张小涛画作的意义显然超越了一种孩童心灵创伤的境界。同时，这些图像也是指向某种 审美构思的。在上面提及的文章里，他表述了自己的愿望 : ” 在坚韧的每一天里；在卑鄙 的阴影里；在膨胀的镜面里；在射完精子的空虚里…… 一切都充满着幻像。在摸拟的场景中去表达难以言表的生命体验，在浅表而快乐的世俗生活中，人与人之间都需要一种距离和想象空间，少一点真实多一点诗意和浪漫，彼此远一点，再远一点、再远一点，远了就会有美感，有了美感就有快感，有了快感就会暂时忘记痛感……” 虽然这样的”美”在欧洲人的眼光看来有时就不免染上过于甜蜜的色彩，但在中国却很可能产生完全别样的作用。欧洲举止高雅的行家或许会碰上的颜色，在欧洲人祖传的环境里不言而喻也在闪烁发光，但却具有完全别样的意味，因为彩釉装饰的屋顶和五颜六色的灯笼在那里是司空见惯的。轻微飘柔的彩色面纱呈现在一种精微灵妙水墨画的地平线背景前面，显示了它自己独特的、具有本土气息的高超技艺。向欧洲人提出挑战的，不仅是内容，而且还有置身于另一世界的感同身受。
在发出要诗意和审美快感这一呼吁一年之后，张小涛完成了两幅画：一幅是一只毫不留情地被剁碎了的螯虾，后面是一些被人咬过的甜瓜；另一幅是一只死耗子，裹在一层若隐若现、极为精妙的朦朦薄纱下面。 ” 天堂(210x400cm)、116楼310房 (210x400cm) 是我所理解的北京新生活，它们充满着青春的享乐主义和末世的颓废情绪……纵欲过度的糜烂镜像令人眩晕，且充满着恐惧、躁动不安。巨大而混乱的工地与表面繁荣的全球化经济交织在一起，特荒诞！特别有张力！有活力！每一个人都在拼命地奔跑，心灵与心灵之间相互撕扯，这个特别有意思。在巨大的高架桥下，那种莫名的冲动和渺小情绪的交织……。有时我觉得自己就象一粒尘土、一只蚂蚁、一只死去的老鼠、一堆发霉发臭的垃圾……我们的烂生活，腐烂与灿烂同在，有时腐烂就等于灿烂。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”（张小涛手记）现在，对繁荣昌盛大城市里消费社会的批评是在通过童年时代心理学上的投射表达出来吧？唯物主义衰颓所产生的、敌视生命的作用是在通过水里漂浮的避孕套表达出来吧？张小涛是在一次针对社会进行批评的展览即《北京”浮世绘”》画展上展出这两幅画的。他观察当代中国生活的视野其间是否倾向尖锐化了? 这一问题提得过份了吗？
Angelauswerfer 尽心穷性 Projektion （心理学上） 投射
Prof.Dr.Manfred Schneckenburger 曼弗雷德·施内肯伯格尔
Der Autor war Kuenstlerischer Leiter der documenta 6(1977) und der documenta 8(1987).
Can a young Chinese artist be anchored equally in two areas at the same time?
For one in the tradition of China, on the other hand in the currents of the West? This temptation may be detected not only in regard with Zhang Xiao Tao – although he is not at all situated between two chairs. His art has its own place that cannot be defined alone by his background nor the various influences or by the relations between these two. As we are not able to make out an Archimedean point from the perspectives of the West, from which this double aspect may appear evident, this likewise is presumably not the case from the point of view of China. Therefore I shall not try to position the artist between East and West. But instead I shall rather listen to Zhang Xiao Tao himself.
Thus we can easily link the play of the goldfish, the floating condoms, the dissected lobster and the dead city rat to the illusionary aptitudes and gestures of the oil painting, and at the same time to the opaque and transparent layers like the watercolour that is reminiscent of Chinese ink painting. Yet the core of Zhang Xiao Tao′s art may better be arrived at otherwise.
In a text of 2001 Zhang Xiao Tao confesses – regardless of China here, and the West there – his basic beliefs and motives for his art: love, joy, anxiety, and all the reverberations of the manifold bordering experiences between life and death. He does not care if this may seem either “traditional”, “conservative” or rather “avant-garde”. Instead his whole artistic existence is soaked with the voices, the colours and the smells of his childhood that have their effects on his images of the presence: a fantastic space of projections for his private world of remembrances. What a quarry of informations for depths psychologists and other anglers!
Is one of these memories an unforgettable happening as a child in Hechuan on the Yangtsekiang near the city of Chongqing? When he almost drowned in the floods of that gigantic river? Since then he cannot forget the association between water and danger. Many of his pictures reflect the colourful watery worlds of the depth as a metaphor of life and its vanishing and dissolving in the water. The pale red stains – blood? A crocodile – the death? Anyhow: the fish among discreet and elegantly inserted human couples that are engaged in various positions of bodily uniting seem to demonstrate the joy and the generativity of eros and sex. Yet do not the condoms filled with water between the fish and the mask like heads argue against it? And does not the pallid schematism of the couples contradict the word of fish that in Chinese, as I can learn, sounds like abundance and fertility? Is this an ironic subversive hint and a commentary on the restrictive family planning and the politics in China that today firmly regulates the number of births? Or is this a critique of the hedonistic generation that abandons its responsibility for society into the river?
Nevertheless – the meaning of the images of Zhang Xiao Tao reaches far beyond such childish traumata. They aim at the same time at a special aesthetic principle. In the above mentioned text he longs for “less reality and more poetry and romance. When the distance between both grows the beauty can gain more space. The aesthetic perceptions create the joy which for moments lets us forget the pains.” That for European eyes this “beauty” sometimes presents itself in sweetish and rather obtrusive colours may appear to be quite different in China. Colours, that could annoy a snobbish European connoisseur, live and blend harmoniously iridescent there with their surrounding, where colourfully gloated roofs and brightly shining lights belong to daily life. The opaque translucent veils of colours emanate in front of the horizon like of a subtle ink painting and reveals its own autochthonous virtuosity.
Zhang paints, only one year after the call for more poetry and aesthetic beauty, two amazing pictures: a deplorably smashed lobster in front of some half eaten melons, and a dead rat, that he puts in a brilliant sfumato. “Paradise 210 x 400 cm. room 310 Building 116, Here I experience my new life in Beijing. It is filled with hedonism of the young. Filled with the depressions about the fruitfulness of the last questions. Breathtaking the scenes of an excessive, lawless life. They are filled with anxieties and restlessness. The huge chaotic construction sites interweave with the streams of the globally superfluous economy: fantastic, full of tension, full of action. All is on the move, all is running, all souls fight and compete with each other. Hiding deep and behind the surfaces, that apparently seem meaningful. Under the immense cupola the free floating sensation arises and mixes with a feeling of senselessness. Sometimes I feel like a grain of sand, an ant, a dead rat, a decaying stinking garbage. Life – magnificent and dirty alike. In my paintings those small parts of human existence I want to show: the angst, the insignificance, the ecomposition, the stress. They are samples and blow-ups of the grotesque life. At the same time they are instinctive reactions and doubts that grow in the mind while we are confronted with the unsatisfying materialistic world”. (zhang xiaotao’s Artist Statement ) Are thus the projections of his childhood stretched and completed by his critique on the state of the present global society of consumerism in the booming metropolis? Are the condoms in the water a signal of the hopelessly antagonistic way of life and the pervasively immanent decay and debris? Both paintings were shown in a recent and societally oriented exhibition “Beijing in change”. Is in the meantime the aesthetic appraisal of this artist of the modern Chinese ways of life becoming more poignant?
Manfred Schneckenburger was the artistic director of the documenta 6 (1977) and the documenta 8 (1987) in Kassel, Germany.