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馮樂凡與施凱荃:「護符(Pacifier)」

Dominic Blake馮樂凡施凱荃

2024-05-07|撰文者:Dominic Blake

中文譯文由天成數位翻譯有限公司提供:

巴比肯藝術中心於2018至2019年間的展覽「現代伴侶:藝術、親密與前衛」揭示了藝術家間的浪漫關係如何轉化為孕育具挑戰性創新藝術作品的媒介。當初次觀賞馮樂凡與施凱荃的數位畫作「護符」時,人們難以不得出這樣的推論:此作品結合兩位藝術家深入探討了被社會冷漠忽視的邊緣人物及群體,理應與芙烈達·卡蘿與迪亞哥·李維拉、李歐諾拉.卡靈頓與馬克斯·恩斯特等藝術家的作品並列展出。

兩年前在倫敦結識的中國藝術家馮樂凡與施凱荃,共同鍛造了匯聚他們各自獨特技藝的一種堅定不移的藝術實踐; 作為數位插圖畫家,Feng在角色設計和敘事領域名聲日益增長,相對地,施則是學院正統繪畫和素描技巧的大師。對於這兩位藝術家來說,藝術不僅僅是娛樂的手段,更重要的是其轉變生活的強大力量。藝術能夠挑戰社會不公並帶來正向的變革。他們的作品帶有一種迫切感,穿透人與人之間的界限,對永恆道德感的真摯呼喚。雖無明顯的政治色彩,其作品對身為人類、感受,及被愛的意義作出了提問。「護符」正是這種藝術探討的完美典範之作。

這幅數位藝術作品在某些層面上能夠喚起觀賞者對奧伯利·比亞茲萊創作的黑墨畫的聯想,但它巧妙地避開了比亞茲萊沉溺於怪異、頹廢與情慾的風格。同時,此作也呈現出前拉斐爾派兄弟會早期肖像作品的藝術特質。畫面中,兩宛若精靈的角色浸染於一片永恆的憂郁中,彼此之間以一把似非實體、仿若沙粒般,在時間的迷霧中逐漸溶解的劍相互聯繫。作品框定於樹根和樹枝構成的螺旋狀與樹狀圖案內,圖像亦因此透出一種有機質感,在突顯自然的最高權威與地位外,也反映我們在自然界中的角色。

《護符》是馮、施二人更大地漸進式作品中的一環;這一系列創作包含20件作品,穿梭於2D及3D中諸多對關鍵議題進行宏觀層面的反思。這對藝術家面正視人類境況的脆弱而不畏,以誠實、正直的方式揭示我們對自身及所生活世界的破壞性衝動,啟發與性別間之不平等、後女性主義,以及氣候變遷的重要對話。若對馮來說,這項合作項目旨在「促發思考並啟迪變革……成為連結、同理心,以及理解的催化劑,尤其是在這個常讓人感到分裂的世界中」;那麼施的目標則更富秘奧性,即「岧嶢……快感之上,(並)激發好奇心,燃起想像力,鼓勵自省……而致力於彌合現實與想像間的距離,創造窺察夢境與現實的交會。」

可以想見在未來幾月至數年間,這對藝術家將以一股勢不可擋的力量征服倫敦藝術界。他們受到泰德現代美術館、蛇形畫廊,當然還有巴比肯藝術中心的肯定,並在共同創作重要作品的一流藝術家伴侶中占有一席之地。

英文原文:作者 Dominic Blake,倫敦,2024年四月

Original text in english, By Dominic Blake, London, April 2024

Lefan Feng and Kai-Chaun Shih:  Pacifier

The Barbican’s 2018/19 exhibition ‘Modern Couples:  Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde’ revealed the ways in which romantic relationships between artists can become platforms from which challenging new work might emerge.  On first viewing Lefan Feng and Kai-Chaun Shih’s visionary digital painting, Pacifier, it is difficult not to conclude that their combined exploration of marginalised individuals and communities, exploited by uncaring and indifferent societies, would have been deserving of placement alongside Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and Leonora Carrington and Max Ernst.

Coming together two years ago, the London based Chinese artists have forged an uncompromising practice,  unifying their distinct skills; Feng a digital illustrator with a growing reputation in the field of character design and storytelling, Shih a master of traditional techniques borne out of the academic orthodoxy of drawing and painting.  For both artists, while art might function to entertain, it’s real power lies in its ability to transform lives, combating injustice and affecting positive societal change.  There is an urgency about their work, an earnest appeal to a timeless sense of morality that pervades the borders between us.  Without being overtly political, they raise questions about what it means to be human, to feel, to be loved.  Pacifier serves as a perfect exemplar of this.

The digital artwork at once recalls the black ink drawings of Aubrey Beardsley (while eschewing Beardsley’s tendency to dwell on the grotesque, decadent and erotic) and the earlier portraits of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  Two ethereal, sprite-like figures melt into eternal melancholia connected by a sword which, rather than appearing to be solid, passes through one of them as if it were sand dissolving into the mists of time.  Framed by the swirling, dendritic patterns of roots and branches, the image possesses an organic quality speaking to the primacy of nature, and of our place within it.

Pacifier forms part of a larger, progressive body of work; 20 two- and three-dimensional reflections on critical issues rendered on a macro-scale.  The couple do not shy away from confronting the frailties of the human condition, shining a light with honesty and integrity on our worst impulses to harm ourselves and the world in which we live.  They provoke important conversations about gender inequality, post-feminism and climate change.  If  for Feng the collaborative project functions to: ‘provoke thought and inspire change … (to be a) catalyst for connection, empathy, and understanding in a world that often feels divided’, Shih’s purpose is more esoteric, to: ‘transcend … pleasure (and) ignite curiosity, spark imagination and inspire introspection … (to) aspire to bridge the gap between reality and imagination, offering glimpses into realms where dreams and reality converge.’

It seems certain that in the coming months and years, the collaborators will take the London art scene by storm, embraced by the Tate Modern, Serpentine Galleries and, of course, the Barbican, and take their place within the pantheon of couples creating significant work together.

Pacifier (護符)

Astronaut Man (太空人)

Dominic Blake馮樂凡施凱荃
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