Z 赵能智

感觉的形象

——汪民安

这些脸,这些身体,都剥去了皮。它们暴露出来的是肉。赵能智全力以赴地在画肉。在中国当代艺术中,对身体的表达层出不穷,怎样表达身体?人们有时候画肢体,画动作,画表情,画器官(尤其要画眼睛),画身体的可见性部分,画身体的外在现实,画身体的表面性。只有赵能智在画肉,画皮之下的部分,画身体的内在性这一不可见的部分。为什么要剥掉皮而画肉?所有这些肉,具有一种事实上的真实性:身体就是肉构成的,肉是身体的元素:身体就是肉。赵能智试图将人还原到肉的状态,他似乎相信,人首当其冲地是一种肉的存在――肉的体积,肉的分量,肉的运动,就是整个身体本身。这样,对人的“再现”,就不是借助于对外在性的再现而进行的,不是通过外在性来表达人的“内部”,比如,就不是通过眼睛来表达人的内心――在这样的绘画传统中,人就划分成外在性和内在性两个区域。而赵能智的画面,则拒绝了内在和外在的二元区分,这里只有一元论,只有纯粹的内在性本身:人就是身体就是肉。

这是个什么样的身体?我们看到,这个肉身(在这里更多地是脑袋的形式而出现的)处在一种痉挛状态。这些肉由大量的波纹形线条组成,整个画面充满波纹,这种波纹如此之充满褶皱,波纹如此之交织,回旋,凌乱,扭曲,抖动,震颤,这些肉,显然不是处在平静的状态,它像是被电流击中一样,似乎有一种波在贯穿和侵袭着它们。它们失去了自己的稳定性,变得晃荡而且毫无规律。肉一旦发抖,一旦在无规律地晃荡,它就肆意地挤压器官,让眼睛,嘴巴,鼻子和耳朵扭曲,这些器官也失去了自己的稳定性,失去了自己的固定表意功能,它们同样像是被电击中了一样,变得混乱而无序。这样,我们看到,脸上的每个器官都隐约地存在,但是,这些鼻子,眼睛,嘴巴,耳朵都非常模糊,它们没有得到清晰的界定,并且都处在一种扭曲状态:好像它们随时要恢复到正常状态,也可能要进一步地扭曲到另外一个状态――这些器官,这些肉本身,都是处在过渡状态,处在一个极限的瞬间,它们似乎还要往下个不确定的毫无预感的方向转化――谁也控制不了这种肉身的演变。我们只知道,这些肉身,这些器官都处在运动和演变的瞬间。

不仅如此,这各个器官之间,鼻子,嘴巴,眼睛,耳朵,它们彼此之间并没有一种正常的功能联系。它们的实际功能被淡化了――眼睛不是用来观看的,鼻子不是用来呼吸的,嘴巴不是用来吞食的,耳朵也不是用来倾听的――所有这些器官不是表示它们的实用功能,甚至也不是一种面相学意义上的人性的征兆,也不是对隐秘的内心世界的表达。相反,这些器官除了借助于自身的扭曲在表明它们的痉挛外,什么也不表达。眼睛,耳朵和嘴巴只是剩下了一个空洞的孔,一个空洞的口,其余的部分,都和脸部的其他区域纠集在一起,除了这些孔洞之外,你分不清这些器官和身体其他部分的界线,这些界线模糊了。因此,在这些画中,我们看到身体的整体,就是由几个扭曲的孔洞和一片模糊的疆域所组成。或者说,在一片痉挛的疆域中存在着几个扭曲的孔。

就此,我们在这个身体中就没有发现层次感,整个身体并没有陷入一种条分缕析的清晰状态。整个脑袋是不分区域的,是一个连续体,也就是说,我们在这里没有看到局部,没有看到区隔,整个身体,整个脑袋,都被狂乱的线所连接在一起,或者说,整个身体,都是一个整体,都被一种电流,被一种波段所贯穿,一种波段在主宰着身体,也主宰着画面。这样的身体,并没有一个主次之分,没有一个秩序,没有被有效地组织起来,身体成为一种偶然性的流变,一个持续性的混乱肉体,这个肉体,在无规律地起伏,这是单纯的肉体痉挛。赵能智将肉体痉挛形象化了。正是在这个意义上,我们看到了一种力的形象化,一种感觉的形象化,一种强烈的身体经验的形象化。赵能智不是将感觉作为隐秘的对象来表达的,不是借助一个外在的对象来传达感觉,而是毫无中介地直接画出了感觉,直接来表达感觉。我们也可以说,赵能智直接画出了强度。感觉的体验,就是强度体验,感觉并没有具体的内容,并没有具体的对象存在于感觉的视野中。相反,描写感觉的方式是强度,感觉只能用强和弱来表达。对于感觉,我们不是要问,你感觉到了什么?而是要问这种感觉的强度如何?这是弱的感觉还是强的感觉?因此,感觉就是力的经验。赵能智直截了当地画出了强的感觉,也可以说,画出了感觉的强度,也就是说,画出了力。力和感觉这种抽象的东西,这种无以表述的东西,在这些画中获得了形象。这是绘画的一种新功能:将抽象的东西赋予形象,将力赋予形象,将强度赋予形象。

 
 

因此,我不愿意将这些人,将这些图像看做是某个时代的阴郁表达,似乎这些图像,这些脑袋,是这个时代的精神生活的焦虑征兆。这又落入到古典美学的再现陷阱中。在这些画面上,确实有焦虑,恐怖,阴郁,苦痛和偏执等各种各样的具体感觉,但这各种各样的感觉,并不被哪个时代所独霸。我更愿意将这些感觉看做是超出时空的――在所有的时代,在历史的任何瞬间,都存在这种感觉――我要说,只要有肉身的存在,无论是作为人的肉身,还是作为动物的肉身,都会有这种感觉――这种感觉来自于肉身,这是肉身的自然产物,或者说,这种感觉和肉身密不可分,它们是一体的。感觉就是肉身,肉身就是感觉――这些画面是对此的确凿证实。事实上,在这些画面上,人尽可能地向动物靠近,尽可能地被动物化了(这也是这些画面让人们看起来并不舒服的原因之一)。这里没有多少人的文明世界要素的存在――既没有文明的背景,也没有文明的暗示。人就是一个肉身存在,人有自己的特殊脑袋,犹如一个狼有自己的特殊脑袋,一个羊有自己的特殊脑袋一样。人的肉身感觉,同动物的肉身感觉并非不一样。因此,这些画中需要被关注的,不是感觉的内容,而是感觉的强度。不是感觉的具体性,而是感觉的普遍性。也就是说,对肉身而言,我们关注的不是它到底是哪一种感觉,我们要关注的是它的感觉的极限,它的感觉的强度能够置于何处,它的感觉的高潮和低谷的邻界点置身于何处――事实上,感觉世界中,快乐和苦痛的最极端状态是没法区分的,狂喜和伤悲也是没法区分的:在性高潮中,在酩酊大醉的状态下,在毒品的侵袭下,在极刑的最后一刻,哭和笑同时交织在一起,难解难分。因此,我们能区分感觉的,只有它的强度:它是否走到了它的极端,是否走到了它的尽头。赵能智根除了一切感觉之外的背景,这些图像(头像)都是绝对自主的,没有任何修饰,没有任何的具体暗示,它们通常置身于一片漆黑的背景中——这就突出了纯粹的肉身本身,纯粹的感觉本身,纯粹的动物性本身――也即是说,纯粹的感觉强度本身。

显然,这些画面上的人物基本上都是处在感觉的极端状态,也就是说,感觉的最强状态。所有的具体感觉都达到了它的极限――我们可以将这种强度状态称之为歇斯底里。歇斯底里不是一种具体的感觉,而是一种感觉强度的命名,这种感觉完全被感觉所驾驭,它冲破了理性的桎梏,或者说,它置所有的理性而不顾。它听凭肉身的逻辑,或者说,听凭肉身的非逻辑,听凭身体内部力的起伏,听凭神经波的驱动,这些波有时候外溢,有时候收缩,有时候加速,有时候放慢,有时候超前,有时候滞后,它将整个身体推向了一个不可知的境地,直到它耗尽了全部,并将理性的外壳彻头彻尾地炸毁。这就是歇斯底里状态,这样一个身体,就是阿尔托意义上的“无器官的身体”(the body without organ)。这个无器官的身体,并不表示这些身体的器官不存在,而是表示身体的器官总是在随时改变,在力的驱动下,在神经波的穿越中,这些器官都遭到了扭曲和变形,它们发挥了另外的功能。我们看到,赵能智画面上人脸的器官,在力的驱动下错位了:在这些脑袋上,眼睛在叫喊,鼻子在啃咬,耳朵在观察,嘴巴则在悄无声息地倾听。

Images of Feelings

——Wang Min-An

     These faces and bodies have all been deprived of their skin. What is exposed is the flesh. Zhao Nengzhi is racking his brains and doing his utmost to paint flesh. In contemporary Chinese art, there are unlimited ways of portraying the body and numerous manners in doing so. People sometimes depict torsi, actions, organs (in particular the eyes), visible parts of the body, realistic exteriors and the superficiality of the subject as a whole. However, Zhao Nengzhi is an exception in that he is the only one who depicts flesh, the parts underneath the skin, the intrinsically invisible bits. Why does he separate flesh from skin? The flesh has to it an undeniably factual truth - it composes the body and is an element of it; the body is itself flesh. Zhao Nengzhi tries to restore human beings to the state of flesh. He appears to believe that, first and foremost for a human being is existence in the way of flesh, whose volume, weight and actions constitute the body as a whole. In this way, the “reshaping” of the human being is not achieved through external reappearance; but through that which the interior of the human being is expressed. For example, eyes are not deployed to describe inner thoughts of people. In traditional paintings, human beings are divided between the exterior and the interior. Zhao Nengzhi’s paintings however, reject this dual-component approach and adapt only the monistic method. They have in them the sheer and absolute certainty inherent in itself – human beings are both body and flesh. 

What kind of body is it then? We see that the flesh (which appears more like a skull here) is in a state of convulsion. It consists of numerous wavy lines that fill up whole images. The curvy lines are so draped that they intertwine, whirl around, twist, shake and tremble. It is obvious that the flesh is not in a tranquil state; instead, it appears that they have been electrified, and have been penetrated and invaded by a certain wave. They have lost their balance, and have become shaky and without regularity. Once the flesh starts shaking, once it starts swaying irregularly, it will wantonly squeeze the organs at will, making the eyes, mouth, nose and ears twist and turn, and deprive these organs of their balance, and of their usual expressive functions. They appear to also have been hit by electricity, and have become shambolic and chaotic. Here, we can still see that each and every organ on the face is still present, albeit vaguely. However, these eyes, mouths, ears and noses have become so indistinct that it becomes hard to define them. They are so twisted that it appears that they could regain their normal functional state in any moment, or twist into another state. These organs and the flesh itself are in a period of transition, and in this infinitely transient time frame, they appear to be evolving in an uncertain and unforeseeable direction, one in which they have no control whatsoever. The only thing we know is that the flesh and organs are in constant motion and are temporarily evolving. 

In addition, it does not appear that these organs share a normally functional coalition among themselves. Their actual functions have diminished: the eyes no longer see, the noses no longer breathe, the mouths no longer swallow and chew, and the ears no longer listen and hear. These organs are no longer an expression of their functionality, or even a symbol of humanity from the perspective of facial studies, nor are they a depiction of one’s innermost thoughts. On the contrary, except for the convulsion conveyed through their own self-twist, they do not represent anything else. Eyes, noses and mouths are only holes, vacant openings, left on the image, while the rest of the face is intertwined with these organs. Apart from the holes and hollows, you do not and can not distinguish the boundaries between them and the rest. The borderline has blurred. As a result, in these paintings, we see the whole of the body as an alliance between, and an aggregation of, several twisted holes and other blurry regions. Apart from these holes and hollows, you can no longer distinguish the confines of the organs and other body parts. The borders have become ambiguous. In other words, there exists in this convulsed realm, several contorted holes. 

Hence, we do not find different layers in the body. The whole body is not properly aligned and not in a clearly defined state. The head is without divisions and is a continuity in itself. In other words, we cannot see the localized area and the different sections. The entire body and head are linked by a frantic line. They have become an entire identity that has been electrified and interwoven by a wave band that dominates the body and the canvas. A body like this has no primary or secondary components, no orders, no effective organization. It has become a haphazard flow and current, an ongoing confusion of flesh and disarray. The flesh-constituted body rises and falls irregularly and is in sheer contraction with the flesh. Zhao Nengzhi has visualized the convulsions of the flesh. It is exactly in this way where we see the visualization of power and prowess, of feelings and of violent physical experiences. Zhao Nengzhi does not express feelings as a veiled or hidden object. He does not express feelings and emotions through the means of extrinsic objects; instead he directly paints the feelings and expresses the emotions without the aide of any mediatory. We may say that Zhao Nengzhi directly paints strength and intensity. The experience of feelings equals the feeling of intensity. Feelings do not have in themselves anything tangible or concrete, nor are there any specific objects within its dominion. On the contrary, the way to go about describing feelings is through the depth of intensity. We may express feelings only with adjectives like “weak” and “strong”. With regard to feelings, we have to question what you feel, how strongly you feel. Is this a weak feeling or a strong one? Therefore, feelings become a matter of intensity. Zhao Nengzhi bluntly depicts feelings of strength or the intensity of feelings, or simply strength. Strength and feelings are abstract, indescribable things. Visualization is acquired in these paintings, which is a new function of painting, i.e., to endow the abstract with visibility and visualization, to bestow visibility to strength and intensity. 

As such, I do not wish to see these people, these images, as a kind of moroseness of an age, as if these objects and heads are a barometer of the spiritual anxiety of an era. That would fall into the recurring trap of classical aesthetics. It is true that there are different tangible feelings such as anxiety, horror, depression, torment and bigotry but they are not trademarks of any particular age. I am more inclined to see these expressions as trans-space as they exist in all ages and times in history. What I would like to say is that feelings are a product of flesh, whether human or animal. Feelings and flesh are so well-integrated that they have become one. Feeling is flesh and flesh is feeling. Zhao Nengzhi’s images are a perfect and indisputable proof of the above statement. In fact, in his paintings, people tend to be closest to animals and are becoming like them (this is also one of the reasons for the feelings of unease that arises when looking at Zhao Nengzhi’s images). There are little traces of human civilization – not set against the backdrop of civilization nor of any implication of civilization. Humans exist in the form of flesh and they have unique heads, the same way wolves have unique heads and sheep theirs. How human flesh feels does not necessarily differ from that of animals. Therefore, what requires attention is not the substance of feelings but the intensity of it; it is not about the specifics of feelings but the universality of it. In other words, for bodies of flesh, what we should focus on is not the kind of feeling but instead concentrate on the extremity and intensity of it, and where the peak and low points are. In fact, in the world of perception, pleasure can hardly be distinguishable from extreme torment, nor can you tell extreme pleasure from sorrow. During an orgasm, a drunken stupor, when high on drugs, the last moment before a death penalty, laughter and weeping are interwoven and are inevitably inseparable. Therefore, the only perceivable thing is its intensity – whether it is at the end of its tethers. Zhao Nengzhi has eradicated the background information against which feelings exist. These images (of human heads) are absolutely independent and without decoration or concrete hints. They are usually set up in absolute darkness, which accentuates the pure flesh, pure feelings and absolute animal characteristics. In other words, this is to perceive the sheer intensity of feelings. 

It is obvious that the characters depicted in these images are experiencing emotional extremity and extreme sensations. All concrete feelings are at their peak, and we may call this phenomenon “hysteria”. Hysteria is not a concrete form of feeling but a term for its intensity. It is completely dominated by the senses and has broken away from the shackles of rationality. It disregards rationality and adheres to the logic of flesh. It complies with the anti-logic of flesh and rises alongside the power of the body, alongside the nerve wave, which sometimes overflows, contracts, speeds up, slows down, overtakes time or falls short of it. It has propelled the body to an unknown territory until it has depleted itself and annihilated the shackles of reasoning and rationality. Such a body is what Hugo Alvar Henrik Aalto terms “the body without organs”. Such bodies do not necessarily mean that the organs have vanished into thin air; instead they are in a constant state of flux. Driven by power and via the penetration of nerve waves, these organs have been transfixed and disfigured; they bring into play other functions. We see that the facial organs in the paintings of Zhao Nengzhi have been dislocated under the coercion of power——the clustering of the heads, the shouting eyes, the biting ears, the observing noses, and the quietly listening mouths.

台湾才子兼著名主持人蔡康永喜好收藏。在蔡康永的眼中艺术品有两种,一种像沙发一样令人舒服,供人休憩;另外一种会令人更加紧张。而在他的收藏中,赵能智的作品就属于后者。无论是在“《影子》”时代,还是“《表情》”时代,赵能智对作品的要求都是不断地冒险,他很清楚自己的作品不会是起居室床头沙发上悬挂的装饰画,“反正都是没人欣赏,不如彻底地冒险”。因此,在《表情》系列作品经过六、七年的沉淀,逐渐获得评论界与收藏界认可的时候,赵能智又急切地开始了新的冒险,他不断将藏家与观者刚开始适应的那种尺寸的“表情”放大,1米、2米、3米、4米,直到对观者构成绝对的挑战。

对于一个艺术家来说,扎实的造型功力和创造性的思维是最为基本与重要的,一个好的艺术家必然会在长期的摸索中找到属于自己的独特的艺术语言。1980年代中期以来,我们在中国当代艺术圈里曾多次见识过以人类面孔为主题的经典范例,在耿建翌、张晓刚、方力钧、岳敏君、曾梵志和杨少斌等艺术家之后,赵能智找到了属于自己的语汇,当下社会的各式面孔在他的画布上以相对抽象的方式被呈现出来,进而成为时代精神特征的典型标本。赵能智正与上述画家一道,共同描绘着21世纪初中国当代社会的精神肖像。

近几年,赵能智开始在艺术界崭露头角,源于他的那些让人印象深刻的架上作品。在当下艺术快要沦为智力游戏的附庸的时代,赵能智的作品所体现出来的独特的绘画性尤其值得关注。赵能智不是一个潮流的追随者,他更愿意将时间花在钻研那些让他真正感兴趣的事物和现象本身。90年代以来的中国当代艺术,政治波普、玩世现实主义、艳俗艺术等艺术风格和样式大行其道,赵能智作为一名中国当代艺术家,没有去迎合市场的口味将中国文化或者政治符号引用到自己的创作中去,而是坚持个人兴趣,用人物形象的视觉化表达来进行其对人类精神领域的分析。在赵能智的画中,人物正是以这样一种光怪陆离的表象和虚幻的状态呈现,仿若梦魇而非现实。细腻而丰富的笔触展现了赵能智精湛的绘画技艺,再辅以自己特有的敏感和洞察力,于是展现在大家面前的就是一幅幅极具渗透力的感性而炙热的画面。