Liu Zhengyong


The Enthusiasm of Returning

Liu Zhengyongs Oil Painting

 

After 90s 20th century, expressionism painting in china is on the edge of art because of the flourish of a mass of image paintings. There have two reasons could answer why expressionism painting in china is on the wane gradually. Firstly, the change of social environment. The events in art field in 1989 result in the smash of the culture enthusiasm which artists once to hold, they turn impetuous to calm, for they’ve lost the ground of expressionism. Secondly, China attracted the attention of the whole world because of the special event which happened in 1989. As a result, intangibly, Chinese contemporary art enjoy a wider market. Thereby, a special Chinese art image has been formed. The enthusiasm of expression turned to the power of image, and concept of painting became the vital element of art, not the art language itself. Just as some critics said, 1990s in china is the year that Chinese contemporary art walks into an era of Iconology. However, there also had some changes which have been happened in Chinese contemporary art field invisibly in recent years. Among them, the most outstanding one is the return of beauty in form. The typical artists include Zeng Fanzhi, Zhou Chunya, Liu Wei, and Zhang Fangbai and so on. Besides them, there are far more young artists who eager to explore a new land where full with the enthusiasm of self-expression, and I think Liu Zhengyong is one of them.

 

Liu is a young artist who was born in 80s. After graduating from Tianjin Academy of Fine Art, he has being a freelance artist till now. No matter in Tianjin or Beijing, he has always maintained his art pursuit, that is the consistency between enthusiasm and the way of expression. Many of Liu’s works in these years give me a feeling that an original impulse has always being. He seldom affected by the popular factor in recent society. It should be said that it’s a kind of luck for him. As one of the after 80s, his maturity just catches up with the stable period of development in China. Therefore, when carrying out his art idea, he could avoid some uneasy factors, thus pay more attention on a theme of spirit continually, and explore a more personal art style. Actually, the external condition is one of the factors in an artist’s career, however, internal factor is more important than the external one for creative artists.

 

Liu’s art, in terms of his style, is expressionism. However, expressionism is a general concept which contains much more profuse contents, so we should treat it specially rather than generally. In terms of Liu’s art, I think, for internal meaning, is close to the traditional Chinese painting. He pays more attention to some essences in Chinese traditional painting, for example, yi qi (a standard of good paintings in ancient China), and shen si (image such as mountain or person in traditional Chinese paintings, is in a high state that between similar and not similar with its original form). It can be said that, Liu expresses some traditional kernels by use of a contemporary method, and the only difference is he chooses oil painting materials as his tool. Certainly, different materials will lead a different art style, so Liu’s painting not simply returns to tradition, but absorbs the valuable concepts and then learns from them. By knowing this, he can present the inner feeling of the contemporary Chinese from a deeper cultural level.

 

Liu chooses expressionism which is close to abstract painting as his way maybe because of his complex psychological feelings. For only yi (it can be explained as a kind of inner feeling here) can express shen (it can be explained as the existent art style here), and only shen can generalize the abundance of human being’s sensibility deeply. Virtually, what we get, from the expressional way, is not the existent objects (shapes, colors, …), but a more profuse sensibility. Just as Liu’s paintings, are abstracted as solid colors no matter portraits or scenery. The deep and heavy feelings which reflected by heart and thought are just same as complex experience we’ve met in the society. Compared with the popular images, it shows me the force of expression, which is the bridge between the emotion and spirit of this era. Maybe, I think, it is the main reason why recent Chinese contemporary art field is returning to the beauty in form. Along with the social development, no matter the world scope or artists themselves, has went over the “image china” time. Therefore what we need now is more enthusiasm of expressing and emotion which could depict ourselves better.

 

Yang Wei

Tongzhou

28th July 2008

 

 

刘正勇


回到语言的激情

由刘正勇的油画所想

 

二十世纪九十年代以后,表现主义绘画在中国开始逐渐式微,被大量的图式绘画挤到了艺术创作的边缘。这是因为社会环境变化的缘故,即1989年的风云突变,一方面破灭了艺术家们曾经拥有的那种文化热情,使他们的自我表现失落了启蒙的背景,因而不得不变躁动为冷静;另一方面,也是因为1989年的特殊社会事件,吸引了全球的目光,无形之中也为中国当代艺术赢得了更加广阔的世界语境,从而使中国当代艺术必须要在这样的语境中呈现出一种特殊的中国符号。于是,表现的激情为图像的力量所取代,语言也被观念植入了先行的意志。正如某些批评家所阐述的那样:九十年代是中国当代艺术朝往“图像学转向”的一个时代。然而,近几年的中国当代艺坛却正在悄然地发生着一些变化,最明显之处就是语言的回归,表现的激情开始重新浮出水面。典型的例子有曾梵志、周春芽、刘炜、张方白等人。而其实除了这些久已成名的艺术家,还有更大一批年轻艺术家蓄势待发,在自我表现的激情之旅上创造出了更多丰富的语言形式,我这里说的刘正勇就是其中一位。

 

刘正勇是二十世纪八十年代出生的艺术家,2004年毕业于天津美术学院,之后便一直以职业艺术家的身份在北京从事艺术创作。无论身体怎样游动,他的艺术却是持之以恒,保持着前后一致的激情方式与语言的连贯性。我看过刘正勇这些年来创作的不少作品,总的感觉是他的作品中始终包含着自己的那种原始冲动,创作的热情丝毫没有受到社会潮流的影响。应该说,这是刘正勇的一种幸运。作为“80后”的艺术家,他的成熟正好赶上了中国社会的平稳发展期。因此,在艺术创作上可以避免因时局动荡造成的不稳定因素,也就能够更加持续地关注某个精神主题,探索一些更为个人化的语言风格。当然,外在条件只是艺术家成长的一个因素,对于一个创造型艺术家而言,内因有时候比外因更为重要。回到刘正勇,他的艺术作品之所以感人,更为关键的原因还在于他的感受力与表现力。

 

刘正勇的艺术语言,在风格上可以归为表现主义。不过,表现主义并不能一概而论,大致也只是一个泛称,在这个泛称下面其实还有着更为丰富的语言方式。就刘正勇的语言方式而言,内涵上我总觉得更加接近于中国传统的水墨画,比如他很注重画面的“意气”,也很强调作品的“神似”。这些都是中国传统水墨画的语言精隨。可以说,刘正勇是在以一种当代人的方式表现着这样一些传统精隨,只不过换取了一种油画材料而已。当然,材料的不同也会直接影响到语言的呈现,所以,刘正勇的绘画不是简单的回到传统,而是对传统的一种观念吸收与借鉴,为的是能够从更深的文化层次上来表现当代中国人的心理感受。

 

也许正是由于心理感受过于丰富的缘故,刘正勇才取用了表现主义风格,取用了这种近乎于抽象的写意方式。因为只有意才能传神,也只有神才能对人的丰富性进行高度概括。事实上,通过这种意象的表现方式,我们看到的已经不再是形,而是比形更加深邃的心绪。正如刘正勇笔下的人物也好,景色也罢,都一个个被抽象成凝固的色块一样。这种深沉与凝重所反映出的“胸中盘郁”,又何偿不是我们在当代社会都有过的一些复杂体验呢?这也使我看到了注重语言表达的魄力,相比图像对时代内容的承载,这种语言的表现却能够更加深入地勾通时代的情绪与时代的精神。或许,这也就是近几年中国当代艺坛为什么会出现语言回归现象的原因吧。因为随着社会开放的深入,无论是与世界的交流,还是对自己的理解,都已经越过了图像中国的表面方式,而需要有更多贯穿自身文脉的表现激情与情感语言来不断填充。

 

杨卫

2008.7.28于通州