涂曦:80代人的荒诞现实——个性表达与群性意识的无力抗衡

Tu Xu: Powerless Struggle of Individual Expression against the Collective Conscious— Reality of the Absurd for the Post-80s


文/徐嘉文

920日,艺凯旋艺术空间将要举办涂曦个展。展览以他2016年的创作为主,新作比例将近百分之六十。这是继13年“亲切的疏离感”个展之后,涂曦作品较为集中的一次亮相。

涂曦最新的创作依然在讨论过往创作中所延续的问题,但之前相比,对于图象的应用更加得心应手,叙事方式也更加主观。他有意地摒弃画面中多余的图象因素,在色彩、构图、光影、体积、笔触、质感等所擅长的绘画本体上,简化技术、随心选取、恰如其分的再造景观,以达到更深刻的精神性的传达。

贾蔼力、仇晓飞等在80年代改革开放环境中度过青春成长期的年轻艺术家一样,生于82年的涂曦也经历了中国市场经济的转型,也面对着西方文化与传统文化较量的洗礼。他在创作语言上通常更强调个体性和主观直觉,作品中那些模糊、虚空、超现实的空间场景,把那些与集体记忆相关的,始终摆脱不掉的时代记忆反衬得愈发明晰,曲折地反映当时情绪存在的非理性表现。通过不确定的时空和人物来重组图象,将现实中的具体抽象化,又将抽象的情绪具象化。

涂曦完全可以将表现性写实的技法信手拈来,但他不屑于炫耀,把最直接的情绪隐匿起来,将现实因素和非现实虚幻交织于一起,叙述非现实生活中的事件景观。虽然画面看起来或荒诞,或无厘头,却开掘了深刻的即视感,让一切在情绪记忆中历历在目。他无力改变什么,也无心证明什么,但翻滚的情绪却隐藏不住,以崩塌之势引导着观者一同回溯记忆。

涂曦作品中看似事不关己,但所有的物像却有所指代。如《起航 No.2》中在冰面上搁浅的船所传达出的无效性,正是对70末、80年初这代人的乌托邦梦想提出的质疑与嘲讽。涂曦说:“现代生活中的幸福感越来越微弱,对生活意义的迷茫和困顿,势必造成青年人对未来前景的怀疑,以至于即使憧憬的情景到来,也会发现其实那并非我们所期待。对生命意义的反思看似无病呻吟,却成了至关重要的恒久问题。这种唐吉柯德似得悲怆的努力,也许就是绘画在当今艺术语境中的状态。”

 

Q&A

记者:您的作品中有一种疏离,又有一种时代记忆感,一些非现世生活中的所见,却可以在时代记忆中找到脚本。这些再造场景与您自己的记忆有关吗?

涂曦:说不太清楚,可能会有一些,是无意识的流露吧。有一次,我翻出小时候的照片集,突然间发现很多场景跟我创作的画面气氛特别像,但其实我在创作过程中并没有刻意去回忆童年,所以可能这是潜意识的印象,就是人生经历的一种,也是我的一部分,不好拒绝也没想过回避。

 

   记者:在具体图象、场景的运用和选取上,您主要考虑哪些方面?

涂曦:我选择图象有点像在拍电影,图像元素都是道具。我选的元素都比较中性,用形式、颜色等关系来承载画中的意义,比如一山、一人、一树,可能没有什么时代印记,也看不出文化指向,只是图像的物理概念纳入,所以最后画面的呈现比较中性。

记者:您师出名门,技法应该是信手拈来。那么您觉得对于艺术家来说,绘画的技巧与传达的精神性这两者之间是什么样的关系?怎么去平衡?

    涂曦:这个问题在画画的时候也想。首先,技术肯定是非常重要的,要想完成画面,没有技术是不能够实现的。但是在学院中学了太多的技术,有时候对表达却是一个特别严重的束缚。这就是为什么有些画画得对,但却谈不上好,因为它没有温度,没有情感,没有营造出“人”的环境感。我觉得创作不能唯画面是图,没有感情表达的画面是失败的。

所谓平衡,就是在创作过程中,达到成功画面的层意方式有很多种,比如2+3等于5,可能1+4也等于5,我做的就是找到最符合内心的那种层次。

记者:您觉得绘画和艺术家性格、成长经历有关吗?

 涂曦:我觉得绘画跟很多东西都有关系,成长经历、知识结构,人生经历等等。现在比较流行一个词,“趣味”,虽然听起来比较低级,但还比较恰当。审美的趣味与个人的性格和气质能融会贯通,是我觉得比较好的一个状态。

    记者:现在创作的状态和最初从事艺术创作的愿景有没有什么变化?有没有某些反复刻画的情节?

涂曦:最开始希望自己的画面舒服一点,画出来自己内心想要的感觉,与他人发生共鸣,这是期望中最好状态。而现在绘画对于我的意义,更多的是在于变成生活的副产品,很多作品都是社会生活的折射或转译。

有时候会存在一种情况,想刻画一样东西,反复去做,但总是达不到自己想要的状态。

    记者:可以举个例子么?

涂曦:比如一直想画那种类似空旷电影院中的一排排椅子,旧时的椅子是好多人的共同记忆,某种意义上来说是对集体主义的映射,放在空旷的电影院场景中,比较荒诞,可以说集体主义的虚无。但画了几张都不是特别理想。绘画是靠机缘、情感、素材、材料等,这几点都在最佳状态才可以。并非每次都能一蹴而就,往往最终真实呈现出来的画面比最初预想的效果存在妥协,这是艺术家与画的较量,更是艺术家与自己的较量。

    记者:现在很多艺术家的作品都开始重新回归绘画性,您是怎么看的?

涂曦:当下信息网络高度发达,互联网时代的信息泛滥带来图象的泛滥。与此同时,手工性变得难能可贵,虽然画面也是图像,但绘画性图像带有体温,带有艺术家的情感,有别于冰冷的记录性的图像,能更好地传达精神上的东西,也许这就是绘画性回归的原因吧。


Xu Jiangwen

 

Tu Xi’s solo exhibition is about to open at Triumph Art Space on Sept. 20th, featuring his new creations in 2016, which will be accounting for nearly 60% of the selection. This will also be the first time since his 2013 Intimate Alienation that Tu Xi’s works have been shown on such a large scale.

 

Compared to his earlier oeuvres, these latest pieces manifest higher proficiency in Tu Xi’s use of the image and heavier subjectivity in his narratives, bringing the discussion of relevant issues further forward. Tu Xi deliberately turns away from the glut of pictorial elements—color, composition, shadow and light, mass, stroke and texture, and seeks more depth in the spiritual expression by reinventing landscapes with simplified, indiscriminate yet justifiable techniques for his well-chosen subjects.

 

Born in 1982, Tu Xi, along with Jia Aili and Qiu Xiaofei, is one of the young contemporary artists growing up during China’s reform and opening up and immersed in the conflict between the invading western culture and homeland conventions in the transformation of China’ market economy. In term of his creative language, however, he places more stress on the message of individuality and subjective instincts, putting into sharp relief the indelible memory of past collectivism and temporal emotions with his irrational, blurry, void and surreal spatial scenes in an oblique manner. Thus, the concrete reality is rendered abstract and the abstract representational through the rearrangement of uncertainties of time, space and figures.

 

Tu Xi rises above the more straightforward approach of realism by tucking away the most explicit feelings and narrating the non-reality incidents in the braiding of the real and the fiction. The absurd and incomprehensible images evoke vivid memories and sentiments with their instantaneous visions. Tu Xi, powerless to prompt changes nor to prove any claims, leave his sentiments in turmoil, which, being too strong to be calmed, lead the way for the spectator in their review of the past.

 

His works may appear indifferent, but all his subjects have their references. For instance, in Sail No.2, the invalidity of the stranded boat on ice makes a mockery of the Utopian dream common among the generation born around the beginning of the 80s. “The doubtful attitude towards the future among the younger generation is an inevitable result of our confusion and lack of happiness living in the modern times,” Tu Xi said, “so much so that even if our vision was fulfilled, it would not be necessarily what we had expected. The contemplation upon the meaning of life has taken on a permanent importance despite its sentimentality, and this Don Quixote tragic is being repeated in the form of paintings in the contemporary art world.”

 

 

Q&A

Q: Your works feature a sense of isolation and are imbued with memories of the past, from which archetypal images can be found as references for the unreal. Are these created scenes associated with your own memory?

A: They might be to a certain extent; and it’s unconsciously done. Once, I discovered that similarities exist between the photos of my childhood and the paintings I’m making in terms of their atmosphere. So my childhood years may have integrated into my unconscious as my experience. They have become part of who I am and can’t be escaped from.

 

Q: Tell us about your considerations about the use and selection of the image and scenes.

A: The images I choose are like props in film making. The mountain, the person and the tree are nothing more than mere physical beings with no specific connotations, cultural orientation or temporal mark. It is the form, color and other elements that are responsible for conveying meanings in the painting.

 

Q: As a student from a painting master, techniques must be elementary for you. How do you find the relationship between painting techniques and the spirituality in your works? Is there any way to find a balance?

A: I’ve been thinking about this problem as well. Techniques are relevant, to be sure, because without them, a painting is unattainable. But they also represent shackles to expressions. A work painted in the right way is not necessarily a good one, because a good painting has to have warmth and feelings and relevance. Too much emphasis on the image might ignore the expression of feelings.

As for finding balance, what I’m trying to do is to listen to my own heart and discover the most appropriate approach to achieve the best combinations of connotations possible.

 

Q: Do you think personality and growing experience have much to do with your painting style?

A: Yes, they do, and painting styles are influenced by a lot other things like your knowledge. I believe it is the best state of mind to have your aesthetic taste and personalities aligned.

 

Q: Has your artistic vision changed after all these years and is there any subject that recur in your works?

A: Initially all I wanted was to express my feelings with beautiful images that could resonate with other people. Now, paintings have become by-products of life and reflection or translation of society.

Indeed, I would go back to the same subject repeatedly, only to fail again at achieving what I want.

 

Q: Can you illustrate that point with an example?

A: I’ve always wanted to paint rows of chairs in a vacant cinema, a mirror of collectivism and a symbol of nihilism. But my creations are not how I want them to be. I think an ideal painting needs the optimal union of chance, sentiment, subject and material and cannot be reached at first attempt. More often than not, there is a compromise between the final image and the expectation at the beginning. This is a competition between the artist and the painting as well as one between the artist and himself.

 

Q: A lot of artists are returning to painterliness in their works. What’s your idea about this trend?

A: There is a plethora of pictures nowadays with the advance of internet and online information, and craftsmanship is becoming ever more precious for they are injected with the feeling of the artist and have their own body temperature. They are different from the cold pictures for chronicling, because they are better at getting the spiritual message across. This might be the reason behind the trend to return to painterliness.