The Elysée Treaty and Curatorial Strategies of Reconciliation

From: Randian

By Thomas Eller(艾墨思)

Translated by Ling

爱丽舍条约与策展的和解策略

值挽救德法关系于水火的《爱丽舍条约》(the Elysée contract)签署50周年之际,近日由法德共同主办、由法德驻华大使馆联合主持的一场抱负不凡的研讨会在位于杭州的中国美术学院举行。与会嘉宾精英荟萃,来自国际上的策展人、哲学家与艺术家汇聚一堂探讨“和解的策略:策展实践”及其他。这一会谈概念当然是缘自德法关系史无前例的成功可以如何被借鉴来反思一直不甚和睦的中日关系。然而,席上未见一位日本学者或策展人,为期两天的会谈颇为沉重地框限于单一的话题方向。加之主题演讲者之一、中国社科院文学所教授孙歌显然就此避而不谈。她在描述并分析了位于日本的包括颇具争议的种族主义纪念馆靖国神社在内的三座纪念馆、与一座南美朝重新统一纪念馆后,婉言提出中日关系可类比于20世纪中期德犹关系的想法,并立即招来了在座中国学者关于反犹表态的糟糕误解。事实清晰却遗憾地反应出他们对犹太人作为一个独立种族被德国从经济上加以掠夺的误解…这让孙教授花了不少力气去反驳这些观点。不过,在当天接下来的讨论环节以及第二天的非公开讨论中不断被提出的仍是中国血肉之躯依旧绽开着的伤口。在场的一位中国教授一再引用柏拉图的《战争的艺术》。所有这些讨论与中国总理李克强访问毗邻波茨坦的西林霍夫宫的行程可谓巧合,那里正是二战之后同盟国讨论世界新秩序、并鼓动日本重返中国领土的地方。

似乎每隔一段时间,与会嘉宾就会被提醒将话题拉回主旨:“和解的策略”。尤其是歌德学院(中国北京)负责人彼得.安德斯(Peter Anders), 他总试图将大家的关注点集中在策展实践。第十届卡塞尔文献展的艺术总监卡特林娜•达维特(Catherine David)分享了她与目前仍处于武装冲突的中东与阿尔及利亚地区的艺术家合作的经历,早在19世纪90年代她就开始了与这些艺术家的沟通。作为冷战结束之后重理(re-mapping)世界版图的先锋之一,达维特将公众的注意力导向了那些被第一世界的现代主义中心所忽略的地区。

她的发言将讨论向后殖民研究更推进了一步,上海双年展联合策展人之一高士明也就此回应道,帝国主义其实在世界各地都仍旧十分活跃。他建议将“和解”作为一种超越后殖民主义的策略本身、而非一种解决方案;那么策展实践将提供实现这种策略的平台。同济大学欧洲文化研究院副院长、哲学教授陆兴华将这种不满情绪归结于如下三个原因:其一、日本仍未就战时对中方犯下的罪行道歉;其二、来自不同方面对历史的诠释总在互相打架;其三、策展人们应当齐心协力,有计划地对此类内容达成共识,从而创建全新的政策,那么问题在于,究竟是“哪些政策”呢?

卡特林娜•达维特立马发声捍卫独立策展实践,因为这永远不会被列上国家政治议程。她强调,艺术的意义恰在于渗透在社会和政治现实中的艺术创造的微妙,然而这种意义的关联性是特质的。“冒险!精确!”是她贯穿整场研讨的口头禅。

下一位发言人是张颂仁,著名画廊汉雅轩的发起人与上海双年展的组织者之一,对他称之为“当代的时刻”的宣扬直指向现代主义和被其所压抑的历史。在重提了文化大革命如何迫使中国接受现代主义之后,他怀疑侵略或殖民的概念是否既已嵌入中国的“基因链”,该比喻在他反复提及自共产主义革命以来中国所经历的根本性变革时多次出现。陆兴华对此表示认同,提出“当代的时刻”是和解可能发生的唯一所在,除非中国真的发展到所谓“世界大同”的境界。该比喻作为一个跳板,引向了高士明对“艺术的升级系统”激情澎湃的宣言。他提出,后殖民理论未能充分论述资本对全球化进程的影响,倘若全世界意图驶向新自由主义,则策展实践理应担当“排演”的角色,而艺术家无须再向其“观众”进行“叙述”或“保证”。那些试图这么做的人、试图以此替代社会语境的人,将会发现自己恰恰身处其中。对他而言,策展不是一种组织工作,而是一种动员:将个体与整个社会联结起来的纽带。策展人必须将所有人的能量、想象的能量都调动起来——艺术家应以超逾常规实践的方式探讨整个社会。“这是一个精神的时刻!”他如是呼吁自由与解放。

可惜,热阿纳•多特雷(Jehanne Dautrey)的发言完全迷失在翻译中了。这场法德官方合作的会议,却使用中英双语互译,主要是为了便于中文的翻译。然而多特雷的发言却用的是法语,结果导致要从法语先翻译成中文、再从中文辗转翻译为英语。

高士明在这两天高密度的会谈临近尾声时提到,“和解”一词,作为会计专用语,指 会计科目对账。 那些未能对账的旧账早晚会被翻出,最终总得有人买单… 话音刚落,他已在前往学院的一场预算会议的路上了。

活动链接:http://www.s-i-m-a.org/sima/site/?p=777

嘉宾:

卡特林娜•达维特(Catherine David,策展人,艺术史学家)、孙歌(中国社科院文学所教授,北京)、张颂仁(策展人,中国美术学院客座教授,香港)、高士明(中国美术学院跨媒体艺术学院院长,杭州)、陆兴华(哲学家,同济大学欧洲文化研究院副院长,上海)、热阿纳•多特雷(Jehanne Dautrey,哲学家)、凯•图赫曼(Kai Tuchmann,导演、剧作家、戏剧学家)、李旭(哲学家,浙江省社会科学院,杭州)、托马斯•埃勒尔(Thomas Eller,艺术家、策展人)、周诗岩 (中国美术学院视觉文化系主任,杭州)、郑波(艺术家,跨媒体艺术学院副教授,杭州)、周展安(上海大学中文系副教授,上海)

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty, which ended a disastrous century of arch enmity between France and Germany, a very ambitious conference was held at the renowned China Academy of Arts in Hangzhou. Co-organized by the Goethe Institute and the Institut Français under the auspices of both the French and the German embassies, a fine roster of international curators, philosophers and artists discussed “Strategies of Reconciliation” in curatorial practice and beyond. The general idea, of course, was to use the unprecedented success of French-German relations as a precedent for the chronically inflamed situation between China and Japan. Without any Japanese scholars or curators attending, however, the two-day affair was heavily tilted in one direction. Additionally, there was a clear refusal by one of the keynote speakers, Sun Ge, a historian and professor at the Institute for Literature at the China Academy of Social Sciences to bite the bait. After describing and analyzing three memorial sites, among which the contentiously nationalist Yasukuni Shrine in Japan and a memorial for the re-unification of North and South Korea, she hazarded the thought that the relationship between China and Japan would best be described in analogy to the mid-20th Century German–Jewish relationship, a notion that brought out the worst anti-Semitic misunderstandings in the attending Chinese student body.

It became painfully clear that they viewed the Jewish population as a separate race that had financially plundered Germany — and it took the author of this text quite some effort to refute all these notions. What remained however and also flared up again on the following day of closed-door discussions was the open wound in China’s flesh. One of the professors present wouldn’t stop quoting Plato’s “The Art of War.” All of this coincided with Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit in Schloss Cecilienhof near Potsdam (where the Allied Forces negotiated the new world order after WWII), calling on Japan to return Chinese territory.

Every once in a while someone appealed to reason and reminded everybody of the subject of the conference, “Strategies of Reconciliation.” Peter Anders, director of the Goethe Institute Beijing, in particular tried to keep the focus on curatorial practices. Catherine David, the curator of Documenta X, talked about her extensive experience with artists in the Middle East, and Algeria in particular as a current conflict zone, with whom she has been negotiating since the 1990s. David was an early pioneer in the “re-mapping” of the world after the end of the cold war, shifting collective attention towards areas of the world that had been omitted by modernism’s centers in the first world.

Gao Shiming with Chang (Johnson) Tsong Zung

This thrust the discussion deep into the realms of Post-Colonial Studies, which prompted Gao Shiming, multiple co-curator of Shanghai Biennales to respond with a statement that clarified that imperialism is still very much alive everywhere on the planet. He suggested viewing “reconciliation” not as a solution but “as” the strategy itself to enter into a world beyond post-colonialism. Curatorial practices would then serve to provide platforms on which this could be played out. Lu Xinghua, professor of philosophy at Tongji University, deemed this unsatisfactory as a) an apology for wartime crimes from Japan is still missing, and b) memories by different parties always continue to fight one another, so c) there must be a concerted effort by the curator to strategically align such content in order to create new policies, begging the question “which policies?”

Catherine David immediately stepped up to defend independent curatorial practices as something that may never be co-opted by political agendas of states. The relevance of art, she claimed, lies in the subtlety of artistic production that is deeply immersed in the social and political realms abd yet is highly idiosyncratic. “Take risks! Be precise!” was her mantra throughout the conference.

She was followed by Johnson Chang, the well-known founder of Hanart TZ and a Shanghai Biennale organizer, mobilizing what he called the “moment of the contemporary” as resistance against modernism and the history it has repressed. Reflecting back on how the Cultural Revolution had forced China to adopt modernism, he wondered whether to deem that an invasion or a colonization became part of China’s “genetic code,” a metaphor he used repeatedly to underscore the depth of the substantial change China underwent since the Communist Revolution. Lu Xinghua responded in agreement, calling the “moment of the contemporary” the only space where reconciliation could happen — however only if China pushed itself into what he called a position of “cosmopolitanism.”  This trope served as a springboard for Gao Shiming’s passionate statement for an “upgraded system of art.” After accusing post-colonial discourse of failing to gauge the impact of capital on the process of globalization, as leading the whole world straight into neo-liberalism, he called for curatorial practices that are to serve as “rehearsals” at which artists no longer should “narrate” and “engage” their “audiences.”  Those who think they can do all that and replace the social context will just find themselves exactly being part of it. Curation, to his view, is not organization; it is mobilization, a link-up between the individual and the whole of society. A curator has to call up the energy of everybody, the energies of imagination — artists should talk about the whole of society beyond conventional practices. “This is a mental moment!” he said and called for liberation and emancipation.

Jehanne Dautrey’s contribution unfortunately was completely lost in translation. As the conference — unusually for an official French-German meeting — was held in English and Chinese in order to facilitate an easier translation into Chinese, her speech was conducted in French, first translated into Mandarin and then from Mandarin into English.

In closing the two days of intense conversations Gao Shiming reminded everybody that in accountant language, reconciliation means the checking of your bills against your accounts. That which cannot be reconciled will be presented again; in the end there is always someone how has to pay the bills…and then he went off to a budget meeting of his university.

Participants:

Catherine David (curator, art historian), Sun Ge (professor at the Institute for Literature at the China Academy of Social Sciences), Johnson Chang (curator, guest professor at China Academy of Arts), Gao Shiming (dean of the School of InterMedia Arts, China Academy of Arts), Lu Xinghua (philosopher, Tongji university) , Jehanne Dautrey (philosopher), Kai Tuchmann (theater and film director), Li Xu (philosopher, Zhejiang Academy for Social Sciences) , Thomas Eller (artist, curator). Zhou Shiyan (dean of the Faculty of Visual Culture, at the China Academy of Arts), Zheng Bo (artist, professor at the School of InterMedia Arts, China Academy of Arts) , Zhou Zhan’an (professor at the Institute for Language, Shanghai University).

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