植物人

2010年9月13 日下午2点,蒲冬 吴建军 赵能智 相继来到成都蓝顶蔡黎明工作室
 
 
赵能智(以下简称赵):我觉得我们几个一起做一个展览还是挺有意思的,同学多年,这是第一次在一起做展览。蒲冬,你那个绿色的植物是什么时间开始画的?
蒲冬(以下简称蒲):年初。我给你发的那几张照片,是今年上半年画的。
:跟以前的大大的不一样。
蒲:画这批植物主要是我每天在工作室门口都看到杂草丛生:草长起来,秋天又枯萎了,然后又长起来……那种感觉你不由自主地就会想画。
赵:这跟你自己每天的生活还是有关系的。
蒲:我一直关注的是时间这个线索,以前我一直在追求一种个性化的东西,现在更关注普遍性的东西。
赵:你所谓的“时间”是什么意思?
蒲:就是一种流动的感觉,纯粹的一个时间的概念。
赵:你画植物生长的东西还有一种“生命感”在里面?
蒲:对,我觉得从出生到死亡,实际上就是一种时间的概念,时间流动的概念。我画的植物里有新生的、老了的、枯了的,但这只是表面的东西,我想从更深层挖掘点东西出来,但现在的画面形式感太强了。
:你比较反感形式感?
蒲:我反感画面装饰性太强和纯形式的东西,我担心这批画如果弄不好的话,会有这方面的倾向,所以尽量避免走向形式化或纯装饰性。
赵:你觉得还是应该通过作品去传达一种感觉或者说一种内容性的东西?
蒲:这两年我一直思考,到底作品是传达一种东西还是表现一种东西?我想尽量能够客观地表现观察到的东西,不做批评,这样的话画面应该耐看一点吧。
赵:你把这种图像和现实的视觉资源提出来,呈现给观众,让他们去看,从多角度去理解。
蒲:对,看到同样的东西,肯定每个人的感受是不一样的,我尽量不把主观的东西强加得太多。我想我需要避免那种纯粹的再现,还有就是装饰性,这两样是需要回避的,我不喜欢这两样东西。
蔡黎明(以下简称蔡):但是这个题材又比较容易滑向装饰性。
蒲:嗯,是的。装饰性的东西对我来说是没有意义的。
赵:你怎么考虑你的作品和观众的关系?
蒲:我想能够让别人有共同的感受或者不同的感受都可以,就是能有一点亮点,有一点能触动内心的东西就行。就像有时我看到别人的画,一下就能触动我在生活中某些很敏感的东西,有那么一点感受就可以了。
赵:你有没有想过语言的问题?我们每个人都看到植物,你看到的植物和我看到的一定是不一样的,你要传达一种感觉就肯定要用自己的方法,自己的语言把它做出来,做出来以后别人一看就知道是蒲冬看到的那种植物,这个问题你怎么想?
蒲:这就是语言稳定的问题。语言的稳定还需要一个过程,不是说一下找到一种语言,然后用它去表现就能形成自己的风格,它还是在过程中逐渐发现和稳定的。当你经过了一个必要的过程以后,有些语言就会出来,就像蔡黎明说的,每个人肚子里就这么多东西,你倒出来就倒出来了,你到最后终究会把自己的东西倒出来。
蔡:当然也有可能一生都没倒完,也没倒好,哈哈……
蒲:当然有可能一辈子都倒不完,但是在过程中会逐渐发现自己的语言。而且每个人自己的语言实际上很早就存在了。我看你(赵能智)的画就感受到了,你在学校的素描跟你现在的画是一样的,我有印像你在学校画的大卫,觉得很像你后来的那些头像。
赵:对,我还是注重艺术家应该有自己的特点,要有个人独特的“艺术气质”。你做的东西和别人的不一样,不是题材的问题,你画人别人也画人,你画杯子别人也画杯子,但为什么你画的杯子就是和别人不一样呢?这就是你的视觉语言和这种语言形成的整体的“气质”不一样。我自己的方法就是从我个人的习惯里去归纳,去提炼,看我现在的东西,其实基本的元素在最早的时候就有。我自己的想法就是从里面去提炼一种东西,然后把这种东西放大,然后把它做单纯,用它再去重新组织或者繁殖一些画面或者一个形象,我基本是用这种方法去强化个人视觉语言……
蒲:看你的画和看建军的画,我有一种感受,中间有个变化过程,但最后还是恢复到很早的一种东西,刚开始的那种。
蔡:真正个人的东西在画面中都是掩藏不住的,都会流露出来。我认为语言,风格之类的都是在表达的过程中,逐渐形成的,很多时候是无意流露的。只是有的个人语言辨识度高,有的辨识度低一些。
蒲:赵能智的画,比如那些灰色以后的东西,单纯从语言的形式来说,特别像他学生时代的素描……建军的画也是,中间有一段时间在变,但是自从你开始画下楼梯的那几幅,我感受很强烈,当时你还在家里画画,我觉得那些画又恢复了最早我对你作品的那种感觉。语言这种东西,一旦你挖掘出来,就跟别人的不同拉开了。
吴建军(以下简称吴):我觉得,语言需要从技术上进行处理,或者寻找,就像通道一样,如果有一种感受,并且把那种感受落实到画布上,就建立了一个通道。如果你感觉通道的尽头有光,那么就打通了通道,语言就成立了。
 
 
 
赵:像我们这个年龄段的人在面对现实社会的时候总是显得有些无所适从,我们几个的作品有一个共同特点就是很“内心化”。它不太关注社会和现实的问题。你(蒲冬)画的植物,建军画的那种奇形怪状的绿色背景的人,老蔡画的那种有点像肖像又不像的(人物),都比较“内心化”,“心理化”的成分比较重,我们都是心理有问题的人。你看每个人的画都是很私密的那种,包括你看那些植物也是很私密的,很个人化的东西,为什么会这样呢?
蒲:我认为还是跟整个时代,生活的时代,成长的时代背景有关系。
赵:分析一下这个挺有意思的,我们差不多都是六十年代末的人:上小学是文革的后期,开始明白一些事情是七十年代末,中国开始改革开放,上中学,上大学,又是中国文化最繁荣的“八五”时期,充满理想和激情澎湃的八十年代,包括以前上中学时看的《美术报》,上大学时学校的很多讲座,西方的哲学的进入,到了九十年代又有一个变化——商品社会了,网络带来的全球化,世界变成“地球村”了……我觉得分析一下我们成长的背景还是很有意思的。
蒲:这里边有一个很奇怪的现象,按理说,像咱们这一代人对当时社会变革的触动应该更强一些,80后、90后应该对社会的关注更少些才对,但实际好象是相反的,我觉得好多年轻画家他们的画对社会的关注挺多的。
蔡:我觉得对社会问题的关注,我们这一代可能角度更内在一些,隐秘一些。社会是什么?就是一群人而已,个体面对群体就会遭遇很多问题。我们这一代人受知性的影响更强烈,人的问题会更敏感,何况我们处于社会转型期,经历了各种转换。
赵:经历了各种价值观和世界观的强行转换。为什么会出现这种情况?为什么会在六十年代末这一批人,就是我们这个年龄阶段的人,内心会比较私密,对普遍的社会价值观念不太认同,对现实社会始终有意游离,不在状态,包括在作品中不去关注社会和现实的问题?
蒲:这点很奇怪,像咱们成长的时代应该是社会变革最厉害的时代,按道理说我们对社会的关注应该更多。
赵:我个人是想过这个问题的,可能是因为我们的成长经历,我们基本是在中国社会变革最剧烈的这30年长大的,是在那种不断变化和不断修正的价值观念中成长的。
蒲:我们的成长有很大的被动因素在里面。
赵:对。我想是不是由于社会背景和普遍的社会价值观念的不断转变,我们不得不不断地去怀疑和修正自己的价值观,世界观?刚刚觉得应该这样树立我们的人生观,过两天又变了,整个社会又变了,就造成了我们对外界东西的不太信任,失去了安全感。这种不信任和缺乏安全感就会选择回到人的内心世界,回到个体,并且在作品里反映出来。
蒲:实际上是一种不稳定造成的。我认为还有一个原因,现在很多年轻画家更关注社会,这点可能跟资讯的发达有关系。现在的资讯通过网络媒体传播得太快了,对人的触动必定放大了,可能感受会更强烈。
蔡:是,信息时代我认为最大的特点是主观歪曲和点状放大,真实少了,自我性就显得特别重要,我们面对的变化,实在是太快了,而且价值的判断经常无所适从,回到个体可能相对会可靠一点。
蒲:现在的价值观实际上是很单一的,非常单一。表面看变化很多,资讯也很发达,实际上没有什么变化,所有人的价值观都差不多。
赵:嗯,都是以钱为标准。
蒲:也可以说根本就没有价值观。
蔡:最近我看了一个很有意思的东西,“斯德哥尔摩综合症”,就是上世纪70年代发生在瑞典首都斯德哥尔摩的劫持人质事件,通过心理学家和社会学家的研究,发现人的一种病态特征,其中的受害者,后来反过来帮助加害者。
蒲:对绑匪的依赖性?
蔡:对,对绑匪的依赖性。所以说“内伤”这种东西,我一直比较关注。一边已是伤痛不已,一边又想“安逸”地生活。你说(现在国民)价值观……就这样了,没办法的事情。与生俱来。
赵:现在普遍的那些社会价值观我们又不太认同。
蔡:就是,无法认同。
赵:你说跟我们受的教育,成长的经历,钱就是标准吗?好像也不是,好像内心里面还有另外的诉求。
蒲:但是不知道是什么。
赵:这可能就是我们在作品中要寻找的东西,其实我们的作品对“精神性”还是有追求的,这种“精神性”是什么东西呢?每个人都在用自己的方式去寻找,去做一些东西。
蔡:关于作品的精神性,我个人觉得特别重要,这是我做作品的起码标准,同时还希望这种“精神性”的东西应该和观众产生关联或交流,这里边应该有一种契合点什么的……
蒲:你还是希望能多关注社会?
蔡:不是关不关注社会的问题,是如何关注的问题?我是希望作品不是一个观念、一个问题本身,我提出这个观念,你接受这个观念也看到这个观念,我不是这个意思。我想绘画本身应当有精神性的感受,对人具有指向内心的感染力。面对作品就能感受到,至于你是误读还是你真的感受到,它对你有一种精神性的(触动)就好。
蒲:每个人不一样,每个人的作品也不一样,比如建军的作品,我觉得特别个人化、内心化。
吴:为什么画成这样?也许是因为面对现实常常有一种茫然无措的感觉……
赵:对,一种逃避的倾向。你在外面的社会找不到安全感,你认为这个东西应该这么做,过两天又变了,这是有问题的,这样折腾几次,就没有安全感了。没有安全感我们选择的方式就是回到个体,回到人孤独的内心,这是我们作品里的价值。
蒲:只有个人的东西成为稳定的东西了,其他的都是不稳定的?
赵:反正这个东西还稍微有点可靠。
蒲:相对来说蔡黎明可能更关注社会问题。
赵:我们关心社会问题也不是从一个简单的层面上去看的。
蔡:不是用一个简单的社会价值判断去关注。
蒲:也不是说你画社会题材就是去关注社会问题,从画面中能感受到怎么去判断社会。
蔡:毕竟我们不是社会学者,对于艺术表达,题材也只是表达方式的起点,语言的感受性和感染力才是最重要的。
 
 
 
蒲:看你(赵能智)最近的画,跟以前有一点不太一样。
赵:我前两年还是追求绘画性比较多,绘画的手感,我也想在画面上留下一些时间的东西,速度感,包括画面上偶然出来的东西。最近的想法有点变化,往相反的方向做,想做得很冷。
蒲:看你的新画感觉你转弯的幅度有点大。
赵:对,我就是想做得很冷,很“冷静”,我想把情绪控制到最低。我现在画新作品也是想回到那种感觉,回到一个简单造型的本身,很冷静地塑造一个“型”。
蒲:我也有这种想法,我希望我的画面上尽量不流露太多的情绪。
赵:对,尽量把画面上个人的情绪压到最低,比较冷静地做一个东西放在那个地方。
蒲:刚才我说的关注一个普遍性的问题就是这个意思,尝试一种方法,把情绪压低。
赵:画面上我也处理得比较简单,比较平,强调一种造型之间的关系,我最近就是想画得很冷静,前段时间的笔触呀,肌理呀画得很帅,画面比较张扬,现在就想画得很冷。刚刚做了一些尝试,就是想回到一种简单的东西,就画一个“型”,很冷静地把它画出来,而不是像以前的作品那样比较表现。抵触绘画性,我现在有点反绘画性。
吴:绘画性太强也是对图像的一种破坏。
赵:对,对,就像做雕塑一样,我现在画画的时候,就会想如果我现在做雕塑,这个“型”怎么把它做出来?因为雕塑上就没有浮在表面的那些肌理什么的,其实就是在做一个“型”,包括这个“型”的转接之类的。
蒲:我第一次看到你的雕塑的时候比看到你的画给我的感觉强烈。
赵:对,冷静,情绪压低。我觉得跟我的感受也有变化,前几年(经济危机以前)整个社会都在蓬勃发展,中国在变成一个经济大国的时候,人的心态也浮躁了,大家都很膨胀,当经济危机一来,发现这个不是美国的问题,也不仅是欧洲的问题,中国也面临着一种重新自我定位:你这个国家,在国际上扮演一种什么样的角色,你怎么持续地发展,其实也需要思考,就有冷静的东西。包括国家的经济,对房地产的控制,其实也有这些东西在里面。
蒲:还是有大时代的背景。
赵:建军你觉得你的画和你以前的写诗有关系吗?
吴:我觉得写作丰富了我的感性。写作上感受更宽泛一些,绘画有一定的限制,很多东西可以感受到,但不一定能体现到画布上。画了几年,只落实了一种感受,而且是比较少的局部的感受,我现在就面临这种问题。
赵:你现在感觉面临什么问题?
吴:一种视觉感,做了几年后,接下来应该怎样去……
赵:寻找突破?
吴:对,怎样突破或者怎样转换,这是我现在面临的最大问题。一个创作阶段,一个关注点,关注了几年过后,其中的得失:自己觉得哪些可以延续?哪些不可以延续?现在不太清晰。包括作品本身,语言本身,题材本身……
赵:还有视觉图像本身的感觉。
吴:对,……有一些模糊的方向感,可能是对绘画性和对颜色的依赖,除此之外觉得有点空泛,有种怀疑。画一个人,画他脆弱也好,敏感也好,好像都觉得有点单薄。以后的创作中也许会有一些新东西出现,等待的过程也是如何去做好准备。
:你现在其实也在想,这个也画了几年了,也想做一种突破,想超越一些东西?
吴:有些时候还不是超越,是自己有些厌倦了,或者说自己觉得有些问题了。
:对,对。
蔡:处于焦灼状态,新的没有诞生,旧的又腻了。
赵:但是有这个感觉是特别好的事,就是对自己产生怀疑。
蒲:要说怀疑的话,我是从来都在怀疑,没有一个时期能够稳定下来,每一幅画出来没有多久就会产生怀疑。
:我记得你(建军)以前,上学的时候做了很多试验性的东西?
吴:是的,我当时不明白,现在回过头去想,那些东西就是对现实彻底的失望,或者彻底的疏离,然后造成对物性东西的需求……,后来慢慢感到现实带给我更真实的感受。又回到生活,顺从内心,我现在尽量在削弱情绪性的东西。
蒲:我发现有一点是共同的,就是控制情绪,都希望能够控制情绪。
赵:情绪这个东西,我觉得有点危险,做到最后会发现变成自娱自乐。今天拿着笔在画布上画,就像挠痒很舒服,那种舒服只有自己知道,但你的舒服和别人有什么关系呢?
蒲:我觉得这个确实是很重要的一点,纯粹的自娱自乐也没多大意思。那如果不自娱自乐的话,又关注什么呢?最后还是要关注社会?
赵:这个东西……怎么说呢?对啊,这是一个问题!
蔡:我觉得这是两个不同的角度。
赵:我在想一个问题,我们每天去工作室最大的冲动是什么?你想画一幅画的冲动是什么?
蔡:这一点我有种状态,如果去画了,不管画得满不满意,只要画了就舒服一点。
蒲:那你就成了自娱自乐。
蔡:如果有几天不画,心里就躁得慌,反正目前就这个状态。但有一点我比较清楚,目前在表达上,在绘画语言上,还没画到位,这是不是原动力?
赵:你是觉得你面对一张画布的时候,里面有很多问题没解决?而且这个问题是一个很简单的问题,就如颜色哪里厚哪里薄,哪里深哪里浅哪里平,这种最基本的技术问题,让你有很多矛盾的东西需要去处理。
蔡:也有一些这样的问题,主要还是语言本身的形成和稳定的问题。这个题材和角度我一直比较感兴趣,内心要表达的东西也很强,但做出来的作品觉得还不到位,感受性和感染力还有距离,这是我最近这段时间一直在做的。所以我现在放弃很多东西(比起去年那一批),包括一些场景,没准今后还会回过头来画那些有场景的组合,但现在我想单纯点,让语言的强度大一点。象征性的东西我又不喜欢,我想让画面本身具有感染力。就像我理解的罗斯科和八大,虽然一个是东方的、国画的方式,一个是西方的、抽象表现的,但是我觉得精神的感受性是一样的,都有孤寂冷病的感觉。
赵:我觉得你最近的画和以前的感觉很不一样,画面比较集中了。以前有些造型上的问题和整个画面的控制问题,但最近新的画传达这些东西要集中些,画面也回到单纯,背景这些该减弱的把它减弱了,整个控制得比较好,感觉开始出来了。
蔡:画画嘛,还是需要时间。
 
 
 
赵:我觉得我们现在都有一种比较单纯的状态,还是想去画画,想去画一个东西,内心有一种表达的欲望,其实是一种比较朴素的当一个画家或者一个艺术家的状态。现在也没有商业,也没有更多的展览的机会,依然在做,我觉得这种是可贵的。没有目的,也不管现实的结果,是在追求一种……我觉得也不是生活方式吧?
蒲:应该不是一种生活方式。
蔡:但已经变成生活方式的一部分了。
蒲:刚才你(赵)提到社会背景影响,不同时代人的问题,我就在想每一个时代,画家艺术家都受时代背景的影响,但是需不需要去主动地反复思考这个问题?你反复去思考这个问题会不会强迫自己朝着某一个时代的方向去走?
赵:这个东西我觉得是这样的,我们看以前的历史,你觉得这个人就是那个时代,但是生在其中的人,却不知道自己是什么。我们不知道我们这个时代到底需要什么东西,也不清楚这个时代整个的是什么,再过100年别人来看,哦,这个时代就是这个特点……但现在到底是什么特点?我们是不清楚的,但你又在这个背景中……我觉得最重要的还是尊崇内心真实的感受吧,至于是不是时代的代表,谁也说不清楚。
蒲:会不会有些心理暗示,你就会朝这个方向走,我是这个时代的人,我的画就应该是这种感觉?
赵:但是有一点,你在这个时代,你有感受,你还是有种判断的:我们是个怎样的社会,人是个什么样的感觉。这是一种文化上的判断,这个问题还是需要思考。
蒲:有段时间我一直在想,是不是需要思考这些问题,有的时候思考多了会有一种无所适从的感觉。
蔡:这里面我认为有个文化符号或者视觉语言的转换方式和转换能力问题:为什么你要用画画这种方式,为什么会这样画?
蒲:用什么样的方式,我觉得纯粹是个人的问题,有些人就是喜欢画画,有些人就是喜欢做装置。
蔡:对呀,当你拿到画笔,用这种造型,这种题材,我觉得应该不仅仅是一种无意识的动作,一种技巧经验的劳动,肯定还是会有理性思考的一面或者主动选择的一面。
赵:这个东西有点复杂……
蔡:还有,就是怎么在大的文化背景里去判断你的东西成立与否,我觉得这是个问题。
赵:对,就是我们每个人都在工作室画画,你怎样来判断这个东西,因为你在做的时候肯定不会想,我就这样想,我就这样做,但做完了还是要判断,那你判断的参照是什么?跳开你的作品,客观地看你的作品的意义在哪里?价值在什么地方?会想这个问题吗?
蒲:肯定会想,换句话说就是你的作品做出来到底有没有意思?
赵:对,这其实就是一种判断,你的背景是什么呢?你会把自己的东西和其他人的放在一起来比较,会不会?
吴:我觉得是这样的:我们的美术教育来源于西方,难免有错位的感觉,好像是在错位当中不断地错位,最终的走向自己也不能确定,只是自己喜欢就坚持在做。有时候会觉得有些虚无。
赵:对,迷茫!永远知道哪些东西不能画,但不知道哪些东西该画。(笑)
吴:就是(笑),好像人生就是这样过来的,绘画就是在这过程当中进行。
赵:对我来说也是,其实大的东西永远想不清楚,永远不清楚自己去做、去画的东西是什么价值,包括社会价值和自己期望的历史价值,每个人都想这个东西,但永远无法把握。我现在看自己以前的画,比如看到我10年前的画,我能清楚地记得当时画这张画的情景,那种空气、温度、湿度等等……我们生命的时间随时都在消耗,如果你画这张画的时候用了3天时间,你会发现你那3天时间的生命转换成了另外的形式,变成了一张画,这个东西对我个人而言就是起码的价值。看到10年前的一张画,我会看到那几天的生命,虽然时间消失了,但它似乎还在……这从我个人角度来说还是有些意义、有些价值的。你把你一生做的,能够留下来的东西放在一起,发现其实那就是你的一生。最后你肉体消失了,而你的生命转换成另外的形式留下了。
蔡:逝去的时间是看得见的,还有看不见的,呵呵。
赵:(笑)有很多东西你是看不见的,时间就消逝了。我觉得现在画画,还是真正喜欢画画,能在里面找到一些乐趣。
蔡:实验很多“课题”,很有意思。
赵:我觉得我们几个人的画,有一点,就是从一开始到现在每个人的个性特点都还在,包括蒲冬我印像最深的(你)毕业创作画的那些猫,很诡异的,那就是你个人的感觉,到现在那种感觉都还在,这是很重要的。
蒲:就是怎么把它提炼出来,强化,形成自己的语言,这个需要做。刚才你(赵)提到一件作品完成了过后,你判断的标准是什么,这个也比较重要。你对你自己做出来的东西,怎么来判断它的好坏?用什么标准来衡量?
吴:我觉得有两个标准,一个是对自己的标准。
赵:这个是基点。
吴:对,这是个基点,也是可靠性比较强的,自己可以感受和把握到的。比如这几张画相比以前有什么不一样,是不是更好了一点?传达的准确性、画面的处理是不是更满意?还有另外一种,从各方面:比如知识背景、对人生的感受、以及个人的一种判断等等。
赵:你肯定要换另外的角度去考虑这个问题。
蒲:这个标准确实很重要,它直接就引导你往哪个方向走。
赵:对,它也不是纯粹一个技术层面的问题。
蒲:技术这个东西都是相对的,每个人都有适合他的技术,适合你的技术不一定拿到别人那儿就是好的,但对你来说就是好的。除了技术问题之外,就是怎么有意义的问题。
赵:对,大家还是想画一张有意义的画,不是想画一张技术特别好的画。
吴:蒲冬现在的画比他以前的更准确,他的关注点更清晰。
蒲:就是怎么样找到一种心里面真实的感受,这个比较重要。
赵:关键是这种感受你要把它转换成视觉的语言,包括形、色的关系,要用这些东西把你内心的东西转换出来,这就是一个难度。
蒲:转换的结果就决定一幅画的好坏。
蔡:这种转换,我的体验是在画的过程中才能完成,有些东西包括色彩、细节的处理……包括我画那种白嘴唇的东西,都是在画的过程当中……画出来的。
赵:有些东西在过程当中产生。
蔡:在过程当中取舍一些。
赵:大家都是直觉性的,不是理性,不是纯粹的观念性或者思考性,可能跟这边的人文和自然环境有关系。你看这外面杂草丛生,植物都疯长得张牙舞爪的,这种土壤让人的感受性和直觉性比较丰富,这跟地气有关系,这个东西很有意思,它会变成一个地方人的特点。你看北方,到了冬天到处都是荒的,树是直的,路也是直的,像建军那种很敏感的东西就没有,你眼睛看到的就没有,那种很细很敏锐的东西那边就没有,所以这边的艺术家要涂得很平也很困难。可能老蔡的画里面思考的成分要多些,理性的东西要多一些。
蒲:他对社会的关注要多一些。
蔡:我是一直对集权伤害这种东西比较关注,它是不是个社会问题不重要,我觉得人总是受伤的,每个人既是伤害者又是受伤者,这种内伤会遗传,人注定是伤痛无止。最早选择这个题材是看到电视那些主持人呀、发言人呀、评论员呀等等,那些空话,废话,假话,总是喋喋不休。这些形象是我们每天都会看见的,看多了,我就在想,这能不能就是我感受的“内伤”的形象载体?然后画了一批主持人,后来画了演员,画了讲坛,画了主席台,都不满意,渐渐地我发现我感兴趣的是一类人,具有公共性。伤害和受伤都是无意的,有种无奈感。同时在画的过程中,绘画语言的转换是个问题,起初外在的东西要多一点,包括一些表现性的元素,甚至做一些偶然的效果,或者把形象界定到一个框架、场景下,有桌子椅子,有话筒等等,画面都不满意。后来,我觉得是不是不要有明确的价值判断,让它在语言上开放一些,价值判断弱一点,会不会语言的强度会更大一些,画面本身的感染力会更强一些……今年5月份后,我开始画那种灰调的纯粹人头像,有意削弱题材的类化感,画面的色调更加平和一些,更加微妙一些。
赵:更加内心化。
蔡:对,更加内心化,画面的视觉感反倒更强一些。
赵:我看你的画,从开始到现在有一个从外到内的过程。刚开始你还有稍微具体的场景,感觉是你在看一个东西,最近的新画其实已经从外部转换成内在的一种视角,内心化的东西更强烈。视觉有个转换,开始是你在看一种东西,后面是你在看自己,这种转换是比较有意思的。
蔡:我自己觉得这样转换后,到现在这个阶段,自己的表达面更宽了……
 
 
 
吴:今天谈到题材,我是这样看的,有一些作品,说它的艺术气质也好,或者说画家个人的语言特性也好,总会有一种恒定的东西在里面。像毕加索变化不断,但那种粗旷的、理性的东西,从他早期到后期的作品都有。面对个体的时候,理性和感性的结合,语言气质的东西一直都在。
赵:每个人的作品都有自身的气质,是别人无法复制的,也是一个艺术家与另一个艺术家区别的关键所在。像蒲冬毕业作品画的东西和现在画的东西是贯穿的,还有你(吴)的那种敏感的、神经质的东西。我们所有表面的、形式的东西都可以变,但这种东西要把它越做越强烈、越做越精准。其实我们刚才谈话里有个东西很重要,一种最真实的个人的角度或者一种感受,这是最重要的,做出来的东西最后是个什么样的结果其实我们都不能把握,但你忠实了内心的真实会很欣慰,虽然结果不是我们个人所能选择的。各种历史机遇,我觉得是外在的、虚无飘渺的,最朴素和最本质的一点是忠实于个人的感受。
蔡:也是掩藏不住的。
赵:对,这个东西从作品中也看得出来,你有没有对自己撒谎(笑)。一个人做作品对自己都要撒谎的话,也没有多大意思。我们可以聊点……嗯,我们毕竟在中国美术这个氛围里,要看各种各样的展览呀,各种各样的信息呀,大家对流行的东西怎么看?
蒲:流行的?
赵:你会发现一些东西是流行的,就像前几年有好多人在画卡通的东西,这两年又有好多人在画自己小时候记忆的东西……因为我们的角度和作品都不是在流行的范围内,都不属于潮流,都是很边缘的,边缘视觉和边缘的人生态度,个体的东西。
蒲:我觉得流行对每个人都有影响,关键的一点是你跟不跟它走,或者跟你是不是契合的,如果本来你就符合这种流行趋势,我觉得跟着走也无所谓,但如果你本来不属于这种类型,你非要往里边靠就没意思了,感觉像在“做”艺术了,没有意义。最终还是要忠实于自己的内心,流行的往往是形式上的东西,还有就是流行的东西对每个人的影响有多大?不可避免的或多或少都有影响,但怎么样把这些影响让它符合自己的发展方向和自己本身的东西相吻合是关键。
赵:画画到了最后也很简单,就是你找到自己的一块地,一个局部,一个自己感兴趣的东西,放得很小的一个东西,在里面不断去挖掘,不断去找,不断去做一种努力和尝试吧。
蒲:我觉得所有人都会受流行趋势的影响,肯定会受影响,关键是怎么控制,和有没有必要控制。
赵:我现在有一种感觉,在北京看展览,每一个展厅,看到很多东西都不兴奋,挺奇怪。前一段时间看了一个台湾的展览,很多展览你感觉展厅就这样,作品也就这样,引不起兴奋,不像过去看到杂志上的一张图片都会兴奋半天。现在看展览很多,大展、小展、个展、群展,都视觉疲劳了,引不起神经的兴奋。
吴:是展览本身还是个人兴趣?
赵:我就在想,这到底是个什么问题?是自己太不敏感了?还是整个社会……,你感觉是看不到你想看的东西,你的内心有个需求,想看到一种什么东西,能让你兴奋,但现在看不到什么,展览要么像博览会,要么就装神弄鬼。
:好多展览就想做成博览会。
赵:你在展览里边看不出来哪个东西好,哪个东西不好。
蒲:我觉得不能把画画或艺术本身看得太重,如果你本身看得太重就会失望。也许你看到一些画展没有兴奋点,但你看到一些工业产品你反而会兴奋呢。
赵:对,高科技的。
蒲:所以你把画画或艺术本身看得太重的话,在这个时代艺术的冲击力,那种感觉,肯定不会引起你的反应。
赵:太难了,很难兴奋。就是去一个展厅里,也缺乏一种价值判断,你自己都不知道哪个东西有意思,哪个东西没意思,你觉得没意思的东西,别人可能觉得有意思。
蒲:归根结底还是跟社会有关系。
赵:社会价值多元?
蒲:(价值观)缺失,没有价值观,或者单一价值观。
蔡:没有价值观的价值观。
蒲:也可以这样说,但这样说就成了玄学了。
赵:你看一个人的作品,你个人觉得就是XX,但是很多批评家的文章都把他推为大师了(大家笑),搞得我很迷茫,怀疑自己有问题。
蒲:要么自己出问题了,要么外面出问题了。
赵:你觉得就这样吧,就这样弄了一下,好象也没多大意思,可你看别人写的东西,好像很有意思,搞得你很混乱。我现在感觉看任何东西都觉得特别没信心,包括对自己的作品,也没信心,有一种挫败感。
蔡:这个不是落伍的表现吧?
赵:不知道,很迷茫!所以对自己做的东西也怀疑,对自己也怀疑,到底做的是一个什么东西?!
蔡:参照乱了自己也变形了,好比自己站在哈哈镜面前,看到自己支离破碎了。
蒲:这个话题不会有结果。(大家笑)
 
 
 
赵:我们还是来谈我们这个展览吧,我们是同学,二十年了,第一次在一起做展览,大家有什么想法?
吴:我个人认为是种阶段性状态的呈现。同学是一个契合点,大家有很多共同的地方:我们的成长背景、面对同样的问题以及创作的方式等等。但,每个人又有自己的特点……
蔡:我觉得是用这种方式把自己在稍大一些的范围里呈现出来。
赵:通过展览这种方式和观众交流,希望得到一些反馈。
蔡:对,一些参照。
赵:得到一些交流,呈现这个阶段做的一些东西,比较完整地、认真地呈现出来,跟观众有些交流,得到反馈。
蒲:我想这就是目的,然后再开始下一步的工作。
吴:还是很有意思的,好象又回到以前大家同学的时候。(大家笑)
赵:蒲冬提到“植·物·人”这个概念特别好,你说一下展览的名字呢。
蒲:我认为展览的题目越简单越好,让人看了一目了然,不用过多地思考题目的涵义,从表面来说,我画的植物,你们画的人,反正混在一起就是“植·物·人”。
赵:这个名字我觉得挺好,“植物人”是病理学上的一个名词,但转换成展览的名字特别好,和现在人的状态也是很吻合的。植物人是什么意思呢?
蔡:植物人没有大脑,机器人格。
吴:是人的一种非正常状态。
:有肌体,没有思想。
赵:心脏在跳,血在流,没有思想,也没法感知外界,太像我们现在的人了。
蒲:物理上是生存的,精神上是死亡的。
赵:对,对,这个概念是特别好的。那天我专门查了一下,内容记不清楚了,但描述的感觉特别好,说的是病理学的角度,但从精神的角度就是现在人的状态,现在的人就是“植物人”,这是展览的主题,跟我们的作品也很吻合。
蔡:前两天上海台有个节目,就说的植物人,植物人的配偶是可以离婚的。很多情况《婚姻法》是不许离婚的,但植物人可以离,连婚姻资格都没有了,法定意义的人都不是了……
赵:还是看作品吧!
…………
 
 
 
 
 
September 13, 2010, at 2 p.m.
 
Pu Dong, Wu Jianjun, and Zhao Nengzhi came one after anther at 2 p.m. to Cai Liming’s Studio of Chengdu Blueroof Art Gallery, on September 13, 2010.
 
Zhao Nengzhi (hereinafter referred to as Zhao): It’s our very first joint exhibition, and I bet it must be full of fun. We’ve known each other since school time, you see, and it should be a wonderful experience. By the way, when did you start to draw those green vegetables, Pu Dong?
Pu Dong (hereinafter referred to as Pu): It was beginning of this year. And those photos sent to you were finished in the first six months.
Zhao: They were so different from those previous ones.
Pu: The area in front of my studio is overgrown with weeds, which come out in spring and drop to the dust in autumn. Upon seeing that kind of circulation with such vegetables growing up and withering to death again and again, I cannot help but to draw something, just like knee-jerk I think.
Zhao: Yeah, I got it. It originates from daily life.
Pu: One thing that I’m always keeping an eye on is time. And that’s why I remained the constant pursue of individualizing before, while giving more emphasis on universalizing for the time being.
Zhao: Well, what do you mean exactly by TIME?
Pu: It is just such kind of feeling of flowing, a pure concept of time.
Zhao: Is there also sense of life embodied within your paintings of those growing plants?
Pu: Correctly. I feel that this course from cradle to grave is in essence a temporal idea of floating. Though such vegetables being newborn, senescent or withered are all presented in my drawings, they are merely something superficial, and what I want happens to be on the contrary, for the sense I pursue is much deeper. To my great pity, however, a strong sense of form is in the fashion for contemporary paintings.
Zhao: So you are against formalism, aren’t you?
Pu: Well, the truth is that I am opposed to paintings that are highly ornamental and purely formal, and that is also a big concern as for paintings to be exhibited this time. So we have to try every means to avoid such tendency and stay far away from formalization and pure decoration.
Zhao: In other words, you still insist that works are supposed to convey feelings or connotations, am I right?
Pu: I’ve always been thinking these years that which on earth are paintings supposed to be, conveying conceptions or presenting realities? Eventually, I drew such conclusion that pictures impartially manifesting observations were more meaningful, hence affording much food for reflection.
Zhao: That’s why you drew those paintings and showed audience all the actual images and visual scenes, for you want them to watch and draw their own comprehensions from diverse perspectives.
Pu: Absolutely. There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. As for me, refraining from simple reproduction is of great urgency in that I radically do not prefer to add too much subjective factors to my works. The case is same as ornament. Both of the two facts demand for dodge, and I hate them.
Cai Liming (hereinafter referred to as Cai): But the problem is that this theme is too easy to be dealt with in an ornamental method.
Pu: Yes, exactly. Works of heavy ornaments are meaningless for my standing.
Zhao: What’s the relationship in your mind between paintings and audiences?
Pu: As far as I am concerned, be feelings toward my paintings same or different, the most desirable effect I intend to create is simply some shining points, points that may leave certain ripples in one’s heart. It is just like I’m watching others’ works when suddenly my sensitive feeling toward certain issues in life is stirred up. And that is enough.
Zhao: Then have you ever thought about the problem of language? That’s to say since every one of us can see vegetables, and it is nature that what you observe in real situations may put on a total different clothes in my eyes, your specific means of expression as well as your unique language are thus required for the sake of self-manifestation. In that circumstance, people would immediately recognize that they are vegetables in Pu Dong’s perspective upon a single glimpse. As for this question, what would you say?
Pu: This happens to be what we referred as language stability. It is not the case that finding out a language and making use of it, after which one’s style can thus be formed, it is far from being the truth. In order to achieve the so-called language stability, a gradual but steady course of exploration is needed. Only by passing through that necessary course can one make clear his or her own language, i.e. the individual style. Just as what Cai Liming has said, that characteristics of each individual are within a certain range, one would eventually reveal his or her own uniqueness on whatever conditions.
Cai: Of course there would be some people who may fail to manifest themselves completely nor clearly, either. Hahahaha…
Pu:I generally agree with you. Nonetheless, one’s specific language may gradually be discovered during that course. In addition, for part of each individual, the corresponding characteristic has in practice come into being at a very early stage. For instance, from your (herein referred to as Zhao Nengzhi) paintings I’ve got such feeling that those sketches made during your school time were exactly the same with the present ones. The picture of David, for example, is too much like portraits drawn in later period. 
Zhao: You totally get me. As an artist, I regard it highly important to possess something unique, something differentiating him or her from anyone else, which is to say to carry a personal-specific artistic temperament. What makes your works distinct is by no means the matter of theme, for the reason that what you draw is also drawn by others. That’s take cup as an example. Both of you have chosen cups as the theme of your productions, while the impressions left upon audience are so different from each other. In this circumstance, your specific visual language in combination with the unique artistic temperament contained turn out to be explanation for such difference existing. My experience in this regard is to make conclusions and extraction from previous works. That’s why the basic elements at earlier stages can also be noticed in paintings of this period. For the sake of personal visual language enhancement, what I would like to perform is to generalize first, magnify to the next, purify in the following and then reorganize or reproduce certain scenes or single image at last…
Pu: While looking at paintings of yours and Jianjun’s, I have noticed the changing procedures involved in. Nevertheless, everything regains the primary form, i.e the proto type in the end.
Cai: Things of genuine individual characters would be revealed unintentionally in stead of being hided in an natural manner through paintings. From my point of view, styles, preferences and manners, etc. are formed most of the time unconsciously during the course of expression step by step. The only difference thereof lies in the degree of recognition, with some of them higher and the rest lower.
Pu: As for works of Zhao Nengzhi from a single perspective of language formation, those produced after the gloomy ones for instance, resemble in particular sketches back to his school times. It is the same case while observing Jianjun’s works. There exists indeed such period of transferring, however, that trend doesn’t last long. I have got an extremely strong sense of origination ever since your start drawing about paintings in terms of walking down the stairs. That being the case, language manner is deemed to be distinct as long as being recognized by the others.
 
Wu Jianjun(hereinafter referred to as Wu): The opinion strikes me that language needs to be handled at a technical level, i.e. to say that language needs to be traced in such manner as if one were in a passageway, and as long as light at the end of the passageway were noticed, people would be able to get through. Hence, artists are supposed to spare no efforts in establishing their own drawing styles, for once the styles, i.e. languages in this situation, were identified, their feelings would be reflected on the canvas.
 
Zhao: While facing the real world, people at our age are too easy to feel at loose ends. Take our works as an example, as you can see, the shared feature revealed by our paintings is the emphasis on the “innermost being”, with little attention paid to those social or realistic issues. Your (herein referred to as Pu Dong) pictures of vegetables, Jianjun’s grotesque figures with green background, as well as Cai’s characters which sometimes look like portraits and other times don’t, all incline to put a relatively heavier stress on the “innermost being”, or “psychologization”. Maybe we are all people with psychological problems, you know, that we all prefer to draw something private, and even those vegetables are represented in such a private and personalized manner, how come?
Pu: I believe it is the production of the entire age, the age of living, and the age of growing.
Zhao:Yeah, we were almost all born in the late sixties, andI think it’s pretty interesting to make an analysis in terms of our growing background. We went to primary schools at later stage of the Cultural Revolution, and started to make sense of certain things in the late 70s, when China began the reform and opening-up policy. And then we went to high schools and colleges at the most prosperous stage of culture during the period of the 8th five-year plan, which saw the brimming with ideals and insurgent of passions. Countless Fine Arts read in secondary schools, various lectures attended at colleges, and western philosophy known later, all contribute to an amazing eighties. Another transformation has occurred in the 90s, with emerging of the commodity society, globalization brought by the network, and realization of the Global Village… all of which are full of interest.
Pu: And there is a rather strange phenomenon as for my part. Logically speaking, people at our age are supposed to possess a stronger feeling towards social transformation, while young people born in eighties and nineties may pay comparatively less attention to that aspect. To our great surprise, however, the truth is just on the contrary, that works of a great number of young artists reflect more practical situations.
Cai: But in my opinion, our generation’s points of view towards social issues are more intrinsic and hidden. What’s society? Society is nothing but a group of people, and it is truism that contrasts between individuals and groups are unavoidable. What’s more, intellectual influence made upon us is much stronger, so is sensitivity towards human issues, let alone the fact that we are living in the period of social transition, and having various transforms experienced.
Zhao: Our generation has undergone a forcible transformation of diversified values and world outlook. Why would that happen? What’s the reason for people in the 60s, i.e. people at our age, paying so much attention to the private inner world, while disapproving of the universal social value? It seems that we are drifting ourselves away from the real society on purpose, absenting from the state, and even avoiding reflecting the practical issues by works.  
Pu: That is indeed rather awkward. Since we have grown up in such an era with tremendous social changes taking place, theoretically, we should have paid much attention to the society.
Zhao: I’ve thought about this question in person before. I think maybe it is because of the growing experience that we have, for the reason that we were basically born in those 30 years with the most drastic social changes happening, and growing up under such values of continuous changing and constant modification.
Pu: There are tremendous passive factors involved in our growth.
Zhao: I think so. I’m wondering whether it is due to the ceaseless changes of social background and shifting of universal social values that we have to be unremittingly suspicious of ourselves and amending self-value and world outlook. The idea that maybe we should establish the outlook on life in this way has just been formed for a few days, it changes again, so does the whole society. That being the case, we lost our faith in the outside world, and we even lost the sense of security. Consequently, that kind of sense of distrust and lack of security may return back to peoples’ inner hearts, return back to each individual, and eventually reflect in the works.
Pu: It is actually the result of that short of unsteadiness. There’s still another reason as for my part, which is many young artists’ paying much attention to the society nowadays is very likely concerned with the flourishing of information. It is spreading in such a fast pace that impact imposed on people is undoubtedly enlarged with an even further intensified influence.
Cai: Exactly. The major feature of information age is in my eyes subjective distortion and punctate amplification. The less the real information is, the more important the selfness is. Those changes we are facing are occurring too fast to think clearly whether they are right or wrong. Hence, returning back to individualism is relatively a reliable choice.
Pu: As a matter of fact, values in nowadays is of awful and extremely singleness. The external variations may seem huge, while in practice there’s hardly anything different. Almost everyone share the similar values.
Zhao:Let me see, hum, they all take money as the standard.
Pu: We might as well say that there exists no such thing as values at all.
Cai: I’ve read an interesting story recently, it is a about the Stockholm Syndrome. According to psychologists and sociologists, it is a syndrome named after the robbery of bank taking place in the capital city of Sweden, i.e. Stockholm, in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage, in this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors, and even defended them after they were freed from their six-day ordeal.
Pu: What? The victims became emotionally attached to the robbers, no kidding!
Cai: I’m not kidding, seriously. That’s why I always concentrate on such things as Psychological Shadow, for instance. On the one side, people are deeply hurt and afraid of it, on the other side, people are dreaming about living safely and happily. You tell me, buddy, what we shall do in this circumstance, with our people holding that sort of values inherently. Nothing could we do.
Zhao: And those universal social values at present are beyond our identification.
Cai: Precisely, we can not acknowledge them.
Zhao: Do you guys think that cash is set as the criterion for education we have received and experience of growth? The answer seems to be no. And there may be additional appeals existing deep inside of our hearts. 
Pu: But we have no ideas about what on earth they are.
Zhao: And those are precisely likely to be what we are looking for from our paintings. Actually, we are in pursuit of spirituality sometimes, but what is the so-called spirituality by the way? All of us are searching for it via our own means, thus doing something belongs specifically to ourselves.
Cai: I personally regard it of extreme importance to create the corresponding spirit in each works, and that’s also the fundamental criteria of my painting. Meanwhile, I hope that this kind of spirituality can be related to and communicated with audience. There is at least such thing as conjunction point, etc.
Pu: So you still hope to pay more attention to the society, don’t you?
Cai: Actually, it is not a matter of whether paying attention to the society or not, but rather a mater of how to paying attention. The works I want is by no means a concept, nor a problem in itself so as to I put forward in it this concept and you notice it and then you accept it, that is totally not what I mean. I prefer a feeling of spiritual embodied within the painting itself, which infects people in terms of their inner world upon their facing the painting. Be it the truth feeling or misunderstanding, as long as there is certain influence imposed, it is enough.
Pu: People are different from each other, and the case goes the same with their paintings. Jianjun’s works, for instance, are in my eyes particularly individualizing and inner-most being.
Wu: Why would it appear to be that particularly individualizing and inner-most being? Maybe it is for the sense of being all at sea while facing the reality.
Zhao: Absolutely. Your works show the tendency toward escapism, for you have failed to find security from the outside world. You deemed that this kind of stuff should be handled in this way, while a few days later, it changes again. Here comes the problem that you would lose your sense of security, since this right or wrong issue has repeated for several times. It is for the sake of lack of security that we choose to go back to individual again, to our lonely inner hearts again, and to drive out the values of our works.
Pu: Are you saying that only things of individualization are stable, and nothing else is within line of the same category?
Zhao: As far as I am concerned individualized things, say style or language, are more or less reliable in any case.
Pu: Comparatively speaking, Cai Liming is the one who cares more about the social issues.
Zhao: Social issues in the concern of us are by no means observed from a simple layer.
Cai: We certainly do not make our judgments on account of an ordinary social value.
Pu: Nor have we said that you are concerned about social problems because you have painted about them, but to draw the experience of how to judge the society from the scenes drawn.
Cai: We are not social scholars after all. In regard to artistic expression, theme can merely be regarded as the point of departure of the presentation. What carry more weight are the perceptibility as well as the infection of language.
 
 
Pu: While looking at your (herein referred to as Zhao Nengzhi) recent works, a sense of different is arose.
Zhao: What I have pursued in previous years is more painterly, the handfeel of painting, for example. In addition, I also want to add something temporal, like sense of speed, to drawings, including the part appeared on the canvas by chance. My ideas have altered a little bit in recent time, because I want to paint with a flavor of coldness, just on the contrary with the previous inclinations.
Pu: I’ve noticed a big change from your new works.
Zhao: Exactly. I want to paint something sober, something of extreme calm, with a strongest depressed feeling. My new works now are in the pursuit of that feeling in order to return back to a simple formation, a form created with supreme dispassion.
Pu: I have that inclination, too. I hope to avoid too much feelings being added to my paintings.
Zhao:Correctly. We should try whatever we could to minimize personal emotion in terms of painting and produce it in a manner with the minimal influence of passion.
Pu: What I’ve mentioned before as focusing on a universal issue is precisely of this meaning. We work out a method to paint with our emotions accommodated properly.
Zhao: A simple and flat fashion is adopted in emphasizing the relationship between modeling within paintings. I would like to draw for now with little emotion added, which happens to be on the contrary of previous works painted in a publicized manner. I’ve made certain attempts to draw simply a form, the plainest aspect, calmly instead of expressively as before. I am kind of against painterly to some extent.
Wu: Drawing with strong painterly is to certain degree a kind of destroy of images.
Zhao: Yeah, correctly. It is the same with making sculptures. While I am painting, I would image that I am making a sculpture instead. To begin with, I would think about how to form the appearance. For the reason that sculpture has no texture carved on the appearance, the only task left then is the formation part, including the connection parts.
Pu: I still remember the first time I saw your sculpture, which has imposed a much stronger impression on me than your paintings.
Zhao: Yes, just stay calm down, with a lowered emotion. And I also think that it is also related to my sensation changes. A few years ago, before the economic crisis, the whole society has been developing in a vigorous manner. Upon China’s changing into an economic giant, our people began to live in a blundering way with an ever expanding desire. The economic crisis is by no means merely a challenge of America, nor of Europe, in addition to which China is also faced with the mission of self-recognition. Such questions as what role China is playing in the international stage, and how China could be able to maintain a sustainable development, as well as the national economic control over the real estate are also in the need of deliberation.
Zhao: Jianjun, do you think there is any relationship between your present paintings and poems created before?
Wu: From my point of view, writing has enriched my life. The space is much wider for writing than drawing, as painting is always subordinated to certain limitations. Not all the things felt can be put on the canvas. I’ve engaged in this field for several years with only one feeling put into practice, which merely belongs to a small segment.
Zhao: What’s the problem do you think you have encountered for the time being?
Wu: A kind of vision, I mean, what should I do next to…
Zhao: …make breakthroughs?
Wu: Absolutely. How to make breakthroughs or achieve transitions, that’s my top concern at present. A phase of creation, a focus of attention, the gain and loss remained after several years’ concentration, and the questions such as which are continuable, which are not continuable, works themselves, language itself, as well as themes concerned have not been worked our yet.
Zhao: And there’s also a feeling toward vision image itself.
Wu: Yes, there are fuzzy senses of directions involved, which may rely on painterly and colors. Apart from that, such feelings of empty, and doubts are still contained. While drawing a figure, be it fragile or sensitive, the picture will always appear to be lack of something. There may emerge some new things in the future creations, during the course of which we should learn how to make a full preparation.
Zhao: So you are actually thinking about making some breakthroughs and surpassing, right? And you have always been drawing in this style for several years.
Wu: It cannot be called as surpassing yet sometimes, as you see that I have been painting for several years, and I kind of get tired of it, in other words, I feel something wrong of it.
Zhao: Yeah, absolutely.
Cai: So you must be in deep anxiety now, with none fresh ideas coming into being yet, and being tired of the old ones.
Zhao: But it is definitely something especially good to doubt about oneself.
Pu: If that were the case, I am all along doubting about myself, with no period of stability. The sense of doubt emerges not long after completion of a new painting.
Zhao:I remember that in earlier times you (herein referred to as Jianjun) have produced lots of experimental doings at school.
Wu: Yes, I have, but I didn’t understand at that time. Looking back to that time, those were in essence thorough disappointment about reality, or complete alienation from the outside world, hence giving rise to desires for materials. It was in later period that I came to realize that reality had brought me more authentic feelings. And then I got back to normal life, and followed what I truly longing for. For the time being, I am making attempts to weaken emotional factors.
Pu: So there is at least one thing we have in common that is we are all trying and longing to control our emotions.
Zhao: Emotion is for my part something a little bit dangerous, for you may find that you are actually amusing yourself at last. While painting on the canvas today, I found it extremely comfortable, just like tickling. That kind of amenity can only be experienced by yourself, and the problem is can anyone else feel the same way as you do?
Pu: It is indeed a point of dramatic importance, pure entertainment for oneself is not that fun at all. So what’s the point deserves our attention? Will the answer go back to the society eventually all the same?
Zhao: Well, for this point, hum, how should I put it? Yeah, it is true that this is a problem.
Cai: In my point of view, they are totally two different angles.
Zhao: I am asking myself, that what’s the biggest impulse for us to go to the studio everyday? And what’s the impulsion for you to draw a picture?
Cai: As for this point, I have some words to say. In the circumstance that I go to the studio, I will feel a little bit comfortable as long as I paint something, be it a satisfying works or not.
Pu: So you are really enjoying yourself.
Cai: What’s more, I would be rather irritable if I haven’t painted for several days. Anyway, that’s my current state. Nevertheless, there’s something I know too clearly that I haven’t perform well enough in terms of expression as well as drawing language. Is it the so-called motive power?
Zhao: So the truth is you feel there are lots of problems being unsettled yet while facing a piece of painting, right? And since it is in practical a very simple question, such as where to put more color and where to cut down some color, where to deepen and where to lighten, it is such most fundamental technical problem that brings you countless troubles to deal with.
Cai: Besides, there are also problems in relation to language formation and its steady, which are at all time attracting me to a great extent. In spite of the strong desire to express the inner thoughts, works produced is far from being satisfaction, and there is still a distance between perceptibility and infection. That’s what I have been doing for this period of time. Thus being the case, I have given up lots of things already, compared with last year, including some scenes. It is possible that I would return back again to draw such combinations with various scenes, but not for now, and I prefer a simple one at present, with an intensified language added. I don’t like pictures of symbolism, but being infectious in its own. Just as the Roscoe and Pa-ta in my eyes, though being oriental traditional Chinese painting and western abstract expression respectively, the corresponding perceptibility in spiritual level is the same, both carrying a sense of loneliness and coldness.
Zhao: I feel it quite different for your recent works from the previous ones. The pictures are arranged more centralized. Those earlier works are disputable in terms of modeling and a complete control over the picture, while the current ones are superior in that scenes are centralized with simple background. The part in need of weakening is weakened, with the entire picture being well managed. Therefore, the fantastic feeling is thus revealed.
Cai: That’s why we say that drawing is in need of time.
 
Zhao:I consider that we are now all in a comparatively simple state, because we all intend to draw something. And if a painter or an artist wants to draw something with the desire to express his inner thought, then we can say that he himself is just in the right state. It is really precious to keep stick to such a plain state with no commercial elements involved, nor more exhibition opportunities provided. Holding in mind none ambitions, and ignoring the practical results, we seem to be pursuing a kind of…way of life? I’m not sure about it.
Pu: No, I don’t thing what we are pursuing is simply a kind of living style.
Cai: Though it has already been part of our lives.
Pu: You’ve (herein referred to as Zhao) mentioned about influences brought by the society, and problems of people in different stages, I’m considering that since all the artists and painters are under the influence of their own specific historical background, is there actually any need to take that into consideration again and again? On condition that you hang around this question all the way around, will you consequently force yourself to advance toward a fixed direction of a certain period of time?
Zhao: Well, as for this point, my opinion is that when we look back to an earlier historical period of time, we would like to consider people as productions of that time, while people who were really born then had no idea about who they are at all. We have no sense about what our time in practical requires, nor do we know that what the society really is as a whole. A hundred year later, maybe, people at that time can easily figure out the feature of our time. But what on earth is the feature for the time being? I’m afraid no one can tell, though we are indeed living in this period. So what I regard as the most important is the real feeling about our hearts. Anyhow, as for the problem that whether we are representatives of this stage or not, just leave it to people of the future to think about.
Pu: Do you believe that there is actually certain psychological hints that leads you to advance toward a specific direction, let’s say since you have grown up in this era, you should naturally paint on this basis?
Zhao: Yes, indeed. But there’s still one thing we should not ignore that though we are born in this stage and influenced by this society, we still have our own feelings and abilities to make judgments in terms of what kind of society we are actually living in, and what people are like in this stage. Since it is concerned with culture, we have to think it over by hearts.
Pu: There used to be a period that I’ve been always asking myself whether I should take all the factors into consideration, but the result turned out to be even worse that I should feel at loose ends at last.
Cai: As for me, it seems that there are methods and capabilities relating to transformation of cultural symbols and visual languages. But what’s the reason for your choice of painting, and why should you paint in a way like this?
Pu: I regard it a purely personal preference as for in which way to paint. There are indeed some people who just love to draw pictures, and also other ones who prefer to make appliances.
Cai: It is exactly the truth. And I certainly will not take it as merely an unconscious movement or experiential work of techniques when you pick up the painting brushes and consider about which model and theme to adopt. There must be the facet of rational thinking or initiative option.
Zhao: It is a little bit complex.
Cai: What’s more, there’s another question in my eyes as for how to make sure that whether your judgments about the external world are right or wrong, with such an extensive cultural background existing.
Zhao: You are right. We all make our paintings inside studios, and how could we make the proper judgments? For we would never think about it when we are painting, we just paint down what we have installed in our minds. But we have to estimate it finally, and what is the supposed criterion? Could we just stand as outsiders, and look at our productions in an objective manner as to make out the meanings as well as values of them? Have you ever thought about it?
Pu: Absolutely. In other words, we have to make the objective estimations in terms of the senses of our works.
Zhao: Right. And that is in practice a kind of judgment. What’s the background information? We are very likely to compare our own works with others, won’t we?
Wu: Well, my understanding is like this: since we’ve received the education of western society, it is unavoidable that we may feel kind of vicarious sometimes. And it is because of this kind of continuous vicarious feeling that we fail to figure out the final destination. We do it just because we like it. That’s why we have such sense of empty from time to time.
Zhao: Precisely. We are totally puzzled. For we have only the idea of what cannot be drawn but rather what can be put into our pictures. (Laughing)
Wu: No kidding (laughs as well), it seems that we just live our lives in this way, and produce our works during this course.
Zhao: It is the same case with mine. None major directions can be worked out. And I can never make it manifest in relation to values of my doings or paintings, including the social value and even the historical value expected. They are longings of everyone, but no one can really own them.
Cai: Apart from the time passed by, which is noticed by us, there’s still other things we can not see. Haha..,
Zhao: (laughing) It is true. With the passing of time, a lot of things invisible have also taken place. I am now painting simply for the reason that I love to paint, and I can entertain myself during that course.
Cai: It’s very interesting to try to paint a wide range of themes.
Zhao: As for me, there is a shining point within our works, which is we have succeeded in maintaining our own futures from the very beginning up to now. Pu Dong’s drawing of cats, finished at graduation time, has left me the most impressive memory, which is extreme weird. But that is your personal characteristics, which can be sensed sill in nowadays’ works. It is quite important to keep your own uniqueness.
Pu: It is a matter of forming your own language by means of extracting, purifying, and intensifying, that is what we need to do. As for the point you (herein referred to as Zhao) have mentioned just now, that what’s the criterion of judgment upon completing a piece of works, it is relatively important, too. As we have to make out how to estimate our own paintings after finishing them, and setting the estimating standard.
Wu: I thing there are two criteria to be taken into consideration. First of all, the criterion set for oneself.
Zhao: That is the basic point.
Wu: Yeap, it’s the basic point, and also a very reliable one. We can feel it and grasp it by ourselves. For example, we can think about the differences between these several pictures and those previous ones to see whether they are improved or not. Besides, is it more satisfying in terms of expressive accuracy and formative handling? What’s more, a comprehensive comparison made from various perspectives, such as knowledge background information, feelings about life, and personal judgments, and so forth.
Zhao: So you are deemed to think about this problem in a distinctive angle.
Pu: The concerned criterion is indeed extremely important, because it will directly lead you to a certain aspect.
Zhao: Yes, and it is by no means a pure technical issue.
Pu: Technique is something of relativity. For everyone owns his own suitable technique, and what fits him may turn out to be a bad one for your part. Apart from the technical aspect, we should also pay our attention to meaning.
Zhao: Absolutely. We all intend to draw something meaningful, but rather something renowned for techniques.
Wu: I think Pu Dong’s paintings for the time being are more accurate than before. His focus is much clearer now.
Pu: That is about how to work out the real feeling of one’s inner heart. It is really important.
Zhao: And the point lies in that you have to transform that specific feeling into visual language, including relationship between forms and colors, which is obviously a hard work.
Pu: It is the transformed result that decides whether or not it is a successful painting.
Cai: That kind of transformation, according to my own experience, can only be achieved through the course of painting. Things such as choice of colors, deal of details, and even my drawing of those white lips, are all produced during the painting course.
Zhao: Some things are generated during processes.
Cai: And it also involves the processes of accepting or rejecting.
Zhao: The fact that we are all intuitional people, but rather rational, purely conceptual nor pondering ones dues very likely to the local cultural and natural environments. Let’s look at those weeds springing up outside, as well as those threatening vegetables growing, all of which are factors for our being sensitive and intuitive. They are all in connection with the surface and atmosphere here, which is rather amusing, and would become a feature of local people. As you can see, in the northern part of China, everywhere is uncultivated in winter. In addition, tress and even roads are all straight there. Hence, such sensitive things drawn by Jianjun do not exist there, as you cannot see them. That’s why artists in the north are painting in a relatively plainer and tougher way, and they draw nothing as to so fine or so exquisite. Maybe what Cai has drawn in his works deals with more about thinking and rational things.
Pu: He does concern more about the society.
Cai: It is true that I always pay highly attention to such thing as the harm brought by centralization of power, and I don’t think it matters that whether it is a social problem or not. What I believe is that humans are suffering to certain extent all the time. Everyone acts as the hurter, and meanwhile the victim. This kind of pain would be passed down from generations to generations forever. The trigger of my primary drawing about this theme is the empty talk, nonsense, and lie made by TV hosts, spokesman, and commentators, etc. They seemed to be chattering without stop. As those figures can be seen everyday, and then the idea occurred to me that are they possible the carriers of inner suffering? That’s why I painted a batch of hosts later, followed by actors, platforms, rostrums, and so on. Eventually I found that the themes I truly interested in are celebrities, in other words, who appear frequently in public.Sometimes we feel helpless because both hurting and being hurt happened to be products out of unconsciousness. Meanwhile, transformation of language during the course of painting is also a matter of significance. At the very beginning, the external factors, including some representative elements, take a little bit more weight, among which certain accidental results are purposely created, and images within a framework or site with chairs, tables, and microphones, etc. are defined. Nevertheless, none of them are satisfactory. Later on, the idea had occurred to me that maybe I should not make a definite judgment about value, hence opening wider in terms of language, and weakening the valuation with even intensified language, so as to enhance the infectivity of the painting. Bearing that in mind, upon the coming of May, I began to draw merely such kind of people’s head in gray tones, and weaken the sense of generalization on purpose. Consequently, hues of the pictures appear to be milder and subtler.
Zhao: So it is even more inwardness.
Cai: Exactly. And the visual sense is much stronger in return.
Zhao: From the first time I saw your works up to the observation in resent times, I’ve noticed a procedure changing from the inside to the outside. There were some relatively concrete scenes involved in your paintings at the very beginning, giving me the feeling that you are watching something. While works of present time have already been converted into a perspective of the inside world, with the deeper thoughts represented more clearly. Such sift of vision are made, that you were looking at a kind of things at first and then looking at yourself later, it is pretty interesting.
Cai: And I myself have the feeling that I can express myself in a broader way nowadays after that transformation being made.
Wu: We talked about themes today. In my opinion, some works, no matter you call them artistic temperament or language characters of painters, would always contain something of constant. Take Picasso’s works for example, such feelings of wildness and rationalism are always there in spite of Picasso’s feature being constant changing. In addition, the combination of ration and sensation, as well as factors of language qualities are there all the time.
Zhao: Each artist’s works are in practice the representation of the artist himself, which can never be duplicated by anyone else, hence being the key of distinguishing one artist from the others. There’s such kind of thing called coherence existing throughout Pu Dong’s works from his graduation time to now, and also your (herein referred to as Wu) feature of paintings with sensitivity and nervousness, which all belong to personal quality. All the external and formal elements of our works are able to change, and we should achieve it in a much stronger and accurate manner. As a matter of fact, there is one point that is extremely important of our conversation, which is the most authentic personal perspective or feeling. That is the most important factor. As for the consequence, though we have no idea about what it would turn out to be at last, the feeling resulting from following our inner hearts is wonderful, whatever the results may be. Diversified historical opportunities in my perspective are all external factors that are empty and ethereal. So we are supposed to keep stick to our own desires, which are the most plain and essential elements.
Cai: And they are also beyond hiding.
Zhao: Exactly. And they can also be noticed from our works as whether we have told a lie (laughing). Anyone who even treats himself in his works can never gain any enjoyment from painting. Hum… maybe we could talk about something… Anyway, we are living in such atmosphere of Chinese arts, and we have to see various exhibitions, as well as the diversified information, so what are your opinions about things in fashion?
Pu: Things in fashion?
Zhao: Actually you may find that something is in fashion, just like cartoons painted by lots of people several years ago and also paintings about precious memories of childhoods in recent years. While none of our perspectives or works, however, have fallen within the range of fashion, and are far away from being popular. What we have drawn are all things of margin, including visions, attitudes toward life, and individualism, etc.
Pu: I think that fashion imposes influence on every single person, while the key lies in whether or not you will follow it, or in other words, whether you have connections with it. What if you are originally in consistent with the fashion trend? Is there any matter of pursuing it? I don’t think so. While if you do not belong to that type in original, there’s no sense at all in attempt of leaning towards it, which is in essence performing art. In that case, all the attempts are meaningless. Ultimately, you have to ask your heart seriously and then follow what it tells you. Things in fashion are in the most cases things of formal, so to what extent do you think they may influence people? Maybe the answer is that the influence upon people cast by popular things is more or less unavoidable. However, what is pivotal for this point is to make that influence develop towards direction of yourself and in line with your own features.
 
Zhao: It is pretty easy to draw in the final stages. Go simply find a piece of space of yourself, a partial of the whole, or a thing attracts you, and then start to explore it, to dig out something worthwhile, and to constantly make efforts and attempts within it.
Pu: I also believe that everyone is under the influence of popular trend, which is unavoidable, as you all see. But the point is how to make control over it, as well as make it clear if there is indeed such necessity of controlling.
Zhao: I have now this kind of feeling that when I go to exhibitions in Beijing, however great number of exhibitions I may encounter, I do not feel excited at all, which is really weird. And I also went to the exhibition held in Taiwan not long ago, I did not feel happy, either. That kind of excitement and passion emerging before on seeing merely a piece of picture on the magazine has diminished already. I’ve seen too much exhibitions by now, including big ones, small ones, individual ones and group ones, etc. none of which can ignite the enthusiasm in my heart any more, because I’ve got visual fatigue already.
Wu: Is it the reason of the exhibition itself or personal interests?
Zhao: I’m now considering that what on earth the reason may be? Am I too insensitive? Or is it a matter concerning the whole society? You just feel that you can see nothing as you want. There’s a demand deep in your heart that you do want to see something, something that can excite you. While the truth is you can see nothing expected. Exhibitions are either held in way of exposition, or gaslighting.
Cai: Yeah, many exhibitions are tended to be held as an exposition.
Zhao: And you are unable to tell which is good or which is bad in the exhibition.
Pu:As far as I am concerned, we can never put too much emphasis on painting nor arts. The more emphasis you put upon it, the more disappointment you may draw from it. Maybe it is possible that you are not exited about exhibitions but industrial goods in stead.
Zhao: Yeap, something of high technique.
Pu: So if you give too much priority to painting or arts in this period of time, that kind of impact and feeling embodied within can never appeal you to a great extent.
Zhao: That’s true. It is too hard to find some exhibitions exciting nowadays. Even though you are inside an exhibition hall already, it is still hard for you to make a valuable judgment. You have no idea about which things are interesting, while which are not. Things appear boring to you may excite others anyhow.
Pu: In a final analysis, it is still in relation to the society.
Zhao: How much is the social value then?
Pu: There is no or merely one social value I guess.
Cai: Yeah, it is such a kind of value with actually no values involved.
Pu: You can say that of course, but it may become metaphysics in the end.
Zhao: Sometimes you take someone’s works as bullshit, while a lot of critics taking it as masterpiece. (Laughing) I am confused then, and doubt that something goes wrong with me.
Pu: I feel the same with you. And I think that, there must something wrong. If nothing is wrong with the external world, then something is wrong within me.
Zhao: And when you think nothing of your work, and just give it a simple play, with little meaning combined with it. In other people’s opinions, however, wow…it is of extreme interest. And then you are totally confused. I feel that I have no confidence at all on the sight of anything, including my own works. So much distress! So much frustration!
Cai: Is it kind of reflection of out of fashion?
Zhao: I’ve no idea, I’m rather puzzled. And I even doubt about myself, about what I have drawn. What on earth have I produced? A masterpiece, or a fault?
Cai: Reference is in a mass, and I am also out of myself. It seems that I am standing in front of the magic mirror, and observing the fragmented self.
Pu: We can never draw a conclusion as for this topic. (Everyone laughs)
Zhao:  Let’s talk about our exhibition then. We’ve known each other for more than 20 years, and it is the first time for us several classmates to hold an exhibition together. Any idea about it?
Wu: I personally regard it as a representation of episodic state. We form the conjunction point together, with a lot of qualities in common, such as the growing background, challenges facing, as well as the method of creation, etc. Nonetheless, each of us possesses his own characters as well.
Cai: I think we are using this method to represent ourselves in a relatively bigger scope.
Zhao: And we are expecting some feedbacks from audience and communicating with them through this exhibition.
Cai: Yeap. To get some references.
Zhao: And also make some exchanges and communications with audience about our works in this period, which are represented in a relatively complete and serious way, hence getting feedbacks.
Pu: I think this is exactly where our purpose lies, and later we would continue our painting of next stages.
Wu: It is indeed kind of interesting and exciting, as if we had gone back to our school time again. (Everyone laughs)
Zhao: I thing the concept put forward by Pu Dong, i.e. Vegetables and People is extremely excellent, what do you think about it? Have you any idea about name of the exhibition yet?
Pu: I believe that the simpler, the better. Name that is clear by the first sight, requiring no more consideration about its meaning is unquestionably a best choice. Generally speaking, I paint about vegetables and you paint about people, all together forming the concept of Vegetables and People
Zhao: I like this name. Though it belongs to the terminology of pathology, while upon its transformation into the name, it appears to be the perfect one. But what does vegetative patient mean, by the way?
Cai: Vegetative patients have no working brains, just like robots.
Wu:  It’s kind of abnormal condition of people.
Cai: It’s kind of person having only body but no sense at all.
Zhao: Thr heart is still beating; the blood is still flowing, while the thinking stops, and failing to make sense of the external world. Too much alike our modern people indeed.
Pu: A vegetative patient is alive in physical, but dead in mental.
Zhao: Yes, yes, it is really a good name. I checked it on purpose a few days before, though some details are forgotten, the feeling of description is wonderful. Though standing in the perspective of pathology, it represents just the state of humans at a spiritual level. Modern people are in essence the same with vegetative patients. Let’s take it as the theme of our exhibition, which fits perfectly with our works.
Cai: There was a program in Shanghai, which happened to talk about the vegetative patients several days ago. According to that program, partner of the vegetative patient has the right to divorce. In accordance with the Law of Marriage, people can not divorce in lots of cases, while they should be approved in this circumstance. It is because the vegetative patient is not legally regarded as human being any more, not to mention the right to get married…
Zhao: Hum…How about going back to our works now.