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宋永平的版画新作

苏新平




    很高兴宋永平举办自己的版画展。这可以说是一个意料之外的消息,同时更是意料之中的消息,在我的意识里,他的版画展是早晚的事,原因之一这是他大学学习的本行。对于天津美院绘画系版画专业的毕业生来说,似乎这个展览还是来得晚了一些,从大学毕业的1983年算起,距今已经30年有余了。

 

    还是先从意料之外说起。自从大学毕业回到他的家乡山西以后,就很少见到宋永平的版画作品了。遗憾的是,他在学校学习的时候,有着优秀的版画创作表现。后来时常在杂志上发表的作品更多是具有前卫艺术特征的艺术成果。多年以后才得知:80年代,他在山西发起组织现代艺术群体,举办过多次现代艺术展览,其中包括85年的“山西七人现代艺术展”、“山西现代陶艺展”等等,“1986.11.4.13时——15时一个景象的体验”是他广为人知的作品之一,后来又发起组织了“乡村计划1993”艺术活动。特别值得注意的是他的摄影作品“我的父母”系列,这是具有纪念碑意义的重要作品。

 

    90年代末,正当宋永平艺术事业即将进入蓬勃发展的重要时刻,他的父母双双病倒,使宋永平不得不放下画笔,担负起照顾父母的艰难生活,在他努力救助的同时,现实与精神的双重打击对于宋永平来说无疑是严酷的考验!要么停下所有的事情,与父母一起沉沦下去。要么做出顽强的努力,以抵抗命运的重负。一个无意间的机缘,他拿起了照相机,开始了漫长的与父母共同度过艰难岁月的历程。……

 

据宋永平讲,前后差不多有十年时间他都无法走出父母重病与过世这个巨大的阴影。直到2013年,我们得以看到他的新的力作“潜暴力”系列和2014年的“金钱”系列作品展,这些极具分量的作品,让我们眼前一亮:一个光荣的老战士恢复了久违的神彩!

 

    这次版画展览的作品,依我看是与2013年的“潜暴力”系列具有十分密切的逻辑关系,由此,我们可以通过他这批精妙的版画作品也可以清晰的看到他的创作理念。在“潜暴力”的展览上宋永平写道:“众神已经从那里被赶走/信仰也是/他们的幽灵游荡在现实主义的大钞中/如果后现代性的钞票在某个地方出现/那正是完美罪行的化身”这是一个具有现实关怀的展览。

 

    宋永平用美元的图像,经过他自己的改编设置,提示着一些我们与金钱的关系。比如,他在一美元面值的THE UNITED STATESOF AMERICA处置换成:金钱是今天的上帝吗?或者,是什么叫今天的生活变得如此多汁;爱你一万年;上帝死了,资本与人类同在;金钱是一个巨大的幻影等等。当然货币票面的人像也被他有意地自主安排,其中有自己的亲朋好友,工作室的工作人员,马克思、奥巴马等等也不一而足。

 




    他甚至使用了美元原始的图像来昭示版画最初的功用:这个画种最初是用于文明的传播或者与印刷功能相关的实际用途。甚至可以追溯到中国的活字印刷。对于货币而言,可能绝大多数人不会特别关心票面华美的图形,更多的是关心票面面值或者自己账户的数字。这些曾经用了极致努力制造的“版画作品”的美感,早已被人们所忽略,如同我们每日匆匆忙碌的身心对无限物质事务的追求,却早已忘记身处现实生活的滋味。当然,宋永平这批版画所涉及的问题远非如此,他同时让我们思考:这究竟是谁的作品?明明是美元怎么就成了宋永平的作品?这些作品创作的缘由又是如何生发的等等。这一系列问题恰恰成为这些作品产生的意义所在。

 

    从某种意义上可以说,宋永平的作品总在为我们提供着不同的看待现实事物的视角甚或是产生更多的疑惑。

 

2015-1-6记于中央美术学院

 

Song Yongping’s Latest Woodcut Prints

Su Xinping


Recently I heard that Song Yongping would be holding a solo exhibition of his woodcut work. This news was in a sense both expected and unexpected. The holding of such an exhibition seemed inevitable to me, partly because woodcuts were Song’s major at university. Indeed, for someone who graduated with a degree in woodcutting from the faculty of painting at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, this event would appear to be rather overdue, coming over three decades since Song graduated (1983).

The announcement was unexpected insofar as Song’s work had been rarely seen since he graduated and returned to his hometown in Shanxi. This was a shame, given that while he was a student he produced some outstanding pieces. The woodcuts that often appeared later on in magazines were highly avant-garde. It was only many years later that I learned Song had set up a modern art group in the 1980s in Shanxi and had organized many modern art exhibitions, including the Seven Artists Modern Art Exhibition and Modern Ceramics exhibition, both in 1985. The following year’s 1986.11.4.13:00 – 15:00, Experiences on a Certain Day is one of his well-known works. Song later launched the Village Planning 1993 art event. 

Of particular note is his series of photographs, My Parents which was an important commemorative work.

At the close of the 1990s, just as Song’s career was taking off, both his parents were taken ill. Song was forced to abandon his work and take care of them. It was a time of testing for him, as the physical and mental strain dealt him a double blow. Song was faced with the choice between giving up his career and letting his parents’ situation swallow him up, or fighting back against the cruel hand dealt him by fate. By a stroke of chance, he took up his camera and began a long and painful journey with his parents.

Song recounts how it took him about a decade to recover from the trauma of his parents’ illness and decease. It was only in 2013 that his powerful new piece Potential Violence and the following year’s MONEY! were exhibited, amazing visitors with their presence. These works showed us that the man was back in the saddle after such a long time.

I can see a clear logical progression from 2013’s Potential Violence and the woodcuts at this exhibition. These woodcuts are also a window onto his ideas. In 2013, Song composed the following poem: 


Potential Violence

The gods are ousted,

Faith too.

Their ghosts wander

Amid 100RMB-note materialism.

If a bank-note somewhere appears,

It is the embodiment of

The perfect crime

 Song’s exhibition examines themes extremely relevant in today’s society.

Song took the image of the dollar bill and transformed it to make a statement about our relationship with money. For example, he (re-)arranged the one-dollar THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA to ask whether money is the god of the modern world – or rather, what it is that has made modern life so materialistic; what is everlasting love; the death of God; the coexistence of man and money; and whether money is one big illusion. Song put the faces of his friends and family, as well as those of staff from his studio, Marx and Obama on the dollar bills in his exhibition.

Song even employed the original images from the dollar bills to emphasize the origins of the print form, which was as a tool for the transmission of culture or a step towards further printing technology itself. The form can be traced to the emergence of movable type printing in China. Most people may not pay as much attention to the intricate design of a dollar bill as to its value or their bank balance. The beauty of these ‘prints’, the product of so much hard work, has long been overlooked, in the same way that our busy bodies and minds have forgotten how to enjoy the moment in a world where we are constantly striving after more material goods. Of course, Song’s woodcuts address issues far from these; at the same time, he invites us to consider: whose work, exactly, is this? How can a US dollar bill become Song’s work? Where did the inspiration for these pieces come from? It is these very questions that validate the existence of Song’s work.

In one sense, Song’s work leads us to reconsider the way we view, or even to doubt entirely, the way we view the world around us.


Central Academy of Fine Arts

January 6th 2015