借问
缩进

赵力
中央美院教授
策展人
 

我认识郭剑时间很晚,这是最近几年的事情。起初吸引我的是郭剑身上所拥有的那种感受力,一种对细微处的敏锐获知,好像他全身的神经系统随时随刻都处于亢奋的状态。我很欣赏他的微博、微信,虽然只有只言片语、了了几张图片,但是藉助于这样的语言和影像的“独白”,我们对于万事万物的感受力或许会得到重新启发,内心由此变得充实、清晰和富足。

2011年郭剑在北京798艺术区的一家画廊举办了他的首个个展,我是在开幕之前就去参观了这个展览的,总体印象是参展作品并不太多,展出面积也不算大,但在798艺术区中显得特别精致。所谓的“精致”,除了在展场空间处理和展览细节上的精细安排之外,郭剑针对“完美”的竭力追求才是其中的重点。“完美”是我们的现实生活和精神生活的理想状态,而“不完美”则是我们现实生活和精神生活的平日常态,因此郭剑藉助自我的创作所表述出的那种“完美”才会变得如此珍罕,令人如此恋恋不舍。郭剑对于完美的理想和不完美的现实之间的巨大鸿沟当然心知肚明,于是他巧妙地引入了近似“童话”的叙事结构。在画面中,郭剑有意识地去创造一个超自然的奇幻世界,以远离我们的日常经验,并与现实生活各持一端、泾渭分明。正如郭剑在《糖果》(2010年)中的描绘,整个画面被刻意描述为一个远离现实的时空场景,画面空间相对封闭但又充满活力,凸显出了与现实空间之间的距离,而郭剑更像是一个“全知者”的角色,既身处现场又置身事外,在幻想和现实之间寻求某种的平衡。事实是郭剑在以“童话”般的方式去创造“完美”乌托邦的同时,他并没有刻意逃离现实生活而退缩进“陌生的、遥远的、神奇的和被观望的世界”,郭剑同样清楚地认识到“完美”和“不完美”就是人类生活本身的双重性,而生活自身也就是这一双重性的统一体,因此郭剑也尝试着在自己的创作中去展现这样的复杂认识和复杂意涵。

亦如《铃…铃…》(2009年)所表述的那样,郭剑是以空间“并置”的手法来结构自己的画面的,其中既有来自现实生活的叙事,也有来自童话想象的内容,画面不再传达出使生活简单纯真的初衷,却是为了揭示出生活那不以人的愿望而改变的复杂本质。的确,通过这些作品郭剑也以“并置”的处理方式在矛盾冲突中产生了对创作真谛的新“顿悟”:与现实相结合会令创作本身更具有现实性和普遍意义,不仅展现了人类理想和客观现实之间的剧烈对峙,而且更可以从广阔视角揭示生活对立统一的复杂本质。这些并置童话和现实空间的作品也告诉我们,面对现实生活的挑战压力和当今人类的文化困境,实际上无需从矛盾的两极之中作出艰难抉择,而是要学会如何认清生活的本质,积极正视这样的矛盾统一,努力建构起新的和谐空间秩序。

从2011年个展“独白”到2013年个展“借问”,郭剑已经从初出茅庐的个人心境的真诚坦露逐渐发展为越发娴熟的多元开放的视觉营造。面对后现代消费文化的语境,郭剑清楚地认识到在经历了拼贴、重组之后,任何意义本身正面临着被消减与碎片化的命运,而在“时间空间化”和“空间平面化”的进程中,现实生活的本质越发变得模糊不清。郭剑并不想放弃对本质性讨论的任何努力,而且他还试图去建构某种的“新秩序”。在近期的艺术创作中,郭剑的意图很接近弗雷德里克•詹姆逊(Fredric Jameson)“超空间”的概念,艺术家力图在自己的画面中汇聚过去、现在和未来,而且藉助自己的能力去制造出一个“仿真”的新世界。郭剑大量运用了“折纸”的手法,所谓的“折纸”既对应于人类对外在世界虚拟再现的手工传统,又对应于人类认识外在世界分析思辨的历史方式。事实是“折纸”只是郭剑创作中的某种显见手法,正如近期创作中针对动物形象的那些作品,通过“折纸”画家不仅可以自由改变客观对象的原有外在,而且也能够在鼓励任何随意性的同时整体控制客观依据。“折纸”所达成了结果则是某种的“仿真”,它直接对应的是后现代的社会文化语境,一方面将现实不断经过“戏仿”而成为光怪陆离的后现代社会的缩影,一方面将现实、记忆压缩为同一空间,令意义在此再生与重构。“折纸”,在更多的时候就是作品中的重要因素,就是作品本身,譬如《时间TIME》,它弥散于整个的画面,形成了碎片化的场景和平面化的空间,它们也与前景的“人形面罩”构成了某种带有隐喻性的逻辑关联,诱发了观赏者针对意义的提问欲望。而郭剑藉助于这样形形色色的提问,由此展开了关乎本质性的不断质询,从而实现了自己创作的最新转向。

2013年5月8日

可折叠的假象
缩进

徐钢
伊利诺伊大学东亚系主任,艺术史教授
 

2011至2013年, 郭剑(b. 1982)找到了他绘画创作新的灵感——折纸。在三年的时间里,郭剑的架上创作几乎都在尝试对折纸艺术中独有的多元化几何图形进行再创作。画面中几何图形上纷繁交错的光影对艺术家的色彩把握能力及直观想象力有着尤其高的要求。通过这些作品,郭剑不仅成功展示出他作为一位画家的出色技艺,更向人们阐释了他对于画面中叙述元素存在与缺失的独特理解。

在仔细观看这些新作品之前,我们不妨先通过郭剑2011年前的作品来大致回顾一下他在艺术创作上所探寻的轨迹。2011年以前,他更多关注 的是日常生活中的故事, 故事中的主角或男或女,通常他们的面部表情在郭剑卡通化表现手法后几乎看不清楚,画面背景颜色单纯而明亮,充满童话般色彩。而艺术家总会在童话的背后隐喻了现实的故事。在他的一幅作品中,一个侦探装扮的男孩独自坐在餐桌旁,他对面空着的位置上摆放了一套餐具。我们似乎可以推测出这样的故事情节:本应是一对情侣的甜蜜晚餐,女孩没有出现,只留下这个男孩在猜测她缺席的缘由。这些故事或许就是艺术家的亲身经历,但他赋予画面的童话色彩会让每一个曾在感情中困惑和心碎的人都有所感应。这些画面中弥漫着的孤独感,显而易见,令人动容。

郭剑有意的为这一系列作品取名为《 宝丽来(Polaroid)》。他是这样解释的:”我习惯用拍照的方式来记录每天发生的事。这就像是用我自己的眼睛来感知瞬间发生的片段。但摄影有它的局限性:照片所能呈现出的仅仅是客观事物,而对我来说,这样的表达方式并不理想。在《宝丽来》系列中,我试图通过在画面中添加我自己的感受及想象,来弥补摄影的缺失。” 尽管郭剑对于摄影的理解并不全面,但他能够巧妙地关注自己主观想法的同时,避免太过直白和明确的表达。换句话说,他在用摄影的方式记录生活的同时,会给观者留下足够丰富的想象空间。这种存在与虚无之间的特殊语境赋予他的作品以独特的能量使得观者与作品产生相互联系。

这些画作会让人不由自主地联想到大卫•霍克尼(David Hockney)的宝丽来摄影拼贴作品。大卫•霍克尼并不是以整合拼图的方式将碎片粘合为一个完整图像。他画面中碎片的结合方式从不是紧密无隙或连续统一的;相反,画面中不规则的缝隙则赋予每一部分图像以独立性。而这些独立无关的图像的集合,恰恰讽刺地指出当今世界图像充斥至高度饱和的现状。

郭剑的宝丽来系列中,照片退居幕后并隐藏了起来。他的重点不在于批评影像饱和的世界,而是选择相信自己主观的表达和想象力。在他最新的折纸系列作品中延续了这种自信,将这种感觉变得更坚定更个性化。

郭剑的折纸系列作品最显著的特征是“极简主义”。除了清晰的主画面外,有些采用了深色的背景。画面背景的处理非常有意思,就像是给主题打了背景灯,看上去是半透明的,这样的表现方式并不是在暗示主画面的背后隐藏着其他的故事,而是在强调其本身的存在。这一点与现象学中的“悬搁”手法不谋而合。悬搁,即是挑选出一个物体,并对其进行全方位的检验。关系,环境,背景全都要忽略掉。物体本身是独立存在的,它所具备的概念及所处的环境和背景都无关紧要。郭剑就是在“悬搁”他的物体,不管是蝙蝠、头骨、飞马或面具,他的目的只是为了让大家对这个虚拟假象的呈现引起注意。

折纸系列的这种表现方式使这种假象在视觉上显得丰富而生动。画出了我们对画面本身的注意力并取代了画面背后的叙述可能性,郭剑向前迈进了一大步,他已经从一个建造个人经历的艺术家,转化成一位懂得利用个人经历的艺术家。

2013年5月10日

You might enquire
缩进

Zhao Li
Professor of China Central Academy of Fine Art  Curator

 

I’ve met Guo Jian rather late, only in recent years. What attracted me at first was this certain perceptiveness that he has about him, his faculty to understand with sensitivity subtle things, as if his whole body and mind were in a permanent state of excitement. I admire his weibo, his wechat, even though there are just a word or two, a few images, we can rely on such a linguistic and pictographic “monologue” to perhaps give us a new inspiration as regards our perception of all things, that will fulfill, clarify and satisfy our hearts. In 2011, Guo Jian held his first solo exhibition in a gallery at Beijing 798 Art District, I had the chance to preview it, and my general impression was though that there weren’t too many works, and that the exhibiting area was not too large, it nevertheless looked particularly exquisite for this art zone. By “exquisite”, I mean that not only the arrangement of the exhibits and of the space were very delicate, the key element was Guo Jian’s very quest for “perfection”. “Perfection” is an ideal state of our real and spiritual life, whereas “imperfection” is the normal daily state of our real and spiritual life, and this is why the “perfection” that Guo Jian expresses in his creations becomes so precious, so attaching.  Of course, Guo Jian is well aware of the gulf that separates ideal perfection from real imperfection, and so he cleverly draws from “fairy tales” to structure his narrative. In his paintings, Guo Jian consciously creates a supernatural fantasy world, to take us far from our daily routines, standing at the opposite side of real life, so entirely different. Just as in his painting «Candy»(2010), the whole picture depicts on purpose a scene thats is very distant from real time and place, the picture is at once closed but very lively, highlighting the distance with reality, and yet Guo Jian, like an “omniscient” character, is at the same time on the spot and outside, trying to strike an equilibrium between fantasy and reality. The truth is that while Guo Jian is creating a “perfect” Utopia using “fairy tale”, he is not at all retreating from real life or withdrawing into a “strange, remote, magical or passive world”, he is very much conscious that “perfection” and “imperfection” are two sides of human life, and that life itself has the same duality, and that is why he consciously tries in his works to develop these complexities.  Likewise of the painting «Ring… Ring…»(2009), he uses the method of space “juxtaposition” to structure his own painting, from a narrative stemming partly from real-life experience, partly from fairy tale style imaginary contents, the painting no longer conveys the initial intentions of a pure and simple life, but reveals instead the complex nature of a life that evolves differently from man’s wishes. Indeed, with these works Guo Jian, using the “juxtaposition” method within the conflict between idealism and realism, produces a new “epiphany” of the works true essence: the combination with reality will give to the work itself a touch of realism and ordinariness, not only exposing the violent confrontation between humanity’s ideals and objective reality, but also from a broader perspective revealing the complex nature of the unity of opposites. These works that juxtapose fairy tales and real space also tell us that facing the challenges of pressure of daily life and of the cultural predicament of the day, in fact it is not necessary to make a difficult choice between one extreme or the other, one should rather learn to recognize the complexity of life, positively assess the unity of contradictory elements, and try to construct a new harmonious spatial order. From the 2011 exhibition “Monologue” to today’s “You might enquire”, Guo Jian has gradually developed from his initial “thatched roof” candid mentality into a much more skilled and pluralistic creative vision. Confronted to the post-modern consumer culture, Guo Jian is clearly conscious of the fact that any signification as such, after experiencing collage and recomposition, is meant to disappear and be and reduced to debris, and that in the process of “spatiotemporalization” and “spatioflattening”, real life becomes ever more blurred. Guo Jian doesn’t intend to forsake any effort to discuss essentials, he on the contrary endeavors to construct a “new order”.

In recent creative arts, Guo Jian’s efforts are close to Fredric Jameson’s concept of “super space”, where artists try to merge in their paintings the past, the present and the future, and use their own strength to create a “simulation’ of a new world. Guo Jian uses extensively the method of paper-folding (origami), which corresponds to the re-apparition of a traditional method of man to face the vacuum of the outer world, and to the historical method for man’s conscience to analyze the external world and speculate on it. In fact, “paper-folding” is but an obvious creative technique of Guo Jian, just like these recent works that point at animal images, through paper-folding the painter can freely transform the objective object original outside, and he can also, while encouraging any randomness, exert overall control on the objective basis. The result obtained by “paper-folding” is a kind of “simulation”, which directly corresponds to the context of post-modern society culture, on the one hand the reality, continuously subjected to “parody”, becomes a grotesque epitome of post-modern society, on the other hand it is a compressed memory in the same space, giving a new life and a new form to significance. “Paper-folding”, more often, is an important factor of the work, it is the work itself, like in the work «Time», dispersed on the entire canvas, forming fragmented scenes and a flattened space, both of which form with the prospects of the “Human mask” a certain logical metaphorical link, inducing the viewer’s desire for significant questioning. And Guo Jian relies on such colorful questioning to give rise to a continuous interrogation pertaining to the essence, thereby achieving a new turn in his own creation.

2013.05.08

Foldable Façade
缩进

Gary Xu

Professor and Head, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign

 

Between 2011 and 2013, Guo Jian (born 1982) found a new inspiration for his paintings: origami. His oil paintings in these three years are attempts to recreate the multiplicity of geometric surfaces one typically finds in origami. The intricacies of light and shadow on these geometric surfaces demand highly of the artist’s ability in color controls and in visual imagination. Guo Jian has succeeded in not only showcasing his remarkable skills as a painter but also his intimate understanding of the relationship between the presence and absence of narrative elements in images.

Before we closely examine these new works, a quick look at what Guo Jian had achieved before 2011 can yield clues regarding his development. Before 2011, he focused more on scenes of the everyday that have stories to tell. The protagonists of these scenes could be a man or a woman whose face is not clearly shown after the artist’s cartoon-like treatment. The colors are bright and monochromic, and the images have fairy-tale like qualities. The artist, however, persistently hints that there are actual stories behind the fairy tales. In one of the paintings, the boy, dressing like a detective, sits alone by a dining table. A set of dinnerware is prepared for the seat across from him, but there is no one there. We are given the clues about the story: a couple is supposed to have a nice dinner together, but the girl is a no-show, leaving the boy wonder what has happened to her. These could very well be the artist’s own personal stories, but his fairy-tale quality makes the stories relevant to anyone who has had relationship troubles and heartbroken moments. The loneliness in these paintings is palpable and contagious.

It is worth noting that the artist gives this series of work the title “Polaroid.”  Speaking about this title, Guo Jian states, “I am used to taking pictures to record everyday happenings. This is close to using my own eyes to feel the fragments in memory. But photography has its limits: photos can only recuperate the objectivity of the things included in the photos. This is not my ideal means of expression. In ‘Polaroid,’ I try to supplement what the photos are missing by adding my own imaginations and feelings.” Although Guo Jian’s understanding of photography is rather naïve, he is right in focusing on his own subjective expressions without being too explicit. In other words, he records his life photographically but leaves plenty of room for imaginations and individual expressions. The dialects between presence and absence give his work a unique power that connects with his audience.

Looking at these paintings, one cannot help but be reminded of David Hockney’s Polaroid collages. In pasting together fragments into a complete picture, David Hockney did not exactly piece together puzzles. His fragments are never supposed to be connected together seamlessly or on a continuum. Rather, the broken lines allow each individual piece to have an independent status. The coming together of these independent and self-sufficient images point ironically to the saturation of images in today’s world.

Guo Jian’s polaroid images retreat to the background and remain hidden. Instead of criticizing the media-saturated world, Guo Jian chooses to believe in the possibility of subjective expressions and imaginations. His recent works inspired by origami continue that belief, which is only more emphasized and stylized.

The most noticeable feature about Guo Jian’s origami paintings is the minimalism. Everything except the clean-looking main image fades into the background, which is mostly black. Shading is done in such an interesting way as if there is backlit lighting behind the main image, which is mostly semi-translucent. What this style does is not to sinuate that there are things or stories hidden behind the main image, but to emphasize the strong presence of the main image itself. It is almost like the “bracketing” technique in phenomenology. To bracket is to pick up an object and examine it from all sides. Contexts, surroundings, or backgrounds should all be ignored. The object should be understood in and by itself. Guo Jian “brackets” his objects, be it a bat, a skull, a flying horse, or a mask, so as to call attention to the façade itself.

The origami stylistics makes the façade visually rich and interesting. To draw our attention to the image itself instead of possible narratives behind the image, Guo Jian has made a major step forward, from an artist dwelling on personal experiences to an artist utilizing personal experiences.

 

 

05.10.2013