自我的镜像 ——读李关关的画

The Mirror Image of Self - ViewingLi Guanguan's Painting


彭锋

 

据说关关喜欢画马。她最近的个展将要展出的作品,无一例外都是马。这让我不由得有些担心,马这个题材还能画出什么新意吗?先不说历史上画马的名家多不胜数,就是当今活跃的画家,也有不少以画马闻名。彭斯的油画马,意境高远,直追宋画神韵。徐累的国画马,将观念与超现实的戏剧性结合起来,唯美而不失当代气息。关关的马还能给人以震惊的效果吗?

当关关向我展示她的第一张作品时,我的这些顾虑便全部打消了。画面独特的气质打动了我一种略带忧伤的温暖,从画面洋溢出来,弥漫成一种氛围,柔软而强大。我丝毫没有看出她有任何影响的焦虑,仿佛所有的画马名家都不曾存在似的,正如石涛所说的那样,“纵有时触著某家,是某家就我也,非我故为某家也。”

关关画面的独特气质,与她使用的材质有关。她在一种特制的绢上做画,反复晕染。与宣纸和麻布相比,丝绢显得柔软、体贴、通透、且具有可呼吸的质感。当关关顺着绢的纹理画出马毛的时候,绢的细腻特性得到了充分体现。有时甚至产生一种幻觉:不知是画在绢上,还是绢在画上。这让我想起奥黛丽.川崎(Audrey Kawasaki)在木板上作画的情形。对木板纹理的巧妙借用,在形象与材质之间建立起微妙关系,增强了画面的神秘感。关关的作品比川崎的更加细腻,这不仅是因为丝绢比木板细腻,更因二人作画方式不同。川崎只在木板的一面作画,关关在绢的两面作画,画面形象与绢的材质更加融为一体,仿佛形象是从材质中浮现出来的一般,加强了画面的幻觉感。

关关对绘画材质和作画方式的选择,让她的作品显得更加含蓄和温润。画面的这种气质,与马的主题相得益彰。关关的马失去了它的阳刚和强健,给人一种忧郁、敏感、惊警、脆弱甚至易碎的感觉。为了突出这种感觉,关关喜欢画马的局部,尤其是头部,特别是眼睛。马的眼睛很少与观众形成平视,也没有向远方眺望,而是内省地俯视。这种姿态的马,似乎并不期待交流,而是渴望被看。关关的马好像是以被动的姿态,主动地吸引着看的目光。我为马的姿态所引起的心理效果着迷,它仿佛在以一种奇特的方式,诠释看与被看的关系。

关关承认,与其说她在画马,不如说在画自己。如果真是这样,马就成了关关的镜像。由此,关关的自我被分裂成两个方面:一个是主看的自我,一个是被看的自我。画家是主看的自我,马是被看的自我。画家画马,如同照镜子,目的是自我认识和自我表现。正如镜面的反射一样,主看的自我就是被看的自我。当作为主看的自我紧盯着镜中被看的自我时,会发觉镜中被看的自我也在紧盯着主看的自我,于是主看的自我转变成为被看的自我。正是这种看与被看之间的切换,形成了自我深处复杂的主奴关系

正因为镜像有一种主看的作用,拉康(Jacques Lacan)极端地主张自我都是由镜像构成的,或者说自我是在镜像的注视下成长起来的,由此得出自我总是为假象所占据的结论。这其中的原因,就是自我无法认识自己,只有借助镜像或者他人。当自我借助镜像认识自己时,其实是镜像占据了自我的位置,自我把不是自身的镜像认作自身,于是出现了自我的假象。根据拉康的理论,自我的假象篡夺自我的位置,是自我成长不可避免的命运。真实的自我是不存在的。

然而,关关的画却启示了另一种自我镜像或自我认识的方式,即一种内省式的认识方式。画面中的马并没有与观者对视,而主要采取了自我反观的方式,只以少量的余光与观者交流。在画面的镜像语言中,马的这种观看方式,亦暗示了画家本人内省并以少量余光与对象交流的心理观照。如果我们将这两种观看称作集中意识和附带意识的话,就会发现自我的构成是集中内省与附带外观的产物。有了自我内观的加入,自我的镜像就不再是自我的假象,而转变成了自我的真实形象。

如果我们将关关的马解读为她的镜像,那么马就脱离了动物意义上的存在。关关画马的目的,并不是再现动物马,以便在动物马缺席的时候能够让马的形象来代替它,是在做一种自我探索和自我发掘,抑或是一种自我认识和自我疗伤。这种自我流露或者自我塑造的绘画,目的不是与观众形成紧张的对峙,而是邀请观众走进自己的世界,并达成默契。关关画马的力量,不是来自于歇斯底里的怒吼,而是来自一个人的低吟浅唱,以纯净的音符穿越人我之间的屏障。自我的镜像,不是作为地狱的他人,而是成为主宰的自己。

 

2013112日于圣地亚哥


Peng Feng

It is said that Li Guanguan likes painting horse. The works shown on her most recent solo exhibition will invariably be about horse, which makes me start to worry a bit - is there any new ideas on this subject? Not to mention that there were countless horse-painting masters in the history, even for today, there are pretty many established artists famous for drawing horses. Peng Si’s oil horse painting horse has profound artistic conception, resembling the verve of Song Dynasty's artwork. Xu Lei’s traditional Chinese horse painting combines concept with surrealistic dramatic tension, full of aesthetic beauty while contemporary. Could Guanguan’s horse still bring an impact on viewers?

When Guanguan showed me her first piece of work, all my concerns were dismissed. I was impressed by the unique temperament of her painting: the warmth with a tinge of sadness diffusing from the painting, creating an atmosphere, soft while strong. I didn't see any anxiety from her, as if all the horse-painting masters have never existed. Just as Shi Tao once said, "Even though there are people comparing me with other famous ones, it’s them being similar to me, not the other way.”

The unique temperament of Guanguan's painting has something to do with her material and media. She paints on special-made silk and saturates it with colors. Compared with rice paper and linen, silk is more soft, apt, transparent, and with a breathable quality. When Guanguan paints the horsehair along the veins, the exquisiteness of silk is fully delivered. Sometimes I even have this hallucination that I could not discern whether it's the painting on silk, or the silk on painting. This reminds me of the painting Audrey Kawasaki created on wood board. The skillful employ of wooden texture establishes a subtle relation between image and material, enhancing the mystery of the picture. Guanguan's work is more exquisite than Kawasaki's, not only because silk is finer than wood, but they paint in different ways. Kawasaki only paints on one side of board, while Guanguan on both sides of the silk, which makes the latter's image more integrated with the materiality of silk. It seems like Guanguan's image just emerges from her material, thus the imagery sense of hallucination becomes more intense.

Guanguan's choice of painting material and method makes her work more implicit and mild. This kind of temperament and the theme of horse exactly complements each other. Guanguan's horse loses its masculine and strength, delivering a sense of melancholy, sensitivity, vigilance, fragility and even friableness. To highlight this sense, Guanguan prefers to paint part of a horse, especially the head, and eyes in particular. Horse eyes seldom look straight at the viewers, nor to the distance, but downwards with introspection. Horse in this posture doesn't seem to want any communication, but eager to be looked at. It seems that Guanguan's horse is actively attracting the viewers' attention in a passive posture. I am fascinated by the psychological effect aroused by the posture of horse: it appears that it's interpreting the relationship between looking and being looked at in a strange way.

Guanguan admits that she is more like painting herself than the horse. If it's true, the horse becomes Guanguan’s mirror image. Thus, Guanguan’s ego is split into two aspects: one is looking, the other is being looked at. The painter is the aspect that looks, while the horse is the aspect that  being looked at. Painting horse is like looking into the mirror, with the purpose of self-recognition and self-expression. Just as the reflection of mirror, the two aspects are essentially the same. When the onlooker stares at the looked self in the mirror, he/she would find the looked one is staring himself/herself. Therefore, their relationship is reversed. It is this kind of change that forms the complicated master-slave relation deep down.

It was just because the mirror image has an effect of looking, that Jacques Lacan, in an extreme way, maintained the self was composed of mirror image, or in another word, the self was developed under the look of mirror image. Thus he concluded that the self was always occupied by illusion. The underlying reason is that one cannot properly know himself/herself alone, but has to use the mirror image or other people. And when the self tries to recognize himself/herself with the help of mirror image, the latter takes the former's position. The self conceives the false image as himself/herself, and the illusion steps in. According to Lacan, it was inevitable during the self-development that the illusion of self usurped the position of self. The real self did not exist.

However, Guanguan's painting inspires us with another cognitive way of self-image or self-recognition, an introspective way. The horse in her painting doesn't look straight at the viewers, but employs an introspective posture, only communicating with the viewers with only a little eyesight. In the mirror image language, the horse's way of looking also implicates the psychological observation of the painter herself: introspective, and only communicates with the viewers a little. If we see these two kinds of looking as focal awareness and collateral awareness, we will find out that the constitution of oneself is the product of focal introspection and collateral on-looking. With the self-introspection, the mirror image of self is no longer an illusion, but turns into the real image of self.

If we interpret Guanguan's horse as her mirror image, the sense of existence of the horse as an animal is then eliminated. Guanguan, in drawing the horse, does not try to represent the horse as an animal to substitute the real one with its image when the real one is absent, but to explore and discover herself, or for a better knowing and curing of herself. This self-expressing or self-shaping painting does not aim at confronting the viewers in great tension, but inviting the viewers into her own world and establishing some understanding. The power in Guanguan's horse does not come from hysterical roar, but from the light and sweet singing of oneself, breaking through the shield between people with pure music. The mirror image of self is not the other one as hell, but becoming the self-controlling self.