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2019-12-31
艺术到底如何处理与社会的关系

  美国社会学家Howard S. Becker在1982年出版了一本很有趣的书叫Art World(《艺术世界》)。作为符号互动论学派最重要的代表人物之一,Becker在书中提出了一个同名概念art world,用以表明自己对艺术创作(生产)的论断或立场:艺术是集体行动的结果;它发生在一个协同合作的社会网络之中,包括除艺术家以外的很多其它行动者。(Becker,1982)很明显,即便这一强烈的艺术社会嵌入性判断没有丝毫战斗檄文的意图,也必定要遭来艺术本体论者的无情抨击。而在此之前,过分强调艺术的社会属性或功能、甚至从社会学角度来解读艺术过程的种种言论,早就被扣上了庸俗社会学倾向的帽子,成为原教旨主义者们的众矢之的(Wolff,1994)。

  抛开深奥的美学争论,Becker至少提出了一个重要却长期被搁置的问题:艺术到底如何处理与社会的关系?换句话说,艺术家在创作中如何处理与社会的关系?也许确实不能从社会因素的角度来解释艺术的所有动机和过程,但完全与社会绝缘的艺术是否能够存在?在我看来,艺术终究发生在社会中:不仅反映社会,其本身就是社会的一部分。这并非意味着艺术必须关注具体的社会现实,更不等于必须在意义上为主流价值观或意识形态代言,但是,它也必不能与社会完全无关。跨过1982年的Becker,我们会重新发现卡尔马克思的睿智与问题(也许是后来阐释者的问题):艺术生发于社会之中,可据此就从历史唯物主义的一般原理来解释一切未免又太过简单了。

  就与社会(尤其是当下世界)关系远近的角度而言,艺术和艺术家仍可再做细分:从超现实与极端个人的表达到近乎完美的再现社会现实(当然,任何意义上的再现都存在诸多主观选择的问题),可以形成一个普遍存在的连续统(continuum)。与众多追求极致体验的观者不同,这里我尤其关注的是:如何在其间掌握微妙的平衡,达到某种中庸的和谐。实际上,我很期待看到这样的作品:它具有美丽的形式,同时又与社会现实保持某种若即若离的神秘关系。美国小提琴家梅纽因教授晚年倡导对音乐的纯声响赏析,认为这才是音乐的本原,但我仍然固执地相信,在高出现实一米的地方就有梦想的空间

  恰巧在这个时候,我见到了《渼陂渼陂》。

  由于人类对安全感无可抑制的需要,我们总是要对任何接触到的新事物进行归类,以实现与原有常识的对接。但翻开本书,我想所有人都会首先疑惑它的归类问题。目录罗列的是一些类似散文或民俗考察的标题:空室文昌阁七日谈梧桐花落。它似乎什么都是,又什么都不是:人类学的论著?画家写生集锦?新派旅游小册子?还是已然成为知识人的游子对故土凝神的回望?我时而驻足在一幅幅风格各异的画面里,时而停顿在对类型各异物件的文字描述中,但与博物馆中多组青铜残片构筑的破碎印象不同,作者用并不累赘的素材很好地重现了渼陂的完整-至少对我而言是这样。更有趣的是,他在视觉语言上采用了铅笔速写、摄影、水墨、油彩等多种手法,却丝毫不显纷繁,我疑心它们内在的逻辑统一性或精神统一性到底来自哪里?不得不提的还有他的文字,朴素而翔实,跟学究的锱铢必较和伪怀旧者的庸俗猎奇风划清了界线,这是否来自其对村庄生活的熟悉?这种平面上的多媒体刺激带来了整体感受,让我不断想到茅盾在《子夜》开篇对上海的描述:light,heat,power!(茅盾,1933),同样简略而传神。

  在一次北大的小众讨论会上,画家给我们展示了本书的半成品。客观地讲,其时他并未形成关于本书清晰的计划。限于时间的约束,他也没能完整展示所有的素材和想法。但是,他关键的理念仍然清晰表达:我注意到学生们在写生时候的问题他们很多人哄哄闹闹地来到乡村,稀里糊涂地画了几笔就离开了,什么也没有留下。而乡村不光是这些表面的风光和景色啊还有内在的机理需要深入(抱歉,我只好用过分呆板的语言复活画家的表达。)正是在这种深入的意图下,他做了多组人物写生、详细描绘研究很多物件、从政治经济学的角度对村庄进行了解,甚至对每一个画中人作了访谈我想画家也许在绘完一幅画面后会暗自得意-他仿佛知道了一切,但这些信息丝毫不成为累赘,而是像魔法师手中的元素,被有意又随意地组合,变成美丽的白鸽。

  但对观者而言,只有白鸽。

  我开始嫉妒他的工作。当我们在田野调查(fieldwork)中计较于信息的细节时,获得准确也丢失了灵性。他用某种混合方式找到的平衡,是否正是我梦寐以求的中庸?画家用light,heat,power再造的渼陂自然附丽于古村现实,但精神却飘然其上,毫不粘滞卡尔维诺借马可波罗的口创造了轻盈的城市(Calvino,1978),画家用视觉与文字,创造了自己的渼陂和村庄的故事。每一幅画面作为独立艺术品的同时,也构成了渼陂这一更大艺术品的部分。眼前这本书,让我看到与单纯little smart不同的智慧与情感。

  最后,不得不提贯穿全书的感伤基调。当然,这也许仅仅是本人作为普通观者的情绪性体验。昨日时光的逝去,村落生命在现代化的浪潮面前脆弱单薄,滕尼斯留恋的共同体(community)体验(滕尼斯,1999),也许只能永远生活在人类的回忆里。我们可以再现村落的物理形态,却无法找回熠熠发光的精神。正是从这个意义上讲,渼陂也许是比渼陂更让人激动和难忘的存在。

严俊(北京大学社会学系博士)

  参考文献:

  斐迪南滕尼斯,1999,《共同体与社会:纯粹社会学的基本概念》,北京:商务印书馆;

  雷子人,2007,《渼陂渼陂:一个画家的古村落图记》,济南:山东人民出版社;

  茅盾,1933(民国22年),《子夜》,上海:开明书店;

  于长江,2005,不期而遇社会学对于艺术的几个切入点,《艺术与社会:26位著名批评家谈中国当代艺术的转向》P7~P38,长沙:湖南美术出版社;

  Howard S. Becker. Art World. Berkley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1982;

  Italo Calvino. Invisible Cities. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978;

  Janet Wolff. Aesthetics and the Sociology of Art. U.S: The University of Michigan Press, 1994.

  Meibei, Meibei

  By Yan Jun, Sociology Doctor, Sociology Department, Beijing University

  In 1982, American socialogist Howard S Becker, one of the most representative figures of Symbolic Interactionism, published Art World. In his book, he uses the term of Art World to indicate his judgment or stand on art production: art is the result of collective movement; it takes place in a coordinated and cooperative social network, which involves not only artist himself, but also many other actors. (Becker, 1982) Obviously, even if his intensive judgment on the implantable art society did not mean to be aggressive, it definitely arose the fierce attack by those who believe in Art Ontology. In fact, before Beckers announcement, the views that over-emphasize arts social attributes or functions, as well as the views interpreting art process from sociology perspectives, have already been labeled as Vulgar Sociology under the attack by fundamentalists. (wolff 1994)

  Let along the abstruse aesthetics, Becker at least raised a question which has been laid aside for long time: How art deal with its relationship to society? In another word, in art practices, how artist deal with his relationship to society in his procedure of creation? It may not workable if one explains all art motives and processes from social perspectives, but can art exist if it completely isolated from society? I believe, art takes place in society: not only reflects society, but also belongs to society. It does not mean it has to focus to particular social reality, neither represent mainstream value or ideology, but, it cannot be completely irrelevant to the society. After Beckers theory in 1982, we could rediscover Karl Marxs wisdom and problem (it might be the problem of his later elucidators): art origins from society, but it would be too much simplified if we explain everything on base of this general principle of historical materialism.

  Let along the abstruse aesthetics, Becker at least raised a question which has been laid aside for long time: How art deal with its relationship to society? In another word, in art practices, how artist deal with his relationship to society in his procedure of creation? It may not workable if one explains all art motives and processes from social perspectives, but can art exist if it completely isolated from society? I believe, art takes place in society: not only reflects society, but also belongs to society. It does not mean it has to focus to particular social reality, neither represent mainstream value or ideology, but, it cannot be completely irrelevant to the society. After Beckers theory in 1982, we could rediscover Karl Marxs wisdom and problem (it might be the problem of his later elucidators): art origins from society, but it would be too much simplified if we explain everything on base of this general principle of historical materialism.

  According to its relevance to society(esp. to current society), art or artists could be further divided: from extremely reality to extremely personal expression, to nearly perfect representation of social reality (of course, the representation in any sense involves in a variety of subjective choices), thus form an ubiquitous continuum. Different from the viewers who pursue extreme experience, I attend how is a subtle balance could be achieved between the extremes to reach a mean harmony. In fact, I do expect such a work: it has beautiful form, and also some indistinct relationship with social reality. American violinist Menuhin advocates the appreciation of purely musical sound in his late years. He believes, that is the real essence of music. However, I still persist the space of dream exist 1 meter above reality.

  At the very time, I saw MeibeiMeibei.

  Because of the desperate need of security sense, we classify new phenomena to match with existing common sense. But for this book, I guess many will feel confused for its classification. In the list we see some prose-like or folk-custom survey topics: Empty room Wenchang PavilionSeven-day TalkPhoenix Tree Follower Fall It seems the book could be anything or nothing: anthropology treatise? sketch notes by artist? everything, fashionable tourism handbook? Or, an intelligents retrospective to his home town? I hang around among the multi-style pictures and the writings on various objects. Different from the broken impressions left by bronze relics in museum, the book perfectly reappear a complete Meibei with pithy materials-at least I feel so. Though he includes pencil sketch, photo, ink painting, oil painting, etc, but it looks not the least over-complicated. So I cannot help thinking, where is the inner unification on either logic or spirit? And his text-plain, detailed and accurate, making a clear distinction with the overcautious pedant writing and the vulgar hunt for novelty in a fake nostalgia. Is it based on his familiarity to village life? The feeling arose by his multi-media stimulates remind me of Dao Duns description to Shanghang in Midnight: light, heat, power! (Mao Dun, 1933), they share some simple and vivid expression.

  In a small conference in Beijing University, the artist showed us semi-binding sample of the book. To be objective, he has not yet developed clear proposals for the book. Due to the limit of time, he could not present all his materials and ideas. But he still expressed the key idea clearly: I noticed the problems of students site sketch many of them go to village in a noise, draw something casually, then left with nothing kept. But village is more than some superficial scenes also its in-built mechanism to be further explored (I am sorry to use these dull words to bring back his ideas.) With the very attention to further explore, he finished several series of portraiture sketch, researched many objects with detailed describtion, acknowledged the village from point of plutonomy, even interviewed every model in his paintingI guess, Lei Ziren may feel secretly complacent after he finished one paintinghe knows almost everything, but all these information lead to no cumbrance. As if in hand of magician, they are composed purposely and casually, then become a beautiful pigeon.

  But views see only pigeon.

  I begin to envy his work. When we bother about the detailed information in fieldwork, we gain accuracy but lose intelligence. By some mixture, he achieves a balance in between. Is this the golden mean I dream for? The Meibei painter rebuilds with light, heat, power naturally adhere to the reality of this ancient village, but spiritually float above, not the least adherenceCalvino used Marco Polos storys to create Invisible Cities. (Calvino, 1978) With imageries and texts, Lei Ziren created his Meibei and village stories. Each picture presents as independent artwork, while jointly form sections of the bigger works Meibei. The book has me identify the wisdom and emotions rather than little smart.

  Lastly, I need to mention the sentimental tone through the book. Of course, it may only be my emotional experience as a normal viewer. With the lapse of passed time, the village life seem weak and fragile in front of the modernization tide. The community experience Ferdinand Tnnies (Tnnies, 1999)hanker after probably can only live in peoples memory. We can recover physical appearance of the village, but never possibly get back its shining spirit. In this sense, Meibei might be more exciting and memorable than Meibei.

  Reference

  Ferdinand Tnnies, 1999, Community and Civil Society, Beijing: the Commercial Press;

  Lei Ziren, 2007, The History and People of Meibei: An Artists Report of An Ancient Village,, Jinan, Shangdong Peoples Publishing House

  Mao Dun, 1933, Midnight, Shanghai: Kaiming Bookstore;

  Yu Changjiang, 2005, Confront-Several Sociological Cut-in Points to Art,Art and Society: 26 famous critics talk on the transition of Chinese contemporary art, p 7-38, Changsha: Hunan Fine Art Publishing House;

  Howard S. Becker. Art World. Berkley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1982;

  Italo Calvino. Invisible Cities. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978;

  Janet Wolff. Aesthetics and the Sociology of Art. U.S: The University of Michigan Press, 1994.

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