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采访对象:张杭/Interviewed: Zhang Hang

采访对象:张杭

采访时间:2007125日下午

采访地点:于杭州贝尼尼咖啡馆

 

 

环境 environment ecology 8

电视 television 10

生活 life 10

时间 time 20

终极 ultimate 8

终极问题 ultimate question 7

语言 language 17

大众 the mass the public popular 12

社会 society 20

个人 individual(s) 8

灵魂 soul 9

边缘 edge 9

关系 relationship 17

媒体 media 6

文化 culture cultural 18

系统 system 8

无意义 meaningless 7

录像 video art 5

当代艺术 contemporary art 11

态度 attitude 8

作品 works 17

 

6,4      ‘June 4′ incident 1

天安门 Tian’anmen 1

社会主义 socialistic 1

政治体系 political system 1

政治 politics 3

意识形态 ideology 2

上层建筑 superstructure 2

 

play 7

hot 3

名气 成名 出名 知名fame (renowned famous reputation getting famous)  19

控制 control 2

新潮艺术 avant-garde art new art 2

马戏团 circus 4

技术 technique 4

机会 chance 2

圣人 saint 4

展览 the exhibition 24

中国 China 28

西方 West Western abroad westerners 14

变化(改变) change shift 15

相对 relatively 10

new 17

快感 have fun 4

中国特色 Chinese characteristics 3

 

 

Q:你觉得当代艺术跟整个当代中国的社会现实是怎么样的一个关系?

A:80代现在来比较的话,很多人态度上面可能有很大的转变,包括我自己,我觉得可能在89年以前吧,就是北京的那个大展当代艺术或者说新潮艺术实际上基本上被看作是一种精英文化的一个标志,也就是说它是用来唤醒社会或者说唤醒大众的,是所谓的思想史或是文化的一部分;我想这样的一种幻觉打破是在“八九”年以,也就是“六四”以后,因为发现真正的艺术它只是艺术,而且艺术不是可以用来改造社会的,它只是这个社会的一部分,而且在很大程度上它是受到大众文化的影响,简单地讲,比如做录像,在西方中国一样,并不是先发明了录像艺术然后才有了大众文化大众艺术;是作为大众文化电视有了以后,然后才有了录像艺术艺术家利用了这个材质、这个媒介,然后试图利用它来批判大众文化;所以实际上不能说是你改变大众文化——当然到了后来有一个相互影响作用。所以我在想,到了90年代或者是21世纪以后,当代艺术的这种姿态态度状态,慢慢的就开始有了很大的变化,不是像原先那么的孤立、比较封闭保守,现在相对来讲比较的开放,比较愿意介入社会,比较愿意和大众对话,或者说比较愿意利用大众资源。我们去年和今年在杭州做的“出事”、“没事”两个展览,其实也是这样一个出发点,很多艺术家从北京、上海过来的,在一起做这样的展览,就是说这些艺术家可能也都有一个这样的共同方向,一个趋势

Q:谈到西方,你觉得现今中国的当代艺术和西方相比是很落后还是怎么样,这两者之间的状况你有什么看法?

A:能不能用“落后”这个词我不知道,好像这个字听起来有点刺激,也很难用,因为艺术上不存在先进落后这样的概念,它不是体育比赛——快五秒慢五秒,但我觉得是不同话语,也就是说在西方相对来说,它是在比较开放的一个环境里面,很多知识,或者个人社会碰撞融合的一种关系,但是在中国,基本上还是一种个人行为,相对来说比较封闭,一方面是所有人受到的这种教育背景比较封闭。比如说我们这一代,包括很多上了四十岁的人,几乎都是从那个时候美院出来的,当时的美院基本上只能学绘画,而绘画基本上都是写实,而写实基本上又是一两种风格,是由不得你的——然后从学校出来以后,实际上我们的知识背景是非常狭窄的,在语言上在媒介上的认识实际上是很狭窄的,很有限的,这点跟西方艺术家不一样,我们在学校的时候,自己选择空间是很小的,很有选择的可能性,基本上都是很压抑的,到了毕业以后,很多人都——新潮艺术最大的特点就是反抗不满,而这个反抗不满真正在语言上进行很理性自发批判的其实不多,这种反抗是很多因素混杂在一起,对于社会的反抗,对于文化的反抗,对于传统的反抗,对于教育反抗。整个80年代艺术亢奋情绪化现在,到了90年代以后,情况有点不一样,很多人出国了解了很多,也了解了国际背景,国内艺术院校教育相对来说也比以前宽松一点,又增加了很多学科,但是我觉得有一点还是没有改变,现在的艺术家有这样的一个概念——就是跨领域跨学科的一种工作意识,而在西方这种东西是越来越普遍了。我们知道现在西方有很多学校,它把不同领域的人员组合在一起,哲学的、心理学的、艺术设计的、工业设计的、电子的、动力的、生物的,所有人在一起工作跨学科,已经没有像原来那种——比如说我是艺术家,艺术家就是一个个人行为——很封闭意识了,但是在中国,基本上“一个艺术家”的这种意识、这种态度还是非常强烈,很多人是这样给自己定位的,而且的确是以这个东西感到骄傲的。所以我在想,中国当代艺术现在受到很多西方关注,其实不是因为它整个艺术的生态环境,而是因为它的社会文化特征,包括政治体系市场政治。它是作为全球文化描述过程当中一个区域性文化现象被关注,我们现在从艺术上讲,跟西方、南美、非洲……所有这些国家艺术层面上的对话不平等的,当然可能非洲也一样,也有跟我们差不多的问题,南美也有,一部分是自身的,一部分可能是外部的一些客观的原因。

Q:那你怎么看现在中国的艺术教育?

A:这是一个很沉重的事情,因为中国艺术教育西方体制完全不一样,中国的教育尤其是艺术教育,属于意识形态,是上层建筑,文化大革命为什么会搞起来?文化大革命最早就是从一个意识形态上层建筑开始的,学校红卫兵……。跟西方的教育比,中国的教育在一些具体的教育单位有一定空间权利问题,系统不一样,中国是极其有限的——就是说你可以做的事情是极其限的,但是我觉得在这样的一个有限空间里面,你还是可以做一些事情的,也不是完全无所作为,我们自己都是从学校过来的,那个时候其实就觉得这个系统是挺糟糕的,现在艺术教育的状态我觉得还是羞答答的、似是而非的一种状态,就是遮遮掩掩的,很多表面改进就是用很多技术概念替代系统改革,但是本质上没有多大变化,我到这个学校差不多有四年左右了,我在想,这个学校增加了很多学科,包括我现在的这个新媒体,其实在全国很多学校都这样,都不断的增加的学科,但是教育理念或者说方法模式上跟以前没有多大差别,所以这个是比较大的问题,我们只是在一块很小空间里面做一点小动作,一点自己认为可以的事情,然后一些国家计划的东西,我还不知道最后能怎么样,反正在这个小自留地里面玩玩也有点快感,当然很,因为你没有办法——你要跟整个系统交道,很多事情你身不由己,没有办法!我的看法的一个结论是,它基本是换汤不换药,现在基本上是这种状况,整个教育系统都出了问题,有很问题!这个系统如果不变,加多少学科没有用

Q:这里面跟整个中国当代文化现实是有关的吗?

A:不光是跟中国当代文化现实有关,也跟整个社会体制结构有关,中国是一个有中国特色社会主义,对不对?教育其实也是一样,就是中国特色的一个教育,什么东西如果是谈到有中国特色的、什么人如果讲有自己的特色,实际上就没有任何讨论余地!譬如说,我上课,一个学生将做的东西给我看,我觉得好像有些地方做的不是特别合适,就给他一些建议,他说:“我觉得很好啊,我就是想要这样,个就是我想要的,”那么我就没有话说了,如果那样就是他想要的,我怎么可以剥夺?对不对?没有办法谈!

Q:这种情况很糟糕啊。

A:中国现在有一大堆问题,一个是社会结构家庭伦理等等,文化教育,实际上都是相互之间有牵联的,中国家庭结构影响到了教育,这个也是很成问题的,然后又是一个社会系统,这个太复杂了!所以我觉得在中国教育是全世界最累的!真的!等于说你要跳进去是你活该,你活该你自找!你去任何地方——欧洲美国,你发现在学校当老师哪怕当个院长都没有这么!在美国当个院长都不比在这当个科长累。但是它有没有效率?很累!整天,但是没有效率的!

 

Interviewed: Zhang Hang

Time: Afternoon, January 25, 2007

Location: Bernini Cafe, Hangzhou

 

 

环境 environment ecology 8

电视 television 10

生活 life 10

时间 time 20

终极 ultimate 8

终极问题 ultimate question 7

语言 language 17

大众 the mass the public popular 12

社会 society 20

个人 individual(s) 8

灵魂 soul 9

边缘 edge 9

关系 relationship 17

媒体 media 6

文化 culture cultural 18

系统 system 8

无意义 meaningless 7

录像 video art 5

当代艺术 contemporary art 11

态度 attitude 8

作品 works 17

 

6,4      ‘June 4′ incident 1

天安门 Tian’anmen 1

社会主义 socialistic 1

政治体系 political system 1

政治 politics 3

意识形态 ideology 2

上层建筑 superstructure 2

 

play 7

hot 3

名气 成名 出名 知名fame (renowned famous reputation getting famous19

控制 control 2

新潮艺术 avant-garde art new art 2

马戏团 circus 4

技术 technique 4

机会 chance 2

圣人 saint 4

展览 the exhibition 24

中国 China 28

西方 West Western abroad westerners 14

变化改变 change shift 15

相对 relatively 10

new 17

快感 have fun 4

中国特色 Chinese characteristics 3

 

 

Source of keywords:

 

 

Q: What do you see the relation between contemporary art and the Chinese social reality in general.

 

A: If you compare now to the ’80s, I think there’s a major shift of attitude for many people, including myself. The way I see it, before the exhibition in Beijing (‘China/Avant-Garde’) in 1989, contemporary art or shall we say avant-garde art was basically regarded as a symbol of elite culture, which is to say that it was used to awaken the society and the public, and it’s a part of the intellectual and cultural history. Such an illusion came to an end after the ‘June 4′ incident on the Tian’anmen Square in 1989, as artists began to realize that pure art is only art, and it won’t do any good for social reforming, it’s just a slice of the society and is under the influence of popular culture to a large extent. To put it simply, let’s say video art, it’s not that video art was invented before popular culture and popular art, and this is true both in China and in the West. TV as a form of popular culture was born prior to video art, and then video artists began to work with this new medium/material to criticize popular culture. So it’s not like they’ve made a change on popular culture, despite the mutual influence and interaction of the two. So I’m thinking, ever since the ’90s or in the 21st century, the stance and attitude of contemporary art have gone through a lot of changes. Art has become less isolated, less closed, it is now relatively open and is willing to intervene in social issues and to talk to the public. Maybe a better way to put it is that it has become keener on taking advantage of public resources. The two exhibitions we did in Hangzhou since last year – ‘Something’s Happening‘ and ‘It’s All Right‘ – took that as the point of departure. Many of the participating artists came from Beijing and Shanghai, I think it’s safe to assume that they share this notion and have similar direction.

 

Q: Speaking of the West, do you think Chinese contemporary art still feels backward compared to the West? What’s your take on the relation between the two?

 

A: I don’t know whether ‘backward‘ is an appropriate word. It sounds quite stimulating and also hard to use it. The notion of backward/advanced doesn’t apply to art, it’s not sport games which you can measure who’s five seconds faster or slower than others. But I think the discourse is different. Western societies, relatively speaking, have an opener environment, with a lot of knowledge colliding and integrating with individuals and the society, whereas in China, art is basically individual endeavor and is relatively closed up. On the one hand, our educational system is a closed one. Take my generation (including many currently in their forties) for example, during our days in the academy of fine arts, painting is almost the only thing you can study, and there are few alternatives other than realistic painting, yet it’s a limited kind of realism. There was nothing one can do about it. So we ended up with a very narrow intellectual background upon graduation, both in terms of [technique] art language and media. It was very limited. This is quite different from western artists. When we were at school, there wasn’t much space for artistic expression, with very few possibilities to choose from, most of us felt distressed. After graduation, many started to rebel against that tradition. Rebellion is the most obvious characteristic of new art, that aside, there wasn’t much rational, self-conscious criticism against existing [norm and technique] art language. The rebellion we went through was a hybrid of many elements, we fought against the society, culture, tradition and education. Art in the ’80s was very high-strung and emotional, things have changed in the ’90s. A lot of people went abroad and began to learn more about the world, about the international scene, and domestic art schools relatively had less controlled atmosphere as well, with a lot of new majors and disciplines. But in my opinion, one thing remained unchanged: very few Chinese artists have this consciousness of interdisciplinary working method, which has been popular in the West. We know there are a lot of schools abroad in which people from various disciplines are brought together – philosopher, psychologist, art designer, industrial designer, electronic engineer, dynamicist, biologist – all these people working together on an interdisciplinary basis. The old notion of artist being an individual is out-of-date. But in China, this kind of I-am-an-artist way of thinking, or attitude is still dominant, and that’s how many artists position themselves, they take pride in that. So I’m thinking, the reason that westerners are paying a lot of attention to Chinese contemporary art has nothing to do with the art ecology as a whole, it’s the characteristics of our social culture (political system, market, politics) as manifested in art that intrigue them. It’s being gazed upon as a regional cultural phenomenon in the global cultural discourse. We are currently in an unequal relation when we try to have a conversation with the West, with South America, or Africa, of course it may be the same case in Africa, they probably have the same problems with us, maybe South America too. Some of these problems come from ourselves, and some might be external, objective factors.

 

Q: So what do you think about the current art education in China?

 

A: This is a heavy topic, because art education in China is completely different from that in the West. Education is all about ideology and superstructure in China, and this is especially true with art education. Why was the Cultural Revolution possible? It started as ideology and superstructure, schools, Red Guard……Compared to the West, Chinese educational system has it problem of space and rights, which is visible in individual education units. It’s a different system. In China we have scarce personal space and rights, which means that what you are allowed to do in school is limited. Still, I think there’s something one can achieve within this limited space. We all went through the school system, and we didn’t fancy it even when we were there. Art education in the present day, in my opinion, is still inhibited and problematic, despite its seemingly openness. A lot of superficial improvements are actually technical evolution rather than reform of the system itself. Things haven’t changed on a fundamental level. I have been teaching in this school for almost four years, and I’m thinking, with all these new disciplines and courses – including the New Media department I’m in – there isn’t much difference in terms of educational concept, method or model. This is true for many art academies in China. So I consider this to be a major problem. We are simply beating around the bushes in a tiny space, playing little tricks which we think as ‘within the boundaries‘, and doing something out of the country’s plan. I don’t know what is going to come in the end, but we are having fun in our own little territory. It’s tiresome, that’s for sure, because you have to deal with the whole system - in many cases you are not your own master, there’s nothing you can do about it! So my conclusion is, we have new bottles, but still the old wine, that’s the situation we are in now. The whole educational system has some big trouble! If the system remains the same, it doesn’t matter how many new courses or disciplines you add to the schools.

 

Q: Do you think it has anything to do with the reality of contemporary Chinese culture?

 

A: Yes it has, not only that, it’s also related to the whole social structure of China. China is a socialistic country with Chinese characteristics, isn’t it? It’s the same with education, education with Chinese characteristics. If we mention anything with Chinese characteristics and anyone with his own features, there’s not any leeway for discussion actually! For example, once I was in class and a student presented me his work, I thought there was something wrong with it, so I offered some suggestions, and he said: ‘I think my work is fine. This is exactly what I want.’ I had nothing to say, if it was what he had wanted, how could I take it away? Right? There was no room for discussion!

 

Q: Pathetic.

 

A: There are a slew of problems in China right now, social structure, family, ethic, etc. Actually culture and education are closely connected, the Chinese family structure has also influenced education, it’s very problematic. And there’s social system, which is way too complex! I really think Chinese teachers are facing the most complex problems in the world! Really! It’s your own fault to have gotten involved! Go to any place – Europe, America – and you’ll see how laid-back teachers are, even the directors. Being a director of school in America isn’t as tired as being a section chief here. But tired and busy we are, are we efficient? No, not at all!

 

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