The opening ceremony of Zhuzhong Art Museum Young Artist Program (2011-2021)—Onward and Upward·2019 Nomination Exhibition will be held at 16:00 on June 16 in Zhuzhong Art Museum, Beijing.
Started in 2011, Zhuzhong Art Museum Young Artist Program is expected to run for a decade. Created for outstanding young artists by the museum, the annual exhibition always focuses on innovating, young artists of the new era. Peng Feng, curator and director of Peking University, School of Arts, is academic director of the Program. Every year, celebrated artists and critics in various fields of art are enlisted to form the nomination committee.
In 2019, participating artists are selected and nominated by a youth curator group composed of Xu Bing, Sui Jianguo, Peng Feng, Shao Yiyang, Yu Ying and Alia Lin. Works are selected from the creative spectrum of young artists of the 1980s and 1990s. They zero in on the “sparkly points” and “sore points” in the clash between art and modern society. Paintings, sculptures, videos, installations and behaviors are exact reflection of the way they view creation and their state of mind.
FOREWORD: Medium and Concept
Art requires media. However, the questions that what rolethe media plays in art and what effect it has on art havedifferent answers from different thinkers. This is related tothe insufficiency on media research. In fact, for a long timemedia has not become a topic of art theory. This is notsurprising Because the nature of the media determines thatit can only function when it is hidden. The media, as its namesuggests, is an intermediary. The best intermediary is to letsomething appear without revealing itself. The medium ofart has not been the target of researches for a long time,because it just hides itself when it functions, or maybe it canonly function when it is hidden. For example, in classical oilpainting, the artist would try to hide his own strokes, linesand colors, so that we could see the objects or themes of thepainting only.
Unlike classical art, which hides the media, the modern art does not refuse the medium exposure. In 1890, Maurice Denis reminded people that a painting, before it was a horse, a nude, an anecdote or something like that, was essentially a flat constituted by certain colors collected in order. The colors on the flat is the medium of painting. A horse, a nude, an anecdote or something like that is the object or theme of painting. Classical art hides the media behind the theme, allowing people to see only the subject and not to see the medium. However. Dennis tells us that painting is fundamentally a medium. We should firstly look at the media, then the theme, or maybe even not look at the theme. Medium has become a maior problem in art. Dennis' statement can be seen as a manifesto of modern formalism.
When minimalism pushed the media to the extreme, it led to the end of formalism. Formalism is to seek for using forms to convey a certain meaning--whether it is metaphysical meaning or a collective unconscious prototype. Minimalism, different from formalism, means that the media no longer points to certain things, no matter how mysterious it is. The media points only to itself. In other words, the medium no longer functions as the media, but becomes the whole of the work. From this meaning, it can be said that minimalism is the art of objects, not the art of human beings. The minimalism origins from Richard Wollheim's comments on this art. Unlike what we think of minimalism as minimizing the forms, Wollheim regards to the minimum of content, meaning that minimalism is an art with nearly no content. In order to express the physical properties of the thing better, the artist should try not to interfere it with thoughts and handicrafts. After the minimalism entered Japan it was simply named as "mono-ha". In this sense, mono-ha is more accurate than minimalism.
Of course, the purpose of minimalism and mono-ha is not to display things, but to arouse our perception through things. It is not perception for general sense, of course, but pure perception. For this pure perception, critics of minimalism and mono-ha often use phenomenology to explain. As we all know, the goal of phenomenology is to return to the things themselve. The main method of returning to the thing itself is the so-called phenomenological reduction, that is, pure consciousness and pure perception by suspending various concepts, utilitarian and purpose. The things that appear in pure consciousness and pure perception are things that are not obscured or polluted by concepts, utilitarian purposes or objects, that is, the things themselves. Minimalism and mono-ha have just taken the opposite path. They do not obtain pure things by pure perceptions, but evoke pure perceptions by pure things.
If this is the case, media may threaten the identity of art. Media is no longer media, and art is no longer art. When that happens, it becomes the pure thing that Danto said. The problem that all of Danto's art philosophy addresses is the so-called "unrecognizable" problem. Danto tried to prove that two items that could not be distinguished from the perspective of perception are art and the thing of purity. Danto asserted that art has nothing to do with things and feelings, but is related with meaning and interpretation. Artworks have transitivity. The interpretatio of the issues related to art constitute the theoretical atmosphere of art. The things of purity are just pure things, not art, without the theoretical atmosphere. All in all, while minimalism, mono-ha and contemporary art highlighting the media itself, they have eliminated its mediation which then threatens the identity of art. It leads to the end of art and the end of media.
In modern times, intermedia stop serving its function in equipment and ready made art. And moreover, the boundary between intermedia and intermed vehicles has been removed after the pan-media times is ushered in, which ultimately leads to the extermination of intermedia. Wofgang Welsch has presented us the process of aesthetization of people's daily life started since the late 20th century during which mass media has served as an important role. Different with phenomenology which puts much emphasis on the original events, the reality presents us another story: with mass media, people is unlikely to confront the original events without the transmission of intermedia. To collect more audience, media will ineluctably deal with social events in a careful way-selection, explanation and modification. Through the transmission of media, social events are processed to become stories. But more importantly, media itself becomes part of the stories with the infiltration of people imitating media. For example, a televised documenta version of country love has made the reality become stories which people may imitate. In consequences, we won't have true love in our life or on TV but the love mingled with narrative strategy of media.
This even happens in our senses and perception. Most modern philosophers and visual culture researchers all strongly believe hold that our vision is affected by the art reproduction. The pure senses that the phenomenology seeks is no longer exists in that culture has infiltrated into all our senses.
Postmodern thinkers have deconstructed our hypothesis of original things and pure vision in views of ontology and epistemology-our ability to observe things is influenced by intermedia. This idea has also often taken as hermeneutic position. However, this view may also put us into mire of relativism-if everything is relative, then how could we judge, measure and compare? In the vortex of postmodern relativism, Arthur Danto becomes prominent due to his defense of evolutionism. From his view, trivial evolution happens to human vision since thousands of thousands of years ago, which makes our vision a constant by which we can see the differences took place in art history. In contrast, if our vision will change along with arts or can be modified by arts and culture (in a word, if our vision will change with the times), then we won't be able to find the difference and changes. But our ability to find the differences should be a constant-Danto's defense of human senses like vision serves a dose of sobriety to fanatical relativism believers of postmodern thinkers and vison researchers.
As our senses cannot be modified, then the pursuit by phenomenologists for pure senses if reasonable-the differences between the original and intermedia can be observed. The original has not been processed to become intermedia. We can still perceive the original and interpret the meaning of intermedia with our minds. In this way, the extermination of intermedia hold by phenomenology and hermeneutics can be temporarily avoided.
However, the siren doesn't stop. Even if we take the position of realism, the impending extermination can still be sensed. What drags the intermedia into annihilation is not philosophy but technology-new techs haven't tried to remove the differences between subject and object, spirit and material, psychology and physics virtuality and reality, software and hardware. But instead, they have connected them together without interference of intermedia.
Therefore, the barrier between perception and explanation put forward by Danto will no longer exist. He admits that human vision can be constant in lengthy human history and diversified human cultures, but vision is irrelevant with arts; arts needs explanation. Only through intermedia can the bridge between perception and explanation be built. But, new techs may break such barrier, allowing senses freely fly in minds and imagination-intermedia are gone. But it certainly can be another outcome: the world and human both are gone, leaving the interface exist alone.
The thing that doesn't have history but only have evolution is not human senses but the digital intermedia. People tend to praise the traces carved on the artistic medium bytime, granting it the recreation of time. After the paintings on ceiling of Sistine Chapel is repaired, people doesn't feel getting more things than they have lost-they even begin to doubt about the art taste of Michelangelo. Same as the colorful Dunhuang grotto murals restored by Zhang Daqian who cannot make audience satisfied as they expect to see mottled and dark-colored paintings. However, most audience don't know that the restored version should be the original appearance of the Dunhuang mural, and the other one is the outcome of history and mother nature. But because of the transmission of material media in the process of time, people overlooked the transmission of ideas themselves. Besides, influenced by idealism of Plato, people strongly believe that in area of arts, ideas don't change but the media does.
However, the emergence of digital media has overthrown the rooted idea above. Time cannot touch upon digital media, therefore the pictures in forms of digital media will never change. If we can still feel a sense of history from the works, then the reasons must not lie at the media but the ideas. In a media that won't change, we can see that ideas are the things that really change. At the age of digital media, arts of ideas can really be possible and feasible.
Time of Exhibition
Between May 31 and July 15, 2019
(10：00-17：00. The museum is closed on Mondays.）
June 16, 2019 14:00-16:00
June 16, 2019 16:00
Academic director: Peng Feng
Nomination tutors and participating artists
Recommended by Xu Bing: Gao Zhenpeng, Liu Boda, Luo Jing and Zhang Wenchao
Recommended by Sui Jianguo: Hu Qingyan, Kang Jing, Li Ying and Wang Qingbin
Recommended by Peng Feng: Liu Chengrui
Recommended by Shao Yiyang: Tong Kunniao, Tan Yingjie, Wang Enlai and Wang Zheng
Youth Curator Group
Recommended by Yu Ying: Sun Ce and Wan Zhenyu
Recommended by Alia Lin: Hu Yinping and Liu Qinmin