2009年2月28日 星期六

Sverre Fehn

Sverre Fehn, 84, Architect of Modern Nordic Forms, Dies

Published: February 27, 2009

Sverre Fehn, whose talent for applying Modernist ideas to traditional Nordic forms and materials earned him the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1997 and made him the most prominent Norwegian architect of the postwar era, died Monday in Oslo. He was 84.

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Sverre Fehn

Norwegian Glacier Museum

The Glacier Museum in Norway, designed by Sverre Fehn and conceived as a rock lying against the surrounding mountains.

The death was confirmed by Jacob Fehn, his grandson.

Mr. Fehn spent a lifetime ingeniously reconciling the urban Modernism he absorbed from mentors like Jean Prouvé and Le Corbusier with his reverence for age-old construction techniques and natural materials, and with his love of the Norway landscape.

“I always thought I was running away from traditional Norwegian architecture, but I soon realized that I was operating within its context,” he said on receiving the Pritzker Prize. “How I interpret the site of a project, the light and the building materials have a strong relationship to my origins.”

This philosophy was reflected in the Nordic Pavilion at the 1962 Venice Biennale, a concrete structure built around trees, with openings in the roof to admit natural light; and in the Glacier Museum (1991) at the mouth of the Fjaerland Fjord in Norway, which Mr. Fehn conceived as a rock lying against the surrounding mountains.

“When I build on a site in nature that is totally unspoiled, it is a fight, an attack by our culture on nature,” he said. “In this confrontation, I strive to make a building that will make people more aware of the beauty of the setting, and when looking at the building in the setting, a hope for a new consciousness to see the beauty there, as well.”

Sverre Fehn (pronounced SVAIR-uh Fen) was born in Kongsberg, Norway. After graduating from the Oslo School of Architecture in 1949, he joined with several peers to form Progressive Architects Group Oslo Norway, the Norwegian branch of the International Congress of Modern Architecture. The group pledged allegiance to Modernist principles but searched for a Norwegian means of expression.

While traveling in Morocco in the early 1950s and studying the local vernacular architecture, Mr. Fehn developed a new respect for the realities of construction, as opposed to abstract forms, and for the importance of poetry and instinct in architecture.

“The use of a given material should never happen by choice or calculation, but only through intuition and desire,” he told Per Olaf Fjeld, the author of “The Thought of Construction: Sverre Fehn.”

After his Moroccan adventure, Mr. Fehn worked with Prouvé in Paris, where he met Le Corbusier. In 1952 he married Ingrid Loberg Pettersen, who died in 2005. He is survived by a son, Guy, of Fyn, Denmark, and four grandchildren.

In 1954 Mr. Fehn returned to Norway and established an architectural practice. He first came to international prominence with his design for the Norwegian Pavilion at the World Exposition in Brussels in 1958, a softened, more organic version of Miesian Modernism incorporating pine, plastic and concrete.

In 1971 he became a professor of architecture at his old school, renamed the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, where he taught until 1995.

Relatively few of Mr. Fehn’s designs were realized, and nearly all his work was done in Scandinavia. When he received the Pritzker Prize he had completed 11 buildings, among them the Storhamar, a converted barn that forms part of the Hedmark Museum (1973) in Hamar, and the Aukrust Museum (1993-96) in Alvdal, devoted to the painter Kjell Aukrust.

His final years were marked by a burst of activity. He designed the Oslo headquarters of the Gyldendal publishing house, which was completed in 2007, and the Norwegian Museum of Architecture, which opened in March 2008 with a retrospective exhibition of Mr. Fehn’s work.


2009年2月24日 星期二

That Old Master? It’s at the Pawnshop 典當古畫

That Old Master? It’s at the Pawnshop

Béatrice de Géa for The New York Times

Ian Peck, left, and Baird Ryan of Art Capital Group with art, once collateral, that it now owns.

Published: February 23, 2009

Last fall, Annie Leibovitz, the photographer, borrowed $5 million from a company called Art Capital Group. In December, she borrowed $10.5 million more from the same firm. As collateral, among other items, she used town houses she owns in Greenwich Village, a country house, and something else: the rights to all of her photographs.

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Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Julian Schnabel turned to an art lender when building Palazzo Chupi in Greenwich Village, later borrowing against his artwork with a bank.

Michael Falco for The New York Times

Mr. Schnabel's Palazzo Chupi.

Michael Gottschalk/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Annie Leibovitz, center, has used her photos as collateral.

Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Veronica Hearst has used two Rubens paintings as collateral.

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In other words, according to loan documents filed with the city, one of the world’s most successful photographers essentially pawned every snap of the shutter she had made or will make until the loans are paid off.

Those who know Ms. Leibovitz said she used the money to pay off mortgages and deal with other financial stresses. But whatever her reasons, she is not alone in doing business with Art Capital and similar lenders. At a time when stock portfolios are plunging and many homes, even grand ones, have no equity left to borrow against, an increasing number of art owners are realizing that an Old Master or a prime photograph, when used as collateral, can bring in much-needed cash.

“It’s very discreet,” said Ian Peck, a co-owner of Art Capital.

This little-known corner of the art business is lightly regulated and highly litigious. But this has not dissuaded clients who have included rich collectors like Veronica Hearst, art galleries and prominent artists themselves, including Ms. Leibovitz and Julian Schnabel.

Art Capital’s headquarters in the former Sotheby’s building on Madison Avenue looks at first glance like an art gallery. Two Warhols, a pair of Rubens portraits of Roman emperors and a pink nude by the contemporary Mexican painter Victor Rodriguez hang on the cool white walls. A sculpture of a faun by Rembrandt Bugatti sits on a windowsill in a conference room where transactions are discussed.

But it would be more accurate to describe the airy space as something far less genteel: a pawnshop.

Art Capital issues loans of $500,000 or more at interest rates from 6 percent to 16 percent. Fail to pay and you lose your Rubens; several of the works on display in Art Capital’s office on Madison became subject to sale after their owners defaulted.

The company expects to make about $120 million in art-related loans in 2009, up from $80 million in 2008. At a Manhattan-based competitor, Art Finance Partners, “we are up 40 percent in originations in the last six months,” said Meghan Carleton, a partner.

ArtLoan, a similar company in San Francisco, is actually regulated by California’s pawn laws. It opened in 2004 and has seen “exponential” growth in the last year even though it charges interest rates of 18 percent to 24 percent, said Ray Parker Gaylord, an owner.

“It’s a very rough-and-tumble corner of the business,” said Marc Porter, who heads the American operations of Christie’s auction house. Christie’s and Sotheby’s also offer loans against fine art but focus on bridge loans to customers who have pledged their art for planned auctions.

“For years, one of the reasons this wasn’t an especially big business is that everyone was getting money for something else,” Mr. Porter said. “It was easy money everywhere. But now people are looking to every asset they have to unlock cash.”

ArtLoan prefers to make loans on items that are physically small and thus easy to store or to ship to auction houses and dealers in case of a default. A recent loan was for $115,000 against a collection that included an early 20th-century bronze sculpture, a 19th-century Persian carpet and a Swiss music box.

Art lenders typically lend up to 40 percent of what they appraise the artworks to be worth, and usually take possession of the works.

A former investment banker in New York, who spoke anonymously because he did not want friends to know his financial situation, is sending six modern paintings to ArtLoan, hoping to borrow $50,000 against them to finance a business venture. His former company’s stock, which he was given as part of his annual bonuses, has gone from the high $70s a share to $22, he said.

“At this point, I’ve been not working for a year and a half,” he said. “I have a choice, which is sell part of my art collection, which when I first left my job in 2007 was an option because the art market was strong, but like all markets it has gone south. Now I can take a loan without having to sell at a discount.”

For her $5 million loan, Ms. Leibovitz put up as collateral a country house in Rhinebeck, N.Y., three town houses in Greenwich Village and all “copyrights ... photographic negatives ... contract rights” existing or to be created in the future, according to a loan document filed with the City Register’s Office in December. That month, Art Capital granted her an additional $10.5 million loan, which was to consolidate the existing mortgages on her homes, according to loan documents.

Ms. Leibovitz appears to have experienced financial challenges in recent years, facing a lengthy, costly and litigious renovation on the three adjoining town houses, federal and state tax liens of more than $1.4 million — which appear to have been paid back — and lawsuits from a lighting company and a stylist she had hired, asking for a total of more than $700,000.

Ms. Leibovitz, one of the most successful editorial and commercial photographers in the business, declined to comment on the reasons for the loans. In a brief e-mail message, she said her financial health was “fine.”

Robert Pledge, the founder of Contact Press Images, which represents Ms. Leibovitz’s editorial work, said she had faced many stresses in the last eight years, including runaway expenses at her Chelsea studio, which she has since closed; the renovations; the deaths of her lover Susan Sontag and her parents; and the birth of three children.

The Warhols hanging at Art Capital, one an acrylic and silkscreen image of a hamburger called “Hamburger,” the other called “Mineola Motorcycle,” once hung in the collection of Evan Tawil, a manufacturer of children’s clothing. Mr. Tawil said he had seen a small advertisement for Art Capital posted outside the Madison Avenue entrance of the Carlyle hotel (“Private Banking for the Art World”) and thought he could leverage his collection to buy more art.

“I knew I had money coming in,” said Mr. Tawil, who said he borrowed about $250,000 from Art Capital in 2007. “I had receivables, but the buys I wanted to make were time-sensitive.”

Mr. Tawil’s lawyer, John Cahill, said that when Mr. Tawil’s loan term ended with his having made his interest payments in a timely fashion, he asked if Art Capital would release his paintings so he could auction them to pay off the principal, but the company refused.

The Rubens once belonged to Veronica Hearst, the widow of Randolph Apperson Hearst. As detailed in an article in Vanity Fair in December, Ms. Hearst had mortgaged her artworks in an effort to hold on to a 52-room mansion in Manalapan, Fla., which she eventually lost in foreclosure.

Mr. Schnabel, the artist and film director, turned to Art Capital for an $8 million loan in 2006, when he was constructing Palazzo Chupi, an ornate apartment project on West 11th Street. He used only the real estate and not his own art collection as collateral. (To pay down that debt, Mr. Schnabel later took out a loan with Commerce Bank, for which he did pledge his personal art collection, documents filed with New York State show.)

Mr. Schnabel is now suing Art Capital, claiming that he paid back his loan in a timely fashion but that Art Capital tried to add exorbitant fees. Art Capital counterclaims that it is entitled to millions of dollars in additional interest and fees because Mr. Schnabel did not reveal there was an existing mortgage on the property.

Citing client confidentiality, Art Capital declined to discuss specific loans, but Baird Ryan, a co-owner, explained that because his firm understands the art market better than regular banks, artists can make attractive borrowers. “We say, ‘Hey, you’re a bankable asset,’ ” Mr. Ryan said. “So we encumber their own art.”

None of the legal messiness is surprising given the nature of the business, said Gerald Peters, an art dealer in Santa Fe, N.M., who said he had bought paintings from Art Capital. “The game they have to play is rough,” he said. “But the service they are providing is real, and there’s demand for it.”

Mr. Peck said the vast majority of Art Capital’s customers repaid their loans and were satisfied with the company’s services.

“The nature of this business is you find yourself having to enforce your rights in court from time to time,” he said.

Mr. Baird, who met Mr. Peck when they were children spending their summers in Southampton, N.Y., said he expected business to get better. In an interview in the company’s office, Mr. Baird held up his BlackBerry, showing that he had just gotten two e-mail messages with queries about how much Art Capital could lend on collections of modern art.

“The town house, there’s no equity behind it, the house at the beach is at half or a third of what they had it valued at last year,” he said. “All of a sudden, the art becomes a very important asset.”

2009年2月17日 星期二

Heinz Ketchup Waves Goodbye to the Gherkin

  1. (醃漬用)小黃瓜
  2. gher・kin

    ━━ n. (酢漬け用)小キュウリ.

Heinz Ketchup Waves Goodbye to the Gherkin

Whether you pronounce “tomato” as to-MAY-to or to-MAH-to, the H. J. Heinz Company is giving consumers something to talk about by redesigning the label of its classic ketchup bottle to play up the main ingredient inside.

Heinz is making what the company is calling the first major change in the ketchup label since the 1940s by replacing the pickle that has long appeared under the words “tomato ketchup” with a tomato, still on the vine, above a new phrase, “Grown not made.”

So what was a pickle doing on the ketchup label, given that pickles are not an ingredient in Heinz ketchup? Well, the pickle has served as a Heinz brand symbol since the company’s pins shaped like pickles — invoking its early offerings like sour gherkins and chow chow pickle — proved popular giveaway items at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.

After leaving the ketchup label, the pickle will be imprinted on the white cap atop each bottle. And the pickle will still appear on the labels of Heinz products like vinegar, mustard, cocktail sauce, chili sauce and — of course — pickles.

Plans call for “Grown not made” to be the centerpiece of a big campaign for Heinz ketchup, scheduled to start in April or May. The campaign, composed of television, print and online ads, will follow in the footsteps of a successful campaign carrying that same theme in Britain, a huge market for Heinz food products.

The label redesign, overseen by an agency in London named Vibrant, also reworks the product’s appearance in other ways. The vine on which the tomato hangs is arranged so it looks as if it is growing from the border of the label. The green color in the border is brighter, too.

The Heinz brand name is in thicker letters, as are the words “tomato ketchup.” The word “tomato” is now larger than the word “ketchup.”

And a longtime bit of Heinz heritage, the slogan “57 varieties,” moves onto the main label from its previous perch on a narrow label around the bottle’s neck.

The changes may seem small tomatoes, er, potatoes, in the grand scheme of things. But they are indicative of the ways that food marketers are rethinking how they peddle their products as important trends reshape how consumers shop.

The condition of the economy is, needless to say, upending long-standing buying patterns. A brand like Heinz ketchup is vulnerable in a recession to cheaper store brands and private-label products, not to mention competitors like Hunt’s, sold by ConAgra, and Del Monte, sold by Del Monte Foods.

Another trend affecting consumer preferences is a growing interest in the sources of the ingredients in mainstream food products. For instance, the Campbell Soup Company has started including on Web sites like campbellsoup.com and helpgrowyoursoup.com information about the farmers who provide tomatoes and other ingredients for its soups.

And campaigns for PepsiCo products like Lay’s and Tropicana are focusing on the quality and purity of their ingredients like potatoes and oranges.

“Moms are taking more care in what they’re feeding their families,” says Noel Geoffroy, United States marketing director for Heinz ketchup at H. J. Heinz in Pittsburgh.

And it makes sense “in an economic time like this,” she adds, to “reinforce the quality of the brand and the ingredients that go into it.”

In research among the female parents who typically buy most of the ketchup sold in this country, Ms. Geoffroy says, “when we introduced the concept of ‘Grown not made’ and the new packaging, we found it helped open their minds to the perception that ketchup is a wholesome food.”

“Mom was significantly more positive about her view of ketchup,” she adds, “and Heinz ketchup.”

“It wasn’t just the tomato,” Ms. Geoffroy says, because “a lot of brands have tomatoes on their labels.”

Rather, “the tomato on the vine was a critical piece of it,” she adds, along with “the brighter green,” because together they signal that Heinz ketchup is “real, it’s grown, it’s natural, it’s fresh.”

The label redesign and advertising from Britain are getting a “tweak” for the American market, Ms. Geoffroy says, along the lines of “adaptations and adjustments.”

The changes began to show up in stores in Britain last April, says Ross Longton, brand manager for Heinz ketchup there, who is based in London.

The genesis of the makeover was “a big insight from consumers,” Mr. Longton says, in that “our tomato ketchup is made from good-quality tomatoes, but a lot of our consumers didn’t understand that.”

“They felt it was full of artificial or potentially artificial flavors,” he adds, “when it’s free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, thickeners.”

“Consumers are obviously interested in the quality of the product and the provenance, where it comes from,” Mr. Longton says. “Moms want to feel happy and secure giving ketchup to their kids.”

That made the “Grown not made” idea from Vibrant “exciting,” he adds.

Ray Armes, who at the time was chairman at Vibrant, says the agency discovered at the start of the project that “the positive attributes of the brand were sort of tucked away.”

“Sometimes, brands go forward thinking people know all about them,” says Mr. Armes, who is now executive creative director at another London agency, Touch of Mojo, which he helped found after leaving Vibrant.

“After generations and generations, you have to remind people” of the attributes that made the brands best sellers in the first place, he adds.

After considering adding “a checklist on the front of the package,” Mr. Armes says, describing what is inside — or not inside — Heinz ketchup, it was determined that “showing a real tomato growing on the vine” and adding the “Grown not made” message would serve the same purpose more effectively.

The label redesign was complemented by a commercial created by the London office of McCann Erickson Worldwide, part of the McCann Worldgroup unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

The commercial begins with a tiny seed sprouting in a backyard, which grows into a bottle of Heinz ketchup. A boy grabs the bottle when it becomes full sized and pours some ketchup on his food.

“At Heinz, we believe it’s important to know exactly where the ingredients for your ketchup come from,” says a female announcer. “And that’s why every tomato in every bottle of Heinz tomato ketchup has been grown by Heinz from a seed.”

“Heinz,” she concludes. “We don’t have to play catch up,” pronouncing it “ketchup.” The words “We don’t have to play ketchup” appear on screen at the end of the spot.

(And in British style, the announcer pronounces “tomato” as “to-MAH-to.”)

Mr. Longton of the Heinz British operations says the effort has “completely overdelivered our expectations,” which captured the attention back at headquarters in Pittsburgh.

“We saw what was going on in the U.K.,” Ms. Geoffroy says, and were intrigued because “we were hearing the same things from consumers here” about the provenance and quality of the ingredients in Heinz ketchup.

In addition to the label redesign and the campaign, the ketchup marketers on both sides of the Atlantic reworked the look of the cartons in which Heinz ketchup is delivered to supermarkets, warehouse clubs and other retail outlets.

The brown cartons now sport what Ms. Geoffroy describes as “farm-crate graphics,” intended to reinforce the “Grown not made” theme.

If you like In Advertising, be sure to read the Advertising column that runs Monday through Friday in the Business Day section of The New York Times print edition and on nytimes.com.

Side by side, bottles of Heinz ketchup showcase the product's first major label change since the 1940s. The new label, at right, replaces the pickle with a tomato, and reveals a new phrase, "Grown not made."

China Seeks to Stop Paris Sale of Bronzes

大概1994年 我培王定坤先生去新加坡博物館取回他兄弟王定乾負責的寒舍之猴頭
那大概是我們上Thomas Group 顧問公司Top Management 課程 公司剛轉賣 成立 Berg Electronics
由於約十五年前近距離提過猴頭 思考什麼是雕塑藝術 現在中國之抗議 乃是國際政事之風 或無關藝術

China Seeks to Stop Paris Sale of Bronzes

Published: February 16, 2009

SHANGHAI — China is stepping up the pressure on Christie’s auction house to withdraw two bronzes from its sale of Yves Saint Laurent’s vast collection next week in Paris, saying they were looted from the imperial Summer Palace near Beijing nearly 150 years ago.

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Lars Klove for The New York Times

A bronze rabbit head is one of two 18th-century Chinese relics from the Yves Saint Laurent estate being auctioned in Paris.

The two Qing dynasty bronze animal heads, one depicting a rabbit and the other a rat, are believed to have been part of a set comprising 12 animals from the Chinese zodiac that were created for the imperial gardens during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the 18th century.

China views the relics as a significant part of its cultural heritage and a symbol of how Western powers encroached on the country during the Opium Wars. The relics were displayed as fountainheads at the Old Summer Palace, known in Chinese as Yuanmingyuan, until it was destroyed and sacked by British and French forces in 1860.

At a press briefing in Beijing last week, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry said the two bronzes should be returned to China because they had been taken by “invaders.” And a group of Chinese lawyers says it plans to file a lawsuit this week in Paris seeking to halt or disrupt the sale. But Christie’s says the sale is legal and plans to go ahead with the auction on Monday through Wednesday in Paris, where the two bronze items could fetch as much as $10 million to $13 million apiece.

“While Christie’s respects the cultural context around the sale of the fountainheads, and will handle the association with Yuanmingyuan with care and discretion, we respectfully believe the auction will proceed,” the auction house said in an e-mail message in response to questions.

Christie’s added that it believed in the repatriation of cultural objects but also saw its role as bringing them to market.

Most experts say China has little legal claim in international courts because the bronze relics were looted more than a century ago. But China is putting up a vigorous fight nonetheless.

In recent years it has been using its growing political and economic muscle to push other nations to hand over lost or stolen Chinese treasures, and to help it fight international smugglers who continue to loot historic sites in the country and peddle items on the black market.

After more than three years of diplomacy, the Bush administration reached an agreement with China last month to ban the import of a wide range of Chinese antiquities into the United States, in an effort to discourage illegal trade in artifacts.

The bronzes at issue at Christie’s are part of a much larger collection of artworks and antiques being put up for sale this month by the estate of Yves Saint Laurent, the French designer, who died last year at 71, and his former companion and longtime business partner, Pierre Bergé. The auction house estimates the potential sales total for the collection, which consists of about 700 pieces, at as much as $350 million.

In news releases, Christie’s has said that Mr. Bergé plans to use the auction proceeds to help form the Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent Foundation, which would be dedicated mainly to scientific research to fight AIDS. On Monday Mr. Bergé’s office referred all calls to Christie’s.

The auction is opening at a time of rising nationalist sentiment in China and growing strains in its relations with France.

Last year Beijing was angered by protests against its actions in Tibet during the Olympic torch relay in Paris. And Chinese officials canceled a trip to Paris after President Nicolas Sarkozy of France met in December with the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, whom Beijing has denounced as a separatist.

Liu Yang, a Beijing lawyer who is helping to organize the lawsuit threatened in France, said he had located a descendant of China’s royal family to serve as plaintiff in the case.

“The Old Summer Palace, which was plundered and burnt down by Anglo-French allied forces during the Second Opium War in 1860, is our nation’s unhealed scar, still bleeding and aching,” Mr. Lui said. “That Christie’s and Pierre Bergé would put them up for auction and refuse to return them to China deeply hurts our nation’s feelings.”

Mr. Liu also asserted that the sale would violate a 1995 United Nations convention governing the repatriation of stolen or illegally exported cultural relics.

But Patty Gerstenblith, a professor of law at DePaul University in Chicago who specializes in cultural-property issues, said that France never ratified the convention and that even if it had, the agreement does not apply retroactively to objects looted decades or centuries ago.

“My view is this was looted, but it would be difficult to get that legally back,” she said in a telephone interview on Monday. “But it’s got great historical significance and ought to be returned.”

Professor Gerstenblith suggested that one solution might be for the Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé Foundation to negotiate with China and offer it at a reasonable price. “It would probably be in the best interest of everybody if they made a deal privately with China,” she said.

Over the last decade Chinese entrepreneurs and businessmen with close government ties have acquired a large number of historic items at auction and donated them to Chinese museums and institutions.

Stanley Ho, the billionaire Macao casino operator, acquired two other bronze animal heads that were believed to have been taken from the Old Summer Palace. In 2007 he acquired a bronze horse head at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong for about $9 million and donated it to Beijing.

Chen Yang contributed reporting.

2009年2月16日 星期一

The Boom Is Over. Long Live the Art!

The Boom Is Over. Long Live the Art!

Published: February 12, 2009

LAST year Artforum magazine, one of the country’s leading contemporary art monthlies, felt as fat as a phone book, with issues running to 500 pages, most of them gallery advertisements. The current issue has just over 200 pages. Many ads have disappeared.

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Sotheby’s/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Damien Hirst’s “Golden Calf” sold for $18.6 million last year, but the art climate has changed.

Estate of Peter Moore/VAGA, New York, courtesy of the Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Meredith Monk performing her piece “Juice” at the Guggenheim Museum in 1969.

Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University

A photograph from David Wojnarowicz’s 1977-79 series “Rimbaud in New York.”

The contemporary art market, with its abiding reputation for foggy deals and puffy values, is a vulnerable organism, traditionally hit early and hard by economic malaise. That’s what’s happening now. Sales are vaporizing. Careers are leaking air. Chelsea rents are due. The boom that was is no more.

Anyone with memories of recessions in the early 1970s and late ’80s knows that we’ve been here before, though not exactly here. There are reasons to think that the present crisis is of a different magnitude: broader and deeper, a global black hole. Yet the same memories will lend a hopeful spin to that thought: as has been true before, a financial scouring can only be good for American art, which during the present decade has become a diminished thing.

The diminishment has not, God knows, been quantitative. Never has there been so much product. Never has the American art world functioned so efficiently as a full-service marketing industry on the corporate model.

Every year art schools across the country spit out thousands of groomed-for-success graduates, whose job it is to supply galleries and auction houses with desirable retail. They are backed up by cadres of public relations specialists — otherwise known as critics, curators, editors, publishers and career theorists — who provide timely updates on what desirable means.

Many of those specialists are, directly or indirectly, on the industry payroll, which is controlled by another set of personnel: the dealers, brokers, advisers, financiers, lawyers and — crucial in the era of art fairs — event planners who represent the industry’s marketing and sales division. They are the people who scan school rosters, pick off fresh talent, direct careers and, by some inscrutable calculus, determine what will sell for what.

Not that these departments are in any way separated; ethical firewalls are not this industry’s style. Despite the professionalization of the past decade, the art world still likes to think of itself as one big Love Boat. Night after night critics and collectors scarf down meals paid for by dealers promoting artists, or museums promoting shows, with everyone together at the table, schmoozing, stroking, prodding, weighing the vibes.

And where is art in all of this? Proliferating but languishing. “Quality,” primarily defined as formal skill, is back in vogue, part and parcel of a conservative, some would say retrogressive, painting and drawing revival. And it has given us a flood of well-schooled pictures, ingenious sculptures, fastidious photographs and carefully staged spectacles, each based on the same basic elements: a single idea, embedded in the work and expounded in an artist’s statement, and a look or style geared to be as catchy as the hook in a rock song.

The ideas don’t vary much. For a while we heard a lot about the radicalism of Beauty; lately about the subversive politics of aestheticized Ambiguity. Whatever, it is all market fodder. The trend reached some kind of nadir on the eve of the presidential election, when the New Museum trotted out, with triumphalist fanfare, an Elizabeth Peyton painting of Michelle Obama and added it to the artist’s retrospective. The promotional plug for the show was obvious. And the big political statement? That the art establishment voted Democratic.

Art in New York has not, of course, always been so anodyne an affair, and will not continue to be if a recession sweeps away such collectibles and clears space for other things. This has happened more than once in the recent past. Art has changed as a result. And in every case it has been artists who have reshaped the game.

The first real contemporary boom was in the early 1960s, when art decisively stopped being a coterie interest and briefly became an adjunct to the entertainment industry. Cash was abundant. Pop was hot. And the White House was culture conscious enough to create the National Endowment for the Arts so Americans wouldn’t keeping looking, in the words of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., like “money-grubbing materialists.”

The boom was short. The Vietnam War and racism were ripping the country apart. The economy tanked. In the early ’70s New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy, bleeding money and jobs. With virtually no commercial infrastructure for experimental art in place, artists had to create their own marginal, bootstrap model.

They moved, often illegally, into the derelict industrial area now called SoHo, and made art from what they found there. Trisha Brown choreographed dances for factory rooftops; Gordon Matta-Clark turned architecture into sculpture by slicing out pieces of walls. Everyone treated the city as a found object.

An artist named Jeffrey Lew turned the ground floor of his building at 112 Greene Street into a first-come-first-served studio and exhibition space. People came, working with scrap metal, cast-off wood and cloth, industrial paint, rope, string, dirt, lights, mirrors, video. New genres — installation, performance — were invented. Most of the work was made on site and ephemeral: there one day, gone the next.

White Columns, as 112 Greene Street came to called, became a prototype for a crop of nonprofit alternative spaces that sprang up across the country. Recessions are murder on such spaces, but White Columns is still alive and settled in Chelsea with an exhibition, through the end of the month, documenting, among other things, its 112 Greene Street years.

The ’70s economy, though stagnant, stabilized, and SoHo real estate prices rose. A younger generation of artists couldn’t afford to live there and landed on the Lower East Side and in South Bronx tenements. Again the energy was collective, but the mix was different: young art-school graduates (the country’s first major wave ), street artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fab Five Freddy Braithwaite, assorted punk-rebel types like Richard Hell and plain rebels like David Wojnarowicz.

Here too the aesthetic was improvisatory. Everybody did everything — painting, writing, performing, filming, photocopying zines, playing in bands — and new forms arrived, including hip-hop, graffiti, No Wave cinema, appropriation art and the first definable body of “out” queer art. So did unusual ways of exhibiting work: in cars, in bathrooms, in subways.

The best art was subversive, but in very un-’60s, nonideological ways. When, at midnight, you heard Klaus Nomi, with his bee-stung black lips and robot hair, channeling Maria Callas at the Mudd Club, you knew you were in the presence of a genius deviant whose very life was a political act.

But again the moment was brief. The Reagan economy was creating vast supplies of expendable wealth, and the East Village became a brand name. Suddenly galleries were filled with expensive, tasty little paintings and objects similar in variety and finesse to those in Chelsea now. They sold. Limousines lined up outside storefront galleries. Careers soared. But the originating spark was long gone.

After Black Monday in October 1987 the art was gone too, and with the market in disarray and gatekeepers confused, entrenched barriers came down. Black, Latino and Asian-American artists finally took center stage and fundamentally redefined American art. Gay and lesbian artists, bonded by the AIDS crisis and the culture wars, inspired by feminism, commanded visibility with sophisticated updates on protest art.

And thanks to multiculturalism and to the global reach of the digital revolution, the American art world in the ’90s was in touch with developments in Africa, Asia and South America. For the first time contemporary art was acknowledged to be not just a Euro-American but an international phenomenon and, as it soon turned out, a readily marketable one.

Which brings us to the present decade, held aloft on a wealth-at-the-top balloon, threatening to end in a drawn-out collapse. Students who entered art school a few years ago will probably have to emerge with drastically altered expectations. They will have to consider themselves lucky to get career breaks now taken for granted: the out-of-the-gate solo show, the early sales, the possibility of being able to live on the their art.

It’s day-job time again in America, and that’s O.K. Artists have always had them — van Gogh the preacher, Pollock the busboy, Henry Darger the janitor — and will again. The trick is to try to make them an energy source, not a chore.

At the same time, if the example of past crises holds true, artists can also take over the factory, make the art industry their own. Collectively and individually they can customize the machinery, alter the modes of distribution, adjust the rate of production to allow for organic growth, for shifts in purpose and direction. They can daydream and concentrate. They can make nothing for a while, or make something and make it wrong, and fail in peace, and start again.

Art schools can change too. The present goal of studio programs (and of ever more specialized art history programs) seems to be to narrow talent to a sharp point that can push its way aggressively into the competitive arena. But with markets uncertain, possibly nonexistent, why not relax this mode, open up education?

Why not make studio training an interdisciplinary experience, crossing over into sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, poetry and theology? Why not build into your graduate program a work-study semester that takes students out of the art world entirely and places them in hospitals, schools and prisons, sometimes in-extremis environments, i.e. real life? My guess is that if you did, American art would look very different than it does today.

Such changes would require new ways of thinking and writing about art, so critics will need to go back to school, miss a few parties and hit the books and the Internet. Debate about a “crisis in criticism” gets batted around the art world periodically, suggesting nostalgia for old-style traffic-cop tastemakers like Clement Greenberg who invented movements and managed careers. But if there is a crisis, it is not a crisis of power; it’s a crisis of knowledge. Simply put, we don’t know enough, about the past or about any cultures other than our own.

A globally minded learning curve that started to grow in the 1980s and ’90s seems to have withered away once multiculturalism fell out of fashion. Some New York critics, with a sigh of relief one sensed, have gone back to following every twitch of the cozy local scene, which also happens to constitute their social life.

The subject is not without interest, but it’s small. In the 21st century New York is just one more art town among many, and no longer a particularly influential one. Contemporary art belongs to the world. And names of artists only half-familiar to us — Uzo Egonu, Bhupen Khakhar, Iba Ndiaye, Montien Boonma, Amrita Sher-Gil, Graciela Carnevale, Madiha Omar, Shakir Hassan Al Said — have as much chance of being important to history as many we know.

But there will be many, many changes for art and artists in the years ahead. Trying to predict them is like trying to forecast the economy. You can only ask questions. The 21st century will almost certainly see consciousness-altering changes in digital access to knowledge and in the shaping of visual culture. What will artists do with this?

Will the art industry continue to cling to art’s traditional analog status, to insist that the material, buyable object is the only truly legitimate form of art, which is what the painting revival of the last few years has really been about? Will contemporary art continue to be, as it is now, a fancyish Fortunoff’s, a party supply shop for the Love Boat crew? Or will artists — and teachers, and critics — jump ship, swim for land that is still hard to locate on existing maps and make it their home and workplace?

I’m not talking about creating ’60s-style utopias; all those notions are dead and gone and weren’t so great to begin with. I’m talking about carving out a place in the larger culture where a condition of abnormality can be sustained, where imagining the unknown and the unknowable — impossible to buy or sell — is the primary enterprise. Crazy! says anyone with an ounce of business sense.

Right. Exactly. Crazy.

2009年2月3日 星期二


我認為 中国山水画 與張導演的 沒什麼關係啦


英国《金融时报》中文网特约撰稿人Diana Huang 2009-02-03


辛亥革命前,中国画一直是有主流的。从宋元到清末,历代绘画大师都是山水画大师,这在全世界都非常罕见,花鸟、人物虽然也很丰富,但只是个 别山水画家偶尔小憩时的附带作品。比如说,宋朝的董源、巨然、马远、夏圭无一不是山水大师,元四家,明朝的沈周、文征明、董其昌、清代的四王、四高僧等 等,如今在拍卖场上以骇人天价成交的也是这些作品。所以谈中国视觉,山水画是绕不过去的,它不是半壁江山的问题,而是一个永恒的命题。




以提取符号的方式将传统的东西纳入现代视觉范畴是张艺谋的强项。从这次的效果来看,对于推介中国山水画确有好处。但从长远来看,不断的提取符号也意 味着内容的枯竭,作为文化的创造者来说,更应该深入探讨符号的内涵。并且深入思考如何立足当下的环境将之现代化,并赋予这个符号全新的面貌。


随着中国经济逐步被纳入西方市场经济的轨道,中国的艺术也采用了经纪人代理、画廊运作的模式,为符合西方市场的要求,几乎所有的中国艺术家都自觉和 不自觉地广泛吸收西方当代艺术的理念、以及它的规则和标准,并使用它的材料和方法,尽管很多时候艺术家并不一定真的理解西方的这一切。毫不夸张地说,西方 当代艺术的哲学、思想、理论以及实践在中国获得了广泛的影响甚至主宰了中国当代艺术的走向。在这样的创作环境之下,外加前面浩瀚千年山水画大师竖立的难以 逾越的巅峰,涉足山水画领域已是充满勇气的行为。

不久前,上海画家蔡小松推出了个人的山水系列展览。这组作品中,有高达六米的超级长卷,也有大型灯箱,内置浓缩了笔墨精粹的灯片,更有用姜末、调味 料、化学添加剂等综合材料创作的粉末山水装置……蔡小松的这次展览名为“山水的精神”,他对此的解释是:“山还是山,水还是水。表现的人不同、看的人不 同,视觉就不同。只要表现的手法足够现代,表现的内容足够精彩,就不会有人因为看到山水、看到长卷就觉得过时。”

而通常会被担忧的中国山水画外国人是不是看得懂的问题,似乎也因为展示方式的别致以及对象本身的力量获得了解决。现场的西方人固然对笔墨知之不多, 对“山水”的理解也会往“风景”里靠,但艺术家冀望通过作品传达的“隐”的精神却通过画面被较为精准的把握了,那是一种“内心的宁静”。


2009年2月1日 星期日




第二十章 國畫

  蘇東坡天才橫溢,神完气足,在中國藝術上,尤其是表現中國筆墨歡愉的情趣上,他能獨創一派,這是不足為奇的。蘇東坡最重要的消遣,是他的“戲墨”之 作,因為他的創造注的藝術沖動非此不足以得到自由發揮而給中國藝術留下不朽的影響。蘇東坡不僅創了他有名的墨竹,他也創造了中國的文人畫。他和年輕藝術家 米芾共同創造了以后在中國最富有特性与代表風格的中國畫。中國繪畫的南派重視一气呵成快速運筆的節奏感,這一派誠然是在唐朝吳道子和王維的筆下所建立,与 北派李思訓之金碧朱紅工筆細描是顯然有別。可是,在宋朝,印象派的文人畫終于奠定了基礎。這一派,重點在于气韻的生動与藝術家堅強的主觀性,其中含有的藝 術原理与技巧對現代藝術自有其重要性。

  由蘇東坡、米芾、黃庭堅所保存下來的藝術批評之中,我們能看出文人畫在蘇東坡生活里的起源,真是一件幸事。這几位文人都是詩人、書法家、畫 家。我們首先必須弄清楚的是,在中國是書畫同源的。在技巧,在工具材料,在批評的精神与原理,都是如此。若不懂中國書法中的美學原理,就不能了解中國畫南 派的起源。因為中國南派畫之始祖,蘇東坡是其一,都是在中國詩的精神中涵養有素的,并且在運用筆墨的技巧都已通其奧妙,而且對中國書法的結构与气勢的原理 都已窺其真詮。書法為中國繪畫提供其技巧与美的原理,詩則提供畫的精神与气韻情調的重要,以及對大自然的聲色气味泛神性的喜悅。

  在蘇東坡降生之前,中國已經有丰厚的藝術傳統,在書法繪畫兩方面皆然。蘇東坡自幼年即仰慕吳道子。他在黃州那些年,一直傾其全部時光致力于繪 畫。現在所有他的詩畫朋友都已集會在京師,而气氛也极利于他在詩畫上的創造,正如一個奕棋高手發現了城中另一個奕棋高手之后,他的生活便會有所改變,同樣 蘇東坡的生活現在也改變了。他畢竟是個文人,不是個政客。既然是文人,他的要務仍然离不開紙墨筆硯。他的門人,也都是出色的文人,不斷在他的書齋中流連盤 桓。米芾后來成為宋朝杰出的畫家,曾經有一次,他喜愛自己在懸崖峭壁所畫的默然無色的巨石那雄偉的气魄,他乃以“丈人”之名稱之。他自稱“米顛”,別人也 以此名相稱。米,蘇,李(李公微),這宋朝三大家,現在時常在一處。

  這一群文人時常在彼此的家中相會,飲酒,進餐,笑謔,作詩,而大部分時間都在陶然佳境中過活。此等時光,蘇米李三人往往走近書案,紙筆墨都在 眼前。如果一個人開始作畫,作詩,或寫字,別人便作壁上觀,或也技痒而參加,為補上詩句,或增加題跋,當時的情況与气氛理想极美矣。詩、畫、字,這三者主 要的材料,只是兩种液体物——墨与酒;除去最講究的毛筆和用最貴、最為稀有的原料做的紙之外,他們有上等酒、上等墨。大書家和大畫家一發現有上等紙張當 前,就猶如小提琴名家發現面前有一個史特拉迪瓦牌的名琴一樣——硬是不胜其魔力之誘惑。蘇東坡最喜愛的是澄心堂的紙,宣城的諸葛筆,或是鼠毫筆,和李廷邦 的墨。一個人畫完一幅畫,一般習慣是由其他文人在上面寫几首詩文作評語,或僅僅寫剛才說的几句戲言。有時蘇東坡和李公激(西方收藏家多知道他叫李龍眠)合 作一幅畫。蘇畫石頭,李畫柏樹,子由和黃庭堅題詞。

  有一次,在中國藝術史上很出名的事,是十六個此等名家聚會于駙馬王詵的庭園之中。這就是有名的“西園雅集”,李公徽畫,米芾題詞。畫里有宋朝 三大家,蘇東坡、米芾、李龍眠,還有東坡弟弟蘇子由、蘇門四學士。石桌陳列于花園中高大的蒼松翠竹之下。最上面,一只蟬向一條小河飛去,河岸花竹茂密。主 人的兩個侍妾,梳高發誓,帶甚多首飾,侍立于桌后。蘇東坡頭戴高帽,身著黃袍,倚桌作書,駙馬王詵在附近觀看。在另一桌上,李龍眠正在寫一首陶詩,子由、 黃庭堅、張表、晁補之都圍在桌旁。米芾立著,頭仰望,正在附近一塊岩石題字。秦觀坐在多有節瘤的樹根上,正在听人彈琴,別的人則分散各處,以各种姿勢,或 跪或站,下余的則是和尚和其它文人雅士了。

  普通都認為蘇東坡作品之最精者,都是他醉后或興致昂揚之時的作品,一想中國繪畫、寫字時一揮而就的瀟洒明快,此話不能不信。在哲宗元佑三年 (一0 八八)蘇東坡任主考官之時,他和藝術家朋友李龍眠、黃庭堅、張來等陪考官入閨將近兩個月,在閱卷完畢之前不得出閨,亦不得与閨外聯絡。他們空閒無事,李龍 眠畫馬自娛,黃庭堅則寫陰森凄慘的鬼詩,彼此說奇异的神仙故事。至于蘇東坡如何,黃庭堅記載的是:“東坡居士极不惜書,然不可乞。有乞書者,正色譜責之, 或終不与一字。元植中鎖試禮部,每來見過案上紙,不擇精粗,書遍乃已。性喜酒,然不過四五角已爛醉,不辭謝而就臥。鼻鼾如雷,少焉蘇醒,落筆如風雨。雖濾 弄皆有意味,真神仙中人。”


  蘇東坡在世時,曾使人畫像數幅,其中最有名者為程怀立和名畫家李龍眠所畫。在李龍眠所畫的一幅上,蘇東坡身坐岩石,一條藤杖斜橫于膝上。黃庭 堅說這張畫像正好把握住他微醉之時的神情。從姿勢上看,他很輕松的坐著,似正在思索宇宙中万物盛衰之理,也正享受眼前大自然的森羅万象。隨時他都可能立起 來,提筆沾墨,抒寫胸怀中之所感,或是用美妙的詩歌,或是用气韻生動的一幅畫,或是用神味醇厚的書法。

  有一次,杜几先帶來一張上好的紙張,請蘇東坡在上面寫字,但是他提出了字的大小排列等問題。蘇東坡笑著問他:“我現在是不是賣菜?”哲宗元佑 二年(一0 八七)三月,康師孟已經出版了蘇氏兄弟九本字帖的精摹本。蘇東坡自己的若干朋友都是熱心搜集蘇字的。一天晚上,他的几個朋友在他家,正在翻查几個舊箱子。 有人找到一張紙,上面的字是蘇東坡寫的,還依稀可讀。仔細一看,原來是他在黃州貶謫期間醉中寫的“黃泥板詞”。有的地方已然污損,連東坡自己都不能辨認。 張來抄寫了一遍,交給蘇東坡,自己則保留那份真跡。几天之后,蘇東坡收到駙馬王詵寄來的一封信。信里說:“吾日夕購子書不厭,近又以三縑博得兩紙字。有近 畫當稍以遺我,勿多費我絹也。”


  說中國書法是一种抽象畫,這种解釋真是再容易不過。中國書法的問題和抽象畫的問題,确是相似。在評論中國書法時,評論者完全不顧中國字的含 義,而根本上就看做一种抽象的組合。說中國字是抽象畫,只因為不像普通畫那樣描寫具象的物体。中國字由線條和線條构成的偏旁所組成,具有無限的變化,而藝 術原理則要求這些字之排列成行,必須排列的美妙,必須与同一行或其他行的字配合洽當。因為中國字由最复雜的成分所組成,所以呈現出构圖的各种問題,包括軸 線、輪廓、組織、對比、平衡、比例等項,尤其重視整体的統一。

  藝術上所有的問題,都是節奏的問題,不管是繪畫、雕刻、音樂,只要美是運動,每种藝術形式就有隱含的節奏。甚至在建筑,一個哥德的教堂向高處 仰望、一座橋梁橫跨、一個監獄沉思。從美學上看,甚至可以論人品而說“猛沖”、“疾掃”、“狂暴”,這都是節奏概念。在中國藝術里,節奏的基本概念是由書 法确立的。中國的批評家愛慕書法時,他不欣賞靜態的比例与對稱,而是在頭腦里追隨著書家走,從一個字的開始到結尾,再一直到一張紙的末端,仿佛他在觀賞紙 上的舞蹈一般。因此探索這种抽象畫的路子,自然不同于西洋抽象畫。其基本的理論是“美是運動”(“美感便是律動感”),發展成為中國繪畫上至高無上的原理 的,就是這种節奏的基本概念。

  這個運動上的節奏美的概念,改變了所有藝術家對線條、質量、表面、材料的看法。因為,倘若美是動態而非靜態的,所有平直的線條和表面,像工程 藍圖的東西自然都不屬于藝術的范圍,而人必須尋求,舉例說,樹枝的折線与不平直的線條,因為只有彎曲与轉折線才能暗示生命与運動;只要筆的壓下,微頓,疾 行,偶爾的飛白潑濺,能細心并有意保存于紙上,則不難看出此种不平直的線條的生命力和運動感。在中國書法和繪畫里,當力戒平直線條,除非另有必要,比如描 畫桌子的邊緣,不得不直,這是基本的原則。結构的概念也隨之改變了。倘若那些線面是僵直死板的話,中國藝術家是不能滿足于此种靜態的安排与線和面的對比 的。從此以后要重視力量充沛的線條筆划,這便說明中國繪畫技巧和其它形式的繪畫之間的差异。

  為了尋求富有活力的線條,中國書法家轉向大自然。自然中的線條永遠是暗示運動,且其變化丰富無限。在靈提這种狗的平滑身上,天生是為了快速奔 馳的,自有一种美;而在愛爾蘭小型獵犬的多毛而粗短的線條上,則另有一种美。我們可以欣賞幼鹿的輕巧靈活,同時也愛慕獅子爪蹄巨大強勁的力量。鹿的身体 美,不僅在其調和的輪廓,也因為暗示了跳躍的運動;而獅子蹄爪之美是因為它暗示突然的攫取与猛扑,并且此种猛扑攫取跳躍的功能,才賦予了線條有机的諧調。 談到這類節奏之美,我們可以愛慕大象龐大笨重而不易控制的形狀,蛇的蜿蜒蠕動的緊張狀態,甚至長頸鹿瘦高細長的拙笨動作。所以可以說,大自然的節奏永遠是 含有功能作用的,因為其線條輪廓都是生長發展的結果,而且各有其用途。由于大自然這些丰富節奏,才磨練出我們欣賞的眼光。中國書法家想在筆下運動上所模仿 的,就正是這些自然的節奏律動,而也非中國感受力极為靈敏的毛筆不為功。有的筆划堅定而圓滿,暗示獅子蹄爪的巨大力量,有的筆划暗示馬腿的強壯有力、骨節 磷峋。有的點划要暗示清爽整洁,字也有方正的肩膊腰肢和支架,像端正的女人,正如中國藝術批評家所說如“美人頭上戴鮮花”。有的模仿枯藤的美姿,藤的末端 穩定而微微向上彎曲,复點綴以一些嫩芽小葉以求平衡對襯。千万不可忘的是,那條枯干的垂藤的平衡,是自然而完美的,因為其末端彎曲的形狀与角度,全与此長 藤的重量、莖的支持力、在這邊或那邊殘余的葉子的重量為依歸的。

  蘇東坡說,他的友人文与可習書甚久而不見成功,后來一人獨行山徑,見二蛇相斗。他從相爭斗的兩條蛇身上的律動,獲取了靈感,把蛇身上那种矯健 動作吸取于筆划之中。另一個書法家是在看見樵夫与一村姑相遇于山間小徑上時,悟出了節奏的秘訣。因為當時樵夫与村姑都要讓路給對方,二人當時都猶疑不定, 不知誰該站穩讓對方過去。那二人一時的前后的閃躲,產生了一种緊張動作和相反的動作,据說這种緊張動作使他生平第一次悟出了書法藝術的原理。

  運用在繪畫上,線條的雜亂而又和諧的律動,就產生了可概括稱之為中國藝術的印象派,這一派藝術家所關注的只是記下他頭腦里的印象,用一种明确 的律動美表現,而不是以將眼前的景物描繪下來為滿足。結构越單純,表現律動美越容易。因此蘇東坡才集中表現律動美在几枝竹子上或是几塊粗曠的岩石上,而這 樣表現出來的景物也就成為內容很充分很丰富的圖畫了。畫上表現出的律動美,本身即要求削除所有与此統一概念毫不相干的景物。要看极端印象主義藝術极端的例 子,在八大山人的一只雞和一條魚上,或是石濤的果園上,都很容易看出來。不管畫的是魚、是雞、是鳥,八大山人的藝術可以看做是用最少的線條、最少的墨,表 現最多的內容的藝術。八大山人完成他的一條魚、一匹馬,或是一張畫像,為時不過數分鐘,用墨不過迅速的寥寥几筆。他不是畫好,就是畫坏;若是畫坏,便將紙 揉爛成團,扔到廢紙簍中去,重新再畫。

  惜墨如金,就說明了中國畫純出自然。但是惜墨如金与高度集中在主体景物上,也產生了別的結果。蘇東坡的几枝竹枝竹葉,后面一月當天,依稀可 見,創造出兩种效果。第一,因為沒有其它不相干的景物,故能刺激觀賞者的想象;第二,那幅畫暗示那几片竹葉,在月夜安然靜止也好,在風雨中猛力搖擺也好, 在其表現出來的單純律動美上,是令人百觀不厭的。畫几竿竹、一條曲線、几塊粗曠的岩石的動机,就和寫几行字的動机一樣。一旦心清表現出來,印象留在紙上 了,藝術家便感到滿足,感到快樂。他于是能把同樣的滿足与快樂給与觀賞的人。

  所以這—派文人畫也叫做寫意,也就是印象主義。“意”字甚難譯成英文,大致就是藝術家所要表達的,若在英文里找個字代替,恐怕要用 Intention(意圖),Concentlon(概念) ,imPression(印象)或 Mood(心境)。若指這一派繪畫用C0nceptivism(概念主義),則無不可,因為這個字的重點是統一的概念,正是藝術家所要描繪的唯一形象。

  藝術的中心問題,不論古今中外,完全相同。印象主義,簡言之,就是對照相般的精确的反叛,而主張將藝術家主觀印象表達出來,做為藝術上的新目 標。蘇東坡用兩行詩充分表達這种反叛精神。他說:“論畫以形似,見与儿童鄰。”在評論一個年輕寫意派畫家宋子房時,蘇東坡說:“觀士人畫如閱天下馬,取其 意气所到。乃若畫工往往只取鞭策皮毛、槽楊芻襪,無一點俊發,看數尺便倦。漢杰(宋子房號)真士人畫也。”

  宋代畫家又向前邁了一步,在一張畫里,不但要表現作者的印象或概念,也要表現內在的肌理。簡直來說,宋代畫家要畫的是精神,而不是外在。宋代 哲學的派別叫做理學。在佛教的形而上學的影響之下,儒家把注意力從政治的規矩形式和社會撤离,轉而沉潛到心和宇宙方面去。藉助于印度的神秘主義和形而上 學,他們開始談論這個“理”字,粗略說,就是自然与人性里的“理由”,或“自然的法則”,或“万物的內在精神”。宋儒困于中國人對抽象的形而上學無能力或 無愛好,他們在把“理”當做“自然律”的研究上,所入不深。但是他們卻完全相信在万物的外形后面,有一种無處無之的力量,或是精神,或是“理”;自然本 身,是精神,是活潑潑的,而畫家應當在畫里把握万物此种無以名之的內在精神。所以畫家在畫秋天的樹林時,不應當以描繪樹葉丰富的顏色為目的,而是要捕捉那 不可見的“秋意”或“秋思”,換句話說,要使人覺得要披上一件夾大衣出去吸那干爽清涼的空气,似乎在大自然季節的蛻變中,看得出漸漸陰盛陽衰了。蘇東坡在 教儿子作詩時,要他把花的個別性表現出來,使人對一行寫牡丹的詩,不致誤認是寫紫丁香或梅花。牡丹的特質是丰盈華麗,梅花則秀逸脫俗。那种特質的把握,則 有賴于畫家的眼睛与詩人的想象。要畫魚,則藝術家必須了解魚的本性,但是為達到此目的,畫家必須運用其直覺的想象,在心神上,与魚同在水中游,体會魚對水 流与風暴,光亮与食物的反應。只有懂得鮭魚在急流激湍中跳躍時的快樂,并知道那對魚是多么富有刺激性,一個畫家才應當畫鮭魚。否則,他最好不要動手,不然 他畫的魚鱗、魚鰭、魚眼多么精确,那張畫仍是死的。

  畫家必須注意觀察細節。蘇東坡一次記載一件好笑的事:四川省有一個繪畫收藏家,在他收藏的一百多幅名畫中、他最珍惜戴嵩畫的斗牛圖。一天,這 個收藏家在院子里晒畫,一個牧童赶巧在此經過;他向那幅畫看了一下儿,搖頭大笑。人問他何故發笑,牧童回答說:“牛相斗時,牛尾巴一定緊夾在后腿中間,這 張畫上牛尾巴卻直立在后面!”

  蘇東坡也看不起名花鳥畫家黃簽,因為他對鳥的習慣觀察錯誤。但是只憑觀察与精确,并不能產生真藝術。畫家必須運用直覺的洞察力,等于是對大自 然中的鳥獸有一种物我胞与的喜悅。也許要真懂蘇東坡描繪万物的內在肌理之時,他所努力以求的是什么,最好看他畫的一幅仙鶴圖上的題詩。他說,仙鶴立在沮洳 之地看見有人走近,甚至仙鶴連一根羽毛還未曾動,已先有飛走之意,但是四周無人之時,仙鶴完全是一副幽閒輕松的神气。這就是蘇東坡想表現的仙鶴內在精神。


  余嘗論畫,以為人合宮室器用皆有常形;至于山石竹木水波煙云,雖無常形,而有常理。常形之失,人皆知之;常理之不當,雖曉畫者有不知。故凡可以欺世取 名者,必記于無常形者也。雖然常形之失,止于所失,而不能病其全;若常理之不當,則舉廢之矣。以其形之無常,是以其理不可不謹也。世之工人,或能曲盡其 形,而至于其理,非高人逸士不能辨。与可之于竹石枯木,真可謂得其理者矣。如是而生,如是而死,如是而攣拳瘠鷹,如是兩條達遂茂。根莖節葉、牙角脈縷,千 變万化,未始相襲,而各當其處,合于天造,展于人意。蓋達士之所寓也……必有明于理而深觀之者,然后知余言之不妄。

  所有繪畫都是一种哲學不自覺的反映。中國畫不知不覺中表示出天人合一与生命運行的和諧,而人只不啻滄海之一粟,浮光泡影而已。由此觀之,所謂 中國的印象派繪畫,不論是一竿修竹,一堆盤根,或深山煙雨,或江上雪景,都是愛好自然的表現。畫家与畫中景物之完全融而為一的道理,解釋得最為清楚的莫如 蘇東坡在朋友家牆壁上自題竹石的那首詩: