用绘画建筑 Build of Paintings
Starting off from the Ultimate Limit
Li Jianchun translated by Jin Hu
Around 2005, Tang Xiao began to paint his always untitled works featuring the round objects, such as the total solar eclipse, compact discs, springes, targets, rings, the period of grand narrative and the aureole, etc. These concentric circles, like the stone dropping into the lake or the clap in the dark stairway, give the spectators a fleeting aesthetic sensibility, which vanish queerly without trace. Showing very good taste in color and material, Tang Xiao’s works often strike us as Dantesque and cindery. The daedal circles come to an end, but the meaning is inexhaustible.
Taking the targets as “the objects for gaze”, Jasper Johns, in his famous Targets, intended to change the chronic way of looking at the daily objects and the body. The defiant, creative spirit is representative of the American art in the ascendant in the mid-1900s. Erected in the similarly dynamic, suspensive contemporary China, Tang Xiao’s “targets” resemble the way the artist and the spectators look face to face at each other due to the unspecified objects for gaze. These target-like, ambiguous “artifacts” are less the visual rhetoric serving one purpose than the miniature theaters made of color and material. As for the stories on the stage, they reflect the relations between self and other, mind and object. As staging and outcome are both undefined, the stories are untitled. In the eyes of the self-possessed, radical artist, narrative motifs, realist images and concepts, even “painterliness”, are not his love.
The starting point of the artist’s maturity is his established goal——the ultimate limit of traditional aesthetics, such as the exaggerated period or springe. The aesthetic goal is likewise embodied in the exaggerated “starting point”. The artist possesses himself and encourages the sensitive spectators to explore on his dynamic, detailed “plane”. Tang Xiao believes that the abstract painting is “a plane covered by color…pursues the creation on the plane and the pure visual expression, it is visual, material.” His abstract works assert the death of the paintings. In order to break away from abstract expressionism like color field painting and hard-edge painting, Clement Greenberg coined the new term “post-painterly abstraction”, borrowing the term “painterly” from Heinrich Wolfflin, who used it to describe the difference between baroque art and classic art. Rejecting expressionism, individuality and three-dimensional illusion, the post-painterly abstract artists like Barnett Newman and Frank Stella emphasize the authenticity of material and the flatness of plane. Such abstract art, compatible with its surroundings, leaves a vision-expanding effect. Creating a lot of whirlpools on the wall, Tang Xiao’s untitled works make the other works beside his pale by comparison, no matter how celebrated you are or how big the size is. His works exhibit a calm enchantment.
The young artist has a fervent, undefined zeal. As one of the most talented students at Hubei Institute of Fine Arts, Tang Xiao pursued further studies abroad for many years after graduation. He had created several groups of excellent works before developing his own style. One group of works are for abstract expression, which are characterized by color lumps and hierarchy. It seems that he began to go too far. In one of the works, he “conceptualizingly” painted a highly contaminative pigeon, whose shape seems to fall into pieces. The other works that reject visual illusion are also very successful. Given that Tang Xiao’s grandfathers, parents and brothers are the celebrated artists who favor realism, it is hard to imagine that he goes in for such abstraction. He rejects realism but inherits academicism.
With a cold, grey hue, Tang Xiao’s enclosing geometric shapes of works lack open, bright elements. The artist concentrated almost all his energies on exploring the pure visual elements, such as the effects of his painting tools, complementary colors, the textures of clad plate and synthetic glass and so on. Contrary to popular expectation, his works don’t intend to “sublimate” the spectators, which merits our attention. In the depressive, dull years, contemporary artists begin to consider it their duty to rebel. To rebel is like trying to please the public with claptrap indeed, but it is more embarrassing to be conservative. Tang Xiao is unlikely to make his debut in a comic way and he silently rejects some of the common aspirations of different art groups. I don’t want to excessively inspirit the artist to his graphics and coolness at this stage, but would like to point out that in contemporary China, an artist, who favors “pure language”, has no lack of “conceptions”. His complexity lies in his simplicity. The cooling pure visual or even touching elements, are not so much a self-expression as the aesthetics goal of life experience.
Tanhualin, Wuchang, November 2009
展览现场 Exhibition Site
Building with painting
Painting and architecture have a symbiotic relationship, and the painting art of a specific era always adapts to the structure, material, location and even the state of light of a specific building.From a modern perspective, although painting cannot directly change architecture, the presence of painting can bring some interesting visual and emotional changes to the space in which it is located.Painting exists attached to architecture, but can be easily peeled off; it can make a space beautiful or weird.But in general, the stay of paintings on the walls of buildings and the circulation in different spaces satisfy people's needs for visual stimulation and emotional stimulation.The relationship between architecture and painting is also corresponding. Due to the personal characteristics, the influence of painting on people is temporary and regional; while architecture is public and stable. People live in urban buildings from birth, and architectureIn addition to completing its functional aspect, it even shapes the aesthetic experience of its residents from the source sense.The architectural space does not necessarily require reasonableness, but it must be safe and durable. Therefore, both the internal and external structures, construction materials and craftsmanship will inevitably tend to a certain degree of perfection. Compared with perfection, restraint and creation are the problems that painting embodies human beings.a higher level of subjectivity.
In May of this year, the Wanlin Art Museum was completed on the campus of Wuhan University. The concept of "Flying Stone" endowed it with a unique shape, and the exquisite facade wrapped in special stone made it look like a giant sculpture artTaste.Different from the surrounding buildings of the Republic of China and New China, the Wanlin Museum of Art has completely removed its functions, and there is almost no vertical wall in the entire building.In order to arrange the exhibits of the opening exhibition, temporary exhibition walls were built. These exhibition walls appear hurried and sloppy in the magnificent and complete space of the museum, changing the perspective of the exhibition from viewing to searching.Architects left little chance for paintings that still required walls.Shortly after the opening of the Wanlin Art Museum, Ding Yi’s solo exhibition "He Shown" was exhibited at the Shanghai Long Museum. The building of the Long Museum is as unique as the Wanlin Art Museum, with clear cement interior walls and a huge space.The sense of oppression makes most of the paintings appear weak in it.But the artist created 10 5-meter-high stencil paintings for the 9-meter-high space of the art museum, using the prominent complex traces on the pictures to squeeze the texture of the wall, and using the scale of the works to balance the volume of the space.The visual effects are outstanding and unforgettable.Tan Ping also mentioned in a conversation a few days ago: "When an object is placed on the wall, the wall may become a part of the work. Abstract art, especially minimalist art must be the art of space.It only has meaning when it is in a space. The meaning of today’s abstract art picture itself is only a part of it, and the greater meaning occurs in the entire exhibition space.”——(excerpted from the interview with Artron Roundtable).It can be seen that, on the one hand, the dependence of abstract painting on architecture exceeds the need for space of any previous visual art.At the same time, on the other hand, due to the addition of abstract paintings, it also provides a variety of possibilities for the linear space in the building.How to deal with the relationship between works and architecture is a problem that all artists who study abstract painting should face again.
In my recent creative practice, I try to take the color off the plane and fall on a certain surface in the space, but I try to maintain its painterly nature in this seemingly non-painting form of presentation.From the start, it seemed like an impossible endeavor.In my opinion, the physical state of the plane canvas and the three-dimensional geometric structure carrying the paint are the same, no matter how its shape and volume change, it is always a combination of large or small, curved or flat, one or several surfaces,As long as there is a surface, the color has a basis for attachment, and the boundaries and layers between colors will be produced.Compared with flat painting, the three-dimensional geometric structure will produce visual effects of blocking, cutting and penetrating between surfaces due to the change of perspective.At this time, in addition to the function of supporting the work, the wall also becomes a reference between the starting point and the ending point of the movement.Because the abstract composition is not based on imitating nature, the picture lacks objective concrete images and relies on the limitation and support of the space in which it is located.Then this space is a wall enclosed by the zenith, the ground and the corner.In these works of mine, the starting point and vanishing point of all surfaces are walls. Although there are rigid straight and convex-concave structures, you can feel the touch of the pen on each surface.
Wallinger believes that the reason why people can obtain pleasure value in works of art must have a causal relationship with a certain psychological need determined by the "absolute artistic will".From the perspective of traditional operation, abstract painting should try its best to reproduce the self-contained material personality in the plane as much as possible, and combine the expression with the inevitability and regularity of matter.But Wallinger also mentioned that the need for artistic activities to experience the subject is contrary to all abstract concepts.In vision, geometric regularity is feasible to reproduce natural prototypes, and time and shape can be perfectly expressed in this reproduction.Extracting the monomer from the visual experience of the real world and using the physicality of the material to reproduce it, then such a monomer not only exists independently of the world surrounding it, but also exists independently of the subject who observes it.Art, like artists, is always looking for its "contemporaries", and the symbiotic relationship of contemporaries, in addition to "attachment", must also have an "erosion" side.From the perspective of behavior, "erosion" is often more spiritual than "attachment".The practical methods and theoretical basis of abstract art come from the West, but my works, from the choice of materials to the shape of the works, try to point to an oriental thinking scene: imagine a building as an organism, such as a tree, and the tree is being hitDuring the healing process after the branch is broken, new tissue will grow to wrap the wound and eventually become a scar.Then my works are like the mutated structures generated by these external forces.They have the same properties as the original tree, but have two completely different growth modes.These wooden textures, protruding volumes and tactile geometric shapes are the "scars" of the building, and they are like parasites on the building skin, invading and adsorbing on the wall to become an organic part, and the color is themskin.I call this state "building with painting".
June 2015, written in Jiangxia Hidden Dragon Island
展览现场 Exhibition Site
01 Untitled, 2015, 110cmX110cmX30cm, acrylic board
06 Untitled, 2015, 110cmX110cmX30cm, acrylic board
Untitled (Part 1 of the series), 2015,30cmX30cmX40cm, acrylic on wood