NOTE ON THE 55TH VENICE BIENNALE
第五十五屆威尼斯雙年展札記


British artists have gained lots of exposure in the 55th Venice Biennale. On the way to Giardini, you can see Marc Quinn’s inflatable edition of Alison Lapper Pregnant on the coast. Artist himself described it as ‘a monument to the resilience of the human spirit’. Then in the Central Pavilion, you will not miss Sarah Lucas’ bronze sculpture, which represents the tension between lust and sex powerfully. The watercolour works by Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris are filled with symbols and myths, just like each Tarot foretelling your destiny. In the British Pavilion, the exhibition was created by Jeremy Deller. He used particular events or objects from the past (e.g. ‘Small Faces’- six thousand year-old hand axes borrowed from Museum of London), present (e.g. ‘The Sandringham Estate, Norfolk, UK’-Prince Harry and friends were investigated for shooting rare birds hen harrier), imagined incidents (e.g. ‘We sit starving amidst our gold’- a towering Victorian designer and activist William Morris hurls Roman Abramovich’s 377-inch superyacht into the lagoon). In the time of recession, artist seems to zoom up these events to question the idea behind the political and economic system. The theme ‘English Magic’ sounds pretty ironic since under money and power, we seem to forget the reason of the existence of the system, as a six thousand year-old hand axe becoming merely an expressionless ‘Small Faces’.

展覽內容部分,英國藝術家在此屆有許多的曝光。在前往展場的 途中,你會看到雕塑家馬克·昆(Marc Quinn)以殘疾藝術家艾莉 森·拉博尔(Alison Lapper)為靈感,巨大的充氣雕塑《懷孕的艾 莉森(Alison Lapper Pregnant)》矗立河岸,對於藝術家而言,這 是一個代表“人類不屈不撓的適應精神的紀念碑”。在中央展覽 館,你不會錯過莎拉 · 盧卡斯(Sarah Lucas)那象徵人類性與慾望 糾結的青銅雕塑。阿雷斯特(Aleister Crowley)及弗烈薘(Frieda Harris)的水彩畫佈滿畫面的符號及神話,像是一張張塔羅牌般 的預言出未來的命運和方向。英國國家館此次為英國藝術家傑 瑞米(Jeremy Deller)操刀,藉由過去的物件(自倫敦博物館外借 有六千多年歷史的手斧)、當代的歷史事件(如2007年10月哈利 王子及友人因涉及獵殺保育類禽類鷂受到調查),歷史與當代 的想像結合事件(已逝的英國維多利亞時代設計師及社會運動 者威廉·莫里斯(William Morris)以巨人之姿將俄國石油大亨阿 布拉莫維奇(Roman Abramovich)377英呎的遊艇丟入河中)。 在全球經濟仍舊低迷的今日,藝術家放大這些事件,來質問整個 政治及經濟制度,諷刺地將主題定為“英國魔術”,似乎在金錢及 權力之下,我們已遺忘了所有制度的存在原因,像是六千年的手 斧在現在看來只是一張張面無表情的臉龐?

China Pavilion is situated in Arsenale as Italy and many others. The theme of this year is ‘Transfiguration’, which displays seven Chinese artists’ works. The majority is digital installation, which includes He Yunchang’s ‘The Water of Venice’, Hu Yaolin’s ‘Thing-in-Itself ’and Miao Xiaochun’s ‘Out of nothing’. China’s first environment artist Shu Yong has used 1,500 clear bricks to build up a wall of knowledge of most up-to-date vocabulary. Tong Hongsheng’s ‘Objects’ focus on Buddhist ceremonies; Wang Qingsong’s photography ‘Follow Me’ reflects the blind obedience in the education system, where you can’t help but getting lost in piles of books. The year 2013 marks the twentieth anniversary of the participation of contemporary Chinese artists at the Venice Biennale. During these two decades, there’s a huge growth in China’s economy, culture and art. ‘Transfiguration’ does not only imply a change in economy, the culture has also been carried away by this powerful current. We can understand that this is a journey, not yet a destination. Artists are like the general public, looking for new position and recognition at the international stage.

中國展覽館與義大利等國展覽館位於阿賽奈爾,本屆展覽館的 主題設為《變位》(Transfiguration)。展覽館展出7位中國藝術家 的作品。大部分為數位裝置作品,包括何雲昌的互動參與作品《威尼斯的海水》,胡曜麟的裝置藝術作品《物自體》,及繆曉春 的數字三維視頻《無中生有》、《無始無終》。有中國環保藝術第一 人之稱的舒勇裝置藝術作品《古歌磚》,由1500塊透明磚搭起當 代最流行的詞彙;童紅生的繪畫《器物系列》以佛教的法器為焦點;王慶松的攝影作品《跟他學》、《讀書》反應中國教育學習中的 盲從,人看似遺失在偌大的書堆之中無法自拔。此屆為中國參與 威尼斯雙年展第二十周年,在這二十年之中,中國在經濟、文化 和藝術交流方面有迅速的成長。“變位”不僅僅是個經濟狀況上 的改變,思想與文化也被這股洪流帶著走,我們明白這是一個階 段,還不是終點。藝術家及普羅大眾一樣,在世界的舞台上找尋 新的定位及認同。

Among all the other National Pavilions, it is interesting to see that French Pavilion has swapped with German Pavilion this year. There- fore when you enter ‘German Pavilion’, it is actually the French exhibition. Aristis Anri Sala has spreads out ‘Ravel Ravel Unravel’ in three rooms. The music seems to be a puzzle, it is the artwork which pro- vides us the clue to unravel Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D Major. Whereas in the ‘French Pavilion’, the content is much richer. Curator Susanne Gaensheimer has invited four artists from four different countries-China, Germany, South Africa and India-to contribute in the exhibition. Ai Weiwei uses 886 pieces of the wooden chairs to create an arch reaching the ceiling. The artwork itself like knowledge is completed by accumulation, so is this international art exhibition. The most impressive exhibition I have seen this year is Sarah Sze’s creation ‘Triple Point’ for American Pavilion. She has amassed huge quantity of mixed media to construct a model of the universe. However, in this spacious universe, we have found it is actually composed of the most delicate, memorial or fragile objects which we see everywhere in our daily life. Perhaps the nature of life itself has always remained simple and pure, even though it is surrounded by this material and knowledge overload world which we have lost control.

在眾多國家館之中,有趣的是今年法國館與德國館彼此互換了 場地。因此走進了“德國館”之後,實際上是到了法國館。由藝術 家安利(Anri Sala)的影像裝置及關於指法技巧分解散布在三個 展間,如主題“拉威爾 拉威爾 拆解(” Ravel Ravel Unravel)。音 樂成為一道謎題,藝術提供了一絲線索為我們拆解拉威爾為左 手樂隊所做的D大調鋼琴協奏曲。相較起來,法國館內容豐富許 多,策展人蘇姍娜(Susanne Gaensheimer)邀請來自中國、德 國、南非及印度四位當代藝術家貢獻他們的作品。艾未未以他 熟悉的媒材木椅,在886張直達天頂的堆疊中,藝術如同知識, 是一種累積,這國際雙年展也是藉由跨國合作才能完成這一次 次空前絕後的藝術饗宴。 令我最感到驚豔的則是由藝術家莎拉(Sarah Sze)為美國館所做的《三相點》(Triple Point),這也是 個人認為與此屆展覽主題強烈呼應的藝術作品之一。藝術家使 用大量的綜合媒材建構出一個宇宙模型,但是在宇宙的框架下, 我們看到生活最細微抑或最動人抑或最脆弱的物體。或許在這 物質和知識愈益豐富甚至超乎我們能夠掌握的世界,生命的本 質卻始終如一。


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