连州国际摄影年展主题“告别经验”阐述

摄影师连州国际摄影年展组委会2013-11-18 12:14
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在艺术逐渐沦为生产的时代,你不得不打起全副精神,来应对“为艺术而艺术”的状况。美术馆、双年展、艺术节等主要艺术权威评判体系在当代正受到不断的批评和诟病,艺术机构正在被无孔不入的商业侵蚀,同时,也被艺术自身的历史所压抑。既然美术馆是保存艺术史的地方,那么那些希望将自己的作品陈列于这些殿堂中的人几乎都无法逃脱艺术史的评价标准。

一方面,摄影家感叹不知该如何前行,很多人只是在不断地重复自身,前面的道路越来越窄,很多叙述方式已经无法跟上时代的变化。另一方面,一个人从出生到成年已经给自己储存好了趣味,分辨好的和坏的这一套标准,当他向外看的时候,如果看到的东西不能和他产生共鸣,就很难再想看。而某种程度上,当我们看到别人的东西的时候,我们就已经被影响了,叙述方式、语言趣味、内容趣味等等这些已有的东西都成为压在我们身上的包袱。

当某种叙述方式、语言趣味达成一种广泛共识而成为主流的时候,也就到了我们应该反思的时候。主流的大师和权威们所奉行的金科玉律在形成的时候就开始走向过气的反面。对成为艺术家这件事,你尽可以一笑了之,艺术家和面包师一样,区别仅仅是工种的不同,没有谁比谁更高明。当代艺术越来越成为一种趣味的生产和消费,杜尚看出了其中的玄机,早早远离了艺术界,可他那颗不死的心,始终对改变抱有一种狂热,他说——我们要学会忘记过去,活在我们当下的时代里。

当代的艺术不再强调形式和装饰性,而是把摄影看作一种特殊的语言和符号体系。上世纪70 年代以来,摄影实践经历重要发展,转向用批判的眼光看待视觉艺术,开始强调观念的想法和批判性的实践;彩色摄影的出现进一步打破了单一的鉴赏品味,推动了批判性摄影的实践。

接下来的数字化时代,使得普通大众成为照片的生产者,在大众图像泛滥的同时,拥有自觉意识的摄影师们也不知不觉地在既有的陈腐的摄影法则中沉迷。而另一个现实则是——这个世界已经几乎找不出一片未被照相机光顾的角落,故而对于那些描写式作品的观看需求将逐渐减少。英国评论家彼得•沃伦(Peter Wollen)说,摄影要成为一门艺术,涉及人们对艺术这个概念的重新表述,不再拥戴物质上或形式上的纯粹主义,并把艺术从商业中脱离出来,使其成为一种永不与商业相连的、与众不同的符号实践。

回到策展人的工作上来,我深知当我们要求摄影家们告别经验展现更丰富的思想和创造力的时候,需要自己先行一步,理清头脑,然后再去找寻那些真正能和这个时代对话的作品,以及那种能够超越旧有经验的东西。

而找寻那些未曾拥有的图像经验、用摄影探索思想的深邃,本身就是一件有趣而令人兴奋的事——对于北欧和南美、以及香港的当代摄影我们似乎还有点陌生; 把软雕塑、行为、摄影结合起来好玩吗?肉身与死亡的关系是什么?被摄影介入的爱情呈现了什么?摄影家们拍摄自己的孩子会有什么不同?八十年代的民间照像原来这么妙趣横生; 我们穿在身上的衣服是怎么来的?自然与人的关系到底是怎样的?那个著名的纽约保姆是如何拍照的?红遍全球的瑞士艺术家皮皮洛蒂•瑞斯特如何用千变万化的感观影像探索感观世界的全新维度?

这些都是今年我们将和大家分享的话题。而话题之外尤需阐明的则是——摄影艺术家在这个时代不应该再是传统的图像趣味的生产者,面对已然泛滥的照片,摄影艺术家更应该成为信息的管理者和思想的提供者。只有让摄影的锋芒指向人类所共同面对的问题与困境时,才是摄影作为当代艺术重要媒介所应担当的任务。

连州国际摄影年展总监 段煜婷

Farewell to Experience

Text by Duan Yuting

As art has entered a new era of artistic mass production, we must be careful about the danger of making art for the sake of making art. Major art institutions such as museums, biennales and festivals are constantly being criticized for the pervasive commercialization that has penetrated every corner of the system as well as being burdened by the enormous weight of art history. As these highly regarded organizations are also some of the most committed practitioners of art history today, it’s very difficult for artists of different practices to escape the trap of limiting themselves to the same standards that would have been applied by the institutions.

On one hand, very often photographers would lament about the lack of avenues for their work as the paths ahead seem to be getting narrower each day. As many of them begin to repeat themselves over and over again, they are further left behind with the rapid changes that are happening around them. On the other hand, as we mature we develop our own ideas about what good art is. When we see something that doesn’t resonate with us, we would not spend even a few moments looking at it. To some extent, when we look at other people’s work, inevitably we must be influenced by its narrative form, visual language and subject matter. These influences that we have accumulated over the years become significant burdens on our mind.

When a certain photographic form or visual style becomes merely a stereotypical exercise, it’s a time for reflection for all of us. Whenever a rule or a trend is established, that’s the moment it starts to get old. You may as well laugh at the idea of becoming an artist, as being an artist is no more superior than other occupations, like a bread maker for example. Contemporary art has gradually become a production and consumption of tastes, as Duchamp had spotted this and left the field to pursue chess. Nonetheless, his ferventness for change had always remained alive in his heart as he said: “We must learn to forget the past, to live our own lives in our own time.”

Contemporary art is no longer simply about form or decoration. Rather, photography shall be considered as a distinctive language of visual symbols. Since the 1970s, the role of photography has gone through several significant changes that we have begun to emphasize the importance of conceptual ideas and critical experimentation in an artist’s creative process. The increasing recognition of color photography as a legitimate artistic medium further pushed forward the experimental forces that helped to shape contemporary photography as we know it today.

In more recent years, the arrival of digital technology has allowed anyone who wishes to take pictures to easily become a producer of photographs. As we are living at a time when the abundance of images has been exacerbated by the existence of the Internet, even those experienced photographers have the tendency to indulge in photographic traditions of the past. As almost every corner of the world has already been seen by a camera, the need for photography as a medium for recording has diminished over the years. The British writer Peter Wollen said that “for photography to be an art involves reformulating notions of art, rejecting both material and formal purism and also the separation of art from commerce as distinct semiotic practices that never interlock.”

As a curator, I am acutely aware that when we demand photographers to forget the past in order to allow their creativity to flourish freely, we first have to empty our own mind before searching for those works that faithfully capture this moment in our history beyond the experience that we are so familiar with.

Without doubt, the search for those fresh, intriguing visual experience and thoughtful expressions by the medium of photography is an interesting and exciting task on its own. How much do we know about contemporary photography from places like Northern Europe, South America and Hong Kong? What happens if we combine soft sculpture, performance art and photography together? What’s the relationship between the body and death? What would intimacy and love become with the intervention of a camera? How would professional photographers go about taking pictures of their own children? Where were all those photos taken by ordinary Chinese citizens in the 1980s? Where do the clothes that we are wearing come from? What is our relationship with nature? How did those pictures taken by a nanny born in New York City stay unnoticed up until now? How does the world take on new dimensions in internationally acclaimed Swiss visual artist Pipilotti Rist’s kaleidoscopic explorations?

The above questions are among the themes that we wish to share with our audience at this year’s festival. However, besides these points of interest, I would like to further emphasize the importance for contemporary photographers to also assume the roles of information processor and thought provider. Only when we cut through the heart of the issues and struggles that we as human beings face together would photography fulfill its responsibility as one of the most important media of contemporary art.

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