He Jing | 贺婧





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让世界保持在不稳定状态
——评2014台北双年展“剧烈加速度”

尼古拉斯•伯瑞奥德(Nicolas Bourriaud)曾在多个场合反复强调自己的身份定义:策展人和艺术评论家,而不是哲学家或艺术理论研究者。即便我们可以臆测真正看过他展览的观众大概要远远少于读过他的《关系美学》的读者——后者作为当代艺术的重要美学文本,其理论的开创性和在实践领域的辐射程度都使得对于伯瑞奥德展览的评价不可避免地与他在美学思考上的推进相联结。我们或许可以从这里开始切入对2014台北双年展的观看,因为这种观看想要承载的可能不仅仅是一场展览,它有备而来,希望揭开《关系美学》背后的展览真相、求证理论脉络与创作实践的呼应关系;更有甚者,试图摸索自“另类现代” 之后一路延续下来的美学思路。正是在这样一个布满了先验预判之可能性的背景下,策展人伯瑞奥德呈现了一场让作品先行、强调有机形式与想象能量的双年展。

相较于近年来于双年展框架下掀起的各种城市狂欢和展览实验,按传统格局分布于台北市立美术馆内的双年展显得过于朴实和节制:它既没有将展览的外延扩张至当下流行的“事件”(event)规模,也没有先期抛出任何口号式的策展宣言 。虽然“剧烈加速度”这个充满时间与命运感的题目在一定程度上暗示了伯瑞奥德希望以展览来呈现当代艺术的美学方向有可能处于转向状态的野心,但他并没有急于奔向结论,而是邀请观众在被作品包裹的悬置状态中充分感知自身与当下世界的关系,放任感官与四面漂移的复合形式随时碰撞、摩擦,在“物”与“我”之间形成富有触感(tactile)与呼吸力的想象能量网络。虽然并不是全部参展作品都具有非凡的说服力,但那些贯穿了某些难以名状的共性特征的作品还是在展览的表面被凸显出来,它们或许难以逃脱去综合证明展览主题的命运,但还是让自己站在了策展命题的前面而不是隐遁于概念集合的后方。事实上,此种现场状况的形成在很大层面上源于伯瑞奥德对策展语法的选择: 他在此抽离了一般大型展览所擅用的历史线索或意识形态框架所可能带来的压力,也规避了当下流行的文献思路与生俱来的冗隔感,从而将作品最大程度地推至展览的前台,在制造一个有机现场的同时使作品个体没有沦为策展论述的注脚或附着在理论框架上一层可有可无的皮膜。也正是在这一方法和它导致的结果中可以窥见到伯瑞奥德对于“策展人”及其工作的明确定义:一场展览最核心的部分应当来自于艺术家的工作室而不是哲学与理论文本。

作品选择的轮廓当然不外乎双年展框架下惯常使用的多元化与异质性:五十余件作品各自微妙的阐释渠道确保了“剧烈加速度”作为主题不会被简单地解读为对过速发展的人类时代的批判。这其中当然也不乏一些牵强附会的例子,但很明显,那些从不同角度展现艺术作为一种“关系”介质、一种“共活性”(coactivity)催化剂的作品显然是策展人旨意重点呈现的:包含无生命物的有机状态 、物的诗意 、人与非人之间的能量转化、复合材质的聚合张力以及“脱序”环境下超出感官负荷的图像碎片…… 更值得关注的或许是此一选择框架所围划出的变化中的当代美学方向:不再对无序、漂移、碎片化和无源头做激烈批判,转而积极接受它们共存的混沌(chaos)、暧昧的状态作为我们面临的真实现实,由此孕育了某种新图式(new imagery)产生的可能性。这其中潜伏着一种围绕当代社会图景的想象力,即伯瑞奥德所声称的“超形式”(exforme)——“所有位处于分歧和权力、排除与承认、物和废弃物、自然和文化之间过渡状态的符号” ,一种“对共活性的礼赞”。可以说,这一态度实际上并未脱离伯瑞奥德一直以来对于让-弗朗索瓦•利奥塔(Jean-François Lyotard)所定义的“妥协叙事时代”(a narrative of emancipation)的认同,所不同的是他在本次双年展中呈现了一批更贴近 “共活性”概念、也在有机能量的传递美学上转入更微观探索方向的艺术家。

而在更为后台的层面,伯瑞奥德在此次双年展中利用对于现下盛行的“万物有灵论”(Animism)和“思辩唯实论”(Speculative Realism)的批判完成了“关系美学”的升级:一方面,伯瑞奥德声称他对“思辩唯实论”的反对立足于后者把世间万物均置于同一平面,此一“扁平本体论”(flat ontology)观念由于过份强调“元素”而抹杀了“关系”从而将物的存在凌驾于人的认识之上,藉此他得以顺理成章地重申“关系美学”所强调的“人”的价值;而另一方面,通过藉展览抛出人与非人之间的“共活性”议题,伯瑞奥德则进一步巩固了“关系美学”自始至终所宣称的“世界的构成是一种关系性存在”:当代艺术的首要政治性任务并不是将“物”拉至与“人”无差别的位置,而是要在变化的环境网络中纳入新的“在场者”、探索新的万物“共活”契约。作为展览的美学后台,这无外乎是“关系美学”在新语境下的进阶版本,它似乎比“万物有灵”具备更现实的理解基础,也比“思辩唯实论”站在了更为人本主义的立场上。这种对人本主义的礼赞一方面确保了论述的高度和合法性;但同时间,也正是因为过于轻易而迅速地将“关系”的合法性接种在人本精神的土壤中,使得整个“关系美学”的上升逻辑在此显得机巧和过于政治正确。正如对伯瑞奥德展览的观看往往难以脱离其美学框架的预设,同样地,“关系美学”的轮廓似乎也应当以伯瑞奥德自己为艺术活动的政治意义所下的定义为参考,即“让世界保持在不稳定状态”。



Interview avec Nicolas Bourriaud

TAIPEI BIENNIAL 2014: THE GREAT ACCELERATION

He Jing

Nicolas Bourriaud insists he is a curator and critic rather
than a philosopher or theoretician, but one might speculate
that the readership of his seminal book Relational Aesthetics
(Esthétique relationnelle) far exceeds the audience for his exhibitions.
A groundbreaking text in the field of contemporary art
at the end of the twentieth century, its systematic influence on
artistic practice requires that Bourriaud’s curatorial work, including
the 2014 Taipei Biennial, be viewed in conjunction with
his theoretical projects. At stake here is not only the exhibition
itself, but also an attempt to describe its reality beneath the textual
surface of relational aesthetics in order to determine the
relationship between theory and practice. We might also seek
to trace the development of Bourriaud’s aesthetic inclinations
since the 2009 Tate Triennial, titled “Altermodern.” In Taipei,
he manages to produce an exhibition that is artwork-oriented,
organic, and tactile.

Housed wholly within the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the
2014 Taipei Biennial is rather unassuming in comparison with
the usual urban carnivals and institutional experiments organized
within the biennial framework. Here, its dimensions
do not extend to the scale of a fashionable art event, nor is the
exhibition formulated in the style of a manifesto. Bourriaud
claims that the exhibition works as a string of propositions, and,
in Taipei, he seems engrossed in the operations of deduction.
“The Great Acceleration,” in its temporal and teleological dimensions,
suggests an ambition to show contemporary art at a
turning point in aesthetic direction, but it draws no hasty conclusions.
In direct contact with the work, viewers are invited
to experience visceral relations with the contemporary world,
an activity that provokes a rethinking of the art encounter. It
is Bourriaud’s curatorial grammar that allows for this type of
tactile viewing experience, which proceeds from the physical
enveloping of the viewer by the work. He foregrounds the work
itself as the biennial frees itself from the pressure of the grand
historical and ideological structures that frame most large-scale
exhibitions today, and refrains from the increasingly popular
archival approach that tends to alienate the audience, instead
creating an organic sphere where art is neither a mere footnote
to the general curatorial project nor a disposable veneer for
theory. Bourriaud emphasizes the proper role and methodology
of the curator: the heart of any exhibition should originate
in the artist’s studio, not in philosophy.

Bourriaud’s choice of work falls within the principles of
diversity and heterogeneity upheld by most biennials. Their
formal variety and subtle interpretative possibilities preclude a
simplistic or static reading of “The Great Acceleration” as a critique
of human development. As one might expect, some works
are more pertinent than others, and the curator places great
emphasis on those that portray art as a relational medium, a
catalyst for cooperative activity: the organic nature of inanimate
beings, the poetic qualities of objects, energy conversions
between human and inhuman, the cohesive tension of hybrid
materials, and image fragments that overwhelm the senses.
In these choices there emerges a general shift in Bourriaud’s
aesthetic direction from the scathing critique of orderlessness,
disorientation, fragmentation, and lack of origin to the active
acceptance of chaos and ambiguity as the reality in which we
live. This opens up the possibility of new imagery inspiring the
original imagination of the contemporary social landscape, or
the “exform,” as Bourriaud calls it: “Any sign in transit between
dissent and power, the excluded and the admitted, the object
and waste, nature and culture … a tribute to coactivity.” T his
approach is exemplified in the works of Laure Prouvost, Camille
Henrot, Alisa Baremboym, Mika Rottenberg, and David
Douard, whose installation Keep Soothe and Carry On voices
this new aesthetic position at a crossroads. This attitude
does not deviate from Bourriaud’s identification with Jean-
François Lyotard’s “narrative of emancipation,” but the artists
presented at the Taipei Biennial go further than artists
like Pierre Huyghe or Philipe Parreno in their microscopic
explorations of the aesthetics of organic energy conversion.

Bourriaud’s critique of animism and speculative realism
in the art world also helps refine the formulations of relational
aesthetics. He rejects the “flat ontology” of speculative realism
that places objects and subjects on the same plane while privileging
objects over structures and relations, objective existence
over human cognition. He reaffirms the humanist emphasis
on the value of man borne out in relational aesthetics. On the
other hand, the proposal of coactivity between human and inhuman
substantiates the claim of relational aesthetics that “the
construction of the world is relational.” The primary political
task of art today is not to equate things with the human, but
rather to incorporate new participants into a changing network
of environments, to search for a new aesthetic contract among
all entities, amounting to little more than an updated version of
relational aesthetics in a new context.

This aesthetics might appear more grounded in reality
than animism and more humanist than speculative realism,
but the rather facile justification of relations as a tribute to humanism
renders the elevation of relational aesthetics somewhat
blunt and opportunistic. Its political correctness and normative
stability seem too easy to be truly convincing. The political
significance of relational aesthetics, as Bourriaud defines it, resides
in the “persistence of uncertainties.” He Jing (Translated
by Connie Kang)