The Original World - Luo Xiaodong Solo Exhibition
17 Sep - 16 Oct, 2016
回顾罗晓冬的已有绘画作品，像是经过了一个从“致语”到 “转踏”的历程。从罗晓冬前期分阶段性的作品－－“空城”、“潜溢”、“大象”、“反复”、“云史”、“外物”等，整体里可以识别出一个模糊的"旧世界"的背影。反复与循环形成了一个旋绕在作品上的轨迹，迂回中豁然生发出的通达显现在他的现阶段作品之中。大部分作品展示者希望观者也能够思量并理解其创作，晦涩戏弄、故作姿态仅能作为个体自足的缺口而难以保持时间潜在的作用力。之于兼杂着三重身份的罗晓冬，作为展示者的他充满了紧张与期待的多味，作为观者的他糅合了感性与理性的摩擦，作为绘画者的他则保持着对具象的敏感以及对存在的思考。因而观者也无需主动作为一个视觉猎人，可以在他的画作中切换身份进行潜意识地自由进退，共同守护着时间的有效性和空间的流动性。观者需要把握作品的真实意志，才能获得不谋而合的鲜活关系 。
Space Station will bring you an exhibition of LUO Xiaodong’s latest works on September 17. This exhibition by the name of “The Original World” will be the fifth solo exhibition of the artist. It will present his reflections and practices on painting for the last couples of years, showcasing a fresh insight into reality and history. “The Original World”—LUO Xiaodong Solo Exhibition will last till October 16.
New Observations About “The Original World”
Updated mass communication of visual information drove people increasingly mechanical and at the same time changed their methods of viewing before anyone notice. The images after deliberate design and selection are distorted and mark radical departure from the original purpose: to record the real time-and-space. People are too busy to concentrate. They put an object in a chain of potential connections, and then construct an image by overlaying reality and imagery. However, LUO Xiaodong’s purpose is not to start a debate on the old or new world. Paintings from “The Original World” are in search of a kind of reality in “a world of the things-in-themselves”.
LUO Xiaodong’s paintings have gone through a progressive course from “opening address” to “Zhuanta(a kind of narrative art popular in Song Dynasty)”. From the early works of artist, such as “Ghost Town”, “Underneath Overflow”, “Elephant”, “Repetition”, “History of Cloud”, “External Objects”, audiences can identify a vague back view of “The Original World”. Repetition and cycling together formed an orbit above his works, and then a sudden enlightenment dawned on his current paintings. Most exhibitors want audiences to contemplate and comprehend their creations. Pedantry and posturing are acceptable for artists’ self-amusement, but they cannot hold a long-term attraction. LUO has three identities: as an exhibitor, he is nervous while expecting; as a member of the audience, he has both sensibility and rationality; as a painter, he is sensitive to the figurative and keeps reflecting on existence. Therefore, an audience member needs not take the initiative as a visual hunter. He can change to another identity and move forward and backward subconsciously in LUO’s paintings. He can be a co-guardian of the validity of time and the mobility of space. The audience member needs to grasp the gist of the work, in order to resonate with the artist.
LUO Xiaodong’s “The Original World” series are composed of colorful, irregular shapes, therefore a new way of viewing can decipher them. To design uncertain shapes and color blocks beyond empirical experiences is as risky as building a house from the roof. The artist is “naked”, crawling to find a fig leaf. He tentatively re-builds a second view on the reality that he can observe. He draws from the minutiae of objects, distorts the profile of them, changes the horizontal and vertical lines, breaks and moves color blocks. The amount of pigment applied on the painting almost become a hidden prism, through which the artist’s creation methods can be examined. Elements in the picture are unrelated but overlapped without deliberation. Elements are extracted and processed over and over again, and then they are organized or scattered on the plane to create new content, breaking the balance of the existing innate image. The artist bypasses the existing experience and skills in modern painting. He will not question himself with any tools, be it painting brushes or palette knives, or be confused by forms, be it concrete or abstract.
Abstractionism cut off the classical notion of art-imitating-life. Objects portrayed in paintings after post-impressionism tend to be hardly recognizable. They are anti-form and reveal the “essence” grasped by artists’ intuition. When modernism showcases various degree of “motion into life”, themes, materials, techniques, ideas and other things related to paintings all start to play dynamic roles, and then methods of viewing are classified according to “phenomenon”. If the composition of a picture is seen as the emotion key, which turned from sentiments about life to dispassionate “art appreciation”, then all conflicts will boil down to the eternal theme： “human condition.” LUO’s artworks cannot be misinterpreted as merely patchworks of abstract objects or simplified structures. Monotonous symbols and regular proportion to some degree deviate the interpretations. Lines and shapes in “The Original World” series are not protagonists and they should not be brought into the “interpretation of paintings”, and thus Luo’s paintings cannot be attributed to hotchpotches of abstractionism, cubism, structuralism and minimalism.
Computer drawing tools can pick accurate colors from pictures, but it is exactly the irreplaceable human hands that makes paintings so unique and mystical. If people rely on their visual instinct to appreciate LUO’s paintings, they may be overwhelmed by the heaviness and nostalgia brought by the overall gloomy tendency. That is why we cannot decipher his “The Original World” series by mere intuition. In his paintings, the gravity of time is replaced by colors, which collide, fight, reconcile and are “oxidized” by the space before the original state appear. Sometimes pigments are passively trapped in the sharp edges of rough layers of paint, at other times they actively flow out of the blurring edge of a flat cube of color. Sometimes large areas of dark colors with changes of clarity and lightness offer contrast, at other times small blocks of light colors complement any others through matching and adjusting. Innate images in pictures are full of color changes, but this is not an intentional design. The artist does not use colors to depict nor beautify the realistic external objects, nor to confide his own emotions, nor to fill a void in life. These colors are his impressions on external objects and his observations on passage of time.
Boris Groys believes that there is always an infinite surplus of possible images that do not correspond to any specific taste. Impressions that are shifting along time and stretching in space are implanted into two dimensional images by LUO with a new method of viewing. Free forms become strange and absurd when they are out of the context. The moment a portrait in profile is accidentally inserted into linear time and multi-dimensional space, its coordinate axis is instantly frozen. While the distance is extending, the whole thing is tightly encircled.
In an intelligence system, uncontrollable practicability is emphasized and at the same time rejected/overthrown by controllable rationality. This fight and struggle between them constantly produce contradictions. For a contradiction, a valid interpretation is a paradoxical one. Human being is more like a pedometer in “der schritt zuruck (the returning pace)”. He/she synchronizes with the reality while human condition is detached from the history. Images from life, the Internet and newspapers are dissociated from their original places by LUO Xiaodong. They are segments containing memories from a length of time, which means free form has a function of recording history. The passage of time and the visual experience are indivisible. Individual awareness is strengthened as a growing historical consciousness, so the fragments of history reflected in the artist’s paintings imply that “the old is new”.
The negation of negation in LUO’s paintings becomes a means of generating innate images. The finished paintings are, to some extent, collections of “mistakes”. As John Berger said: “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.” It is undoubtedly difficult to collect occupied fragments from “unconscious things” beyond empirical experiences and re-establish a rational and balanced order in the painting. It is especially so when he insists on finding the real motive while waiting for the right time to finish.
LUO Xiaodong has a pleasant and gentle personality in life. He carefully observes the external objects as well as records his own physical and emotional changes. In his view, the reality is a polished shadow, therefore the context of his works is often between “isolation” and “connection”. When external objects and information are in multiple states of accelerating or decelerating, LUO will quietly observe the surroundings from a bystander’s perspective and weaves on his “boundless” canvas a whole visual game which abandons the correspondence to the reality. They are not only “miniatures of the rational form”, but also repeated breakthroughs and reconstructions on the “world of experiences”.
#旧世界 # TheOriginalWorld
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周二至周日10：00 - 18：00
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罗晓冬 Luo Xiaodong
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