-wai's movie Happy Together, or perhaps the digital fengshui calenders mass-produced in mainland China, typically consisting of a large light box occupied by a lush landscape or Buddhist images on one side and digital clock on the other. It would be overly hasty, however, to cloak this work in the narrative fabric of social criticism related to the extremes of Fordist production modes or clichéd cinematic reference.

The title of this project relates the imagery of the waterfall with a pun, a linguistic forking path. Semiotically and physically, as translucent water is beat into a milky color by virtue of its own velocity, the project speaks in opacity. But opacity, from the window grates that divide the fabricated continuity of an imagined landscape to pieces of dark glass, deformed floor plans, and inkblot images, far from acting to block vision, can actually open up space for new interpretations of the phenomenology of space. This space, however, is never as simple as a large void or volume to be filled with whatever appears. Opacity in some ways wipes out the visual markers of certain objects while producing new schematics of signification and metaphors, but, on the other hand, it also provides a “universalized process of recognition” (Slavoj Zizek, “The Matrix, or the Two Sides of Perversion”) for the viewer--quite similar, in fact, to the function of the Rorschach test. For Nadim Abbas, the production of the space of possible symbolic engineering is a fire that simultaneously burns down and lights up its object; the singularity of space is always followed by vanishing, remaining in an unavoidable moments of becoming or morphing into a new and ephemeral appearance.

周俊辉: 衍生的衍生





Venus Lau

白立方式的展场内尽是画布上的金甲干戈、锦绣绫罗,带来的重量感犹如将倾玉山。周俊辉的第四次个展展出其新作品,再一次展示艺术家的签名式:截取电影场景(连同字幕和荧幕的黑边)的绘画。周的前作聚焦于以现代为背景的电影,如《无间道》、《纵横四海》和《英雄本色》。《衍生的衍生》作品的蓝本则来自古装电影,包括《唐伯虎点秋香》、《投名状》、《济公》、《霸王别姬》、《倚天屠龙记之魔教教主》等。新作品仍呼应艺术家一直关注的主题:《唐伯虎点秋香:没天分就不要画》表达的对艺术本身的诘问、《孔子:天下莫柔弱于水》(该句实来自《道德经》)陈述的哲学主题、《新半斤八两:繁荣盛世度度有金执》(2008)揭示的政治和香港人的身份认同问题。新作还增加了一个维度 - “衍生的衍生”,如《帝女花:将柳荫当做芙蓉帐》以电影《帝女花》为蓝本,该电影改编自同名粤剧,以明末长平公主的故事为创作灵感。《三国:不如弃子而取胜》(2009)的场景来自改编《三国演义》的《三国之见龙卸甲》。电影历史或文学人物带来的想象造就陈述,进而引发各种文本如粤剧和电影的生产。这些具有互文性的衍生物,像水晶棱面不断在自身和其身处的符号系统之间折射光线,一如早期摄影上过度曝光的虹影,以纯视觉体验消除某些历史的框线。

在 “超级真实”的世界,处处充斥没有指向的指向,若以复制/元件的二元对立来看待周俊辉对电影场景的“重置”,实在过分轻率,展览的题目(虽然英文用的字眼是“reproduction”)也在“衍生”一词上做文章,而非以忠实为本的“复制”。其实周俊辉的绘画并不以忠实重现细节和延展视觉为目的。作品不是复制,反而更像翻译,把作为热媒介的电影,转化为随时可以重阅的冷媒介,打破被叙述时间的牵引。翻译总是让人沉迷于“中心信息“是否准确传达。但周俊辉的作品一如永未完成的巴别塔,告知观者翻译不存在什么准确,只从新印证语言的异质性和随机性。

除了借用古装片创作,周俊辉新作的特点来自画面的光泽感,这在展场射灯光下尤为明显。另一方面,新作画面明显较早期作品精细。这种美学转变并不单源于艺术家的笔触实验,画面从粗糙到精细的过度,道出香港视听媒介从VCD到DVD的转变,也阐述了当今图像经济学的等级系统:高解像度是进入图像经济体系的本钱,解像度低的“烂图” (Hito Steyerl口中的poor image)只能在体系外围打转,成为该制度的无产阶级。科技实现观众对高解像度和清晰的不断追求,以致各种媒介成为以视觉快感争夺注意力的战场。



幽灵证据 (Spectral Evidence) 1a Space


2010.07.15 - 2010.09.05

展覽标题在香烛铺成行成市的香港,确实引人注目。展覽的目的并非要印证鬼神的存在,也无意把鬼的極端他性,作为藝術家的狄奥尼索斯面具。“幽灵证据”源于17世纪美国的巫女审判案, 赋予异象和梦境在法律上的合法性。策展人林司律道出,展覽旨在“探讨历史如何像幽灵一样影响現况”。

二人組Lin+Lam 的作品Even The Trees Would Leave (2005) 通過攝影和文字聚焦香港越南難民营(原址已改建为高尔夫球场),对旁观和消费他人痛苦的行为极尽讽刺。 装置/录像作品Tomorrow I leave (2010) 内容环绕马来西亚業已關閉的越南难民营,展示众多白色木台上的明信片、来自難民營的物品、并置馬來西亞風光和前难民信件的录像。作品恰似祭坛,显影人在飄泊流程中的呢喃。

梁硕恩的录像作品Poe (2007)從爱倫坡(Edger Allan Poe)身后的线索 - 包括其故居、遠房親戚、文字等 - 展开史密生(Robert Smithson)式的地點/非地點辯證。錄像作品Time Museum Time (2010)以藝術家的招牌动作 - 蹲,透过身体的空间概念回應庫哈斯(Rem Koolhaas) 在广州的美术馆项目,作品和内格里(Antonio Negri)批评“junkspace(“垃圾空间”)是生物政治”异曲同工。

Horizon出自Sreshta Rit Premnath之手, 藝術家从网络收集哥伦布纪念碑的照片,消去人物雕像,留下纪念碑底座的图像 - 历史叙事基础的虚拟的自明性隨之崩塌。

展覽明显并非探寻所谓“历史真相” ,历史在此是载体。作品展示的历史残骸作为缝合点(point de caption),建构永不闭合的的文学机器,通过建构叙述展开历史机理的新创口和文化病理学,成为无止的叙述空间。这个空间恰如德里达(Jacques Derrida)的幽灵,不属于现在或将来,它暗示放射式时间性的延展,消解线性历史,抱着自己没有躯体的躯体,又作为主人能指,从我们感官擦过。此外,作品对不同地点的意象,是以语句结构和之间的隐喻关系“定位“的非地点,这和作品之中的文字譜出双重文学性。香港鲜有展出以研究和檔案为基礎的藝術,是次展覽填补了这方面的空白。可惜,部分作品的符号过于强势:汇丰商标、殖民地难民营,维多利亚皇后像,对某些惯于把香港展覽化约为“后殖民叙述”的观众来说,诱惑实在太大,有形成意指短路的隐患。


(Published by Leap magazine)

Zhang Huan:Dawn of Time
Shanghai Art Museum
2010.02.03 — 2010.02.28
Venus Lau


作品“創世紀”散落的老青磚在發鏽的車斗後面拖了大半個展廳,車斗上面站著小馬標本。作品的青磚是從上海的拆遷地區收集所得。同樣的素材也運用在“寶塔” 上:青磚堆砌的鐘形塔上一窗洞開,內置小豬標本。兩件作品不約而同借用動物意象。其實,張洹並不是使用動物意象的新手,2002年的裝置“大佛” ,2004年雕塑“馬”,2005年的雕塑“驢”,2008年的裝置“竹林百賢”都用上動物形象甚至是活動物(如“竹林百賢”的猴子)。現代動物和人之間不是明了的隔扇,而是懸而未決的地域(有可能是阿甘本(Agamben)所指的 Homo Sacer),這片地域是人性和動物性的豁口。但張洹的作品似乎不屬於這種開放地域,而是擬人法,把我們和動物之間的距離拉的更遠。

作品“英雄一號”背對展廳入口——不知道是否對凝視的抗拒——臉熟非常,這件大型雕塑,跟藝術家2008年作品巨人1,2,3 號非常類近,同樣是以上百張經過處理的牛皮拼湊而成,形式上也同樣是殘缺獸肢看似隨意而痛苦的糾結。“英雄一號”披著一身腫瘤狀的凹凸不平,裂邊和累贅,但觀者還是可以辨認出肉食動物粗拙的前肢,人的耳廓和模糊的臉。作品的粗糲形態與其說是來自藝術家對不同材質的隨意實驗,倒不如說是來自計算,作品的粗悍掩蓋了其機關算盡(張洹有專用的車間加工毛皮)。“英雄一號”是否是藝術家對自己和同代中國藝術家的一種反諷:英雄是由預設的時間性事件築就的。经典的悲情英雄俄狄浦斯通過預言得知自己將來杀父娶母,雖然他千方百計逃避歹運,他一路從命運安排的荊途走來,從命運那里收集成就其英雄身分的事件,最後悲劇還是如期降臨。張洹出國成名再歸國再在國家級美術館辦個展,聽起來耳熟能詳,藝術家的命運,是否就是英雄的劇目一樣是先驗的圖冊?

香灰製作的繪畫作品“水庫”和“大運河”,畫面圖像參照六七十年代的新聞照片,表現了至少一部分人的集體回憶,另一部份沒有相關經驗的人回憶缺席的懷念。張洹在訪問時提到收集香灰是“凝固靈魂”,此概念與老新聞照片表現的集體性一拍即合:一方面是無數善信對形而上存在和遙遙彼岸的遠觀,另一方面是圖像通過大眾媒體無限複製和傳播。可惜作品僅僅憑借兩者脆弱聯繫成型,作品難免有些先天不足。比起這兩張畫(和張洹其他的香灰畫),協助藝術家生產作品的“張洹工作室”分工的細緻似乎更具美學性:工作人員從上海和其周邊廟宇收集香灰,把香灰按顏色分類,再以膠質把香灰按選定圖像固定在畫布上。這種精微彷如脆薄的白紙上無數深灰直線,也如卡爾維諾在未來千年文學備忘錄:輕逸篇引艾米莉·狄根森 (Emily Dickinson)詩句:


創世紀作為標題,刻意指涉舊約聖經首章創世記。創世記和其他宗教經典一樣,包含天地起始和早期文明誕生的敘述。展覽的英文題目沒有用上創世紀/記英文 Genesis,卻翻譯成Dawn of the Time。 Dawn,即破曉。創世記描述上帝說“光,就有了光”。又因為光是好的,所以需把日夜分隔。破曉就是晝夜切割線。這次展覽標題直指藝術的真實困境,就像齊澤克(Slavoj Zizek) 所講共產國家建築上揭露了政治真相(不管當權者口里是怎樣的“人民至上”,大樓頂上政治領導的巨型雕塑形象地道出人民的卑微):成為藝術家是不是等於成為破曉,擔當藝術史各個“時期”的分界線?

這次展覽作品的大尺寸(當然在國家級美術館展示巨型藝術品一般都被認為合理)和寓言式視覺語言,令人聯想起拉伯雷(François Rabelais)的著作《巨人傳》(The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel)。小說中荒誕又枝節蔓生的劇情加上主角巨人父子的驚人體量,本來氛圍應該像巴洛克皺摺一樣繁繁複複,時而舒展時而緊縮。可是拉伯雷放肆的幽默和想像力像氫氣一樣注滿作品,其輕靈在諷刺中世紀文化時足以做到四兩撥千斤(笑就是可以控制的瘋狂)。反之,創世紀的作品概念薄弱,拖曳著自己的重量,艱難的演著獨角戲,猶如展場鋪天蓋地的青磚。

希臘女妖美杜莎(Medusa)滿頭蛇髮,凝視她眼睛的人會變成頑石。其實變成石頭的人,都從美杜莎的凝視看到自己作為主體的沈重和無力——主體對他者的結構性依賴,作為向死而生的存在,主體面對作為永久入侵者/陌生人的死亡,無論顛覆還是接受,帶來的都是疏離。如果這次展覽的是石頭,它們,其實就是美杜莎面前的藝術家。Venus Lau

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


六四过了十六年,我才第一次走到街上。我一直觉得不上街不要紧,重要的是莫失,莫忘,记得,记着。每个人都有不同的悼念方法,有的人喊口号,有的人舞动旗帜,有的人痛哭,有的人沉默,也有人为了那些逝去的人在“默默中揪心,一根头发渐渐变白“。只要不忘记 。


今天其实不是很热,但香港湿毒的天气,总是令人成身汗。纵我心静如柳下惠枯山水,明绿t 恤却紧贴着我皮肤为我湿涟涟,我的身体执意奉迎毒日尘封的阴霾,坚决不肯自然凉。柏油路上的热气,点点聚,变成触角,躯干,带毛的四肢,小小的黑蚂蚁,潜进我的布鞋底。鞋面套桃红的手绣鸳鸯,在绿彩线培植的莲叶底下吐气。好湿。伏在莲叶鸳鸯下,平素最冷静的彩蓝,感染潮气后竟渐渐变成暖色,慢慢炖着菊花细火。














Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The outline for my book (that will not be published) , Eng

Jianghu and Empire: Cultural Geographies in Chinese Contemporary Art


In Postmodern Geographies, Edward W Soja commented on an obsession with time in 19th century: time is considered to be rich and dialectic; space, to the contrary, is regarded as "the dead, the fixed, the undialectical,the immobile". In the fields of critical theory and epistemological production, the temporally-focused point of view
was expressed in the form of obsession with history and idling of geography. Although academic stars like Foucault had already expressed doubt towards this hegemony, it is obvious that enthusiasm about history in critical and
cultural theory has not yet faded away. In the contemporary art scene, the obsession is manifested as a drive towards art history. Although there are scholars who investigate the cultural geography of (Chinese) contemporary
art, the results are generally either regional stereotypes or absorption of cultural geography into art history. This essay aims at investigating Chinese contemporary art with reference to two spatially-oriented concepts:jianghu
and Empire.

Empire, a significant text by Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt, virtually maps the narrative and diagnosis on the sovereignty "Empire" in the context of globalization. (Although Negri's Marxist reference may raise suspicion about the possibility of historicism, the spatiality of Empire acts as a plane of immanence to thought.) The concept of "Empire" already existed during the Roman Empire, but Negri and Hardt's Empire in the context of globalization is not simply a heritage of antiquity, but also a fracture motivated by capital. The ceaseless self-production of capital
as a cancerous body-without-organs drives towards over-top national-states and super-national organisms while capital endlessly reproduces its own pattern. This ceaseless reproduction results in a weakening of the
independence of nation-states, which, along with other super-national organisms, are accommodated by the capitalist apparatus and "united under the logic of the single rule." The result is a new form of sovereignty: Empire.

The development of info-technology shortens or even erases the physical distances and hence strengthens the influence of Empire. Subjects are passively subsumed by the new sovereignty, like bodies inscribed with medical signs. The concept of Empire takes a crucial role in the production and identification of Chinese contemporary art.
Apart from Empire,jianghu is another cultural concept that is inseparable from the cultural geography of Chinese contemporary art.

jianghu, literally "rivers and lakes," initially referred to a name collectively for rivers and lakes. The term then transformed over time and becomes a word standing for either: the habitat of the hermit; or the environment where you min(the people who are outside of the ancient Chinese hierarchy comprised of government officials, peasants, workers and merchants) make a living. This essay adopts the latter.

Jianghu embodies an alternate space with loose organization and its own hierarchy and rules. As an industry for which it would be difficult to obtain a firm definition, contemporary art in China had a sphere of influence which is a

The geography of Chinese contemporary art depicts in a spatial form the simultaneity of the society and the map of power among producers and participants in the industry.
It is too imprudent to equate jianghu of Chinese contemporary art with resistance against the capitalist apparatus and Empire, as the relationship between jianghu and Empire should not be reduced to a simple dualism. Yet it is
even worse to think that they are equivalent. The two sometimes overlap: sometimesjianghuis the Lacanian symptom of Empire; sometimes jianghuis the metaphorical surplus of Empire.Despite the uncertainty, what can
be sure is that the two concepts are among the factors that determine the legitimacy of Chinese contemporary art.


• “Empire" and "China": Concept of Empire and Chinese Contemporary Art in an International
◦ This part investigates how the Empire concept is applied to the art mechanism and how the
concept molds the signifier “China art.” Under the mechanism of Empire, the independence of
China as a nation-state is weakened, and Chinese contemporary art is transformed to a noun
floating in the chain of signifiers, always drifting on its relative positions.

• Chinese Contemporary Art and the Concept ofjianghu
◦ This part investigates the history of jianghuas a concept in Chinese contemporary art and how
the participants in the scene interact with this cultural topography when transcending physical

• Interaction Between Empire and Jianghu in Chinese Contemporary Art
◦ Comparing the structure and symbolic networks in Chinese contemporary art under the
concepts of Empire and jianghu
◦ The influence on art production by the epistemology engendered by the suspension of physical
geography by Empire and jianghu
◦ Point de Capiton: This is the part probing into the overlapping and dislocation of Empire and
jianghuin the context contemporary art in globalization, with a focus on the expansion of
jianghuof Chinese contemporary art beyond the previous nation-state-geography boundaries
through globalization.
◦ The Name of the Other: Investigating the positions of Chinese galleries and artists in
international art events: Venice Biennial, Documenta and Art Basel, with a reference to concept
of "outsider" which Derrida mentioned inOf Hospitality.
◦ Who is whose symptom: The subjectivity between Empire andJiang Hu, and how it works on
◦ Biopolitics:jianghunever exists without people; Empire obtains its legitimacy from its
"multitudes"; this section analyzes how the politics between the people differ in the context of
jianghuand Empire
• Treading onJianghuand Striding through the Empire:Case Studies on Artists' Productionofa
Nation in a Nation/ Carrying the Tao to the West:Chinese
◦ Writing about the pioneers who made Chinese artist in an international horizon
◦ Artists: Cai Guoqiang, Huang Yongping, Xu Bing
• South to the Border:the "Southern" Artists in Cultural Geography
◦ Investigating how the “southerness” of the artists are produced injianghuand Empire.
◦ Artists: Chu Yun, Jiang Zhi, Liu Chuang, Zheng Guogu
• The World is the Corner: "International" / Non-Place Artist
◦ Focusing on how the Chinese artists who are considered to be international due to their
distance from conventional Chinese icons
◦ Artists: Cao Fei (early work), Adrian Wong, Xu Zhen

The outline for my book (that will not be published) , Chinese Version


by Venus Lau

Edward W. Soja 在Postmodern Geographies 提到19世紀人們對時間的迷戀:時間被認為是豐饒而辯證的,與之相反,空間卻是“死實,固定,非辯證和不變”的客體。時間主導的觀點在知識生產和批判理論上表現為對歷史的迷戀和對地理的投閒置散。縱使如褔柯之流的學術明星對這種一廂情願作出質疑,批判理論和文化研究界對歷史的迷戀仍未全面減退。此點在當代藝術表現為對美術史的狂熱。縱使有部份學者試圖探索(中國)當代藝術文化地理,結果卻是藝術典型化,或者文化地理被吸收為藝術史的一部分。本文將以“帝國”和“江湖”這兩個建基於空間性的概念,探索中國當代藝術。

內格里(Antonio Negri)和哈特(Michael Hardt)的著作帝國描述全球化語境下“帝國”主權的虛擬版圖。(帝國作者對馬克思主義的引用,難免會有歷史主義的意味,但是其帝國概念的空間性可作為思考的內在性平面Plane of immanence)資本作為“癌變無器官身體(cancerous body-without-organs)”,不斷複製自身的樣式,產生超越民族國家的要求。資本加速流通生產更多資本,民族國家的獨立性則日趨薄弱,它們連同其他超國家組織被資本制度編收;在單一,共享的邏輯下,築造了全新的主權形式 — 帝國。另一方面,信息科技的發達縮短甚至取消了物理距離,使帝國主權的影響力日益擴大,個體包括藝術只能被動地受其包攬,如醫學符號被刻寫在身體上,故帝國對目前中國當代藝術的生產和身份認同有密切的關系。


草草把江湖當成藝術對資本机器和“帝國”的反抗未免天真 — 二者的關係不可化約為簡單的二元對立 — 把二者等同卻更大錯特錯。帝國和江湖范圍偶有重疊,江湖時而是帝國的徵兆,又可以是帝國的隱喻剩餘(metaphorical surplus)。。。但可以肯定二者是中國當代藝術合法性的組成部分。




-Point de Capiton:研究中國當代藝術江湖和帝國的重疊和錯位
,并集中討論當代藝術江湖如何通過全球化超越昔日的民族國家 -地理局限
-"他者之名":以德里达論好客的“外人”概念,看中國藝術在國際藝術事件 — 威尼斯雙年展/文獻展/巴塞爾 — 的位置




“國境之南”: 文化地理中的“南方”藝術家 (儲云,蔣志,劉窗,鄭國谷)

“世界就是角落”:“國際”/“非空間”藝術家 (曹斐,Adrian Wong,徐震)

On Rirkrit

(published by

Rirkrit Tiravanija 的首個中國展覽“別干了”在唐人畫廊舉行。主要作品“无题2010(14086)”: 一個迷你磚窯,工人在微溼的磚胎上印上“別干了”和編號,燒製的14086塊磚以单价三十元人民幣供觀眾認購。新聞稿說14086等同築造一所簡易房子的磚塊數量。“无题2010(北京市朝阳区建国门外大街一号,上海市普陀区中山北路二十五号)”展示扎作成中國地標大樓形状的鸟笼,裏面进驻小鹦鹉等鸟类。藝術家参照画廊老板座驾制作的实物大石膏雕塑“无题2010(奶粉奔驰)”,上面铺了一层奶粉。“无题2010 (豆腐脑)”的豆腐腦攤及时消解北京冬天干硬的寒冷,工人忙着盛豆腐脑炸油条,虽然没有Rirkrit亲自下厨的泰式青咖哩和炒河粉,观/嚐者還是非常关照这“小吃摊”。

Rirkrit Tiravanija,泰國人生于布尔诺思艾利斯,居于纽约,柏林,曼谷,在不同国家举办展覽,在各地藝術節獲奬。這樣的藝術家不需要刻意经營,就已经够“国际”(他的 passport作品很好的体现了这一点)。除了少數家乡美食,Rirkrit鲜有宣传其家鄉文化符号。所以這次展覽符号之充溢叫人驚訝。這些符號並非產自泰国,而是现代中国:奔驰,奶粉,中国地标建筑,豆腐脑等,都是談論(尤其在討論發展的代價時)中國飛速發展經濟時避免不了的能指。Rirkrit在座谈会,新闻稿和杂志访谈中,早已表示展覽是对中国國家發展的回应。展覽把中国符号反饋中国,例如以奶粉把中國食品業醜聞和作為金錢象徵的奔馳融合在作品裡。或者邀請在中國一直作為底層人(subaltern)的磚窯工人參與藝術生產。這種反饋仿佛藝術家2008年作品 “无题2008:鉻就是未来” - 一張镜面乒乓球桌。

在Art Info 的访问里,Rirkrit好几次提到“超生产”(hyper production),这个辭彙暗示了速度和超越。人類的歷史就是速度的歷史,不管是資訊,武器,醫藥,商品,当掌握了速度,基本上就抓住世界,不妨在此引用Virilio 的一句名言,“光速不单改變世界,它變成了世界”。艺术家面对高速生产的中國社会,使用了反面的敘事-减速甚至靜止-娓娓道來无止境增长的资本:口号式的“不干了”,工人以竹篾慢慢扎作的高大鸟笼,代表富裕和速度的奔驰轿车-文化意蕴被抽出,功能性被剥夺,在展厅里拖着自己沉重的肉身,跟以艺术家对自己砖头作品的解说“把概念视觉化”互相观照。

评论Rirkrit的看客不少着眼于其跟食物有关的作品,例如著名的“无题 1992 (免费)”(1992) 和“社会布丁角” (2004),老實說公眾的参与和作為事件的作品本身,才是這些“藝術盛宴”的精要。Bourriaud 早在展覽Traffic(1996)的畫冊首次提到关系美學,闡述一種以社會語境的人際關係為出發點的新藝術。作為Traffic的参展艺术家藝術家之一,Rirkrit 的即場生產-消耗-再生產的藝術生产模式,为关系美學提供一個重要案例。關係美學概念的产生和当时互联网的兴起有关,新的溝通和建立社會關係的方式,促使人们重新梳理社会关系的可能性。关系藝術後來發展成涉及公眾參與的藝術的代名詞,不少人依照这个思路草草概括有关作品。十多年後的今天,當Apple IIc已經演變成iPhone和Macbook Pro,當你已經可以在家裡對著电脑购物,建立人際網絡的重大轉變,使我們需要重新审视关系藝術的概念。我認為Rirkrit的豆腐腦攤依然屬於關係美學的範疇,但這種想法沒有給我答案,反而給出更多問題:關係美學的關係是甚麼与什么的關係?是怎樣產生的關係?是為了誰產生的關係?藝術家是不是一句 “”社會責任”就可以和公眾接軌?到底誰是公眾?以hyperlink放射形式攝受資訊的人們,如何看待自己在這個公共活動的位置?關係美學能否向公眾示範更好的社會協作方式?現今觀眾對公眾參與的藝術作品駕輕就熟,藝術展覽的強勢的語境令關係美學有機會墮進“畫廊派對”的危險,我們怎樣重新在這樣的語境中重新成為公眾?Rirkrit的這個展覽不能回答以上問題,唯有希望藝術家和公眾的關係,不會像這次鳥籠作品的婉轉的鳥音那樣,只在畫廊裡生效。

说到吃这个題目,讓人想起Rirkrit的另外一件作品“Fear eats the soul”(“恐惧吞噬灵魂”),作品名稱來自德國導演法斯賓德 (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)1974年执导作品,該電影内容围绕一对忘年恋男女的爱情。電影說甚麼其實不重要,但是Rirkrit這個作品標題的eat-這個簡單辭彙無比赤裸,發音時的咬牙切齒,提醒人們遠古人類社會關係的起源其實為了填飽肚子。此論調和已經發展為文化學科的飲食,還有Rirkrit這種通過食物來進行社交的儀式性质,誠然相映成趣。

畫廊展廳與豆腐腦攤的陌生組合帶來的錯置感,加上展覽名稱的點題,不難使觀者把這次展覽與Guy Debord的奇觀社會(The Society of the Spectacle)聯繫起來。Debord的奇观理論是評論資本主義時被頻繁引用的思想,說明集中和彌散兩種奇觀(這次展覽是兩者的混合)。奇觀以林林總總的形態出現,不同的奇觀,不管背後運作的是甚麼(政治,文化,商業。。。)架構,都有一個共同點,需要注視。奇觀對注視的渴求,使其喜新厭舊,不斷被自己新的面目取代。展場裡繃蹦跳的小鳥和參與豆腐腦攤,拉長了觀眾注視的時間,在觀眾的心理地理上落了戶,帶來的是分神和反記憶。

Rirkrit以往作品大部份命名為“無題”(Untitled),後面往往附上一個副標題,以括號圈住。此舉貌似以通過放棄命名,暗示藝術家要退下造物主的位置,另一方面卻又有點像香港人說的“唔(注:廣東話,“不”的意思)嫁又嫁” 。這樣的括號是迴避的姿勢 (但是迴避並不是否定),比如說1999年的作品“無題(明天閉嘴滾開)”。Rirkrit命名的迂迴猶如德里達談到的避免(Vermeiden),也像在"On Spirit"(“論靈魂”) 開首的“I shall speak of ghost, of flame, and of ashes" 一樣,在有限的音素裡,除了火和灰,燃燒的背後,煙霧蜿蜒。迴避,其實就是不可迴避本身。奇怪的是,此次中國展覽的題雖然還是沿用無題加括號的標題格式,副標題的內容卻清楚明了,“豆腐腦”,“奶粉奔馳”等跟作品的聯繫非常直白,這種處理,使這次展出的作品與以往相比,少了一些睿智。

本来可以用更多的理论来切割出这次展覽的各個稜面,可惜展覽裡某些露白的“中国印象”,使作品的闡釋可能性在在剥削-资本主义-过度生产-过度消费这样的圈子里打转。不要誤會,我没有要求Rirkrit说一口京片子喝豆汁,也没有想过什么“展示真实的中国”之類的幻覺,如果這是 Rirkrit要說的中國,我尊重他的看法。中國一如其他能指,對應不同人心裡的概念,每個人都有自己的中國,正如我的紅跟你的紅不一樣。縱使Rirkrit這次展覽像本Lonely Planet導遊書,卻正正揭示了我們都是活在自己的寂寞星球,Negri式帝國時代的國家-撫摸著自己的模糊的地理邊界-只是全球化經濟下的又一件產品。