Real art need to have "soul"

Hydra-015

Hydra-015

I was reading Chen Jialing and Wu Guanzhong's dialogue about art and soul, which is exactly what has inspired me in art appreciation and creation. The dialogue also reminded me of an interview I did with a zen philosophy artist Yi Xuan (spending half his time in Beijing and another half in the mountains studying zen) a few months ago... Like many Chinese water ink painters, artists in both dialogues elaborated their art inspiration, soul, as well as their buddhism/taoism wisdom. I hope bilingual readers can enjoy both articles.吴冠中的国画世界:真正的绘画要有“心灵” (Wu Guanzhong's painting world: real art need to have "soul")2008-10-13 16:51:14    来源 : 中国新闻网http://news.artron.net/show_news.php?newid=60383#DS香港《大公报》刊登文章《吴冠中、陈家泠对话中国画变革》。吴冠中提出,艺术就是美的享受,美的文化,美的世界和美的意境。这种美育文化是德育也不能替代的。艺术的美好是一种境界,是能够感化人心灵的。真正的绘画要有“心灵”。原文摘录如下:陈家泠,1937年生,祖籍广西,生于浙江永康。1958年入浙江美术学院中国画系,师从潘天寿,初习人物画;20世纪70年代又师陆俨少,学山水、书法,后攻花鸟。现为上海大学美术学院教授,中国美术家协会会员。作品《鲁迅先生肖像》入选华东六省一市肖像画展。80年代研究吸收中国古代壁画和国外水彩画技法,作品《粉红色的荷花》选送美国展出。《放》、《不染》分别入选第六、七届全国美展并获奖。1986年应邀赴西柏林高等艺术学院讲学。吴冠中:你画得好。我很早就注意你的画了,那是在十几二十年以前,我去上海新锦江饭店,大厅挂着你的一张画,当时我就觉得眼前一亮,印象很深。因此特别留意了一下名字:陈家泠,至今还很难忘。陈家泠:谢谢您的关注。我是浙江美院毕业以后分到上海工作的,上海这块地方相对比较开放自由,心态上无拘无束。其实土地是有它的重要性,有时我在想,如果当时留在浙江美院不知道是如何一番前景,也可能没有现在的画法了吧。吴冠中:如果你留在那里说不定就更加厉害了!陈家泠:我觉得艺术创作有时需要远走他乡,寻找适合自己发展的土壤,而后可能会“种”出新的品种。比如现在在北京发展得好的艺术家,不一定就是在北京土生土长的。同样,在艺术创作上,新想法和新风格的创立是很不容易的。我早期进行的一些国画风格上的探索,可以说是一种变异。把线条、用墨、块面等等点、线、面的东西用中国民族的元素体现出来,让人觉得别开生面。吴冠中:是的,我一下子就能从你的画中看到你想表达的东西。我今年88岁了,我体会艺术就是美的享受,美的文化,美的世界和美的意境。这种美育文化是德育也不能替代的。艺术的美好是一种境界,是能够感化人心灵的。我们美术工作者其实要搞得是这种工作,但是现在很多人在从事的已经不能算是美术工作的本质了,本质工作就是提高人的审美。比如说,有些人就是以画得像为目标,但是照相机发明以后,现实主义就不行了。因此,真正的绘画要有“心灵”,要有感受,要有感情,要表达。然而你要把心灵的情感用视觉形式和艺术语言表现出来,这个创造性是非常困难的,这里面的方法可以说无处可寻,唯有开创个人独特的艺术语言来表达自己的绘画精神才是第一等重要的。因此才要想尽办法不择手段把你内心深处和别人不同的东西挖掘出来,用视觉形式表现出来。你看你的这幅《轻灵》,空灵得很。远近的内容很呼应,大弧线小弧线,圆点,圆中间把空间部分挤了出来,好像很窄又好像很大……你看,这个干的和湿的效果很有味道,很多人搞不出来,你这一与众不同的艺术语言和尝试,很早我就注意了。陈家泠:谢谢吴先生对我作品的评价。我在国外开了很多画展,在中国这次还是第一次开展览。我这种画过去也是不易的,八十年代末九十年代初在东南亚,香港人、国外人很喜欢接受我的作品;国内的人却很矜持,经过20年之后到现在他们接受了,这也是有个过程的。另外这些和文化层次有关系。西方人的审美层次已经达到了一个高度,他们受良好的启蒙教育,看得也多,很多东西他们能看懂能欣赏。而中国的文化层次结构是这样的,过去一直是少数人有文化,大部分是农民,农民的层次与素质相对欠缺,有文化的中间力量很薄弱,我们现在要做的就是努力扩大这部分人的审美文化层次,普及后大家自然会有眼光、有水平来欣赏艺术。不知道您有没有体会,您的作品在当时只有少数国人欣赏。吴冠中:别说欣赏了,打击啊,骂啊。外国人要比我们中国的老糊涂懂得多,他们懂中国画,毕加索懂齐白石!陈家泠:我记得在七十年代,香港万玉堂当时很多人很欣赏您的画,包括外国人和中国人。在当时他们已经达到这个程度。因此这其实是个文化现象,这种现象要过15年20年后,到现在,欣赏的人就多了。这说明时代在前进,老百姓的审美层次也在提高、在发展、在变化……吴冠中:在目前的创作中要创新就不能避开这个问题:如何看待传统?一味摹古是不是好?古代的东西留传至今当然好,但是都过去了,早期临摹是有助于学习,但是一直拘泥于临摹就不对了,创造性在哪里?属于你自己个性的东西在哪里?所以传统要看你怎么学,学得不好反而害人。现在有种风气就是回到传统,而反复强调古代传统。爷爷的东西是好,不能老靠着爷爷的东西过日子,儿子不必像老子。要学习没错,但是老学老学没有创新,时间长了就成了抄袭,等于近亲结婚的产物,抄袭到后来就自我抄袭,悲哀啊,结果可想而知。因此一定要懂得要跳出来,这就是新陈代谢,老的终究会衰老灭亡,明白科学的发展是重要的。由于我们的科学落后,艺术上也落后。有这种观点:抢救民间文物比创新更加重要。我觉得这个提法本身很荒谬,国家民族的强盛都依靠创新,不创新,日子怎么过?对于传统的老东西整理是应该的,更重要的是创造。陈家泠:这就是石涛所说的:笔墨当随时代。吴冠中:对,笔墨等于零。东西好了,笔墨就算成功了。我喜欢京剧,喜欢周信芳。你看周信芳倒嗓了以后,以更大的努力,更加集中精力开拓前进,面目一新,形成了麒派。这就是不择手段!陈家泠:换句话说,只要东西好,结果就好。吴冠中:是的,所以一定要培养个性。那个美国汉学家、艺术评论家高居翰,悟性很高也很爱好中国文化,一次他去纽约大都会博物馆,看着那些高高挂起的油画真是非常亮堂,看的人很多;而看到中国的那部分后发现颜色又灰又暗,看的人也很少,他心里很难过,他是替中国难过。所以中国画必须要改革,我们封闭的时间太久了,五千年是光荣的,五千年也是倒霉的,五千年老了,太老了!需要靠智慧的创造,一切方法手段都要拿来表现新东西、新精神。陈家泠:所以说叫推陈出新。这方面是需要有人带头呼吁、启发、影响和引领的。回忆当年,那时候都讲中国画是老一套,有人居然站出来讲中国画不科学。但潘天寿先生始终认为一个国家没有传统就等于没有文化,没有传承的国家是得不到尊重的,中国优秀的文化艺术一定要继承和光大,才能立足于世界文化之林。受着他思想的鼓舞,当时我们都以民族自豪感来努力学习中国画。在泊来文化的轰炸下渐渐丧失传统精神的文化危机下,是潘先生挺身而出呼吁启发,他是那时候真正的中流砥柱!相反,您刚才所说的老在传统里不发展不创造,睡在五千年文明的摇篮里,过分沉溺于文化古国的历史中而停滞不前也可能导致灭亡。在二十世纪末二十一世纪初的时间段里,您起来影响和引领了一代人,不断致力于推进文艺的上创新,在光大中华文化方面您们是当之无愧的民族英雄。吴冠中:回过头来看,我们的确是落后了,不是说过去不好,是这条路再这样走下去是走不通的。陈家泠:过去是好的,传统也是好的,但是那是前人的好……吴冠中:新感情要用新的表达方法。古人的笔墨方法是用来寄托他们的情感和愿望的,不是表达我们的感情和审美的。每人性格不一样,感情也不同。每个人都要发明创造。陈家泠:其实这是个理念问题,一种是都去临摹而无人创新创造,另一种就是您说的是每个人去发现去挖掘。如果每个人都去发明创造,时代不就推进了吗?发展就快了。抱残守缺的结果只能是停滞不前。时代精神就是创新精神,也就是所谓的创新的时代了。吴冠中:是相同的,是有共性的,时代共性。陈家泠:对,如果思路不打开,永远就是原地踏步。原先我们走路靠步行,然后发明了自行车,轻松方便还节约时间,后来又有了汽车,火车,地铁,飞机,你不要坐吗?你认为这个不是传统?这么说起来走路最传统了。其实不是传统不传统的问题,最终效果是起决定作用的,只要达到效果传统或者不传统都是可行的。其实很多人没有真正理解传统的意义,换句话说,传统本身就是创新。就中国画的构成来说,你看那真山真水不是这样的,因此传统本身就是创造,是前人日积月累的创新。比如中国传统讲的是“气”,其实就是生命状态。“气”一流通,空气就新鲜了,人就健康了。所有道理都是相通的,传统里面就是讲得这一套。有些人虽然讲传统,但是对它不甚了解。吴冠中:根本不了解。其实能够注意到这些的人很少,就像能够让我注意的画也很少。很多展览,拍卖,请我去看画,真是一张都看不中。回头来看你创作中的衔接、创新都是很用心的,真正用心在画的人现在已经很少了。陈家泠:刚刚你说的为了达到境界达到你需要的美,可以不择手段。我也是这个观点,为了达到心里的这个目的,任何手法都能用。文学上是如此,艺术上是亦是如此。吴冠中:预祝你的画展成功!画得好的人,一定会成功!Yi Xuan's interview - conducted by Belinda Shi from Mandarin Muse AssociatesMMA: We noticed that in your portfolio of works, there is a significant section devoted to the ‘Zen’ theme. Can you speak to why this topic is important to you and how your life impacted this development?Yi Xuan: My personal life obviously had a significant influence on my life. Specifically, back in 2001 and 2002, there were students of mine who for no particular reason passed away. These unfortunate and sad circumstances forced me to look inwards and think about life. In Buddhist Zen philosophy there is a teaching of “constant change” (Chinese called Wu Chang – no norm) in life. This Zen philosophy and inwards looking attitude that I explored in greater depth after these years had a significant influence in my art and direction of my workMMA: So most of your works reflected your spiritual thought, esp. in relation to how you look at life?Yi Xuan: It’s beyond spirit. It has something to do with zen wisdom, power and inspiration, something that allows you to be at peace. For example, I would feel sorrow when knowing someone died, but now as I understand one’s existence as part of a grand scheme of the universe, I look at the whole thing differently. Some of my works—like that of “Micro organisms”—I enlarged a tiny creature to a large scale painting, to show life’s existence. It doesn’t matter how big or small a life is, as it’s a relative term, it’s all part of the big picture. That’s how I look at life, art, and myself or just about anything.MMA: What is your biggest inspiration for your works—rather, how do you find inspiration?Yi Xuan: Over the years, I have realized that in my earlier years as a student and artist, I looked outwards—by that I mean the world external to us as individuals—for inspiration. After the incidents I experienced in 2001-2002, I have focused more inwards and that is where my inspiration comes from. I spent once or twice in the mountains every year to study zen (from Buddhist masters), and it helped me to reshape my approach to look at the external world – from an internal perspective. An analogy could be a mirror – when it’s clear and smooth, it reflects the external world as is, when it is covered by dust or curved on the surface, it will distort the world. In Taoism, we emphasize “no enforcement” (to change/go against the nature) – we do not have to necessarily find a way, or something unnatural. This is the same for my art. In some ways, I feel like I have “merged” myself with the universe. When I paint, I can’t necessarily say that I am actually creating the works. In some ways, it’s “Nature” or the “Universe” using me as a medium for my works to take shape. Oftentimes it’s the art which changes me instead of me creating the art.MMA: Is there any reason you choose abstract as a genre?Yi Xuan: I have always done various genres of work. For example, back in 1991, I left the art academic arena and started an interior design company. This move didn’t allow for enough time for painting, however once I started painting full time again, I tried many genres and mediums of art—ranging from doing performance art, installation art as well as painting abstract works in ink and oils. I feel natural to use the abstract genre to reflect what I feel, so there is no particular reason or enforcement that drives me to definitely do abstract.MMA: Do you have any favorite pieces? Or do you think certain works are more representative?Yi Xuan: It’s hard to determine what is the best. Each piece is representative of that stage of my life so it’s hard to say.MMA: I noticed unique terms you use to describe your art. They sound very Zen Buddhist . How did you name your series or even individual paintings?Yi Xuan: My titles come to me after I paint it. I look at it; I stare at it; and eventually the name will come to me— almost magically. It’s a very Taoist way. To me, when I look at a painting it‘s like if I saw it for the first time, so I wait until the name comes to me.MMA: So in summary, how do you see the relationship between Chinese art, Zen philosophy, and yourself?Yi Xuan: In my view, art and life is one—it’s all intertwined together; this includes the creation process. What I mean is that there’s no difference between me and my art—we are one and the same. In addition, it is important to note that traditional Chinese art, represented by the mountain/water paintings, is really about philosophy—it is just another medium of expression rather than a skill.MMA: You have experienced changes in both life and art in the past. What is the future direction of your art career?Yi Xuan: As Taoism advocates, we should live in the present. I do not necessarily look at the past, or the future more than right now. My art career is the same. I want to focus on what I am doing right now, and the future will lead its own way.MMA: I noticed in your bio that you tend to split your time between your studio in Beijing and your quiet mountain retreat in Fujian where you practice Zen Buddhism. How do you decide to split your time?Yi Xuan: Because I’m inspired internally, I need to find time in my schedule to look inside and to be at peace. I don’t have a schedule I follow, but once I feel that something is out of balance, I will leave and lead the life of a monk as way of “coming back to center.” However, practicing Zen Buddhism does not mean we forget about reality. I come back to “real life” to work and paint. It doesn’t matter if you are located on a quiet mountain or a chaotic metropolis, just as long as you are at peace, you are yourself. There’s an old Chinese saying (in the summer), you’ll naturally feel cool if your heart is at peace.MMA: Ok, one more question. What is your biggest goal as an artist?Yi Xuan: I think art is not just about beauty . One should use it to explore life and it should become part of your life. For some people, poetry isn’t an expression of an idea, it’s a way of life; art is like that for me. My goal is to practice and perfect my art almost as if a monk learns to mediate to reach nirvana. I hope to reach nirvana through my art.June 2008