手稿在艺术史研究中的意义

The Significance of Manuscripts in the Study of Art History


手稿在艺术史研究中的意义


刘淳

谢谢艺·凯旋的负责人李兰芳小姐,谢谢本次展览的策展人、著名批评家、艺术史家鲁虹先生的邀请,以及艺·凯旋工作团队对我们大家的热情关照。


刚才几位的发言非常好,很受启示,从不同的角度谈了手稿的意义,以及被忽略了的价值。我发言的题目是“手稿在艺术史研究中的意义”,或者叫“智慧的开阔带”。其实,手稿对艺术家的创作来说,是一个长期存在的东西,是一个不可忽略的存在,是艺术家创作工作不可缺少的一个过程。但在批评家和艺术史家的研究与梳理上却长期被忽略,被搁置、被冷落甚至被遗忘。也就是说,手稿在过去的很长时间失去了它在艺术史中应有的地位和意义。2014年以来,武汉的合美术馆开始正视手稿的价值和意义,在鲁虹馆长的倡导和带动下,先后举办了“傅中望手稿研究展”、“方力钧手稿研究展”、“庞茂坤手稿研究展”等手稿的专题性展览,在个别重要的艺术家展览中,强调手稿的份量和重要性,一段时间国内不断举办手稿展,使艺术家的手稿得到应有的重视。特别对艺术史家和批评家来说,通过对手稿的揭示,感受并体会艺术家在面对复杂问题的时候是如何寻找出路、寻找语言和方法去解决问题。或者,当我们面对更多的、不同时代的手稿时,由于社会背景的不同、艺术观念的不同以及每个人在方法上的巨大差异,内心的关注和思考也会完全不同,所有这一切,都能从手稿中得以发现并证实。从这个意义上说,手稿对于艺术史的研究,以及艺术家个案的分析,都有着及其重要的价值和不可忽略的意义。


2000年时,为写《中国油画史》,我在上海的莘庄曾采访过油画家陈逸飞先生,我们重点谈的是当年他与魏景山先生合作完成的大幅油画《蒋家王朝的覆灭》,他给我看了很多当年的照片,而且还有用雕塑做出来的小稿,有好几米大,就像现在卖楼的模型和沙盘一样,还画了很多的草图,有俯视的、仰视的和平视的。我想这就是我们今天所说的手稿吧。据说当时做了好几个大小不等的模型,从不同的角度去观察,寻找切入画面的角度。还画了大量的人物动态速写和局部的写生。这些为创作所做的各种准备工作,就是我们今天所讨论的手稿。只不过当时不叫手稿而称之为草图或者草稿。在今天,手稿的意义已经不再局限于草图或变体画,而是平日认识世界时不断思索的一种表达的快速记忆方式。其实每个艺术家都有这些方面的习惯或实践,只是我们过去在研究上长期处于一种停滞状态——我们的研究基本还停留在对已经完成了的作品的关注上。


其实,如果从传统的艺术语境来认识“手稿”的话,它可以被理解为作者亲手书写或记录在纸张、布面上或者其他不同材料上的原稿。它具有广义和狭义不同层面的解释。在中国,“手稿”更多的指为一件作品所画的草图、色彩稿和变体画,有的艺术家还配有文字说明或提示。手稿的绘制时间很短,随意、灵活、有感而发、机动、随手拿来、也许还会随手丢掉等等。更多的时候,它是为创作服务的,但也不乏是相对独立的一个种类,比如速写、写生稿,同样透露出很多平时我们根本看不到的艺术家的各类信息,以及他们在创作中的想法和心理活动。


在我看来,从1949年以后,由于国家意识形态和文化建设的需要,尤其是对于美术观的重新确立和要求,都与之前有巨大的变革和差别。但是,我们对美术作品的研究和手稿依然停留在原作的表层上,缺少作品背后的深入分析。当然,这是另外的一个话题。从我个人的角度上看,其实手稿本身并没有那么复杂,但是,我们把它作为一个学术问题展开的时候,可以带来或者引出很多及其丰富的话题。什么是手稿这类所谓的定义和命题反而变得没有意义并且空洞。我们应该观察手稿的隐秘性、私密性以及真实性等平时被严重遮蔽的那些东西,特别是从模糊到清晰、从混沌到明确、从单一到多元、从复杂到简单——那种开始时模糊的、不确定的、徘徊与彷徨的,甚至是顾虑重重的东西等等,都是每个艺术家在创作过程中都要经历的一个过程。


今天这10位参展艺术家,都是中国当代艺术的实践中非常耀眼的一部分,他们在绘画、雕塑、装置、行为以及影像这些不同的领域,都是语言独特、个性鲜明的艺术家,同样是手稿,也展现了他们各自的精神面貌和充满活力的生命状态。以及他们对世界的思考、认识和阐释的方式。从这次展览的作品来看,他们把自己的生活经历和对生活的感受掷于纸本或不同的材料上,并以视觉的方式提出自己的见解。它不是简单的再现,而是以虚拟、夸张或象征等不同的手法,使图式呈现出全新的意象,这是艺术家心像的自然呈现,我相信它也会穿透每一位观赏者的内心。从当代艺术的层面上说,它们不再是美的呈现,而是思想的体现,是观念的表达。我想说的是,唯有时间可以穿透现象,将观众带入另一个时空,让人们了解艺术家今天如何利用不同的材料介入当下的社会生活和如何思考今天的艺术。本次展览不再是表达一种审美,而是一种立场和态度。众所周知,艺术创作的影响力不完全取决于媒材,但是艺术家如何使艺术和社会生活、以及社会问题发生联系,这其中重要的是拥有独立的问题意识并掌握某种方法。抒放一路豪情,必得天地人气,这就是我对本次展览的一种认识。对手稿的研究与追问,会对原作提出意想不到的问题,会对原作上曾经“被覆盖的东西”有更大的发现与挖掘。也会对艺术史的矫正起到不可忽略的作用。


最后我想补充的是,手稿与浪漫有关,与思想有关、与现实、能力、选择、内心、欲望、控制、目标、价值有关。所以从某种意义上说,手稿是一种体验、变换、过程、传达、角度、挖掘、判断、研究、设定、可能、企图、利益、信息、谋略……手稿是一种个人精神,是一种呈现方式的恍然大悟。

谢谢各位!




The Significance of Manuscripts in the Study of Art History


First of all, I'd like to thank Ms Li Lanfang, Head of Triumph Gallery, and Mr. Lu Hong, curator of this exhibition, famous critic and art historian for his kind invitation, as well as the great hospitality from the Triumph Gallery team.

I'm quite enlightened by the speeches you just made about the significance of manuscripts from different angles and their overlooked value. My speech is titled “The Significance of Manuscripts in the Study of Art History”,or rather, “The Wide Space of Wisdom”. For the creating process of an artist, the manuscript has been an indispensable part and has been around for a long time; it should not be neglected. However, for a quite long period of time, it has long been overlooked, shelved, neglected or even forgotten in the research and review by critics and art historians. In other words, manuscripts were deprived of its due status in art history. Since 2014, Wuhan United Art Museum has begun to address the value and significance of manuscripts. Under the initiative of Mr. Lu Hong, a string of manuscript exhibitions have been held including “Exhibition of Fu Zhongwang's Manuscripts”,“Research Exhibition of Fang Lijun's Manuscripts” and “Research Exhibition of Pang Maokun's manuscripts”. What's important about these exhibitions is that the emphasis has been placed on the significance of manuscripts, leading to more manuscript exhibitions blooming in the years to come and draws attention to manuscript that it deserves. Especially for art historians and critics, through the revelation of the manuscripts, they are able to feel and understand how artists approach complex issues in terms of visual languages. Or, when we face manuscripts of different ages, our concerns will vary due to different social backgrounds, artistic concepts, and the huge differences in methods of each individual. All this can be discovered from and approved by the manuscript. In this sense, the manuscript hold special value for the study of art history and individual cases, and thus it cannot be ignored.

In 2000, for the preparation of the book, History of Chinese Oil Painting, I interviewed Mr. Chen Yifei, an oil painter, in Xinzhuang, Shanghai. We focused on a large-scale work named The Destruction of the Chiang Dynasty, which he completed jointly with Mr. Wei Jingshan in 1977. He showed me a lot of photos taken at the time, a several-meter-high sculpture draft just like the building models for estate sales, and sketches from different perspectives. Models of different sizes were made to find out the best angle for the painting, and he also drew a large amount of sketches for the characters and parts of the painting. I think these qualify as the manuscript that we're talking about today. They were just not called as manuscripts at that time. Today, manuscripts are no longer confined to sketches or variations of the painting, but rather an expressive and quick way of recording memories in the daily thinking about the world. In fact, every artist has this kind of habit or practice, but our research in this aspect has long been stagnated, because were still focusing on the completed works.

In fact, if the manuscript is understood in the traditional artistic context, it can be defined as the original draft that is written or recorded by the author on paper, cloth or other materials. It has both broad and narrow interpretations. In China, "manuscript" refers more to the sketches, color drafts and variations made for a work, and some of them are supplied with descriptions and clues by the artist. Manuscripts are often made very quickly, spontaneously, and flexibly. They come and go easily, serving as subordinates for the creation rather than existing as an independent category. Sketches can reveal a great variety of information about artists, which we could barely imagine, as well as their thoughts and mental activities.

In my opinion, since 1949, due to the needs of national ideology and cultural construction, great changes have taken place especially for the reestablishment and demand for the view of fine arts. However, our study of art works and manuscripts has barely scratched the surface and lacks in in-depth analysis behind the works. Of course, this is another topic. From my personal point of view, the manuscript itself is not complicated. However, as an academic issue, it will become rich sources for discussion. The definition of manuscripts becomes meaningless and empty. Instead, we should look at the privacy and authenticity of the manuscripts that are usually obscured, especially the process from obscurity to clarity, from chaos to absoluteness, from unity to diversity, from complexity to simplicity. Even the vague, the uncertain, the perplexing and the worrisome are just what every artist has to go through in the creative process.

The 10 participating artists in this exhibition are all dazzling stars in the practice of Chinese contemporary art. They are unique and distinctive artists in different fields, including painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video. So are their manuscripts, mirroring their own mental outlook, dynamic state of life, as well as the way they think, understand and interpret the world. Judging from the works of this exhibition, they cast their own experience of living and feeling of life on paper or different materials and render their own opinions visually. The manuscripts are not simple representations, but newly-born images by devices of fiction, exaggeration or symbolization. They are natural manifestations of the artist's mind, which I believe will penetrate the heart of every viewer. As far as contemporary art is concerned, they are no longer aesthetic representations, but demonstrations of ideas. What I want to say is that only time can penetrate the phenomenon and bring the audience into another space and time to familiarize them with the way, in which artists use different materials to get involved in the contemporary society and think about the art today. This exhibition is no longer to express an aesthetic, but an attitude. As we all know, the influence of art creation does not depend entirely on the media, but on how artists can relate art to social life and social issues, for which it is important to have independent problem awareness and a certain method. Only the most distinct expression of art can win the favor of time, space and people; this is my understanding of this exhibition. The research and questioning of the manuscript will raise unexpected questions about the original works and uncover things hidden on the original works. This will also play an irreplaceable role in the correction of art history.

Finally, I would like to add that manuscripts are about romance, thoughts, reality, abilities, choices, innermost feelings, desires, controls, goals and values. Therefore, to some extent, manuscripts are an experience, transformation, process, communication, perspective, excavation, evaluation, research, setting, possibility, attempt, profit, information, strategy... Manuscripts are personal spirits and a way of presenting epiphany.

Thank you!