Despite Our Ruination 尽管我们毁灭 @Shanghai Curator Lab

by Jenny Chen / Giulia Colletti / Kate Davis / Thomas Laval / Viola Yip
Artists: Adelita Husni-Bey, Hanne Lippard, Lu Pingyuan, Viola Yip & Peter Ablinger
Despite our Ruination was included in the exhibition It was a dream of a trip which was curated by 21 curators and hosted by Shanghai Curator Lab. We took one month to work together in a tense situation. That was too crazy to be true. Thanks for all friends/cooperators/enemies, I’ve learnt a lot in this long lasting dream/nightmare. 

“A constellation is made up of some stars that are nearer, others further away. It is only from our perspective, that of the here (and now), that they appear to take on a significant configuration.”

Spencer, Lloyd. “On Certain Difficulties with the Translation of ‘On The Concept Of History’”, 2000


In an age of rising accountability over our most intimate gestures, where governance of borders, rights, and minds seems to be the norm, how can we evade regulation and take a journey into the unknown?


Taking cue from Walter Benjamin’s critique, Despite Our Ruination is
an exhibition that emanates from a constellation of objects. Displaying alphanumeric messages, a pager embodies impending automation, as well as the interdependency between humans and technology, which in our informational era is tinged with mysterious impulses. Within the constellation, these impulses are explored through the I Ching, an ancient Chinese divination text, using cleromancy to establish unexplored connections with the universe. Reimagining the rules that govern reality is a task also undertaken by science fiction novelist Octavia Butler, whose seminal book Wild Seed explores power struggles, eugenics, and cyborg identities. The blurred edges of actuality and fiction are at stake even in The Real As Imaginary, a piece by Peter Ablinger consisting of the recitation of a text over white noise that completely envelopes the speech. The white noise is, in fact, a theoretical idealization, assimilated to natural sounds such as the rain in a forest, which nurtures organic and inorganic species. In forests disturbed by humans, the matsutake grows. It is a mushroom utilised by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing as a trope to picture a post-Enlightenment natural world, one that can answer to the promise of cohabitation in a time of unprecedented human destruction. These entities are assimilated into a natureculture vision, aimed at re- establishing a synthesis of nature and culture in a time when the dualism of science and the humanities prevails.


The constellation opens up to a series of artworks that challenge normative structures of thinking while stimulating critical paths. This interpretative exercise draws on artistic practices that deconstruct limitative visions on the environment,
noise, and the future of human and non-human species. The invited artists’ research spans from visual to sound art to suggest further vanishing points that jeopardise Western normative accounts of measurability, language, and rationality. Fostering an object-oriented approach that rejects the privileging of human existence
over the existence of nonhuman 10 identities, Despite Our Ruination is an invitation to explore routes not yet standardised.


Lastly, Despite Our Ruination proposes a Virtual Reality experience of the exhibition. Accessible via an internet link it introduces an extraterrestrial setting for the artworks presented. In this free space, the conventions of the white cube no longer assert a rational framework rooted in the history of exhibitions.


Supposedly technology never dies, it’s just no longer dominant; like the pager. Mostly seen in movies, their obsolescence is assumed. However, pagers are still used in hospitals, as for urgent messages, their simplicity makes them more efficient than the pervasive smartphone. Today, we work alongside ever-evolving and increasingly intelligent machines already capable of independent learning and development. Imagine that we are the pager and these machines the smartphone; what type of future awaits us?

This, of course, is not an accurate comparison. As biological beings we have to adapt to new conditions; otherwise, we die. That being said, some humans and machines already function as cognitive units, as for the past few decades humans have bent the laws of natural selection that previously governed Earth and life. Despite the vast quantities of data being gathered, and the multitude of scientists, technologists and futurologists attempting to answer this question, future forecasts vary greatly and there are no conclusive answers or solutions.


I Ching

I Ching, also known as the Book of Changes, is an ancient Chinese divination text and one of the oldest Chinese classics. Published in the Western Zhou period (late 9th century BCE), I Ching was first mentioned in Europe by Leibniz in 1703. This sparked philosophical questions, such as universality and the nature of communication. The foreword of the English edition of I Ching was written in 1949 by Carl Jung.

For Jung, I Ching was a way of exploring the unconscious, and an approach to the nonhuman field. As stated in his introduction: “The Chinese mind, seems to be exclusively preoccupied with the chance aspect of events. What we call coincidence seems to be the chief concern of this […] mind, and what we worship as causality passes almost unnoticed”. (1) The I Ching not only offers a path into the unknown but raises a counter perspective to scientific causality by investigating the asynchronicity of real events.

Wild Seed

Octavia E. Butler was an African- American science writer. Her novels and short stories tackle a scope of issues still omnipresent today, such as climate change, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and pharmaceutical developments, as well as sexual identity. Her science-fictional storytelling warns of malignant possibles, and gives voice to destitute living forms, offering a path for an expanded understanding of the world.

Butler’s novel Wild Seed (1980) introduces Doro, a thousand-year-old cyborg living off the bodies of others. A gang from the New World destroy the African village Doro cultivated for centuries, and force him to leave. On his way, he meets a shapeshifting and equally powerful rival; Anyanwu, able to heal with a kiss. Their encounter triggers a century-long conflict jeopardising the essence of humanity.

Aside from her published writing, Butler’s notebooks serve as a space for her innermost thoughts. These pages enliven Butler’s practice and inform
her inspirations and horizons. Partial sketches of a novel, or an expression of a condensed state of mind, mirror the author’s profound wishes for humankind.

The Real as Imaginary

Peter Ablinger’s The Real as Imaginary is a composition for a solo speaker and noise. The performer can have any voice type; however, the text should be translated into a language that the audience can understand. The performance noise track should be generated by the sum of frequencies in the recording of the performer’s recitation of the text. The noise track, then, needs to be further filtered through oscillated frequency bands to create “windows”.

As a result, this noise track is played at a volume that is just loud enough to envelop the performer’s voice; but with the oscillated “windows”, the voice floats between the foreground, background and space in between.

The Real as Imaginary questions whether the “imaginary” and the “real” oppose each other in our perception. Ironically, perceiving reality relies on our imagination, as Ablinger expressed, “I had asked whether it would ever be possible to reach the real, whether it would ever be possible to break through the prison of my imaginations onto the real.” (2)

The monologue allows Ablinger to search for the idea of the “real”, and the relationship between the “real” and the “imaginary”. At the end of the text, he concludes that:

The imaginary as real, and equally the real as imaginary – this would then be, so to say, a formula for the interpenetration of the two, a formula for the living and for the being-here.” (3)



We are stuck with the problem of living despite economic and ecological ruination. Neither tales of progression nor of ruin tell us how to think about

collaborative survival. It is time to pay attention to mushroom picking. Not that this will save us – but it might open our imagination.”(4)

The matsutake is one of the most expensive mushrooms in the world, as it grows in destroyed forests across Asia and North America. Due to its capacity to nurture trees, matsutakes enable forests to flourish in human-damaged places. It
is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it can fetch astronomical prices. In The Mushroom at the End of the World, Anna Tsing offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms, using the matsutake to ask a crucial question: how are we going to live in the ruins we have made?

The matsutake becomes a metaphor to narrate a tale of diversity within our daunting landscapes, exploring the unexpected edges of consumerism, and challenging the connections between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes; demonstrating the potential for fungal ecologies to foster a better understanding of cohabitation in a time of significant human destruction.

(1) Wilhelm R. (trad.) and C.G. Jung (Foreword), The I Ching, or, Book of Changes. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 3rd edition, 1967.
(2) html
(3) html
(4) Tsing, A., The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.

星丛是由一些距离较近的星星组成 的,另一些则相对远。它只从我们的 角度出发,而在此时此地,它们显现 为一种重要的构型。

劳埃德·斯宾塞,《论翻译“历史概念” 的若干困难》,2000



假设技术永远不会消亡,它只是不再占据主导地位; 像寻呼机一样。 我们可以经常在电影中看到被过时化的它们。然而,寻呼机仍然在医院使用,至于紧急信息,它们的简单性使它们比普及的智能手机更有效。今天,我们与不断发展且日益智能的机器一起工作,这些机器已经能够独立学习和开发。 想象一下,我们是寻呼机,这些机器是智能手机; 什么样的未来等着我们?

当然,这不是一个准确的比较。作为生物,我们必须适应新的条件; 否则, 我们就会面临死亡。话虽如此,一些人类和机器已经被作为认知单元在发挥作用,因为在过去的几十年里,人类已经扭曲了曾经统治地球和生命的自然选择规律。尽管收集了大量数据,众多科学家、技术专家和未来学家都在试图回答这个问题,但未来的预测差异很大,也没有确定的答案或解决方案。



对于荣格而言,《易经》是一种探索无意识的方式,也是一种探索非人类领域的方法。 正如他的介绍中所述:“中国人的思想似乎完全专注于事件的偶然性方面。 我们所说的巧合似乎是这种思想的主要关注点,而我们所崇拜的因果关系几乎没有被注意到“。(1)《易经》不仅为我们提供了进入未知世界的道路,而且通过调查真实事件的异步性, 提出了与科学因果关系的相反视角



巴特勒的小说《野生种子》(1980) 讲述了一个有着千年历史的赛伯格“多罗”的故事,他依靠其他人的身体存活。一天,来自新大陆的一伙人摧毁了几个世纪以来由多罗耕耘的非洲村庄, 迫使他离开。路上他遇到了一个能变形并且和他同样强大的竞争对手:安言午,能够用吻来愈合创伤。他们的遭遇引发了长达一个世纪的冲突,并危及人性的本质。



彼得·阿林格的《真实如虚幻》由独诵和噪音演奏组成。表演者可以用任何音区演奏;但是,诵词需要被翻译成观众可以理解的语言。表演者需表演前把诵词录音,然后把音轧的所有音频重叠,形成噪声。然后,需要通过振荡频带进一步过滤噪声轨道以创建“ 窗口”。这个噪音音轨一方面能以音量包围表演者的声音;而另一方面,声音随着振动的“窗口”在前景、背景和噪音跟诵词的空间之间浮动。

《现实如虚幻》质疑“想像”和“现实” 在我們的感知中是否相互對立。 諷刺地,感知现实依賴於我們的想像力, 正如阿林格在词中表達:“我曾經問過是否可以達到现实,是否有可能突破想像力的監控来感知现实。”(2)

这独白允许阿林格寻问“现实”的概念,以及“现实”和“虚构”之间的关系。 在文本的最后,他得出结论:

“虚构作为真实,同样是现实的假想 – 这就是说,这是两者一个相互渗透的公式,和一个生活和此在的公式。” (3)


“尽管经济和生态破坏,我们仍然陷于生存问题。无论是进步还是毁灭的传说都没有告诉我们如何思考共同生存。现在是时候关注蘑菇采摘。并不是说这会拯救我们 – 但它可能会打开我们的想像力。“(4)




P2P 剩余空间 @ArtShard



使这一电子加密货币成为可能的 P2P 概念被策划小组 Passing Fancy(朱筱蕤 & 弗雷迪·克鲁兹·诺维尔)恰逢及时的作为剩余空间1013日开幕的展览题目。P2P 意味着去中心化 (无中心服务器,每台计算机或“peer”充当其他计算机的服务器)、平等的用户地位与关系(任何人皆可参与)、无版权限制的资源共享(允许访问各种分布式资源:如文件或外围设备)。这场展览,借由这些新世纪网络滋养与共生的乌托邦意识形态,幅及了最早由 Seth Price 2003年录制的文字式电脑游戏 Romance Cory Arcangel 今年创作的 istheapplebeesondelcoparkdrinthesuburbsofdaytonopenrightnow 这十五年不长不短的时间。

P2P 令人瞩目的特点,是其全新的资源分配、传播与集散的方式。而在2014年,集散Distribution)也被 Karen Archey 和岳鸿飞援引至展览后网络艺术(尤伦斯艺术中心),作为网络艺术实践的其中一个面向被讨论。当时涉及的文本也包括 Seth Price 的《分散》(Dispersion, 2002) 。集散,不仅意味着文本的形式/媒介流变(如作品 Dump Bin 2016-2018)中注定过时的 DVD 影带)以及媒介变换产生的意识或是主体重构;也指涉了此次展览所提出的自相矛盾的权力结构与用户端(与背后的主体)之间的社会关系。

策划人十分了然去中心权利结构的自相矛盾。你可以看到 Cory Archangel 直接了当的作品 The Source (2013) 将开源代码作为作品,以纸本的形式呈现在展览现场。作品展现着与版权限定、作者权威分庭对抗的概念,不免令人联想到莫瑞吉奥·卡特兰围绕复制概念在余德耀策划的展览“The Artist is Present”。通过这样的并置,所谓自相矛盾的结构开始逐渐显现为西方内部的利益矛盾。

P2P 的形成与传播与版权法的建制几乎开始于同一时期——二十世纪七八十年代。它们几乎可以被视为生长于同一土壤之上的对立面。剩余空间与余德耀美术馆的两个展览面对着十分相似的议题,开源与复制/挪用所预设的假想敌始于西方语义中的版权限制。这一限制导致中国在官方立场窘迫,自1989年起就面对着知识产权保护的压力,1991年,美国开始将中国设为“301条款的重点国家,持续近30年的中美知识产权论战围绕的也是这个时期建立的法案——1974年贸易法案》。也是从那个时期开始,知识被过渡成了产权,不可计算的被归入了资本的评估领域。 在这30年间,中国的音乐/视频共享平台、山寨文化与复制在意识形态上屡受责难,另一方面,却被艺术家们乐此不疲地援引为创作素材。P2P 的原罪在于,它产生于建立创作权威的时代环境,并只有依赖这样具备有效型的敌方,才得以生存。试问,假设在一个从来不将知识视为产权的国度,P2P 还能否保有它的道德光环与看起来激进左倾的姿态?

展览同样将人类主体放入问题当中,策划人将点对点网络中的 peer 还原成了身体,未被定锚的是这身体的存在状态以及各个身体之间的关系。正如比特币白皮书(Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System)所总结的,它提供了一种不需依赖信任的电子交易系统。这折射出的是 P2P 用户在信息时代中的社会生活所共同面对的脆弱与焦虑。郭奕豪的作品 The Floor (2014-18) 在此正是释放着这样的情感维度。他将即时信息的聊天过程转换为实体空间的行为,观众面对着一扇不断被递出纸片的门,煞白的门和墙体保持一致,个体似乎隐于这层白色背后,又似乎触手可及(只要打开那扇门)。然而(墙内外的)双方都为了保持某种安全感而选择不去打开那扇门。本来真实鲜活的肉身甘于成为那个只产生只言片语的用户端。这种精神焦虑与交流的被动性正造成了现代社会原子化的个体,个体的亲密关系也朝着 P2P 网络的连接图示趋近。

如策展人所言,这场展览既是关于被构想的互联网政治,也同时关于个体用户的主体性。P2P 呈现的去中心的雄心与因此被碎片化与孤立的交往方式是原生的因果关系,他们必然是虚拟空间和现实生活都固有的。展览作品通过不同的方式揭示了网络社会的意识形态坐标,无论是线上的身体,还是使互联网成为现实的血肉之躯,使其成为现实的终究是可触摸的人造基建与操作着用户端的个体,P2P 的症结也就是当代主体的症结,如何去思考或者能否去思考它,我们不能靠  Jenna Sutela 的那些智能粘液来告诉我们。

日光之下无新事 @ArtShard

yuz museum 余德耀美术馆

The Artist is Present_Poster

“艺术家此在”或许翻译的并不确切:“The Artist is Present” 在阿布拉莫维奇(Marina Abramović)的展览中指的是艺术家自身的到场,而在余德耀美术馆以复制为名的展览中,阿布拉莫维奇的缺席,成全了卡特兰(Maurizio Cattelan)的“艺术家在场”。在这语境中,艺术家因为复制而显现,无论是被复制者还是那位精明的剽窃者。我模仿故我在,正是卡特兰的艺术哲学,当然,这也将一直以来在艺术创作中暗涌的线索拎出了水面。

复制在挪用的意义上开始于立体主义的现成品拼贴,似乎从源头开始就已经预示着现代性的断裂,立体主义对西方传统透视的反叛在毕加索(Pablo Picasso)那里演化成了对架上绘画的反叛。毕加索首次挪用现成品作为艺术,走出那突破性的跬步,在此之后,杜尚(Marcel Duchamp)的现成品实践开始变本加厉。当1917年他的《泉》(Fountain)被纽约中央宫殿的展览拒绝之后,现成品挪用以其争议性的身份终于在艺术史站稳了脚跟。这样的回溯至少为我们链接了立体主义的源头,哈里斯(Karsten Harries)曾在其书《无限与视角》(Infinity and Perspective)中对传统透视法提出疑问:一种受透视法支配的艺术如何能够揭示实在?对于新艺术和新科学的怀疑萌生了立体主义,而这同时揭开了一个世纪的挪用史序幕。

超现实主义借由梦与潜意识将日常物的形象带入作品。本雅明(Walter Benjamin)于1936年写就《机械复制时代的艺术作品》(The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction),这本书主要针对的是艺术复制品的传播现象,与艺术家对现成品的挪用还有所不同。但或许就是因为这本书,启发了60年代将文化传播的复制力与现成品结合的波普艺术,直到布里奥(Nicolas Bourriaud)在 2002年出版《后制品》(Postproduction),这条线索就一直没有在艺术史的思考中断过;布里奥认为从20世纪90年代初以来,艺术家通过翻译、再现、重新展出和利用现成作品或文化产品来制作作品,这种现象或许正是回应了信息化时代的乱象,“原创”的观念在这种新文化风景中变得模糊起来。


莎士比亚(William Shakespeare)对“原创”似乎是嗤之以鼻的,林奇(Jack Lynch)在论文《完全可接受的文学盗窃实践:抄袭、版权和十八世纪》(The Perfectly Acceptable Practice of Literary Theft: Plagiarism, Copyright, and the Eighteenth Century, 2002)中提到:莎士比亚“更加倾向于避免不必要的发明(invention)”。而《错误的喜剧》(Comedy of Errors, 2011)的作者拉斯玛森和贝特( Eric Rasmussen & Jonathan Bate)也说到:当我们赞扬差异时,莎士比亚的第一批观众则喜欢相似性——一部作品好,不是因为它是“原创”,而是因为它类似于一部令人敬佩的经典典范。

就此,我们重返余德耀美术馆现场,重新思考这个不那么“原创”的展览时,或许就不会对卡特兰的声明感到如此讶异了,也更能体会他在澎湃的专访中说到:“有个哲学家曾经告诉我,制度应该随着人的变化而变化”意味着什么。但受过中国文化影响的观者,似乎要在其中感受到某种吊诡的地方——卡特兰曾在采访中提到:“我有幸拜访到一些中国艺术家的工作室,他们在应对此话题时的轻松自在让我着迷。”而事实上, 艺术上的复制与模仿曾深深植根于中国传统文化,历代画家均有仿前人的传世之作(沈周、査士标、刘珏、八大山人等等皆留有仿倪云林的画作,类似的例子不胜枚举 ),中国艺术家自古就对这话题表现的轻松自在。卡特兰对于“复制”的正名在中国这块土壤上的意义,似乎显得略为牵强。

那么“The Artist is Present”从何意义上承担着原创性与“新”呢?卡特兰自身否认了这种可能,如圣经传道书所言:“已有的事后必再有,已行的事后必再行,日光之下并无新事。”原创性到底是什么?卡特兰认为,它在人类世界中根本不存在。格罗伊斯(Boris Groys)在其专著《论新》(On the New, 1992)中对此早有预见。但他并不对原创性进行否定,而是重新定义了“新”,借由克尔凯郭尔(Soren Kierkegaard)《哲学片段》(Philosophical Fragments, 1844)中所指出的:“新”并不等同于具有差异(这是无意义的差异,如一辆新车和一辆旧车的差异),而是意味着无差异的差异,或曰超越差异的差异,一种我们无法识别的差异。产生“新”的唯一前提,就是相似性。这将格罗伊斯带到了关于“现成物”的讨论,而杜尚的作品则呈现了这种超越差异的差异。这种差异借由博物馆(艺术空间或整个艺术体制)显现。


环形狩猎 Hunting Cycle @MadeIn Park







Artists: Chen Leng, Li Hanwei, Lu Pingyuan

Curator: Chen Jiaying

Exhibition period: 2018.10.21-12.31

“Hunting Cycle” presents the works of three young artists: the huge image by Chen Leng stands in the wild as if an evil creature falling from the sky, the fictitious Heavy Weapons Company by Li Hanwei base on the artist’s own cultural memories and the story Lu Pingyuan inspired by the local environment. These different paths interpret the current humanistic contexts and create an outsider circumstance jumping out of the bustle of the city through MadeIn Park’s unique geographical environment.

Hunting refers to a state of “catch and hunt”. The hunter can be a consumer, a creator or any character waiting for the prey to appear. In this exhibition, the prey becomes industrial output, traditional culture, imagination, and even artists themselves. The process by which the hunter captures the prey is also controlled by the imaginary “prey”. Such a two-way relationship may stem from the reflexivity of technology/tools. The exhibition will present a complex and rich hunting relationship through images, texts, installations and such a surrounding environment.





按:本文发表于 artforum 艺术论坛,感谢张涵露专业的编辑,让文章顺畅不少。

外滩美术馆的四楼除了灯光操作台与地上的标识线外,净无一物。观众正对着的门被两位身穿白雪公主戏服的人打开,艾萨·霍克森(Eisa Jocson)和她的搭档就这样安静的出场了。开始是全无表情的一系列动作模仿,让人想到奥利弗·拉瑞克(Oliver Laric)讨论拟像、再现和流行文化的作品《版本》(Versions, 2009-12),在其中他对两个卡通人物进行动作分析,相似却又略微不同。霍克森通常习惯一个人表演,而这场演出她选择了和搭档合作,互为副本,在舞台上,在观众的眼中,呈现出简单的比照。正是这种唯二的戏仿,呈现了重复性与差异,加深了他们作为一个模仿者的身份。






对于霍克森而言,皮肤是重要的意象,前不久在明当代美术馆的演出,以《皮肤》(Skin)为名,演绎了不同社会状况下的身体,肤色作为皮肤最重要的显征,折射着大量的历史背景与文化意义。被西班牙殖民超过三百年的菲律宾,遗留下来的对雪白肌肤的狂热,被全部投射在了白雪公主的角色之上。“I’m white, snow white”——童话故事中出现的一句无伤大雅的话,在《公主研究》中承担了决定性的作用。这样的身份建构,浸染在童话故事中,包裹着成人世界隐而不言的等级划分和文化暴力。霍克森采取了比保罗·麦卡锡(Paul McCarthy)更委婉的策略 ,她不把这个经典文本所扎根的现实粗暴的裸露出来,而是通过重复动作与情境的蒙太奇向我们细细解剖这个可恶的现实。

然而《公主研究》的意图还不仅于此,在一连串与观众的互动对话之后,表演者又回到重复机械的动作模仿,而这次他们的身体以持续加速的速度进入一种难以分清情绪的癫狂状态,定格扮演定格扮演定格扮演,与之前定格动作的 指涉不同,这样的状态更像是被摄影师跟拍,也像是青春期女孩不切实的幻想,这些过程向我们展示的是被凝视的身体姿态,它们面对的不是现场的观众,而是臆想的镜头;透过镜头倒影,他们似乎能看到自身肤色白皙的身体,同时又瞧见自己身为菲律宾女孩与生俱来的深色肤色。他们戏仿的欢笑声由矫揉造作到哭笑不得,似乎被一种自身承受不住的喜悦充盈着,最终,他们将身体甩向了地面,公主的裙摆不堪的掀起,盖住了精致的妆容,裸露出透着肤色的下体,乔装在顷刻间碎裂。




The Golden Age of Hollowness |虛空盛世 @Sotheby’s

“Its most distinctive characteristic is ‘hollowness’ – in other words, pure spectacle. And the spectacle, to recall Guy Debord’s classic formulation, is ‘capital accumulated to the point where it becomes image’. The ambiguous status of the supermarket – stripped of all its defining qualities – seems to indicate that consumption – whether of food or images – is essential, but also destroys” (Sine Bepler, ShanghART Supermarket, 2007). This was the footnote that Xu Zhen supplied for ShanghART Supermarket, the prototype of XUZHEN SUPERMARKET, when it was first exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2007. In the work, the artist recreated, in full scale, an archetypal Chinese convenience store, including a cashier, staff, and racks filled with merchandise packaging. The artist had purchased the merchandise from real-life convenience stores and meticulously recreated their presentation in his replica SUPERMARKET. Xu Zhen’s team painstakingly emptied their contents and resealed the packaging of each item, such that they could be sold at their original retail prices to visitors. This labour, as well as the sale of empty packaging, was part of the artwork.

British art critic Alastair Sooke has suggested that Xu Zhen’s SUPERMARKET is an even more direct parody of the model of the supermarket than Andy Warhol’s work. This led him to include Xu Zhen in the BBC Documentary Soupcans and Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World as a foremost representative of Chinese Neo-Pop Art. The dialectic relationship between art and commercial merchandise is a major theme in Xu’s oeuvre, and his iconic SUPERMARKET encapsulates the epitome of the artist’s deconstruction of this longstanding relationship. The key here is the haunting “hollowness” that is offered to customers. Soon after the project’s inception, the Chinese art market peaked in around 2008 and subsequently withdrew into a quiet recession. Under this context, the “hollowness” in Xu Zhen’s Supermarket gains new significance, invoking a further metaphor for the short-lived dramas of globalisation. Retaining its original inquiries into the nature of representation, the manifestation of ownership, and the processes of production, circulation, and viewer reception, Xu Zhen’s Supermarket raises new and equally pressing questions: the price of prosperity, the life cycle of an economic bubble, the nature of value, the symbolism of consumerism, and the system of desire that undergirds them all.

In 1999, at the young age of 22, Xu Zhen was already sensitive to the idiosyncratic relationship between art and commerce. He was one of the main artists behind the ground-breaking Art for Sale exhibition at the People’s Square in Shanghai – a pioneering event that merits mention in art history. For the exhibition, the artists traded artwork in a space that combined the space of a supermarket and the space of an installation area, thereby putting into practice the philosophy of “applying the way of commerce onto the way of life” (Xu Zhen, Yang Zhenzhong, Flying Apple, “The ‘Supermarket’ Exhibition: Messages from Sponsors (selections)”, in Wu Hung, An Exhibition about Exhibitions: Displaying Contemporary Art in the 1990s, 2016, p. 206). Xu Zhen continued to develop precisely such a philosophy within his wide-ranging practice; for this reason, Xu was tagged as a leading proponent of Neo-Pop after his 2015 solo exhibition at the Long Museum in Shanghai.

In the exhibition, Xu Zhen presented a critical commentary on the issue of ambiguity over editioned artworks, showing all five editions of his works side by side. The gesture acted as testament to the radically interrogatory and boundary-breaking nature of Xu Zhen’s oeuvre – one which is far more complex and intricate than the original Pop movement. Xu Zhen’s unique brand of Pop encompasses not only rebellion and irony, as in the Pop art of the West; but also the ambiguity, the satirical dialectics and Zen-like wit of the East.

This was noted very early on by Hans- Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, who wrote in the January 2007 issue of Artforum: “Clearly, Xu’s sociopolitical appraisals distance him from the herd of contemporary Chinese artists. And the breadth of his practice, in all its seeming spontaneity and surprising inflections and turns, only complicates the attempt to pin him down to any single position within his country’s art scene – or, indeed, within cultural production at large” (Hans-Ulrich Obrist, “First Take”, Artforum, January 2007). Such a complex global positioning, together with Xu’s consummate mastery of Eastern and Western thought, has resulted in a fluid oeuvre that knows no boundaries, whether regional or cultural. Xu’s adeptness in adapting and adopting cultural elements from around the world has led to a series of powerful acclaimed works, including Movement Field, Evolution, and Eternity.

Xu Zhen is not only one of China’s most controversial and representative artists, but also a curator and the founder of the MadeIn Company. In 1998, he co-founded the Biyi Art Center, the first independent non-profit art organisation in Shanghai. He won the Best Artist Award at the 2004 China Contemporary Art Awards (CCAA) and was the youngest Chinese artist at the time to participate in the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001. Precocious and self-possessed, Xu Zhen was recognised early for his talent and has always lived up to his name. In 2006, he and other Shanghai artists founded the online art community Art-Ba-Ba (, which continues to host the most active discussions on contemporary art in China. In 2009, when Chinese artists were criticised for delegating artistic production to studio assistants, Xu Zhen founded MadeIn Company as a response. Taking a step further than Warhol’s Factory in parodying the age of capitalism, MadeIn has attracted comparisons with Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, and Takashi Murakami. Defying criticism, Xu Zhen appointed himself CEO, and in 2013 developed his personal brand Xu Zhen®. In 2014, the company opened MadeIn Gallery, and in November 2016, the first Xu Zhen Store opened in Shanghai.

Such pathbreaking endeavours have earned Xu Zhen recognition as a Chinese artist with “chutzpah”, in the words of Barbara Pollack of the New York Times. With a rare blend of confidence and ambition, and always a finger on the zeitgeist, Xu Zhen marshals a host of complex emotions and complicated issues like self-consciousness, cultural identity, and local politics. Whether faced with controversy or praise, the wily trickster never allows himself to be pinned down by identities or definitions. Instead, in the moving and intelligent ambiguities of his art, he projects the brand of “Xu Zhen” and all the meanings it contains into the vast stratosphere of postmodernity. Yet, as we consider Xu Zhen in this way, we seem inevitably to fall into his trap. As he has said, “truth is sometimes a trap”. In XUZHEN SUPERMARKET , you are invited to consume and to purchase at market prices the hollow residue of merchandise. Manifesting the appearance of a lie, XUZHEN SUPERMARKET paradoxically reveals the true nature of contemporary society: we live in a Golden Age stuffed with hollowness, and we are all paying for it.

「最重要的還是「空無」:即一個最具純潔表象的景觀。 被抽 去實質內在的超市,曖昧不明,似乎暗示著這樣一個悖論,無 論是食品或圖像,消費至關重要,但亦是毀滅性的。」(Sine Bepler,《香格納超市》,2007)這是徐震在2007年首次在邁 阿密巴塞爾藝術博覽會上推出“超市”時提供的注腳。作品以1 :1的比例重現了一間典型的中國便利商店,收銀機、店員、商 品貨架以及擺放的滿滿當當的商品包裝。藝術家從日常超市中 購得這些商品,並通過精細的設計與模擬安排在貨架上,制作 團隊往往需要日以繼夜的工作,對貨品進行加工,留下包裝完 好的空殼,讓它們得以以正價的方式出售。而這所有的工作和 出售行為都構成了這件經典作品的一部分。

英國藝評家Alastair Sooke認為徐震的“超市”甚至比安迪·沃 霍爾對超市模型的戲仿更加直接。這致使他將徐震作為「中國新 波普」的代表人物納入BBC 紀錄片《波普藝術是如何改變世界 的?》(Soupcans and Superstars: How Pop Art Changed the World) 的劇本中。藝術與商品的辯証關系是徐震創作中的 一個重要主題,而在作品「超市」中,這個關系正是以藝術商 品的形式被打破了。其關鍵之處在於被出售的如幽靈般的「空 無」。「超市」創作於中國二〇〇八之盛年的前夕,而在十年 之后,世界局面正在悄然逆轉的當下,這一「空無」又將成為 某種寓言式的象征,攜帶著全球化短暫卻風起雲涌的歷史,在會 場上激發新的意義。它不僅裹挾著原本的問題:再現的性質、 所有權的形象,以及生產、流通與觀眾接受的過程;更提出了一 系列的質問:盛世的代價、泡沫的產生與破滅、價值的本位、 消費的象征意義與這背后的欲望機制。

早在一九九九年,時年二十二歲的徐震,就已經嗅到了藝術與買 賣的關系。他作為發起人之一,策動了上海廣場《超市展覽》展 的發生。在這個值得被寫入歷史的展覽中,藝術家們利用超市 空間與裝置空間結合、買賣藝術作品的方式展示了「以商業之 道還治其身」的哲學 (徐震、杨振中、飞苹果:“超市”展: 赞助商信息(节选),巫鸿,《关于展览的展览:90年代的实 验艺术展示》,2016,p.206)。而徐震的創作,在很長一段時 期裡延展了這樣的哲學。這也是為何,在二〇一五年上海龍美 術館的個展之后,徐震被推舉為新波普代表人物的原因。在這 個展覽中,他將藝術市場從來隱而不談的作品版本推至前台, 讓作品的五個版本以重復並列的方式展陳於美術館的現場。這樣 的激進做法揭示了一個事實,那就是徐震的藝術已經遠比波普 源起時的語境復雜且深遠的多。他的波普不僅包含著西方的挑 舋、嘲諷與反叛,更融合了東方的混沌、辯証與禪悟。

倫敦蛇形畫廊的策展人漢斯-烏利齊 布裡斯特(Hans-Ulrich Obrist)在很早就意識到這一點,在其二〇〇七年一月為Artforum雜志撰寫的文章中就曾說到:「很明顯的,徐震對社 會及政治的評價將他和中國當代藝術圈裡的藝術家們拉開了距 離。還有他作品裡的寬度,整體看上去完全是自發並充滿意外轉 變的,這隻會在將他歸類於中國藝術界或更大的文化范圍上某個 位置時增加了復雜性。」(Hans-Ulrich Obrist, “First Take”, Artforum, 2007年1月)這種外在定位的復雜性,與其自身對東 西方思想的圓融貫通,使徐震不受地域與文化身份的限制,將全 球范圍內的文化素材取為己用,這造就了他一系列具有震撼效果 的作品,包括「運動場」、「進化」與「永生」。

作為中國最具爭議與代表性的藝術家之一,徐震的身份不止於 此,他同時還是策展人與沒頂公司的創始人。一九九八年,徐震 作為聯合發起人創辦了上海第一家獨立的非營利機構比翼中心。 二〇〇四年獲得中國當代藝術獎(CCAA)「最佳藝術家」獎 項,並作為當時最年輕的中國藝術家參加了第49屆威尼斯雙年 展(2001)主題展。他無疑是一位早熟的藝術家,在很早就表 露其藝術的天賦,並在之后的實踐中始終沒有辜負這些盛名。 二〇〇六年,他與上海藝術家一起創辦了網絡藝術社區Art-Ba- Ba(,至今還是中國最活躍的探討、 評論當代藝術的平台。在二〇〇九年,當人們都在批評一些主 要的中國藝術家已經不親力親為,隻依靠工作室的助手完成作品 時,徐震創立了沒頂公司(MadeIn Company)作為回應。這 個公司相比沃霍爾工廠向資本時代又邁進了一步,也有人因此將 徐震與杰夫·昆斯、達明·赫斯特和村上隆比較。他徹底超越了 那些批評,任命自己為首席執行官。並在二〇一三年,推出自己 的品牌「徐震®」。二〇一四年,公司成立沒頂畫廊 。二〇一 六年十一月,首家「徐震專賣店」於上海開業 。

這一拓張之路應証了紐約時報賦予徐震的稱號「有膽識 (chutzpah)的中國藝術家」 (Barbara Pollack《徐震,有 胆识的中国艺术家》2014),其胸有成竹的野心不僅跳動著時 代的脈搏,也集結著如毛細血管般錯綜復雜的情緒、自我意識、 文化身份與地緣政治等命題。而在所有的爭議和美譽之中,這位 精明又擅長戲謔的藝術家似乎始終沒有被任何言辭限定,他深諳 舉重若輕的技巧,在所有的身份和定義中游刃有余,將「徐震」 這兩個字所能輻射的所有意涵網羅為后現代的星叢;這在其難以 被厘清的作品面貌中表現的淋漓盡致。 而當我們正這樣思考他時,似乎又不可避免的陷入了徐震的圈 套,正如他所言「真實有時會是一個陷阱」,在徐震超市中,你 將會被邀請消費,以市場價購買這些喪失了實際商品或使用價值 的空殼,這個看似空的超市,帶著偽裝性的面目,卻揭示了當下 社會的「真實」面貌,這是一個盛世,一個裝滿著虛空的盛世, 而人們正在為此買單。

重返记忆 |白立方二十五周年 @ArtShard

上世纪70年代,几乎所有兴起的艺术流派都开始对画廊空间群起攻之。布莱恩·奥多尔蒂(Brian O’Doherty)在19763月的《艺术论坛》上发表了文章《白立方之内》,首次从画廊空间出发,讨论20世纪艺术语境中发生的转变——一个现代主义画廊如何在虚假的中立状态下悄然影响着艺术作品与观看主体。随后的17年,艺术一直面临着不同的出路问题并亦步亦趋地消化着图像之转向。而白立方空间与生具备的无影、雪白、洁净、人造气质,也成为几乎所有画廊空间的特征,如影随形。即便是遭遇网络化,这些气质仍如同魅影般依附在类似 Contemporary Art DailyArt Viewer 这样的网站上。

1993年,当杰伊·乔普林(Jay Jopling)于伦敦创立白立方画廊时,毫不避讳的借用了这样一个词,这一神来之笔让白立方与那些以创始人姓名命名的画廊显得十分不同。而就在同年,阿瑟·C·丹托(Arthur C.Danto) 宣告了艺术史叙述的终结,后历史艺术的开始接续着的是乔普林意欲的蓬勃艺术市场。这家画廊裹挟着白立方空间与画廊的的双重原罪开始了它的扩张之路。

乔普林是一个将自身彻底卷入艺术与名流文化的画廊主,这样的作风与白立方画廊代理的艺术家有着异曲同工之处。他从80年代开始密切接触 YBA,与 Maia Norman 在家里举办众所周知的晚宴,并邀请达明·赫斯特 (Damien Hirst) 和马克·奎恩(Marc Quinn) YBA艺术家参加。这两位艺术家在后来也为白立方献上了赫赫有名的两次成交(赫斯特的大鲨鱼与奎恩的冷冻头)。艺术事件被屡次推向了新闻版面。

谁曾想到二十五年前,白立方首展的报导惨淡(仅 Time Out 一家),开幕当晚还收到派对举办场地的警告信(喝酒闹事)。画廊绵延四分之一个世纪的篇章,也是从这里开始逐渐走向黎明之际。在画廊展出赫斯特和奎恩并引人注目之后,开头也确实显得不足挂齿。2000年,白立方迁到伦敦东区的霍斯顿广场 (Hoxton Square)20069月梅森苑 (Mason’s Yard) 改造建成了1110平方米的独立画廊空间。201110月,就在伦敦 Frize 艺博会开幕期间,白立方对外开放了当时欧洲最大的画廊空间,位于伦敦南边的柏孟塞(Bermondsey),展示面积为5440平方米。次年 3月,白立方(香港)亮相,展厅设立于香港中环干诺道50号,面积 550 平方米。



然而,这并未改变白立方空间试图掌控未来的机制属性。二十五周年纪念展所不在话下的,是画廊长期屹立不倒并持续开拓的历史,在金融危机与欧洲中心主义以资本的形式被稀释之后,许多小型画廊被迫关闭,白立方在市场如此起伏不定的大环境之下,似乎显得毫发无伤。正如白立方亚洲区总监周晓雯(Laura Zhou)女士所言,这个展览以及别有用心的年轻艺术家(陈轴)个展,意喻着一个暂告段落的历史,一个新的起点。这在新成立六年的香港空间内释放着不同寻常的意义,其中夹杂着英国画廊与香港市场的历史性渊源、中国当代艺术与西方话语权的纠葛、全球主义与艺术世界的亲疏关系等等。在所有局势都如此松动混乱的当下,作为陈词的温故而知新确乎能触发一种思想状态,让我们重返白立方或者当代艺术这一段不长不短的历史。