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”

Review|”Epilogue” by Jitish Kallat_A Description and Review


Artist Jitish Kallat’s latest installation Epilogue was on view at the San Jose Museum of Art earlier this year. The Mumbai-based artist photographed 22500 rotis, the Indian pancake-like daily bread to draw profound links between the household food, life, mortality and loss.

Interestingly, each image of the roti represents a phase of the moon, and the successively eaten rotis simulate the moon’s waxing and waning. Viewers could notice that there is a poetic rhythm in this monumental work. Throughout the images of rotis, the lunar cycle comes back over and over again from the first photo frame to the last one. When viewing the images, the continuity would make the viewers feel comfortable in the first place and prompted them to count the moons of each month. Interestingly, some rotis have very similar shape yet not being identical. The black or brown burnt spots on the rotis are different in size and color. Just like the homemade food cooked following the same recipe from our daily dinner plate looks different, the images of the rotis are not repetitions copied from month to month. Instead, there is a sentiment of individuality throughout Kallat’s Epilogue. Moreover, the roti crumbs scattered around are visible on the black background, which look like the romantic moon rings in the dark sky.

However, a discontinuity is also present in this work. Kallat uses solar calendar to show the time cycles and his father’s lifespan. Thus one single moon phase cycle cannot be represented within one frame. A sense of incompleteness is given by the frames cutting through the lunar cycles. The discontinued visual experience would bring viewers feelings of anxiety and instability while  imagining a scene in which the artist’s father witnessed the moon with his naked eyes every night, and think about the nature of life, sustenance, and the relationship between cosmic principles and human beings. Also, the fullness is interrupted by a lot of emptiness purposefully left by the artist. Between the last quarter moons and the crescent moons, a few spots are left and darkness takes place. Plus, the last frame has only one image with the rest of the space remaining black and empty.

Unlike most of the contemporary Indian artists who focus on creating art to search for national identity and cultural roots, in Epilogue, Jitish Kallat explores various issues that are more personal and emotional such as family tradition, personal loss, daily food, life and death, and monumentalizes an ordinary man’s lifetime in a universal humanistic way.