错彩镂金与芙蓉出水——读詹滢的绘画


文 彭锋



《山之上》


法国汉学家于连(François Jullien)将他论述中国美学和艺术的文章结集出版,题目叫《赞美平淡》。在概括中国艺术的特征时,于连心目中的参照物是拜占庭时间的镶嵌画。即使在今天看来,这些镶嵌画依然给人以金碧辉煌的感觉。但是,中国艺术并不缺乏这种风格。宗白华将中国艺术的风格概括为两个极端:一个是错彩镂金,一个是芙蓉出水。如果说芙蓉出水接近天然平淡的话,那么错彩镂金就接近金碧辉煌了。中国文化向来推崇融合,不太追求极端。但是,这两种风格追求,几乎是独立发展,井水不犯河水。不过,在詹滢近来创作的绘画中,我们却看到了这两种风格的融合的趋势。


詹滢从小喜欢绘画。但是,她并不像今天的艺考培训班的学生那样,从素描和色彩训练入手,而是从国画入手。詹滢从少年宫开始学习白描,稍大后学习工笔重彩。尽管詹滢后来学习的是油画,而且有一位著名的油画家父亲,但是从小的国画练习或者游戏,形成了她的艺术母语。我们不能不说詹滢是一位好学生,同时也不能不感叹她的父亲的管教之严,因为学成之后的詹滢,可以画出跟她父亲一模一样的作品,以至于有人戏称,只要詹滢在自己的作品上签上她父亲的名字,完全可以以假乱真。鉴于詹滢的父亲是中国油画界的一位标志性人物,只要达到她父亲的水平,就意味着可以进入名家的行列了。


但是,这种成就,并没有让詹滢满足;相反,它成了詹滢的包袱。詹滢陷入了迷茫之中。尽管她能做的都做到了,但是仍然没有找到她自己的表达方式。这就相当于习武之人,只学成了一套花架子,等遇到真的对手时,只能被动挨打,毫无还手之力。詹滢后来学习的艺术,最多只能算是她的第一外语。她的艺术母语,是她从小形成的艺术记忆。詹滢长期用外语说话,尽管也字正腔圆,但在真情实感的表达上,终究隔了一层。成熟之后的詹滢,开始寻找自己的艺术表达。她决意放弃光鲜亮丽的外语表达,找回自己朴素的艺术母语。詹滢沉寂了,她把自己关起来,进行语言探索。


詹滢喜欢服装设计,这也是女性的天性使然。早在95年的时候,詹滢就获得过“国际服装青年设计师大奖赛优秀设计师奖”。在她寻找自己的艺术语言的时候,小时候的白描、工笔重彩的经验,做设计师时用布的经验,被重新唤起;再加上身处钢筋水泥的城市森林,詹滢对于水泥有切身的感受。这些因素融合起来,就形成了詹滢的综合材料艺术语言。这是詹滢自己的语言。当詹滢开始用她自己的语言说话时,她获得了前所未有的自由,有了一片属于自己的天地。


詹滢近来的创作,给人一种脱胎换骨、破茧而出的感觉。在“如去如来”“山之上”“鎏金江山”三个系列作品中,我们都可以看到那种融合错彩镂金和芙蓉出水的风格。纱布和水泥,让詹滢的作品有了一种特有的素净感。如果从詹滢以前画的油画的角度来看,詹滢近来的作品好像经过了一场“素颜”的洗礼。


中国美学史上有一个重要的命题,叫绘事后素。历代注释家有不同的解释:一种解释是,在绘画之前先用白粉做底;另一种解释是,在绘画之后用白线勾边。无论是那种解释,素都被认为与彩色相对。我自己喜欢后一种解释,但不是从技术上来理解,而是从境界和气质上来理解。中国艺术强调含蓄、老道、避免火气,“后素”不仅指画面处理,更多的指气质和境界上的修养。


但是,詹滢完全沉浸在芙蓉出水的风格追求中。早年工笔重彩的记忆和后来的油画训练,让单纯的黑白灰很难满足詹滢的表达需要。詹滢的艺术世界里不仅有颜色,而且有颜色的极端形式,这就是通过贴金制造出来的效果。詹滢打破了素颜水墨与重彩工笔的边界,也打破的油画与国画的边界,打破了绘画与浮雕的边界,对于詹滢来说,重要的是表达的需要,而不是形式禁忌。


詹滢用她修炼出来的艺术语言,对中国绘画中的传统题材佛像和山水进行了创造性的转换。经过詹滢的转换之后,传统题材呈现出了新的面貌,体现出了新的质感。在詹滢的作品中,我们看到的不是简单的符号挪用,不是简单的政治批判,不是简单的标新立异,不是简单的观念表达,而是精心的艺术创作。艺术语言的趣味、气质、境界,成了詹滢考虑的首要问题。无论是错彩镂金,还是芙蓉出水,在詹滢的艺术中,都能给人一种宁静的感觉。詹滢的艺术,给我们敞开了一个宁静的世界。在今天这个众声喧哗、轻浮躁动的时代,詹滢所创造的这种厚重而宁静艺术世界,就像一个个休止符,能够起到安顿心灵的作用。正因为如此,詹滢的新作从一亮相开始就引人瞩目。

 

 

Gorgeousness And Pureness——On Paintings By Jenny Zhan

 

When François Jullien, a French Sinologist, published his collection of essays on Chinese aesthetics and arts, he gave it the title Praise the Simplicity. It could be imagined that he must take mosaics of the Byzantine as a reference object when he expounded the characteristics of Chinese arts. Even in the view of nowadays, the mosaics still look splendid. However, there has been too much splendor in Chinese arts. Zong Baihua (1897-1986), a pioneer aesthetician, summarized the styles of Chinese arts as two extremes: one was gorgeousness and the other was pureness. If pureness is close to peace and calm, gorgeousness will mean splendor. What is praised highly in accordance with Chinese culture is mediocrity but extreme. Both extreme styles have their followers. However, we can find out a trend that these two different styles are gradually mixed together in the works created by Jenny Zhan.


Jenny was keen on painting when she was a kid. Not like any pupils at training courses nowadays who started whose learning by sketch and colors, she took the traditional Chinese painting study from very beginning. Jenny started to learn the techniques of line drawing in traditional ink and brush style and later the traditional Chinese painting with exact delineation and enriched colors when she became one of the trainees in Children’s Palace. The practice of traditional Chinese painting at her young age formed her ‘mother tongue’ of arts even though she studied oil painting later and the fact that she is the daughter of Zhan Jianjun, a famous oil painter inChina. We should say that Jenny was a good student and the discipline her father gave her was strict enough because that Jenny, having finished her study, could work out oil paintings as good as that her father did. There is a joke that people would take by mistake the works by Jenny as that by her father. What needs would be only his signature. As her father is regarded as a leading figure in the oil painting circle ofChina, whoever reaches his professional level will mean that he or she might be among the outstanding painters.


What Jenny achieved did not satisfy her. Instead, it became a burden to her. She was at a loss. Although she had done what she could do, she did not find out her own way to express. If a person has only learned some showy postures of martial arts, he will be beaten when he meets a real opponent one day. Taking language study for instance, it is as if that the art skills Jenny learned when she grew up were only her ‘first foreign language’. Her ‘mother tongue’ in arts is the artistic memory which was formed at her young age. Jenny had spoken a ‘foreign language’ for too long time. Though she spoke it quite well, it was not her ‘mother tongue’. Jenny, when she realized it, started to seek the proper way to express herself. She decided to give up the fluent ‘foreign language’, and tried to pick up the simple ‘mother tongue’ of arts. She fell in silence. She explored her own language behind closed doors.


 Jenny, as a woman, takes a fancy to dress designing. She was awarded Outstanding Designer in International Competition for Young Designers back in 1995. When she sought her own artistic language, the memories of traditional Chinese painting she was familiar with at young age, and the usage of cloth in dress design were aroused suddenly all together. As a person who has been living in cement forest, she knows cement very well. All these factors mixed together and formed her own art language that means to use physical materials in her works. Jenny felt free when she started to speak with her own language. She has got a land for herself.


The recent works by Jenny cast off the old selves and make a change in every nature, as if having been reborn. People can find out a mixed style of both gorgeousness and pureness in her three different series of works: Tathāgata (Buddha—One Who Has Thus Arrived As He Thus Left), Mountain Tops and The Gilt Landscapes. Usage of gauze and cement makes her works plain and neat. Compared with her works before, the new ones seem to have gone through a bleaching procedure. There is a jargon in Chinese aesthetics that calls ‘plain in painting’. There are different explanations to this jargon. One explanation is that white color should be applied as a base before starting to pain. Another explanation is that crocheting with white color is necessary after the picture is made. No matter which explanation is right, the ‘plain’ links with color for sure. I prefer to the latter one. What I understand is that the plain is nothing to do with techiniques but makings. Chinese culture puts connotation in high priority and tries to avoid anxiety. The plain resides in the method of painting and in the self-cultivation as well.


Jenny sought the style of pureness with her heart and soul, but she, with her early memory of traditional Chinese painting and the training experiences of oil painting later, found out that the dull colors of black, white and grey could not meet her needs to express. Bright colors came into her works. They were not ordinary colors but the extreme ones. That meant to make effects by pasting gold foil onto canvas. She broke through the boundary between plain ink paintings and enriched color ones. She also broke through the boundary between oil paintings and Chinese ones, and even that between paintings and sculptures. What Jenny cares is the need to express. She cares little about the forbidden of art forms.


Using the art language she refined, Jenny has made a revolutionary change to the traditional Chinese subjects such as Buddha and landscape. These subjects have got new looks in her hand. The works also have got new texture. Instead of simple usage of symbol, or innovation, or political criticism, or idea expression, she pursues elaborate art creation. What she puts in priority is the connotation of her art language. Her works, either in the style of gorgeousness or pureness, make you peaceful and comfortable. They present a peaceful world. They are like a piece of madrigal that makes your heart calm in the world of sound and fury. For this, her new works caught eyes from the very moment they appeared.

 

Peng Feng