4.20.2019

分享 | 罐 專訪—趙剛:沒有幽默和優雅,當代藝術就不需要存在了
Share | CANS- Interview Zhao Gang: Without humor and elegance, there is no need for contemporary art to exist

罐 專訪|趙剛:沒有幽默和優雅,當代藝術就不需要存在了

文/罐子藝術網,2019年4月9日

台北亞紀畫廊於4月12日推出【趙剛回顧展】,翻玩「回顧展」的定義,透過一系列2019年新作,抒情回顧趙剛立基於近代革命史的想像敘事,藝術家透過其滿族後裔的身分,回望中國龐雜的歷史,並探討在哈爾濱發生的文化交融與動盪。

本展以兩個樓層劃分為兩組作品的展區,一樓的作品藉由水彩、油畫與裝置描述俄國的十月革命,革命的近代史,並在其中加入了中國歷史與趙剛的視角。在39幅水彩小品中,分別描繪了有盧齊歐.封塔納的〈Spatial Concept ‘Waiting’〉、菲利克斯.岡薩斯托雷斯的糖果堆、端坐的末代皇帝溥儀等相異圖像,趙剛透過並置歷史與當代圖像,提供觀眾一條理解藝術家所聚焦的線索。二樓展出的另一組作品,則以大型絹印攝影作品紀錄在18世紀末到19世紀初期,被猶太裔俄國難民做為棲身之所的哈爾濱,趙剛透過其滿族身分與離散經驗,探究外來文化如何形塑中國歷史,甚至解構出自我的新身分。

《罐 新聞》訪談了趙剛如何將自身經驗轉化為藝術創作,重新表述文化與歷史象徵性,並戲謔地揭示自我身分如何消融於大歷史的語境下,又重新復歸為一種新身分。展期將持續至5月18日止。

《罐 新聞》:您在過往展覽裡,從【契丹人】到【皇帝和他的…】及2015年在尤倫斯當代藝術中心的【通往奴役之路】,從龐大的歷史時空中,回溯個人身分。在亞紀畫廊的【趙剛回顧展】,您將焦點放在中國東北邊境的哈爾濱,以兩組有別於以往的繪畫形式,探討哈爾濱外來文化的交融與衝擊的歷史。您的生涯不斷旅居世界各地,能否請您分享哈爾濱之於您有什麼樣的文化象徵性,亦或回憶?

趙剛:從站台中國的【契丹人】個展,到AYE畫廊的【皇帝和他的…】,其實我是想把契丹人作為一個「藉口」,去檢視契丹人跟滿人之間的關係,無論是從種族還是時間上來看,其實這兩者是有關聯的。我認為,在這個時空裡,中國歷史是模糊的,並沒有一個明確的東西。而2015年UCCA的展覽【通往奴役之路】,則主要討論何為「明確的中國人身分」。例如,〈雜種布魯斯(Cocksucker Blues)〉畫一群歸國的知識分子,他們爲了幫助國家,受盡折磨,結果自身結局都不好,甚至有的就死了。當他們開始思考「這還是祖國的中國嗎?」,身分便成了「雜種」(cocksucker)。那我是不是cocksucker呢?我想也許是吧!我已經忘掉這個中國、這塊土地是否為我所謂的國家了。

回到我的滿族身分。滿人創造了清朝,而清朝建立的就是現在中國的版圖。滿人也創造了民國,民國亡後,滿人也沒了自己。再談君主立憲制,滿人最後創造了中華民國,而中華民國之後又誕生了混亂的軍閥、背叛的協議,接著是共產黨及內戰。當時各方都希望利用外來勢力來解決問題,像是孫中山只要長江以南的13個省,而長江以北的這個東北都可以給日本或俄羅斯-這一切只爲了成全他的中華民國。

這段歷史催生了像哈爾濱這樣的城市,哈爾濱原是由一群流亡的俄羅斯猶太人所建的城市。時間再往前推一些,東北本來並不屬於中原,是滿人開始才把東北囊括進版圖的。我經常思考人如何自處於這種動蕩的環境,並透過藝術來記錄這些動蕩的心情。

《罐 新聞》:在〈觀念藝術計畫〉這組作品中,您在佈滿39張水彩畫的展牆前放了一把鑲有空酒瓶的椅子,提供觀者一種似乎是固定視角的觀看方式;並且這39張水彩畫,您旁徵博引了俄國十月革命的關鍵人物,其中亦有反映中國傳統和當代藝術符號的圖像。請問您為何選擇俄國十月革命為創作發想?

趙剛:這39張水彩是在一種很隨性、潛意識的狀況下畫的,我之前看了一本書,回想起中國革命近代史,和西方的十月革命,以及後來藝術的存在方式。十月革命之前,有馬列維奇(Kazimir Malevich)、羅欽可(Alexander Rodchenko)的形式主義。說到底,當代藝術的存在方式,就是一種與歷史存在方式的辯證。再談到中國,我覺得只有「一片混亂」可以形容。俄羅斯與中國都想談烏托邦,但是中國的政客很容易就自我進入「中國烏托邦」狀態,但我認為,事實上那什麼也不是。

《罐 新聞》:二樓展區的系統作品,您以攝影記錄了所想像的哈爾濱,並透過在印樣上的文字創作了近乎烏托邦的空間。選擇「絹印」的方式是否為了對應哈爾濱各種文化疊合揉雜的特色?未來還有考慮在哪些城市執行此類攝影計畫?

趙剛:我覺得我只會在哈爾濱做這件事,並沒有計劃在其他城市繼續這樣的作品,對我而言,現在的哈爾濱足以讓人想起烏托邦的存在與可能性。

《罐 新聞》:此次作品解構了龐雜的歷史、社會、政治寓意,顯現而成一種戲謔的風格,對您來說,批判性是否是您藝術創作中不可缺少的要素之一?

趙剛:我認為當代藝術本來就有一種調侃性,一定要包含幽默。沒有幽默和優雅,當代藝術就不需要存在了。

《罐 新聞》:您18歲時即參與中國第一個獨立的民間藝術團體「星星畫會」,並留學至海外接受歐美教育;爾後甚至離開藝術圈當起銀行家,經歷思想上左右派的浸潤後,您走上一條解構式的創作道路。您是怎麼樣看待身為國籍定義下的中國人與身分認同?

趙剛:如剛才所說,其實我就是cocksucker,我已經失去一個特別明確的屬性,也失去了對中國這塊土地的認識與感情。我覺得遺憾的是,我出生在這塊土地,卻沒辦法從這塊土地的「養育」獲得認同感。就我的海外經驗來看,從歐洲到美國,甚至到古巴,中國城永遠是很骯髒的地方,這又是為什麼呢?我覺得中國人應反省自身究竟「是不是中國人」?但所謂中國人的概念其實也很模糊,這是我在藝術創作中深感興趣的部分。

CANS Interview|Zhao Gang: Without humor and elegance, there is no need for contemporary art to exist

By CANS Asia Art News, April 9, 2019

Each Modern’s exhibition “Zhao Gang: Diluted Retrospective” opened on April 12th. The show plays with the definition of a “retrospective exhibition” and presents a series of new works from 2019. Zhao Gang looks back at the complex history of China through an imaginary narrative based on modern revolutionary history and his own Manchu identity. The works also explore the mixing of cultures that took place in Harbin.

The show is composed of two conceptual projects displayed on two floors. On the 1st floor, watercolor on paper, oil painting, and installation works depict Russia’s October Revolution and the modern history of revolution in China from Zhao Gang’s perspective. Among the 39 small-sized watercolor on paper, iconic representations, like Lucio Fontana’s “Spatial Concept ‘Waiting’”, the candy installation by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and last emperor Puyi can be found. Zhao Gang places seminal historical and contemporaneous images together to provide a path to his focal point. Large-scale silkscreens on canvas on the 2nd floor document the city of Harbin, which was once a shelter for Jewish refugees from Russia. Through his Manchurian identity and his experience of displacement, Zhao Gang’s exhibition explore external cultures form the history of China and builds from this a new identity.

《CANS Asia Art News》interviewed Zhao Gang to talk about how he makes art to re-state the symbols of history and culture with humor. He reveals how his identity is a mixture of parts which form a new identity. The exhibition will be on view until May 18th.

《CANS Asia Art News》:From your past exhibitions “The Khitans” and “The Road to Seldom” at UCCA, 2015, you’ve reviewed your own identity to quite some extent. This time, at Each Modern, you focus on Harbin, the north-east of China and made two projects that are different from your past painting style in order to talk about cultural mixture and shock. Since you have lived in many countries, would you please share how Harbin is symbolic to you, or is it a memory?

Zhao Gang:From “The Khitans” at Platform China to “Emperor and His…” at AYE, I wanted to take the Khitans as an “excuse” to review the relationship between them and the Manchurians. They are related whether by their race or history. On this point, I think the history of China is ambiguous. There is nothing certain. “The Road to Serfdom” at UCCA in 2015 discussed what a “certain identity of Chinese” might be. For example, In “Cocksucker Blues” I painted a group of intellectuals who studied abroad. They tragically tried to help their country. They ended up bad, even dead. When they started to think “Is this still the motherland China?” they became “cocksuckers”. Am I a cocksucker? I guess so! I already forgot this China, this so-called country.

Back to my Manchurian identity. The Manchurians built the Qin Dynasty, which ruled the same territory of modern China. The Manchurians also built the Republic. After the Republic fell, the Manchurians lost themselves. Then the constitutional monarchy. Eventually the Manchurians built the Republic of China, and then more problems from the warlords and from betrayals occurred from within, then communists and Civil War. Everyone wanted to solve the problems with help from outside of the country, like Sun Yat-sen, who wanted only 13 provinces on the south of Yangtze River. He was willing to give the northeast part of China to Japan or Russia – just for the Republic of China’s own good.

This history incubated in a city like Harbin, which was a city built by the Jewish refugees who fled from Russia. Actually, the northeast wasn’t China in the beginning. The Manchurians counted it in. I often think about people who live in that kind of unstable situation, and I represent them through art.

《CANS Asia Art News》:In〈Diluted Retrospective〉, there is a chair with an empty beer bottle inserted in it in front of the wall of 39 watercolor on paper. It seems like you are providing the audience a specific point of view; and the 39 watercolors, you cite key characters from, Chinese traditions and symbolic icons of contemporary art. Why the Russian October Revolution?

Zhao Gang:The 39 watercolors were drawn casually and subconsciously. I read a book and it reminded me of the modern revolutionary history of the Chinese, the October Revolution from the West, and the how art developed after that period. Before the October Revolution, there was this formalism by Kazimir Malevich and Alexander Rodchenko. The way contemporary art exists is all about authenticating history. And China, I think it is a “total mess”. Both Russia and China want to talk about Utopia, but Chinese politics will only talk about a “Chinese Utopia”. That’s actually nothing, I think.

《CANS Asia Art News》:On the 2nd floor you document your imaginary Harbin through photography. You made the silkscreens on canvas and portrayed a nearly utopian space. Why did you choose “silkscreen” for the multicultural Harbin? Do you plan to make photography art like this for other cities?

Zhao Gang:Only Harbin, I think. I do not plan to make art like this in any other city. For me, Harbin is enough to remind people about Utopia and possibility.

《CANS Asia Art News》:All historical, social, and political elements in this show seems quite humorous, is it mandatory to be critical to make art?

Zhao Gang:I think it must ridicule and it must have humor. Without humor and elegance, there is no need for contemporary art to exist.

《CANS Asia Art New》:You joined China’s first independent art group “Stars” at 18. You studied abroad and were educated in the West; you even left the art scene and became a banker which means you have experienced both right and left wing. Your art practice is all about decomposing. How do you see your identity under the definition of nationality?

Zhao Gang:Like I said, I am a cocksucker. I have already lost a clear sense of character. I lost the knowledge and the emotion towards China as well. It is such a pity that I was even here, I’m unable to agree with how this land has “bred” me. From my experience abroad, from Europe to USA, or even Cuba, Chinatown is always the dirtiest place, why? Chinese people should think are they “really Chinese”? The concept of a Chinese is ambiguous, and that is what I am interested in.