绘画与时代-汪民安评钟鼐的绘画

      钟鼐的绘画看上去如此地不合时宜。他一直保持不变。他似乎只认一种绘画的真理,或许是他学艺之初掌握的真理。看上去,他的绘画停留在80年代。即使当今艺术的潮流风起云涌,即使各种艺术实验惊心动魄,他还是生活在80年代。哪怕他远离中国,移居欧洲,他从未放弃他最初在中国的艺术经验。时代在变,所有的人都在紧跟时代寻求变化,所有的人都怕被时代甩掉,钟鼐同所有人的一样,经历了这个时代的巨变,而且还经历了地理的巨变,从东方到西方,但奇妙的是,他的作品完全没有变化,尽管他自己将自己的作品分成近期与早期两个部分但它们依然是那么相近。

春 – 1

      钟鼐在某种意义上是一个移民,一个游牧民,按照人们的说法,游牧民没有历史学,只有地理学,但钟鼐作为一个游牧民(移民),在他的作品中既看不到东方,也看不到西方,既看不到典型的中国要素,也看不到欧洲要素,既看不到所谓的传统要素,也看不到所谓的当代要素,他的作品中,时代被消除了,地理也被消除了。当然,时间和地理背后的意识形态也消除了。这是他的特殊之处。许多画同一题材的艺术家,总是要轻微地改变自己,总是要让自己的作品中闪烁一些同时代的要素影子,让自己沾染一个特殊的时代风格,让作品要有意无意地顺应这个时代。但是,钟鼐完全不一样,他拒绝这个时代,他不仅与时代脱节了,他与地理也脱节了,他根除了历史学,抛弃了地理学,他彻底地将时代减化到零度状态。

花之恋 (3)

      我们如何对待钟鼐这样一个全然不顾时代的艺术家呢?我们听听尼采的说法吧。尼采曾经对哲学家这样要求:“在他自己身上克服他的时代,成为无时代的人,这是对哲学家的最低要求,也是最高要求。”这句话放在作为艺术家的钟鼐身上同样如此。他的作品没有时代。他置时代而不顾,他也克服了他的时代,成为一个无时代的人。

花之恋 2, 100×100

      没有时代,不仅是指的他的风格,同时也包括他的画面要素,确实,画中就是一片风景,一片植物,一片花草,一片树木。或者,就是一个面目模糊的少女半掩在植物之中。我们看不出这个少女来自何处,但她就是具备少女似乎应该具有的气质——有点惆怅,有点怀春,有点寂寞,有点感伤……这就是罗兰巴特意义上的神话学中的少女。同样,这些花草生机勃勃,色彩绚丽,枝繁叶茂,就是花草本该如此的样子,就是它们在春天应该所是的样子(钟鼐以一种最简单的方式将它们命名为“春”),就是它们在人们心中所想象的样子,就是能够撩动人心的样子(钟鼐也将这类作品称为“心·境”),这些植物,这些花草树木既是美的表述,也是心境的表述——对钟鼐而言,无论是少女,还是植物花草,它们从来没有跨越出它们本该所是的形态。它们是千百年来人们所构造的神话的一部分——钟鼐再生产了这一点,而且丝毫没有打算改变它。在当下所有的艺术家都试图打破神话学,所有的艺术家都试图对美,对情趣,对心境进行攻击和摆脱的同时,钟鼐在此却维护了和巩固了这种神话学。这在今天同样似乎有点不合时宜。但是,当所有人都去破除神话的同时,不是也构筑了一种新的破除神话的神话吗?当代艺术正是以实验为基础构造了一个新的艺术神话,构造了一个新的流俗。而钟鼐恰恰因为维护了这种古老的神话,恰恰因为在这种古老神话中栖居,恰恰因为和当代艺术绝缘,反而显得更加另类。他以不变的方式,以不实验的方式,以不赶潮流的方式,以脱离时代的方式,跟这个时代发生关系。

精灵 2

      钟鼐的这种风格来自何处?或者说,他什么时候形成自己的风格?或许是他刚一开始就奠定了这种风格,有点抽象的但却唯美的风格,试图将东方和西方融合在一起的风格。或许是80年代的中西文化交融的大讨论锻造了他的这种开端。钟鼐是属于80年代的艺术家,他的作品,我们可以说,这是东方的抽象和西方的抽象的结合,是东方的写实和西方的写实的结合。也许正是这种杂交特征,钟鼐的抽象绝非来自于现代主义的激进态度,他的写实,也绝非来自现实主义的逼真写实。它抽象,但是很温和;它写实,但是很诗意。也正是这种杂交特征,无论是在中国还是在欧洲,80年代亦或是现在,他都能够应对。他的绘画,就这样以不变应万变,以持之以恒应对潮起潮落。

精灵

钟鼐的绘画,这种偏离了时代的作品,难道不会激发人们去思考:到底何为艺术的时代性?

汪民安(文学博士,首都师范大学教授,博导)

 

Painting and the Times

By Wang Min’an

Though his paintings appear to be outdated, Zhong Nai never bothers to adapt to the times. He seems to accept only one truth about painting, probably the same one he has learned and held dear as a painting student. Judging by their appearances, his paintings are by no means contemporary as they all revolve around the 1980s. He lives in those times despite the many developments in contemporary artistic trends and various thrilling artistic experiments. He has never forsaken his initial experience as an artist in China, even after migrating to Europe. When the times change, people change as well, fearing that they may otherwise be left behind. Like all his contemporaries, Zhong Nai has experienced this change, in more aspects than just geographic location (from East to West) resulting from his migration. Amazingly, however, all of this has not altered his works. Although he divides his works into early and present, these two divisions are quite similar.

In some sense, Zhong Nai may be considered an immigrant or nomad. Nomads have no history, as is generally believed; they only have geography. As a nomad (immigrant), Zhong Nai does not reveal anything oriental or occidental in his paintings. His works do not contain typical Chinese elements, nor do they contain European ones. They do not contain traditional elements, nor do they contain contemporary ones. He is a unique artist that eliminates all temporal, geographic, and ideological traces from his works. When working with the same subject matter, many other artists always change themselves somewhat. They always try to twist some contemporary elements into their works so that they can resonate to the special style of the times. Thus, they adapt their works to the times intentionally or otherwise. Zhong Nai, on the other hand, does not follow their lead and says no to the contemporary times. He wants nothing to do with such times and geography. By eliminating history and geography, he has reduced the temporal element to zero for good.

How should we evaluate an artist like Zhong Nai who disregards the times? According to Nietzsche, “A philosopher should go beyond his times and become a timeless man, which is the lowest but also the highest requirement of a philosopher.” This holds true for Zhong Nai as an artist, for his works are truly timeless. He has no regard for his times and has gone beyond it, becoming a “timeless” man.

By “timeless”, we are talking not only about his style, but also about the elements in his paintings. A painting of him indeed captures a landscape, a plant, flowers, and grass, or some forest. Alternatively, it is a young girl with a blurry face vaguely hidden by a plant. We do not know where she comes from, but we notice that she has all the personalities a girl like her should possess: a little bit of melancholy, desire for love, loneliness, and sadness…This is the girl in Roland Barthes’ myth. The flowers and grass are exuberant, colorful, and full of life. These are characteristics of spring (and Zhong Nai simply names them as “Spring”) as well as what people imagine it to be; it is a look that best responds to human feelings (thus Zhong Nai names such works as “Feelings”). These plants (flowers, grass, and trees) are an expression or representation of both beauty and feelings. As for Zhong Nai, girls or plants never go beyond the form and shape they should take. They are part of a myth that humans have made over the centuries, and Zhong Nai reproduces them without any intention to change or modify. All other contemporary artists, however, are seeking to demystify the myth. While all are attacking or breaking away from beauty and feelings, Zhong Nai is maintaining and strengthening his myth, which seems somewhat out of touch with reality. However, when all are busy tearing down an old myth, are they not making a new one of their own in the process? Certainly, with the world of contemporary art based on experimentalism, a new artistic myth and convention have been created. Zhong Nai, on the contrary, upholds this old myth. It seems that he is unique and exceptional. By simply living by such myth, he thus isolates himself from contemporary art. He relates to his times by not changing, not experimenting, not keeping abreast of his times, and alienating himself from it all.

Where did Zhong Nai’ s style originate? Better yet, when did he develop his own style? Perhaps he had this style set and fixed from the very beginning – a style that is abstract but aesthetic and that seeks to mix the East with the West. Maybe its origins date back to the 1980s at a time when the blending between Eastern and Western cultures was being majorly discussed and carried out. His works can be said to have combined Eastern abstractionism with Western abstractionism and Eastern realism with Western realism. Probably owing to this hybrid feature, Zhong Nai’ s abstractionism does not derive from radical modernism, nor does his realism derive from realism in a strict sense. Instead, his style is moderate; it is as poetic as it is realistic. Whether in China or Europe, the 1980s or now, this feature of his style allows him to perform with ease. In his artistic pursuit, Zhong Nai has succeeded by persevering and refusing to change with the times.

By deviating from the times, won’ t Zhong Nai’ s paintings inspire people to think, “What on earth is the temporal trait of art?”

汪民安(文学博士, 首都师范大学教授, 博导)

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艺术中关村-2018绘画作品联展
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