显微镜下的秘密

张小涛 

今天的时代是信息化和网络化的时代,全球化的瞬间来临,谁也把握不了这个时代的整体。我们都成为了这个全球化时代中渺小的一个一个的链条,我们在图像化的世界里虚拟、重构和解码这个混乱的全球化舞台的信息。在中国当代艺术的潮流中,80年代的宏大叙事是一个建立现代化理想诉求,在他们的视觉语言中充满了过度的哲学化和文学化倾向,他们好比在一个山颠上往下俯视世界,是形而上的世界。90年代是回到了人的现实,人与人之间是一种近距离的日常叙事,尤其是充满了大量的社会学符号化的日常叙事。今天的中国当代艺术中新一代艺术家是用放大镜看世界,用虚拟的图像世界来建立了一种微观叙事,他们远离宏大叙事、反符号化、反政治化,进入了个人化、微观化、碎片化的解构性的图像时代。视点的变化就是美学和时代征候的变化,是视觉语言的更新和转换。我喜欢放大的感觉,从1999年《放大的道具》开始,我打开了我的心灵和物质世界对应的通道,有触电的感觉。有时我觉得自己就像一粒尘土、一只蚂蚁、一只死去的老鼠、一堆发霉发臭的垃圾……我希望把这些生存的恐惧、渺小、压力、糜烂的微观片断通过作品表现出来,它们是我们荒诞而纵欲的物质生活的片断的抽样放大,也是我们面对这个物质化的欲望社会的本能的疑虑和反应 。
我的画大多是根据照片来的,无论到什么地方,我总是随身带着数字相机,抓拍一些让我有感觉的物象和景观。《蚂蚁搬家》那张图片是我在维也纳的公园里拍的。这可能来源于今日全球化的现实图景,例如我看到这些死苍蝇,当时想到的可能是卡夫卡的《变形记》,也有可能是库宾的《蚂蚁》等文学性的联想,但这还不是主要的,这更多的是与我们的对现实世界的心理感受有关。童年时看到蚂蚁搬家,想到的是童话故事或者游戏, 但今天我们看到后,你会想到生命的感受,和人生的残酷和艰辛,你会掉眼泪,时间可以将一切东西都摧毁掉了。因为这些生灵和你的生命感受发生深刻的关系。所以今天做当代艺术,面对如此泛滥的图像,你要精心的选择,选择那些真正让你产生感受和体验的东西。你对图像的感触有多深,同时,你内心有多少光芒,你的作品中才能传达出多少力量。所以我选择最富有自己感受的图像来做自己的作品,不论这个图像是从那里来的,同样可以传达有任何文化背景的人都可以感受的生命经验,这是普遍性的。
当代艺术家是“图像的制造者”,你的图像表达你的观点,表达你对这个时代的理解。图像学、图像的修辞方式和美学结构,在影像泛滥的时代不是任何一张垃圾图片都有观念性的,图像是需要设定和锤炼才会有视觉和精神穿透力的!!!这些是对一个艺术家的智慧的考验,我们有没有挑战性?你敢不敢颠覆既定的美学结构?你会对这个时代提出什么样的问题和观点? 绘画是我们相对比较成熟的媒介,所以我想怎么把这个媒介和今天中国的现场和我们的美学结构,和这个时代我们的生存经验联系起来,让后来者从我们的图像中读到我们今天 希望和毁灭交织的经验,因为图像下边是有解码系统的,这一点是超越工具的,具有共同性的!当代艺术永远是天才和骗子同台演出的梦幻剧场,或许我们除了具备智慧和策略外,更得具备那直指心灵的力量!
我希望我的图像有强烈的视觉魔力,而不只是像PHOTO的效果 。我越来越喜欢有手工痕迹的绘画语言,绘画是时间和空间的错位和叠加,这里是幻觉的迷宫。它们既是我对外部世界的图像编码,也是我用“以小见大”的“心眼”去观察和感悟这些心中的山水和云烟,因为在放大的显微镜下它们有很多不为人知的秘密……

Intimacy under the Microscope

 

By Zhang Xiaotao

 

In the era of the information superhighway and the Internet, globalization is stretching across the globe, yet none of us can globally comprehend it. We are all reduced to the role of insignificant bricks in the wall in the image-laden virtual world, struggling to reconstruct and decode the global platform of information. The grand narrative of the 80s, articulated in an overly linguistic-based and philosophical language, pursued the ideal modernization, and throughout the decade, artists remained pent up in the metaphysical world of the ivory tower of art. The 90s were marked by a return to the real world with a particularly sociologically-significant narrative in which people and the relationships between them made up the threads of an up-close and intimate narrative of the quotidian. The new generation of contemporary artists looks at the world through a magnifying glass and uses virtual images to weave a microscopic narrative. A symbolic and apolitical, these artists rebuke the grand narrative and embrace the age of microscopic, fragmented images focusing on the individual—a change in vision that is symptomatic of the times and shifts in aesthetics, as well as indicative of an updating and mutation of visual language. I am attracted to the magnifying approach, and since my 1999 work Enlarged Prop, I’ve opened up the channels communicating between my spiritual and material worlds, and I’ve felt electrified. There are times when I feel like a speck of dust, an ant, a dead rat, or a stinking rubbish heap…My desire is that my work conveys these leftover microscopic fragments of fear, insignificance, feelings of oppression and erosion. They represent abstract magnifications of our absurd and greedy material lives; they also constitute a questioning and response to our materialistic society.

Most of my paintings are based on photographs I have taken. I carry a digital camera wherever I go, taking pictures of objects and landscapes that resonate with me on an emotional level. The photograph for Ants Moving Things was shot in a park in Vienna. Maybe it has something to do with our global vistas, but when I saw those dead flies I thought of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis; I also thought of the army as in Alfred Kubin’s metaphor of “ants”. But these are not important—the only thing that matters is how they affect us on a psychological level. When you see an ant as a child, you think of children’s stories and games, but now you think about life and the cruelty and hardship of existence. You shed a tear at the thought that time destroys everything. All because these souls touch you at a profound level. As a contemporary artist who must sift through the multitude of images, you must meticulously select those that truly resonate with you and provide you with a certain emotional experience. The expressive force of the work depends on the depth of feeling and brightness of the artist’s spirit, so I chose the images that, for me, are rich with emotion, disregarding their provenance, so they can be felt by people from any cultural background—they are universal.

 

The contemporary artist is a “manufacturer of images” that convey his opinions and understanding of his times. The study of images, the use of image tropes and aesthetic principles… in the age of the pervasive image, not every garbage image is conceptual! The image must be elaborated and forged in order to attain a striking visual and psychological effect. This is a test of the artist’s wisdom: How do we measure up to the challenge? Do we dare overthrow set aesthetic principles? How shall we question the ear we live in? I ponder on how painting as one of our more time-proven mediums can be combined with our current Chinese reality, our aesthetics and survival strategies to let the viewers of tomorrow read in the images of today the intermingling of hope and annihilation that marks our current experience. There is a system to help decode the image lying right behind the painting, and it is more than a simple tool, it is common to all of us. Contemporary art is a theater of illusions in which talent and deceit play on the same stage. Perhaps those of us not provided with wisdom or strategy must rely on the power of what points directly to the heart!

 

I want my images to display a powerful visual charm, not look like something out of Photo magazine. I have developed a liking for visual language that bears the mark of being handmade, in which painting is the dislocation and superposition of time and space, a labyrinth of mirages. Painting is my image-code of the outside world; it is using my “eye of the soul” to “see big in small” as I discover and observe those landscapes of the heart, because under the magnifying glass there are so many secrets to be admired…