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2019-12-31
一种绘画本身能否在当代生活中安生立命的真实

  雷子人的画进入我的视野中是八年以前。当时他用的是雷鸣这个名字,和章剑等同届毕业的几个同学办了取名入境的画展,整个画展透露出一股清新的气息,当然学院里老师作品的影子还是比较重的。还有一个印象是他们几人都喜爱人物题材,但无论是油画还是国画,都不是肖像画,毋宁说这些作品是带有环境景物的人物画。看雷子人从那以后的画,无论是表现田园风光与人物的关系,还是城市景观的流变,还是男女间永恒的情爱,还是今天为数众多的人体绘画和泥塑,一条线索是清晰的:在他步人独立创作的初期,记录如梦如幻的童年和青春,用城市化的环境因素的植人,以及概括化、简洁化的景物交代,传达出一种对时间流逝和幻觉生成的留恋,是他作品中突出的特点,我们不妨说他这是在画时间。到了他进三年攻读硕士研究生期间的作品,有一个新的变化值得注意,那就是对具体景物的留念已经越来越淡化,而对画中人物的形体本身却越来越关注,而且人物形象在画中比例越来越大,我们也不妨说他这是在画空间。

  任何绘画毫无疑问都是由空间平面组成的,其中对幻觉的营造又涉及到真实与幻象之间在空间上的距离,而对距离的体认是以情感为纽带的,这就不能不与诸如记忆、联想、移情之类的时间因素有关。八十年代末,雷子人进入中央美院读书,他所处的正好是新潮美术结束而新生代、政治波普和玩世写实风兴起之时,作为学生的他没能介入这些风潮。然而他的师长们所经历的毕竟对他有了影响:他不可能完全按照学院传统的绘画方式创作了,这是大环境使然,但他也不能步师长们的后尘,他必须走出自己的路。事实上,这是一条充满艰辛的不归之路:画面人物和景物的整体结构的工写结合、局部表现的工写结合,看似要克服传统写意绘画和工笔绘画各自的局限性,而且从画面本身的效果看雷子人的确做到了融合两者,但如果我们再仔细地看,我们总能觉得这种融合来得过于表面化,无论是消夏的郊外野游,还是护城河里的嬉戏,无论是采莲南塘,还是烟雨江南,景物的写意与人物的写实,以及画面环境的营造,少年顽皮的背后都透露出一种淡淡的沉闷、抑郁和荒诞。子人在自己的许多笔记中记录下自己的感受,从中不难看出他是个十分内秀的人,他对周围的环境有一种天生的敏感,许多小事他都能小中见大,但每每到最后都落得如风筝般跌落的伤感。生活中如此,艺术中又何尝不是如此呢?具有极强语言概括力和精神整合力的中国水墨画,在历史上是文人士大夫规避现实、讽喻现实的武器,而时代发展到今天,这样的语言媒介在表达当代社会丰富变化的时候,却显得有点力不从心。他的年龄和步入创作的时机,决定了他的尴尬选择,决定了他要在记忆、经验和情感的世界里施展自己的艺术之梦,他犹如当年的那位哲人,站在岸上说:逝者如斯夫。

  其实,在雷子人的作品里,还有一根不断的线索,那就是他在大学学习阶段掌握的西式素描的立体多角度观察方法。这种立体多角度的观察物体的方法,虽然在他创作的初期并未明显显露出来,但在近几年的创作中却大放异彩他对中国画的创作的局限有了明确的认识:就中国画创作模式而言,司仪性日渐明显,原始的本我的冲动被许多看似神秘的招数掩盖了,甚至偏离了艺术创作的固有特质,心性表现日趋萎缩,取而代之的多半有些粉饰意味。这表现在对主题选择的人为圈定,对笔墨的无端炫耀,对材质的过分夸张。【注】他要重新发掘中国画的内在表现力。我们在他这几年的创作中越来越少看到他对水墨语言与现实生活发生联系时的尴尬和沉闷,而更多地看到一种自信,一种建立在对水墨语言的形体探讨上的自信。迈出这一步,他做了大量的准备,从泥塑的形体造型探索开始,从笔墨设色的浓淡干湿开始,从瓷器的烧造工艺开始。所有这一切,为他大胆地探索和表现中国绘画中人物的形体造型能力奠定了技术上的基础。我们注意到,当年那种散落的景物和不相干的相互关系,被扣之有声的人物形体的自由翻转和组合所代替,他们充盈着整个画面,相互拥抱或交叠在一起,充满了生命的活力,也使整个绘画充满了材质的坚实度和厚度。值得注意的是,对于中国画的材质在表现物象物理质感上的局限性,近十几年来一直有被称为实验水墨的探索在进行,引起了海内外的关注。雷子人以自己的方式对中国画的表现力做出了解答。从他的近几年作品中我们看到,中国画的表现力仅仅从笔墨的层层晕染或加入丙稀一类的颜料未必能得到满意的效果,如果能结合具体的物象,或许会有较好的表现空间。雷子人并没有把自己认定为水墨实验画家,但从他对人物形体的空间结构和造型表达的结果看,却在画面的内容与形式的结合上达到了很好的效果,既有笔墨趣味,又有形体的质感。

  从意识到传统笔墨表达方式面对现实生活的荒诞和失落,到自觉地以自己的方式探索中国水墨语言的表现力,脱落掉越来越多的情节和梦幻,愈发给人物对象本身以格外的关注,雷子人看似失去了许多现实的真实,其实却得到了更深一层的真实,一种绘画本身能否在当代生活中安生立命的真实。如果在随后的探索中能够在条件允许的情况下,逐步扩大这种真实的存在空间,使绘画本身重返丰富多采的生活本身,那将是中国画或称水墨画的再发展之日。

  【注】参见《艺术家档案雷子人》,湖北美术出版社2001年11月第1版,第12页。

  From Painting Time to Painting Space

  It was eight years ago when Lei Zirens painting first entered my view. At that time, he painted under the name of Lei Ming, and hosted an exhibition called Entry with Zhang Jian and his other classmates. The whole exhibition was a breath of fresh air, although it could not shake off the influence of college teachers. Another impression of mine about that exhibition is the painters all liked painting about people, but neither their oil paintings nor traditional Chinese paintings were portraits. More precisely, theirs works were more like figure paintings with scenes. Since then, a clear clue can be found among Leis paintings, whether they are about relations between pastoral scenery and figures, about changes of the urban landscape, about the eternal love between men and women, or about todays popular human body paintings and clay sculptures. At the initial stage of Leis artistic creation, he recorded dreamlike childhood and youth, insert urbanized environmental factors, and painted scenes generally and briefly, which conveyed a kind of nostalgia for the passage of time and formation of illusion. This was a prominent feature of Leis early works. We might as well say he was painting time. Later, during three years of his graduate study, there was a noteworthy change: while paying less attention to concrete scenes, Lei paid more and more attention to figures, which took up an increasing proportion of the whole painting. For this, we might as well say he was painting space.

  Any painting, undoubtedly, consists of space and planes. The creating of illusions also has something to do with the distance between reality and illusion. Since the cognizance of distance is based on emotions, it is bound to be connected with time factors, such as memory, association, and empathy. Lei began his study at Central Academy of Fine Arts in the late 1980s, a time when New Wave Art was declining while New Generation Art and the Political Pop and Cynical Realism were rising. As a student, he did not take part in those art trends. Yet what his teachers had gone through influenced him. However, considering the overall circumstances, Lei should not merely paint in full accordance with the academic tradition, or follow suit. He had to follow his own road. Actually, this is an arduous road of no return. It seems that you have to overcome limitations of Freehand Brushwork Painting and Fine Brushwork Painting in order to achieve the combination of them in the overall structure and partial depictions of figures and scenes. In terms of the picture effect, Lei have indeed achieved the combination of Freehand Brushwork Painting and Fine Brushwork Painting. However, when looking more closely, we will feel that combination is too superficial. Whether the painting is about an outing in summertime, play in a moat, lotus-picking in Nantang, or the misty and rainy South China, besides the playfulness of youth, there is a hint of dullness, depression and absurdity in freehand scenes, realistic figures, and the overall painting. Lei takes down his feelings in many notes which clearly reveal the softness of the writer. He has innate sentiment towards the surroundings. Even trifles can trigger his serious thinking and finally lead to the feeling of being lost and sad. For a person so sentimental in life, it is easy to imagine how he would be during artistic creation. Chinese ink wash painting with extremely strong abilities to summarize in language and to integrate in spirit has always been a useful weapon for literati in history to escape and allegorize reality. However, today this language media, meaning Chinese ink wash painting, seems a bit inadequate to express tremendous change in contemporary society. Leis age and timing when he started artistic creation decided his embarrassing choice. He is bound to pursue his dream of art in a world of memories, experiences and emotions. Lei was like the philosopher Confucius who stood on the shore and said, The passage of time is just like the flow of water, which goes on day and night.

  In fact, in the Lei Zirens work, there is also a continuous thread, which is the three-dimensional multi-angle observation method of Western-style sketch he mastered during undergraduate study. Being unobvious in his early stage of creation, this three-dimensional multi-angle observation method shines brightly in recent years. He now has clearly acknowledged the limitation on creating Chinese painting. In terms of the creation mode,Chinese painting is becoming more and more ceremonial. The primitive egoistic impulse was concealed by many seemingly mysterious tricks. Chinese painting was even deviated from the inherent qualities of artistic creation, and it is losing its expressiveness in depicting human minds. Instead, it is too ornamental. This is reflected in the limited choices of painting themes, the unreasonable show-off of painting kills, and the over-exaggeration of painting materials. He wants to rediscover the intrinsic expressiveness of Chinese painting. In Leis recent years works, we can find more and more confidence rather than embarrassment and dullness in the link between the language of ink wash and the real life. The confidence is based on the discussion of the forms of ink wash language. To take this important step, he did a lot of preparation, starting from exploration of clay figures physical modeling, the shade and wetness of ink coloring, and kiln technologies for porcelains. All of these efforts laid the technical foundation for his bold exploration and performance of figure-modeling capabilities in Chinese painting. We note that the previous scattered scenes and unrelated relationships have been replaced by appreciable free flips and combinations of figures. The figures are filling the entire painting, embracing or overlapping each other, and demonstrating vitality of life, which also add to the material solidity and thickness of the entire painting. It is noteworthy that, since the last decade, an exploration called Experimental Ink Wash dealing with the limitations of Chinese painting on depicting the physical properties of objects has been in progress and caught attentions at home and abroad. At the same time, Lei has been trying to improve the expressiveness of Chinese ink wash painting in his own way. From his works in recent years, we can see that only by smudging layers of ink or adding pigments like acrylics, we may not be able to produce satisfactory effects; if we can also combine specific images, there may be a better depiction of space. Even so, Lei never consider himself to be an experimenter in Chinese ink wash painting. Given his special expression of the spatial structure and shape of figures, we can say he has achieved very good results on the combination of content and form in a picture, and added features of ink wash and sense of reality to the whole painting.

  At first, Lei became aware of the sense of the ridiculous and lost when trying to depicting reality with the traditional ink wash painting. Later, he consciously explored the expressiveness of Chinese ink wash painting, shed off plots and imaginaries, and paid more attention to figures. During the process, it seems Lei has lost the trueness of reality. However, what he has achieved is the trueness in a deeper sense, the trueness about whether painting itself can survive in the temporary life. If conditions permit and Lei continues to enlarge the proportion of this kind of trueness and rejoin painting with the colorful life, then that will be the day of the re-development of Chinese painting, or ink wash painting.