用眼光质询存在,读江衡的画

 美术     |      2020-01-06

熟悉江衡的人都知道,外表温文尔雅的他,在艺术上却有着一颗难以抑制的躁动的激情,江衡是位勇于艺术实验的艺术家,他在上个世纪90年代初,即以行为艺术的方式登场,并崭露头角,继而在其后的卡通一代的浪潮中,江衡又以一种义无反顾的勇气和可辨识性的视觉语符,成为了卡通一代的重要代表,经过二十来年的风雨,当年的青涩江衡已不复存在,代之而起的则是一个在艺术和人生上愈加自信、坚韧、从容和成熟的江衡。

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探寻江衡的视觉发展行迹,不难发现,江衡的个人成长轨迹,恰恰又印证了这么一个事实,即江衡的艺术是和中国当代艺术的发展进程有着密切的关联,正是社会结构的急剧变化,新的社会生产方式,生活方式所导致的视觉经验,为江衡提供了一种回应的策略和方式,江衡敏锐地从消费社会的文化观念入手,以一种主观介入的方式,揭示出全球化语境下的资本、权力、欲望、消费、生态、道德传统的缺失这些文化命题,而近期的视觉表达仍然和以往的视觉叙事保持着一种文脉上的关联和风格上的延续。

美术理论家贡布里希有一句名言:绘画是一种活动,所以艺术家的倾向是看他要画的东西,而不是画他看到的东西。在今天这个欲望喷涌和体验翻新的消费文化时代,贡布里希所揭示的原理是否还适用呢?如果你去琢磨江衡的美女系列作品,也许会有所发现。在他的图像学里,一个独特的图像形态美女跃然画面。更有趣的是,这些长相各异的美女脸上,一个突出的图像符号一以贯之:大得不合比例的眼睛。那一对又一对大眼睛正凝视着什么?当你作为观者去凝视这一凝视时,又会有何种发现?

如果对江衡的视觉图像进行解码,就不能不回到江衡的从艺经历和成长的历史背景,而重构江衡的成长历史环境,则可以为阅读者开启解码江衡的一把钥匙,当我们重构历史语境时,当我们反观我们的生存现实和文化现实时,我们发现,江衡这辈70后生人,他们显然已没有父辈身上的那种苦难深重和悲情意识,因而在他们身上也缺少那种宏大叙事的文化激情,可以说,江衡直面了一个荒诞时代的结束,但江衡又是幸运的,他又直面并能置身其间的一个伟大时代的开始,当以阶级斗争为纲不再成为一种政治,当计划经济走向终结,而改革开放思想解放,则让江衡获得了宽阔的视野和自由表达的叙事路径,当然,改革开放带来的不仅仅是物质的极度充盈。可以说,这也是一个翻天覆地的变化,又是一个伦理颠覆,浮躁纵欲和众生万象的时代,社会的快速发展,必然导致高度的复杂性和艺术变化的多样性。

The art theorist Gombrich has a famous saying that, Painting is an activity, so the artists tendency depends on what he wants to paint, rather than painting what he perceives. In todays overwhelming flux of desire and the ever-renewing experience of consumption culture, is Gombrichs principle still applicable? If one reflects upon Jiang Hengs series of femme fatale, perhaps one would find the unique image of the femme fatale. What is more interesting is, among the varying faces of these beautiful women, one symbol transgresses them is their disproportionate eyes. What are those big eyes staring at? To stare into such gaze as an observer, what would you discover?

当伴随着90年代市场经济的全面来临,中国似乎在一夜之间就进入了都市文化和消费时代,这是全球化冲击所带来的必然结果,于是观念形态的日益更新,大众文化开始流行并越来越挤压精英文化,大有成为主流文化之趋势,图像时代开始影响人们的生活方式和创作活动,这些因素的交互叠加,共同构成了江衡成长的历史文化语境,而新的社会结构方式和新的视觉经验,也使江衡必须要寻找到一种回应激变的社会和激变的现实的方法,这也构筑了江衡图像叙事的视觉思考方式和视觉表达方式。至此,不难发现,理想主义的热情和对西方现代文明的盲目崇拜的潮流正悄然退出历史舞台,代之而起的则是对个人生活空间、个人价值的重视,以及对中国社会现实的关怀,特别是对于处于改革开放前沿的广州,人们更关心个人生存体验为基础的生存问题,强调个人在社会上的一种发展方式与生存方式,集体主义经验日渐开始被个人实验所代替。汪晖在《去政治化的政治:20世纪的终结与90年代》一书中也强调了市场经济时代的形成以及由此产生的复杂的社会结构变化,短暂的90年代,是以革命世纪的终结为前提展开的新的戏剧、政治、经济、文化以至军事的含义在这个时代发生了根本性的转变,若不加以重新界定,甚至政治、国家、群众等耳熟能详的范畴不可能用于对于这个时代的分析,视觉知识分子开始将目光从对过去的沉思转向对置身这个陌生时代的思考。与此,西方学者丹尼尔贝尔也强调,现代城市生活突出的特征就是强调视觉性,城市给艺术带来的不仅仅是传统和形式,而是一种全新的空间感、价值观和未来观。随之而来的还有速度与激情。这些无疑构成了卡通一代赖以产生的温床,而卡通一代也是自觉地把景观社会的视觉经验转换为艺术表达语言,他们的社会环境是流行文化和卡通、动漫游戏及摇滚激情,他们玩着美国芯片,看着好莱坞大片,吃着美国薯片一路走来,这必然导致江衡的生活经验决定了他的视觉表达方式,他从自身生活经验出发,创造出一个虚幻的卡通世界,用虚幻的语言来表现现实的世界,当现实被卡通化后,不仅颠覆了人们久已习惯的审美经验和价值观念,其实也印证了江衡这一代人的在当代社会的生存方式,他反映了江衡这一代人的人生经验,而反讽与调侃则构成了江衡视觉表达的基调,虚幻、迷离与梦境其间夹杂着些童趣的天真与浪漫和对未来无尽的想象,也就成为江衡的一种独特的叙事方式。他从《美女与鱼》开始,到《蝴蝶飞飞》和《蝴蝶飘》,再到现在的《风生水起》、《乱花渐欲迷人眼》,视觉的不断转向,思考的不断精进,把当代文化、当代的视觉经验作为其视觉表达发挥得合适合理,即有节奏又有控制,从而有效地把新的视觉经验转换为自我的绘画语言,进而以他所精擅的平涂的广告画方式,破坏掉油画的色调,并以一种符号化的编码暗示出生活的一种状态和经验,即高度商业化的社会现实,人被异化为物,人在物化中的变形。他也因此揭示出了大众的、流行的、通俗的,即现代商业社会的文化特征,特别是中国南方发达的大众文化与成熟的消费社会这么一个社会现实,即我们正处在这样一个无法逃避的时代,似乎有一只无形的手在操纵着你的思维,在支配着你的消费,在广告、宣传、传媒的夹击下,人们于日常普通的生活中,越来越丧失自我,并越来越异化为机器复制时代的一个物,其视觉图像所传达出的激情奔放,个人欲望处境与社会的关系,鲜活艳丽的色彩,其图像资源的转化也再次印证了这么一个事实,即当代文化正从传统的印刷文化向当代视觉文化转变,图像无时不刻不在经验着你,你也不断在被各类图像经验着。阅读者自此也从中深入了解到了江衡的一种来自内心深处的东西,即他内心的希望,而从江衡所精擅的图像表达中,他无疑有着一种极强地把隐喻转化为公众可以接受的现实这样一种本领,而且能保持对时代及社会现实的敏锐性,其图像的质感与华丽很让阅读者有一种心理情感和文化上的暗示,他的视觉叙事似乎一直在编织着一个个隐喻,他把其对当代社会和艺术人生的激情想象和象征性表达隐藏在艳丽的表象中,这也不难理解,为什么在江衡的图像表达中,色彩能够突破物象框架的束缚而获得一种自由,并放射出令人眩目的华丽与愉悦,而其视觉表达中的童心具有某种情感力量,他的视觉表达消解了成人的理解和判断力,并用一种新的理解方式来表现世界,从而在已有的图像世界中创造出一个全新的世界,这个全新的世界即是图像时代不仅改变了江衡的创作观念和表达方式,它也改变了阅读者的阅读习惯和视觉审美经验,而对图像时代艺术的阐释与解读,无疑是需要伴随着读图一代的长大来解决这样一个预设性问题。

我以为,大眼睛作为一个标志性的图像符号,或许就是画家美女系列作品要画的东西!

透过江衡为阅读者编织的一个又一个失真的虚拟的场景,他让真实性消融在图像中,他以虚拟的场景,机械复制的产品试图复活一种状态,进而以复制的复制来凸显他的经验叙事和价值判断。他在为阅读者带来一种另类的创作方式的同时,也带来了一种特别的观看方式,从而在主体与客体之间形成了一种张力,通过他营造的这个虚假场景,也让阅读者充分领略到图像阅读已然成为人们获取信息的基本方式,它不仅渗透在你我的日常生活中,更成为一种接受信息与知识的习惯,因而图像又时常控制着人们的思维,引导着人们的消费,刺激着人们的欲望。

I believe, the big eyes are a remarkable symbol is perhaps what the artist want to paint in his femme fatale series.

江衡充分捕捉住了景观社会公共图像世界艺术的灵韵,体味到了社会生活的丰富与多样,他虽然营构出一个个形象一目了然,艳丽冷漠而又扑朔迷离的幻境与梦境,但自我却没有丝毫情感流露,阅读者面对的还是那些僵硬冰冷重复乏味和无聊虚幻与虚空之感,他要着力表达的是量化生产中的格式构图,系列的重复和意义的滥用。扑面而来的是一种经济的量化生产。江衡的视觉表达还是对消费时代各种时尚、保健用品及那些粗劣而又没有个性产品及赤裸裸的物质化物品的一种表达,一个毋庸置疑的事实,今天的中国正是建立在这种东西之上,它折射出我们赖以生存的、实用的、但不持久的物品中一切可以消费的瞬间性和短暂性。

我们都知道,消费社会是一个高度视觉化的社会,看不仅是消费体验的通道,更是生存的在场证明。文化与视觉的关系,在当下实现了前所未有的合谋。好酒不怕巷子深的时代一去不复返了,只有那些看得见并吸引眼球的东西,才有难以想象的魔力。法国思想家德波所谓景观社会的预言已成现实。美女的大眼睛在看我们的同时邀请我们去看。于是,看本身及其艺术表现遂成为江衡绘画的基本主题。

江衡的视觉叙事策略,既是图像时代的胜利,也是消费时代的狂欢,同时又是性感的胜利和作为市场经济发达的广州在改革开放之初所取得的思想解放的胜利,江衡不仅仅有成熟的风格样式和日渐精进的社会批判立场,他能把自我的视觉标识通过挪用转化,将这些生活元素融入到视觉表达中,在消费社会和景观社会中,他适时地而又机智地用消费社会的方式对消费社会进行反讽和表达,从而揭示出景观对于人的异化所造成的冷漠与疏离,无聊与空虚,这才是江衡艺术的深刻之处,也体现的是江衡的价值观和文化价值尺度。至此,我们可以清晰地窥见到江衡的视觉叙事是浸染在极度商业化的情境中。一个不争的事实是,江衡受惠于消费社会的消费理念,这不仅为其赢得声誉,同时他又是消费社会资本文明下的艺术承载者。江衡以个性化的视觉讲述,讲出了一个极尽奢侈与繁荣的虚假而又虚空的景观,及隐藏在华丽表象背后的痛苦和忧伤,迷茫与无耐。

As we know, the consumption society is a highly visual society, viewing is not only a way in which to experience consumption but a proof of existence. The relationship between culture and visual culture have reached unprecedented conspiracy in the present. The time of discovering a good drink in the deep alley has been long gone, what is before us are those in front of our eyes, emitting unimaginable power. The French philosopher Guy Debords so-called Social Landscape has became a reality. The femme fatales eyes while gazing at us invite us to stare back. Therefore, the act of viewing and its artistic representation became the basic top of Jiang Hengs paintings.

近期的江衡正在尝试多元的视觉表达路径,他不断地挑战束缚,挑战边界,并不断地超越自我,他的视觉图像世界依然充满着一派生机,而鲜有具体的感受和一时的情绪,这已然是一种升华的境界,一种从容与淡定的情怀,一种超然物外的憧憬,而人生阅历的日渐丰富,艺术探索上的甘苦体验,也让他少了几分以前的激愤,却又增添了几分平和与淡定从容,但艺术创新的激情却没有丝毫的减弱,而对和平与和谐的畅想,对自然和生命的崇高礼赞,对东西方文化与哲理的碰撞与交融的思考,对传统与当代相交织的困惑,将会引起江衡在以后持续的视觉探求。

毫无疑问,画家最关注看,但并非每个画家都自觉地把看本身作为表现对象。在江衡的诸多系列画中,反复出现的美女构成了一个贯穿性的符号原型,姑且称之美女系列。仔细审视这些美女,不免会被那些关于看的赤裸真理所震撼。我注意到,在江衡的美女系列作品中,多少有点像瓷娃娃的各式美女,必定个个眼睛大得眩惑恐怖。这些超出了正常比例的大眼睛,把视觉这个消费社会的最要紧的感知体验方式,用一种极端夸张的方式彰显出来。不仅如此,透过那形色各异的眼神和视线,花花世界的种种视觉诱惑暗中传递出来。注意一下黑眼球的高光点处理,从模糊的圆形斑点(如《散落的物品36》),到类似惊叹号的反射(如《散落的物品54》),再到仿佛是窗框的映射(如《美丽的花儿2》),这不同的表达方式折射出眼睛对大千世界的渴望,映射出视线对生活万般神奇的流连。我们不禁为那些夸张的眼睛所惊异,为那些企盼的眼神所感召,为那些欲望化的眼光所迷魅。或许有理由说,美女之瞥不啻是一个关于消费社会的视觉文化寓言。

丁丁克拉克曾提出这样一个观点,现代艺术的历史不是一个平面化的历史,而是一个否定性的历史,是不停地由新的运动否定旧的运动的历史。

Undoubtedly, the painter is most interested in viewing, yet now all painters consciously treat viewing as the object of representation. In Jiang Hengs numerous series, the reoccurring image of the femme fatale became the transgressing emblem, thus entitled the Femme Fatale Series. Examining these women in detail, we cannot help to be shocked by the naked truth about viewing. I noticed that Jiang Hengs femme fatale series are somewhat akin to the ceramic dolls, because their eyes are nevertheless scarily large. These usual proportions have displayed the most crucial sensation for this consumption society with the most exaggerated manner. Moreover, behind the plethora of gazes and stares, myriads of visual enticements sip out. Noted is the highlight of on the dark eyes, from the ambiguous round dot (in Scattered Object 36) to the reflection similar to an exclamation mark (in Scattered Object 54), or the seemingly reflection of the display window (Beautiful Flower 2). These ways of expression reflect the eyes desire to the wonders of this world, and the lingering visions on the enigmas of life. We cannot help but to feel appalled by those exaggerated eyes, drawn to those longing eyes, and attracted to the gazes of desire. Perhaps there is reason of these womens glance is a visual culture fable of the consumption society.

那么作为卡通一代重要代表的江衡,将会再为阅读者带来哪些视觉的惊奇和期待呢?

图一,马格利特《虚假的镜子》(1928)

我们拭目以待。

图二,江衡《蝴蝶飞飞》(2007)

2014年1月14日18:00

这里,我想通过参照比较两幅画来比较,从中也许我们可以解读出江衡大眼美女图的复杂意味。一幅可以比较的是比利时超现实主义画家马格利特的《虚假的镜子》(图一)。在这幅画中,马格利特借助眼球的镜面反射,清晰再现出一幅蓝天白云的真实景象。作为超现实主义画家,这幅画也许反映了记忆中的梦幻之景,但却是以极其真实的自然景象来表现,颇有些假作真来真亦假的意趣。反观江衡作品,比如《蝴蝶飞飞》(图二),美女的眼神充满了好奇,她在凝视这个世界。不仅用自己的眼睛,而且借助放大镜来审视这个世界,要把这个世界看个清楚。假如说马格利特超现实主义的眼光折射出的真实景观是以反语方式的梦幻来表达的话,那么,在江衡的美女那里,眼光却是高度梦幻地真实表达。换言之,美女作为一种审视这个充满了物欲的消费世界象征符号,逼真地彰显出今天这个视觉文化时代的真谛:用眼睛去大量并消费这个世界。这里,眼睛被高度象征化和夸张化了。的确,只要对当下日常生活稍加打量就会发现,一切诱惑人的东西首先呈现为景观(spectacle)。整个世界都已转化为形象,德波说得好:景观是由以下事实所导致的,即现代人完全成了观者。这就导致了景观在现代社会中的统治和暴力。当人们沉溺于日常生活审美化的讨论时,一个重要的事实在江衡的作品中被揭示出来了,那就是今天的文化是一种体验性的文化。体验的首要方式就是视觉,眼睛不仅打量着一切,恰如画面上那美女高度象征性的眼神一样,更重要的是,人们还要借助各种技术手段在视觉上消费这一文化,放大镜不过是各种数字技术、传播技术、视觉技术和消费技术的表征符号而已。于是,看这个原本最常见的行为,以某种陌生化的效果呈现出来,它昭示出在消费时代的视觉文化转向中,视觉欲望及其快感已升格为存在的确证方式我看故我在。马格利特式的梦幻镜像已经远去,美女本身作为视觉对象的大眼凝视,既是一个被表现的图像符号,又是一个吁请观众进入视觉消费并享用视觉盛宴的邀请。不但用肉眼去体验,更要用放大镜一类的技术手段去放大体验。

于东湖三官殿

Here, I would like to make a comparison by referring to two paintings, from which we will perhaps decipher the complex meaning of Jiang Hengs images of femme fatale. One of the paintings is the Belgian surrealist painter Rene Magrittes The False Mirror (Image I), in this painting, Magritte used the reflection of the eye to represent the realistic image of white clouds in the blue sky. As as surrealist painter, perhaps this painting reveals the dreamlike view found in ones memory, yet are presented in its actual natural form, which can seem to have the somewhat tromp loeil effect. Looking back into Jiang Hengs paintings, Fluttering Butterfly (Image II), the gaze in his femme fatales is filled with curiosity, shes staring into this world. Not only with her won eyes, but uses a magnifying glasses to examine this world, because she wants to see the world with clarity. If Magrittes surrealist gaze reflect the actual view is a sarcastic approach to express imagination, then the gazes of Jiang Hengs femme fatale must be the true expression of utter imagination. In other words, femme fatale as a symbol of material desire of the consumption world, has vividly revealed the truth of todays visual culture: using ones eyes to wager and consume this society. Here, the eyes are highly exaggerated and symbolized. Indeed, with slightest attention to our everyday life, one would notice anything that is attractive is first shown as a spectacle. The entire world has been transformed to images, as Debord stated, the spectacle is caused by facts, in other words, people today are observers. This let to the spectacles monopoly and violence in contemporary society. As people are absorbed in the discussion of the everyday aesthetics, an important fact is revealed in Jiang Hengs work, that is, todays culture is an experiential culture. And the primary approach to experience is seeing, the eyes not only approximate everything, just as the symbolic gaze of these beautiful women, but most importantly, people need to appropriate various techniques to consume such culture visually. The magnifying glass is the representation of various digital technology, communication devices, visual technology and consumption methods. Therefore, viewing, the most common behavior is shown in a rather estranged effect, it displays the visual desire and its gratification has been augmented to ways in which to verify ones existence in the transformation of visual culture of the consumption era I see therefore I am. Magrittes dreamlike mirror is behind us, the beautiful women as the visual object, stares with their big eyes, are visual emblem represented, as well as the invitation to the viewers to enjoy such visual feast. Not only can one experience with their naked eyes, but also with the assistance of the magnifying glass to enlarge such experience.

冀少峰:现为湖北美术馆副馆长、著名策展人、批评家

至此,我想说,画面上那些大得可怕却又异常真实的美女眼睛,成为一种当下体验之文化的象征。美女及其眼光的双重性质赤裸地呈现出来。作为观者,面对这幅画,我们其实是在看那美女看,凝视那美女的凝视。一方面,美女是作为我们的镜像而存在;另一方面,我们在凝视美女的凝视的同时,也成为美女凝视的镜像,此乃视觉文化的视线互文性的辩证法。说到这里,我们更深刻地理解了梅洛庞蒂的话:看正像一个十字路口一样,是所有方面交汇遇合之点。人们所见和使之被见的东西,在存在之物上的这种进动,就是看本身。

2013年唯一获得第55届威尼斯双年展策划奖的中国批评家

Therefore, I would like to comment that the scarily large yet real eyes have became the cultural emblem to experience current culture. The dichotomous quality of the femme fatale and their gazes are presented literally. As a viewer, confronted with this painting, we are in fact viewing the gaze of this beauty and stare into her stare. On the one hand, these beautiful women exist as the image in the mirror; on the other hand, while we stare into their stares weve became the image in the mirror of their gaze, this is the dialectics of visual culture. It helps us to further understand Maurice Merleau-Pontys statement, Viewing is like being at the crossroad, it is where all directions meet. What people perceive and made seen, evolves above existence, is the act of viewing.

Ruins---- On Jiang Hengs Paintings

接着,我们来比较另外一幅画,即美国波普的代表人物维塞尔曼的《伟大的美国裸女第59号》。我不知道江衡的美女系列是否受到美国波普艺术的这位代表人物的启发。但比较两人的系列是耐人寻味的。一系列显而易见的相似不必强调了,比如美女系列这种创意本身。我感兴趣是如下发现,在维塞尔曼的美国裸女系列画中,从来就不画眼睛,由此来突出地强调了美女的性感特征;而在江衡的美女系列中(如图三《蝴蝶飞飞17》),性感的艳俗仿佛被瓷娃娃式的玻璃效果间离了,但却凸现了美女的大眼睛及其盛满欲望的眼神。

Ji Shaofeng

Then lets compare the other painting, the American Pop artist Tom Wesslemanns The Great American Nude 59. I am uncertain whether Jiang Hengs femme fatale series are influenced by this American Pop artist. Although the comparison of these two artists can be mesmerizing. Without mentioning the similarity of their series of works, in terms of their creativity. What interests me is that Wasslemanns Nude series have never painted the eyes onto the women, in order to emphasize the sexy characteristics of women; whereas in Jiang Hengs femme fatale (Fluttering Butterfly 17) the kitsch sexiness seem to be separated from the glassy effect of the ceramic-like dolls, yet highlights the big eyes and her desire filled gaze.

Those who know Jiang Heng well understand that beneath the gentle appearance, he is actually an avant-garde experimentalist with an insuppressible passion for art. In the early 1990s, he appeared in the art society with performance art; then in the following Cartoon Generation wave, with his unswerving courage and distinctive visual lansign, Jiang Heng became an important representative. After more than 20 years ups and downs, he is no longer the green boy but a confident, resolute, unhurried and mature artist.

图三,江衡《蝴蝶飞飞17》(2008)

Reviewing Jiang Hengs personal growth path shows that the development of his art synchronizes with that of the Chinese contemporary art. It is exactly the drastic changes of the social structure, the new social production means, new life styles and the visual experience created that provide a response tactic and approach for Jiang Heng, who acutely enters on from the cultural notions in the consumer society and through subjective intervention, reveals such cultural subjects as the capital, power, desire, consumption, ecology and absence of moral tradition in the globalised context. His recent visual expression still relates to his past visual narration contextually and extends the same style.

图四,维塞尔曼《伟大的美国裸女59号》(1965)

To decode Jiang Hengs visual images, one needs to look back on his artistic path and the historical background of his growth. Reconstructing this gives the audience a key to unlock Jiang Heng and his works. Reexamining our life and cultural reality, we will find that Chinese born in the 1970s, such as Jiang Heng, are not burdened with trials and tribulations like their fathers were any more, therefore they also lack of the cultural passion for epical narration. It can be said that Jiang Heng experienced directly the end of an absurd time. But he is also lucky that he equally witnessed and participated in the beginning of a great time when battle between classes is no longer the political priority, when the planned economy came to an end and the reform, opening-up and thoughts liberation gave Jiang Heng a broad horizon and free expression. For sure the reform and opening-up has brought much more than material abundance; it was a world-shaking change and an ethical subversion. A time of fickleness, desire and rapid social development would certainly have immense complexity and create a great diversity of art.

从绘画传统上说,中国绘画历来强调眼睛是传神写照之阿堵,所谓画龙不点睛的故事是耳熟能详的。维塞尔曼画女不点睛显然有另外的考虑,也许是在他看来,这些裸女已沦落到了只有身而没有心的地步了,因此作为心灵窗口的传神阿堵也就没有必要了,或者说,只有那红唇、乳头等符号,才具有凸现好莱坞式性感特征高度象征意义,眼睛已退化为可有可无之物。江衡的美女系列作品反其道而行之,眼睛乃此系列作品最核心的图像符号。画女不但必点睛,而且以极其夸张方式来点睛。性感的艳俗在江衡笔下的美女那里已经不再是什么新鲜主题,他要表达的也许是眼睛与世界的象征关系:这是一个受到视觉统治的时代,生存的快乐和体验有赖于视觉的把握。由此,江衡的美女系列作品便越出了美式波普艺术的艳俗性感窠臼,切入一个当代文化的视觉主题:看的质询性。王尔德早就指出,看一样东西与看见一样东西全然不同。我们可以天天看世界,却有可能什么也没有看见。江衡美女系列那瞪大的眼睛和富有穿透力的目光,或许是在质询看本身,召唤看的在场,把看径直转变为看见。因为事物存在是因为我们看见它们,我们看见什么,我们如何看见它,这是依影响我们的艺术而决定的。(王尔德语)这不正是画家想要我们明白的真相吗?

In the 1990s, market economy was rolling out overwhelmingly. Almost overnight, China entered into the time of urban culture and consumption an inevitable result of the impact of globalization. Along with it were continuous evolution of ideology and prevalence of popular culture to the extent that it kept squeezing out the elite culture with a tendency to become the mainstream. On the other hand, the time of images also began to influence peoples way of life and art creation. The combination and interaction of all these factors formed the historical and cultural context of Jiang Hengs personal growth, while the new social structure and new visual experience prompted him to find a way to respond to the upheaval, which underpins the approach of the visual reflection and visual expression in his image narration.

Speaking of traditional painting, Chinese paintings have always emphasized the key of passing on the spirit through the eyes, which explains not drawing the eyes to dragons. Wasslemanns women without eyes perhaps originate in other thinking, perhaps in his view, these nude women have became soulless bodies, therefore it is unnecessary to draw the window to their soul, or perhaps only the lips and nipple can best represent the sexual characteristics of Hollywood symbolism, and the eyes became dispensable. Jiang Hengs femme fatale series on the contrary, depict the eyes are its core emblem. It is not only a must to paint the women with eyes, but had to be done in the most exaggerated approach. The sexy kitsch is no longer a novelty under Jiang Hengs brush, what he would like to express is the symbolic relationship between the eyes and the world, where the world is in a visually dominated era, the joy of ones existence and experience relies on ones visual command. Hence, Jiang Hengs femme fatale series transcends the American Pop art kitsch art, but penetrates into the visual topic of modern culture: the inquest of viewing. Wang Erde has pointed out before that, to view an object is entirely different from having seen an object. We look at the world daily, but could have seen nothing at all. The big eyes in Jiang Hengs femme fatale series with piercing gazes is perhaps questioning the act of viewing, calling on the presence of viewing, transforming viewing from seeing. The objects existence is because we have seen them, what we see, how we see it, depends on the art influencing us. Isnt that the truth the artist would like us to know?

Thus it is not difficult to see at that time, the passion of idealism and the blind worship of modern western civilization were fading away from the historical stage and taken over by an emphasis on personal living space, value of individuals and attention to Chinese social reality. This was particularly so in Guangzhou, the gateway city of reform and opening-up, where people cared more about the matter of living based on individual life experience and emphasized personal way of life and development in the society. As a trend, the collective experience was more and more replaced by individual experiment.

作为结语,我想说,画面上那些浸润了看的吁请力量的目光,不断地在打量和考验着观者的目光,质询着我们:你是否感悟到消费时代的视觉体验的真谛了?你是否把看变成了看见?你是否从看见中看到了看的反思性?一如梅洛庞蒂所言:对象在我们眼睛下面,排除并散发出它们的实体,它们直接询问我们的目光,它们考验着我们的身体与世界达成的共同协议。

In his book Depoliticized Politics: End of the 20th Century and the 1990s, Wang Hui, distinguished Chinese scholar, addresses the formation of the time of market economy in China and the complicated changes of social structure triggered, The short 1990s unfolded against the backdrop of the end of a revolutionary century. During this time, the meanings of drama, politics, economy, culture and military have all undergone fundamental change and if not redefined, then even concepts as common as politics, nation and people cannot be used to analyze the times; it was also at this time that visual intellects began to shift their eyes and minds from the past to the unfamiliar present. Daniel Bell has also pointed out that A distinctive feature of modern city life is its visualization. To art, city is not only a tradition and a form but a whole new outlook of space, value and future as well as speed and passion.

In summary, I would like to say that the gazes on the images soaked up with invitation constantly approximates and contests the viewers gaze, questioning us whether we have understood the truth from the visual experience of this consumption era? Whether you have transformed seeing to viewing? Have you witnessed the reflexive nature in viewing? As Merleau-Ponty stated, the object is below our eyes, that rejects and disperses their truth form, they question our gaze directly. They challenge the agreement we have reached with our body and this world.

Such is the hotbed on which the Cartoon Generation relies and they consciously translate the visual experience in the landscape society into languages of art expression, for their social surroundings are pop culture, cartoon, animated games and rock roll; they grow up using American computer chips, watching Hollywood movies and eating fries. Such a life style determines Jiang Hengs visual expression approach. Based on his own life experience, Jiang Heng creates a virtual cartoon world in which he uses virtual languages to represent the real world. The animated reality not only overthrows peoples deep-rooted aesthetic experience, values and notions, but also reflects the way of life of the authors generation and their life experience. Irony and ridicule are the keynote of Jiangs visual expression, whereas shadowland and illusion mixed with childish naivety, romance and endless imagination for future are his unique narration style.

Starting from Beautiful Girl and Fish, then to Flying Butterflies, Flowing Butterflies and the latest Rolling on and Surging forward, Dazzling Feast of Flowers for the Eyes, Jiang Heng never stops shifting his view and refining his thinking and uses appropriately with right rhythm and control the contemporary culture and visual experience as his visual expression. In this way he effectively transforms new visual experience into his own pictorial language so he can use what he excels at flat color application as in advert painting, to destroy the original tones of the oil paintings and replace them with symbolized coding to imply a state and experience of life, i.e., a highly commercialized social reality in which men are alienated as goods; they are metamorphosed during the materialization.

Jiang Heng uncovers the characteristic of this popular, earthy culture, or the culture of modern industrial society, especially in south China, a mature consumer society with highly developed pop culture: We are in a time that cannot be escaped from when there seems to be an invisible hand controlling your mind and your consumption. Bombarded by advertisement, campaigns and media, men are losing themselves more and more and continuously alienated as an object in this machine-copy time. The passion, the relation between individual desires and the society, the bright and vivid colors in Jiangs visual images and the transformation of visual resources prove again a fact that the contemporary culture is shifting from traditional printing culture to a visual one, in which various images are experiencing men at every moment.

Through his works, audience can see the hope from the bottom of Jiang Hengs heart. He has an outstanding ability to translate metaphors into a reality that can be accepted by the public through his skillful pictorial expression, and he always possesses an acuteness towards the time and the social reality. The texture and glamour of his paintings give audience an emotion and cultural implication and his visual narration seems to keep create one metaphor after another. Hidden behind the flamboyant appearance is Jiang Hengs ardent imagination and symbolic expression of the contemporary society and his life of art. This is why in Jiang Hengs works, colors can break through the boundaries of objects, being totally free and radiating glaring magnificence and pleasure. In addition, the childlike feeling in his works has certain emotional power that dissolves adult comprehension and judgment, but presents the world through a new perspective. Such a perspective creates a whole new world the time of image - from the original pictorial world. This new world not only changes Jiangs creative concepts and expression means, but also the audiences reading habits and visual aesthetic experience. As to the analysis and decoding of art in the time of image, that would be the task for the future Cartoon Generation when they grow up.

Through creating one after another anamorphic scenario for the audience, Jiang Heng let the realness dissolves in the images while tries to use virtual scenario and products replicated by machine to revive a state, and finally through replicating the replicate to present his experience narrative and value judgment. He brings to the audience both an alternative way of creation and a special way of reading. Therefore there forms a tension between the subject and the object; through the virtual scene established by Jiang Heng, the audience can fully see how image reading has already become peoples essential way of information acquisition. Image reading not only penetrates into everyones daily life but moreover has become a habit in information and knowledge reception. As a result, images often control mens mind, guide their consumption and stimulate their desires.

Jiang Heng fully captures the artistic essence of the landscape society and the public image world, and understands the richness and diversity of social life. Although establishing many glamorous, cold and bewildering dreamland with distinctive images, his works show no trace of emotion expression at all; audience only face the numb, cold, replicated and dull vacuity and illusion. This is exactly what he tries to convey, the format structure of mass production, the repetition of series and abuse of significance. Watching his paintings, audiences are overwhelmed by the force of mass production. Jiang Hengs visual narrative is also about all the fashions, health products, large number of shoddy, tasteless goods and completely materialized objects in this consumer time. Undoubtedly, todays China just bases on these goods, and Jiangs works reflect the consumable transitoriness of the products we depend on, which are practical but short-lived.

Jiang Hengs visual narrative tactic is the triumph of the image time, the carnival of consumer society as well as the victory of sexiness and of the thoughts liberation in Guangzhou at the beginning of the reform and opening-up with its developed market economy. He not only possesses a mature artistic style and ever progressing social critical standpoint, but is also able to convert and mix his own visual symbols and other life elements into his visual expression. Against the background of consumer and landscape society, he timely and wittedly uses this societys own way to satirize and depict it, and hence reveals the coldness, isolation and vacuity resulted from the alienation to men by landscape. Such is the depth of Jiang Hengs art, and the embodiment of his values and his criteria of cultural value.

It is clear that Jiang Hengs visual narrative is immersed in highly commercialized surroundings. Unarguably, he benefits from the notions of the consumer society and wins reputation from it; while on the other hand, he is also an art carrier in the capital civilization of the consumer society: Through personal visual narrative, he portraits an extremely luxurious, prosperous but fake and void landscape and the pain, sorrow, perplexity and helplessness hidden behind the glamorous exterior.

Lately, Jiang Heng has been exploring a diversified visual narrative approach. He never stops challenging limitations, crossing boundaries and surpassing self. His visual image world is still full of liveliness instead of specific feelings and momentary emotions; this is already an elevated state, a calm and easy attitude and a detached perspective. Although the accumulation of life experience and all the sweet and bitterness in the journey of artistic exploration have moderated some of his past indignation and given him a peaceful and calm quality, his passion for artistic innovation has never bated a little. It can be expected that he will continue, through his visual exploration, to reflect on peace and harmony, to praise nature and life, to probe into the crossing and blending of cultures and philosophies between the East and the West and to display the bewilderment over the collision between tradition and present.

T﹒J﹒Clark has a view that the history of modern art is not a flat one, but a history of denials: continuous denials by new movements to the old ones.

Then as an important figure of the Cartoon Generation, what other visual surprises and expectations will Jiang Heng bring to the audience?

We look forward to them.

18:00, Jan. 14, 2014

Sanguandian Palace, East Lake, Wuhan.

Ji Shaofeng: Deputy Director of Hubei Museum of Art,

distinguished curator and critic, the only Chinese critic winning the

Best Curation Award in the 55th Venice Biennale 2013

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