Li Binyuan: Magic and/or Trick

From Randian

By Richard Kuan

Translated by Ling

厉槟源:魔法和/或戏法

我有病:厉槟源个展

杨画廊 (北京市朝阳区酒仙桥路2号798艺术区创意广场东侧20库)2013年8月24–9月22日

魔术师能够使人惊奇,并激发重新思考。好的魔术师并不依赖戏法;恰相反,他能够化腐朽为神奇,将不起眼的视效提升到优雅悦目的高度。一个初出茅庐的魔术师只能干涩地排演幻觉——不经转化,只落得了无生趣的把戏,招观者的猜忌,不过是重复罢了。但是,最杰出的表演者与魔术师可将我们带出信与不信的疆界,引领我们步入梦幻的平行现实。

杨画廊举办的厉槟源个展《我有病》中,头一个展厅角落里有一盏《神灯》:一盏老旧的煤油灯罩里安放着一个等离子灯球,它散发出令人惊奇的视觉效果,手摸上去会出现小闪电。厉槟源将这高科技的灯泡装在老旧的古董灯里,成功地向观者呈现了这组值得玩味的、诗意的、特别的对比;这种处理方法,马歇尔·杜尚、Urs Fischer与Gabriele Orozco都用过;他好比是说大话的人,变戏法的人、诗人。

Li Binyuan, “I Have Issues”, exhibition view
历槟源,《我有病》,展览场景

《神灯》只是多产的艺术家拿出手的作品之一。同场展出的还有一个可口可乐瓶子,瓶口套了一个气球,标题叫《越晃越大》,可乐里的二氧化碳充入气球,使之变大。还有《被禁锢的舌头》,两块空心砖之间夹着一条舌头,一旦有人在其可探测范围内活动,便会开始上下颤动起来,这与Urs Fischer的《Noisette》太像了。一枚停在木螺栓的小鸟。《春秋》挺幽默的,但也仅限于电风扇基座上插着手摇扇子的实物组合,从现场体验或创作概念上并无甚突破。然而,有些作品还是有其复杂性,传达着某些意义,而有些作品则感觉像是失败的尝试——就好像拙劣的技法无从自我超越、亦无法自我转化。不过,仍有些作品因其浪漫主义色彩而更有意思:如《一万年太久》,一把锁的锁环上套着一把钥匙,永远在一起;如《回声》,不知疲惫、永无休止地通过自我复制的回声创造一个声音及其无限的循环。

Li Binyuan, “The Link”, video installation, 2013

最终,展厅中的所有作品是由多组视频串联起来的,并赋予雕塑类作品一个另外的维度。这些架在航运货盘上的电视机柜散布在展厅,40部录像作品透过屏幕将艺术家邀入现场,并与观者互动。

厉槟源的作品被冠以一个恰当的标签——“行为与录像”,它们是对其特定行为的记录,看上去,这也是延展其生活的一种方式,而非他在其本来的生活之外开辟一种新的生活或仅仅是“表演”一种生活。在作品《共振》中,每当背景中路经的火车鸣笛,厉槟源就起身一跳;在《无间》里,他将每天早晨的惯例动作搬到了地铁里:刷牙、洗脸、刮胡子。他臭名昭著的望京裸奔录像片段同样被纳入此次展览,与之一同展出的还有他被问及如何看待网友热烈反响的一段采访。

Li Binyuan, “I Have Issues”, exhibition view
历槟源,《我有病》,展览场景

厉槟源明白,从不同程度上,艺术都会同其创造者、表现者、即艺术家一起被感知和理解。他充分利用个中的危险联系,并将之夸大为他的每一个行为——即便是抱着黑色十字架裸奔这类荒谬至极的行径——藉由这些行为,他得以推广、深化并冲撞其实践。在这些记录其日常生活点滴的录像中,不论是外向反应、还是内向自省,类似于《越晃越大》的作品更显幽默,而《一万年太久》则多了一层挖苦的意味;《春秋》则感觉不那么正式,多了些随意与玩味。也仅在这些瞬间,我们才能发现一点转化的苗头,发现一点艺术家赋予作品的刻意构建的灵光,这种组合确能让我们会心一笑并为之着迷。不管这最终的观感证明这些作品是诱人佳作抑或不过是一连串恶作剧,都不能简单将之归因于艺术家“有病”;至于是否“有病”,还得看官判定。

I Have Issues“: Li Binyuan solo exhibiton

Gallery Yang (Unit 47&48, N2 Building, North Village Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang Distric Beijing, China) Aug 24—Sept 22, 2013

A magician can astonish, surprise and make one reconsider. A good magician does not rely on tricks; instead, he transmutes the most unassuming visual sleight of hand into a heightened arena of elegance and amusement. An inexperienced magician rehearses illusions — untransformed, resulting in a lifeless rendition which burdens the audience with doubt and repetition. But the greatest of performers and magicians can lift our minds away from the realm of belief and disbelief, and transport us to a parallel reality where things just seem to be a bit more fantastical.

One of the first pieces in Li Binyuan’s exhibition, “I Have Issues” at Gallery Yang is a piece tucked into a corner of the first room and entitled “Magic Lantern”. The piece is comprised of a tarnished, aged lantern with the light source replaced by a plasma lamp, which functions similarly to a lava lamp, used mostly for its curious visual effects and sporadic reaction to touch. By juxtaposing the impractical but hi-tech light source with the obsolete antique lantern housing, Li has the ability to pique our interest with a playful, poetic and peculiar contrast, a gesture which artist such as Marcel Duchamp, Urs Fischer, and Gabriele Orozco have all used. There is a trace of the magician, the charlatan, the trickster, the poet.

Yet “Magic Lantern” is only a single act of a prolific production. There is a Coca-Cola bottle with a balloon attached to it, inflated by the carbon dioxide from the drink (“Bigger with Swaying”). There is the tongue jammed between two cinderblocks which wiggles when it detects movement within its proximity (“Imprisoned Tongue”), awfully similar to Urs Fischer’s piece “Noisette.” A bird hangs from a wooden stud, while “Fan on Fan,” though quite humorous, does not seem to move physically or conceptually beyond its static assemblage. While some of the work attains a certain complexity with limited means, others feel like failed attempts — tricks unable to transform themselves beyond their bleak construction. There are, however, some works in which the romanticism is endearing: “Ten Thousand Years Too Long” consists of a key clasped within its lock, stuck forever. “Echo,” which operates in a restless, tired manner, creates a sound that will become its own echo, amounting to a never-ending cycle.

Ultimately, it is the video which weaves together the objects present in the show, giving the sculptural works an added dimension. Playing from television sets stacked on top of shipping palettes scattered throughout the gallery, the forty video works here introduce the artist in the immediate environment, and allow the performer himself to interact with the audience.

Li’s videos, aptly labelled “behaviour and video,” are documents of specific behaviour which seem more like a way to extend his life than to live or “perform” a life outside his own. In “Resonance,” Li hops in time with the regular shuttling sounds of a passing train; in “No Gap Between,” he performs his morning ritual—brushing his teeth, washing his face and shaving—on the public subway. Footage of his notorious streaking in Wangjing is also included, as well as an interview in which he responds to its reception.

Li understands that in varying degrees, art is perceived alongside the artist who creates and presents it. He takes ample advantage of this precarious connection, and magnifies his every action — even if it is as ridiculous as streaking while carrying a black cross — to promote, complicate and contradict his practice. In placing these videos—recorded fragments of his everyday life, either outwardly reactionary or inwardly contemplative—within the context of the show, the balloon which sits above the coke bottle seems to become more humorous, for example, and “Ten Thousand Years Too Long” attains an additional layer of sullen sarcasm; “Fan on Fan” somehow feels less formal and a little more spontaneous and playful. It is only in these moments when there is a hint of transformation, and when the constructed aura of the artist permeates the work, that a combination with the ability to captivate, enchant and make us smile arises. Whether this proves alluring or comes across simply as a series of pranks which cannot be taken seriously by one who “has issues” is for the viewer to decide for themselves.

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About Ling

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