Review “Plastic History” Heidi Voet: 500 Years

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常住上海的比利时艺术家海蒂•芙欧特用塑料袋做了一大批新作品,其个展“500年”于5月29日在Bank开幕。据艺术家本人介绍,这场展览的筹备期长达一年,她还在此期间读了许多书,了解大量历史知识;然而知识并未显见地被消化为作品的表现。笔者曾于2012年拜访过芙欧特与其先生林明弘共享且互为独立的工作室,与后者广受欢迎地在全球各地制作场地特定的装置壁画不同,芙欧特的大型装置仅以被K11上海永久收藏的电子表地毯为代表。当时,她正在养一些土豆,等土豆发芽后剥皮氧化发黑,并将之雕刻成类似非洲部落雕像的样子;还有一系列女性身体与蔬果结合的照片。芙欧特对女性、原始文明、当代媒介与现代主义的兴趣与综合探讨一直延续至今。

好几万只崭新的塑料袋被用作编织的绳线,其中绝大多数是黑色的(令人不禁想到垃圾袋),17面由此编织而成的国旗有序排列、挂在墙上。这些经艺术家考据、曾经存在、现已消失的国家的旗帜,仿佛都染着历史的污渍与尘土,显得脏兮兮的,当然是因为黑色塑料袋。然而这些蓬头垢面的衰亡的国家与权力的象征,对艺术家而言,或许也是一种视觉的寓言:因为不可降解或难以降解,塑料袋在世上的存活周期已然长过了这些曾经的国家。虽然塑料袋的寿命很长,但其使用寿命往往相当短暂,以至于国家与商家都在鼓励消费者循环使用;近年来中国政府还出台了政策要求商家必须出售、而非免费赠送塑料袋以限制消费者对塑料袋的轻视、从而旨在减少塑料袋的一次性使用。作为材料,塑料袋很自然地让人联想到生态环保问题,然而被用作创作材料并非罕见。例如另一位曾用塑料袋做作品的上海艺术家陈航峰,他对塑料袋的使用更多嵌入了中国的文人意向;而芙欧特利用的则是塑料袋的韧性而非透明轻盈的质感,凸显出塑料袋非常态的牢固耐用。

另外现场还有14件大大小小的人像雕塑,同样用塑料袋编制而成,其中还有两具真人大小的雕像,一具站着,一具躺着。有趣的是,这些类似原始部落雕像的织物下方的底座,大多都由数根黑色短条交错构成,看上去并非稳固的结构,木条顶端大多涂有红、黄、蓝色。荷兰家具设计师、建筑师Gerrit Rietveld于1918年设计、并于1923年最终完成的“红蓝椅”(The Red and Blue Chair)象征着“风格艺术运动”(De Stijl art movement)以三维形式所作的首次尝试,此种极简的形式与颜色、横纵结构的视觉组合,即当时蒙德里安笔下的“新造型主义”(Neo-plasticism)。眼前的这些支架结构仿佛是在重访上述运动的同时,格外强调一种身份及其来源,而其作为支架,正是它们支撑起了这些似是而非的雕像。

身份的杂糅与倒置同样体现在同场展出的一组摄影中,每张照片都有两种不同的水果,但各自裹着的果皮却来自不同的水果,比如一个苹果裹着的是一只生梨的果皮,反之亦然。这组引人发笑且论点鲜明的轻盈之作,与另外两组系列共同构成了一场完整、清晰、精巧的展览。如果一定要说有什么不足,或许展览标题可以不拘泥于所谓的塑料袋的降解年限。毕竟,500年在中国很容易被解读为转世轮回的因缘周期,正如著名影片《大话西游》深入人心的召唤。最后,夏天将至,这么多易燃的塑料袋,展厅务必要小心火烛呀。

本文节选原载于 燃点Randian http://www.randian-online.com/zh/np_review/plastic-history/

海蒂·芙欧特:500年

2015.05.29-2015.07.10

BANK,中国上海市黄浦区香港路59号1楼,mabsociety.com

For her new exhibition “500 Years”, Heidi Voet, a Belgian artist residing in Shanghai, featured a number of new works made with plastic bags. According to the artist, the exhibition has been a year in the making, with readings and research in history. In 2012, I once visited Voet and her husband Michael Lin in their shared studio. Voet was then growing potatoes; when they were ready, she peeled them and waited for them to oxidize and turn black before carving them to resemble tribal carvings from Africa. There was also a series of photographs of female bodies combined with fruits and vegetables, as well as a plastic carpet woven out of plastic digital watches (which has since been collected by the K11 collection). To this day, Voet has kept up with her interest and explorations in female identity, primitivism, contemporary media, and modernism.

In this exhibition, tens of thousands of plastic bags have been woven into seventeen flags hung in an orderly fashion along the wall; most of the bags used are black (one cannot help but think of garbage bags). These flags of states which once existed but have now disappeared are the results of the artist’s research, looking tainted by the dirt and dust of history, which the black plastic only adds to. Yet these unkempt, fallen symbols of nations and power are, for the artist, a visual allegory, perhaps: their resistance to decay means the plastic bags will last far longer than these fallen nations.

The exhibition also features fourteen humanoid sculptures of varying sizes, also made of woven plastic bags. Among them are two life-size sculptures, one standing and one reclining. Noteworthy are the bases below these primitive woven sculptures, composed as they are of short, overlapping black strips of wood that look structurally unstable. The tops of these wooden strips are painted red, yellow, and blue. One thinks of how in 1918–1923, the Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld designed The Red and Blue Chair, the first attempt at a three-dimensional form within the De Stijl art movement; Mondrian set forth the delimitations of Neo-Plasticism as reduction of form and color in compositions of vertical and horizontal visual structure. While the structures supporting these sculptures appear to hark back to this, they also emphasize a specific identity and origin. As bases, they support paradoxical sculptures.

Such hybridization and inversion of identity is also reflected in a set of photographs in the exhibition. Each photograph depicts two different fruits, but the skin of each has been swapped for that of a different fruit. An apple wears the skin of a pear, and so on. Fleet-footed and humorous, the works still offer a distinct point, and together with the other works, make for a clear and sophisticated exhibition.

This article was written for Randian: http://www.randian-online.com/np_review/plastic-history/

The Engish text is translated by Fei Wu.

“Heidi Voet: 500 Years”

BANK (1/F, 59 Xianggang Lu, Huangpu, Shanghai)

May 29–Jul 10, 2015

mabsociety.com

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