文章 Articles:艾拉多斯——界渡交撮 Islados: Liminal Crossings

 

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艾拉多斯——界渡交撮

初次寓目西班牙艺术家曼努埃尔·瓦伦西亚的综合材料单色海景《艾拉多斯》,便觉闯入诗情画意筑起的圣殿;此乃汲取浪漫主义、抽象表现主义与极简主义惠泽之作。放眼汪洋,瓦伦西亚以双层构图托出的海平线没入梦幻泡影,恍若尘埃落定与望尘莫及交锋的渺远边际。《艾拉多斯》引人联想到马克·罗斯科、赛·托姆布雷和格哈德·里希特作品中直抒胸臆的诡谲水平线,置观者于浩瀚的视域中切身体悟无垠,并将超逸绝尘内化为自身的延展。瓦伦西亚坦陈《艾拉多斯》“是一场有始有终没有彼岸的梦。艺术家的孤寂,空旷如沧海,无人问津且遗世独立……无尽大观悉收眼底。”

观,目光游走明暗之间,此举自古便令善思者与艺术家心往神驰,是超越时代与文化的情感呼应。观者,由身及心也,是主观性从原始意识通向自知自明的渡口,稍纵即逝。透过明暗错落,心魂深处的觉识界线依稀可见。因赋有哲学、科学、文学及心理学等多重意蕴,这条界线也必将归顺于妙手偶得的艺术诠释。

与其称《艾拉多斯》是单纯的画面提取,毋宁说它是由复杂视像所激起,是艺术家形影相吊的浪漫写照。若以瓦伦西亚惯用的跨文化手法与媒介品评《艾拉多斯》,会咀嚼出一些新鲜独创、引人入胜的意味。

瓦伦西亚生于马德里,成长于西班牙北部的巴斯克沿海地带。醉心艺术的他年轻时便走访了一批以对光线敏锐、创作保持偶然性与自发性而闻名的西裔或荷裔艺术家的工作室。瓦伦西亚曾负笈荷兰海牙,求学四载,打牢了绘画、构图及当代理论等基础;作为具象艺术家,他专攻超现实主义,且在布面与木板上苦练丙烯、水彩以及文艺复兴时期的荷兰及佛兰德坦培拉技法,如此又度过十四个寒暑。现已踏遍世界、阅历颇丰的瓦伦西亚亦曾全职投身商界,他坦言自己“易受外界触动”且愿探索他口中的“人生积淀”。十五年前,一次大开眼界的京都之旅令瓦伦西亚在中国唐宋美学中流连忘返。观赏与创作中另辟蹊径展露亚洲之美,照瓦伦西亚所言,“为人从艺,皆改变我良多。”

瓦伦西亚将《艾拉多斯》谓为“弦上的景观……观念与情感在巨幕上的角力”。浏览画面,可见线条狂放,直指身心张力。或以砑光轧线,或以既成纱织,或以搓捻纤纸,一连串起伏的线条随瓦伦西亚的笔墨跃然纸上,在眼前婆娑起舞,浑然天成。这些粗犷的线条凌厉、不羁、笔力雄健,如草书般洋洋洒洒,彰显出近乎悟道的自在与纵情挥毫的快意。

蜷曲的线条在温润的宣纸上飞舞出异于艺术传统的写意表现。如登台的演员拿捏分毫,瓦伦西亚勾勒出内心抑扬顿挫的悸动,时而嘈嘈如急雨,时而切切如私语,将小字、诗句、风暴、气流、炸裂、喷发等片段纵横交叠,将波点集成乱笔,再成结扣,终成湍流。于此可见的并非直抵无限神思的路径,而是艺术家深思熟虑的凿、撕、刮等手笔以及有意而为的解构与重塑。在纵欲与抽象之间,瓦伦西亚将线条、形状与材料塑造成立体突兀,如肉体的延伸支配着空间。在不少作品中,左侧海滨凸出,嵌入海面,截断海平线。这些纸型左岸反复运用其肌肉般的扭曲,在此番犀利的表现中更显耽于声色。这是肉欲,是本能,是蒙昧,阻碍我们谛观无量。

瓦伦西亚独创的岸、山、线条形态渗出发自肺腑的力量,名正言顺地主宰着其所到之处。他以文学元素给作品赋予含义。在一件重要作品中,他影射了死亡、空白、绝望等虚无主义主题,并手书摘自艾略特战后诗《空心人》的哀婉章句。半透明、脆弱等主题对渡与灭不作预设,却也在瓦伦西亚的作品中有着预兆未来的作用。在另一件迷人的装置中,他把绳线悉数提起至脱离布面,将其悬挂宛若扯裂的网帘;该作品不受视角所限,而本质上这一形式和材料却不堪一击。

瓦伦西亚绳线交撮的海景在纸面上展开一场感官的较量,尤其是在与时空隐逸有着深厚文化历史渊源的宣纸上,绵延出色欲伪装的嬗变海平线,质疑着我们在感知的临界已被同化的观看习惯。浏览画面,观者会被引入一个旋即漂浮、切断的认同过程,没有惟一答案却为始终如一而上下求索,无休无止。《艾拉多斯》吁请我们接纳渡越疆界已融为一体的认识。由此观之,瓦伦西亚本人作为艺术家和现任西班牙驻华大使的双重身份也例证了在自身与世界交撮之际真实、忘我的美学体验。

 

谨为艺术家曼努埃尔·瓦伦西亚作此文

《海之诗:曼努埃尔·瓦伦西亚近作》

二〇一五年三月于北京元空间开展

毛奕齡二〇一五年二月书于纽约

(中文译者:彭哲文)

 

Islados: Liminal Crossings

 

At first glance, Islados, a series of monochromatic, mixed-media seascapes by the contemporary Spanish artist Manuel Valencia, seems to stage a poetics of the inner sanctum, drawing from the artistic legacy of Romanticism, Abstract Expressionism, and Minimalism. In open marine vistas, Valencia’s two-tiered compositions usher forth an ocean horizon, submersed in an illusory dream, as a distant periphery that evokes a poignant confluence of the complete and the unattainable. Reminiscent of the spectral horizons seen in the spiritually inspired works of Mark Rothko, Cy Twombly and Gerard Richter, Valencia’s Islados envelops our eyes in an immense visual field, evoking a sensory experience of infinity, and internalizing the sublime as if an extension of the self. In an artist statement, Valencia describes Islados as “A dream with a start and an end, but no shoreline. The artist’s loneliness, empty and wide like the sea, an isolated being, secluded but independent…an endless landscape but only in the limit of our eyesight.”

The act of seeing, upon the threshold between darkness and light, is an emotive response that has historically enthralled thinkers and artists over time and across cultures. It is that momentary crossover of realms when subjectivity is transferred from a primal consciousness towards a heightened self-awareness, from body to mind. Through an experience of light differentials, a boundary on the cusp of inner consciousness emerges. Fraught with enriched meanings and interpretations in philosophy, science, literature, and psychology, as such, it is inevitable that such a boundary would also yield itself to the most inspired artistic interpretations.

Yet Islados is galvanized by a more complex vision than being simply distilled, lyrically romantic self-portraits of the lone artist. When evaluated in the cross-cultural palette of methodology and media in which Valencia actively engages, something new, original, and intriguingly significant about Islados emerges.

Born in Madrid, Valencia was raised along the shores of Spain’s northern Basque country. Passionate about art, in youth, he had visited studios of Spanish and Dutch artists known especially for their sensitivity to light and for openness to chance and spontaneity in the creative process. Valencia’s four years of training in Stichting de Vrije Academie voor Beeldende Kunst, Hague, Netherlands grounded him in drawing, composition and contemporary theory. He trained as a figurative artist for nearly fourteen years, leaning on Surrealism, also familiarizing himself on canvas and wood, with acrylic, watercolor, and tempera glazing technique of Dutch and Flemish Renaissance. A seasoned world traveler given his former occupation as a full-time businessman, Valencia admits being “porous to external influences” and open to explore what he calls “the sediments from life experiences.” A trip to Kyoto fifteen years ago was an eye-opening experience that regaled his sensuality to the Chinese aesthetics of the Tang and the Song dynasties. The revelation of Asian aesthetics as an alternative way of seeing and creating, according to Valencia, “had changed me as a man, as an artist.”

Valencia calls Islados, “Landscape of strings…a fight between concept and emotion against a dramatic background.” From frame to frame, lines gesticulating such psychosomatic tensions are rampant. In the form of mangled threads, found yarn, and twisted fibrous paper strings, a spectrum of undulating lines protrude from Valencia’s ink-brushed surface, engaging our eye in a raw optical dance. Adventurous, edgy and exuberant, Valencia’s rugged lines seemingly resonate with the abandon of cursive calligraphic script. They exalt a similar freedom in the process of becoming and a brimming energy as if brushwork in execution.

Fastened onto the supple leniency of Chinese rice paper, his gnarling lines of threads wage a gestural performance against established artistic conventions. Like characters on a theatrical stage, his lines rhythmically pulsate, at times in a murmuring whisper, at times in a thunderous torrent, taking the shapes of small letters, poetic stanzas, storms, atmospheric winds, explosions, and eruptions, crisscrossing and converging into wavelengths of dots, scribbles, knots, and turbulence. Visible here is not a mere invitation into a mindful infinity, but rather, the artist’s deliberate hand at gouging, scrapping and scratching, and his conscious effort at deconstruction and reconstruction. Between carnality and abstraction, Valencia fashions lines, forms, and materials that protrude three- dimensionally, like bodily extensions dominating the space. In more than a few works, a leftward shore juts forth repeatedly, butting into the ocean to intercept the horizon. More animalistic than passive, in their edgy embodiments, these left banks molded from paper-Mache repeatedly exert their muscular contortions. They are carnal, visceral, barbaric things that interfere to thwart our gaze towards the infinite.

Valencia’s inventive shape of the shore, the mountains, and the lines, exude a visceral strength, authoritatively possessing the space in which they are placed. Valencia uses literary elements to imbue his art with meaning. In one notable piece, he alludes to the nihilist themes of death, void, and despair, handwriting stanzas directly from T.S. Eliot’s elegiac post-war poem, “The Hollow Man.” The themes of translucency and fragility, in its open-endedness to crossings and destruction, also come to play a portentous role in Valencia’s art. In a haunting installation, Valencia lifts the entire spectrum of his fibrous threads, off the canvas, suspending them as if a faint curtain of torn webs, making the piece, accessible from all views, but ultimately vulnerable and eroding in form and material.

On a paper surface such as the Chinese rice paper, especially one that is intimately loaded with cultural and historical references to spatiotemporal seclusions, Valencia’s stringed seascapes wage a sensory battle, to stretch open a volatile horizon of sensual guises and quintessentially calling into question our acculturated habits of seeing at the threshold of perception. From frame to frame, the viewer is lured into an open-ended identification process that is at once afloat, disconnected, always negotiating for coherence, but never ending. Islados solicits us to enter into an open acceptance of conflated recognitions across borderlines and boundaries. It is from this view that Valencia’s own dual identity as an artist and as the incumbent Ambassador of Spain to China becomes a stirring embodiment of an authentic, all-consuming aesthetic experience at the crossing of the self and the world.

 

An essay for the artist Manuel Valencia

For Sea Poems: Recent Works by Manuel Valencia

An exhibition at Yuan Space, Beijing CHINA, March 2015

 

By Yiling Mao

New York, February 2015

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