王彤 重现历史与评价现实————关于王彤的《重现》

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TIME|2011-03-15 09:24:46
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王彤 王彤 重现历史与评价现实————关于王彤的《重现》

  2006年,王彤出版了一本名为《墙上的毛》(MAOONTHEWALL)的摄影集。此摄影集中的照片,以传统黑白摄影的风格,展现了他长年收集拍摄所得的毛泽东形象。这些已形斑驳、依稀可辨的毛泽东形象,主要散布于中国内地农村的墙壁上,见证了中国现代史上的一个特殊时期,也成为了那个特殊时期的历史遗存。为拍摄这些记录了一个时代的疯狂、忠诚与激情的革命“圣像”,王彤细细踏勘,留心记录,集腋成裘,经年累月地积累下来,形成一定规模,并最终成为一个具有数量保证的打上了鲜明时代印记的文献性视觉记录。

  涂画毛泽东形象,在毛泽东时代,作为一种政治宣传与鼓吹个人崇拜的大众视觉动员方式,在当时的社会生活中起到了重要作用。毛泽东形象曾经进入到各地空间.无论是公共的还是私人的,无所不在,处处展现他的强烈的政治存在感。但在今天,时过境迁,这些“圣像”已经大部脱落,虽然其形隐约可见,并且仍然牢牢抓住一切可以依附的现实基底,紧紧与过去粘合,坚持在现实的空隙中以致不可脱落。但现实已经不再听从他的号召,按照历史的逻辑走上了自己的道路。当然,这些依稀却又顽固的“圣像”的“圣迹”也告诉我们,我们无法把历史从过去轻易剥离,历史有其顽强的一面。而王彤的工作,通过收集毛泽东形象,也为我们的历史记忆增加了一笔视觉文献。在完成这个规模不小的摄影系列后,身为《中国国家地理》杂志记者与编辑的王彤,似乎沉寂了一段时间。今天,他出手的这个《重现》系列,已经完全脱离传统纪实摄影的框架,集摄影与行为艺术于一体了。

  他打捞那些久已沉入我们记忆深处的毛泽东经典图像,然后再以自己的化妆,走进已经与原来照片大异其形的革命历史景点,按照革命领袖那为人熟知的姿势,施以重新拍摄。需要指出的是,这些经典图像,其实本来就是出于政治宣传目的而建构起来的,是一种图像神话。即使是那些照片,也是遵守了某种规则的结果。这种政治图像神话,在特定的历史时期,起到了它所能起的宣传鼓动作用,但时过境迁,却往往成为了历史神话的反讽。

  这种重新拍摄历史图像情景,通过摄影来还原历史情景应该不是摄影家王彤的初衷。因为如果是单纯的“历史还原”的话,他应该不会容忍今天那些刺目的现实景象出现在他的照片中。而且以他个人之力,他似乎也不可能像拍摄电影那样搭景再现。而通过“扮演”他者实现自己的“变身愿望”应该也不是他的内在需求。那么,王彤如此兴师动众地以自己的扮演与表演再现历史场面的企图何在?我想,王彤其实就是要通过这种由于现实与历史之间的无所不在的错位与断裂,来讨论历史与现实的关系问题。

  王彤的“重现”历史,我相信是有他的内在理路与理由的,而不是因为市场看重“观念”或其它别的什么如“毛狂热”(Mao Cult)等因素而跟风。经过长期采集毛泽东形象,作为历史人物的毛泽东逐渐进入他的内心,积淀下来,形成某种内心无意识,成为某种无法与他的个人经验与记忆无法分离的精神块垒却也不是不可能。也许,他因此必须以某种方式将它化解。现在,我们看到他找到了这么一种方式,将他心头挥之不去的毛泽东以扮演的方式来加以呈现。从王彤的《墙上的毛》系列到这个《重现》系列,我们可以发现,他其实一直关注的是,历史以何种形态存在于我们的记忆中,我们的记忆与图像是何种关系,历史记忆如何形成,记忆的历史意义等重大问题。当然,从视觉艺术这个角度看,历史是否可以模仿与再现也成为问题。而他的思考,在去历史化的今天,以其特殊的方式,也正提醒人们历史的重要性。

  通过王彤的化妆表演与拍摄,身体(个体的参数)、空间(历史的现场)、历史(被入侵的图像)这三者的交叉,把过去作为现实的参照并以这三个参数的结合加以重演,实现了从“他者的历史”向“历史的他者”的转变。这种转变,针对的是历史与现实的断裂,是一种由个人的身体通过“扮演”与“表演”而生产出来的历史与现实的重新接续。这“扮演”与“表演”本身就是一种对历史的继续。通过这样的方式,王彤以“历史的现实感”和“现实的历史感”的集于一身,打通了过去、现在与将来。他的扮演了毛泽东的身体,就像是一种促使历史与现实发生化学反应的触媒,因为他的身体的进入历史现场,历史与现实发生了某种关系并且产生了新的互动与能量。当然,他应该努力做的是穿越历史来到现实,而不是停留于历史之中。通过他的重新拍摄历史,通过他的步入历史重归现场,他的脚步触动的是我们的记忆,激活的是我们的现实思考。他的历史重现,其实更重要的是对于现实作出评价而不是简单的过去重现。

  王彤的重新拍摄历史,需要体验现场。而作为一个行为表演者,也要体认表演对象的内心,体现他独特的个人理解。总之,一个“体”字非常重要。无论是体验、体认、体现,他都是要用身体来展开个人与历史的对话。用身体,他踏勘\丈量历史\现实的空间,用身体,他再现记忆,用身体,他凸现(也弥合)历史与现实的裂隙。用身体,他与历史记忆对话,检验自己的个人记忆与宏大叙事的分裂.他以一己肉身,以这种方式来体验历史的诡谲与现实的无情。不过我们仍然还有想要提出的问题的,那就是,以这种方式,是否可能实现把握过去的愿望,以这种方式对待我们的历史遗产与历史记忆是否有效?如果说《墙上的毛》是一个有关毛神话褪色的记录的话,那么《重现》系列则显示了毛神话在现实中的去神话化的故事。

  在当代艺术中,通过扮演历史上的、以及历史图像文献(包括艺术史中的名作)中的“他者”的方式与过去的历史展开某种形式的对话者,不乏其人。其中以日本艺术家森村泰昌最为著名。但他的扮演,似乎更多的是为了实现人类的变身愿望,思谋的是进入方式,且以逼肖那个所扮演的“他者”为乐事。如此,则少了些对话现实与激活现实的动能。而王彤的“扮演”探索,则以重返历史现场的方式,将一个大历史的变动一起带出,给出了更为开阔的思考与想象的空间。对于王彤,这可能不是一个身份认同与重建的问题,而是一个个体与历史如何对话的问题。

  In 2006, Wang Tong published an album entitled Mao On The Wall. The images of Mao Zedong included in this collection, displayed in a traditional black-and-white format many years of work. These mottled, indistinct images of Mao Zedong, principally dispersed on the walls of China’s rural areas, stand testament to a unique period in China’s modern history. They have become the historical remains of that unique period. In order to photograph and record the ‘sacred images’ of a period of zealous loyalty and revolutionary fervour verging on madness, Wang Tong painstakingly investigated remaining records, collecting and assembling fragments which had accumulated over many years. This impressive body of work provides a visual documentary record confirming Mao’s impact on the era.

  During his era of power, drawings of Mao Zedong acted as a form of political propaganda, as visions designed to encourage leader worship amongst the masses. In contemporary society, these images attained an important role. At one point, Mao Zedong’s image could be seen everywhere. In both public and private places, his image was omnipresent, displaying far and wide his strong political presence. Today, however, with the shifting sands of time, the majority of these ‘sacred images’ have faded away. Despite this gradual disintegration, images of Mao still retain a firm place both within reality and in living memory, supporting our current sense of reality and anchoring us to the past. The function of the images as propaganda has waned; we no longer listen to Mao’s summons and, according to the logic of history, we walk our own paths. Of course, these faint yet stubbornly persistant ‘sacred vestiges’ of ‘sacred images’ also remind us that attempts to peal away the past are futile. History has its tenacious side. Yet Wang Tong’s work, the comprehensive collection of Mao Zedong’s images, provides visual documentation which adds to our memories. Following the completion of this grand-scale photography series, Wang Tong, himself a Chinese National Geography magazine reporter and editor, was silent for some time. Today, his new series, Reenactment, represents a complete break-away from the restraints of traditional documentary photography, embracing photography and performance art in one body of work.

  Wang Tong plumbs the depths of deeply-buried memories evoked by the classical images of Mao Zedong. After dressing himself up, he enters into the vastly different revolutionary historical perspective of these original photographs, adopting the recognisable pose of the revolutionary leader and thus, photographing a reenactment. Most importantly, whilst originally these classical photographs were created for political propaganda purposes, they have since attained the status of myth. These photographs demonstrate the tangible result of respect for certain standards. This creation of a mythology of the political image, in the context of a specific historical moment may achieve its motive; to stir up political feeling, however as time passes usually in the context of history, each political mythology will become the target of a reaction, an anti-mythology.

  This reenactment of scenes found in historical images, is not an attempt on the part of the artist to recreate the original scene. Were this project purely a return to the past, he could not tolerate the emergence of present-day distractions in his photographs. Under his own steam, it is unlikely that he could create such a cinematic reconstruction. No more is it his purpose to satisfy his own desire for physical transformation through impersonation. So, what is Wang Tong attempting, stirring people up through this provocative performance, through the reenactment of historical scenes? I believe that Wang Tong’s aim is to focus our attention on the dislocation and rupture between the historical and the real, thus encouraging a discussion of the relationship between history and reality.

  I believe that Wang Tong’s historical reenactment manifests his own deeply-held principles and rationale. This is not influenced by the importance that the current market attaches to artistic ‘concepts’ or additional factors such as the desire to capitalize on Mao’s contemporary iconicity. Collecting images of Mao over a long period, the historical figure of Mao Zedong has gradually infiltrated the artist’s consciousness, amassing within him, covertly molding his inner-self. It is not impossible that this historical figure has become an indivisable part of Wang Tong’s own personal experience and memory. Perhaps, through the impersonation of Mao Zedong in performance he has found some means to loosen the grip this spectre holds over his own soul. Through an examination of Wang Tong’s previous series, Mao On The Wall and this series, Reenactment, we can see his recurring preoccupations; the conditions under which history exists in our memories, the relationship between our memories and images, the formation of historical memory, the significance of recollecting historical events and other serious issues. Of course, from the perspective of the artist, whether history can be reenacted and imitated is also questionable. Wang Tong’s consideration of the historicity of today, by this specific method, also raises awareness of the importance of human history.

  Through Wang Tong’s costumed performance and photography, and the interaction between the body (individual characteristics), space (the historical scene) and history (the invaded image), the past becomes the reference to the present. Through the unification of these three elements and performance repetition, the conceptual focus moves from the history of the ‘other’ to the ‘otherness’ of history. This transformation, directed against the breach between history and reality, is a means through the action and performance of an individual body to produce a sense of continuity between history and reality. This impersonation and performance itself provides a counterpoint to the continuity of history. Wang Tong assembles the ‘historicization of reality’ and ‘realization of history’ in one form thus connecting the past, the present and the future. His impersonation of the figure of Mao Zedong provides a catalyst prompting a chemical reaction between history and reality. With the entrance of his body onto the historical stage, history and reality develop a relationship as well as producing a new interaction and energy. Of course, he must strive through history to reach reality rather than tarrying in the past. Through his photographic reenactment of history, though his return to the historical stage, his footsteps touch on our memories, stimulating our consideration of reality. His reenactment’s key significance lies in its appraisal of contemporary reality rather than simply revisiting the past.

  The visual nature of Wang Tong’s reenactment requires experience of the scene. However, as a method actor, he must both enter into the identity of the object of the performance, the figure of Mao, thus recreating the inner-being of this object and reflect his understanding of its uniqueness. The Chinese word ‘Ti’ designating ‘Form’ becomes extremely important. No matter whether it be a form of experience, a manifestation or a realization, Wang Tong must consistently use his own physical form to open up the dialogue between the individual and history. Using his body, he has both investigated and measured the spaces of history and reality. Using his body, he has recreated memories. Using his body, he has thrown into relief (and bridged) the rift between history and reality. Using his body, he opens the dialogue between himself and historical recollection, he examines his own recollections and fuses these with a grand narrative. Through his own flesh, he has come to know the treachery of history and ruthless nature of reality. Despite this, there remain important questions to be addressed. For example, is it possible in this way to satisfy the desire to embrace the past? Is this treatment of our historical inheritance and historical recollection effective? If Mao On The Wall is primarily concerned with the documentation of the fading mythology of Mao Zedong, then the series Reenactment in contrast enacts the story of the demythologization of this icon.

  In contemporary art, through reenactment of the ‘other’ in both historic images and documents, (including famous works in art history), there is no shortage of artists opening up the dialogue between the ‘other’ and the past. Amongst these, the Japanese artist, Yasumasa Morimura, is most famous. However, as his performances seem primarily concerned with enacting/ realizing the altering nature of mankind’s desires; a consideration of the method of entry into the character and the closeness of resemblance, for amusement, the energy in the dialogue between reality and history is lacking. Yet, through the repetition of historical scenes, Wang Tong’s impersonation exploration brings into the limelight a vast historical transformation, allowing even greater space for thought and imagination. The significance of Wang Tong’s latest works, lies not in their investigation of status approval and reconstruction but rather in their investigation of the relationship between the individual and history.

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延伸阅读:
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王彤:我不再用画说话
王彤的话与画(王彤)2007.3
国画家 王彤 重现历史与评价现实————关于王彤的《重现》
国画家 王彤 人体写真——艺术成分有几分?王彤
国画家 王彤 简介及作品
艺术家王彤:学艺术的目的要明确
国画家 王彤 简介及作品收藏

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