Authenticity Exists in the Gap of Paintings
In the summer of 2014, with Magritte in my mind, I walked into the Magritte Museum in Brussels. However, I walked through the whole four floors of the Museum in less than an hour, deeply disappointed. His original work does not provide more information than the printed version.
Painting can’t just stop here.In Magritte’s painting, most information is at the front. I began to think about what is important to me about the materiality of painting.
解释绘画的努力常常失败，因为绘画所描绘的并非真实，它只是一种似是而非的虚拟语气。哪怕是复制现实的摄影，只要存在选择，就没有客观性。绘画中图像的真实是假象， 真实存在于图像之下，笔与笔之间的缝隙中，存在于每一次选择中。没有艺术的真实，只有艺术家的真实。绘画制造和保存图像的功能， 早就被摄影和电影所取代。作为一种缓慢的媒介，再怎么着急的画家，也需要一笔挨着一笔，一层叠着一层的画完。霍克尼说：“”你将时间赋予绘画，可电影却将它的时间强加给你。” 绘画中的时间一览无余，不像音乐和电影，它并不裹挟你按着前后顺序走：在画布上，所有时间同时发生，你可以看一分钟，也可以看一小时，一下午，一星期。绘画语言的时间感，在于画面每一笔都是不同时间完成的，但你同时看到了他们。它是无数个细小时间和微妙层次的聚合。绘画一目了然，又不止步于此。动态影像把图像的来龙去脉交代得清清楚楚，却失去了欲说还休的空间，而绘画话讲三分，暧昧不清，才有了供想象驰骋的可能。绘画创作的母题可以很简单，简单到一个或两个人的背影，它通过看起来并不复杂的平面图像，让人感受到图像之外的无限。看到、感知到、并理解到，是观看的三个层次。绘画并不准确，它的魅力正是来自于这种不准确带来的呼吸感。它可以表达观念， 但能承载的观念是极其有限的。除此之外，它还有其自身的逻辑和观念，如果一幅画要表达的观念没有考虑到与油画本体所承载观念的关系的话，作为观者经常会心生尴尬。
Attempts to explain painting often fail because what it depicts is not reality, it is merely a plausible subjunctive mood. Even photography that replicates reality has no objectivity as long as there are choices.The truth of in a painted image is an illusion. The truth lies beneath the image, in the gaps between the brushstrokes, in choices made during painting.There is no truth in art, only truth of artists.The function of painting to create and preserve images has long been replaced by photography and film. As a slow medium, no matter how anxious the painter is, he needs to finish the painting one stroke at a time, layer upon layer.”You give time to painting,” says Hockney. “But film pushes its time on you.”In painting, time is visible, and unlike music and movies, it doesn’t hold you back and forth: on a canvas, all time happens together, and you can view it for a minute, or an hour, or an afternoon, or a week.The sense of time in the painting language is that each stroke of the picture is completed at a different time, but you see them all at the same time.It is the aggregation of countless small moments and subtle layers.You can see a painting in one go, but it doesn’t stop there.The moving image makes the context of the image clear, but we lose the space to talk about it, while the painting is ambiguous, which makes imagination possible. The theme of painting creation can be simple, as simple as the back of one or two people. It makes people feel the infinite beyond the surface through the plane image that looks not complicated. Seeing, perceiving, and understanding are the three levels of seeing. Painting is not accurate, and its charm comes from the breathing that this inaccuracy brings.It can express ideas, but the ideas it can carry are very limited.In addition, it has its own logic and concept. If the concept to be expressed in a painting does not take into account the relationship with the concept carried by the medium itself, the viewer will often feel embarrassed.
面对图像世界，绘画是转译，而非摄影般的复制。在漫长的制作过程中存在着无数选择，这些选择与艺术家的学养、状态息息相关，也造成了绘画无法绝对客观的呈现图像，加上绘画这个材料带来的种种限制，在表达的困顿挣扎之时，似乎可以让人们看到作者之心。每每握着那个比A4纸还小的调色盘，抹开颜料画画的时候， 我都会非常有信心：在极其受限的情形下工作， 会感到充满了可能性。限制即自由，全能则全不能。作为一个画家，所能做的事情极其有限， 无非是在一块或大或小的画布上做道场，但我要在擅长的领域， 做到极致。在绘画上，我在意的不是广度，而是深度。
Facing of the image world, painting is translation, not photographic reproduction.In the long process of production, there are numerous choices, which are closely related to the education and status of the artist, and also cause that the painting cannot present the image absolutely objectively. In addition, the limitations brought by the material of painting, it seems that people can see the heart of the author when the expression is struggling.When I hold my palette, smaller than A4 paper, and wipe away the paint, I feel confident: working in extremely limited situations, I feel full of possibilities. Limitation is freedom, omnipotence means you have no focus. As a painter, what I can do is extremely limited, nothing more than to build a dojo on a large or small canvas. However, I want to achieve perfection in the field I am good at. In painting, what I care about is not breadth, but depth.
有人说，油画的发明就是为了描绘肉体。油画是连接欲望的载体，它的制作过程是有许多快感的：描绘光线如何抚摸形体、边线渐渐隐到背景中、并将主体从背景中拉出，更不必说阴影与亮部交汇处那些透明的灰色… 不仅有凝视的愉悦，也有描绘的快感。在描绘的同时， 我会从空间或者形体上破坏完整性，从而阻断欲望。 虽有一种公共的造型系统， 绘画这个行为更与艺术家的身体紧紧相连。每个画家行为习惯、观看方式不一样，会造成呈现效果的大相径庭。这种身体性几乎无法隐藏，在其中隐约透出的，就是艺术家的真实。
Some say that oil painting was invented to depict bodies. This medium is a vehicle of desire, there is a lot of pleasure in the process of making: depicting how the light touches the body how the edges fade into the background and pull the subject out of it, not to mention the transparent grey where the shadows and lights meet…There is not only the pleasure of gazing, but also the pleasure of painting.In the process of painting, I will break the spatial or physical integrity, thus cutting off the desire. Although there is a system to depict subjects, the act of painting is more closely linked to the artist’s body. Each artist’s behavioral habits and ways of seeing are different, which will result in a widely divergent effect.This physical nature is almost impossible to hide, in which the looming is the artist’s reality.
绘画并不容易。它未必要回应这个时代，但自觉不自觉地，它一定会回应画家自身的经验， 还有绘画自身漫长的历史。对我来说， 把绘画向前推进一步，带来的快感和挑战的难度，远远比用新材料去做新东西要大得多。时代背景的变化会对每个人有潜移默化的影响，也可能造成艺术策略的变化。在我看来，背景是背景，背景能为绘画提供某种可供解读的层次。而好的绘画可以超越背景而被独立解读，人不会站在一张好画面前而不自知的。以几百年的时间维度来看作品，围绕作品的话语会消失，文本会淡化，立得住的还是作品本身。
Painting is not easy. It does not necessarily respond to the era, but consciously or unconsciously, it does respond to the artist’s own experience, and to the long history of painting itself. For me, the thrill and the challenge of pushing figurative painting one step further is far greater than trying to make something new with new materials.The change of the historical background in time has a subtle influence on everyone, and may also lead to the change of artistic strategy. In my opinion, the background is the background, and the background provides a certain level of interpretation for paintings. However, A good painting can be read independently beyond its background. One can not stand in front of a good painting without knowing it. Viewing the work from the dimension of hundreds of years, the discourse surrounding the work will disappear, the text will fade, and what stands is the work itself.
我期待的观者，既有感知的能力，也有看画的教养。不了解绘画的人看画， 就像请一个不喝酒的人去品酒一样，只有对酒本能的反应——辣或者涩，偶尔也能尝出好酒，却不解其中好处所在。而品酒师， 因为品尝的样本足够多，味觉足够敏感。产地在哪、什么年份的酒、甚至酒开了多久，都一清二楚，其中的妙处也能心领神会。我的作品通常具有一种结构上的超稳定性，始终处在一个冷静、平视的观看角度。具体画面中，会将要表达的信息后置。只有穿透可见的图像，才能读取到画面中更本质的架构安排：色彩咬合， 笔触运行，色层覆盖，空间交叠。
The viewer I expect, has not only the ability of perception, but also the upbringing of viewing paintings. The way people who do not know painting, or even many people in the art world, look at paintings, is just like inviting a non-drinker to taste wine. They only have an instinctive reaction to wine — spicy or astringent. Occasionally, they can tell a good wine, but they do not understand why. A sommelier, on the other hand, is sensitive enough to taste because he has tasted enough samples.They know immdiately the origin of the wine, the vintage, and even how old the wine has been, and they can get the best of it. My work usually has structural hyperstability, always in a calm, eye-level manner. In paintings, the information to be expressed will be placed behind. The viewer needs to be able to penetrate the visible image to read the more basic architectural arrangements of the image: color interlocking, brush moving, color layering, and space overlapping.
油画是很具体的材料， 具体到每一个转折都要明确，每一块颜色都要有色彩倾向， 如何用这种实在的、前进的材料来表现后退感？如何用这么具体的造型系统，来表现在中国绘画中非常重要的留白与空无，从而拓宽想象的空间？这是对我的挑战。我希望空得很具体， 它不是无止境，无依靠的空，而是切实、有迹可循的空间， 空景也是背景，人物在背景前面，一切在背景前发生，就像剧场一样。背景与人物造型形成互文，它们之间的形成了心理空间。古典、宗教般的造型被不断遮挡、打断、扭转，即有姿势的确定性，也有普遍的消逝感。我将绘画中一切非必要的元素通通舍去，包括文学性、不必要的细节、过多的颜色等等。减少至人呈现出某种凝固了的、物的状态，只剩概括的造型、极其有限的色彩、空间、结构等等非常基础的绘画元素。在不明确的描绘中来暗示尚未呈现、将要发生的。对背影的选择也是由这种思考生发出来的：在图像中，脸是一个非常重要的元素， 一旦绘画中有脸出现，所有其他的一切都变成了烘托和陪衬。当把充斥着种族、性别、乃至意识形态等等元素的脸在画布上消解掉，变成一个结构上不那么重要的东西时， 其他的绘画元素就会变得活跃起来，这是一种收与放的关系。抹去人脸的识别度和叙事性，完成了从特定角色或社会性的人向物的转换，进而在意识上又流向了艺术家的自我。就像莫兰迪的瓶瓶罐罐一样，我所描绘的人物和局部只是表达自我的一个载体。所以可以说，所有的绘画——包括静物和风景——都是自画像。它们反映着我与自身的关系， 与材料的关系，在某些具体的时刻与外部世界的关系。
Oil painting is such a specific material that every turn in shape should be clear, every colour applied should have its own tendency, how to use this kind of real, progressive material to show a sense of retreat? How to use such a specific modeling system to express the very important emptiness and void in Chinese painting, so as to broaden the space of imagination? This is a challenge for me.I hope that this void is very concrete. It is not an endless and undependent emptiness, but a real and tracable space. The empty scene is also a kind of background, and everything happens in front of it, just like in the theatre. The background and the figure form intertextuality, then psychological space between them is formed. Classical shapes are constantly blocked, interrupted and twisted, there is certainty within gesture coupled with a prevailing sense of evanescence. I cut out all unnecessary elements of the painting, including literariness, unnecessary details, excessive colour, etc. It is reduced to a kind of solidified state of materiality, with only summarized shapes, very limited colour range, space, structure and other basic painting elements.To suggest what has not yet been presented or will happen in vague depiction.The choice of the back came from this thinking: in image, face is a very important element, once a face appears in the painting, everything else becomes a foil. When the face, which is filled with race, gender, and even ideology, is dissolved on the canvas and becomes a structurally less important thing, other painting elements will become active, which is a kind of retraction-release relationship.When the recognizibility and narrative of human face are erased, the transformation from a specific role or social person to an object will be completed, and then the consciousness flows towards the artist’s self. Like Morandi’s bottles and jars, the figures and details I depict are only a vehicle for self-expression. So it can be said that all paintings — also including still life and landscape — are self-portraits.They reflect my relationship with myself, with materials, and, at certain moments, with the outside world.
油画作为一种历史悠久的媒介，具有高度的技术性。一种好的技术不是盲目的“画得好”， 而是恰如其分地表达了作者的想法和感受，同时有效地传递给观者：好的技术会让人感觉不到技术的存在。每个时代有其独特的技术特点，就像19世纪印象派，会有一种公共的技术一样，他们的画面既有这种技术带来的共性，又有个人的特点; 同样是学院派的技术，德加和萨金特画起来就完全不一样。技术本身也是一种媒介，而媒介无所谓好坏，好的艺术家会征服技术为己所用。在我们这个时代，最重要的具象绘画技术，就是摄影。确实，我们今天也看到太多想画具象，但画成跟照片一模一样的人。当然以此为策略的另说。在当今带有形象的绘画创作中，使用摄影几乎不可避免。而问题在于怎么把自己推入(impose)图像中，希望产出的图像是一种不带感情的公共图像？还是深深植入自己基因的图像？这同时是对画家和摄影家的考验。我在创作中注重照片的使用，照片是横亘在我的和现实之间的一种中介物，它来自于现实，而又似是而非，不像现实那样具有压迫感。而图像技术介入的程度我是有控制的，在采集图像，调整构图阶段，会运用到图像技术。仍然有个原则就是不会用投影介入到绘画制作中，因为我对造型有自己的把控，照片唤醒对现实的记忆，而非我描摹的基础。好好观察现实，就能发现其中的分别。而我也是在一次一次图像在人工和机械之间的转移中逐渐的将自己织入画面的。
Oil painting, as a medium with a long history, is highly technical.A good technique is not a blind “painting well”, but an appropriate expression of the author’s ideas and feelings, and an effective transmission to the audience: good technique will make people feel the existence of it. Each era has its own unique technical characteristics, just like Impressionism, there was a public technology, their pictures have both the technology brought about by the commonality, but also personal characteristics; Degas and Sargent, with the same academic technique, painted in a completely different manner.Technique itself is also a medium, and a medium is neither good nor bad. Good artists will conquer technique for their own use.In our time, the most important figurative painting technology is photography. Indeed, today we also see too many people who want to paint figures, but paint exactly like photographs. Of course, this is another strategy. In today’s figurative painting, the use of photography is almost inevitable.The question is how to impose yourself to an image. Do you want to produce in an emotionless public image, or images embedded deeply in your genes?It is a test for both painters and photographers.I use of photos during the making of paintings.To me, photos are an intermediary between life and reality. They come from the reality but are specious, not as oppressive as the reality.I have control over the extent of the involvement of image technology. I use image technology in the stage of image collection and composition adjustment.Still there is a principle that I will not use projection in the painting, because I have my own control over the shape. Photos can awake the memory of reality, bur not the basis of my depiction.Take a good look at reality and you can see the difference. I also gradually woven myself into painting in the transfer of images between manual and mechanical.
绘画有其自身的脉络要处理。我偏爱文艺复兴早期作品的气息，比如弗兰契斯卡的绘画；附中时期，我大量地临摹拉斐尔——安格尔——德加一脉的绘画，习得了一种凝练而微妙的造型倾向；在近些年的绘画中，对颜料的使用方式愈发多样和松动， 这与我对17世纪佛兰德斯绘画和西班牙绘画的研究息息相关。同时， 尽管绘画的母题和手法与古典绘画多有交集，我们每日浸淫其中的，是无处不在的影像世界，观看方式自然而然地受到来自摄影的影响。这无须回避，我也透过摄影来把握这个世界。无论是否采用摄影作为实现图像的技术手段，观看始终是充满了偏见和选择的，我拥抱这种偏见。图像来自于当下的视觉文化， 与油画这种具有丰富历史的媒介不可避免地交汇在一起。我喜欢这样的临界状态，它含混不清， 却也包含了向另一种状态滑动的可能性，有一种将发未发的张力。
Painting has its own context to deal with.I like the sense of early Renaissance works, such as Piero della Francesca’s paintings; During middle school, I copied a lot of paintings of Raphael, Ingres and Degas, and acquired a concise and subtle modeling tendency .In recent years, my use of paints has become more varied and loose, which is closely related to my study of 17th century Flemish painting and Spanish painting.At the same time, although the motifs and techniques of painting often overlap with classical painting, what we immerse ourselves in every day is the ubiquitous image world, and the way of viewing is naturally influenced by photography.There is no need to avoid this, I also grasp the world through photography .Whether photography is used as a technical means to achieve images or not, viewing is always full of bias and choice, and I embrace this bias.Image comes from the current visual culture and inevitably intersects with oil painting, a medium with a rich history.I like this criticality, which is ambiguous, but also contains the possibility of slipping into another state, with a tension that will not emerge.
The motifs of a painting may be simple or complex, but how to enter the painting process in a certain way and in specific state, and how to impose oneself into the picture, are as important as the theme of the painting in my works.That’s probably why Magritte can’t satisfy me.
In late 2020, I viewed the Morandi retrospective.In the four hours of wandering, I thought I’d found the answer.