两种思维 = 一件作品，两种张力 = 一种和谐
在颜磊个展《追光二人组》(sparkling double)中，颜磊将涂鸦喷绘与CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – 施华洛世奇元素两种语言形式独特地融汇在一起。为表现两种形式共同的元素及其各自所有内涵，根据对产生意象的阐释和再阐释，反映出两种艺术形式的相互参照以及文本的交互。
展览最后一部分只有两件作品，但却是采用CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – 施华洛世奇元素精工制作的雕塑作品。
十字的形状由四个单词组成：SEX, SPEED, SUCK, SHOW（分别为性爱、速度、吮吸和显示）-四个单词由中间一个大大的S连在一起。传统的肖像画法只在宗教作品中使用，但现在已普遍用于大众文化之中，此件作品就将传统的肖像画法与艺术家自己独有的理念“永恒价值”有机融合在一起，“永恒价值”是颜磊采用CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – 施华洛世奇元素提出的一个口号。整件作品采用CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – 施华洛世奇元素制作，在由雕塑后部射出的一道红光映衬下，愈显光彩夺目。当前人们普遍认为当今社会是个自我表现的社会，我们都是社会中的一分子，而本件雕塑作品，吸引了如此众多的注意力，也许让人从另一角度来思考这个问题吧。
另一件作品只是一件带有四个采用CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – 施华洛世奇元素的四个单词的一面心形镜子，背光打着霓虹光束。此件作品正好补衬上一件雕塑，站在心形镜子前，人在镜中的影子正好让人反思理想与现实的问题。合在一起，两件雕塑作品让人产生一种难以名状的感觉，却又让人感觉无比美丽。
双重性与统一性，最初由阿斯彭美术馆总监及首席策展人Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson提出，但却深深融入颜磊的创作思想之中，并在此次展览中得以充分展示。
1 当时，劳森伯格说服威廉 德 库宁给他一张画，劳森伯格将之涂抹后作为其自己的作品展出。劳森伯格坚持声称这是他自己的作品，这并非出于个人纠葛而是一种尊敬的姿态；时至今日，他的这一行为仍能引起激烈的讨论：关于艺术家在自由表达时如何平衡与既有艺术系统之间的关联。
Two minds = one work, two tensions = one rapport.
Collaborations take up a vital position in visual art since the early 50s where we have the famous case of Robert Rauschenberg‘s 1953 Erased de Kooning Drawing.1 While we have artists grouping together to collate common interest and ideas to express an artistic agenda, there are also individuals who are drawn to a particular cause to take on realities that exist within the visual art arena. Through the act of collaborating, the association of individuals begin to interconnect, deriving differences and similarities in narratives and modes of expression.
Sparkling Double relates to the unique collaborative fusion between Yan Lei’s visions with two languages, one being the sprayed and stenciled markings of graffiti and the second, CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – Swarovski Elements. Attempting to explore the processes shared between each other and of their own, what is produced reflects on inter-textual experiences, based on interpretations and re-interpretations of images produced.
This exhibition is segmented into three components. The first is a roomful of assorted paintings created by Yan Lei in the past two years. To make a reflection is how one could possibly describe the artist’s nonchalant approach towards his paintings. The artist is known to capture and document extensively through his camera, wherever his trips take him to; usually images that are either personal or etched within a particular context that is often related to cultural realities. As he has once expressed, “Painting is after all a mindless re-presentation of an image you might see in a photograph. The process of making that painting has become superfluous.”2
The artist went on to select and transfer the photos onto his canvases, moving into unassuming evocations of pictorial diaries that are formally direct, intriguing in shade and tone, and often elliptical in thematic emphasis. It could just be paintings based on reproducing other artists’ seminal works, curatorial figures he worked with, postcard-like imageries of certain landscapes and periods and portraitures of significant personalities. Like a wandering soul caught up in the whirlwinds of the global art arena, Yan Lei, however, still attempts to maintain shrewd perspectives towards contextual behaviours and circumstances and playing with significations between cultural expressions and daily narratives.
The second component of the exhibition is an equally monopolisation of two artistic expressions within one panel. Hong Kong remains a special place in his heart for Yan Lei for he had once briefly lived and worked there. Much integrated into the Hong Kong art community, the artist had built alliance and friendship with some of the local artists. For this show, Yan Lei has called upon his Hong Kong friend and fellow artist, Syan, better known as MC Yan in Hong Kong’s contemporary culture scene, about the possibility of creating spontaneously on his paintings.
Bringing along his arrays of spray cans and self-made markers, some of which were created using a mixture of liquid shoe polish and special solvents, MC Yan tagged the chosen paintings with motifs of archetypical Chinese courtyards with back gardens. There are also compositions that only feature the graffiti signature of MC Yan, overlapped against the appropriated images in Yan Lei’s paintings. By the very action of their teamed artworks, a dialogue is unavoidable concerning the transitory nature of authorship. Meanings shift, visions code and recode. The photo-copied style of Yan Lei’s paintings has been in turned subverted by repeated graphic sequences in MC Yan’s sprayed markings.
The dynamism of hues in these paintings, paint colours that are custom-produced in all of Yan Lei’s works, and the different graffiti techniques applied by MC Yan constitute greatly to the nature of the final expression. Thus, the exploration here challenges both artist’s ebb and flow of ideas, which in turn, questions the characteristic of whether can or should an artwork be qualified to exist only in accordance to one artist’s own style/discourse or not.
12 paintings were completed and the end results reflected a profundity in which both artists accept the individuality of each other with openness and shared inspiration. There is the hybridity of which something new, created by mixture of qualitative ideas and styles, co-exists to generate a visual language different from any of their own previous creations.
The final component of the exhibition involves only two but intricately-constructed sculptural works that were made with CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – Swarovski Elements.
The shape of a cross is made up of 4 words: SEX, SPEED, SUCK, SHOW – linked up by an enlarged S in the middle. This sculpture marries a traditional iconography, once reserved only for religious purposes but is now commonly associated with popular culture, with the artist’s own Pop propaganda of “Eternal Value”, a crystal slogan created by Yan Lei made with CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – Swarovski Elements. The entire piece is made up of large crystals in addition to a red glow emanating from within the back. An attention-grabber for sure, the sculpture aptly questions the current belief system of an increasingly profuse self-glamorised societies, a common denominator that we, as perpetual consumers, are all part of.
The other sculpture is simply a heart-shaped mirror with the same 4 words carved out in the center with tiny CRYSTALLIZEDÔ – Swarovski Elements, while neon glow surrounds the back of the piece. This artwork plays a complementary role to the accompanying sculpture in that when standing in front of it, the mirroring of oneself creates a notion of the ideal versus the reality. Put together, the two sculptures are capable of stirring a complex, yet sensuous, representation of individual phenomena.
Duality and Unity, first described by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Director and Chief Curator of Aspen Art Museum, of themes that emerged in Yan Lei’s strategies, are exactly in play in this exhibition. The double ‘surfaces’ that sparkle in the artworks called to attention Yan Lei’s evocation of signature, style and self. It is in the collaborative processes that are stemmed more from a keen consent to empower the act of artistic liberation within himself and the involved partners. Which, ultimately, lead us into the notion of the mutable nature in artistic identity itself.
1 Back then, Rauschenberg managed to pursuade master painter Willem de Kooning to give him a drawing to erase and then presented it as Rauschenberg’s own piece of art. Insisting that his work was meant as a gesture of respect and not a personal assault, this action by Rauschenberg still somehow managed to raise a critical issue on how far artists are taking on the conventions of artistic structures in a moment of freedom and expression.
by Josef Ng
2 Taken from an interview in Super Lights-Hong Kong exhibition catalogue, 2006