ARTTWO|安迪・沃荷的被“消費”的名人符號

普普藝術(Pop Art)大師安迪・沃荷(Andy Warhol)的回顧大展《From A to B and back again》在舊金山現代藝術博物館SFMOMA剛剛落下帷幕。這是自1989年以來首次其創作生涯的總回顧展。去逝32年後,安迪・沃荷仍然是20世紀後半葉最具影響力、知名度、顛覆性,和最接近大眾文化的藝術家。歷時近4個月的展期,場館內每日都是人潮湧動。超過300幅作品,涵蓋藝術家40年的創作生涯。展出作品包含繪畫、素描、手稿、絲網印刷、攝影、膠片、電視紀錄多種媒介。其中多間展廳集中展出他的名人肖像,瑪麗蓮・夢露(Marilyn Monroe),貓王(Elvis Presley),伊莉莎白・泰勒(Liz Taylor),賈桂琳・甘迺迪(Jacqueline Kennedy),毛澤東,最有趣的作品是藝術家的自畫像。這些肖像畫大多創作於60年代,也是安迪・沃荷高產和成名的時代。

“商業畫家”

和安迪・沃荷巨大的知名度與商業成功相對,對他“無藝術”、“無新意”、“商業畫家”的批評持續了幾個世代。評論家羅伯特・休斯(Robert Hughes)形容沃荷“是他見過的最蠢的人,因為他什麼想法也沒有”[1]。威廉・德・庫寧(Willem de Kooning)毫無掩飾地批評他“摧毀了藝術,摧毀了美,甚至摧毀了幽默”[2]。安迪・沃荷作為藝術家最大的爭議來源於他對商業毫不掩飾的熱烈擁抱。關於生意和藝術他的名言很多:“商業上的成功是最令人著迷的藝術,”他曾這樣說。“賺錢是藝術,工作是藝術,成功的生意則是最棒的藝術。”[3]安迪・沃荷的名人肖像畫更是他生意經中重要的一部分。拋棄現代主義對真實和高尚的追求,他不吝惜地大量生產複製這些畫像。帶著面孔的畫布商品令一切人性扁平化,這些他創造出來的商品化的表象人格(Commodified Personas)是他獲取和享受名利場的工具,令他可以在消費主義這個框架下探索成功、聲望、時尚、感性、死亡。

WarholMonroe
Marilyn Diptych. 1962. Acrylic paint, silkscreen ink, and graphite on linen.

Continue reading “ARTTWO|安迪・沃荷的被“消費”的名人符號”

ArtTwo|“隨意”的藝術

「完成一件藝術品的創作是怎樣一種經驗?將理念從無到有的過程是不是很神秘?現代藝術大膽的線條和色彩的藝術性是否有些模糊?藝術史的角度還能充分的解析當代藝術的複雜性嗎?ArtTwo系列每次專注在兩幅現當代藝術作品上,希望能探討並釐清現代藝術性和藝術理念的創舉並微妙之處。」

 

Chance在現代藝術中的出現

現當代藝術的創作方法是自由的,單只在繪畫上,就已經非常豐富。作品尺寸不再有局限性,並非要有“偉大”的主題才能產生巨幅的作品;潑灑(splattering),滴落(dripping),澆畫/流體畫(pouring),用畫刀拉拽推摳刮(pulling&scraping)都很平常,身體繪畫(body printing),噴槍筆(airbrushing),既成物品(found objects)的运用都是很好的创作模式。风格越抽象创作的技法离传统的画笔越遥远。

興起於1910年代的達達主義(Dadaism)令藝術和藝術創作有了非常不同的面貌。與其說達達是反藝術的,不如說這場挑戰中產階級感性基礎的運動對藝術創作的藝術性部分有了更廣闊的註解.[1] 不僅是何謂藝術,何謂藝術家這些問題是達達主義關注的問題,藝術思維的演化,藝術品的誕生這類完全動態的領域也是其挑戰的對象。相應的,在技法上,達達運動引入了偶然/隨機(chance)並視之為創作中心,“chance became our trademark. We followed it like a compass.” 一次世界大戰對於西方文明自啟蒙以來的秩序和理性形成巨大衝擊,而藝術,一直以來作為有意識的運用想像力的美學創作,其精心規劃和完成的創作理念在達達一代看來是完全可以顛覆的藝術范式(artistic norms)。偶然、隨機、無意識,這些帶有无法预测性質的,与人类的自我意志无关的元素和藝術聯結到了一起,成為前衛藝術的重要形式。

Chance的完全運用

1. 256 Farben. Gerhard Richter. 1974/1984

德國戰後藝術家格哈德·里希特(Gerhard Richter)在70年代的作品《256色彩》中運用了隨機作為構圖的設計方法。里希特1932年出生於德累斯頓,後來在東德的藝術學院得到社會主義現實主義(Socialist Realism)的繪畫訓練。在柏林牆建起的前一年,里希特來到西德進入杜塞爾多夫藝術學院。里希特不斷在作品中模糊不同藝術風格的界線,具象與抽象,照片與繪畫,概念與工藝,他的大部分繪畫作品並不是對觀察對象的直接描繪,而是對照片或雜誌圖片的再創作。照片繪畫(photo painting)對里希特而言便是”現實”,也是能令他完全享受繪畫樂趣的工具,不用對構圖和敘事有過多的思考,可以專注在表現形式上。這其實是抽象繪畫風格的一個核心,即不去精確地描繪事物的形狀,而去表現轉瞬即逝的情緒和感覺。

Continue reading “ArtTwo|“隨意”的藝術”

ArtTwo|“陌生”的日常

「完成一件藝術品的創作是怎樣一種經驗?將理念從無到有的過程是不是很神秘?現代藝術大膽的線條和色彩的藝術性是否有些模糊?藝術史的角度還能充分的解析當代藝術的複雜性嗎?ArtTwo系列每次專注在兩幅現當代藝術作品上,希望能探討並釐清現代藝術性和藝術理念的創舉並微妙之處。」

從古代藝術到現代藝術,作品的主題並不拘泥於在某些種類上。具象與抽象,寫實與寫意,神話與日常,一代代的藝術精神的反叛,令被描繪的內容不斷突破觀者的思想邊界。

在古典藝術中,日常物品出現在作品中通常是靜物寫生, 但並不是學院派主流,宏大主題比如聖經故事,神話和歷史題材是指定內容。從19世紀現代藝術興起後,描繪現代生活成為重要主題,不僅是現代日常,還包含情感和心理層面的真實(truth)再現。何謂真實?可能是眼睛看到的物體,可能是轉瞬即逝的感覺,或者是不被了解的無意識(unconscious),現代藝術家們用很多的技法和很多的主題來向真實靠攏。

超現實主義(Surrealism)是20世紀20年代興起的哲學與文化運動,受時下流行的精神分析學派(psychoanalysis)佛洛伊德學說啟發,並建立在達達主義的反理性基礎上,認為理性壓抑想像,是一場拒絕理性,通過強調無意識來接觸隱藏現實的思想運動。在形式上推崇夢境自由聯想(free association)。在藝術創作上,為了牽引出無意識狀態,藝術家多運用日常物品與奇特的排列組合來挑戰現實的構成。

1. Les Valeurs Personnelles (Personal Values), René Magritte, 1952.

Continue reading “ArtTwo|“陌生”的日常”

Mughal Series|Utopian Visions In Mughal Painting [B]

Mughal painting as a heterotopic space

In theory, Mughal emperors pursued a policy of religious tolerance and openness to non-shari’a religious ideas, however, an opposite tendency contesting the inclusive tradition was always present. Scholar Shaykh Ahmad Sirhindi was one of the opponents against the imperial policy. He insisted the necessity of attack upon the heterodox and the non-Muslim. He criticized Akbar in his letters to the notables and students.[40] When Jahangir ascended the throne, the tension was accelerated by the emperor prisoning Sirhindi. A more critical viewpoint was from theologian Bada’uni. He was strongly opposed to Hindu and Shia sect. In his Muntakhab at-tawarikh, his charge against Akbar’s religious innovation was severe. Plus, in the court, far from harmony and stability, wars of succession happened in every transition of Mughal power, and the imperial power of the rulers were constantly challenged. For example, rivalry between prince Salim and his son Khusrau last from the time of Akbar to Salim’s accession as emperor Jahangir. In the hope of succeeding his grandfather’s throne, Khusrau initiated a rebellion in 1606. Overall, conflicts and oppositions were present throughout the history of Mughal Empire. The utopian visions were brought by the non-shari’a oriented Mughal rulers and partially realized, but cannot be fully achieved.

In such a context, the manuscript painting served as a heterotopic space where an apparent attempt at Mughal utopia was represented. Foucault presented the notion of heterotopia first in a lecture in 1967 pointing out that some places interrupt or subvert the ordinary everyday space, literally “other places”.[41] Heterotopic sites are the actual spaces of difference in which the utopia is effectively enacted. Heterotopic sites are present in every culture, Foucault writes, they can have multiple or changing functions; they can bring together several incompatible things as a microcosm; they can juxtapose time across time or enclose time in an immobile place.[42] In short, heterotopia are spaces of alternative spatial and social relations where difference is both encountered and ordered.[43]
Continue reading “Mughal Series|Utopian Visions In Mughal Painting [B]”

Mughal Series|Utopian Visions in Mughal Painting [A]

A Discussion of Space

Introduction

The hallmarks of the Mughal Empire were the cultural diffusion and religious tolerance. The Mughal emperors, except Aurangzeb believed in harmonious co-existence of Hindu and Muslim. The inclusive religious and political views of the Mughals have shaped the Indian cultural landscape for hundreds of years yet the source of these views is little researched, or they are given full attribution to the forwarding thinking Emperor Akbar (r.1556-1605). Many books have been devoted to the study of his status as a divinely illumined ruler in Akbarnama and Ain-i Akbari, the annual recounting of events of his period. Akbar’s personality and his ideology were carefully examined. He has been identified as the real founder of the Mughal Empire who brought the ideas of religious tolerance and inclusive style of rulership to the vast empire. With a similar emphasis, art historians have drawn attention to Akbar’s intellectual role in the emerging Mughal artistic style and his great influence on the composite culture of the Empire.[1]

However, the relevance of some post-Mongol akhlaq digests for the discussion of medieval Indian politics and rulership cannot be denied. Akhlaq is the most commonly used Islamic term for morality. As the “signs” of God the creator, the akhlaq digests with discourses on ethical virtue provided moral guidance on codes of behavior.[2] One widely read akhlaq circulated in Mughal India was the Nasirean Ethics (Akhlaq-i Nasiri) written by celebrated Muslim philosopher and scientist Nasir al-Din Tusi (1201-1274). The book was one of the most highly esteemed on ethics, economics and politics in the medieval Persianate world. It provided a synthesis of the Greek philosophical tradition and the Islamic view of man and society. Also the book presented an idealistic vision on kingship and civil state. After it was introduced in Mughal India, its social and political norms shaped the structure of Mughal empire building.

By examining Tusi’s idea of creating an ideal Muslim community, this paper will argue for the possibility of a Mughal utopia in medieval India. Historian Monica Juneja explored a number of aspects of the utopian thinking within the space of Mughal visual representation in her article “On the margins of Utopia – One more look at Mughal Painting”.[3] She traced various utopian visions in literature, and attributed the harmonious concord of the Mughal Empire to the European influence and Quranic notions of Paradise.[4] Taking Juneja’s study as a starting point, this paper will use the utopian thinking in Western civilization since Thomas More’s Utopia to explore the impact of Nasirean norms of governance and ideal society on the Mughal conception of utopia. Moreover, the paper aims to discover the Mughal vision of utopian ideal within the space of painting from imperial illustrated manuscript. Distinguished from the utopian notion of an imagined future, this study will point out that Mughal painted realm is a space where the concrete appearance of Nasirean ideals occurred.
Continue reading “Mughal Series|Utopian Visions in Mughal Painting [A]”

Mughal Series|An Examination of Mughal Hunting Scenes (Part B Jahangir and Shah Jahan)

Part A Introduction and Akbari hunting images

Hunting Scenes Under Jahangir’s Reign

Unlike his father, Jahangir’s commissions of hunting scenes did not concentrate on actions and movement. Instead, human personalities and individuality are emphasized. Jahangir inherited Akbar’s royal library and workshop, and dismissed a number of painters. His atelier was smaller than that of his father due to his higher standards. To Jahangir, his passion for the observation of the nature affected his artistic taste. His interest in animals and plants was shown in the paintings of his period. He observed the beauty of flowers and the precious birds he saw in Kashmir. He ordered the artists to paint pictures of them. He is considered as the connoisseur among the Mughal rulers. One single artist with greater responsibility in the workshop determined the final appearance of a painting, which made artist’s individuality shown in the painting more possible. Like his predecessors, Jahangir was eager to claim his Timurid heritage. The inscription on a monumental column he erected in 1605 tells Jahangir’s lineage down to Timur. Though during Jahangir’s reign, the empire was stable, the Mughal legitimacy was still needed to be established. Linking his rule to Timurid tradition underlines his divine kingship and undoubted power.

Jahangir is an emperor with a complex personality. He was a keen naturalist, who studied animals and precious birds when he was traveling in his kingdom. Two cranes were taken to his court at the age of one month, and given the names of Layla and Majnun who are the tragic lovers of Persian literature. Jahangir devoted himself studying the cranes from their daily routine, mating, to the hatching of the eggs, and all details were carefully recorded. On the other side, he loved killing animals. In 1617, he listed 28,532 animals killed by him at the age of fifty, including mountain goat, sheep and deer, wolves, wild fox and boar, pigeons, hawks, pelicans, a total of 86 lions, 3473 crows and 10 crocodiles.[18]
Continue reading “Mughal Series|An Examination of Mughal Hunting Scenes (Part B Jahangir and Shah Jahan)”

Mughal Series|An Examination of Mughal Hunting Scenes (Part A Intro and Akbar)

Problems of Power, Imperial Identity, and the Central Asian Legacy

Introduction

The majority of contemporary studies of Mughal painting present its changes in style and artistic tradition. The studied paintings have been seen examples of historical narrative and visualized text. However, the fact that many illustrations are generically appropriate for describing the adjacent text tells Mughal painting cannot be fully comprehended in this way.[1] Unlike most book-length studies and articles that examine the identification and comparison of styles, in the article “The Hierarchical Principles of Shah-Jahani Painting”, Ebba Koch argues that the Shah-Jahani manuscripts were created not merely for an aesthetic purpose, but explored to political ends, to create programmatic statements of order and hierarchy, a driving force which was not supposed to change throughout the paintings created under his reign.[2] The examination of Shah Jahani painting within the power structure of the emperor’s rule provides an integrative approach that uncovers the political and ideological concepts in Mughal painting. For example, the darbar scenes (court scenes) under the reign of Akbar are depicted as small private meetings and figures are given a sense of movement in the architectural settings. In contrast, the same theme of painting from Shah Jahan’s time is shown as an ever-repeated and standardized image. According to Ebba Koch, this change in the court style is purposeful since the artistic aspects of Shah Jahani painting were highly regulated towards the emperor’s imperial ideology.

Taking Ebba Koch’s notion of power structure as a starting point, this article is going to examine another recurring theme in Mughal painting, the royal hunt, by looking at the dynamics of power structure through their imperial identity. This study seeks to incorporate the Central Asian legacy of Mughals and the concept of sacred kingship into the exploration of qualities of leadership to reveal the different self-realizations of Mughal emperors.
Continue reading “Mughal Series|An Examination of Mughal Hunting Scenes (Part A Intro and Akbar)”