徐震®:异形 | XU ZHEN®: ALIEN

艺术就是异形。——徐震®

香格纳上海将于5月荣幸推出徐震®展览“异形”。展览将展出徐震®针对香格纳空间制作的大型装置,与最新创作的绘画和雕塑作品。“异形”延续了徐震®在后全球化生态下对文明的改造、迭代与进化命题的兴趣,如同异形所建构出的一种来自未知且令人惊悚的印象一样,展览也将通过艺术激起人们对未来与原始性的想象。

品牌创始人徐震自1998年开始创作以来,已经历了20年的艺术生涯。从早期表现个体私密与情感,到直面社会现实,发展至近期对人类现实的立异与创造,他的艺术策略虽然几经转变,却始终朝着文化的能动性扩张。徐震®所触及的,是关于艺术在面对时代之变时,如何创造可能性并提供新经验的问题。全球化的三个面向“贸易—资本”、“冲突—战争”与“进化—变异”在近年的创作中开始明晰,而三者的交织也逐渐形化为作品中的极端异化和超级变体。对徐震®而言,“异形”既是现实世界的表征,同时也是一部未来共同体的寓言。

此次展览将真实反映徐震®的精神内核,这表现为其处理文化对象及其语境的方式,以及其借此触发与呈现的新的组合和方案。作为这个时代最具代表性的艺术品牌,徐震®的背后运转着一个独一无二的没顶公司,在2008年的经济危机之后创建,没顶公司正象征着这样的可能性,将时代状况内化为创作的命题,并通过公司式的加速创作以应对全球化症候。

本次展出的两件作品《异形1》和《异形2》可追溯至2013年开始推出的“永生”系列,该系列将东西方经典文明中的形象以一种既冲突又融合的方式碰撞在一起。东西方永恒与精神性的美学象征,在对接的过程中造就了殖民历史、国际格局与全球化未来的丰富隐喻。《异形2》的形象分别来源于希腊神话中的“雌雄同体”神与汉代女佣,二者呈现了如同“永生–涅槃佛”一样巧妙的并置。而《异形1》则将文化的解码与组合推向极致,通过对对象进行简单的颜色处理,“异形”与其裹挟着的令人恐惧的力量被激发出来。徐震®借此为观众营造了一个精神性互动装置,通过诱导观众进入一个敏感的历史时刻,意识形态符号带给人的巨大压迫感,将促使个体面临一个需要表态与选择的境地。展览的另一单元由绘画组成,其中绘画性作为装置的元素被徐震®调用。开始于2017年的“进化”系列将距今近两千年的敦煌壁画与非洲面具共同绘制于油画布上,远古时代的文明与现代社会所保有的原始性交错并呈现出超越时间桎梏的美学面貌。“运气”系列与“进化”系列发展于同一时期,徐震®将新石器时代传承至今的礼器进行再造,而最终形成的画面则为徐震®的产品开辟了抽象表现的路径。

正如“文明迭代”所宣称的,徐震®的艺术以一种重复反馈的过程一步步逼近自身所需的目标。公司式的生产最终引发现实的漏洞——从逻辑与语词中抽身而出的不可知性,在展览中将呈现为蕴藏着丰富可能性的“异形”。
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“Art is alien.” (XU ZHEN®)

ShanghART Gallery is pleased to present XU ZHEN®’s solo exhibition: “Alien” in May 2018. This exhibition will present the large-scale installations XU ZHEN® made especially for the ShanghART Gallery space, along with his recent paintings and sculptures. This exhibition extends XU ZHEN®’s persistent interest in subjects such as transforming, iterating and evolving the civilisation within the context of post-globalisation. As “Alien” is constructing an impression of the thrilling and the unknown, this exhibition will inspire the viewers’ imagination about future and primitivity.

As the founder of XU ZHEN®, Xu Zhen has made a career in art for twenty years since 1998. Initially expressing the intimacy and emotion of individuals, then shifting to social issues, Xu Zhen is recently focusing on the difference and creativity among human beings. While his artistic strategies have undergone several changes, it is always moving towards the dynamics of culture. XU ZHEN®’s art has reached issues such as how art deals with the passage of time, and how to create new possibilities while discovering new experience. The three main themes in globalisation, “trade and capital”, “conflict and war”, “evolution and variation” are gradually becoming sharp focused in Xu Zhen’s works. Accordingly, the collision among three topics results in the figures of “extreme alienation” and “super variant” in his works. For Xu Zhen, “Alien” is not only a representation of the real world, but also an allegory of the future community.

This exhibition will truly reflect the core of Xu Zhen’s art through exhibiting how he deals with cultural subjects and their contexts, as well as the new associations and plans he came up with under these circumstances. As the most representative art brand of the period, XU ZHEN® is running the one and only MadeIn Company. Established after the economic crisis in 2008, MadeIn Company is representing a kind of possibility by internalising current circumstances into ideas, and speeding up the art making process in the form of a company, in response to the “symptom of globalisaiton”.

The two pieces of sculptures, Alien 1 and Alien 2, can be traced back to the “Eternity” series of 2013, which combines classical figures of Eastern and Western cultures in a conflicting and integrating way. The aesthetic symbols of eternity and spirituality from the East and West has developed through rich metaphors of colonial history, international configurations, and the future of globalisation in the process of collision. Alien 2 in the same vein of Eternity-(Buddha in Nirvana) juxtaposes two sculpture figures: an “hermaphrodite” from Greek mythology and a servant figure from the Han Dynasty. Moreover, Alien 1 is decoding and recombining the cultural elements to its extreme by recolouring those sculptures, thus the ‘aliens’ and the terrifying power therein are released intensely. By these means XU ZHEN® created a spiritually interactive installation, directing the viewers to a sensitive historic moment; the pressure brought on by those ideological symbols will situate the viewers in conditions that force them to make a choice and a statement. The other section of the exhibition includes several paintings used by XU ZHEN® as installing elements. The “Evolution” series which started in 2007 combines the cultural elements from Dunhuang Mogao Cave paintings and African masks. By painting the ancient civilisation and primitivity still remaining in modern society on the canvas at the same time, this series of paintings create the beauty of harmonious blending across time. The “Fortune” series started from the same period of the “Evolution” series; these painting series, which reconstructs the Neolithic ceremonial jades, opens a path for XU ZHEN® towards abstract expressionism.

As “Civilisation Iteration” (solo exhibition in 2017) declares, XU ZHEN® is fulfilling his visions in a progress of repeated feedback. The corporate-typed art production will finally result in a leak in the reality – the unknown condition of getting away from logic and language. The aliens hidden in the exhibition will present infinite possibilities.

问答 | Q&A

 

  1. 你认为政治正确是一个问题吗?

政治正确是失去可能性的开始。

  1. 此次展览的题目为“异形”的用意何在?因为很自然让人联想到电影《异形》,是否和这部电影有关?若是有,请说说对你而言这部电影有什么特殊的意义与价值?

汉代跪俑被涂上了一层颜色之后,似乎这个雕塑就被赋予了一种丰富的意识形态。变成了一件充满矛盾和针对性的当代艺术品。从这个角度来说这个雕塑和这种意识形态化的意识就像电影中异形一样的奇怪、未知和恐怖。

  1. 上一个个展是2017年在巴黎贝浩登的“文明迭代”,请问这两个展览之间是否有前后关系?Your last exhibition is the “Civilization Iteration” at Perrotin Paris in 2017. Is there any connection between the two exhibitions?

肯定有关系,总的来说都是徐震®关于全球化下对文明改造、变异和进化相关的主题。Yes, of course. Generally, both of them are Xu Zhen®’s themes about transforming, iterating and evolving the civilisation within the context of globalisation.

  1. 这一次的作品都是最新创作,是否可以解释一下这些新作触及的时代语境?可以分别介绍一下吗?或者重点介绍一下与展览同名的两件作品:《异形1》和《异形2》。

《异形1》这件作品是一个思维圈套,它吸引观众按照这个作品去思考和感受,这样就会导致一种似乎会逼迫观众表态和选择的境地。可能很多人会想到中国崛起/大国崛起之后的一种矛盾的境遇,一种自我的刷存在感和势必被外界扭曲妖魔化的现实。美国作为一个已经崛起的大国,类似事件是否会在新的大国的将来发生或者已经发生着。而此事件本身的所有语境,从某种角度来说可能对中国的未来也会相当适用。

我个人更看重一个简单的颜色本身能带动如此众多的因素最后形成一种新的动能,这可能也是当代艺术的最主要的特点之一。

而《异形2》表达的是对一种文明的触动,小心翼翼、充满不自信和欲望,两个巨大文明的代表在今天相遇表现出完全互相不能理解和完全被彼此所吸引。

  1. 你的作品几乎很少指涉过十分明确的现实对象,但这次一反常态的将一整个空间置换为具体的场景,这个素材对你而言有什么特殊性?是因为现实事件触发了你对这个对象的兴趣?

对我来说,这个事件不只是一个滞留在其原来语境的事件,它更是一种景观。当我看到几千年前的中国汉代跪俑的时候,马上就想到这个事件中跪着的人的姿势。两者如此一致。

这个对象对我来说有另外一层意义,即他者的社会与我有关吗?不发生在我身上的事件真的与我无关吗?每个人都能扯干净关系吗?我如何主动地改造现实?艺术是否就是一种办法,在现实逻辑之外的一种办法?或者艺术就是一种现实的漏洞,现实的可能性。

  1. “权力”,是我们日常生活中经常遇到的一个概念,我们对它既有所忌惮又渴望垂涎。你怎么理解权力?”Authority” is a common concept in our daily life. We have both fear and desire for it. How do you think of the “authority”?

权力是生态。哪里有权力哪里就有斗争,哪里有斗争哪里就产生可能性。Authority is ecology. Where there is the power there is the struggle. Where there is the struggle there is the possibility.

  1. 此展览中的“进化”系列结合了非洲面具与敦煌壁画的元素,你将此定位为“绘画装置”,可以解释一下这一界定吗?绘画史上通常将这种对非洲文化的援引指向“原始主义”,而迈克尔·莱杰在对纽约画派的诠释中,曾指出“原始主义”也是一种意识形态,人们对于“原始社会”的理解受到殖民主义、国家主义、帝国主义、种族主义和“第三世界”等现代社会机制的影响,你认同这样的说法吗?这种流动的“原始性”是否同样在你的作品中起作用?

进化系列绘画是一种像素写生绘画。绘者在画布上以每天5万-16万像素的效率推进画面。同时这类创作也是基于互联网搜索工具产生的一种文化观察、学习和判断的方法。这系列的核心是对这种方式创造的新审美的肯定。在这些前提下,已有的知识经验才有新的意义。

这系列不止是在强调非洲文化和敦煌文化之间的共通性、流动性。更重要的是作品体现出来的产生于这个时代对文化的大改造和重新定义的信心和方法。

  1. “运气(绿环)”呈现出你久未涉足的抽象画面,但来源却是华人再熟悉不过的日常物件“玉环”,在这里抽象与具象的转换关系是你想表达的吗?玉环的符号性和与之附带的意识形态在作品中是如何被再译与重构的?

这个系列是一种当代图腾。玉环的漩涡隐喻着今天人类在宇宙观理解上的加速。这里的抽象与具象的转换也契合着全球化中西方理性与东方感性混合的现实动能。玉环形象从几千年前至今被再次使用,恰如文明的密码被破解后再次重生。

  1. 你的关注点从艺术&商业—后波普—后全球化—文明进程,再到这次的“异形”,你觉得你的创作线索在逐渐触及一个什么样的问题,这些创作方向的转变是怎样一步步带你进入这个问题的?Your focus is from Art & Commerce to post Pop, to post globalisation, to civilization, and then to “Alien”. What kind of questions do you think your creative clues are referring to, how do these changes in direction of creation take you into it step by step?

从早期的反映现实到近期的创造现实,很明显我们的创作不断在表达一个理念,即“可能性”。在不同时代、困境和问题下的可能性。艺术充满未知。From initially we reflect the reality, to recently we create the reality, obviously, we are constantly expressing one idea – the possibility when facing different era, dilemma and problems. Art is full of the unknown.

  1. 你的作品创作一直在深入和推进,但与此同时徐震品牌和没顶公司的运作也一直并行不悖,在你看来,他们之间有互相关系和影响吗?

公司或这个人在这个大时代背景下,必须也只能不断地求新求变。艺术要给时代制造各种可能后自己也要有成为这个时代特点的能量。没顶公司或者徐震®品牌出现并非一种巧合,而是当代文化发展到今天必然会出现的一种方式。多元协作、快速迭代、高效管理等当代社会运行特点都在我们这里得到了良性的体现,以确保艺术就是我们公司最大的利润。

  1. 同那些关注点较为前后一致的艺术家相比,你的关切似乎一直在加速更新,这样的状态是这个时代和文化环境导致的吗?Comparing to those artists who keep focusing on the similar subjects, your concerns seem to update acceleratedly. Does time and the cultural environment lead to your current situation?

我们应该是这个时代最具代表性的艺术现象之一。公司化运营,想法丰富、高产、高效、形式多元、跨界创作等等这些都在我们这里得到了充分的体现。我认为当代艺术需要不断进化出新的方式方法来应对多元、复杂和无法定义的现实。今天精英主义和政治正确越来越盛行且越来越容易被利用,当代艺术会不断有新的任务和激情的。We should be one of the most representational art phenomenons in this era: corporate operation, rich thoughts, high output and efficiency, multiple forms, crossover creation etc.; these are all included in what we do. In my opinion, contemporary art should keep working out the new ways to deal with the diverse, complex and indefinable reality. Today the elitism and political correctness is prevailing and much easier to be made use of, so contemporary art would have more missions and passion.

  1. 你认为当下这个世界正在发生什么?你怎么理解这样的动向?What do you think is happening in this world? How do you think of this trend?

一切走向不确定性,什么似乎都可以被改变,世界在走向一个新的面貌。我们当然是要尽力去加速这种现状。Everything is moving towards uncertainty. It seems like everything can be changed, then the world is becoming a brand new one. Certainly what we should do is to accelerate that.

 

 

 

 

 

Play

只有当人在充分意义上是人的时候他才游戏

只有当人游戏的时候,他才是完整的。”

——席勒

没顶画廊将于5月12日荣幸推出群展“Play”,呈现陆平原、商亮、赵要最新创作的雕塑与绘画作品。在此次展览中,三位艺术家的作品都呈现出轻巧与玩乐的气息,并将审美、观念、艺术精神抛掷在游戏的场域。游戏作为观看艺术的一种方案,借此被唤醒于没顶画廊空间。

游戏在陆平原的“看,我是毕加索”系列中,呈现为俄罗斯套娃式的戏法:故事–土豆先生–皮克斯工厂打造的视觉形象–毕加索–立体主义–儿童的填色画,或者是将这一切反转过来,所有符号层层嵌套出作品独特的呈现方式。而游戏在赵要新近的创作中,显现为将意义真空化的尝试,艺术家选取益智游戏的拼图,并通过耗时的工序加工呈现,就如同他将10000平方米的装置作品抬至海拔5000米的雪山山顶晾晒一样,所有的行为规则和作品意义都由艺术家制定与调节;赵要的戏法是一种将真实与虚假(或是意义的有和无)反复置换的把戏。而商亮的游戏,则是将自身对超凡力的想象嫁接到创作对象上,那些肌肉健壮的人体、对海明威的指涉、与具有力量特征的抽象雕塑都构成了她对游戏对象的移情;而这移情的过程,也不经意地透露出艺术家的自我。

展览“Play”将不仅呈现三位艺术家不同的游戏机制,也暗示了一种后真相时代,个体面对景观与真实性不断流变的时代所作出的应对与创造。展览空间成为了艺术家实施戏法的场所,诚如伽达默尔(Hans-Georg Gadamer)所言:游戏,即是艺术作品本身的存在方式。而在这个展览中,游戏的概念不仅渗透在艺术家的创作形式之中,也将深入观者观看作品的氛围与过程中。

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Man plays only, where he in the full meaning of the word is man,

and he is only there fully man, where he plays.

——Friedrich Schiller

MadeIn Gallery is pleased to present “Play” an exhibition showcasing new paintings and sculptures by Lu Pingyuan, Shang Liang and Zhao Yao. In this exhibition, three artists’ works commonly share a spirit of lightness and playfulness, bringing aesthetics, concepts and art into the field of game. As a method for the observation of art, game arises in the gallery space.

Game in Lu’s series of works “Look! I’m Picasso!” takes the form of Russian nesting doll: a story – Mr. Potato Head – visuals from Pixar Animation Studios – Picasso – Cubism – Children’s coloring books, or the other way round. Each layer of symbols reveals unique characteristics on the presentation of the work. In Zhao’s paintings game appears as an attempt to vacuum the meaning. The artist selects puzzles from mind games and presents them through a time-consuming process, just as he lifted a 10,000 square meter installation to a snowy summit of an altitude of 5000 meters and placed it in the sun. All the performance rules and artwork meaning are formulated and adjusted by the artist. Zhao’s trick is a game that repeatedly permutes truth and falsehood (or the presence and absence of meaning). At last, Shang’s game consists of developing as a creation subject her imagination on supernatural force. Muscular bodies, references to Ernest Hemingway, and sculptures with strength characteristics all constitute her empathy towards the object of the game, process of which reflects the artist’s self.

“Play” not only shows these three artists’ different game methods, it also suggests a post-truth era, in which individuals face the constant adaptation and creation of a time where landscape and authenticity ever-change. The exhibition space becomes the venue where artists perform their tricks, as Hans-Georg Gadamer put it: game is “the mode of being of the work of art”. In this exhibition, the notion of game intervenes into the artist’s creative form and further the process and context in which viewers observe the works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

边界闪烁

边界是一种地域性表述,它不仅表明内容的范围,也暗示不可逾越的限制性。它是人们认知世界的基本方式,而其属性也在不同的语境之间显现。“闪烁”一词对边界提出质疑,也预示着不确定性。它来自信号灯的意象,不仅起着引导与规训的作用,使隐性的边界显像;也意味着被期望与惦念的彼岸,在令人张皇无措的幽暗中指明方向。

在这个展览中,边界成为恰到好处的隐喻,一种曾经被信奉的界定,转变为临时性的对象,被艺术家作为发话的工具与参照物。在杨君与徐震®的作品中,画布与大理石的功能性转化,使熟悉的材料被反常的调用,这是艺术家对媒材边界的重估;朱昱的绘画始于具象,却在最终的画面中使轮廓涣散边界消失;艾略特•多德借用消费文化的广告美学,在虚拟与真实的隐喻之间穿梭,对固化的社会意识提出质疑 。在两位80年代艺术家的创作中,边界意识隐匿在更为敏感纤细的内部:张联的绘画显示出一种在不同时空中游走的状态,看起来失衡的画面来自对界域划分的不信任;而郑源对两起新闻事件的记录,则探讨了现实与再现的模糊界线以及从中作祟的媒介话语建构。

在他们的艺术实践中,曾经煞有介事的界定都被转换为富有实验性的松动状态,随着闪烁忽而坚实、忽而缥缈。闪烁的边界是作品所呈现的共同状态,它意味着似是而非:在“是”的情况下,一切界定的对象才得以发展;而在“非”的预设中,所有根深蒂固的性状才能够被思考。“边界闪烁”为的是搅乱被定义的边界,针对人们设定边界的行为与二元论失效的当下,督促观者跳脱非此即彼的传统逻辑,在对边界的是非指认中准备好迎接后当代的闪烁现状。

 

 

成长的烦恼 HOME ALONe

 

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成长的烦恼是一个潜意识编造的灰色成人童话,由当代生活与自身造梦互相凝视而导致的个体意志校准与对位。艺术家在挖掘内心情感的过程中,借用迪士尼式的叙事,在展厅构建了一个自我的场景。展览名“成长的烦恼”来自90年代初期在中国风靡一时的同名美剧,作为那时期美国收视率最高的情景喜剧,它成功展现了美国式幸福生活的典范。从这个代表着中产阶级渴望的虚妄幻象出发,艺术家由此链接了一系列流行文化中的程式化形象与情节,将其改造或是夸张化,并通过蓄意的编排,使俄罗斯套娃式的层层叙事成为展览的丰富脚本。

从字面看来,“成长的烦恼”也透露出展览的自传性质,这使得展览暗藏了许多个体经验的蛛丝马迹。恰巧的是,在《玩具总动员》二十周年之际,陆平原将这部对其有着特殊意味的动画片与不同的文化基因进行整合与编码,复刻了一个模式化的样板。这些曾对其造成影响的角色与设定,以精心伪装的面貌出现,将自我及其代表的时代身份投射在虚假却触手可及的造景中。

对戏剧性叙事与现实情境的两相混淆,试图缝合二者的巨大差异,这恰恰成为当代人性扭曲与变异的真实写照。然而,展览的意图不在于褪去爆米花电影的面纱,让美好幻灭,将真实裸露;而是利用艺术家身份的特殊性去调和虚拟世界与现实生活的矛盾,并在此过程中,利用符号的反复出场与戏剧性演绎,将自我的内心独白包装成极具诱惑性的梦幻世界,邀请观众前来解读。

 

文明迭代 | Civilization Iteration

迭代是通过重复反馈以到达所需结果的方法。徐震此次展出的作品系列,也将为我们呈现在艺术全球化与网络化日益加剧的当下,何以利用他的方程式接近艺术的未来。

早在2001年,徐震就曾作为当时最年轻的中国艺术家在第49届威尼斯双年展展出过作品。20岁就已经崭露头角的他,以个体艺术家的身份在之后的12年中创作了大量建立于个体意识之上的作品。随着新旧世纪交替带来的社会变迁,经济发展带来的文化变化从深处影响着这位触觉敏锐的艺术家。这最终导致了他于2009年在上海创立了没顶公司,在此分水岭之后,徐震的作品都由公司的模式产出,其“艺术家”的身份则被抛掷在了争议的漩涡中心,创作的关注点也开始转向艺术与商业。

今年的卡塞尔文献展策展人之一 Monika Szewczyk 曾这样写到:

“诚然,徐震并不是第一个从个人转型为公司的艺术家,更多的艺术家选择不动声色的做这些事以使操作性与利益最大化。但没顶公司至少在一方面是特殊的:公司的生产越发地被理解为对“天国”概念的思索状态——它不提供给你关于天国的清晰图景(像宗教可能会做的那样),而是将其抽象化为一个问题。”

“天下”系列的名字与天国比喻可谓不谋而合。这一系列的画作曾作为2014年军械库艺博会的整体视觉呈现,为艺博会的商业功能服务。极富景观意味的绚烂色彩被油画颜料一层层地堆叠成型,奶油裱花袋替代了传统画笔,在巧妙经营的图层和形态中造就了一派让人口舌生津的视觉盛宴。“天下”成功架空了艺术与商业的矛盾性——这也透露出徐震的策略,相较于针对看似坚不可摧的景观魔障,不如借由这样的力量,达成自身的自治。

这样的创作逻辑也促使徐震十分擅长于提取大众文化中的视觉符号。在“金属的语言”系列中,政治漫画的对话以一种聒噪密集的图式呈现在镜面玻璃板上,极具涂鸦感的排列方式看似在与政治语言的激进姿态统一立场,却被散发着奢靡气息的金属光泽出卖。作品内部的矛盾使其自身乃至生产它的主体都处于意义悬置的状态。

金属和奶油式的景观,曾错使人们将徐震的作品归结为波普艺术;然而,这显然只能概括他的部分作品。事实上,徐震在创作的思辨与对文化的挪用上已经走的比波普更远。“没顶曲项瓶”、“永生”和“进化”系列的作品指涉已经不再停留于消费世界,而是面向了一个更加浩瀚不朽的文明世界。远古时代遗留下的万世之作、丝路繁盛时代创作的敦煌壁画、西方现代主义经典雕塑——当我们看到这些物件以反复的样式变形或重新组合在眼前时,文明积蓄的精神力量以一种主动姿态引发了意义的内爆(implosion)。

此种精神力量不仅来自被引用的文明象征物自身,更来自于全球化互联网所带来的文化剧变。我们对于希腊雕塑的认知,总停留在灰白石膏表面,却忘记它们原先是富有颜色的神像浮雕。 文明遗物的真实面貌被悬置在每位远道而来、在博物馆探索古代文明的观光客心里。人们甚至寄希望于网络,通过搜索引擎以想象文化发源地的图景。语境的缺失横亘在希腊神像原先的彩色表面和白色石膏之间,更横亘在雅典卫城与电子屏幕上的雕像照之间。正是因为我们对于这样的文化现实过于习以为常,才使得看似分庭对抗的“永生”与“进化”系列显得异常和谐和瑰丽。

徐震从“艺术家时期”关注个体身份意识转向一个品牌对当下文化脉络的反复推演恰恰反映了人类在过去几十年间的巨大转变。互联网带来的意识延伸从智识深处打破了时间与空间的差异。文化的传统认知被信息与符号的泛滥瓦解,并让位于不断显像的文明停滞与标准失效。个体时时刻刻都面临着信息超快速传播所带来的不真实感,意义、价值和真实的界限逐渐消融。面对这样“后真相”时代的文明,我们不难理解为何徐震将“迭代”推举为一种面对后现代进程的有效方式——了无疆界的反复重组势必在无数次摧毁与重建中为当下开创新的文明范式。

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Iteration refers to the way of achieving a desired result through repeated feedback. The exhibited series shows how an artist, amidst increasing globalization and networking of art, can approach the future of art with his own formula.

As early as 2001, Xu participated in the 49th Venice Biennale, then the youngest Chinese artist to exhibit works at this international art event. Having made a name at 20 as an artist, he has since created a large number of works based on his own consciousness. The passage from one century to the next brought with it not only socio-economic but also cultural changes, the latter deeply influencing Xu as an artist. The great divide of his career came in 2009 when he established the art creation enterprise MadeIn Company in Shanghai. Since then his works have been produced in a corporate fashion and his “artist” identity has been plunged into the center of controversy. Meanwhile, Xu’s creative focus has begun to shift to the relationship between art and business.

Monika Szewczyk, a curator of this year’s Kassel Documenta, once said,

“To be sure, Xu Zhen is not the first artist to transform himself into a company, and countless others incorporate more quietly to maximize their income and maneuverability. But MadeIn may be special in at least one respect: The company’s production could be understood increasingly to contemplate the notion of heaven –not offering up a clear picture the way religious authorities might, yet keeping this abstraction in focus as a question.”

The title of the Under Heaven series echoes heaven as a metaphor. The paintings appeared in the 2014 Armory Show in New York to serve the commercial campaign for the fair itself. Layers and layers of oil paint form an ornate “landscape”, and with the skillful depiction and figuration of a cream piping bag (not a paint brush!), they make up an enticing visual banquet.

The series manages to transcend the opposition between art and business, which exemplifies Xu’s creative strategy: rather than addressing the big spectacle issue head on, one might as well turn it into a positive account by creating a new approach of one’s own. This way of thinking explains why Xu is so fluent in using visual symbols from popular culture. In the Metal Language series, phrases from political cartoons are presented in an intensive manner on a mirror- finished metal surface. The graffiti-like composition seemingly agrees with the radical stance of the political language but is in fact betrayed by the extravagance of the metallic gloss. This inner contradiction throws the works (and even their producer) into a suspended state of meaningfulness.

Because of their metallic and creamy landscapes, Xu’s works have been classified as pop art, even though the label apparently can apply only to some of his works. In terms of creative logic and cultural appropriation, Xu has no doubt gone beyond pop art. For instance, his series Eternity and Evolution all reference a far more expansive, long lasting civilized world than the consumer society. Ancient art pieces, Dunhuang frescoes from the Silk Road’s heyday, representative modernist sculptures of the West…when we see these cultural symbols repeatedly change shape or re-combined in new ways, we cannot help but feel an implosion of meaning set off by the accumulated spiritual force of culture.

This force comes not only from the cultural symbols being used; it is in a way more the cultural changes induced by the globalizing Internet. In a modern context, we tend to identify Greek sculptures solely by their greyish white plaster, forgetting that they were originally divine statues with colors. The truth behind cultural relics is ever elusive to the museum visitor. People even turn to the Net, using search engines to make up their own pictures of the origins of civilization. Between the colorful Greek statues and the modern white plaster versions, and the Acropolis in Athens and sculpture photos on electronic screens, is the loss of a common context.

And it is because we are so accustomed to this cultural reality that the two contrasting series Eternity and Evolution appear all the more harmonious and splendid to us.

From the “individual artist period” when he concerned himself with the consciousness of identity, to “Xu Zhen brand”, Xu has moved on to repeatedly examine the current culture. The transition is nothing less than a reflection of the tremendous changes in human history over the past decades. Admittedly, the extension of consciousness unleashed by the Internet has eliminated temporal and spatial disparity. Yet, in the process, cultural learning in the traditional sense has been destroyed by information overload, giving way to recurrent cultural stagnation and dysfunctional standards. The information highway makes one feel unreal, so much so that the boundaries between meaning, values and reality gradually blur. Living in this “post-truth” age, one begins to see why Xu should uphold “iteration” as an effective way of responding to a postmodern society.

For in the course of time, after endless destruction and reconstruction, the boundless reformulations are sure to open up a new paradigm for civilization in the present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

像素公园 | Pixel Park

“像素公园”将是一个像素的模拟大观园,与周遭的雕塑公园形成内容上的虚实对照。像素作为电子图像的最小单位,在数码世界中与个体的角色类似。它们聚合在一起形成图像创造者的世界,有如意识的像素雕塑,在平面荧幕上堆叠出思想的动态形体。在展览呈现的众多作品中,艺术家都不一而同的表现出自我雕塑化的愿望。 在他们或身体或意识的参演中,缪斯症候作为日常神话,在影像中成为个体极欲纳入自身叙事的深层动机。

 

而公园,作为人类搁置社会性的半自然地带,其附带的集散和景观功能,成为人们实施白日梦想的完美场所。在像素风景取代自然景观之后,移步换景的游园模式变成了精神性行为。雕塑公园里的游人在长椅上观看雕塑的同时,自我也在静止中形成了雕塑。这样的静止状态同样也在“像素公园“里成为观看的线索。它所牵连出的,是像素在改变了人们衡量像的尺度之后,个体依存空间发生坍缩的变化趋势。“像素公园”正是我们针对这种预见而诞生的未来公园蓝图。

 

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Pixel Park is a simulated grand view garden of pixels. It forms a contrast between virtuality and reality with Sculpture Park. As the smallest unit of digital images, pixel plays a similar role to that of an individual in real world. Through the aggregation of these entities a world is created, like pixelated sculptures of consciousness, stacking themselves as dynamic figures on a flat screen. Within the works shown in Pixel Park, the artists all coincidentally present their desire of self-sculpting. In the participation of their body or consciousness, symptoms of the Muse, as a daily myth, become in the images the deep motivation of things individuals want to incorporate into their narratives.

 

While parks, with their attached features of distribution and scenery – as semi-natural areas in which human temporarily set society aside – become the perfect place for people to implement their daydreams. Now that pixel sceneries replaced natural landscapes, park wandering and exploration have been turned into a spiritual action. When visitors inside the Sculpture Park watch those sculptures, sitting on a bench, they turn into sculptures themselves. Such state of stillness becomes the viewing angle in the Pixel Park. What is implicated, is the changing tendency of the collapsed of individual spaces, after pixels modify the scale of image measurement. Pixel Park precisely is the blueprints of these generated future parks we refer to.

信息雕塑公路 | Information Sculpture Superhighway

“信息雕塑公路”是一个涵盖了数位艺术家不同形态作品的展览。它意在表现整个处在信息高速公路上的人类社会,是何以进行自我的整体性塑造的。“雕塑”在此并非指一种狭义的造型艺术,而是折回到博伊斯提出的“社会雕塑”语境,所有人都被认为是具有创造力产能的人,通过艺术得以重塑未来社会。

 

“媒介即讯息”作为上世纪的回响,在此展览中已经渐渐消耗原有的能量,成为被破除的公式。我们在此看到的是“讯息即媒介”,电子媒介所引发的尺度变化和模式变化在此都被退居后位,媒介所释放出的信息成为冲击社会现状的真正力量。信息已然是所有媒介的最终状态,而各个媒介也因为其物质属性的损耗不再区别于他者。这也是参展作品中媒介使用错乱的原因,这种错乱不单单体现为胡乱搭配或是随意拼贴的形式,更深层的是对媒介偶像破坏的姿态。图像不讲究精度与尺寸,雕塑不在乎形式美感和材料的稳固性;因为这些在它们意在传达的信息面前已经不再重要。媒介在创作中受到的粗暴对待,都促使信息成为了所有表达的核心主题。

 

这些信息,正是在公路上驰骋的洪水猛兽。就像所有高速公路都有最低时速一样,信息在一定程度上也塑造了它的速度。物质—平面—像素—信息——成为公路上掐指间的变化。这种高速生成的信息导致的是一种社会症候,不能低于最低时速产能的强迫症。它不仅在速度上压制着我们,更在其形式和内容上渗透着整个社会。而公路,这个本来意味着去中心化的意象,在平权的假象中带给信息最强大的话语权。“信息雕塑公路”中,艺术家作为拥有进化和革新力量身份的人,都为这种症候下的社会塑造提供了自己的方案。

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Information Sculpture Superhighway presents works of artists achieved using a variety of forms. It is intended to show how the whole human society on the information superhighway is sculpturing its self-integrity. “Sculpture” here does not refer to a narrow definition of plastic art, but alludes to Joseph Beuys’ definition of “social sculpture”, in which everyone is considered to be an equally creative individual, and has the potential to reshape the future of society through art.

 

In this exhibition, the strength of the notion “the medium is the message” – as an echo from the last century – has gradually been consumed and turned into a disused formula. In fact, what we see here is: “the message is the medium”, and modifications in scales and models caused by digital media are relegated to the back. The information released by the medium becomes a real force that impacts social status. Information already is the final state of all media. However, with the loss of its physical characteristics, media of various kinds can no longer distinguish one from another. It is also the source of such disordered use of media among most of the exhibited works. This confusion is not only reflected in the form of chaotic combinations or random collages, but also in the destructive attitude towards the medium as an icon. Image resolution and dimensions are no longer primordial, similarly, beauty of forms and material stability in sculpture lost their importance; these aspects became insignificant compare to the information they intend to convey. During the process of creation, medium has been considerably mistreated, and information became the core of expression.

 

Information is a scourge rampaging on the highway. As all superhighways have a bottom speed, information also shapes its speed to a certain extent. Substance – two-dimensional surface – pixel – information – alternate with one another on the highway within the snap of a finger. The information generated by such high speed leads to a social symptom, a compulsive obsession with always being above the bottom speed. Not only does it pressure us in terms of speed, but also it permeates the whole society in the form and content. “Highway”, whose imagery in the first place evokes decentralization, confers information with the most powerful right of expression, within the illusion of rights to equality. In Information Sculpture Superhighway, artists – as human beings who possess the identities of evolution and innovative vitality – offer their own proposals to social sculpturing, within such symptomatic context.