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向京《中国“她”艺术》代表性艺术家

时间:2021/7/26 18:10:45  来源:阿特网


向京 

1968 生于北京
1995 毕业于中央美术学院雕塑系

现工作、生活于北京

Xiang Jing

1968 Born in Beijing
1995 Graduated from the faculty of sculpture, Central Academy of Fine Arts
Currently works and lives in Beijing

凡人——无限柱  玻璃钢着色  2011

Mortals-Endless Tower

Fiberglass, painted

465×120×120cm

  语言之内,历史之外戴锦华 在美术馆现场,偶遇向京的个展——“唯不安者得安宁”。在欣喜、惊艳的同时,我经历了某种奇特的失语。——诸多现成的语词:名词或术语,形容词或试图描述、勾勒的长短句瞬间涌出并阻塞,继而失语。因为,它们恰切却多余,顺妥却远难充分;因为,那些似乎只出自对今日阐释路径的预设与依赖,而非身体所体认到的那份浸染与情动。

Inside of Language, Outside of History

Dai Jinhua


I was at the art museum when I happened upon a solo exhibition by Xiang Jing—Upon This Anguish I Repose. I was delighted and dazzled, and yet at the same time I found myself strangely at a loss for words. The words were there, a horde of them: nouns that aimed to define, adjectives that tried to describe, phrases long and short that might sketch what I was seeing – these welled up and were instantaneously blocked, and I remained speechless. This was because these words, though apt, were superfluous; though utterly correct, they fell far short of satisfactory; they derived from preconceived and derivative explanations, rather than from osmosis and emotional responses that come from bodily knowledge.

图(1) Figure (1)

  女雕塑家。一个昭然若揭的事实或一个赫然凸显的坐标与参数。此处,重音标记落在定语或修饰词上。女性,女性艺术家,或女性主义艺术家?至少是召唤着女性主义阐释的艺术家及作品。一望而知,她的两个可称壮观的作品序列“保持沉默”(图1)与“全裸”(图2)(及此前的全部序列),无疑背书了这一坐标的必需与合情入理。然而,即使暂且搁置了二十世纪“理论”或理论化阐释的先在弊端:预设性的解读路径,在我感知中,类似标签对向京作品的覆盖所及,似乎显影液涂过,显露密写文字的同时,展露出大片的斑驳含混的、充满擦痕与印记的空白。于我,这至为稔熟而当然的进入路径,似乎并未令我如手执密钥或得知暗语般地,确信自己已足踏入向京世界的隐门。

Female sculptor. This is an obvious fact, a prominent set of coordinates and parameters. The accent here falls on the attributive or modifier. Female, female artist, or feminist artist? At the very least, this artist and her oeuvre call for a feminist interpretation. One can tell just by looking that Keep in Silence (Fig. 1) and Naked Beyond Skin (Fig. 2), two of Xiang Jing’s most magnificent series (and every series that had preceded them), endorse the necessity and reasonableness of these coordinates. However, let us temporarily set aside the well-established abuses of 20th century “theory” and theoretical interpretations: in my view, to approach Xiang Jing’s work by way of preconceived explications would be like labeling her work and covering it over. A better approach is something like applying developing emulsion, which, while revealing words written in invisible ink, exposes at the same time a large blank expanse, full of splotches and messy erasures. To me, this is a very natural and familiar path; it’s as if, without even having a secret key in hand or knowing the code word, I am confident that I’ve already stepped through the hidden door that opens onto Xiang Jing’s world. 

图(2)Figure (2)

  毋庸赘言,向京的艺术是女性的,也是关于女性的。但这里的“女性”,不囿于任何规范惯例,也非刻意源自任何立场或主义;“她”不是某种社会类属,不是某种遭践踏或被宠溺的客体,不是某种经漠视或凝视的客体最终反客为主。“她”是却不仅是某种盈溢而丰饶、恣肆而默然的所在。作为一个具象的,甚至是“写实”的雕塑家,在向京的展览现场,你直面到的是间或巨大、偶尔纤巧的女性的身体——某种凸显的、物质性的在场;鲜有例外地,她们不羁而蓬勃,带着某种强悍的孤寂与执拗的不屑一顾。向京的创作自发轫到极盛期的、几乎持续奔涌为一个个作品系列。其起始点,与其说是面对父权社会的挑衅或嘶喊,不如说是一部昔日私藏的日记:关于个人的生命,关于成长、变形中的身体,关于私密的、不曾付诸语言的、也没有语言可托付的体验。由女童到少女,由青春期到女人,终及老妇……“成长”的不宁、躁动焦灼而无奈。或许,对向京作品展开性别的或女性主义的阐释的诱惑正来自于此:女性,尽管从不间断地被书写、被描摹、被歌咏或唾骂,但几乎从不曾有女性的连续的生命故事得以讲述。女童与少女,少女与少妇,女人或母亲与老妇,各有无尽的故事、无穷的形象,但除却某类个体的传记或传记体故事,女人的生命为社会话语分切为不同的、异质性的片段:为初潮、为婚礼与婚床(“从此幸福地生活在一起”)、为生育和养育、为衰老并丧失性征……如果说,这曾经是父权一统的天下之内,女性、其形象、其书写只是相对于男性主体的功能性存在,那么,二十世纪的一百年间,女性的、关于女性的书写仍无法真正改变类似片段、破碎的自我间隔。这不仅由于“自由女性”仍无法在男权的基本规范下创生别样的女性主体,而且在所谓“女性文化”的内里,仍没有属于女性的语言。所谓:我们仍无法在男权文化的天空下另辟苍穹。而向京的意义则在于,她以自己渐次延展、渐次圆融的作品序列,由私语而语言,其丰沛的原创与震动不在于她显露的才情或张扬冒犯,而在于她以形象、以系列、以材质……尝试并确乎创生着一种语言或语言形态。因这原创性的语言,女性的生命、连续性的生命、女性的生命经验得以显现并获得表达。

It goes without saying that Xiang Jing’s art is about women. However, the “female” here is not constrained by any sort of normative practice, nor does she arise intentionally from any position or ideology. “She” is not any kind of social category; she is neither a downtrodden nor worshipped object; she is neither an overlooked object nor one stared at so long she ultimately becomes a subject. “She” is not merely an overflowing abundance, or an uninhibited and silent site. As a figurative, even “realistic” sculptor, when Xiang Jing mounts exhibits, what the viewer sees are sometimes massive, sometimes meticulously detailed, female bodies – you are in the presence of a prominent materiality. With a few noticeable exceptions, these figures are unrestrained and full of vitality, with a fierce sense of solitude and a stubborn aloofness. Xiang Jing’s creations, from the early days to the peak of her career, have poured out almost continuously, one series after another. The impetus is less a provocation or castigation of patriarchy than an old personal diary: a record of one person’s life, her growing up, her changing body, her secrets, experiences she never set down in words, which language is not even able to convey. From little girl to young woman, from youth to womanhood, and ultimately old age . . . the uncontrollable turmoil, restlessness, and anxieties around “growing up.” Perhaps the temptation to offer a gendered or feminist interpretation of Xiang Jing’s work arises from this: although women have been ceaselessly written about, painted, sung about, or reviled, the complete and uninterrupted life stories of women have almost never been presented. Girl or maiden, maiden or young matron, mature woman or mother or crone – each one possesses an inexhaustible well of stories and infinite guises; but with the exception of miscellaneous individual biographies or biographical stories, the social discourse around women is segmented into disparate heterogeneous fragments: menarche; weddings and the marital bed (“they lived happily ever after”); childbearing and childrearing; aging and the loss of sexuality . . . While this happened under the aegis of the patriarchal system, and women, their images, and their writing only functionally existed in relation to the male subject/s, over the course of the 20th century, women’s writing and writing about women were still unable to break free of this fragmentation and self-isolation. The reasons for this are not just that under the constraints of patriarchy, “liberated women” lacked the means to effect a distinctly female subjectivity; other causes lie within so-called “women’s culture” itself, which had yet to be imbedded in women’s language. They said: “We still don’t have the wherewithal to open up another sky under the patriarchal sky.” In contrast, Xiang Jing’s significance lies in the way she brought her increasingly self-possessed series of works incrementally from a language of whispers through experimentations that resulted in the origination of a language or linguistic form. Her fertile inventiveness and ability to thrill do not lie in her evident talent or in public provocations, but rather in what she does with images, series, materials . . . Through Xiang Jing’s original language, women’s lives, in all their continuity, and women’s life experiences have finally been given visibility and expression.

一百个人演奏你?还是一个人?  玻璃钢着色  2007Are A Hundred Playing You Or Only OneFiberglass, painted
140×80×80cm 130×50×65cm 140×54×70cm
135×46×75cm 130×65×75cm 130×50×115cm 80×54×30cm

  向京的作品序列,似乎由一个女童的凝视开启:为成人世界所隔绝或围困,或全力隔绝、对抗着成人世界的噪音与入侵。一处弱小而自励强悍的、自我的城堡;在嬉笑、鬼脸与顽劣间,是只有自己知晓的攻防战;薄土上的幼树,只在无人处、无人时努力地伸展、抖动着枝叶。及至青春期的到来:躁动、液化——如化冻的沼泽,泥泞而饱溢着生机;欲望,也许并非朝向客体或无客体指向的欲望;陡然喧嚣的、陌生的身体,炼狱般的时间中生命与死亡的感知同时蛹动。在嬉戏、无为时间之中,伴着指间的一支香烟的芳香的少女,在对自我及世界的怀疑间向内更深地陷溺。继而是女人——身体性的生存,怀孕或不孕,由年轻到衰老;向京式的漠然与欣悦,向京式的自在与灼伤。当然,一如具象的雕塑艺术的规定,这是空间所负载的时间,或置换为空间的时间;但有所不同的是,这是女性的生命时间,是语言时间。

The sequence of Xiang Jing’s work seems to begin with the gaze of a young girl: isolated from or besieged by the adult world – perhaps entirely cut off – and resisting the clamor and encroachment of that world. She is a weak and tiny yet tough and tenacious fortress of the self. Somewhere among her smiles, grimaces, and defiance is an offensive and defensive war of which only she is aware. A sapling in thin soil only grows when and where no one is about tries, stretching its limbs and fluttering its leaves. And with the onset of adolescence, it grows restless, its sap begins to flow – like ice thawing in a marsh that’s now muddy and brimming with life; there’s desire, directed towards an object or no object at all, and then a sudden commotion, an unfamiliar body, a life or death feeling that borders on purgatory. When she’s smiling and happily idle, with the fragrant smoke of the cigarette between her fingers as a companion, she sinks ever deeper into herself in the face of mistrust between herself and the world. And there are more women to follow – their physical existence, pregnant or not, from youth to old age, is relied in Xiang Jing’s style which is characterized by indifference and delight, contentment and anxiety. Of course, in line with the conventions of figurative sculpture, this is Time embodied by Space, or perhaps transposed into the Time of Space; the difference lies in the fact that Time here is the time of a woman’s life, the time of language.

你的身体  玻璃钢着色  2005Your BodyFiberglass  painted270×160×150cm

  我以为,在向京的两个重要序列“保持沉默”与“全裸”之间,有着一个重要的临界时刻与临界点的逾越。无论是在展厅空中的时间流动,还是雕塑形体空间所标识的时间段落间,我将《你呢?》读作这临界状态的、铺陈开区的界面:沉默——历史的沉默,女人的沉默,形而上或名为维特根斯坦的沉默,正在闪烁中凝聚并在密集中向内塌陷或爆裂;其间,表达,关于女性,关于自我,关于身体与心灵,关于生命或存在,关于他人、社会或曰主体间性……正喷薄欲出——这便是可称壮观的“全裸”系列。于我,在向京这两个相衔的系列中,“保持沉默”中那站立着的、携带着某种逼迫和焦灼感的沉默,以一个设问句或一阕声音“你呢?”终结,由此开启了“全裸”作为表达和语言的原创、推进与成就。经由“保持沉默”,“全裸”系列将向京的媒介材质——玻璃钢着色及她的主要语言形态——女体推到了极致。高度的写实与媒介或曰语言的自我暴露:不再为服装或毛发所装饰并遮蔽、高度拟真的身体,皮肤的色彩和质感与工业材质的非人的光泽、光洁和细密,明确地有别于正典雕塑,赋予向京作品以现代主义或现代的超越、曰后现代的特质,同时昭示了向京创作的语言创生。

It seems to me that between Xiang Jing’s two important series, Keep in Silence and Naked Beyond Skin, there is a critical point of inflection and a crucial transgression. Whether in the flow of time in an exhibition hall, or between the blocks of time demarcated by the sculpture’s formal space, I read And You? as the site of this key juncture, an inflection point that reveals: silence – the silence of history, the silence of women, a metaphysical silence we might call Wittgensteinian that coalesces in a sparkling cloud that becomes so dense it collapses in on itself or implodes. At this juncture, expressions about women, the self, the body and soul, life or existence, about others, society or inter-subjectivity . . . all come pouring out – this is what we might call the greatness of the Naked Beyond Skin series. For me these two linked series by Xiang Jing convey a silence fraught with feelings of coercion and anxiety, and they conclude with the hypothetical question or utterance “And You?” This marks the inception, advancement, and completion of the expression and language of Naked Beyond Skin. Throughout Keep in Silence and Naked Beyond Skin, Xiang Jing’s chosen medium – painted fiberglass and her main linguistic approach – takes the female form as far as it will go. Xiang Jing’s high degree of realism employs a medium that is a language of self-exposure: these realistic bodies, no longer concealed by the ornamentation of clothing or hair, have realistically colored and textured skin; this, along with the inhumanly smooth and fine sheen of the industrial material, clearly differentiates these figures from classical sculptures and gives Xiang Jing’s works a quality that transcends modernism, modernity, and one might say modern characteristics, while at the same time announcing the birth of Xiang Jing’s own language.

图(3)Figure (3)

  或许正是这一语言介质,形构了或曰负载了向京的原创性表达——对一系列二项对立式的逾越或曰叠加:内与外、思与像、意与物……始自向京“三月四人展”(1995)上的作品,向京由女性形象(只有女人或唯有女人)和女人体构成的系列作品更像是某种私语,某种高度个人化的内在;又是将这私语公之于世的行动。一如她早期的作品无端地令人联想起暴露于街道上或都市中的私密空间。或许,这也正是向京看似高度写实的具象之作始终盈溢着深刻的荒诞感的由来。也可以说,她正是以自己坚实而写实的雕塑铭写了社会生存与女性生命甚或生命自身的荒诞。那是内部的外部,外部的内部或外在的内部,那是漫游于无法感知、无从触摸却赫然在场的社会间的个人或曰个体,或由孤绝的个体暗示或透露出的社会。而有趣而怪诞的是,人们无疑会说,向京的作品令女人“在场”,确定无疑的、身体性与物质性的在场,但需要补充的是,那同时是某种无可置疑的非语言的语言事实的降临。形象亦是意义,情境亦是阐释、身体亦是哲思。极为精彩的是,当我们说,向京的作品是女性的、关于女性的时候,似乎忽略了向京的女性世界中不仅没有男性,而且是不以男性为先在设定及参照。这意味着,男性并非女性生存及意义的对立项。如果说,向京的女体,尤其是那些坚实的、渐次获取并展露着一份自在甚或欣悦的女体,间或令某种老迈衰朽的父权幽灵或残骸感到冒犯与挑衅的话,那么,这显然并非源自向京作品自身。向京作品的力量得自于生命或身体自身的质感与力度,其表达在女性的生命身体内部发生,其雕塑作为空间的与物理的事实,是女性自身的内在世界的言说介质。因此,当我们操弄或挥舞着二项对立式去尝试定位、定义、阐释或曰捕获向京之时,我们极有可能收获到的是挫败与无助。因为,二项对立式,这一硕大的西来的形而上学范式,比对向京作品,似乎也形同残骸。我们可以说,并非参照着男性或男权而展示的女性的外在的内部、内在的外形,令向京凸显了并溢出了女性与性别的议题及惯有设定;我们也可以说,正是并非仅作为对抗、挑衅、拒绝而站立的女性——身体与心灵、经验与体验、事实与意义,令向京得以越界,游走、飞扬于为对手或敌手反身设定的栅栏或牢狱之外。因此,当我们说,向京的女人体是思与像、意与物间的吊诡与辩证,我们同时经历着阐释的突围与陷落。向京那或硕大、或纤巧,但无一不坚实的女体,展示着肉身的沉重与人间气象,却又同时显现着某种令人匪夷所思的、如精灵、如魅影般的玄思;那空间的、物理性的存在,似乎同时是意义的透明与语言的抽象。因为那绝非为肉体所囚禁的心灵或灵魂的挣扎、尝试逃逸或撕裂;相反,那形体、那肤质、那视线、表情,便是自身的意义与语言。这里,原本不存在欧洲基督教文化的灵肉二分。我瞩目于这临界及其突破的系列中的三尊雕像(毫无疑问,它们也是最为直接而强烈闯入观者视域的作品与形象):《你呢?》、《彩虹II》、《敞开者》(图3)。瞩目于此,并非仅仅在于它们的硕大、完美和灵动,也不仅在于那完全不容忽视的、意味极为丰富却朦胧的食指与脚趾的动作设计或曰造型。不错,这三尊雕塑盈溢着女性身体的、或称人世间的富足、自若,与生命自身的欣悦同时在场的是某种近乎非人间的悲悯与漠然。在我感知中,《敞开者》似乎以肉身标识着某种佛性——不是狭义或广义的佛教教义,也并非探讨雕塑自身与佛教艺术间的渊源及传承,而是在瞩目于气象磅礴的身体、那微妙的脚趾传递的笑意与漠视——似乎是形而下的身体在形而上的意义间坍陷,或形而上的语言向形而下的肉身弥散。在向京这里,并非对女性主体身份及地位的焦渴,最终令女性艺术家和女性艺术迟到地拥有了曾由男性专属的主体幻象,而是女性生命与艺术在创造语言的同时撑开别样的自我/他人与世界的想象。

Perhaps it is precisely this linguistic medium that shapes, or we might say bears, Xiang Jing’s unique mode of expression. We can posit a series of binary excesses or compounds: interior versus exterior, thought versus form, ideal versus materiality . . . Beginning with the works Xiang Jing contributed to The March Foursome Exhibition (1995), she has created, through the female form and her sets of series composed of female figures, something like a kind of private language, a very personalized interiority; and her work has also served to bring this language out into the public sphere and thereby share it with the world. Similarly, her early works suggested private spaces that were being displayed in the street or in town. Perhaps this accounts for why Xiang Jing’s extremely realistic figurative work overflows with such a deep sense of absurdity. We might also say that, with her solid and realistic sculptures, she also inscribes the absurdity of social existence and women’s lives, and maybe even of life itself. That is the exteriority of the internal, the interiority of the external, or the outside of the inside; it is a pleasant ramble to an individual or self – visibly present in society and yet intangible – or to a society suggested or revealed by an isolated individual. But the weirdly fascinating thing is that people are sure to say that Xiang Jing’s works place women “at the scene” (“present”), and though they are undoubtedly bodily and materially present, what has to be added is that this marks a “non-linguistic” linguistic reality. Form is also meaning, situation is also interpretation, body is also philosophy. Most striking of all, though we can say that Xiang Jing’s works are female, and about women, this elides the fact that Xiang Jing’s female world is not only devoid of men, but it is also not set up with men in mind, nor does it take men/males as a primary frame of reference. This means that the male is not the antagonist in women’s lives or meaning. Xiang Jing’s female figures, especially the substantial ones, have evolved, iteration by iteration, and come to take possession of and display a degree of ease with themselves – happiness even – but if, every once in a while, they offend or provoke the hoary ghost or decaying carcass of patriarchy, then this obviously doesn’t spring from Xiang Jing’s works themselves. The power of Xiang Jing’s work derives from the texture and force of life or the body in and of themselves; and its expression takes place inside women’s lives and bodies. Her sculptures are spatial and physical realities as well as a medium for a discourse on women’s inner worlds. Thus, if you were to attempt to situate, define, interpret, or capture, so to speak, Xiang Jing by bandying about or manipulating sets of binary oppositions, chances are excellent that all you’d end up with would be feelings of frustration and helplessness. This is because the binary, that monumental Western academic metaphysical paradigm, looks like a heap of rotten old bones compared to Xiang Jing’s work. We could say that the externalized female interiority, or internalized female exteriority of Xiang Jing’s oeuvre, which makes no reference either to males or to patriarchy, makes it obvious that her works are very much concerned with female and gender issues and familiar with the common arguments. We could also say that these are not women who merely stand in resistance, provocation, and refusal – physical versus spiritual, speculative experience versus direct experience, the real versus the ideal – and Xiang Jing crosses these boundaries, roaming freely, and flying far beyond the stockade or prison of preconceived notions fashioned by her opponents or enemies. Thus, when we say that Xiang Jing’s female figures embody the paradox and dialectic between thought and form, meaning and thing, we are also simultaneously escaping from and being trapped by interpretation. Xiang Jing’s female figures, whether massive or delicate, are without exception powerful and solid; and they convey the heaviness of the physical body along with a human aura, while also displaying an outlandishly pixie- or phantom-like mysticism; that spatial, physical existence seems at the same time to manifest the transparency of meaning and the abstraction of language. This is not a struggle or attempt to escape from or rend apart the corporeal body for the sake of the soul or spirit imprisoned inside it; on the contrary, that form, that skin, that gaze, that expression, is its own meaning and language. The European Christian dichotomy between mind and body does not obtain here. I will now turn my attention to three pivotal, breakthrough sculptures from these series (without a doubt, these are the works and forms that most directly and forcefully enter one’s field of view): And You?, Rainbow (II), The Open (Fig. 3). Gazing at these, one is not merely struck by their large scale, attention to detail, and intelligence; nor does their force stem solely from that which cannot be overlooked – the design, or the realization of the movement of index finger and toes, so rich in meaning yet so ambiguous. Indeed, the voluptuous female figures in these three pieces, express the contentment and ease of the human world and the joy of life itself, along with an almost inhuman sorrow and indifference. As I perceive it, The Open seems to use the corporeal body as a symbol of a kind of Buddha nature – not in a narrowly or broadly doctrinal Buddhist sense, nor do I mean to explore the deep connection between sculpture and Buddhist art or delve into the Buddhist inheritance of sculpture. Rather, I stood gazing over those majestic bodies and into those delicate toes; sensed the messages of being smiled at or being overlooked. It’s as if the physical form collapses in the field of metaphysical meaning, or metaphysical language becomes diffuse around physical form. For Xiang Jing, it was not a thirst for subjective female identity and position that ultimately brought women artists and women’s art so late to the acquisition of a subjective imagination, which was for so long a male prerogative; instead, women’s lives and art are creating a language and at the same time supporting a different kind of imagination around Self and Other in the world. 

图(3)Figure (3)

  于我,“保持沉默”到“全裸”系列构成了向京创作的临界和突破,还在于那是一份名曰“我”(自我、个体、个人)的魔咒般的困扰与隔绝的终结。似乎无须赘言,二十世纪八十年代以降,个人、自我(联系着个性、风格,乃至独立品格)早已占据了公众知识与价值逻辑的核心,艺术界如果不是始终引领风气,至少是捷足先登。然而,社会意义上的所谓个人及“个人主义”,在整部二十世纪中国文化史上,始终是殷殷期盼、频频企望的未来与神话。在前现代中国血缘家族及社群解体而未死的结构制约下,在战争与革命的裹挟与召唤之间,原本罕有安放个人生命的时段与空间。个人,曾被笔者称为“集体性的神话”。然而,在向京的艺术序列间,尤其是自她的起始直到“保持沉默”这一临界处,我不仅遭遇到了一个作为个体/个人的艺术家,而且目击了一个被“我”或曰“自我”魇住了的内心城堡。一个为成人世界围困的狭小又广漠的空间,又是一处社会性稀薄到无法触摸的所在。狭小到除了深深的内视无法安放目光所必需的视野,广漠到除了自我的支撑全无依凭。因此,向京将她在“保持沉默”之前的作品系列称为“镜像”,她也确乎在展览现场使用过镜子。即使搁置玻璃钢着色雕塑与镜墙之间的材质呼应与参差,搁置镜像在二十世纪的艺术与理论中的象征位置,当玻璃幕墙成为布展的基本元素之一,便必然在展厅间形成自我凝视、“真身”与“幻影”间面面相觑且形影相吊的直观表述,然而,奇特的是,在这深深的内视或曰自我凝视与几无外部经验可借重的身体与生命体验中,向京在作品的创作或自我领地的困顿也是固守间,没有流露任何自恋或自恋的痕迹。镜与镜像,作为一种语素,显影了向京对自己的创作及其特质的自觉。或许,向京强大而近乎诗意洁癖的内心与个性不屑于自恋的矫情;或许,自恋的体认与表达亦需要他者与社会的参照;而向京的世界,一度如同隔绝了喧嚣拥挤的外部世界的社会性真空;或者,是为了隔绝那无处不在的喧嚣、拥挤,那贪婪而愚蠢的索取所划定的自我、唯有自我的围墙与疆界。在起始处,向京的世界寂静而空荡,在深刻而抽离的内视间,她似乎只在自己的身体中倾听着生命急促而无名的足音。

In my view, Keep in Silence and Naked Beyond Skin constitute Xiang Jing’s pivotal and breakthrough series, and this is due in part to the fact that with these two corpuses Xiang Jing has at last broken the curse and isolation of “I” (self, separate entity, individual). Needless to say, ever since the 1980s, the individual and the self (including personality, style, and independent character) have been a core concern of public intellectuals and value logic; and if the art world did not ultimately lead the way, it was at the very least one of the first to show up. However, throughout twentieth-century Chinese cultural history, in a social sense the so-called individual and “individualism” were features of a mythic future that people yearned for. In modern China, amidst the breakdown of the not entirely dead structural restraints of family/clan and other forms of social organization, and buffeted by the sweeping forces of war and revolution, a person was hard pressed to find time or space to live a peaceful existence. I have elsewhere described the “individual” as a “collective myth.” However, in Xiang Jing’s artistic progression, especially from her first works up to the inflection point of Keep in Silence, I have not only encountered an artist who is separate/individual, but I have found myself bearing witness to a psychological fortress beset by the demons of “I” and “self.” A tiny yet expansive space hemmed in by the adult world is also a social existence that is so diffuse as to be intangible. The aperture is so narrow that unless you look very deeply within, your gaze cannot penetrate it; and the space is so vast that there is nothing to support you, nothing to lean on but yourself. Therefore, Xiang Jing called the series of works before Keep in Silence and Mirror Image, and she did set up mirrors when she showed this series in exhibition spaces. Although the interspersed materials – painted fiberglass sculptures and walls of mirrors – echoed each other, because of the position and symbolism of mirror images in twentieth-century art and theory, when a backdrop of mirrors becomes a fundamental part of an exhibition, then it cannot help but create a space for people to examine themselves. This creates a direct visual articulation of the space between “true self” and “fantasy self” as these two faces look at each other, and form and reflection are intertwined. However, it is remarkable that in this deep introspection or self-examination and the bodily or direct life experience that one can scarcely get outside, for all of the hardship of Xiang Jing’s creative work and her established habit of focusing on the personal, her work nonetheless displays neither narcissism nor any traces of it. Mirrors and mirror images, serving as a kind of linguistic medium, have developed Xiang Jing’s self-awareness around her work and its distinctive qualities. Perhaps her powerful and yet almost poetically pure psyche and character disdain self-regard and arrogance; perhaps the recognition and expression of narcissism also requires some reference to others and society; but Xiang Jing’s world exists as if in a vacuum, cut off from the clamorous and crowded outside world. Then again, maybe she seeks to delineate an enclosing wall and border in order to cut herself off from the ubiquitous noise and crowds, and from those greedy and foolish selves, those solipsistic selves. At the outset of her career, Xiang Jing’s world was lonely and empty, and in her probing and withdrawn period of introspection, she seemed to listen carefully to the urgent and nameless footsteps of life within her own body. 

你的身体  玻璃钢着色  2005Your BodyFiberglass  painted270×160×150cm

  如果说,世纪之交的中国,曾经陡临的社会有机体的碎裂,如原子般纷扬离散的个体,曾集体性地经历了震惊、无助与失语,直到消费主义文化与事实及独生子女政策最终催生并助长了中国版的个人与个人主义,那么或许可以说,正是这一社会结构性的事实极为奇特地成就了向京的艺术。依旧在某种自我划定的隔绝与孤独中,她将专注而疏离的内视目光下自我/一位女性的身体与生命的体验直接转换为雕塑形象;几乎未经艺术史叙述的中介,未接种互文性的支撑,未受时尚与时代的暗示与规约。当然,向京的世界里的众多形象千人千面,尽管并不贴切,却仍可将其称为“凡(/女)人谱”或“众生(/女)相”;但她的每一个独特的作品/形象都是指称着一个“我”——不是向京之“我”或“自我”的假面或化妆,而是一个孤独的个体,一位漂移或离散间的个人,某种因无从相互连接而丧失了社会连接的自我。放逐或自我放逐?类似追问似乎毫无意义。而当向京以一个又一个渐次恢宏的作品系列,在空间与艺术场域中连缀出时间的轨迹,她的序列已并非刻意却逻辑地降落在女性生命经验与连贯而有机的女性的生命叙事之上,那里曾经是一处巨大、被各种划痕充满的空白。或许同样由于这份孤绝与内视,作为向京创作之直接驱力的问题或曰困扰或追问冲动,始终是哲学的,而非社会学的;由近乎直觉的、自我的身体与生命体验到关于存在、意义、生与死、人与人类的追问之间,同样未经或拒绝了当代艺术、当代美学或美学破产的中介,迸发和展露的,只有某种向京式的执着与倔强,某种喷发般的才情激涌。向京的作品,似乎突兀而无语地,创生了一份语言的事实,用以再度言说着一段始终被言说却从未获得言说、并已然被宣告为不可言说的事实或故事。当这份孤绝最终成就了某种语言,它同时意味着“我”之魔环或曰固守的突破与终结。在“全裸”系列中的那份圆熟、恣肆间,“我”在悄然绽裂处显影出“我们”,显现出某种群体——尽管彼此疏离,某种身体接触、连接令(社会)关系或人际开始登场。

If China, in interacting with the rest of the world, experienced a precipitous rupture in its social organism, and if atomized individuals scattered and former collective entities were shaken up and rendered helpless and speechless, and consumerist culture and reality, along with the single child policy, ultimately gave rise to and fostered a Chinese version of the individual and of individualism, then one could say that it is precisely this actual social structure that has produced Xiang Jing’s art. As in the past, in some sort of self-defined isolation and solitude, she takes her direct bodily and life experience as a self/one woman, filtered through a focused but alienated inner gaze, and transmutes it into sculptural figures practically unmediated by art historical narratives and untainted by intertextual scaffolding. She takes no direction from and is unencumbered by fashion or the times. Of course, the figures in Xiang Jing’s world have many different guises, but proper or not, they can be seen as being “average (female) types” or as possessing “typical (female) faces.” Still, each of her unique sculptures articulates a “self” – not the false or painted face of an “I” or “self” belonging to Xiang Jing, but a discrete individual, a drifting or rootless individual, a self who lost social connections because she lacked the means to connect. Exile, or self-exile? It’s like pursuing a meaningless question. And yet when Xiang Jing takes her extensive series and, one piece at time, assembles a chronology, without intentional logic, her works are nonetheless situated in women’s life experiences or connected through organic female life narratives. This had once been a huge empty space filled with faint markings. Perhaps by the same token, because of the element of isolation and introspection in her practice, the most compelling problems, or difficulties, or questions in Xiang Jing’s creations have always been philosophical rather than sociological. She proceeds from almost unmediated perceptual and direct personal bodily and life experiences to an investigation of existence, meaning, life and death, wo/man and humanity; she bypasses or refuses mediation by contemporary art, contemporary aesthetic, or the aesthetically bankrupt. What she develops and presents is a stubborn and persistent Xiang Jing kind of genius. Xiang Jing’s works, unexpectedly and wordlessly, have created a linguistic reality, and although I’ve already proclaimed the ineffability of this reality and these stories, I will do so again. When this isolation at last establishes a language, it suggests at the same time a breaking out of or termination of the magic circle of the established “I”/“self.” In the mature and unrestrained Naked Beyond Skin series, the “I” has quietly blossomed into “us,” a kind of collective – although mutually alienated – and physical contact and a sense of linkage marks the debut of (social) relationships or interpersonal relations.

凡人——无限柱  玻璃钢着色  2011

Mortals-Endless Tower

Fiberglass, painted

465×120×120cm

  当笔者迟到地遭遇到向京的作品或曰世界之时,最初与持续的震动,甚至错愕与失语,来自一份为赞叹、惊喜所包裹着的陌生。除了全然不曾预期、或曰超出期待视野的获得,除了面对原创、作为当代世界稀缺资源的艺术原创带来的陌生感之外,笔者体认到的陌生与失语,首先来自我所稔熟而多数时刻有效的、不止一种阐释路径与模式的失效。尽管自许从不恪守单一批评路径并拒绝将文学、文化、艺术场域视作理论的跑马地或演武场,但我对当代艺术与文化的分析或批评的基本参数、逻辑与坐标始终是社会、历史及文化政治。一旦面对向京的艺术现场,我在辨识出一种语言的创生、一份身体与生命体验直接朝向艺术的流动之时,在当代中国艺术中,我几乎首度目击到某种沉寂或曰空白:社会与历史的沉寂与空白,准确地说,似乎是无从或拒绝有效地经验社会与历史而勾勒出的沉寂与空白。沉寂,或曰纯然的噪音;空白,或曰绝对的缺席(而非缺席之在场)。艺术当然无须直接关乎社会、历史或政治,但社会、历史或文化政治却几乎无例外地涂抹了或渗透了艺术家的生命底色,成为文化艺术文本的某种先设或前文本。或者更为简洁明了的是,我自己惯于、或可说长于在中国及世界的文化、艺术文本中显影社会、历史与文化政治的隐形书写或辨识、解读羊皮书上被涂抹去的印痕。也正是这种惯势或曰能力令我分辨出向京作品这份沉寂或空白,也令我惊异而无力于此。我可以说,正是当代中国特定的历史时段造就了类似孤绝于社会的自我、隔膜、漠视或无感于历史的个体;也可以说,曾长久地见逐于历史与社会性生存的女性,其生命经验原本在社会、历史之外;但我宁愿说,令个人纷扬悬浮如微粒浮尘般的历史瞬间,成就了向京的语言与艺术,成就了一个才情与个性的、鲜见的个案,但我仍欣悦于“全裸”系列中他者显影、社会涌入的时刻,那也是一个见证并收获强大的自我与原创的时刻。

Belatedly arriving at Xiang Jing’s work or world, this writer initially met it with a state of sustained shock, even stunned silence, all of which arose from a sense of unfamiliarity wrapped in admiration and delight. In addition to being completely unexpected, or rather exceeding anything I could have envisioned, seeing these creations first hand was accompanied by the unfamiliar sensation of viewing original artworks that had sprouted from the poor soil of the contemporary world. The strange and dumbstruck feelings this writer became aware of arose from my sense of futility, that my usual approaches to explication, ordinarily so effective, were useless. Although I’ve taken pride in not binding myself to any one critical approach and have refused to view literature, culture, or art as a horse race or athletic competition, I have nonetheless always taken social, historical, and cultural politics as my fundamental points of reference (parameters, logic, and coordinates) when engaging in the analysis or criticism of contemporary art and culture. The moment I came face to face with Xiang Jing’s art, I perceived the creation of a language, the unmediated flow into art of direct bodily and life experience; and out of all of contemporary Chinese art, this was practically the first time I had seen with my own eyes a sort of deep silence or emptiness: the silence and emptiness of society and history, or more precisely, an outline of silence and emptiness created either because she couldn’t or because she simply refused to, in effect, engage in a speculative experience of society and history. Silence, or total noise; emptiness, or absolute absence (but not the presence of absence). Of course, art does not have to directly engage with society, history, or politics, but society, history, or cultural politics do, almost without exception, color or seep into the base tones of an artist’s life, forming a kind of given or pre-existing script. Perhaps what is even more clear is that I am accustomed to, or one might say that I am good at finding, writing about, and analyzing the shadowy traces of society, history, and social politics that have left their marks on the palimpsests of Chinese and world culture, art, and literature. It is precisely these habits or abilities of mine that allow me to perceive the silence or emptiness in Xiang Jing’s work, and which also leave me astonished and at a complete loss. I could say that it is contemporary China’s particular historical moment that has produced a self so cut off from society, an individual separated by a thin membrane from history, who casts a cold eye upon it or simply lacks feeling for it. We could also say that after a protracted period which saw women banished to the margins of historical and social existence, their life experiences lay essentially outside of history and society; but I’d prefer to say that a brief historical moment that has left people floating in the air like tiny motes of dust has also brought forth Xiang Jing’s language and art and has created this strikingly original single case of genius and individual personality. Nonetheless, I still enjoy those moments in the Naked Beyond Skin series where the Other is discernable, where society seeps in – that too is a moment in which I witness and take in the bountiful power of this individual and her uniqueness.

图(4) Figure (4)

  事实上,他者的显影最终令悬置、漂浮已久的社会及历史在场。那与其说是社会的噪音与密集最终悍然闯入,不如说是向京迟至、艰难而果决地将自己的目光和视野投向了外部。在“全裸”系列之后,“这个世界会好吗?”再度以设问句明确标识了社会性关注与议题的凸显和抵达。再一次,高度自觉地、几乎是矫枉过正地,在这一以梁漱溟的句子命名的系列间,“凡人”/杂耍主题(图4),无疑是他者/异质/两性/社会关系(也许还有“中国”)的直观登场。那几乎是某种携带着密集恐惧症式的造型。关于“关系”、关于位置、关于结构、关于权力。一反此前向京作品系列之孤绝、寂寥、躁动而跳脱、俏皮而漠视的造型与情绪基调,“这个世界会好吗?”的“凡人”/杂耍主题里,曾在“保持沉默”和“全裸”系列中舒展而放肆的身体,此时柔软却高度秩序化地弯曲并折叠;身体与身体、“我”与“他”或“她”彼此连接又彼此挤压,相互支撑又相互压迫:某种精确、不容半点错失或些许变动的结构位置与阶序,极度密集、紧密,无从拆解,拒绝分离;同时,各异的脸上点染以如此相像的大笑容。不难读出,尽管向京那城堡固守般地女性自我形象首度视觉缺席,但“她”或“我”那执拗地索求真意、决绝妥协的视线,无疑覆盖并充满了每一细部。如果说,在向京的视线下,社会,某种密集的、岌岌可危又牢不可破的“关系”毕竟令她不适,那么,一如她曾尽洗自恋的自我逼视,以杂耍为象征元素或语码的、向京的社会图像,亦不曾显影于任何精英主义的自许与俯瞰之中。再一次,她凝视而不晕眩,追问却不自命持有答案。新系列中的作品,并非仅仅关乎中国式(因杂耍这一介质的明示和暗示)的社会关系或权力事实,而且是对新的语言可能的触摸。如果说,她最终以某种艺术语言的创生而令女性的生命经验得以在场,那么,在“这个世界会好吗?”及此后“S”系列中,她无疑在对新的语言可能的实验中尝试去捕获过度言说而不曾言说的艺术与社会事实。这一次,身体所负载的是社会——人类社会。这一定位,无疑是因系列的另一半——“异境”/动物的参照而获得。与“凡人”一半彼此相对,向京在“异境”中创造了堪称神来之笔的动物。似乎是“全裸”系列的《一百个人演奏你?还是一个人?》中那只怪诞又绝妙地站立一旁的鹳鸟“穿越”而来,在新系列里衍生出一组曼妙的动物形象。如果说,《一百个人演奏你?还是一个人?》或可视作后一系列中的“凡人”主题的初音,那么“这世界会好吗?——异境”中的动物,却似乎是“全裸”系列中臻于完美的女体——具象而抽象、肉身而哲思之所在的“转世”。这组动物神奇而高尚、硕大、坚实而空灵,它们奇妙地再度祭起或曰呼唤着一个言说、探究艺术所必需的、却早已几成禁忌与滥调的字眼:美。如果说,此间名曰《不损兽》(图5)的想象性动物,漾逸着一份脆弱与非人间的洁净,那么,名为《白银时代》的巨象,尤其是直接名为《这个世界会好吗?》的骏马,则如此宁静、超然而优雅。面对它们,在一份心的悸动间,我感知到某种狂喜——准确地说是愉悦;我知道发生了什么:我再次遭遇到美,却难于付诸语词——那是因为它在旷日持久的隔膜之后,在古典规范之外,在现代主义的撕裂与融化之外,在资本魔术与控制之外,在媚俗或曰机械复制之外。正是这组神奇动物,令“凡人”/杂耍组显影了其又一个意义参数:人、人类社会或曰人类之维。当向京的创作再度与社会相遇,她具象、具体、形而下的“再现”,仍然负载或中介着某种哲学性的或曰形而上的主题。只是在这形而下与形而上之间,现实问题意识,不如说是某种社会忧思,再度令其朝向彼此坠落,分离再重合。“异境”动物——又一个非语言或反语言、超语言的所在,作为向京之艺术语言的在场,再度指向身体、生命、自然,再度于社会/人类社会及历史的外部,提示着无数内部的问题:危机与文明的临界状态,人类、后人类与地球上的多种生命的未来,人类社会无处不在的权力结构与似乎逃离了人类最为直接、普遍的暴力而开启“异境”的动物……或许正是这巨大而具体的问题或曰参数的出现,令向京的全序列中曾凸显的或借重的形象与主题在“S”系列中汇聚并变形,而这向京全序列则部分地在一个几乎令人直观或直觉地体认痛感、欣悦、领悟的个展命名——“唯不安者得安宁”里相遇并重组。

In fact, the traces of the Other ultimately usher in society and history, which had for so long been drifting suspended. Rather than saying that the noisy throngs of society have come barging in, it would be more accurate to say that it is Xiang Jing who has arrived late to the scene, and with great difficulty but decisiveness has cast her gaze towards the outside. After Naked Beyond Skin, she posed a hypothetical question, “Will Things Ever Get Better?”, which signified the arrival of her concern with social issues. Once again, with great self-awareness verging on hypercorrection, she borrowed a phrase from the political philosopher Liang Shuming for her title of the series. The pieces in the sub-series Mortals/Acrobats theme (Fig. 4) are without a doubt the intuitive debut of the theme of the Other/heterogeneity/gender/social relations (and perhaps even “China”). It is practically a concrete representation of the fear of crowds. It’s about “relationships,” positions, structures, and power. Returning to Xiang Jing’s prior themes of isolation, loneliness, agitation and escape, mischievous but aloof and low key creations, the bodies – which had previously been revealed in all their lack of inhibitions in Keep in Silence and Naked Beyond Skin – in Mortals/Acrobats theme are now bent and folded in a flexible but highly ordered manner; body and body, “Self” and “Other” (“Me” and “Him” or “Her”) are at once interconnected and pressing in on one another, mutually supporting and oppressing. With a precision that doesn’t allow so much as the slightest error or deviation in structural position or hierarchy, they are packed tightly together, pressing in with no way to wrest free, in a configuration that refuses the possibility of separation. At the same time, each of the different faces is touched with the same wide grin. It’s not hard to tell that although Xiang Jing’s individual female figures are fortresses unto themselves, for the first time a figure is lacking in visual perception, and yet “she” or “I” stubbornly persist in seeking the truth, her uncompromising gaze covering up and filling every detail. If, in Xiang Jing’s eyes, society, that set of dense, perilous, and imprisoning “relationships,” is ultimately something she cannot fit into, then just as she has purged herself of narcissistic self-examination, with acrobats as a symbolic element or code word, Xiang Jing’s portrait of society has never betrayed any elite self-regard or self-important snobbishness. Once again, she gazes intently and doesn’t lose her balance, seeking answers, yet not certain she has any. The pieces in Xiang Jing’s new series are not concerned solely with Chinese-style social or power relations (because of the denotations and connotations of this kind of acrobatics); rather, they touch on a new linguistic possibility. If, ultimately, her creation of a new artistic language brings women’s life experiences to the public stage, then in Will Things Ever Get Better? and S, there can be no doubt that, in her experimentation with new linguistic possibilities, she has attempted to capture a simultaneously overdiscussed and underdiscussed artistic and social reality. In this instance, the burden the body carries is society – human society. Having fixed this point, we can turn to the other half of the series – Otherworld/Animals – and find what we need. Compared to the Mortals half of the series, in Otherworld, Xiang Jing has created what I would venture to call inspired animals. It’s as if the oddly and yet marvelously positioned stork standing to the side in Are a Hundred Playing You? Or Only One? in Naked Beyond Skin had “passed through” and given birth to a group of graceful animal forms in the new series. If Are a Hundred Playing You? Or Only One? can be seen as the thematic harbinger of the previous series’ Mortals, then the animals in Will Things Ever Get Better?/Otherworld might seem similar to the beautiful female bodies in Naked Beyond Skin – a “reincarnation” possessing qualities concrete yet abstract, corporeal yet philosophical. The animals in this group are both magical and noble, massive and solid yet ethereal; in a delightful way they are an offering, or a manifestation of, to use a term that those who are serious about art should use, but which has long been a taboo and dismissed as hackneyed: beauty. If at this juncture we invoke the imaginary animal in Otherworld—Invulnerable Creature (Fig. 5), freeing up a fragile and inhuman purity, then the monumental figure in Otherworld—The Silver Age and Especially the fice horse inthe eponymous Otherworld—Will Things Ever Get Better? is similarly tranquil, transcendent, and refined. Looking at these animals, heart pounding, I experience a feeling of ecstasy – or, more precisely, joy. I know what has happened: I have once again encountered beauty, and I am having difficulty putting it into words– this is because I’ve been away from it for a very long time, apart from the classical domain, apart from the rupture and blending of modernism, apart from kitsch or machine reproductions. It is these magical animals that reveal yet another semantic parameter in Mortals/Acrobats: people, human society, or the human dimension. When Xiang Jing’s creative work re-encounters society, her material, concrete, and physical “reappearance” still bears or mediates philosophical or metaphysical themes. It is only in the space between the physical and the metaphysical, conscious of the question of reality– or, rather we should say that it is a kind of social concern. Once more they are falling towards each other, and what had been separated is now rejoined. Otherworld/Animals– yet another embodiment of the non-linguistic, anti-linguistic, or super-linguistic – exemplifies Xiang Jing’s artistic language, pointing towards the body, life, nature, and also beyond society/human society and history, turning us towards infinite internal questions: crisis and civilizational inflection points, humanity, a future post-human earth with numerous life forms, the ubiquitous power structures of human society and the animals that have seemingly eluded the most direct and commonplace ways that humans violently open animals in Otherworld . . . Perhaps it is the appearance of this massive and concrete problem or set of coordinates that brings together and transmogrifies in the S series the forms and themes that have been most striking in the totality of Xiang Jing’s series. Still, bit by bit, in Xiang Jing’s collected series, you almost intuit or intuitively feel the pain, joy, and epiphanies that meet up and are re combined in the name of the solo show – Upon This Anguish I Repose.

图(5) Figure (5)

   “不安”与“安宁”,几乎可以视作向京作品序列的基本和弦与主题,或者说一组基本的情感、感知的节拍。与身体有关,与艺术有关,与心有关,与无名或匿名的乌托邦冲动有关。于我,与向京的作品偶遇,不期然间成为一次见证并再次尝试信任艺术、艺术家的生命与创造的奇遇。如此快乐,一切仍在路上。文/戴锦华 2017年于北京
“Anguish” and “repose” could be seen as the musical keys and themes of Xiang Jing’s collected series of sculptures; we could also call them a collection of emotions, sensory perceptions, and rhythms. Her work relates to the body, to art, to the psyche, to utopian impulses that are nameless or whose names have been hidden. For me, happening by chance upon Xiang Jing’s work turned out to be an unexpected but fortuitous encounter that invited me to witness and attempt to renew my trust in art through this artist’s life and her creations. A happy prospect: further work to come. Text/Dai Jinhua  2017 in Beijing

  《中国 “她” 艺术》一书,由《中国女性艺术》《中国当代艺术文献》出品人邵琦领衔策划和主编,是中国国内第一本以双语呈现的大型文献巨构。通篇采用中英文双语编辑,主要面向国际读者、特别重视在国际间的学术领域进行推介与交流,因此在学术水准和编辑质量上要求甚高; 在编辑体例和装帧方面也更加国际化。力争做到高端大气,精益求精。


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