Archive for the ‘Art history’ Category

日本战后美术 - 住友文彦SUMITOMO Fumihiko

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

*此文章发表在《青年视觉》杂志2007年10月刊上
这是我翻译的一片日本策展人-住友文彦先生的文章。他是这次’美丽新世界-日本当代视觉文化‘展览的策展人之一。这也是我们邀请他写这片文章的缘由。*

我想很多人都不得不开始承认亚洲美术正在受到全世界的瞩目。但是实际上,很多人在去了解西洋美术之前还对自己邻国的艺术知之甚少。哪怕只是填补这个认识上的隔阂,我希望可以在下面一气呵成的简短文稿中,概观日本的现代美术的发展流程。在这里,我暂且把引导日本战后美术史从“价值观的变迁”引向“多样化境界”的两种原动力假称为「文化的混淆性」,「私人的个人主义」。

文化的混淆性

日本在亚洲诸国中很早便向西方文化迈进,也有很多艺术家曾在西方文化与传统文化间的矛盾中挣扎过。最初,19世纪末,展览会制度和学术主义从西方传入,那曾是一个有了上述条件就可洋洋得意地宣称其为近代国家(社会)的时代。最终,很多人意识到那种国际化的表达方式和交换体系与根深蒂固的传统文化以及社会之间实际上背道而驰的。有的人困扰不堪,有的则反之把它作为武器。从1910年代开始到20年代的‘现代主义’非常重视人的内在,接受以个人主义为中心强调自我表现这一时期,就出现了这样的困扰。到了19世纪60年代,一个追赶世界美术的高速发展期随之而来,这种由两种文化并驻带来的困扰,进入了第二个阶段。 到了1990年后,日本出现了想要完全摆脱这种双重文化重叠情况的一代艺术家。也许,像这样的历史变迁,今天同样在亚洲其他国家和地区也能看到。

在这样的历史变迁中,60年代是个值得纪录和回顾的时期。这时的日本,正直经济飞速发展,在这个过程中,东京在1964年举办了奥运会,大阪则在1970年承办了世界博览会。社会发展前景的美好和光明在每个人的心中蔓延,没有人愿意去正视任何社会中的不利因素,任何事情都以经济发展为优先。在美术界,人们在50年代时所拥有的对于欧美艺术的自卑感,在这个时期逐渐得到实验性表现的尝试,从而也树立了可以与西方艺术界抗衡的自信心。 从这个时候起,荒川修作、河原温、草間弥生、小野洋子等很多艺术家赴美,例如很多艺术家在当时还参加了像Fluxus*这样的艺术运动。

* Fluxus (拉丁语) 本义为流动和变化。是60年代美国艺术运动里的一支,与波谱艺术和新达达主义齐名。由超过美,日,德等10个国家的艺术家参加。由设计师,音乐人等以多种艺术形式创作的艺术家组成,他们希望通过混合这些艺术表现手法来尝试使艺术创新.* (译者注解)

但是, 这个阶段的日本艺术界还没有确立自己的制度,美术馆的收藏量和展览的专业水准还很底。即使在这样的情况下,不得不承认一些被称做地下文化的作品,大量的在美术馆和艺术中心等一些公共场所得到展示。原本只为一少部分人所认同的艺术表现形式,逐渐被大多数人所接触和欣赏。同一时期,在西方社会被称之为High Art(上层艺术)这样的概念,可以说在日本的美术体系中是不存在的。上世纪60年代,影像,音乐,舞台等多种艺术形式的混杂交融,黑皮士或subculture(非主流文化)的介入也使这样的文化混淆性增强。

到了70年代,日本社会乃至艺术家们已经渐渐从自卑感中走出来,他们开始在摸索中创造独立的文化和艺术形式。‘物派’(monoha) – 一种在当时用原始木材和石材创作装置作品的运动,也是在这个时期得到广泛传播的。同时,日本各地的一些城市开始大量开设美术馆,这个举措使当时海外的现代艺术作品被介绍到日本本土。 从这个阶段开始,Fine Art (纯艺术) 已与其他艺术类别区别开来,换句话说,艺术已经成为了专门领域里的一门学科。

但是,具有强烈混淆性的艺术现状并没有消失。这是因为非主流文化,音乐和戏剧等周边文化仍一直有自己的生存空间。任凭经济飞速的发展,人们在日常生活中却没有感同身受这样的变化。很多人认为,由于这种急速的社会变化,使漫画这个贴近生活的表达方式有了一定的观众群。对于在价值等级中存在的西方美术规范下的艺术,不可否认的是漫画和动画是更贴近生活和原于生活的,经济成长和在国际上自信心的增强,并不能够说明所有人都会鉴赏所谓的艺术。这些处于边缘,即将逝去的事物反而逐步得到了魅力的展现。 一些想像地球以外生物和唤起对于未来的想像力的作品随即出现,例如,「銀河鉄道999」、「MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM」、「AKIRA」等。同时,少女漫画也起到了不可忽视的作用,因为它注重细节,对于弱小给于肯定。所有这些都从社会中的既成概念,道德差别等等繁多的制约中脱离出来,并自由的章显出其魅力。值得注意的是这也影响了很多消除性别差距,形成自由表现风格的时装设计师的出现。结果,在80年代泡沫经济下动摇了的巨额财富中,边缘文化起到的作用和功绩在同一领域的实践中要远大于纯艺术。

「私的個人主義」

1990年以后的日本,迎来了社会经济的不景气,同时巫术和大地震所带来的不安感也渐渐袭来。为了避免过度的社会压力和不安感,很多人倾向于把自己封闭在幻想世界里。原因是人们很容易受到电视,杂志等等大众媒体传播的影响和诱导,并且可以看出一种讽刺性质的心理。不管怎样,在高度的资本化和传媒化社会仍在持续上升的同时,却引发了一种倾向于自我封闭下的‘强调自我’的趋势。在这种情况下,产生了一种与成年人相比更强调孩童气在社会中的作用的见解。比如村上隆;奈良美智;会田誠等作家的作品都受到青睐,这样的一个趋势也在社会中逐渐形成。由此出现了一种不积极的参与社会活动;却以孩子式的‘独自玩耍’形式;以从自己身边的事物或与朋友之间的关系开始,表达思想和创作的倾向。这样使人们脱离了与整体社会价值观的距离,这种强调自我感官的东西与西方近代个人主义所信仰的东西是完全不一样的。这样的主体其实不是主体,反而是渐渐向周围扩散的弱势群体,就像我在前边叙述过的一样,这样的主体强调的是消除性别区别。

到了80年代末90年代初,‘Dumb Type*’ 脱影而出。他们创造了进入90年代的艺术新气象。他们之间没有确立主导者,而是在多种艺术形式综合的基础上发表很多优秀的行为艺术作品。从尝试在艺术作品中运用高科技手段以增加城市感的作品,到反映现实社会中的差别和偏见,这样一系列的形成自由且含有强烈艺术语言的作品对后来成长起来的艺术家们都影响颇深。

*Dumb Type, 1984 以京都市立艺术大学学生为中心成立。他们活跃在世界各地的美术馆和艺术中心,是开拓新艺术领域的杰出艺术群体的代表。他们当中有来自影像,纯艺术,音乐,设计,建筑,舞蹈等多个领域的成员,他们在一起制作创作计划;演出,装置作品,出版印刷物,制作CD等。近年来,他们多在海外活动和创作。多重视人性与高科技的平衡,并在这一领域开展活动。*(译者注解)

很多人认为,艺术作品的变化能够反映其生存的前景和变化的巨大价值观。 拉开距离来看社会,一种捕捉世界和自己的真情实感间不一致的作品渐渐淡出。人们开始注重和强调一种在个人想像力中发现世界的倾向。很难说这是一种逃避还是一种创新。

我是即将在北京和广州举行的‘美丽新世界’这个展览的的策划人之一。这次展览即介绍日本的艺术现状,更重视日本90年代后出现的社会变化。选择作品的标准和展览的构成,既表明艺术家所处的社会状况, 也表明日本社会所经历的20世纪后半期这个时代的特征。这一切也许和中国当代艺术兴起的过程有相似之处,我们希望更多的观众可以来观看这次展览。

撰稿:住友文彦
翻译:李诗

日本当代文化图说

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

*此文章发表在《当代艺术与投资》杂志2007年10月刊上

日本当代文化图说

东京正在扮演着‘空城计’的角色 。- 岛袋道浩 (SHIMABUKU)

在繁华,嘈杂,时尚,疯狂的东京市内,已经很难找到居住在这里的艺术家了。高额的房租和疯狂运转的生活节奏也许是这里不被艺术家所青睐的原因。设施完善的大型美术馆,种类繁多的画廊和个性化的艺术空间却布满了这个只有两千多平方公里的城市。 舒适方便的社会环境使很多日本民众安于现状,松懈的奋斗精神,享受过剩的物质。分布在日本各个大小城市的美术馆,让大众觉得艺术已经在日本人的生活中饱和了。当我刚刚走出游客络绎不绝,法国著名建筑师Le Corbusier的回顾展的森美术馆,来到刚刚建成不久的东京国立新美术馆时,我被这里的繁荣惊呆了。

国立新美术馆正值莫奈展的最后一天。

硕大的美术馆里,布满了对莫奈情有独中的观众的身影。大门口存放雨伞的数百个位置已锁无虚席,卫生间和纪念品的购买处也已排成长队。同时,在离新国立美术馆不远,位于东京MidTown 的21_21 Design site 正在展出‘巧克力’ (一次用巧克力为原材料和围绕巧克力产生制作灵感的展览)吸引着众多关注日本現代美術(在日文里現代美術是中文里的当代艺术)的年轻人前来捧场。 所见所闻所感使我更加期待着从与日本艺术家和策展人的对话中找到更确切的日本当代艺术的线索,日本当代文化与传统之间的转变和将来。

艺术家日本城市地图

秋葉原﹣Washington hotel – 宮島達男(MIYAJIMA Tatsuo)

分享好的理念,才能创造好的未来。
宮島告诉我们艺术家的理念是可以共享的,住在日本并不等于切断了与外界的联系。
—— 宮島達男

因为他的作品中一直沿用二极发光管LED(light-emitting diode)作为媒介的原因,我们和艺术家宮島達男是在东京电器街秋葉原附近的Washington hotel会面。在中国,艺术圈的人都已经对他很熟悉,因为他早在2000年时就参加了上海双年展。和小野洋子YOKO ONO1或草間弥生YAYOI KYSAMA2这样的家喻户晓的日本艺术家相比,宮島称自己是她们之后的一代艺术家。并且他也是‘更具独立精神’的一代,不愿再沿袭日本艺术家一定要去西方镀金[成功]或驻留。他拒绝长期于欧洲定居和讲学,把自己的家和工作的中心留在日本。宮島告诉我们艺术家的理念是可以共享的,住在日本并不等于切断了与外界的联系。变化,继续和连接是他创作的三个关键因素。数字1到9被宫岛长期使用,来阐释可持续、循环往复的生命,他不用0因为那代表了黑暗和死亡。LED数字-这些光的字跳动不息,代表着人类生命的延续。这些由LED数字传达了佛教的轮回精神,从一到九永不停息。宮島告诉我们他的理念不是只属于日本的, 而是人类的。‘联系’也是沟通与对话,是人类在宇宙中的沟通方法。一个共同的理念,可以跨越国家、地缘的疆界,可以让全世界一起来分享。任何一个国家和一种文化都是由她的人民创造出来的,但重要的是最终从这种单一中走出来, 文化本身是不断交融的过程,深入探询和开放的文化态度才是当代的。

这正象世界上任何地方都有好的艺术家。国籍和出生地都不重要,重要的是他们有好的理念可以让大家来分享。分享好的理念才能创造好的未来。两年前,宮島在京都召集了 ‘Artist summit’ (‘艺术家会谈’). 他邀请了7位活跃世界舞台上的艺术家到会,其中还有中国的蔡国强。宮島强调,这并不是国于国之间的政治会谈,而是旨在让每位艺术家出谋划策来帮助改进这个世界。他认为,艺术家不应该‘闭关修炼’,孤独的创作。一个好的艺术家应该有好的想法,并拿出来和大家分享。一位德国艺术家给他留下深刻印象。他的计划叫做‘静止5分钟’。如果全世界都能一起停止下来5分钟,那将会是怎样的?比如正在战争中的中东地区也将停火。也许很多人会说,这太天真了,根本不可能。但宮島却认为一切都是可能的,这种看似不可能的事实,却不能阻止一切好的理念的产生。

1) http://www.yayoi-kusama.jp/e/information/index.html
2) http://www.yoko-ono.com/

新宿﹣會社﹣八谷和彥(HACHIYA Kazuhiko)

从漫画中得到灵感,使幻想变为事实。
—— 八谷和彥

另一个致力于把不可能变为可能的艺术家是八谷和彥。他的‘opensky 2.0’ 计划,实现了他驾驶自己研制的飞机飞上天空的梦想。在众多人怀疑美国在上世纪60年代登月事实的今天,他对此毋庸置疑。他告诉我们,中国在这方面已经远远超过了日本,日本还没有独立制造飞机的能力。去年的‘opensky 2.0’ 飞行也只是一次用橡胶筋和惯性实现的低空飞行。今年,他的目标是和工程师一起将飞机装上引擎,使它成功实现机械飞行。也许,很多人都在疑问, 八谷和彥更像是扮演着科学家的角色。但八谷却认为,自己始终是艺术家。他的灵感大多来自漫画和梦想中。比如‘opensky 2.0’ 中的飞行器,就是从宮崎駿的漫画中得来。作品 ‘Air Board’ 的原形则来自于美国一部科幻电影。 他认为艺术家更具创造力,同时还应像探险家一样具有冒险和献身精神。在八谷所有的作品中,他都是第一个尝试者。在‘opensky 2.0’ 的试飞录象中,每个人足以见识到其中的危险性。人的一生中有很多第一次,每一次向前迈一步都需要十足的勇气与挑战自我的信念。正是这种 挑战极限的信心和欲望支撑着八谷的创作。八谷也是一个不怕失败的人。他的作品大多由一个团队集体参与完成。他的每一个作品都是一段历史。他所要展示的是一个作品从雏形到完成的整个经历。在这种创作方式下,结果永远都是个未知数。失败的过程也是作品的重要组成部分,我一样在作品当中展示它- 八谷和彥。

对与美学,漫画和科学技术之间的关系, 八谷也持有他独到的见解。首先,日本漫画发展到今天,似乎与日本的科学技术一样已经成为了日本的代表和象征。然而,漫画不仅仅是故事书,它影射着日本的社会,文化和政治状况。有些人喜欢漫画,但只停留在表层上。作为艺术家却可以用其创造力把漫画展现为事实。实现漫画中所承载的人类的梦想。那么能够帮助实现的这一切的必要条件,正是科学技术。他也鼓励他的观众来尝试这样的技术,观众们都有机会体验他的研究成果。这也是八谷在他的作品中一直强调的对话和主题的重要性的原因。

西東京﹣工作室 – 宇治野 宗辉3(UJINO Muneteru)

任何一种艺术形式最重要的一点是要感动人,要有生气,要活生生的呈现出来。

与八谷的风格不同, 艺术家宇治野认为科技的发展过快了。他的创作风格是在现有器材的基础上,有所作为。 宇治野的工作室在东京西部的郊区。这里已经完完全全脱离了东京色彩。没有装潢精致的时尚品牌店和居酒屋,层层环绕的是朴实的民居和绿色植物。宇治野告诉我们,他的工作室周围曾经是回收和重建废旧物品的会社(公司)。一些在上世纪中后期制造的大型笨重电器逐渐被小而精的电器所替代后,被运送到这里等待处理。作为一个做声音装置和现场音乐的艺术家。他在这里找到了创作的源泉。

他认为一切可以发出声音的物品,都可以重组后制作成乐器。

为了使他的想法得到认可,他收集在世界上任何城市生活中都可以找到的二手电器,如吹风机,搅拌机,早期摇滚乐盛行时用的电吉他等,用它们作为发音装置制作现场音乐。就连装满可乐的大瓶也可成为发音装置的一部分。

使这些退了伍的老兵还能发挥余热既是对机械产品的再次开发和利用,也是对工业社会中产品可能性的再一次探讨。

经过宇治野重组的二手电器DJ Deck (操作台),使他的音乐具有独一无二的不可替代性。 宇治野认为随着科学技术的提高,电气化产品的体积逐渐缩小。这一事实使人对机器的感性认知有所减退。在他的创作世界中,和身体能够产生直接关系的器械才更具吸引力。其次,像USB和NANO Ipod 之类的产品容量越来越大,但人的能力和创造力却越来越小。这样的社会究竟在发展还是倒退?他提出疑问。

与其他被采访的艺术家的坐椅式交谈不同,和宇治野的采访是在行走和忙碌中进行的。刚刚步入他的工作室,他便开始整理操作台,连接和组装各种电器设备。与以往看到的现场音乐不同,宇治野向我们展示的是乐器和音乐的双重制作过程。错综复杂的连接线和相应器材的互动搭配连接,让我疑惑宇治野的专业是否与电器机械有关。答案让大家出乎意料,他即不是学机械专业出身,也不是音乐创作,而是美院纯艺术专业中的染织。他自己也开起玩笑说,电线和纺织品用的线有相似之处吧!

宇治野是一个对漫画不闻不问的人。他热爱音乐,也沉浸在研究将各种电器摇身一变成为可以创造音乐的发声体的过程。除此之外他也关注对艺术的贡献和作为一个艺术家对社会的责任。 宇治野强调,任何一种艺术形式最重要的一点是要感动人,要有生气,要活生生的呈现出来。在今天的日本,一些经历过战争的人们,包括一些在野的政治家,他们只关注于自己有生之年的现状。对于未来他们则不愿观望。

作为艺术家,应具有前詹性。

已经被淘汰和遗忘的50年前的电器曾是日本经济高速发展的阶段,人们辛勤劳动的产物。如今,虽然这些电器制品已不能发挥余热,但是这些劳动成果背后所蕴涵的精神是不应被忽略的。在日本年轻一代中有人认为懒惰,散漫是一种酷。宇治野使二手电器成为艺术品也是在提醒这样的一个日本的社会现实。今天我们拥有一切都可能对将来有可持续性的作用。

3) http://the-rotatora.com

京都﹣家﹣柳 美和4 (YANAGI Miwa)

透过另一只眼看过去,可以更客观更准确的把握每一个内容和细节。
—— 柳 美和

艺术家柳 美和用她的摄影语言展开对女性的研究。人如其名,柳 美和从她的举止言谈中流露出她的女性艺术家气质。采访在她的家中进行。这间小会客厅即是书房,也承担着工作室的使命。3年前开的‘grandmother’ (祖母) 计划中的很多作品都是在这里布景成像的。被书和画册所占据的整整一面墙壁辉映着旁边仍然张挂着布景的摄影背墙。置身于其中,采访的人很容易就会被艺术家的精神世界所降服。

柳 美和在艺术创作中探索和研究女性问题,她使女性艺术家的身份在作品中得到体现。顺向思维的话,每一个人都想用摄影这项技术留驻自己的青春,柳 美和则采取了逆向思维。‘grandmother’ (祖母) 计划开始于3年前。表面上,每一张图片中呈现的都是满面沧桑,年迈不渝的老妇人。但其实在这些主人公中最小的只有12岁,最大的也不过刚刚步如不惑之年。

这一系列的作品是对女性青春年华的一次挑战,也实现了女性对自己50年后生活状态的一种推测和遐想。

她从采访每一位主人公开始,对这些女性的人生观,身份感,对年华老去的态度,和逐渐将被遗忘的可能性等等一系列现实问题展开探讨。每张照片中的主人公的状态和表情都是从她们自身流露出来的。这与柳 美和之前拍摄作品 ‘elevator girl’ (电梯女郎) 时的手法完全不同。那个时候,所有的电梯女郎们都是由她像人偶一样摆设出来的。在这些‘grandmother’ 的自我表述中, 她发现青少年的思维里充满活力和想像空间。她们预知的晚年,疯狂且具戏剧色彩,但由于她们的想法经常改变而难以坚持跟踪拍摄。中年女性对于晚年的态度则更加实际和紧迫。也许晚年, 衰老,这些状态对于她们来说是相对近的未来。在她们身上能够更真实的反映一张图片背后的内心独白。对于她自己,她对于女性衰老这一生理变化的态度则是一种平和和认可。用她的话说,摄影是属于她的就最完美的媒介。透过另一只眼看过去,使她可以更客观更准确的把握,每一个内容和细节。有意思的是,他也曾经想过拍摄一个‘grandfather’(祖父) 系列。但她却发现自己难以设身处地的了解每一个主人公,最终她选择了放弃。在她认为,自己的感知能力是与生俱来,根深蒂固的。

在西方,众多女艺术家都在尽量回避被灌以女权主义艺术家这个名字,柳 美和没有回避,并且欣然接受这样的一个称呼。她更强调,女权主义不但是在西方还是在日本经过上世纪70,80 年代的繁荣之后,都在走下坡路。她一直都在坚持为女性做研究,也致力于参加在西方的女权主义艺术家的展览。但是,她并不赞成把艺术缩小的视点。应以多个角度来看艺术,不单单只是以政治的或美学的角度来看。 她把对艺术的鉴赏比喻为对美食的品尝。每个人都可以对艺术作品持有自己的见解和以不同的出发点来欣赏她。

柳 美和的家在京都,一个具有悠久的历史文化,山清水秀,风景宜人的地方。她告诉我们其实无论居住在哪里,都不会改变她坚持做艺术的信念。只是,在国外的大部分时光都被展览和应酬所占据,回到日本她能够更深入的思考问题。同时,她任为,日本的当代艺术还没有被更多当地人所理解和接受,包括她的父母也依然在尝试去体会她的艺术。日本的艺术家仍然处于成长期和上升期,身处这样的环境中,对她自己始终是一种锻炼。

4) http://www.yanagimiwa.net/

京都﹣neutron – 高嶺 格 (TAKAMINE Tadasu)

通过一个艺术作品,很多人甚至整个社会可以去体会,去检讨自身的行为和思想才是最重要的。

喝茶还是和咖啡,都可能是带有政治色彩的行为。作为艺术家,这样的界限是很难严格划分的。更多的人其实是生活在‘灰色地带’的。
—— 高嶺 格

约见高嶺 格是在京都的一间时尚艺术空间- neutron。在这里画廊和café 被安置在同一间通透,明朗的空间里。当高嶺出现在我们面前时,一股亲切感扑面而来。他身着印有30年代旧上海旗袍女郎的T-shirt, 充满了怀旧气息。究其原因,这是他特意为接受中方采访而准备的。这话听起来似乎有些政治色彩,但还是不能不承认高嶺是个擅长外交的艺术家。他的作品‘GOD BLESS AMERICA’ 是个录象装置作品。作品中夹杂着性主题和反美,反控制情绪。这些内容在亚洲社会都是很敏感和容易被回避的。可是高嶺的想法却是把人从这中思想中解放出来。不论是否反美,也不论性是否得到了解放,这些都是社会现实。通过一个艺术作品,很多人甚至整个社会可以去体会,去检讨自身的行为和思想才是最重要的。他的一位要好的美国朋友,在看完高嶺的作品后。更加了解了人本身在社会政治中的意义,以及日本社会中很多人的真情实感 。他更加理解了不同社会文化间的差异,从而减少了对政治的敏感度。在问及高嶺自己对作品中政治性的看法时,他谈到了微观政治观的问题。比如喝茶还是和咖啡,都可能是带有政治色彩的行为。作为艺术家,这样的界限是很难严格划分的。他说,更多的人其实是生活在‘灰色地带’的。

高嶺拥有双重身份,他即做影象作品也活跃在舞台上。他强调行为这一表演形式更真实一些。对于他来说,艺术品多是可以买卖的,一买一卖难以逃脱商业色彩。这样一来,很多艺术品到最后变成了名副其实的商品。它脱离了与人类精神世界的联系。而表演则更直白和单纯些。一场舞台剧,观众买了票,可以亲身经历一个感官性的表演。这样很干脆。

对于自己的将来,高嶺希望在自己身上找到更多的可能性,艺术家不是他的最终目标。

策展人

MOT –住友文彥 (SUMITOMO Fumihico)

策展人要具备综合素质,要克服困难,要展开思路把不可能变为可能。
- 住友文彥

住友文彥已有11年的策展经历。他一直致力于研究日本先驱艺术(60,70年代)和新媒体艺术的发展。曾在金泽21世纪美术馆和以媒体艺术著称ICC都工作过, 现在的他是拥有最多当代艺术品收藏的东京都现代美术馆(MOT)的策展人。我们的采访在MOT的café展开。

住友向我们介绍了60年代后发展起来的日本艺术线索。60年代的日本当代艺术处于刚刚兴起的阶段,那个时候的艺术家向往的是怎样追赶和达到先锋的世界艺术水平,也就是当时的西方后现代主义刚刚兴起的时期。到了70年代和80年代,日本的当代艺术已逐步走出挣扎期。很多赴欧洲和美国学习的艺术家,在西方艺术圈内得到认可。日本当代艺术家已经开始被写入西方艺术史。他们找到了日本本土文化和所谓的当时的全球化的的统一和平衡。所以可以说日本当代艺术的发展过程一直是由西欧和美国引领的。就连策展人和美术馆制度也都是延续着西方的传统。到了80年代末和90年代初,日本在西方举行很多大规模的世界巡回展。从此一种日本当代艺术印象得以在西方传乘。在艺术作品中运用新科技,具体美術協会和‘物派’(monoha)等一些特点和派别也是在当时逐渐被西方艺术圈传播开来的。到了90年代后期,一些年轻日本艺术家,试图切断这样的从西方艺术史角度传乘下来的日本当代艺术史。

谈到策展人制度,住友告诉我们,日本在50年代的时候就有了学芸(艺)员这个职业。他们做与艺术相关的工作但并不是今天意义上的职业策展人。职业策展人系统在90年代才开始慢慢出现在日本本土。在日本想要成为一个策展人的第一步是通过考试取得学芸(艺)员资格。住友说这还远远不够。如果做艺术研究人员,那么你只需要理解作家和作品就可以了,但一个好的策展人还需要了解观众。了解观众是谁,他们的文化和背景是什么。他告诉我们一个策展人应是全能的。 策展人要具备综合素质,要找到艺术家和观众之间的对话,要学会协调很多人一起工作, 要克服困难,要展开思路,把可能性放大,把不可能变为可能。

住友认为,今天的日本策展人,多供职于大型的美术馆和画廊,评论家们也大多都是大学里的老师。这样的一个垄断局面使人们很难从一个个体和独立的角度来观察和判断艺术。他希望自己的将来能够拥有一个属于自己的空间,并不需要很大,但可以自由的发挥自己的策划才能。

品川站﹣片崗真美 (KATAOKA Mami)

希望每一个人都有兴趣去了解那些他们还尚未所闻的事情,而不受文化壁垒的限制。
—— 片崗真美

很多艺术圈内的朋友都亲切的称呼她Mami (Mami是真美的日文发音). 现在的她是著名的森美术馆的策展人,同时也是伦敦Hayward gallery的international curator (国际策展人)。这样的工作状态使Mami不得不每个月奔波于东京和伦敦这两个国际大都市之间。这样的工作经验,一定使她对东西方艺术系统的区别持有一定的见解。 在伦敦的画廊工作,给Mami的第一印象是这里和日本的情况很相似。画廊和美术馆永远没有足够的钱来做展览。策展人都是在有限资源的基础上发挥创造力,实现一切能够达到的可能性。做一个展览的程序也都大同小异。从有一个创意,到征服画廊或美术馆接受你的想法,到与艺术家沟通,做宣传,装展等等一系列的工作都需要一个策展人亲历亲为,付出很多心血才能实现。

对于Mami自身来讲,她不会太多的去担心作为一个外国人在异国他乡工作的忧虑。Mami的理念是单纯的做当代艺术。她认为既然是当代艺术,就不应该受到语言,文化和国界的限制,艺术应该是相互贯通,相互联系的。她从没有想过只做日本的策展人,只策划日本艺术家的展览。用她的话说,一个人的文化背景固然重要,但这并不是唯一的一把钥匙打开世界这扇大门。国际策展人,应工作在同一个平台上,使当代艺术作为一个平等的概念得到推广。她自己也一直都在找寻一种东西可以弥补文化与文化间的缺失,这也体现了她策展的意义。Mami 在今年年初的展览‘All About Laughter’ (东京森美术馆),也是她尝试着填补这种文化的不同带来的不理解。她希望每一个人都有兴趣去了解那些他们还尚未所闻的事情,而不受文化壁垒的限制。

由Mami参与策划的下一个展览即将在今年9月与10月之间在北京798艺术区展出。这个展览的名称叫做‘美丽新世界:当代日本文化’。Mami告诉我们,最初来中国做调研是2005年的十一月。那个时候不但是为了找到合适的场所来办展,同时让策划组最感兴趣的是中国的观众想看什么样的艺术。她们访问了许多中国观众,发现很有意思的是,大家开始了解日本当代艺术或艺术家,都是在国外的双年展或三年展上。很多中国观众都是通过一种间接方式来了解日本当代艺术的。这次的‘美丽新世界:当代日本文化’展览旨在把日本当代文化以最直接的方式呈现给中国观众。Mami强调说,展示作品还远不是这次展览的目的。策展人们希望通过这次展览,让日本艺术家和中国观众一同思考和探讨什么才是属于人类共同的新世界,从而去共同创造这样一个充满希望的明天。

结束了日本文化之旅,我感触颇深。从访问的艺术家和策展人身上,我领略到每一个人对于文化传达的不同和意义。他们每一个人都以自身的文化和艺术气质传达着他们的人生观,价值观和对于文化交流的欲望。一个短暂的文化之旅,还远远不能使整个日本艺术现状得到呈现。但这却是一个很好的开始。中日两国有着悠久的历史渊源,从历史上的文化交流到近代的战争到今天的中日友好建交30周年,我们到底了解彼此多少。也许正像上面两位策展人所说的文化交流应打开国界,真正的了解应丛对话开始,也许艺术就是这座桥梁。

Worrying about the Chinese contemporary art market

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

In my previous journals, I have discussed how the foreign art collectors have become eagerly interested in collecting Chinese contemporary art. By doing so, this worldwide trend is actually creating a new ideology, which is affecting the valorisation of Chinese contemporary art. Or perhaps, we could put this another way around, there has not been a indigenous system of evaluating Chinese contemporary art, nevertheless, it will be formed by the Art Markets, to be more specific, it will be formed by Art collectors and dealers. Perhaps, one could say that this happens everywhere in the world. Why is China so special to be singled out?

There are two issues raised here for the Chinese to consider. Firstly, if an art market has no rules and no standard of evaluations, it more likely to have a shakeout whenever the rules are established; another danger is that the concept of the best Chinese contemporary art is being judged by a small group of people who are mainly from the West, and will be evaluated by the only norm available – money. The idea of the ‘artist’ may be tarnished with a bad reputation for being wishing to become rich.

Another Shock! – If you invite me, why should I bring an army?

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Another Shock!
If you invite me, why should I bring an army?

This year, when the YBA show was held in Guangzhou, with the aim of encouraging Young Chinese Artists to be more creative and groundbreaking, one may sense the new Cultural imperialism is coming in by the back door. According to the Chinese website China.org.cn One of the aims of this show is to help Chinese audience to improve their understanding and taste towards contemporary art. I feel it’s questionable to accept this statement. I am considering how people in china judge contemporary art. What can be considered as a great piece of art should be based on different cultures and different esthetic evaluations. People from different culture background might have different appreciations of art. it is important to be acquainted with the YBA show but it should not be seen as a standard of judging what is the best Contemporary art. Different philosophical and develop mental environment provides different creative mentalities of producing artworks. It seems that creating one aesthetic principle for the entire world – cannot be accepted. The ‘Aftershock’ provides a great opportunity in presenting a standard western viewpoint of contemporary art to Chinese people. However, its didactic function should be considered again. Any kinds of art can be based on its historical milieu, and constructed through its unique authenticity. There should not be a hierarchy established among contemporary art practice. It is true that the YBA generation had its significant role at the end of the last century, and the artists are still active among today’s art practice in the UK. Like many other conceptual artists in China (such as Ai Weiwei and Qiu Zhijie), the various thoughts and concerns within their art have been thinking through different spiritualities.

To be continued…

‘Aftershock’ shocked me!!!

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

‘Aftershock’ shocked me!!!
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First Shock!
Tracey Emin’s underwear and condoms are missing…

I was so shocked after finding that Tracey Emin’s underwear and condoms are missing from the ‘Aftershock‘ – ‘Contemporary British Art’ Show in Guangzhou and Beijing, which has been showing since last December, and will be continuing till May. According to the article from china.org.cn, Pi Li, who is one of the curators of the show, explained that this is owing to the difficulties of transportation. What a wonderful excuse – it’s made the piece lose its value completely. It’s arguable the piece has lost its value without these significant elements – underwear and condoms, which Emin chose the first time she created the piece. When Charles Saatchi valued Emin’s ‘My Bed’ at 150,000£, these elements must have represented a significant part of that price. The artwork has lost a part of its original value. The ‘My Bad’ presented in China, is not Tracey Emin’s bed any more, it could be anyone else’s – you could say it has been castrated.

To be continued…

YCA era is on its way…? – continued

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

What can Saatchi bring to (or take away from) China?

What can Saatchi bring to China? Money. This answer might be too direct and obvious. Although it is true that the contemporary Chinese art market has been very much occupied by the westerners, Charles Saatchi as a trailblazer has more power of changing the course of events. Infect, Chinese contemporary art needs the financial support too. Chinese contemporary artists need to be supported to be able to develop their work further and to be able to compete among the worldwide contemporary art environment. However, money is just the first step for people like Saatchi to get their feet in the Chinese door. One might say that Saatchi’s money has more power, which indicates ‘knowledge’ at the same time. This is because, his choice may influence many others, and his direction may manipulate many others to follow.

What can be taken away from China? The answer is still Money. One day, if the future YCAs finally become part of national heritage, Saatchi will be the one who owns the major part of it. This year, when the YBA show was held in Guangzhou, with the aim of encouraging Young Chinese Artists to be more creative and groundbreaking, one may sense the new imperialism is coming in by the back door.

To be continued…

YCA era is on its way…?

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

YCA era is on its way…?

I have been wondering why there have been no visitor guides in Chinese at the Tate modern or many other major museums and galleries in London. Not because there is no one interest in Chinese contemporary art. It might be the other way around, people think – there are less Chinese interested in Art, or to be specifically, contemporary art.

Charles Saatchi, who was instrumental in the YBA phenomena, has changed history again. Before his new Gallery has opened, his website team has already translated the Saatchi Gallery website into Chinese. Both the English and Chinese accessible Website doesn’t only demonstrate the internationally well-known gallery itself; it also accurately reflects the attitude of the Western art market. Why? There are reasons as below:

What is Stuart?

Stuart is a website, which created by Saatchi Gallery. Its aim is to provide a platform, which allows artists to present artworks from all over the world. According to the New York Times, there are 23 Chinese art students who presented their work in Stuart so far. As Saatchi says, ‘There are so many artists in China who want their work to be seen’. And also, the students want to know what’s going on around the world.

Behind the prefect idea…

Stuart sounds prefect! Perhaps everyone would think this is a prefect idea that young students don’t have to deal with local galleries anymore, instead, they can easily open an account and post their work on the Saatchi Gallery website. At the same time, many international galleries and dealers can also make direct contact with artists if they are interested in their work. It is free (by which I mean their appear to be no restrictions), democratic and easy to access. It may attract more art collectors to the site, and it is also providing possibilities that many Young Chinese artists’ work might be collected at an early age. However, there are also concerns, which cannot be ignored.

The phenomenon of the YBA (Young British artists) transforms to the YCA (Young Chinese Artists)

How do you value a piece of art? The most direct evaluation may be by price. At the end of the last century, when the art world were still speculating whether Tracey Emin was a great artist, Saatchi gave the answer by adding ‘My Bed’ to his collection for 150,000£. With his foresight and wealthy background, Saatchi had enough clout in making part of Western art history. Today, in tandem with a dramatically expending Chinese economy, the Chinese art market also wields great power of drawing attention from collectors from all over the world. Unsurprisingly, Charles Saatchi is still at the top of the list.

After Saatchi has collected many Chinese contemporary artworks from the avant-gardes, such as Fang Lijun and Zhang Xiaogang. He turned his attention onto Young Chinese Artists. Is this a sign that this could be a repetition of the YBA phenomena in China? (In this sense, the term YBA should be written in YCA) One might think this is great as without the government support and limited promotion through galleries, Chinese Contemporary Art has its own way to survive by presenting internationally and being collected by foreigners (mainly American and British).

A western discourse might be created in China.

However, things always have pros and cons. A western discourse might be created in China. I have many questions in mind: What is a great piece of Art? Why art is being so easily judged by its price? Is there not a danger that Chinese Contemporary Art will be diverted into western criteria i.e. that what is the best Art is based on a western point of view? Who is making Chinese contemporary art history? Or the term Art History will no longer exist, which will be replaced by Visual Culture. Then, this is must be an international one. The Chinese have not undergone the Enlightenment, Modernity or Postmodernity. One could argue that the whole idea of ‘grand narrative’ does not exist in China, or it does but it is the different one and within the different ‘discourse’. I guess that might be one of the reasons why Chinese contemporary art is so fascinating to the westerners.

To be continued…

论文中的一段,回应宝贝老师的文章‘大国崛起’-关于文化殖民

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

论文中的一段,回应宝贝老师的文章‘大国崛起’-关于文化殖民

Culture colonization the relationship between the colonizer and the colony

Having been very much inspired by Edward Said, Gandhi pointed out that ‘Postcoloniality, we might say, is just another name for the globalization of cultures and histories.’(Gandhi, 1998, p.126) As nineteenth-century colonization has faded from our memory of history, post-colonialists are well aware of a new kind of cross-cultural ‘postcoloniality’, which without hostilities, pillage and occupation but rather cultural, educational and spiritual influence implanted in contemporary society, which can be regarded as an invisible form of cultural imperialism. Regarding cultural imperialism, Ella Shohat and Robert Stam argue that,

… the third world always seems to lag behind, not only economically but culturally, condemned to a perpetual game of catch-up, in which it can only repeat on another register the history of the ‘advanced’ world. This system ignores the ‘systems theory’ that sees all the ‘worlds’ as coeval, interlinked, living the same historical moment (but under diverse modalities of subordination or domination). (Shohat and Stam, 2002, p.38)

They elaborate this point further, ‘ like the sociology of “modernisation” and the economics of “development,” the aesthetics of modernism (and postmodernism) often covertly assume a telos toward which “Third world” cultural practices are presumed to be evolving.’ (ibid.)

From Shohat and Stam’s point of view, the so-called ‘first world’ Modernisation system and its effects on other cultures should be questioned. It cannot be seen as an advanced goal, which the rest of the world (non-western countries) has to follow. The debate here will be centred on the concept that a Modernized ideal is not necessarily the same as a modern ideal. There is still a relationship of cultural colonization between the colonizer and colony.

The identity of Chinese contemporary art
I will now turn to Chinese contemporary art to show how colonization has affected its identity.

In China, there has been a dramatic increase in interest in contemporary art in the last 30 years. There is a question whether contemporary Chinese art is a replication of the western contemporary art or whether it has its own Chinese identity.

In relation to Chinese contemporary art practice, there seem to be three aspects of contemporary postcolonial thought which appear to have influenced it.

Establishing an international image and reputation
First, a growing body of Chinese contemporary art attempts to follow similar western patterns of establishing an international image and reputation. Accompanying the rapidly developed economy in the last thirty-years, there has been a realization of the influence of cultural colonization upon major cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou The thriving contemporary Chinese art scene has reflected some kinds of western art world ideologies, and many contemporary institutions such as Shanghai Art Museum have followed similar institutional traditions as Europe since the end of the 20th century. For instance, the Venice Biennale has successfully been held in Europe for more than 100-years. In recent years, the major cities in China such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing have all held art biennials, which the Chinese government has encouraged in order to attract attention from all over the world.

Who is more familiar with Chinese contemporary art
Secondly, it seems that the westerners are more familiar with Chinese contemporary art than the Chinese by looking at certain phenomena.
After searching and observing many Chinese art institutions and artists’ websites, one phenomenon is that their websites are generally translated into English. By looking at their biography in these websites, the exhibitions are held equally overseas and in China, or often they hold more international exhibitions than ones in their own country, places such as America, Japan and many countries in Europe.

Furthermore, there are foreign collectors, museums and galleries, many from the ‘first world’ especially America and Europe, who have been collecting numerous outstanding Chinese contemporary artworks in recent years. And this tendency is increasing every year, as there are more people from the art circle or even outside paying attention to Chinese contemporary art. For instance, many contemporary Chinese artworks can be found in the well-known Christies and Sotheby’s auctions today. Both of these companies established overseas offices in major cities of China. This might be because on the one hand, the Chinese art market is becoming increasingly popular; on the other hand, it has become another major resource for them. For example Sotheby’s in New York put Chinese contemporary art on the block as an individual sales category for the first time just one year ago (Richard Vine in Vine, 2007, p.50).

However, there are positives and negatives if Chinese contemporary art practice remains the same. The fact is that there are less Chinese people collecting contemporary art than westerners. The reason could be either people cannot afford these artworks (perhaps because these works are brought to the international market where western buyers are willing to pay a higher price than Chinese collectors) or even those who are wealthy have no intention of collecting contemporary art, owing to the fact they are not aware of its significance and value.

Another reason could be the absence of an aesthetical education of what is contemporary Chinese art by which I mean having a culture of aesthetic appreciation of contemporary art in general. This may be because of the lack of world-class museums in China and the major movement of Chinese artefacts to the west in the 19th century.

The well-known Chinese artist Chen Danqing reminds us that among what is preceived to be the best ten museums, such as the Berlin Museum in Germany, the Maya Museum in Mexico or the British Museum in the UK, there are none of in Asia which has the largest population in the world. (Chen, 2005, p.19) Without more local facilities, the next generation will have the same ‘destiny’ as the Chinese now.

They will also have to fly almost half the globe to visit places such as the British Museum to look at the art from their ancestors. So instead of permanently working individually, Chinese contemporary artists should encourage and help the government construct an aesthetical education system to collect contemporary art works in order to provide an artistic environment and also educate young generations. It will help change the sense of art of the nation. Chen Danqing says, art is visual culture, if we cannot perceive it originally, is just like deaf men talking about music. (Chen, 2005, p.18)

Heritage, Origins and Otherness

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

I have recently been working on my research file for my option subject ‘cities of modernity’. My study area, at this time, is about ‘Beijing Siheyuan’ (a traditional residency in Beijing which has a history going back 800 years). I could not find much information in our college library so I have been researching on some Chinese websites. Or I could even translate them to English. I thought it would be a way of disseminating Chinese culture to ‘the other’ who had castles (equivalent to residency) in history.

I quite enjoy doing the research as it helps me to obtain my own culture. I was looking at all kinds of national treasures that Chinese have had in history such as paintings, calligraphies and Chinese porcelain and so on. It reminded me, one of the framing art lectures, which I had attended last term. The session was called ‘Heritage, Origins and Otherness’. We were asked to watch a documentary, which is called Stolen Goods National Treasures, directed by Tim Robinson in 2000. The video was about whether should the British museum return national treasures to their original countries.

Some people wonder why people should travel all over the world to experience different cultures and ways of life. One can get a taste of the Greek culture, or a chance to see the best Chinese calligraphy in the world by visiting the British museum. There are, however, others who take on another view, in which they argue that Western Europe should pay respect to countries that they have taken these treasures from by returning their lost treasures. Should this be the case then? It is always difficult to answer such controversial questions when people come from different culture and have different opinions. I have been thinking whether the returning of these treasures would be beneficial to countries where these treasures were originated, and the antiques themselves.

Returning priceless objects to their countries of origin is a way of expressing a diplomatic gesture of friendship. Many people from these countries of origin had been deeply upset when their treasures were taken away. These treasures were symbols of their culture. Therefore, their loss was not only objective, but also a subjective one as in a loss of spiritual values. Moreover, returning these treasures would help settle any long-term disputes created by the act of their displacement and consequently create a more peaceful and tranquil world.

Furthermore, many tourists, and people who are from these treasure’s original cultures believe that the only way to fully experience the cultural effects of these exhibits is to view them in their original cradle. Being in their origin enables these treasures to appear more charming. They would be better staged in their natural condition instead of being in a glass box in London. Culture is the spirit of a race. Without being immersed in its original culture, an antique loses the spirit it was intended to carry. It is all about the restoration of a culture’s spirit rather than the monetary value of these treasures.

However, some superintendents argue that such precious antiques should be preserved in well-built museums that facilitate good temperature conditions and security. Moreover, since Europeans tend to be more experienced in antique preservation, it could be better off for these treasures to remain in their present state. Moreover, risks of damages during displacement can then be avoided.

I am holding an impartial view at this controversial issue. In this civilized and developed era, European countries should return these priceless objects to their origins not only because people should respect each other’s culture but also human dignity as a whole.

Feminism studies: Compare and contrast two competing accounts of ‘sexual difference’ – between Luce Irigaray and Judith Butler

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

Part 1 – The notion of ‘sex’

In order to compare and contrast the term ‘sexual difference’ between these two thinkers, it is necessary to define Irigaray and Butler’s notion of ‘sex’. In ‘This Sex Which Is Not One’, Irigaray criticized Freud’s concept of the ‘binary opposition’ of sexuality. She theorized, ‘another system is needed, a system that will privilege the feminine as much as the masculine and will be based on the multiplicity of sexuality’ (Harmon, 1996). By pointing out the ‘multiplicity of sexuality’, Irigaray explained that from the historical interpretation (Freud’s concept of Binary opposition), if male sexuality is based on having a penis (a single sex organ) and female sexuality is based on having ‘nothing’, and then the binary opposition could be one of ‘penis/nothing, clitoris, vagina’ (Harmon, 1996). It is clear that the ‘sex’ for Irigaray is not only ‘one’ – the ‘one’ indicates an active, male, patriarchal culture. What she argues against is the historical idea that women are passive, whose desire and pleasure have been situated in males. As Harmon stated, Irigaray suggested constructing a new system for women, which ‘will privilege the feminine as much as the masculine and will be based on the multiplicity of female sexuality.’

Judith Butler does not draw a clear line between sexes. She agrees that humans have natural characters but also claims that ‘sex’ reveals multiplicities to humans, who then need to be considered as ‘cultural products’. She contends that:

…there is a sedimentation of gender norms that produces the peculiar phenomenon of a natural sex, or a real woman…this is a sedimentation that over time has produced a set of corporeal styles which appear as the natural configuration of bodies into sexes which exist in a binary relation to one another’. (Butler, 1988, p.407)

Butler focuses on the relationship between ‘natural’ sex and ‘performative’ gender. She believes that sex is a gendered body, which bears cultural meanings. She states that ‘the acts by which gender is constituted bear similarities to performative acts within theatrical contexts’ (Butler, 1988, p.403). It seems that ‘cultural products’ play an important role in constructing different sexes. For her, sex is also not ‘only one’, but also not only two – it is the multiplicity. Sex is never ‘natural’ for her, but can be seen as a culturally transformed gender. ‘Gender performativity’ can be seen as a way to represent different sexes. Irigaray responded to and rejected the historical consequences (the binary opposition of sex), whereas for Butler’s ‘multiplicity’ this is irrelevant, but now it directly explains it’s own genesis.

Bibliography

Butler, J. (1988). Performative Acts and Gender Constitution. In Conboy, K., Medina, N., Stanbury, S. eds. Writing on the Body: Female Movement and Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

Harmon, B. (1996). Luce Irigaray.
http://www.colorado.edu/English/courses/ENGL2012Klages/Irigaray.html Internet (last viewed 10 January 2007).