交陪_2_1

文───龔卓軍.翻譯───黃汝娸

自2000年開始,每三年舉辦一次的越後妻有大地藝術祭,今年已邁入第六屆。規模亦由第一屆的三十二個國家一百四十八組藝術家參與,逐年增至三十五國三百五十組藝術家參與,作品亦累積至三百八十件左右,其中有一百八十件是本屆的新作。「想看見老生活在越後妻有爺爺奶奶的笑臉,想讓他們開心,想貼近他們的心情」,是創辦人北川富朗與大家討論後共同的心願。秉持著「人是自然的一部分」這樣的理念,在這個距東京新幹線車程兩小時的丘陵山區、人口外移與老化、冬季被豪雪覆蓋、稻米由梯田生產的廢棄農村地帶,北川富朗經歷了十七年的努力,終於透過「藝術鍊計畫」,將傳統的地方營造與公共藝術、將本屬於城市型的雙年展概念,徹底轉化為新潟越後妻有農村地帶丘陵梯田豪雪山區的特定場址藝術,成為世界規模最大的、可持續的藝術祭之一。

越後妻有大地藝術祭,首先回到的是一種更整體性的「土地倫理」,其次是強調超越地區、世代與藝術領域畫分的習慣,突顯人與人之間、藝術計畫與在地居民之間的協同合作關係,這自然也挑戰了「社會運動」與「現代美術」的既成概念,成為某種寓社會關係之改變於創作過程的「倫理美學」。因此,如何理解大地藝術祭的「藝術」觀,進而思考信仰藝術祭與當代藝術的關係,就成為這篇文章所欲探究的焦點。

我想選擇松代「農舞臺」藝廊已經啟動了兩年的「限界藝術」計畫為討論的起點,以「今日素人藝術百選展」所突顯的「限界藝術」(Marginal Art)為經緯軸線,思考這種頗能代表大地藝術祭的美學精神,綜合了街頭藝術、民間藝術、當代美術與傳統藝能的跨界表現形式,抗拒只在封閉空間給少數人欣賞的那種日本美術史。就此而言,福住廉的「今日的限界藝術」展覽中的重要行為活動,一個名為「切腹ピストルズ」(切腹Pistols)的樂團,可為代表。這個樂團在1999年的最後一天成立,口號是「回歸江戶!」,以表演傳統樂器(鉦、平太鼓、締太鼓、三味線、筱笛等),配合吟詩、民謠、落語等民俗技藝演出,他們身上穿著的服裝叫做「野良服」,是明治初期到昭和四十年代左右農山村的服裝。在大地藝術祭裡的活動,主要是從十日町徒步遊行表演到農舞臺,行走約三十公里。「切腹Pistols」樂團之所以不是一種簡單的回歸過去或是鄉愁式的回歸江戶,可以參考他們在2014年7月19日在日本東北青森縣舉行的「大MAGROCK vol.7」音樂祭,所表現的強烈反核表演,可以說是「街頭藝術、民間藝術、當代美術與傳統藝能的跨界表現形式」最佳典範之一。然而,從概念上,我們當如何思考這種在臺灣少見的、既講究傳統又集反抗於能事的美學呢?於此,我們不能不談到甫於今年7月過世的哲學家鶴見俊輔(1922–2015)。

2008年曾在臺灣出版《戰爭時期日本精神史:1931–1945》中譯本的鶴見俊輔,出身不凡,外祖父後藤新平曾於1898至1906年擔任臺灣總督府民政長官,他本身則留學哈佛大學哲學系,是美國哲學家蒯因(Willard Van Orman Quine)的第一批學生之一,因無政府思想遭美國聯邦調查局逮捕,於拘留所完成他的畢業論文。任教於京都大學的鶴見俊輔,曾在1967年出版了《限界藝術論》這本專著,更早在1954年出版過《大眾藝術》,表明他對「藝術」概念和日本美術史的批判態度。在60年代積極參與反越戰、90年代參與慰安婦求償運動、2004年與大江健三郎發起反戰的「九條會」護憲運動的背景下,我們非常好奇,將近有五十年歷史的《限界藝術論》,為何2015年大地藝術祭的參與藝術家福住廉,會再度出版《今日的限界藝術》呢?

北川富朗曾在〈「大地藝術祭」前史〉與〈「大地藝術祭的構想及其背景」兩篇文章中,對越後妻有的自然環境、歷史文明與近代日本軍國主義政治經濟體系的「轉向」提出反思,同時批判「明治時代以來的日本美術史」。他說:「到現在為止的日本美術,只在乎教學、可不可以展示,或者是否可以成立組織,這豈不是與大眾背離?我認為,近代美術之非大眾性,即美術之流行與輸入方式,是有問題的。」(《北川富朗大地藝術祭》,頁237)這種問題的深層結構,讓我們不得不回到鶴見俊輔與福住廉的「限界藝術」概念。

藝術與生活邊界上的創作

《戰爭時期日本精神史:1931–1945》一書中,鶴見俊輔呈現了因為太平洋戰爭的軍國主義轉向,而與丸山真男等知識分子們所共同組成的「轉向研究」,同時,面對越南戰爭,無黨派的市民反戰運動「讓越南和平!市民聯合」,有時候是透過漫畫進行社會政治與歷史評論的,因此,就《限界藝術論》而言,其實是可以檢討美術或藝術在此「轉向」當中的相關作用。首先,我們先來看一下「限界藝術」的定義。
鶴見俊輔認為,現今稱為「藝術」的作品,其實是所謂的「純粹藝術」(pure art),而對於這個純粹藝術來說俗惡的東西、非藝術的東西,就被喚作是「大眾藝術」(popular art),趨向實用、消費、空間構造、標語指示、大眾媒體或在街頭運動中產生的視覺物,然而,較諸前兩者,在一個更廣大的領域中,在藝術與生活的邊界上的作品,則可被稱為「限界藝術」。

鶴見俊輔隨後跳脫出「純粹藝術」和「大眾藝術」兩個概念,在兩者之外,拉出第三項概念,即是「限界藝術」。若以圖式化的方法來說明的話,「純粹藝術」是藉由「專家性藝術家」所生產的作品,提供予「專業性的享受者」。也就是說,由專家製作、由專家消費的是「純粹藝術」。「大眾藝術」則是一樣由「專家性藝術家」做製作,製作過程可能會與企業家、政府或媒體等合作,藉由大眾而得到享受。也就是說,由專家製作、由非專家消費的是「大眾藝術」。而「限界藝術」,則是由「非專家性藝術家」製作,再帶給「非專家性享受者」樂趣的東西,也就是說,由非專家製作、由非專家消費的即是「限界藝術」。
鶴見俊輔舉出最多的具體例子,就是限界藝術研究者柳田國男、民藝評論家柳宗悅和創作者宮澤賢治。他們重視的是庶民的創作,譬如:從五千年前的阿爾塔米拉洞窟(Cave of Altamira)的壁畫以來,至民間的塗鴉、民謠、盆栽、單口多口相聲、繪馬、煙火、都々逸(三味線彈唱的一種形式)、漫畫等,都是將生活作為舞臺的人們的心之湧現、迸發、形式多變的藝術性表現,這即是限界藝術。另一方面,鶴見俊輔舉出具體的例子反對某種鄉土品味的美術館化。譬如:為了醞釀懷舊的昭和文化而使用偏濃的色彩,如今經過格式化與消費化的洗禮,已經很難看出真實。又譬如:藉由隨手塗畫以「塗鴉」的名義,在美術館展出這些塗鴉,而使之藝術化,亦偏離了塗鴉的原有脈絡。那麼,在現今,將其替換之,限界藝術的具體例子會是什麼樣的東西呢?我們不妨把越後妻有大地藝術祭,視為是從藝術祭生產過程中,即朝向「限界藝術」的總體性、批判性與扭轉性的努力。

汲取精神地理學與宗教精神的藝術史

2015年的10月3日,在臺南市的蕭壠文化園區,我和「友境的交陪」展覽研究團隊,組織了一場藝術史家、當代藝術家與寺廟畫師的聚集,討論「交陪:近未來的神祇與當代藝術」這樣的題目,籌辦準備在2017年初展開的「信仰藝術祭」。

這個展覽研究的聚集對話,首先要面對的,其實是三個關於近現代臺灣藝術史的提問:一、針對史前時期文明與原住民藝術的表現,臺灣藝術史的涵蓋範圍是否可以與人類學領域做絕對的分割?徐文琴的《臺灣美術史》〈自序〉,即質疑了徐小虎〈什麼是臺灣藝術史?〉一文中,以明末清初漢人美術為藝術史開端,並將原住民藝術史畫入人類學範疇的說法。其論證為西方現代美術在概念上的構成,原本即受到「原住民藝術」的巨大影響;二、荷西明鄭與清領時期的藝術表現,以建築、雕刻、手工藝、繪畫、書法而論,原住民文化、殖民文化、漢族民間生活與宗教文化中,除了書法與文人畫之外,並無接近現代意義的「純藝術」概念,無論是佛像、交趾陶或繪畫書法領域,多具有一定的人格教養、道德或宗教意涵,就民藝與限界藝術的概念來說,這本是庶民社會樸直的藝術表現媒介,如何轉化出它們的當代藝術意涵,呈現精神地理學上的藝術特色,本即是「全球藝術史」或「世界藝術史」的重要議題;三、日治前期,臺灣民間藝術如何因與大陸阻隔,變得豐厚多樣,而1927年之後輸入的美術教育展覽體制與美術概念,又如何以西洋現代美術的教育和展覽機制,批判了從黃土水1922年〈出生於臺灣〉到王秀雄《臺灣美術發展史論》(1996)中所謂「因襲傳統,師古臨摹」的美術體制,透過臺展府展的選拔與審查,強調創作者個性與自然的寫生觀察,導致了明清水墨傳統的式微,同時也在殖民統治與美學價值的判斷上,壓抑了庶民社會中的民藝與宗教藝術上的表現空間。

就一個準備中的「信仰藝術祭」而言,如果要克服信仰藝術與當代藝術間的鴻溝,這個展覽的預備研究工作,恐怕無法迴避上述三個臺灣藝術史的提問,這當然也就涉及到我為何以「限界藝術論」的說法,突顯鶴見俊輔對於「日本美術史」中「美術」概念的批判,以之為借鏡,重新思考一個不同於西洋現代的「美術」與「純藝術」概念。那麼,難道有所謂的「不純藝術史」這樣的說法嗎?

限界藝術與媒介轉換的當代性

德國藝術史家漢斯.貝爾汀(Hans Belting)在2001年出版的《影像人類學:圖畫.媒介.身體》(An Anthropology of Images: Picture, Medium, Body)一書,希望發展一種「批判的新圖像學」(critical new icono-logy),透過他的人類學取徑,提出一種更廣袤的影像論,他認為,所謂的「影像」,不論屬於藝術或非藝術的範疇,必須置於「圖畫.媒介.身體」的三角星叢之間來加以掌握。如此一來,藝術與非藝術的界限,就不會是貝爾汀真正關注的問題了。

貝爾汀認為影像不能化約為媒介,影像還需要身體來完成。這種說法充滿了柏格森哲學的趣味。有些影像是活在身體中的,譬如我們的夢影像與回憶影像,是存於我們大腦中的影像檔案,它們有些會存在多時,有些會迅即消逝。就此而言,身體本身是一種特殊的影像媒介。但是,當我們觀看外在媒介時,我們的身體會捲動特定的視覺與感官體驗,把媒介載體中的圖畫,轉換為某種意味的影像,並喚起與過去的某種回憶影像的聯結,投射予自身的欲望。因此,影像發生於身體與媒介的協調過程中。傳統認識論當中的主客觀二元論、內外再現表象的二分、心理影像(身體)與物理影像(媒介)的二分,應當加以泯除。

貝爾汀舉出二十世紀上半葉襲捲歐洲前衛藝術的原住民藝術為例,許多像畢卡索這樣的原始藝術家,試圖在他們的畫布上擷取、複製非洲的影像,結果發生的是,這些圖畫,其實是他們的心智影像與非洲手工藝圖像的遇合、轉置於現代主義藝術脈絡所生,西方藝術家與觀眾以他們自己的心智影像,投注在這些由非洲或東方輸入的作品上。習成的視覺習慣,很難完全袪除掉。

貝爾汀還討論了一個反向的例子。那就是十六世紀西班牙殖民阿茲特克帝國(Aztec Empire)的過程。西班牙殖民者不僅散播他們自己的天主教物質影像,亦即圖畫、圖像與祭壇,還漸次強迫阿茲特克人接受身體與心智再現表象的重整與改宗,殖入某種關於天界的視象習慣。這是因為西班牙殖民者了解,真正要造成影像上的轉化,除了教堂的牆壁與穹頂上,必須同時發生在腦袋裡才行。

就此而言,媒介本身的革命,並不一定帶來影像的革命,因為,身體本身所保有的影像,不論外在媒介有多劇烈的轉變,都可以用某種時代錯置的方式,維持住某些看來早已過時的影像,特別是在關於死亡與彼岸的不可知者、聖者與死者影像,身體的心智影像、夢影像與回憶影像,具有頑抗當今媒介加速度繁殖影像的持存力量。在媒介轉換與影像之間,貝爾汀並不是要把身體的心智影像生產力加以浪漫化或本質化,而是要強調不論西方現代性如何轉換其媒介與媒材,身體知識內蘊影像的巨大威力依舊能夠持存,在身體中產生的影像,具有一種歷史性的黏著力與阻抗力。其中最難修改的,正是我們的死者肖像、鬼神世界、彼岸影像的生產力。而這方面的影像生產力,也是不管「新媒體」怎麼發生,仍然難以撼動,甚至註定會投射在新媒介、新載體上,對媒介加以轉置轉化的力量來源。
「交陪:近未來的神祇與當代藝術」的展覽研究,之所以要強調迴返庶民社會的宗教影像、回頭檢視其生產方式、生產關係與表現形式,正是基於這樣的身體與影像的重新部署關係,超越藝術史/人類學二分法、超越殖民帝國輸入的美術概念、超越現代藝術學院的知識偏見,進而提取臺灣當代藝術在精神地理學上的特有資源與表現特質。

在10月3日的聚會中,陳秋山和廖慶章兩位畫師,是當代藝術界比較陌生的臉孔,實際上,他們的經歷與身分,也處於現代藝術學院的邊緣或之外,卻與廟畫的傳統和庶民社會有緊密的接觸,恰恰呼應了「限界藝術」所指稱的邊緣藝術狀態。

受到林玉山繪畫觀念影響的畫師陳秋山,生於1933年,他為了廟畫工作,曾在臺南仁德大甲慈濟宮廟埕前的鐵皮工寮住了十三年,直到今年夏天,才以八十四歲高齡退休,歸隱於東岸花蓮。他的廟畫特色在於寫生與形變的觀念,慈濟宮的保生大帝像、門神肖像、動物肖像,皆以寫生寫實為本,跳脫了傳統因襲圖式的圖像學,讓畫師本身的身體感貫注於畫面人物與動物的身體姿態中,特別是其中一尊門神雙腳如舞蹈般的交叉步法,呼應了廟會儀式中常見的家將步法,極具動態感。我們同時也走訪了陳秋山在楊梅回善寺、東港城隍廟、南州如意宮的門神彩繪。呼應著仁德慈濟宮的保生大帝旁側的千里眼與順風耳,那特意誇大的肌肉肉瘤與腳部比例,1970年完成的南州如意宮三清聖殿次間門板上的神荼、鬱壘,臉部、全身肌肉與足部骨骼的誇張變形,充分展現了一種狂放野氣、揉合漫畫與素描寫生式的鬼妖影像,這種影像當然與畫師本人的特異個性、俗民社會的鬼妖影像相互滲透,形成了非關因襲,直爽表現的不羈圖像。

特別值得注意的是,陳秋山仍然保留了這些人物頭部與臉部比例的放大,這是屬於廟畫門神影像生產時,不可忽略的一環。因為門板大多高過觀者身高甚多,所以在信仰場所的現場觀看設定條件,就發展出一種仰視角的圖像透視部署法,但這種以觀者近身觀看時的身體影像為依據的「變形透視法」,即便在陳秋山強調素描與寫生觀察的重要性時,也並未加以改變。就其生產於信仰的空間脈絡而言,似乎與貝爾汀在《影像人類學:圖畫.媒介.身體》一書中的主張若合符節。
另一位畫師廖慶章,生於1959年,臺灣美術史家蕭瓊瑞對他的評論與介紹不遺餘力,因為廖慶章的廟畫師承丁清石,卻能銳意投身創作,「結合傳統技法與現代美學」,依據其內心顫動不已的影像,不斷生產出既突破廟畫窠臼,亦超逸於現代框架之外的新圖像。

廖慶章最令我心動的部分,是他的紙本重彩金箔。這種繪畫形式,不僅突破了媒介的限制,將門神大小,二米七乘以九十二釐米的韋陀、伽藍、王靈官、聞太師、李靖、楊戩,二米四乘以一米零五的風調雨順四大金剛,在媒材實驗的科學與色彩學基礎上,將這些門神肖像轉置於紙本上,令這些圖像獲得前所未有的自由空間,可以在個人收藏間、工作室、畫廊與美術館親近衪們,同時也將衪們由寺廟信仰的脈絡轉置出來,令其朝向純藝術的風貌,透過展覽與收藏而存在。與此同時,廖慶章更多方學習,運用水墨淡彩和膠彩進行寫生與當代心境的表現,充分實踐了民間廟畫所可能具有的當代性,當然,這裡的「當代性」,是就信仰身體與影像的重新部署,也是就限界藝術與媒介轉換的當下回應來說的。

至於像擔任過廟畫工作,也畫過電影看板、會刻布袋戲偶的藝術家李俊陽;從小生長在臺南蘇厝廟宇文化中的藝術家梁任宏;拍攝過民間信仰與廟會儀式不同主題的攝影家林柏樑、李旭彬、陳伯義;以祭儀紙紮作品《花山牆》奪得台新獎的蘇育賢;家中傳承著紙紮傳統的藝術家張徐展;傳承著唸歌落語的藝術家曾伯豪與小嫩豬樂團,都抿除了過去現代主義美術概念對於民間藝術與限界藝術的陌生感,他們更貼近庶民社會的歷史圖像記憶,卻也更勇於在其中尋求身體與影像的重新部署。我是在他們的身上,具體看見了限界藝術與媒介轉換的起點。

 


Marginal Art: from Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial to Religious Art Festival

───Jow-jiun Gong.Translated by Ju-chi Huang

The Art Chain: from Land Ethic to Plebeian Aesthetics

First held in 2000, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, which takes place every three years, staged its sixth art festival this year in 2015. The scale of the event has increased from one hundred and forty-eight artistic teams coming from thirty-two countries to three hundred and fifty groups from thirty-five countries. Works exhibited have accumulated to approximately three hundred and eighty pieces, one hundred and eighty of which were newly added this year. “I want to see the smiling faces on the grandpas and grandmas who have lived in Echigo-Tsumari for most of their lives. I want to make them happy, to feel what they feel,” a common wish shared between the founder Fram Kitagawa and others after discussion.
Believing “people are part of the nature,” Kitagawa chose to develop the deserted rural area. A two-hour High Speed Rail drive to Tokyo, the hilly mountainous area has suffered from emigration, aging, and heavy snow that covers the village in winter, and is an agricultural area where rice is cultivated in terraced paddy fields.
After seventeen years of efforts, via the “Art Chain Program,” Kitagawa finally transformed traditional community development, public art, and the urban concept of biennales, into an art exhibition that takes place at a specific site. Taking place in a rural area in Niigata that features hills, terraced paddy fields, and a covering of heavy snow, Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is one of the biggest and sustainable art festivals in the world thanks to Kitagawa’s efforts.
The first concept that Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale returns to is a more comprehensive “Land Ethic.” Then it emphasizes a practice that transcends regions, generations, and artistic fields, highlighting the collaboration between people and that cooperation between art projects and local residents. This naturally challenges some established concepts, such as “social movements” and “Modern Art,” transforming these ideas into an “ethical aesthetics” that incorporates the change of social relations into the process of creation. Therefore, the article will focus on how to grasp the “artistic” concept of the Art Triennial and how to step further to think about the relationship between religious art festivals and contemporary art.
I want to start by talking about the “Marginal Art” project that the field museum “Matsudai Nohbutai” has been running for two years. Then I want to talk about marginal art itself which has been highlighted in the special exhibition Selected 100 Marginal Arts of Today. With “marginal art” functioning as the guidelines for discussion, we are led to think about the aesthetic spirit which represents the art triennale. A boundary-crossing art expression that combines street art, folk art, contemporary art and traditional art, the aesthetic spirit defies the concept rooted in Japanese art history—the art appreciated only in enclosed space and catering for only a few people. The defying aesthetic spirit is presented in the activities held by a band “Seppuku Pistols”
(切腹 ピストルズ), an important element in the exhibition Selected 100
Marginal Arts of Today. Established on the last day of 1999, the band comes up with a slogan “Return to Edo!” Playing traditional instruments like shōko, flat drums, flat Taiko drums, Shime-daiko, shamisen, shinobue, along with performances of folk art like poetry reading, ballad chanting, and Rakugo, the band dressed themselves in “Nora Clothing,” a special kind of rural clothing popular around the early Meiji period (1870s) to the 4th decade of Shōwa period (1955 to 1965). The band’s most important performance in the art triennale is a walking parade from Tokamachi to Matsudai Nohbuta, in which the band members walk about thirty kilometers performing on the way. “Seppuku Pistols” does not just present a simple return to the past or a nostalgic return to the Edo period. Proofs can be found in their performance on July 19, 2014, in the “Big MAGROCK vol. 7” musical festival in Aomori Prefecture in northeastern Japan. In the performance, the band demonstrated strong anti-nuclear sentiment, and thus it could be considered the best paradigm of “a boundary-crossing expression that combines street art, folk art, contemporary art, and traditional art.” However, concept-wise, how do we reflect on the aesthetics rarely seen in Taiwan, an idea that pays particular attention to the tradition yet has rebellion as its strength? To explore the topic, we cannot but refer to Shunsuke Tsurumi (1922–2015), a philosopher just passed away this July.
With the Chinese translation of his work An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan, 1931–1945 published in Taiwan in 2008, Shunsuke Tsurumi came from an extraordinary family. His maternal grandfather Shinpei Goto had served as the civilian governor of Taiwan Sotokufu from 1898 to 1906. Shunsuke Tsurumi himself studied philosophy in Harvard University and was one of the first students taught by the distinguished American philosopher Willard Van Orman Quine. Arrested by the FBI because of anarchy thinking, Tsurumi finished his thesis in a detention center. Later, teaching at Kyoto University, Tsurumi published a monograph On Marginal Art in 1967. Earlier in 1954, he published the book Public Art, showing his critical stance toward the idea “art” and the Japanese art history. In the 1960s, he actively engaged himself in anti-Vietnam War movements, then joined the campaigns for compensating comfort women in the 1990s, and launched the anti-war “Article 9 Association” to uphold the constitution with Kenzaburō Ōe in 2004. Taking these backgrounds into consideration, we wondered curiously why the book On Marginal Art, which carries a history of nearly fifty years, was revisited in Today’s Marginal Art published by Ren Fukuzumi, an artist participating in the 2015 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale?
In the two articles “Before Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale: Preparation” and “The Concept and Background of Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale,” Fram Kitagawa reflects on Echigo-Tsumari’s natural environment, history and civilization, as well as the “conversion” in the political and economic systems under modern Japanese militarism. He also criticizes “the Japanese art history since the Meiji period.” He comments, “By now, the Japanese art still focuses on teaching, whether it is displayable, or whether an organization can be formed. Isn’t it departing from the public? I think the non-public nature of modern art, namely, the way art gets popular and the way it is imported, is problematic.” (Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale: Concept Book, page 237.) The deep structural issue leaves us no choice but to return to the concept of “marginal art” formulated by Shunsuke Tsurumi and Ren Fukuzumi.

Creation on the Borders of Art and Life

In the book An Intellectual History of Wartime Japan, 1931–1945, Shunsuke Tsurumi demonstrates an “ideological conversion” resulted from Japanese militarism in the Pacific War, organizing a research project called “Tenko” (ideological conversion in Japanese). Meanwhile, responding to the Vietnam War, Japanese citizens affiliated to no political parties launched an anti-war campaign “Beheiren” (acronym of “Citizen’s League for Peace in Vietnam” in Japanese). The social, political, and historical criticisms are sometimes presented in comic-strip format. Therefore, from the perspective of On Marginal Art, we can reexamine the related function of art or fine art in the “conversion.” But first let us have a look at the definition of “marginal art.”
Shunsuke Tsurumi thinks the “art” today is actually the so-called “pure art.” In contrast to pure art, the more vulgar, non-artistic works are called “popular art,” which tends to be practical and related to consumers, spatial structures, slogans and signs, mass media, or a visual object emerging from street protests. However, compared to the former two kinds of art, in a more extensive field, works existing on the border of art and life can be called “marginal art.”
Shunsuke Tsurumi then escaped from the two concepts “pure art” and “popular art,” extracting a third concept “marginal art.” If we try to visualize these concepts, “pure art” is provided by “professional artists” for “professional audience.” In other words, art produced and appreciated by professionals is “pure art.” Popular art is also made by “professional artists,” probably in collaboration with entrepreneurs, governments or the media. Then it is enjoyed by the ordinary people. That is to say, “popular art” is produced by professionals yet consumed by non-specialist masses. And “marginal art” is produced by “non-specialist artists” and then brings joy to “non-specialist consumers.” In brief, what produced and consumed by non-professionals is “marginal art.”
Shunsuke Tsurumi draws most of his concrete examples from marginal art researcher Kunio Yanagita, folk art critic Yanagi Sōetsu, and creator Kenji Miyazawa. They value laymen’s creations, ranging from the murals in Cave of Altamira, which date back to five thousand years ago, to folk art such as graffiti, ballads, pot plants, solo or multi-person crosstalk, emas (small wooden plaques hung in Shinto shrines), fireworks, Dodoitsu (都々逸, chanting poems accompanied by shamisen), and comics. All these are the emerging, bursting, and varied artistic performances coming from people who take life as their stage. These are exactly marginal art. On the other hand, Shunsuke Tsurumi gives concrete examples to oppose transforming local tastes into something belonging to art galleries. For example, darker colors are used to create a nostalgic Shōwa style. Now, however, after everything has made into formats and is related to consumer culture, it is hard to tell what is real. Another example is the graffiti. Borrowing the name of “graffiti,” which means scribbled drawings, the graffiti exhibited in art galleries deviating from their original context after being categorized as art. In that way, if we think about today’s situation and find other examples to replace the above ones, what are the concrete examples of marginal art? We might as well consider the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale an example. It stands for the efforts made toward the totality, criticism, and conversion to “marginal art” during the preparation of an art festival.

An Art History Rooted in Psychic Geology and Religious Spirit

On October 3, 2015, in Soulangh Cultural Park, Tainan, the research team for Art Associate, Kau-Puê exhibition and I organized a seminar for art historians, contemporary artists, and temple painters. Together we discussed the topic “Kau-Puê: Near Future Gods and Contemporary Art,” preparing for the “Religious Art Festival” to be launched in early 2017.
In the dialogue, first we were faced with three inquiries about modern and contemporary Taiwan art history: Firstly, in the light of prehistorical civilization and aboriginal art expression, can the scope of Taiwan art history be totally separated from the field of anthropology? In “Taiwan Art History: Preface,” Wen-chin Hsu challenges Joan Stanley-Baker’s idea in “What is Taiwan Art History?” Baker views the Han people’s art during the transition between the Ming and the Qing Dynasties as the starting point of Taiwan art history, categorizing the aboriginal art history into the field of anthropology. She argues that the “aboriginal art” had greatly influenced how the concepts of Western modern art were formulated and therefore belongs to anthropology. Secondly, if we think about the art expression during the rule of the Dutch empire, the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Tungning, and the Qing Dynasty, including the fields of architecture, sculpture, crafts, painting, and calligraphy, we will find the aboriginal culture, colonial culture, the Han people’s life, religion, and culture have nothing close to the modern “pure art” except for some calligraphy and literati paintings. On the other hand, most of the artistic works, whether it is the statue of Buddha, Koji pottery, painting or calligraphy, carry a certain significance in character education, morals or religions. Judging from the concepts of folk art and marginal art, these are the media of art expression in a simple and direct plebeian society. How to convert them into something carrying the significance of contemporary art and to show the artistic features in psychic geography is of course the most critical issue of “global art history” or “world history.” Thirdly, we are confronted with questions on how Taiwan’s folk art became rich and diverse after being separated from the Mainland China in the early days of the Japanese colonial rule. And how does the educational art exhibition systems and concepts imported after 1927 criticize the “following tradition, mimicking the ancient style” art system discussed in Tu-shui Huang’s “Born in Taiwan” in 1922 and Hsiu-hsiung Wang’s Development of Taiwan art History? Through the selection and censorship of the Taiwan Fine Arts Exhibition (Taiwan Exhibition) and the Taiwan Government-General Fine Arts Exhibition (Government-General Exhibition), Taiwan art system emphasized the creators’ personality and observation of nature, leading to the decline of the traditional ink wash paintings popular in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The aesthetic values held by colonial rule suppressed the room for folk art and religious art in the plebeian society.
For a “Religious Art Festival” in preparation, if we want to bridge the gap between religious art and contemporary art, it is very likely that we cannot evade the above three inquiries into Taiwan art history during our preparation for the festival. That points to why I bring about “marginal art” and highlight Shunsuke Tsurumi’s criticism on the “art” concept in “Japanese art history.” Borrowing from Japan’s experience, we can conceive a concept totally different from the western modern “art” or “pure art.” In that way, are we coming up with an idea called “impure art history?”

Contemporaneity of Marginal Art and Media Conversion

Publishing the book An Anthropology of Images: Picture, Medium, Body in 2001, German art historian Hans Belting expresses his hope to develop a kind of “critical new iconology.” Following his anthropology trajectory, Belting proposes a broader image theory. He believes the so-called “image,” whether belonging to the category of art or not, must be placed in the middle of the triadic constellation “picture, media, and body” so as to grasp the full idea of it. As a result, the boundary between art and non-art does not serve as Belting’s real concern.
Belting thinks images cannot be reduced to media because it takes the body to fulfill them. The argument is filled with the play in Bergson’s philosophy. Some images live in the body. For example, the images in our dreams and memories are the files stored in our brain. Some of them exist for a long time, while others disappear in just a moment. Based on the concept, the body can be taken as a special medium for images. However, when we are looking at an external medium, our body will draw on a specific visual and sensory experience, transforming the image on the external medium into a meaningful one. Evoking a connection between the image and certain memories in the past, the viewer then projects his or her desire on the image. As a result, the image comes into existence when the body and the medium are coordinating with each other. The dichotomy of subjectivity and objectivity in traditional epistemology, the dichotomy of internal and external representation of images, and the dichotomy between mental image (of the body) and physical image (of the medium) should all be eradicated.

For example, Belting noted that the aboriginal art sweeping through the European avant-garde circle had influenced many primitive artists like Picasso, who tried to capture or copy the images of Africa on his canvas. However, these primitive artists were actually transposing the convergence of their mental image and the African crafts to the context of modernism. Western artists and the audience projected their mental images onto the works imported from Africa or the Orient. It is hard to completely get rid of this acquired visual habit.
Belting also discussed a reverse example: the Aztec Empire colonized by the Spanish in the sixteenth century. Apart from spreading the physical images of Catholic Church, that is, pictures, images, and altars, the Spanish colonizers forced the Aztecs to accept and integrate the mental representation into their body and mind as well as to convert to the Catholicism. They were actually implanting a visual habit about heaven into the brains of the Aztecs. That is because the Spanish colonizers understood the conversion of images did not only happen on the walls and domes of the churches. More importantly, the conversion must take place in the head.
In this regard, the revolution in media itself does not necessarily bring about a revolution in the image. That is because no matter how violently the external media have changed, some seemingly outdated images stored in the body can always be retained with anachronistic treatments. This is especially true when it comes to something beyond our knowledge, such as death and the world after death, as well as the images of saints and the dead, the mental images of the body and the images in dreams and memories. These images hold a persistent strength that vigorously resists the other images acceleratedly reproduced by today’s media. Traversing between the media conversion and images, Belting does not romanticize or essentialize the mental-image reproducing power contained in the body. Instead, what he emphasizes is that no matter how the western modernity has changed its media and materials, images carried inside the body still hold an enormous power. Images produced in the body have a historical cohesion and resistance. The most fixed part is exactly the strength to reproduce portraits of the dead and the images about the world of gods and spirits as well as the world after death. No matter how the “new media” arise, productivity of this kind of images remains invincible. What is more, this kind of power is sure to project on the new media and materials and ultimately drives the media to transpose and convert.
It is precisely because the redeployment between the body and images that the feature Kau-Puê: Near Future Gods and Contemporary Art underlines the importance of revisiting religious images in the plebeian society and reflects on the methods, relations, and expressions of this kind of images. The redeployment transcends the art history/ anthropology dichotomy, surpasses the concepts of art imported from colonial empires, and goes beyond the knowledge and expression in modern art academia. The redeployment can be used to extract the unique resources and features from the contemporary art of Taiwan in the field of psychic geology.
In the seminar on October 3, the two less familiar faces were painters Chiu-shan Chen and Qing-zhang Liao. Although they are considered on the border or beyond the modern art academia because of their background and career, they are actually closely connected to the tradition of temple paintings and the plebeian society, echoing precisely with the marginal state of art referred by the theory “marginal art.”
Born in 1933, the painter Chiu-shan Chen is influenced by Yu-shan Lin’s painting theories. To work on temple paintings, Chen had lived in a metal hut in front of the courtyard of Tachia Tsu-chi Temple in Rende, Tainan, for thirteen years. It is not until this summer that he retired to the east coastal Hualien at the advanced age of eighty-four. Features of his painting lie in nature sketches and morphing. The portraits of Baosheng Dadi (Life Protection Emperor), door gods, and animals are all based on the concept of sketches and realism, breaking with the traditional iconology, which centers on mimicking the motifs. The painter injects his own body movements into the postures of people and animals on the canvas. The dance-like crossing footwork posed by a door god particularly responds to the commonly-seen dynamic Jia Jiang Footwork. In addition to the temple in Rende, the research team visited Hui-shan Temple in Yangmei, Taoyuan, Cheng-huang Temple in Donggang, Pingtung, and Ru-yi Gong in Nanjhou, Pingtung to appreciate his door god paintings. In Nanjhou, we found art works corresponding to his work in Rende’s Tachia Tsu-chi Temple. In Tsu-chi Temple, the two gods standing beside Baosheng Dadi—Thousand Li Eye and Wind Following Ear—feature intentionally-made disproportionate muscle lumps and legs. Similarly, the door gods Shenshu and Yulu on the door panels of the second room in San Qing Altar in Nanjhou Ru-yi Gong are portrayed with exaggerated morphing body muscles and foot bones. The two door gods exhibit a wild, ghost- or spirit-like image that combines comics and sketch techniques. Of course, these portraits have interpenetrated the painter’s special personality with the images of ghosts and spirits in the plebeian society and thereby formulate a non-conventional and straightforward expression.
It is also noteworthy that Chiu-shan Chen still preserves the practice of enlarging the figures’ heads and faces, a feature that cannot be ignored while creating the door god portraits for temples. Since most of the door plates in temples are much higher than the viewers, a special upward foreshortening technique has been developed to adapt to the viewing condition in religious venues. Although he highlights the importance of sketches and nature observations, Chen does not change the “morphing perspective” designed for viewers to appreciate the portraits at a close range. Considering Chen’s creation in a religious spatial context, it seems Chen’s ideas are exactly identical with Belting’s arguments in An Anthropology of Images: Picture, Medium, Body.
The other painter Qing-zhang Liao was born in 1959. Learning from temple painter Ching-shi Ding yet committed to working on creative works, Liao was introduced and commented by Taiwanese art historian Chong-ray Hsiao with all the efforts. “Combining traditional techniques and modern aesthetics” and making good use of mind-quivering images, Liao creates new images that not only break with the stereotypes of temple painting but also transcend the modern framework.
In my opinion, the most impressive part of Liao’s creation is the gold foil heavy color paper painting. This form of painting not only breaks the limitations of the media, allowing him to create portraits of a series of deities in the size of 270×92 cm, including Wei Tuo, Qie Lan, Wang Ling-guan, Wen Zhong, Li Jing, and Yang Jian, as well as the 240×105 cm portraits of Four Heavenly Kings known as Feng Tiao Yu Shun (good climate in Mandarin). Based on science and color theory for experimenting materials, transposing portraits of these door gods onto paper also grants these images an unprecedented freedom. The audience can take a close look at them in personal collection rooms, studios, galleries and art museums. Meanwhile, the door god portraits are transposed from the context of temple religion to the field of pure art, coming into existence through exhibitions and collections. In addition, Liao has learned from many parties. Drawing on light ink wash painting and gouache for sketches and the presention of a contemporary mindset, he has fully practiced every possible contemporaneity of temple paintings in the plebeian society. Of course, “contemporaneity” here means the redeployment of religious bodies and images. That is, it refers to the moment when marginal art and media conversion take place.
Other engaging artists include Jiun-yang Li, who has worked on temple paintings, cinema billboards, and wooden puppets; Jen-hung Liang, who grew up in the temple culture of Sucuo, Tainan; Bo-liang Lin, Shu-pin Lee, and Po-i Chen, photographers dealing with diverse topics such as folk religion and temple ceremonies; Yu-hsien Su, who has won the Taishin Art Award with Hua-Shan-Qiang, a paper offering artistic work for worship rituals; Zhan Zhang-Xu, an artist coming from a family with a heritage of paper offerings; Po-hau Tseng and the band Sexy Little Young Pig, who practice the tradition of Liam-kua and Rakugo. All the artists have got rid of the strangeness that modernist art used to hold against folk art and marginal art. These artists are closer to the memories of historical images in the plebeian society, yet they are much braver to seek the redeployment of the body and images in the context. It is on them that I see, specifically, the starting point of marginal art and media conversion.

分享文章 Share this post


Notice: Undefined variable: post in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622

Notice: Undefined variable: post in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622

Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in /home/actaina5/public_html/wp-content/themes/sento/admin/main/options/05.blog.php on line 622
[related_post themes="flat" id="305"]