Saatchi Gallery: RONG BAO IS ME

23 FEB – 31 MARCH 2024
GALLERY 4,Saatchi Gallery

All forms of allure come to our attention through surprise or fascination, since we are not exactly certain about what it is we are dealing with, though we witness to its qualities.” –Graham Harman

Paul Klee, Twittering Machine, 1922. ©Paul Klee

When Paul Klee painted his work ‘Twittering Machine’ (1922) he was suggesting a conjunction of machines and nature. This was born out of a presentation of an image of free beauty, birds rendered in a choir of song, with the reality of their being enslaved with the dark machinations of infernal capitalist logic. Such a tiny, delicate drawing suggesting a deep underlying terror, with nothing as it quite appears within the glance of the eye.

In a current exhibition ‘Rong Bao is Me’ there are a whole array of machines on display, pulsing, twisting, and turning with each element asserting its own logic in ways that suggest an organic mode of becoming, as opposed to just machinic semblance. A playful mood seems on offer, with a lightness of touch running through the whole assemble that acts as a magnate for childhood like reverie more than seriously invested adult attention. Then this sense is born out of just a cursory glance, so perhaps this produces an errant reading of what is at hand. Certainly, there is a compelling production of pleasure (as excess) but then is this a pleasure tinged by darkness that mixes the free play of intuition, invention, and imagination into networks of desiring production. This constellation of desire, machines, invention, excess, has a suggestion of ‘desiring-machines’ that are to be discovered as a construct in Deleuze and Guattari. Such a machinic order generate flows and codes of becoming, working at different speeds and frequencies, participating within various milieus, all within serialities of outcomes that remain open to new conjunctions. This moves beyond the dualisms within the formations of subject and objects. Rather than a series of progressions or narratives, the works produce fields of saturations and folds in which localised play is joined to a cosmic dance of elements. All in all, a case of machines that channel desire, and desires that programme machines.

The question of desire also leads into the question of fetishism and whether this pertains to these works. It is partly the relationship of conjunctions that are being entertained, as in Meret Oppenheim’s ‘Luncheon in Fur’ (1936) or more recently Zhu Tian’s ‘Babe’ (2013). In these two works, it is not just the conjunction of the inorganic and the organic generates displacement, but also how the material in question perform or release affects. Fetishism also invariably joins to abjection which performs as a quality between the object and the subject. Plastic has its roots in the names of Greek shepherds such as polystyrene and was initially viewed as a wonder material but now is seen as (trashy) base matter capable of being moulded, receiving shape, or undergoing deformation. As possibly one of the most toxic pollutants, it is a material born out of industrial transformation of nature that in turn transforms its relationship to nature as a pollutant of it, and as such, it is invariably viewed as being in excess. In its foundation within Modernity, it signified an optimistic, popish mode of the forever new, whereas within the turn towards a late or exhausted Modernity its connotations are imbued with the rhetoric of accumulated dysfunction. Returning though to a broader signifying chain of qualities pertaining to fetishism, abjection, animation, fantasy, excess, absurdity, and performance that can be detected in the work of this exhibition, they are also part of a sign economy of evasion or complication that render the relationship to the perception of the work complex. The trashy, saturated, playful surfaces are not just entertained in a knowing or critical fashion, but also pose questions that are evident within more abstracted figures that might cohere within and below such surfaces. Something is moved and within what moves, an allure is created. Yet there is also something else in the form of that which withdraws or resides in an elsewhere of what stands in open visibility. An example of this is in the work ‘Fragile’ that points towards a much darker form of repetition-compulsion that underlies the futility or the cracking up of the logic of a machinic assembly that is simply compelled to go round and around in the forever of empty circulation.

Returning to Paul Klee the twittering is without finality because the machinery can function without the birds, but it is the birds that produce the allure. The allure is what attracts, whereas the machine is what sustains. Each element conforms to its nature but also have the capacity to go beyond or even less than that nature. What performs in this show is the display of the uncertainty of what is beyond or less than the allure of what is given. Twittering is given over to a more pronounced trembling, visibility to more hidden gesture, forms opening to the possibility of deformation. Do we stand before, or stand with, and what is it that is in circulation? Pleasure comes and goes; pastel-coloured moods circulate, but finally the play of aesthetic rupture and rapture endures within a suggested closure of the gap between being and machine. As the gap closes, it is replaced by valves and ciphers that produce connections to other assemblages and the new is generated by virtue of the different forms of compression achieved. A case of light touches serving as a disguise for more weighty figures. As in the work by Paul Klee, these works appear to be floating free of the force of gravity. This is perhaps connected to the impulse to offer an imaginary elsewhere to a world that is saturated with heaviness.


當保羅·克利(Paul Klee)繪制他的作品《鳴囀機(Twittering Machine,1922)》時,他展現了機器與自然的結合。這個作品起始於對自由之美形象的呈現,鳥兒在合唱,實際上卻被邪惡的資本主義邏輯下的黑暗陰謀所奴役。這樣一幅微小而精緻的畫作暗示著一種深層次的恐懼:只有通過不斷的觀看,完整的信息才會浮出水面。

在當前的展覽《包蓉是我(RONG BAO IS ME)》中,觀者將看到一系列機械作品。雖然有著機械的外觀,它們律動、扭曲、旋轉,每個元素都在以一種有機的方式表達自己的邏輯。展覽中似乎流淌著一種俏皮嬉戲的氛圍,輕盈的觸感貫穿始終,成年人的嚴肅感彷彿消失,因為童年般的遐想取而代之。不過,這種感覺僅僅來自浮光掠影的一瞥,因而誤讀可能產生。誠然,她的作品里有著一種引人入勝的彷彿過剩的愉悅感,但下一刻又出現了一種帶有暗黑色彩的愉悅感:它將直覺、創造和想象肆意把玩,混雜到慾望生產的網絡中。

在德勒茲和瓜塔里(Deleuze and Guattari)的理論中,這種慾望、機器、創造、過剩的組合被建構為「慾望機器」(desiring-machines)。以不同的速度和頻率工作並參與在各種環境中,慾望機器的秩序能夠產生關於存在與變化的流動性和代碼,並在結果中保持對新的關聯的開放——這超越了主體與客體的二元對立。這些作品並非一系列的進展或敘事,而是生產著飽和與折疊的領域,其中局部的遊戲和無限的元素共舞。總之,這是機械引導慾望、而慾望又反過來控制機械的一次展示。

關於慾望的討論也引出戀物,以及戀物是否與這些作品相關的問題。在一定程度上,我們探討的是作品與結合性的關聯,例如梅雷特·奧本海姆(Meret Oppenheim)的《皮毛餐具》(Luncheon in Fur,1936年)和更近年的朱田的《寶貝》(Babe,2013年)。在這兩件作品中,無論是無機物和有機物的結合,還是所選的材料如何表現或是釋放情感,都在悄然錯位。戀物也總是與「排斥」聯繫在一起,而「排斥」則是客體與主體之間的一種特質。






Text by Jonathan Miles

Translated by Gong Hengzhi

Edited by Michelle Yu


Q&A with Bao Rong

AZ: 在你的藝術實踐中遇到了哪些超出預期的挑戰或限制?這些經歷將如何影響你以後的創作?

BR: 經費以及技術上問題總是困擾我最多的。主要是技術。

我每天光是坐在那裡發呆、走在路上、坐地鐵刷手機,腦子里都會不受控制的不停往外冒新的點子。有一天晚上要睡覺了我躺在床上閉上眼睛腦子里就自動”看到“spurs gallery的space以及在展廳里的一個巨完整有細節的3d立體模型,我起來之後畫了一個很草的草圖,雖然到第二天起來就忘了,因為又會有新的想法冒出來(我有很嚴重的adhd,所以完全看不進去書,看書太痛苦了,托福考了八次才剛剛擦邊達到申請線)像是在炸煙花一樣往我腦瓜子里衝。






AZ: 到目前為止,你的作品收到了怎樣的反饋?能否分享幾個對你印象最深的評論或觀點?又或者是對你有所啓發的評論?

BR: 很多人說我的作品治癒了他們,是他們近期最最喜歡的展覽,給他們帶來了很多靈感和愉悅,這都讓我感到很開心。特別開心。甚至有人特意從曼徹斯特趕來看我的展覽。其中印象最深的是有人看完樓上burtensky的展覽下來看到我的之後說她更喜歡我的作品!






AZ: 你的部分作品顯然批判了消費主義。在你看來,你是如何看待消費主義的?

BR: 我的作品有點像是包著糖衣的苦藥,表面上是雀躍的視覺語言,但是底色是悲傷的、是消極的、是無望的、是黑暗的。我認為,消費主義本身是一個已經發生的既定事實和現有的無法擺脫的系統運作的遊戲規則,我們暫時無法逃離,因為無法避免只能苦中作樂,在邊緣試探著,盡量不要被吞噬。但是我知道這些掙扎也是徒勞的,我的很多作品一直在批判整個社會大系統中可笑或者不合理的地方,消費主義只是大系統中的一部分,我並沒有完全針對消費主義做出很多振聾發聵的批判,我從來不指望或者認為藝術可以改變,也不希望自己的作品淪為政治和意識形態發聲的宣傳工具(我也知道這是不可能)我只能戲謔地調侃一下,說:嘿,看看消費主義盛行下的大家這樣有多可笑。

AZ: 在社交媒體的環境下,你認為你的作品是否也成為了消費主義的一部分?你是怎麼看待的?之前我們談到了一些你的未來計劃,你現在是否有考慮向進軍藝術市場?在這個過程中,你是選擇批判地接受、逃避還是尋求其他方式共處?

BR: 我們無法逃離消費主義,我所能做的,就是盡可能剝離我的藝術創作的商品屬性,如果我可以不靠賣作品賺錢,那麼我的作品就能夠跳出這個系統,成為不受市場約束的獨立存在。

AZ: 在你的藝術哲學或人生哲學中,有哪些信念是你堅持的,又有哪些是你反對或懷疑的?

BR: 我覺得最重要的是真誠,無論是對待自己的作品還是對待其他,虛妄的東西經不住時間的考驗。

AZ: Your exhibition has attracted a lot of attention. Why do you think that this is? Is it a mood of the time or do you perceive other symptoms at play?

AZ: 你的展覽引起了很多關注。你認為這是為什麼?這是時代的情緒,還是你覺得有其他因素在起作用?

BR: 我的作品從某種程度上也是互聯網短視頻快速的信息爆炸時代下的衍生的副產物,只不過把一套類似的東西投射到了藝術上。如果說這個事所謂時代的情緒的話。 當下這個信息爆炸和圖像爆炸的時代 大家都普遍失去了耐心注意力是一種稀缺資源,包括我自己就是。如果你的作品無法在最開始的5秒鐘在映入眼簾的那一刻就抓住我,那麼我就馬上就會走開。我跟很多朋友都去看過展覽  所有人都很少在一件作品面前停留較長的時間 都是快速掠過地走馬觀花 那些超大型的art fair或者雙年展每次都有上百件作品 每個人的時間和注意力都很有限 被無數的視覺信息撕碎   我個人在畫廊空間里是完全看不進視頻作品的,這個視頻超過10秒還沒有意思我就想把這個視頻划走了,好像自己是在刷短視頻一樣。開頭10秒如果不抓人 人們就划走了。   因為我承認自己就是這樣的人,我對於我觀眾的期待也是如此,大家都是互聯網信息爆炸時代下被轟炸的難民,我對我作品的期待其實也類似,我只希望我的作品可以抓住你至少10秒鐘 無論以什麼方式。這也注定是一個大家都逃不過的發展趨勢。   包括我用了大量義烏小商品這樣極其快速複製的元素,也算是從另一個方面由當下這個快節奏快時尚和快消費時代語境的投射。   當然我也不是說 我的作品就缺乏那些可被多重解讀的空間。我的作品可解讀的留白空間其實很大 如果你想的話也可以靜下來細細品味 我想要極其快速的抓住你的眼球 和 把你留下來之後可以讓你靜靜地享受 這二者並不衝突   我覺得視覺語言比所謂的文獻的解讀都更加重要,我很不太認同很多“裝逼”藝術家,他的作品本身沒有什麼說服力但是註解卻寫的雲山霧繞。我認為我的作品像是皇帝的新衣里的那個小孩,在一堆冠冕堂皇的作品中間跳出來大喊著說看那些人怎麼都沒有穿衣服。

AZ: Do you think that your work has an exact aesthetic register that is part of a tradition or sense or does it express a freedom from such modes of designation?

AZ: 你認為你的作品有一個確切的審美範疇,屬於某種傳統或感覺,還是它表達了一種擺脫這些指定模式的自由?

BR: 我認為或者我希望它表達了一種擺脫這些指定模式的自由,然而沒有人是可以跳脫出歷史或者傳統的,我也一定是可以被囊括到某個出現的類別里的。

AZ: There is a work that appears to register a different sense and that is the treadmill work which appears to have a darker resonance. Is this part of an earlier exploration within your development?

AZ: 有一件作品似乎呈現了不同的感覺,那就是跑步機作品,它似乎具有更深的共鳴。這是你發展過程中較早探索的一部分嗎?

BR: 是也不是。在視覺語言和元素運用上跟我早期探索的系列更近一些,但從創作時間上來說是去年做的一件比較新的作品, “失敗“或者說doesn’t work well一直是我很感興趣的主題,或者說什麼是work well,誰來定義了這個well。什麼是好,什麼事成功,什麼是厲害,什麼是幸福,什麼是信仰,什麼是權力,為什麼一定要這樣?虛無和荒謬和想要反對規訓一直是我在持續探索的主題。比如我2022-2023的作品“good luck”,也是類似,通過要求人一遍一遍被要求買過不存在的門檻來調侃宗教、風水等一系列傳統的合理性。通過把現成品放置到另一個語境來探討可能性。

AZ: What is the work that you are looking at presently?

AZ: 你目前在關注哪件作品?

BR: 我本來想羅列一些具體的名字,但是每陣子喜歡的藝術家又會變。我一直很喜歡大地藝術,我覺得那種及其宏大的,崇高的,那種想用渺小的肉身與浩瀚天地一搏的飛蛾撲火般的荒唐感覺很令我著迷。之前有想過一個事情,就是如果人類文明滅絕之後外星人到了地球如果想要瞭解我們之前的文明,我可以給它們留下什麼。就好比現在人們挖出來上萬年前失落文明的古遺址時,看到了它們留下的屬於當時語境下的“藝術品”,這個藝術品會囊括當時所有的一切,會體現當時的技術水平經濟水平和人們的精神面貌,是那個文明的濃縮體現。有的時候我想,如果我可以做一個遮天蔽日的巨大類似金字塔一樣的作品,或者去火星上立一個什麼雕塑之類的,讓人類文明給外星人一些屬於我們的浪漫。哦我還很喜歡有些藝術家製造一些瞬間消失的“意外”現場,我喜歡及其宏大同時也喜歡及其細微、微妙和易逝的作品。

AZ: How do you think about the relationship between being Chinese and working within a Contemporary Western context? Does it present more complex issues within cultural development for you?

AZ: 你如何看待作為中國人在當代西方語境中工作的關係?這是否為你的文化發展帶來了更複雜的問題? BR: 我知道有很多藝術家專門做針對自己坐在群體的藝術,他本人是x國人,作品集就會體現很多傳統文化的元素比如用很多宣紙山水畫風水之類的,ta本人是移民,ta的作品就會探討移民和身份認同,ta是queer他的作品就全都是穿肌肉衣服的lgbt,然而我關注的是更宏大的所有人類都共有的底層議題和感受,我希望人們拋開我是誰,無論我是亞洲人還是白人高人矮人老人小孩,我的作品都可以成立。所以我覺得這個問題對我來說不是個問題,我的作品拋開我是誰,也是可以立得住的。我相信一個好的作品不應該因為創作者的身份/性別不同就被用不同的方式解讀,這可能也跟我在多種文化和國家之間求學成長有關,我喜歡我的作品和可以是海納百川的,是包容的。但是人們總是很很喜歡貼標籤,想要給你歸到某個類別里,所以這也是我最近苦惱的地方,會帶來一些複雜性,但是不多hh。


Interview by Jonathan Miles and Michelle Yu


© 2011 ART.ZIP all rights reserved.  ISBN 977 2050 415202

Site by XYCO