He Jing | 贺婧





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2014 上海双年展 “社会工厂”

贺婧

原文发表于《艺术界》杂志2015年2月号(“评论二”)

将美与艺术纳入社会改造的框架、将审美活动看作人性解放的唯一通路,这种观点本身就是西方社会自 18世纪以来对于现代性反思的产物。德国启蒙文学的代表人物之一席勒在其著名的《审美教育书简》中即针对彼时社会对功利主义的崇拜,提出了审美活动与艺术创作亦是社会改造的核心动因,美学与美育于此在人性重塑的演进中担当着重要的政治角色。在中国,则是为民主革命家与教育家蔡元培所接受,在“五四”时期提出“以美育代宗教”的文化改革方针。也是在这个层面上,由安塞姆·弗兰克作为总策划的第十届上海双年展实际上并没有远离这种艺术创作之于现代性反思的传统议题,并将其关于“主体性”在现代主义框架下的思考与在地的社会语境联结起来,以局部放大的方式更为具体地探讨艺术作为一种政治意识在中国现代化进程和当代社会中的参与方式。

确切的联结点始于弗兰克在策展文论中对梁启超、蔡元培、鲁迅等早期中国现代改革家的征引,由此牵出本土语境中以文化艺术作为社会改革实验推动力的线索;另一个与在地语境相牵连的参考点则是“实事求是”这句同时被毛泽东和邓小平在中国社会不同改革语境下都援引过的箴言:与这四个字被广泛卷入意识形态宣传后所反映出的政治含义不同,弗兰克在此将其重新带回到哲学讨论的框架之下,藉用其中关于“事实”(fact)概念的争议进一步重申现代化进程中主观性生产的重要性,引出“社会工厂”的主题。对弗兰克来说,这种主观性是一种“相对事实”(relational fact),它联结的正是个体自身所处现实的“隐性社会脚本” (implicit social scripts) ——包含了感知、想象、情感等兼容社会性与美学意义的部分,“只有在影像制造与文化生产领域,才能够理解这些复杂社会关系的‘真理 ’” 。这种以艺术为主导的社会演进策略的确与传统浪漫主义美学对于现代理性的批判相重合,但弗兰克对于本次双年展的立论点并非指向单纯的反现代主义,而是将艺术生产视作当代社会中隐性架构的显影机制,通过放大现代性框架与主体意识之间的微妙地带,探讨现代化进程对于一个社会(国家)而言更加具有持续力的意义。

事实上,弗兰克往往带有历史框架和人类学角度的主题在很大程度上先验地定义了展览的主要形式语法:包含以展柜呈现的图像或文献、穿插的物和装置、悬浮的影像等。这些固然也早已成为当代艺术展览的常规制式之一,但弗兰克的独特之处在于,他在展场中为观众所提供的观看与认知入口几乎总是从细节处开始的。换句话说,这次双年展几乎没有提供景观性的作品样式或是经由展览表面即能快速深入作品的可能,观众需要一定的时间来驻足、观看、聆听、阅读,甚至需要展开一种富有历史维度的想象力才能找到作品各自的入口和它们之间的联结。这里事实上牵涉到展览本身所希望表达的和策展人为展览所设置的认知语法之间较为深层和隐性的关系。如果平行地来比较,相隔不到两个月开幕的台北双年展从总体上来说提供了一种现象学式的感知体验,置身其中,由作品的形态、材质和场域所围划出的“新图式”显现出某种特定的有机关系与彼此间能量的传递,这种对“传递性”的强调恰恰是策展人尼古拉斯·伯瑞奥德所主张的“关系美学”的外在显现。而这次上海双年展则并不关注这种空间上的传递性,取而代之以一种始终与时间相关联的历史想象力和叙述欲望,由此观众得以透过作品所塑造的感知框架去想象特定社会生产语境下的主观性书写。这种将展览的理解核心集中在作品所牵拉出的叙述框架而非它所制造的关系网络的认知方式,在很大程度上呼应了弗兰克对主体性本身的一贯关注。

也是从这个意义上来讲,对于国际策展人介入亚洲双年展的讨论或许可以从另一个抛开文化界限的角度切入,去追问它是否在美学思路和展览方法论的层面上为本土艺术生态带来了更加细化的视角和更丰富的参考样态,——这种对于知识系统性和逻辑微妙度的要求可能才是本次上海双年展在地效应的最大体现。仅从现场来看,虽然存在着不同的内容线索,但整个展览并没有以板块分割的形式来呈现,这在很大程度上保障了整体叙述语言的杂质感和阐释维度;而大型景观类作品的缺失则割舍了不少本土艺术生态中对双年展宏大气派的想象以及将其视作一种权力狂欢的迷执 。在更为核心的层面,基于一种长期具有针对性的研究,策展人也就他所提出的问题带来了本土之外的实践领域所能提供的丰富认知基础和层次。我们由此或许可以期待这样一个展览为本土艺术创作和展览实践远离景观式效应、开始进入细化层面提供方法和内容上的参考。正如弗兰克自己所言:“中国当代艺术现在已经处于地下状态阶段的尾端,同时也即将走完先锋的、打破禁忌的阶段” 。如何进入更为平实、确切和细化的实践脉络,或许是新一代艺术家和策展人愿意共同关注的问题。因此,围绕双年展在地意义的讨论固然有它积极的意义,但遗憾的是大多数质疑的声音不过是一种区域主义姿态下的惯性情绪。与其追求一种刻意的“平等”,不如以理性的态度去面对一场国际双年展所能带来的思考层次与想象力维度,并尝试以更为严谨同时也更加开放的态度来实现交流的可能。

1. Anselm Franke, What Frame for What Modernisation?, Art Review, September 2014 issue.
2. 《“第十届上海双年展——社会工厂”展览图录》,第24-25页。



Social Factory: 10th Shanghai Biennale

He Jing

Published on LEAP 31th Issue, February 2015, CRITIQUE II.

Placing art and beauty within the framework of social change; viewing aesthetic activity as a route to human liberation—these ideas are the products of the western modernity that began in the eighteenth century. In On the Aesthetic Education of Man, Friedrich Schiller, an important figure of German enlightenment literature, critiques the adulation of utilitarianism prevalent in his time. He posits that aesthetic activity and artistic work are the core drivers of social change. Aesthetics and art education play a key political role in the process of human progress. In China, this approach was embraced by the democratic revolutionary Cai Yuanpei, who advocated a cultural reform program of replacing religion with art education during the May Fourth movement. “Social Factory:,” led by chief curator Anselm Franke, does not stray far from this traditional debate over the role of artistic creativity in rethinking modernity. The exhibition draws connections between actual social circumstances and subjectivity within the framework of modernism. By casting about with its microscope, this edition of the Biennale explores how art, as a kind of political consciousness, constitutes a means of participating in contemporary society and the process of modernization.

In the curatorʼs statement, Franke raises Liang Qichao, Cai Yuanpei, Lu Xun, and other early Chinese modern reformers in order to trace the thread of culture and art as experimental driving forces for social change in a Chinese context. Another contextual reference point is to “seek the truth from facts,” the exhortation employed by both Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping during different periods of Chinese political reform. The expression took on certain political connotations after it was widely coopted by ideological propaganda, but Franke restores it to the framework of philosophical debate. He uses its concept of “fact” to reaffirm the importance of subjective production within the process of modernization. As Franke sees it, subjectivity is a relational fact that connects the individual to implicit social scripts, including perception, imagination, emotion, and other ideas that intertwine society with aesthetics: “It is within the realm of image-making and cultural production that we comprehend truths about the complexity of social relations that otherwise remain inaccessible.” This strategy of social evolution led by art indeed matches the critique of modern rationality by traditional Romanticist aesthetics, but Franke does not adopt a position of anti-modernism for this edition of the biennale. Rather, he takes art as a means of revealing the hidden structures of contemporary society. By zeroing in on the subtle links between the modernist framework and subjective consciousness, the exhibition explores the sustained significance of modernization in the context of the nation-state.

In fact, Frankeʼs habitual use of historical frameworks and anthropological perspectives delineates the primary formal grammar of the exhibition: photographs and archival documents presented in display cases, alternating objects and installations, hanging suspended images. Of course, these modes have long been conventional in contemporary art exhibitions. The uniqueness of Frankeʼs approach is that the entry points for viewing and understanding that he provides are located in the details. In other words, this edition of the Biennale includes no spectacular forms of art, nor is it possible to become rapidly immersed in the works from the outset. The audience must spend a certain amount of time standing still, observing, listening, reading, and imagining in order to find the entry points to various works and the ties that bring them together. This requirement reflects the subtle relationship between the cognitive grammar employed by the curator and the exhibitionʼs thematic goals. The Shanghai Biennale emphasizes historical imagination and narrative desire, temporally interconnected throughout, over phenomenological or spatial experience. This allows the audience, guided by the cognitive frameworks that the artworks generate, to imagine subjective discourses within specific contexts of social production. By focusing on the narrative frameworks of specific works rather than the relational networks they form, Frankeʼs perennial preoccupation with subjectivity itself becomes evident.

These demands on systematic knowledge and nuanced logic may be the greatest effects of this edition of the Shanghai Biennale. It is also a test of Frankeʼs aesthetic thinking and exhibition methodology can bring anything to the local art ecology. Forgoing a segmented exhibition structure enables a narrative language of complexity and interpretive depth, but the dearth of large-scale work denies the fantasies entertained by many potential biennial visitors. How might a departure from spectacle allow indigenous creative and curatorial practices to reach a more refined plane is, perhaps, a question that a new generation of artists and curators will be willing to address together. (Translated by Daniel Nieh)