桃花源记 The Tale of Peach Blossom Spring

来源: 燃点

撰文: 顾灵

桃花谷仙梦“, 刘传宏个展

千高原艺术空间 (四川省成都市芳沁街87号) 2012年12月24日至2013年2月23日

桃花源在陶渊明笔下是个偶然寻得的小村庄,隐于山野深处,村中人不闻世事,黄发垂髫皆怡然自乐,阡陌交通且鸡犬相闻,一派祥和。这无疑是归隐者的好安身。中国古代文人不乏隐者,隐者不想让别人找到,所以才常会碰到寻隐者不遇的状况。隐者有怀才不遇的,有被朝廷政治嫌弃的,有自己看不惯社会现实于是走得远远的。他们中大多数人都很有才华,琴棋书画诗文样样精通,在山中更是能做出上乘之作,只是少有观众,多是自己给自己看。中国现代社会,也不时耳闻某艺术家到乡下购置田地,耕作劳动,自给自足,远离城市,去到安静缓慢的乡村节奏中创作。

中国当代乡村的现实存于城市化与现代化的边缘,壮年劳力大多远走他乡前往大城市谋生,留在村中的多为老人孩子,祖上留下的土地与屋子也逐渐被标准化的安置配给所取代。记忆被起重机和混凝土扬起的灰尘遮蔽,血红的历史之瀑随着加快的时间飞速流淌直至褪色为透明。中国山水的图景前所未有地雾气迷蒙,无从描绘。

刘传宏的油画,骨子里是中国山水的墨韵,却用点彩画成,结合层层晕染,始终罩着月色的朦胧,山间的云雾。自2002年,他在河南省林县桃花洞村的生活赋予了《山林绘本》系列以生命。不知是黎明抑或黄昏的山峦影线映着薄云,山上的树与山面的岩同样寂寞;不知是冰冻的湖面抑或氤氲的雾霭掩着残叶,纤弱的枝条没精打采地追忆着;不知是群山抑或峡谷,娇嫩欲滴的桃花瓣儿却透着无尽的寒冷。杆竹摇曳着风的声响,积雪的白反倒为山野林地染了颜色,添了精神。无人或有人的路,遍铺了可见与不可见的足迹。

刘传宏头顶斗笠、手提布包、穿着朴素,走入自己的画中,变身林冲或许文强,边写日记边赶路。《水浒传》与《上海滩》的情节融合到了刘传宏的日记里,故事在失焦的山水中徘徊。与画作和手记一同贯穿始终的,还有自行编绘的地图。艺术家一丝不苟地勾画出河流、山川、存在或不存在的地名,依循着地理的标记,规划出创作的脉络,点出自己所处的位置。

在脉络的另一头,是刘传宏对历史现实的回忆与强调。他从地图出发,伪造了各种档案,以桃花洞村山脚下真实的红旗渠为参照,创作了《月光下的红旗渠》(2006-2010)。这件作品由两部分组成,一为“刘三先生”的“自传”《我的一生》,一为《宏兴客栈》,均是艺术家用自己收集的1978年产素描纸及旧宣纸、水彩纸绘制而成。刘传宏认真却稚拙的笔迹讲述了“刘三”、宏兴客栈与红旗渠镇从民国初年至改革开放的历史,三条平行的线索提取并展开了跌宕起伏的几十年间的关键事件,浓缩并投射在一个人、一个组织与一个城镇这三个维度。所有文件的假造痕迹都颇为明显,他并不在乎这些自述史会被当真还是识破,他在乎的是这一整套讲故事的图画与文本,可以督促观者保持对过去的认知与反思。通过编年法及“事实”陈述,时间被抽象为一种不真实的存在,反照出当下生活的不真实。历史快速地递推为现在,现在只是一个瞬间,未来却不断地朝后退。

在当代艺术界重访古典文人画、宣扬水墨精气神的风潮之下,装扮大过实在,天人合一的通透往往缺席。难得刘传宏,图文并茂地讲述了古往今来的地道故事,并在与史料、政治、经济的触碰中还挟着必不可少的幽默。早在2001年,刘传宏首个油画系列《西游记》中,艺术家扮成唐玄奘前往深山湖海寻访隐士;当时的仙梦已成真,刘传宏找到了桃花源,成为了隐士。

Fairy Dreams in Peach-Blossom-Valley,” Liu Chuanhong Solo Exhibition

A Thousand Plateaus Art Space (No. 87 Fangqin Street, Gaoxin District, Chengdu) Dec 24, 2012 – Feb 23, 2013

The ancient poet Tao Yuanming describes Peach Blossom Spring as a small village one stumbles upon by chance. It is a pristine paradise hidden deep in the wilderness of mountains, where its inhabitants are protected from the outside world; the old and young alike live in harmony with the birds and beasts. Undoubtedly, it would be the perfect sanctuary for a recluse, and there have been no shortage of hermits in the Chinese literary tradition. Writers and poets in ancient China had their many motivations for seeking solitude. Some cloistered themselves because they felt neglected by those in power, others fell out of political favor, and still others could not live with the vagaries of life and simply turned away from society. Many among them were talented in all the traditional arts (the qin zither, go/weiqi, calligraphy, painting, poetry, literature). Hidden away in the mists of the mountains, they could hone their crafts even more. But in the utopia of Peach Blossom Spring, one makes art for oneself, not for an audience. In the contemporary society of modern China, one still hears rumors of this or that artist vacating to the countryside, purchasing some land, and finding fulfillment by working in the fields. By retiring from the city, they seek to nurture their creativity by moving with the slower rhythms of a life far from the crowd.

However, the reality of rural life in contemporary China exists on the margins of urbanization and modernization. The majority of working youth abandons the village and heads to the cities to eke out a life, leaving behind the very young and the very old. The tradition of passing down land and homes from one generation to the next has gradually been replaced by standardized rehousing policies. Memory is obscured by the dust of cranes and cement mixers. The blood-red flow of history has become so diluted by the swift torrent of time that it is nearly transparent. The landscape of China’s future is unprecedentedly foggy, but there is no one left to paint us a picture.

Liu Chuanhong’s oil paintings have the ink-filled poetry of traditional Chinese landscapes, but they are done through a combination of pointillism and layering. In his paintings, moonlight shines through the haze, and clouds continuously move through the high mountains. Since 2002, he has lived in Lin County, located in Henan Province, and his time spent in his village (the anglicized name of which happens to be Peach Blossom Hollow) has imbued the series Mountain Forest Picture Book with soul. His ambiguous hills of dawn or dusk are limned with traces of mist; trees and stones alike evoke a sense of melancholy. It is unclear if his fallen leaves are covered by frozen water or rolling mist, while above, the bare and fragile limbs of the trees stretch toward them as if in longing. Liu’s paintings depict mountain ranges that could be valleys, and he draws delicately supple peach blossoms that evoke a boundless chill. The bamboo forests seem to sway to the sound of the wind, while the white of fallen snow does not bleach the wilderness of the forest but instead adds an element of vitality. The many paths in his painting are at times occupied, at times not, and they are covered with footprints that appear and disappear.

Liu dons a bamboo hat and enters his paintings; cloth bag in hand, dressed in plain homespun garb, he transforms into his childhood heroes — Lin Chong of The Water Margin or fictionalized Shanghai gangster Xu Wenqiang. Diary in hand, he sets out for adventure. The storylines of The Water Marginand Shanghai Bund (Shanghai Tan) are inexorably linked to Liu’s narrative, as it wends its way through the hazy scenery of his paintings. His drawings and hand-written notes, along with his personalized maps, are part of a unified whole. The artist meticulously lays out rivers and mountain ranges, notating place names which may or may not exist. He maps out the geography, delineating the veins and grid of his creativity, pinpointing his position in this world.

On the other side of the grid is Liu’s emphasis on history and memory. Using his maps as a starting point, he has forged all sorts of alternate realities. Referencing the real Red Flag Canal at the foot of the mountain where his village is situated, he created the series, The Moonlit Red Flag Canal (2006-2010). The series takes its name from the third part which is preceded by the “autobiography” of a “Liu the Third,” entitled “My Life,” and “Hongxing Warehouse.” All three parts are hand-drawn on sketch paper dating from 1978, and on old rice paper and watercolor paper. In the first part, Liu Chuanhong tells the story of “Liu the Third” with sincerity that does not eliminate flair. “Hongxing Warehouse” and “The Moonlit Red Flag Canal” describe the history of the town starting with the inception of the Republic of China and ending with the reform and opening-up of the nation. The three parallel narratives extract and expand on key events taking place over the course of a few tumultuous decades. It focuses the audience’s attention on the three dimensions of person, organization, and community. All of the documents in this series are obviously fraudulent, because the artist does not care if his audience will take him at his word or see through his manufactured history. It is the whole of the story told through these images and texts that Liu finds significant. Through the entirety of his work, he urges his audience to recognize and reflect upon the past. Liu abstracts time into a false construct, with his chronological arrangement of so-called facts, reflecting the untruths existing in contemporary life. History rapidly insinuates itself into the present, the present only lasts an instant, and the future continuously recedes into the past.

With the current eagerness of contemporary Chinese artists to imitate the paintings of ancient masters, and the tendency of some of these artists to exaggerate their tradition and literature infused personae, the feeling of being one with nature is often absent. That is why Liu Chuanhong’s authentically illustrated narrative is a rare gem indeed. His ability to inject necessary humor into the mix of historical material, politics, and economics makes his work all the more unusual. As early as 2001, Liu inserted himself into his first series of oil paintings entitled Journey to the West as Buddhist monk, Xuanzang, journeying into the wilderness in search of solitude. Over a decade later, Liu Chuanhong has found his Peach Blossom Spring, and become the solitary wanderer of his dreams.

 

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