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【评论】“无界”:概念之外的心灵牧歌

2014-07-24 14:35:23 来源:艺术家提供作者:金影村
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  许多人都注意到,唐伟民在画布上重复地调度着一位不存在的缪斯,画家自己也毫不避讳这点。这位女子穿戴着夸张的藏族服饰与配件,时而顾盼,时而沉思,时而又隐隐地黯然神伤。那清透的眼神中,流露出不食人间烟火的孤冷与倔强。这不是一位真正的藏民,而分明是一位装扮成藏民的仙女。对少数民族风情的猎奇,似乎不是伟民所痴迷的。他的这位“藏族”女子,更似一位冰肌玉冷的古典美人,独存了一份孤瘦雪霜之姿。沉静的背景衬着这张脱俗的脸庞。即使身着宽大厚重的服饰与精致繁缛的配饰,依然是清清秀秀丽人一枚;即使是两颊上的高原红,似乎也不烘托粗犷,反衬出隽秀。她兀自伫立在画中,毫不知觉、也毫不在乎观者对她容貌的啧啧称奇,抑或评头论足。她没有屈服于被画的状态,在绘画的时空节奏中,她遗世独立、生生不息。因此,在一个虚构的情境中,伟民画出了旷世的真实。

  虚构作为真实,在中国古代寺观艺术中比比皆是。敦煌莫高窟中那倒弹琵琶的飞天美轮美奂,唐卡中那来自密宗的本尊、菩萨、天王、金刚、力士、度母等形象也令人目不暇接,洛阳龙门石窟那慈祥端庄的卢舍那大佛像让人顿生敬意,杭州飞来峰上的那座笑口常开的如来佛更是法化众生。这些宗教形象经过世世代代的想象演变而来,最终定格成了一目了然的视觉共识。它们或优美、或庄严、或生动的造型,为身在樊笼中的人们寻求超脱之路指引着方向。伟民也酷爱收藏佛像,不仅是因为心中有佛,更被它们千姿百态、玲珑流畅的造型所吸引。事实上,造型本身便是一种美,这样的观念在画家心中已经生根发芽并且开花结果了,我也因此能够想象他的画中追求纯净乃至宗教般圣洁的美。由此,现实中的虚构,被转化成了艺术上的真实。然而,不同于宗教的避世,伟民坦言,他选择这些略带忧郁的虚无形象,并不是逃避现实,而是对当下现实的一种委婉的批判。当然,这当中也包含着一种宗教式的寄托:嘈杂的现实中早已失落的那份纯洁与清静,在艺术中找到了自身的依附与所属,还原了画家内心深处的“本真”。

  但是,人们依然会问,假若画家要为自己营造一座寄托情怀的精神家园,为何要如此固执地选择这张美而不“真”的脸庞呢?又或者,假若画家的心目中常驻着这张理想化的面孔,又为何非要选择异域风情的装束与背景呢?这里要提请观者注意的是,伟民采用的是写实的手法,但不是写生的手法;画中人物是被细致地雕琢出来的,却不是真正意义上的肖像;人物的目光无论是沉浸在画中还是投射向画外,都没有刻意地取悦抑或搜寻画外观者的目光。如此,画面构建了一个自给自足的世界。只有当我们抛却常识与概念的那一刻,画面的时空才会真正向我们敞开。

  在西方美术史上,写生精神是艺术迈向现代主义的重要标志——当艺术家们意识到应当“为艺术而艺术”(Art for Art’s Sake)时,对写生之“鲜活感”与“现场感”的追求就从未停止过:从十九世纪开始,萌发于英国拉斐尔前派就意识到了写生的重要性,他们对那些千篇一律的文艺复兴宗教绘画深恶痛绝,提出“直接向自然学习”(learning directly from nature)的口号。法国巴比松画派的众画家们则坚持亲近自然进行写生,创作出了众多传世名作。更毋宁说,走向现代艺术的印象派画家们是多么孜孜不倦地对着一片池塘、一座山丘、一幢建筑、一次郊游等等进行速写式的写生。而对于异域风情的痴迷,则当首推浪漫主义大师德拉克罗瓦。当年画家创作《阿尔及尔妇女》一作时,曾屡次试图进入当地妇女的闺房一探究竟,遗憾最终未果。即便如此,画家还是坚持将自己在当地之所见拼凑起来,创作出了这幅充满异国情调的代表作。而后印象派画家高更,更是断然放弃了西方现代文明,只身来到了位于西太平洋的塔希提岛,在这片最简单原始的土地上创作。关于异域的那份神秘、原始、淳朴与隔绝,长久以来都在为艺术家的创作提供着源源不断的养分。

  然而,当我们回到唐伟民的绘画中时,不觉发现,他的绘画既不向写生靠拢,也并非真正在捕捉异域风情。在他的画中,我发现了一种强烈的形式感。这种形式感,透过固定的造型元素建构起来,却从来不是元素本身。当造型本身成为形式,风格即已形成,至于原料从何而来,如何组成,大可以天马行空,放手一搏。因此,我在这里想提出,伟民的绘画,在其内在秩序中,并没有与艺术创作的原发性背道而驰。相反,她们开拓了一片更自由的创作领地。

  首先,从伟民的绘画手法上看,不难发现他在同一幅画中采用了多种画法——其中既包含层层罩染的古典技法(如人物的面部及手部等),又处处可见将笔触暴露在外的灵活多变的直接画法(如那些服饰与配件)。这些手法均是写实的,但在画面中所起的作用却不尽相同。古典技法显露出庄重、细腻,直接上色则带着结实的笔触,透着呼之欲出的质感。最令人欣喜的是,在对珠子配件的处理上,画家又忽而转向绵密平滑的写实技法,玛瑙石透亮的光泽正如白居易诗中的“大珠小珠落玉盘”。色层上的厚薄与布局的安排,彰显出多种多样的对比,使得画面极富层次感与灵动感。这不仅仅是画家绘画功力的体现,也显露出对造型美的自觉追求。

  继而我也注意到,画家不仅在单个人物的塑造方面追求层次感,更在群组人物画中勾勒出另一种层次感。《尘烟》、《赛马》、《转山》这几幅作品,均为群组人物画。但画家并没有按照大多数群组人物的处理方式,将人物在同一水平线上平行排布。相反,这些人物被纵向堆叠起来,填充了整个画面。此时,各式人物分别充当了前景、中景与背景,其中还能看出画家苦心经营的虚实关系。这让人不禁想起宋代的山水画。无论是范宽的《溪山行旅图》、郭熙的《早春图》,还是马远的《踏歌图》、李唐的《万壑松风图》等等,均在重复着以竖直构图体现层次与径深的经典构图法。同样的,这些传世的“宋人丘壑”,都采取了前景、中景、背景层层递进的透视法则。在伟民的群组人物画中,我发现的正是这样一种极富想象力的呼应。前景中的人物清晰敞亮,而视线逐渐向上推移的同时,仿佛也在向深处推移,因为越往上看,人物似乎就愈发概括、简化,如同中国古代山水画中远处的山峰,绵延着带领观者走向无边的远处。唐伟民尝试在油画中,并且还是油画人物中表现中国古代山水画丰富的层次与径深,这无疑是对传统文化的一种个人化重构,内中包含了绘画语言的多样性。

  最后,我想谈谈伟民的画面气质。气质不同于手法、结构、层次等等,她并非手头的功夫,而是心底的声音。她体现在每一个细节、每一处质感、每一份肌理之中,外化于媒材,同时也内化了形式。伟民的画在我看来,有一种孤寂而倔强的气质,尤其妙绝的是,他总能用这种气质的反面来更强烈地凸显它们。那热热闹闹的串珠挂件,或许能在第一时间抓人眼球,可再看那古朴的背景与静若处子的人物,忽而感到热闹背后更强烈与深刻的孤独。伟民画中的女子看起来如此弱不禁风,但她们的眼神,又是那般坚定果敢,宁在茫茫旷野中独自前行,也不愿做那香闺中脂粉弥漫的风情女郎。她们美得孤高、坚韧,不愿向观者谄媚。或许正是这种美,带我们超越了单纯的视觉愉悦,进入一个更加空灵而纯粹的精神世界。

  谈及伟民绘画的西方的精神源泉,他说自己喜欢伦勃朗、弗朗西斯卡、梵高和维米尔。伦勃朗与维米尔毫无疑问是荷兰巴洛克时期的两位大师,前者既能运用强烈的明暗对比塑造出张力十足的戏剧性场面,又在肖像画中表现出了异乎寻常的冷静;后者描绘日常生活中的片段,那幅引人无限遐想的代表作——《戴珍珠耳环的少女》——其通灵之气与伟民画中的少女神奇地遥相呼应。再看弗朗西斯卡,这位意大利文艺复兴时期的画家可以说是古典与现代精神的集大成者。他画面中的形体、秩序、构成与体量感以及透视的深度既是古典精神的高度凝结,又似乎超越时空地预见到了现代主义艺术对形式感的追求,出其不意地为后世艺术的发展回溯性地做出了完美的注脚。当然,还有我们最熟悉不过的梵高先生,画面上强烈的色彩在画布上狂舞着,犹如内心情感在画布上恣意奔跑。无论是若干幅不同版本的《向日葵》、《自画像》、还是《阿尔的卧室》、《有乌鸦的麦田》,直至临终前的绝唱《星夜》,都透露出画家朴实、虔诚而真挚的坦率——绘画是对自我内心的诚实。梵高用自己与绘画水乳交融的一生,为我们诠释了这句看似简单却最为本质的真理。

  古典的、现代的,还有集古典与现代于一身的,这些西方美术史中的大师在不同的领域到达了造诣上的巅峰。表面上看,他们几位的风格截然不同、各领风骚,但细细回味,不难发现他们之间的一个共同点:画面中都包含着沉静、浓烈、单纯而质朴的力量,激发出富有张力的表达。这种力量延续到了伟民的创作中。越是简单,越是醇厚;越是沉静,越有韧性;越是柔弱,越饱含了那份倔强与坚持。或许正是这样的对比,令伟民的绘画沁人心脾而又耐人寻味。

  佛教中有“无界”一说,其大意为:当心灵达到了真正自由的高度,它所释放出的能量,乃是无限。法门不二,虚静自在。画家在画布上修行,安然地表达着自己对人世间的种种理解,最终实现的,乃是至真至简的回归。沉静、空灵、无界,这或许就是伟民在绘画中追求的自由之境。如果说手法、构图都还隶属于形式范畴,那么这份独一无二的气质与境界,则显然超越了形式。也正是这份气质与境界,远离了细枝末节的概念与规范,将画家内心深处的那首心灵牧歌兑换了出来。

 

 

  “Beyond Border”a Pastoral from Heart outside Concepts

  Jin Yingcun

  (Ph.D Candidate of Zhejiang University in Aesthetics)

  Many have noticed that Tang Weimin is repeatedly working on a muse who does not exist. This goodness is dressed in exaggerate Tibetan costumes and accessories. Sometimes she looks around, or in contemplation, and sometimes she seems to be slightly sad. Her eyes reveal a solitary coldness and stubbornness with transcendency and purity. She is not a real Tibetan but obviously a fairy girl dressed in Tibetan costume. It seems not to be what Tang is fascinated to search for the local color of the minority groups. This “Tibetan girl” is more like a classic beauty with icy beautiful skin, preserving a fragile and solitude gesture. This other-worldly face is set off by serene backgrounds. Although in heavy loose clothes and exquisite, flamboyant ornaments, she is still delicate and pretty with purity. Her red cheeks suggesting life in high mountain areas also appear not to add her provincial quality but delicacy on the contrary. She stands alone in the painting, without noticing her status of being watched and even less care about the comments of viewers on her appearance, no matter praiseful or critical. She does not yield to the condition of being painted, but being self-contained and self-directed with vividness. Therefore, in a fictionalized scene, Tang accomplishes the extraordinary real.

  It is very common in Chinese ancient temple art to transform the fictionalized to the real. There are the flying apsaras sumptuous (fei tian) playing pipa upside down in the Dunhuang Grottoes, the hallucinated images of Buddha, Bodhisattvas, Heavenly Kings, Buddha's warrior attendants as well as Tara in Esoteric tangkas. The dignified, compassionate major Buddha sculpture at the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang makes us raise the sense of respect once looking at it, while the Maitreya Buddha in Hangzhou klippe with his ever-lasting laughing mouth affects all living creatures. Through imaginary transformations generation after generation, these religious images have been fixed as a visual common understanding so easy to recognize. They direct the secular people to discover the road of detachment with their elegant, or dignified, or vibrant shapes. Tang himself is fond of collecting Buddhist figures, not only because he treasures Buddha from his heart. He is also attracted by various and exquisite shapes. As a matter of fact, shape is itself a kind of beauty, which concept has rooted and grew to blossoms deep in the painter’s mind, thus I can imagine the purified and even religious beauty he wants to pursuit in his painting. From this point, the fictionalized in reality has been transformed into truth in art. However, unlike the avoiding feature of religion, Tang confesses that the reason why he chose these slightly gloomy and empty figures are not to escape from reality. Instead, they are euphemistic criticisms towards the current society. There is no doubt that through the criticism, a religious longing is contained: the purity and serenity have long been lost in the chaotic reality, and they turned to art to find their shelter and attach to it, which restores the authenticity deep in Tang’s heart.

  However, we may still ask that if a painter wants to create a spiritual land for his feelings and emotions, why does he insists to choose this beautiful but unreal face? Or, if this face inhabits permanently inside the painter’s heart, why must he select these exotic dressings and backgrounds? At this point, attention needs to be paid to the fact that what Tang adopts is not life drawing style but painting in realism. The figures in the paintings are sophisticatedly carved and polished, but rather, they are not portraits in the real sense. The gaze of figures, either immersing within the painting or looking out of the frame, is not to please or search for any response of the views. Hence, the paintings construct a self-contained world. Only when we abandon the common sense and concept is it possible that time and space of his paintings truly open to us.

  Reflecting the history of western art, the spirit of realism is a significant mark towards modernism—when the artists realize the notion of “ Art for Art’s sake”, the pursuits of the sense of vividness and presence have never ceased to develop: ever since the nineteenth century, the pre-Raphaelites have noticed the importance of drawing from real life. They loathe the stereotyped religious painting in the Renaissance period so deeply, that they come out with the slogan of “learning directly from nature”, While the Barbizon School in France insists to maintain the intimacy to nature and painting in life, leaving numerous masterpieces for the world, not to mention that the impressionists who set a turning point to modernism are so diligently sketching from some pond, mountain, building or a picnic and so on. As for the fascination to the exotics, the master of Romanticism Delacroix is no wonder one of the most representative. When he created the painting The Women of Algier, he used to try to visit a real local haram, and finally he failed the attempt. Despite of this, the painter still managed to piece what he sees from his trip together and created this masterpiece full of exotic atmosphere. And the post-impressionist Gauguin went even further by travelling to Tahiti by himself,leaving the modern western civilization resolutely. He painted in this simple, primitive land. The exotic mystery, originality, purity as well as isolation have long been the nutrition of the artist’s creation.

  However, when we come back to Tang’s paintings, we could not help noticing that they are neither close to the life nor did he truly attempt to capture the real local color. In his paintings, I discover a strong sense of form, which is constructed by some fixed elements but never be the elements themselves. Once shaping becomes a form, the style has already established. As for where the sources come from, how do they constitute, it becomes free to take adventure of those issues. Therefore, I want to propose that there is internal order in Tang’s paintings. Within this order, he is not against to the originality of art. On the contrary, these paintings exploit a land for creating more liberally.

  First of all, from the perspective of techniques, it is not difficulty to find out that Tang adopts multiple manners in a single painting—including the classic styles, painting layer by layer (the faces and hands for example), as well as the versatile direct coloring method with the brushstrokes exposed which could be frequently seen (such as the costumes and accessories). These methods all belong to the style of realism, but they functions differently in the canvas. The former reveals dignity and delicacy, while the later carries solid brushworks with compelling texture. The most delightful part is when is comes to the handling of beads, the painter would suddenly transform to the exquisite realism. The sheen of carnelian echoes to “as pearls, large and small, on a jade plate fall” in Bai Juyi’s poem. The thickness of color layers as well as the arrangement of composition show forth the multiple contrasts, enable the layering and spirituality of the painting, which is not only the embodiment of the painter’s skill, but also a demonstration of his conscious pursuit to the beauty of shapes.

  Furthermore, I have also noticed that the painter’s pursuit of layers does not only lie in the singular figures, but also in the group of figures, outlining another sense of layer. Dust and smoke, Horse Racing, Turning Mountains are all paintings of group figures. However, Tang does not follow the common handling of group portrait, arranging figures in the same horizontal in parallel. On the contrary, these figures are piled vertically to fill up the canvas. At this point, various figures play respectively as the foreground, middle-ground and background, in which the relation between the reality and fantasy with elaboration, which easily reminds us of the landscape in Song Dynasty. There are Travelers among Mountains and Streams by Fan Kuan, Early Spring by Guo Xi, Dancing and Singing (Peasants Returning from Work) by Ma Yuan, Wind in the Pines Among a Myriad Valleys by Li Tang and so on, all of which repeat the vertical composition to embody layer and depth in a classic way. Similarly, these masterpieces handing down from ancient times described as “mountains of Song” have all convey the principle of perspective with gradual layout of foreground, middle and background. In Tang’s painting of group figures, what I discover is exactly this extremely imaginative correspondence. The figures in the foreground are highlighted in clarity. However, as our view gradually moving up, it seems that we are receding deeper and deeper in space, since the higher we look up, the more general and simplified the figures see to be, which resembles the distant mountains in Chinese ancient landscapes, waving to lead the viewers to the infinite space. Tang attempts to convey the rich layers and depth from the past in his oil painting of figures, which is no wonder a personalized re-construction to the traditional culture, containing the multiplicity of pictorial language.

  Last but not least, I want to discuss the temperament of Tang’s painting. Unlike manners, organizations and layers, temperament is not craftsmanship, but the voice from heart, reflected in each detail, texture and surface, externalized in materials while internalizing form. There is a feeling of loneliness and stubbornness to me in Tang’s paintings. Splendid especially, he is always able to use the opposite of this feeling to emphasize it even more strongly. It might be true that the colorful accessories and beads could catch our eye in the first place. But when looking back to the backgrounds with primitive simplicity and figures static if the child, it suddenly changes the mood behind the jollification with even stronger and profound loneness. The girls in Tang’s painting appear to be fragile, but in their eyes, there are such feelings of courage and resolution. They would rather to walk alone in the wilderness than being the women with flirtation in the pinky haram. Their beauty is elegant and tough, never being willing to flatter the viewers. It might be this kind of beauty that lead us to transcend the simple visual pleasure to a more vast and purified spiritual world.

  Speaking of Tang’s spiritual resources in western painting, he expressed his favorite idols Rembrandt, piero della Francesca, van Gogh and Vermeer. The former two are without doubt master of Dutch Baroque period. Rembrandt is not only able to use the contrast of light and dark to create dramatic tension, but he also demonstrates an extraordinary calm. Vermeer depicts slices of daily life. Girl with a Pearl Earring,bringing out infinite imagination, is echoed distantly in Tang’s girls in painting in spirit magically. As for Francesca, this painter of Italian renaissance could be called as master for he epitomized classicism and modernism. The shapes, order, constitution as well as volume and depth of perspective are highly crystallization of classic mind, while they seem to transcend space and time to have predicted the pursuit of form in modern art, unexpectedly making a perfect footnote retrospectively for the development of later art. There is also Mr. van Gogh whom we could not be more familiar with. The intense colors sweep over the canvas, as if inner emotion is dancing through the brush. There are different versions of Sunflower, Self-portrait, as well as Bedroom in Arles, Wheat Field with Crows, and down to Starry Night before his death, all of which reveal the painter’s simplicity, devoted mind as well as sincerity—to paint is to be honest to self’s inner world. Van Gogh uses his life in complete harmony with painting to interpret this fundamental truth that seems to be plain.

  Being classic, modern, as well as combine them together, these masters in western art history have reached the peak of accomplishment in different areas. Superficially, they are in quite distinctive styles, but with keen observation, it is not hard to find that they share one thing in common: these paintings all contain the power of silence, strength, purity and simplicity, invoking expression with tensions. This power has been inherited in Tang’s works. The simpler, more quite and weaker they are, the richer, stronger, and more persistent they embody. It is perhaps precisely these contrasts that make his works mentally refreshing and affording for thoughts.

  In Buddhism, there is a saying of “beyond border”. Generally, the meaning of this concept is that when a heart reaches the height of true liberty, it could release infinite power. There is only one true way, silent and free. The painter practices Buddhism on his canvas, calmly expressing his own understanding to the world, which finally reaches the return of the ultimate truth and simplicity. The freedom Tang pursues in his painting is perhaps fulfilled in silence, emptiness and beyond border. If manners and compositions are still subordinate to form, then this unique mood is apparently transcending the range of form. It goes far from the detailed concepts and regulations, hence, it redeems out that Pastoral deep inside the artist’s heart.

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