意识的发展及即刻的情致,拒绝成长的物欲偶像bob电竞投注平台

 拍卖     |      2020-01-07

在欣赏希罗尼穆斯波希的《人间乐园》时,我们会不由感叹,仅仅在一幅画中就竟然浓缩了人间所有的喜怒哀乐。而画面上象征着贪欲、七出之恶、快乐等的桎梏的鸟类也带给观者深刻的印象。现代德语中鸟这个单词Vogel,在中世纪以后的美术界被作为欲望的苦痛的代名词而广泛地使用。我们仅从波希的一张画中,就可以感受到人类所追求的真理和道德、美的真谛是什么。在他的画中,对于生活是什么、怎样生活才是正确的及在这样的苦恼中孕育出的生活是什么样的等等的反省并不是相互分离而是融合在一起展现给了观者。

杨小彦

在《人间乐园》创作出来整整500年之后,中国艺术家江衡将同样的艺术特色反映在了自己的作品中。唯一不同的是,波希的画是为了强调现实生活的重要性而绘制出来的假想影像,而江衡展现给我们的却是歪曲的现实的极度强调,目的是引起人们对真正宝贵的人生到底是什么的反省。偶像、时尚、留在人们脑海中的美好事物、美艳之极的女人等等这些迷人却被歪曲了的事物,通常在最初的时候会使欣赏者感情受到一定的伤害,但这种感受很快便被作品带给我们的清新感及希望而取代。令人不可思议的是,这样的感受我们只能在江衡的作品中体会到,而在几乎同样题材的或者类似的漫画、卡通、杂志、动漫形象中,却无法体会得到。

谈论江衡的艺术,有几个关键点是必须提到的,这些关键点是:

世界上的美大致分为两种:一是自然赐予人类的美,我们称这种美为崇高;另一种是人类自身创造的人工的美。这些人造美包括时尚、设计、照片、化妆、卡通、饮食、求偶(courtship)、美艳的女人(coquettery)、礼物、建筑、桥墩、门、青春、历险经历等等,非常丰富多彩。而在上述如此之多的美好事物中,只有艺术的美是与众不同的。

首先要提到江衡的老师。江衡当年就读于广州华南师大美术学院,跟从李邦耀学习油画。本来,常识判断,华师美术学院从档次和规格上似乎应该比广州美术学院略逊一筹,但是,正因为华师美术学院在九十年代初期果断地从湖北美术学院引进了一批老师,他们同时也是中国当代艺术运动的重要成员,结果便逐渐改变了学院原有的艺术生态,在南方本地的气氛之中,催生了完全不同的艺术结果。江衡是这结果之一。

大概我们中的很多人都拥有对童年时的玩具snowball(一种玻璃球,球内有装饰有小屋等,将球体倒置摇动,会有雪样的东西飘落)的美好回忆。在圆形的玻璃球内,一望无际的原野上飘落着雪花,炊烟从小木屋的烟囱中冉冉升起,美丽的圣诞树暗示着幸福宁静的家庭生活。端详着这玻璃球的孩子们,不由得都会被这美好的一切所吸引,并渴望着能够融入其中。但他们很快会明白,这个愿望是无法实现的,并因此而倍感消沉。有的孩子甚至不惜打破玻璃球,以求一触这个美好的世界。但这个极端的手段带给他们的则是更大的挫折感。直到有一天,孩子们长大成人,才对 snowball 逐渐变得无动于衷。艺术正是长大了的人们的 snowball。它就好像是现实世界中的玻璃做成的神秘的空间,艺术家们细腻入微地体味领悟生活就像在体味艺术这个充满魔力的世界。人们在各种照片、时尚设计、化妆、礼品包装等方面表现出来的感觉也许仅仅是某种感觉,也许是经过培训的感觉,但艺术却绝不如此单纯,它是艺术家本身对生活的感受、对世界的看法即艺术家世界观的表现。因此,如果我们从艺术品中得到了某种感动,那一定是欣赏者与艺术家本人看待世界的视角达到了某种程度的一致,形成了共鸣。叔本华说:艺术是人格本身(art is personality itself), 布丰也提到艺术是灵魂的面容( art is physiognomy of the soul)。因此,只有艺术才能将人内在的灵魂表现出来,而这种灵魂的表现是我们所无法分析的。我们所能做到的,不过是感受到它所传达的信息从而受到感动,又或者没能感受到它的提示,而将其忽视这两者之一罢了。

当年南下的艺术家,今天仍然留在华师美院教书的,除了李邦耀之外,还有方少华、杨国辛和石磊、他们四人的油画在当代油画艺术格局中各有位置。尤其重要的是,他们带来了发轫于内地的艺术思想和造型观念,包括九十年代初湖北的政治波普和他们所特有的表现主义描绘方式。更重要的是,他们在教学中一直强调个性的张扬,强调个人与情境的结合,强调艺术对现实的干预,从而形成有意义的艺术问题,并以此为基础去达成切入当下的目的。看江衡早期留下来的几幅油画,的确受到非本土因素的影响。1994年的《无题》系列,主角是扭动的红色男人体,背景则是表达欲望的图案。这几张作品混杂了某些波普的风格,却又用了表现的手法,有着湖北画风的影子。1996年的《卡通一代系列》,在画风上则显然受到李邦耀艺术的影响。毫无疑问,这是江衡艺术的风格起点。

艺术家江衡通过带刺的语言来揭示物神化的世界。他笔下的美女们无一不符合我们亚洲人的审美,妖娆、艳丽、性感,而我们从这些看似青春与美丽的美女身上感受到的是现实中的巨大的空虚与无奈。实际上,他画的并不是这些美女,而是我们的现实世界。现代社会错综复杂(complex)、多变(labile)动荡(unstable),渺茫(distance)、无常(transience)、暧昧(obscurity)是它的实质。而为了所谓的人生的概括(universal summation of life),即财富与名誉,也只不过是为了获得世俗的爱而作的虚无的努力罢了。同样,现代艺术也很难超脱出这种社会背景去。现代艺术失去了米开朗琪罗、达芬奇、伦勃朗、 歌德这些人文主义文化的代表所具有的光环。那时的艺术将形象(form)与灵魂(soul)、静止(stasis)与动态(movement)、形象化的空间(pictorial space)与叙事性的时间(narrative time)完美地共现在了一起。而生活在当今时代,在社会上扮演各种角色的人们(social actors),借用叔本华的的话说,就像在永远也无法满足的欲望的洪流中漂流的孩子们。对于包括知识分子、艺术家、劳动者、公务员等在内的所有人们来说,这是一个由各种各样阴暗的碎片堆积起来的并不完美的时代。

其次,九十年代中广州以黄一瀚为首的卡通一代运动,对江衡形成了直接的影响。今天,已经没有谁去怀疑广州的卡通一代了,即使评价有差异,但风靡当下画坛的所谓卡通风,追根溯源,和广州还是有着密切的联系。我的意思并不是说所有包含卡通风格的艺术都根源于广州的卡通一代。在我看来,造成卡通风气漫延的原因,比人们想象的还要复杂,来源更是千差万别,但类似风格的确是在广州最早出现的。有意思的是,身为广州美院教师的黄一瀚,却要到华师美院来寻找支持,让第一回展和第二回展在华师美院展厅成功举办。这说明华师美院的确存在着某种令人感动的宽容气氛。江衡从一开始就是广州卡通一代的积极参与者,并用自己的油画风格去印证卡通的合理性。以至于最后成为九十年代中期中国卡通一代的重要艺术家代表人物之一。上面提到的《卡通一代》系列,就是这场不大不小的南方艺术运动的直接结果。后来他那著名的风格标志,也就是睁着天真媚眼、高度物质化的女性偶像,就是在这当中成型的。

而江衡的艺术正是扎根于其游刃有余地观照这一时代、积极等待这一时代的进步的乐观的坚持之中。被无数的文化要素环绕着的我们体会到的种种感受,绝对不是毫无意义的。现代社会的各种媒体本质上都具有冲突的属性,每个人是无法体会到所有其他个人的感受的,但同时又不能完全将所有的东西都拒之门外。这个时代的文化还停留在不断发展的阶段,而江衡的艺术世界为我们提供了超越这个不确定、不成熟的状态,并且期待在下一个季节,在由被欲望的洪流带来的阴暗的碎片堆积而成的土壤上可以有所收获的信心。他的散落的物品(stray object)系列、偶像(idols)系列虽然批判了前面提到的阴暗的文化土壤,但还是非常饱满地强调了绘画的两个力点-- 美与和谐。他批判这个社会不合理的一面,但也决不扼杀希望。他不是无条件地拒绝社会的失衡,而是为了展望更远的地方而闭上双眼不断内省。在他的作品中,美丽的女子不管在受到令人联想到男性生殖器(phallus)的避孕套、手枪的威胁,被同样可以联想到男性生殖器的弓箭射伤流血还是服用了药丸而陶醉于幻想的世界时,都保持着美丽而又灿烂的微笑。这也正代表了江衡本人对于失衡、充满不确定性的社会并不放弃,相反充满了无限地信任与爱意的态度。

再其次,发生在九十年代中国社会的急剧转型,尤其是发生在南方的经济改革大潮,不但彻底改变了以往艺术所固有的精神格局与表现方式,而且,更重要的是,这场大潮还催生了新生代直接而坦率的物质欲望。不要小瞧这场在转型当中催生出来的物质欲望,也不要把这欲望仅仅看成是一种被动反应,恰恰相反,今天,中国的物欲,早就超越了自我范畴,而成长为一种精神现象。忽视这一精神现象,我们就无法对当下艺术做出哪怕是万分之一的客观判断。

实际上,江衡是90年代中期以中国广州为中心展开的卡通一代美术运动中最具代表性的艺术家。在中国美术史上甚至世界美术史上,将卡通或漫画、动漫等作为绘画体裁,甚至掀起以此为主体的美术运动还是首次。这次美术运动在中国南方广东省以广州为中心波澜不惊地开展时,正赶上以北京为中心的玩世现实主义 (Cynical Realism) 和波普艺术(Political Pop)完满落幕的时候。这两场运动提倡的理念有着明显的不同。与前者反对官方主流的强烈要求相比,卡通一代则是一次寻找是什么给人们带来了影响、反省自身的成长历程,质询内部世界本质的航行。广州市邻近自由都市香港,又是离政治中心北京最远的一个大都市,因此可以比较容易地接触西方思想与文化。卡通一代不再追问世界是什么而是致力于探求我是什么。在亚洲,生于70年代的一代人在2008年的现在都已30多岁,虽然他们还没有成长为社会的主要力量,但却是亲身经历了最多变化的一代。他们不能像上一代一样无条件接受西方价值观就能成为精英,而得面对越来越激烈的世界化竞争,温暖的大家庭社会逐渐走远,他们不得不独自游戏独自承担一切。父母教给他们的单纯的、无条件的爱和他们面对的有选择、有条件的爱更使得他们无比困惑。在整个亚洲,这一代的人们的共同点就是在急剧变化的都市风景中,利用游戏、卡通等轻松愉快的手段来填补情感的空缺。而江衡几乎是无数的卡通一代艺术家中唯一一个将外部世界与自我完美融合在一起的艺术家。他用积极的态度拥抱充满变动、不安、失衡的现代生活。正如我前面提到的,任何单纯的卡通即使与江衡创作的艺术形象十分形似,但带给观者的感受却是截然不同的,理由正是因为它们没有被赋予在与外部世界冲突、融合的过程中绽放的江衡的灵魂。今后的10年中,70年代出生的人们将立足于世界的中心。我从江衡的艺术作品中看到了我们所创造并为之苦恼的普遍意义上的记忆和义务。

也就是说,来自内地的艺术思潮、本土掀起的艺术运动和中国社会的急剧转型,是造成江衡艺术之面貌的外部条件,没有这些条件,很难想象他会创作出现在人们所熟悉的风格。

A look at The Garden of Earthly Delights Hieronymus, a triptych by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, guides the viewer to the full gamut of human life in history condensed into a single work of art. The Three Poisons (i.e. greed, hatred and delusion), Seven Vices, Earthly Delights and their surroundings dominate the painting via the symbolic language represented by a bird. The word vogel in modern German means bird which had been widely used since the Middle Ages as a common expression for sexual intercourse in art works. The Boschs painting lets its viewers instantly know the meaning of truth, morality and beauty that mankind seeks after. In his painting, viewers recollections about what is life, how we lead a good life, and what results are made from this life are not separated from each other but integrated to make a whole.

除此之外,江衡本人的视角,他对生活和社会的独特把持,对他人与艺术的广泛认识,也起到了关键的作用。现在,世人所熟悉的江衡的艺术,便是他那几乎千篇一律的符号化的媚眼美女,她们傻笑着,做着各种符合世俗要求的媚态和表情,传递着一种或可称之为天真与美丽的性别信息。从某种意义来看,我觉得江衡的媚眼美女像是一句重复出现的反语,述说着与表面信息完全相反、甚至是相互抵触和冲突的内容。

A modern Chinese painter Jiang Heng tried to construct on his painting the same agony that troubled Hieronymus Bosch five hundred years ago when he painted The Garden of Earthly Delights. One may argue that there is a difference between the two: The Boschs panels display imaginary aspects of human life painted to highlight the value of life in this world while Jiangs work raise a question via dramatization of distorted reality what is the valuable life. The pictures by Bosch may hurt the viewers sensibility by guiding them to the conventional judgment that the beauty imprinted in their brain via idolatry, fashion and exaggeratedly beautified women is directly related with the market. The pain from the judgment is then soon replaced by a sense of freshness or even hope. We may not feel the same sense from similar images in cartoons, magazines and still pictures from animated films, but quite mysteriously the Jiangs pictures make us have the same feeling.

记得当年我在一篇谈论广州卡通一代的文章中,提到了造成这种风格出现的某些原因:

One may divide beauty into two categories. One is that given by nature to mankind as a gift, and we call it sublimity. The other is the artificial one, the beauty made by mankind. This manmade beauty appears through various media including fashion, design, photography, makeup, cartoon, caricature, food, courtship, coquettery, gift, architecture, bridge post, door, youth and adventure tale. Here, however, we tend to divide the artistic beauty from the beauty mentioned above.

卡通一代首先针对的对象是自己,看自己是否具备足够的穿透力,用以穿透南方人在文化上的局限性,以便得到一块观察的平台,并为作品的文化价值寻找新的定位。作为外来文明的一块跳板,南方的确具备了某种优越性,但处在边缘区域,受各种各样的诱惑太多,艺术容易走向肤浅和矫情,也是显然的事实。......影响我们的正是对所谓深度的不正常迷恋。......卡通大量涌向中国,既迅速冲垮原来的古典阅读方式,也造就了与五、六十年代相异的卡通人。同时,电脑的普及以及人造环境的空前增长,进一步阻隔了人与自然的有机联系,使得除了卡通人之外,又不断产生大量的电脑人。卡通一代的发起人黄一瀚用我们是长不大的孩子来命名他的一件作品,其实用这个题目来指称那些生理上过早成熟而心理上却迟迟不发育、整天埋头在卡通和电脑之中难以自拔的新一代的族群是相当确切的。 [1]

Many of us have a loving memory of snowball that we had in our childhood days. The memory often contains a landscape consisting of snowy field unfolding itself as if in a magic glass ball, a cottage with smoking chimney and a Christmas tree inside it. It creates a perfect scene for a happy family. A boy looking into the glass bowl is soon drawn into the world of magic unfolded by the fascinating landscape in it. His journey into the magical world abruptly comes to an end, however, because he soon realizes that he cannot be part of the world. He yearns to get into it even by breaking the ball by dropping it onto a hard surface. The excessive method leads him only to a larger frustration. It is only after he has grown into an adult that he can have full understanding of the snowballs secret and contemplate it with the artists indifference. Art is the Snowball of the people who are grown up. Art is the world of magic which is effectively divided from the real world. Indulgence into this magical space is the same as the participation in the way the artist looks at the world. Sensibility that created fashion, photography, design, makeup or gift wrapping is nothing but sensibility. It may have been born or made. Art, however, transcends simple sensibility. It is the whole of what an artist feels and knows intuitively as he or she lives on in this world. It is the way he or she looks at the world, that is, the symbol of his or her world view. If one is moved by a work of art, then, it means that he or she is moved by the way the artist looks at the world via the work. The situation may be better explained by the Schopenhauers expression, art is personality itself, or Buffons, art is physiognomy of the soul. One can safely conclude, then, that art is the only means with which we can reveal our soul to the world. Similarly, we cannot analyze this expression of the soul. We feel it and are moved, or just pass by it without any sense of feeling.

出现在当年的这场南方艺术运动,曾经受到几乎整个艺术界的反对。曾几何时,类似风格却成为大多数70年代以后出生的新艺术家群体的图式选择。这种现象在时空中的反差,甚至导致了人们对当初事实的忽视。就像一开始我所指出的,江衡属于早期的卡通一代,他的符号形成与发展已经有近十年的时间。从这个角度来说,我也算是比较早对这一艺术现象做出反应的批评家。检索当年言论,我发现,我所感兴趣的并不是表面的卡通。站在今天的情境去审视当年,所谓卡通,可能只是一种巧妙的图式挪用策略。当然,其中也呈现了年轻一代成长时特有的视觉背景。就在批评家用不同的概念去述说今天的卡通风格时,我觉得其中一个问题是,他们几乎都对卡通当了真,而忘记类似风格早在七十年代前后,就成为出版产业和影像产业的重要内容。我之所以把当年自己的言论刊在这里,是我发现,即使在当年的关注中,我就已经多多少少地把卡通视为与成长密切相关的一个问题。黄一瀚提出长不大的孩子,可能只是他作为长辈对年轻人的主观看法。如果稍微深入到新一代的具体环境中,对于成长,他们所面临的,显然不是长不大,而是拒绝长大。这种拒绝的态度,切中了与成长有关的社会与历史背景,体现了成人社会和非成人社会的紧张关系,甚至是冲突关系。我承认,当年我也只是看到生理成熟心理不成熟这个自为是的表象,而忽略了其中的意义。在我看来,新艺术家们之所以选择偏向卡通或与卡通趣味有关的形象,表面看是其青春期受特定的视觉形象影响的结果,但深入看,却透露了他们在成长过程中,对规训其发育的成人社会的态度。如果这个猜测成立,那么,我要说,呈现在视觉上的形象的某种一致性,本身就是一个有趣的答案,并告诉我们,他们是如何看待成人社会的。面对一个日益虚伪的犬儒化成人社会,作为艺术家,他们大概只能通过选择曾经被成人社会所遗弃或忽视的形象类型,比如卡通,来表达对这个社会的拒绝。当然,随着艺术界本身的变化,卡通也开始成为一种显赫的风格,使拒绝上升为新一轮的艺术运动。后起的追随者究竟是否因为相同的原因,还是为业已成功的前景所左右,才继续选择卡通,这自然要另当别论了。

As suggested above, the Jiang Hengs soul reveals the fetishistic world with tangible language. His women, who are well trimmed to fit the sensibility of Asian viewers, turn into stuffed specimens by rich sensuality, eroticism and hallucination surrounding them. The surface of the stuffed samples still maintains the same beauty of a living thing, but they are in reality lifeless, affecting the viewers sensibility. The women in Jiangs work do not represent female sex in mankind but rather symbolize the contemporary world we live in. The todays social reality is too complex, too labile and too unstable. It might be better described with the words such as distance, transience and obscurity. His women are engaged in nothing but fruitless efforts to gain wealth, fame and love in baser sense of the word which are often dubbed as universal summation of life. Contemporary artists also feel it hard to flee from this social reality. Their art lost the aura created by culture based on rich artistic heritage from old masters such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Goethe. The art established by these great masters is marked by a perfect symbiotic relationship between form and soul, stasis and movement, and pictorial space and narrative time. The social actors who direct the contemporary world are, however, the children, as Schopenhauer once said, who are adrift on the cold waves of desire that can never be satisfied. For those who live todays world, which include intellectuals, artists, workers and public servants, life is nothing but a dark pile of pulverized individuals, obsession and a lack of well-wrought codes.

当我把江衡的媚眼美女放在这样一个与成长相关的背景上时,他的作品的反语效果就开始呈现出来了。那是一个潜藏在青春早期甚至前青春期的粉红色梦想,曾经是成人社会压制的对象,并且和一个时期以来,艺术界所推崇的深度背道而驰。自然,就反语而言,我并不是说江衡有意要用媚眼美女这样一种视觉修辞去从事反抗或者讽刺。我相信他并没有反语式的创作意图。也就是说,他不关心表面的反抗。他甚至一点也不反抗。相反,他只关心图像所传达的物质欲望。正因为这样,我才读解出他作品中的某种真实性,因为内里所透露的,可能连他本人都不能清醒意识到,是一种拒绝成人社会的温软态度。

The beauty of Jiangs art is in the optimistic view with which he can give a room for the spirit of todays chaos. The emotions sweeping our existence surrounded by numerous cultural elements will never be meaningless. However, it is not that every individual is given a significant meaning. Todays media exhibit nature that makes them clash with each other. An individual is instable because it can neither digest all the elements that form itself nor defy them outright, because culture of our time is remained within the narrow-minded process leading to the well-made codes. The current location of Jiangs art is where he is convinced of, and waits for, the next years rich harvest produced in the dark sedimentary soil offered by the uncomfortable, bad-tempered and cruel waves of desire. His series of stray objects and idols criticize the aforementioned cultural soil, but the form of his painting maintains a tense conflict between the two force points, beauty and symmetry. He criticizes the contemporary world he lives in but never tries to slaughter it. He does not unreservedly defy the vertigo created by the todays world but rather tries to contemplate it to get prospects further away. The degraded objects and women in his paintings never lose the bright, beautiful smile even when they are under threat from phallic condoms or guns, blooded by the phallic arrows, or estranged from the reality via phallic pills. The images show that Jiang never gives up his boundless trust and love for the world despite the chaotic situation succumbing it.

这样,我以为我们就能理解江衡笔下的媚眼美女了。那本来就不是真实的美女,而是想象中的物欲偶像,呆在虚空中,瞪着假装天真的媚眼,以永远不变的面容和表情,注视着成人社会的持续膨胀。也就是说,江衡通过媚眼美女,既实现了他的拒绝意图,让年龄永远驻足在足以让艺术家感到愉快率性的时刻,同时又把一种少年的伤痛隐藏了起来,而用偶像取代对现实的插入。

As is widely known, Jiang Heng is a leading player of the Guangzhou-based Cartoon Generation that dominated the Chinese art world in the late 1990s. It was a rare phenomenon not just in China but the entire world that cartoon or animation emerged as a major artistic movement in painting. The movement began in Guangzhou, a city of southern China, by the time when the Cynical Realism and Political Pop in Beijing were nearing the end of their success. These two art movements were running for different goals. The first was, for instance, a powerful message for the outer worlds, social and political worlds, whereas the second, Cartoon Generation, was a journey in which artists were seeking after a question of identity concerning the questions, what affected us and how we grow.

Materialistic Idols Reluctance to Grow Up - Jiang Hengs Flirtatious eyes and Gaze Yang Xiaoyan

The geographical condition of Guangzhou as a neighboring city of Hong Kong and one of the faraway metropolises from Beijing, the capital of China, helped the city to become one of the Chinas first cities to contact liberal Western culture. The artists of the Cartoon Generation were the first Chinese artists who raised questions such as what is the world? and what am I? Those who were born in Asia in the 1970s are now in their 30s. They may not be the principal axis of the society but one may say that they form a generation with richer experiences because the last three decades were one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history. Unlike their predecessors, western values didnt let them automatically promoted to the elite group, and the currents of globalization led them from the traditional family-based society to the age of limitless competition between individuals. They were of the generation who learned of life not from their parents but who had to suffer a sense of futility from the freedom guaranteed from selective love. The common point linking the generation across entire Asia is that they tended to spend more time on computer games and cartoons within the urban landscapes suffering rapid urbanization. Jiang Heng has been almost the only artist of the entire members of the Cartoon Generation who was able to reconcile the outside society and the self forming the inner world. He embraces this chaotic and whimsical world with devoted love. As mentioned above, both simple cartoons and complex artistic images by Jiang generate different moods among viewers despite their outward similarities thanks to his soul fully bloomed in the process of its conflict and reconciliation with the outside world. Our world in a decade from now will be dominated by the generation of people who were born in the 1970s. I find in the art of Jiang Heng the universal memory and obligation of the world that we generate and perform.

Speaking of Jiang Hengs art, one must mention a few key points. They are:

First of all, we must speak of Jiang Hengs professor. Jiang Heng was a student in the oil painting department at the art college of Huanan Normal University, and studied under professor Li Bangyao. Albeit our common understanding that Huanan Normal University categorizes as an institution of a lower tier in comparison to the Guangzhou Academy of Art, however Huanan Normal University hired a groups of professors from Hubei Academy of Art in the early '90s. They were once important players in the movement of contemporary Chinese art. As a result, their presence at the art college has gradually changed its artistic ecology of the former academy. With the local southern artistic sphere, it had induced completely different artistic outcomes. And Jiang Heng is part of its harvest.

Among the artists who came to the south and are still teaching at the art college of Huanan Normal University, besides Li Bangyao, there are also Fang Shaohua, Yang Guoxin and Shi Lei, they each occupies an important position in the framework of contemporary oil painting. What is especially important is their importation of artistic thoughts and compositional concept from Chinas interior. It includes the Political Pop art from Hubei in the early '90s and the artists individualized approach of representation in expressionism. More importantly, throughout their teaching, they have always put the emphasis on highlighting individuality, emphasizing on incorporating the individual with his emotions, emphasizing art as an intervention on reality. With which, meaningful artistic issues could be formulated, and using it as a base of entry to current matters. Looking at a few oil paintings from Jiang Hengs earlier period, they were indeed influenced by foreign elements. For example, Jiangs Untitled series from 1994 depicts a red male body in swing as its main subject and contrasting with a background motif expressing desire. These works have mixed certain styles of pop art, yet was executed in the expressionist approach. There are shadows of the Hubei style of painting. And the Cartoon Generation series from 1996, has stylistically reflected the art of Li Bangyao. Without a doubt, this was the formative years of Jiang Hengs artistic style.

Secondly, the cartoon generation movement headed by Huang Yihang in the Guangzhou area in the mid-nineties has also had a direct impact on Jiang Heng. Today, no one questions the significance of the Cartoon Generation from Guangzhou, even though there are different opinions about it. Although if we trace back on the origin of the so-called cartoon wave now popular in the art arena, we find close ties with Guangzhou. I am not making the statement that art with cartoon features are all derived from the Guangzhous Cartoon Generation. In my view, the reason for the popularization of cartoon style is more complex than what we imagine, its sources were diverse. However, similar styles were indeed first appeared in Guangzhou. What is interesting is, as a professor of the Guangzhou Academy of Art, Huang Hanyi had to come to Huanan Normal University art college to seek for support. Thus the first and second exhibitions were successfully held at the exhibition hall of the art college. It demonstrates certain moving tolerance from the art college of Huanan Normal University. Jiang Heng has been one of the active participants in the formative stage of Guangzhous Cartoon Generation, and testified for the rationale of cartoon with his own style of oil painting. Consequently, he became one of the most representative Chinese artists from the Cartoon Generation in the mid-nineties. The aforementioned Cartoon Series was a direct outcome of this sizable southern artistic movement. Later on, his famous signature style wide opened eyes with the nave and flirtatious gaze on the highly materialistic female idols, was formulated in this process.

Moreover, the rapid transformation of Chinese society in the '90s, especially once the wave of economic reform hit on the southern provinces, not only the existing spiritual framework and its artistic approach of representation were completely changed, but more importantly, this wave has induced the direct representation of the New Generations materialistic desire. One should not belittle the material desire induced from this transformation, nor should one treat such desire as a passive reaction. In contrast, the materialistic desire in China today has far exceeds the boundary of the individual, but has grown into a spiritual phenomenon. If we ignore this phenomenon, we will be unable to make the slightest objective judgment on the art of today.

In other words, the artistic trend from Chinas interior, the local uprising of artistic movement and the rapid transformation of Chinese society make part for the external conditions of Jiang Hengs art form. Without these conditions, it would be difficult to imagine how he could formulate the style we are familiar with today.

Besides, Jiang Hengs perspective, his unique view on life and society, as well as his overall understanding of others and on art were also crucial to this formation.

Today, Jiang Hengs art people are familiar with is his repetitive symbolized beautiful women gazing with flirtatious eyes, they smile innocently, posing in various flirtatious poses and expressions that satisfies the secular standard. They display this kind of so-called nave and beautiful gendered information. To a certain extent, I think Jiang Hengs women with flirtatious looks is a repetitive statement of sarcasm, it conveys information contrasting with its superficial appearance, or even of opposing and conflicting content.

I remember in one of my essays discussing the Cartoon Generation of Guangzhou, I have mentioned certain causes for the formation of this style,

The primary subject of the Cartoon Generation is the self, whether the self possess sufficient ability of transcendence, can the self go beyond the boundary of southern culture in order to gain a new platform of observation, and to redefine themselves according to the cultural value of their artwork. As a steppingstone to foreign civilization, there are indeed certain advantages in the south. However, as region on the periphery, it is lured by various sources, therefore it is easy for art to sidetrack to the path of superficiality and contentiousness, which is now obviously a fact. what influences us is precisely the abnormal infatuation of the so-called depth. cartoon overflowing into china caused the traditional way of reading to rapidly collapse. This gave birth to many of the cartoon characters from the 1950s and 1960s. At the same time, the popularization of computer technology and the increase on artificial environments further barricade the organic relationship between human and nature, yielding large production of computer characters besides the already existing cartoon characters. The founder of Cartoon Generation, Huang Yihan has entitled his first work, We are children reluctant to grow up. The truth is, this title accurately refers to the younger generation who has physically reached maturity yet are psychologically lacking behind a generation who completely immersed themselves in comics and computers.

This southern art movement at the time was once almost rejected by the entire art world. And not so long ago, its similar style has become the illustrative choice for most young artistic groups born in the 1970s. The contrasts of this phenomenon in time have even caused people to ignore its initial fact. As I have mentioned at the beginning, Jiang Heng belongs to the earlier Cartoon Generation, the formation and development of his symbolism has been almost ten years. From this perspective, I am also one of the earliest critics who have commented on this artistic phenomenon. As I retrieve my comment from the time, I discover that my interest was not on the cartoon per se. To analyze them with todays context, the so-called cartoon perhaps was only a intelligible strategy of compositional appropriation. Of course, from which we also find the visual reference specific to that young generation. As critics apply different concept to comment on the styles of todays cartoon, I think one of the problems among them is their gullible believe in Cartoon, and have forgotten that similar style has already been important content in publishing and film industries around the 1970s. The reason I am reiterating my comment from the past is that I discover, even with my view at the time, I have already more or less treated cartoon as an intimate issue reflecting on the process of growing up. The Children reluctant to grow up proposed by Huang Yihan was perhaps his subjective view of young people as an elder. If we enter into the particular context of the new generation, in terms of growing up, what is before them is obvious not unable to grow up, but refusing to grow up. This attitude of reluctance strikes a cord with the social and historical background associated with growing up, which reveals the intense, or even conflicting relationship between the adult society and its non-adult counterpart. I admit, what I noticed at the time was the symptom of physical maturity and psychological immaturity, but have perhaps neglected its meaning. In my view, the reasons for artists to choose cartoon or cartoon-like forms, from the surface its an outcome of their specific visual influence during their adolescent period, more thoroughly, it infiltrates their attitudes on the adult society that manipulates their growing process. If this hypothesis is true, then certain types of uniformity shown visually are in themselves an interesting response. It tells us how they view the grown-ups society. In dealing with the grown-ups society, that is becoming gradually pretentious and cynical, as artists, they can perhaps only use forms that has once been abandoned or neglected by the grown-up society, such as cartoon, to express their rejection of this society (here I am referring to the art world in the grown-up society). Of course, as the art world transforms itself, cartoon began to come a prominent style, and letting this rejection to become the beginning of a new cycle of art movement. Whether its later followers shared similar motives, or was driven by the prospect of future success and have chosen cartoon, of course needs to be discussed otherwise.

As I set Jiang Hengs flirtatious beauties against the background related growing up, the sarcasm of his works began to emerge. The rosy dream hidden subconsciously in the early years of adolescence or pre-adolescence was once oppressed from the adult world, and also parts separate ways with the promotion of depth in the art world in the past while. Naturally, as of sarcasm, I am not emphasizing Jiang Hengs intended flirtatious beauties as a visual description to react or ridicule. I believe he did not have any sarcastic creative intent. In other words, he is not interested in the superficial reaction. Or even, hes not rebellious at all. In the contrary, he is only concerned with the material desire conveyed through the images. It is precisely for this reason, could I have interpreted the certain truth in his works, because what it essentially displays, perhaps he might not even be clearly aware of, is a kind of deterrent attitude in rejecting the grown-up society.

With this, I think we have a better understand the flirtatious beauties under Jiang Hengs brush. They were not representations of true beauty to begin with, but the imagined idols of desire, who are placed in a void, gazing with pretentious and nave eyes, observing the constant inflation of the grown-up society with their constant facial expression. In sum, Jiang Heng has not only realized his intent of rejection with the women gazing flirtatiously, but have allowed that age to be eternally planted in a moment of enjoyment for the artist. At the same time, he has also concealed a type of sorrow of adolescence, and has used idols to replace the intervention of reality.

编辑:霍春常