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【评论】One more look at “her“ ——by the Haifeng

2012-07-27 14:18:29 来源:艺术家提供作者:席卫权
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  One. Paintings of Haifeng

  The watercolor group paintings Fenglingdu is unique and controversial as well. The painter has subtly adopted “alternative“ perspectives and ways of expression in modernconceptual photography so as to describe the scene of a friend’s wedding. In the group paintings, the size of single painting is very small and the distribution of figures in the painting is close. As these group paintings were exhibited in a row every five paintings, so it was easy to attract the attention of audiences. As having used pictures as the prototype of creation, the painter also can obviously clear up dense moisture in watercolor paintings while keeping strong characteristics of oil paintings, so it has become one of the most controversial works in the exhibition.

  The above words are quoted from a review on the 11th national art exhibition in Art Observation. As there are numerous wonderful works in modern art circle, it won’t be easy for a work to be paid attention to and controversial. Although there are negative voices and explanations, but it is necessary to get an understanding about the painter before getting deep comprehension about the work. The introduction of the painter is as follows.

  The group paintings are works of Yang Haifeng, who was born in Xingyang, Henan province is a young artist has made a figure in the world of art. Haifeng loves painting, and he has the breath of painter which can be felt by anyone getting close to him. It is a kind of taste of oil painting in the studio, ink in picture album, tea and coffee… and working night and day. To be sure, he is born to paint! Unlike other “artists“ who are busy with many things while painting, Haifeng is only busy with one thing, “painting“! Over recent years, Haifeng has made great achievements in the world of art, for instance, his works have been elected in biennale exhibition of Beijing international art, national youth art exhibition, national exhibition of landscape painting, paintings of scenes and portrait (won the top prize), The world trip of Chinese fine art (Paris, France), the 11th national art exhibition (nomination) etc, besides, other works of him have been collected by some art gallery and collectors. Of which, Red star over China (series), Whose Red Sailboat, Fenglingdu (group paintings), Suspension for a second everyday and some portraits have received great attention from the world of art. The following quoted comments from seniors and people of the same occupation in the world of art are helpful to learn more about Haifeng. ①

  Yang Haifeng has a very good personality, which is his perseverance in paitings, which are delicate, authentic, classic in figures, and rich in sense of life and art…His paintings basically belong to western painting, while the construction of which are not always traditional figures of oil paintings, which can be called the perspective of traditional Chinese paintings in terms of perspective concept, which also can be said as this: he has broken the traditional construction and techniques of expression.

  ——Ding Zhongyi (Formal Vice President of Henan Fine Art Association, Professor of Henan University)

  He is a real painter who has possessed all kind of requirements needed for good paintings. He is a young artist rather than an opportunist.

  ——Cao Xinlin (Formal Vice President of Henan Fine Art Association, President of Henan Oil Painting Society)

  His works are impressionistic and realistic, and the combination of subjective expression and objective expression is in place. In terms of modern heritage of Chinese national paintings, he is definitely a hopeful carrier who possesses solid basic skills and strong skill of painting realistically, so in his creative work, he can paint deep figures and events, he is expected to have sound and promising art development prospect.

  ——Ma Guoqiang (President of Henan Literary Federation, President of Henan Fine Art Association)

  I thing highly of some portrait works of Yang Haifeng, such as Edge, especially the feelings brought by hair, face and other general feelings in the painting are strong proof of his skills and temperament. In recent times, his works have been listed in national exhibition, from which we can feel that he has done certain exploration in formal language of paintings and his works are prominent among that of young people, so he is very talents and promising.

  ——Xie Bingyi (Vice President of Henan Fine Art Association, Dean of Henan Art Academy)

  Different from our generation, nor younger generation, his taste and feelings about paintings are amazing, he can control it perfectly and his adoption of posture and color and the modality in his paintings are newer than what we have in our times, and more realistic than hollow surface of young people, as he has mastered his art status and position. In terms of paintings, he has amazing sense of art.

  ——Duan Zhengqu (Professor of Capital Normal University)

  As Haifeng has always said that he is just a craftsman, and it is true in fact, in recent years, his has spent his payment in picture albums and pigment. There is a road for anybody, so I think my close pal has found his one.

  —— Li Chenghua (Assistant Dean of College of Humanities of Zhejiang University)

  Two. Paint while walking

  Haifeng works hard on painting, “painting almost killed him as he stay up late at night for painting so that he got red-eye, and even he burns an oil lamp to paint…" this is just a cucoloris of his work. But it is never right to assume that Haifeng just works harder, he also works smarter, as there is slow-witted wisdom in his paintings. It is known to all that the key of regular learning pattern is down to earth hardworking and perseverance. Haifeng is such a person who draws paintings that can make him satisfied, then participates in art exhibition and does more practice in exchanging and interaction, so he is a “person of action“.

  Haifeng has great curiosity to ask all sorts of questions, so what he always does is asking for questions after painting teaching hours. Learning without thought means labor lost; thought without learning is perilous. Asking wiremen can make your road broader and smoother. Haifeng studies under a famous painter who has passed away, Li Bo’an, but he did not stop here. Although he has high starting point, he never stops learning from other seniors and wise men with a modest heart. For instance, Ding Zhongyi, Cao Xinlin, Ma Guoqiang, Xie bingyi, Jin Shangyi, Zhan Jianjun, Wang Hongjian and Duan Zhengqu etc. Under the instruction of these famous and erudite experts, Haifeng works even harder and faster. He believes that he can learn from anyone who is wise and sage, so he always consults those friends, no matter known ones or unknown ones, who possess not only morality, but also talent and he always accepts good advices.

  "Traveling a lot" is another efficacious path chosen by Haifeng in his learning of painting. He is always prepared for hitting the road. Haifeng started from his hometown, which is his root and indissoluble bond. Farmhouses and all moods of human life have offered passion for Haifeng to create paintings, also offered reference for him to watch into the world. “Since the replacement of the crops on their farmland with trees or grassland, my hometown becomes more beautiful than before, as well as the ditch, the slope and the sunset…", when speaking of his hometown, Haifeng becomes enamoured, that may be the reason that his paintings contain pictures and stories with reverent feelings about “this divine land“. Getting to know hometown is as getting to know oneself, because they are both gradual processes. To Haifeng, hometown is a “single" concept, also an ever expanding area; the distant place is the “holy land“, a pure spiritual home, or the original address of idols legend. Love the hometown while looking into the distant, and vice verse. The alternation of close shot and long sight will produce different feelings and comprehension. Among many places where he has been to, there are two of them worth mentioning.

  “I dream to be in Tibet“, in 1998, Haifeng started the journey alone to go on “pilgrimage“. The blue sky of Tibet is a spiritual indication, and white clouds encircle people’s legs as songs in the air. “Yushu“, “Qingshui River“, “Living Buddha“, “trucks“, “altitude reaction“, “cold“, “inns“, “fellow-townsman“ and “heaven road“…a series of abbreviative words can describe his legendary life, also can express a memorable life baptism happened to a young artist as him.

  In the year of 2010, Haifeng was sent officially as a visitor in Russian St. Petersburg State University. That was a god-given opportunity for him to “go on pilgrimage“, so he started from Russia to the west, to Italy, Vatican, countries in Northern Europe, Netherlands, German, and he went to France to see the Gallery where there are masterpieces of great masters. Ermitazh Art Gallery, National Gallery of Russia, Winter Palace, Uffizi Gallery in Firenza, Sistine Chapel in Vatican, National Gallery of Amsterdam and Louvre in Paris…After going and watching these scenes, he felt excited and satisfied, he said: “Russia has very amazing art, but it is pale compared with art in Italy in the renaissance period, works exhibited in exhibition tour are good, but lack some literary talent when compared with art of France, and pictures of Raphael are elegant…Rembrandt, Hals and Van Gogh are real great masters.“ He was touched and said: “I have always believed that Van Gogh learns to paint in his middle age, so he just used his ruff skills and passion to move his audiences. But while I watch the field, immense flowering shrubs that painted by him, I suddenly realized that what I thought was ridiculous, as the talent that Van Gogh has got was extraordinary and outstanding! His skilled painting and rigorous technique enable him to deal with space processing appropriately“. When speaking of France, he could not help praising Delock Clover: “It is my greatest harvest in Europe to have seen his works, of which each one is passionate and perfect! When standing in front of his paintings, I could not help feeling how great he is! I felt Mona Lisa of Leonardo da Vinci is dull and Ingres becomes a cold portraitist…but I was deeply impressed by works of Delock Clover and Hals!“

  It is true that he has his own preference and opinions. Facing masterpieces of great masters, Haifeng enjoys them with admiration and careful appraisal while combining watching with practice, eyes, sketch, camera and notes…with heart and soul in this silent inspection and comprehension, sometimes feels so excited, “So amazing pictures…What can I do is just deep breath“.

  It is lucky for Haifeng to be appreciated by great masters so that he can go far.

  Three. Image in "eyes"

  Haifeng loves figure paintings which are majorly divided into two types, one is group image picture, the other kind is single portrait, whose figures are vivid, postures, outfits, and emotions can highlight the nature of theme, details and scenes in picture are natural, and the backgrounds are mostly simple and spacious; in these pictures, the painter uses general and sophisticated skills in the picture, dignified and quality brushwork and bright colors. In his paintings, Haifeng pays attention on the composition of space and density; the perspective is not limited to “focuses“ and “splashes“, but in free style so as to form a unified, rich, glowing general atmosphere while co-existing with solemn, reserved and mixed scene. Works of Haifeng can stand the test of time because both forms and contents of his paintings are meaningful, which can be stunning at first glance, also can be amazingly interesting and can be narration “behind“ after close research.

  If you have went through carefully all of his works, for example from “Red Sailboat“ to “Fenglingdu“, “Young Girls“ and “Fellow-townsman“, it won’t be hard to find out that there are impressive“eyes“ in his paintings, which are unique, clear-cut, rigid in lines and strong sense of texture. Indeed, they are “paintings eyes“ in works of Haifeng, also the “eyes of heart“ of his works. Arnheim, the American Art theorist has ever put up the visual perception theory combined with heart and eyes. The theory is centered as “eyes“and holds the view of general cognition of contemplation art. Haifeng seems to have some other understanding about this and wishes to “see“ the world with research and description. As he said: “Just watch with your eyes, because eyes are real, direct. And you can see living situation, experience and ideas in eyes. So I love to draw their eyes.“

  Figures in paintings of Haifeng can be divided into three types, which are farmers, migrant labor and girl students. Eyes of these three kinds of people are totally different as they have different backgrounds. In his work Fenglingdu, there is a wedding custom scene, in which fellow townsmen represent elders, best friends, parties, and “land atmosphere“. Eyes of figures in the paintings are “plain“ and “carefree“, which have been described vividly and sentimentally by Haifeng. The image of “migrant labors“ in portrait series is the extension of local complex of him, because he thinks that “they are just look like some fellow brothers far away from home…They make little money by doing heavy, dirty and bottom work. So they live a boring life with cheap wines and cigarettes, boring entertainment, deceptive gambling and ‘whores’ who also live tough life…“When painting these kind of characters, Haifeng adopts gloomy and depressed style, that’s why eyes of these “brothers“ are empty. “It is always depressing to contact with him…of course, they can just be part of life, I like beautiful things in life, especially after you have seen something depressing, and you may want some fresh air. So I desire to draw the most beautiful and purest thing“! Pure heart, clear looks and fresh smell…So where can these pictures be found? In college schools, Haifeng seems to have found such kind of character in eyes of young girls, so he wants to draw them in papers…

  Haifeng works so hard on paintings of figures. He has once enjoyed a new work of him with me and asked me how I feel about it. There are farmers and girls in the painting. I said I think it is amazing, and asked him what he expects about the painting. I needed to look at it one more time, but he just shook hands with me and said: “Thanks, I just feel I need to have one more look at it“. So we shook hands, and I agreed with him: “Yes, let’s just take one more look at ‘her’". It is necessary to surpass in the expression of art, as deep dig is the vertical deep diving, and the metaphor behind is not always part of the scene; the emotional surpassing in art is humanistic concern actually, and the state of mind sometimes is sympathy, not the ultimate. Eyes are just like an open world, which can reflect plain, haze and as well as purity and simpleness through superficial surfaces.

  The eyes of “purity“ in paintings of Haifeng actually are more like the searching for wonderland. When drawing people, we draw their hearts, and ourselves. In his paintings, he communicates with “people“ with sincere attitude and looks forward to mutual understanding so as to find the authentic “being-there“①. So he always watches other again and again in the heart.

  Four. “Red sailboat“ in the heart

  When starting to learn traditional Chinese paintings, Haifeng likes the charming in Song and Yuan dynasty as well as classic beauty and elegant taste, which have made him succeed in oil paintings. For example, his work Whose Red Sailboat, a picture of hometown life and natural bonds and relationships between members of a family, which echoes with “ego“ image so as to express profound significance and meanings. The picture is paralleled in “one plus one“ shape, which means there are spacing around though there are a lot of figures. The comparison is “risky“, small sized but equipped with great phenomenon. Jubilant wedding customs and serene ancient atmosphere echoes with each other, just as all living creatures have alienated from fantasy image. The big contrast between “joy and happiness“ of all living creatures and the indulgence in self-admiration, together with meticulous description have truly attracted some audiences in the industry. It won’t be hard to find out the painting materials have not become the obstacles of the meanings the painter wanted to express, his techniques have not been restricted by illusions and the traditional cultural lining and western dedicated presentation have been perfectly combined if you seriously taste his works. Another masterpiece of Haifeng, Fenglingdu did a better job than it. Fenglingdu has two sets which were finished by watercolor and oil painting. Both two sets are in small size with same content, and little form changes. Fine drawing and repeated deliberation made an excelsior process of language practice, also an explosive process of art .It is not easy for me to obtain this group painting, so I cherish it very much. When recreate the same work, it is possible to make deeper research and understand more within an even shorter period…” as written by Haifeng in his blog. At last, this group painting won the nomination in the 11th national art exhibition and received wide attention. There are more positive voices than negative voices from the attention, because the dedicated small sized work has made strong comparison with its complex and dense arrangement of figures so as to form powerful visual impact. Moreover, the strict and deep portrayal, simple traditional sense and its “metaphor“ meaning with conceptual perspective are very impressive. Every time he talks about this painting, Haifeng would like to explain it as a natural expression procedure: “At the beginning, I just wanted to draw a kind of hazy feeling that is emotional, sad and dolorous, but with concrete content…I drew very slowly, but as I drew and drew, I started to feel deep feelings, at last, I felt a little bit realistic (laugh)…“

  Haifeng describes the reality by his paintings, but apparently not the copy of “itinerants Russia“, nor “Courbet“, because there is no “depth, reality or criticism“ in his paintings, let alone the borrowing of “Cynical Realism“ which is sentimental, fickle and evasive. “I am realistic…“Kaifeng’s paintings contain new realism, which is critical, but not conspicuous; the form goes with the content, so his paintings can not only restrain the releasing of emotion, but also can show personal opinions. The theme of his paintings focuses on desire for survival in real life, also the diverse situation in post-modern context. In his paintings, the painting language is out to be realistic, but also changeable. The concept of art today is totally different from that of in the ‘yesterday’ and ‘the day before yesterday’. There is no way out for ‘Unchanged’…, which is known by Haifeng, so he always look forward with his own ideas, goals and clear mind about his future road.

  Haifeng has ever participated in domestic influential biennials and triennales for three times already, so he knew the extraordinary “meaning“ of it. The freshness, “coolness“ and “vigor“brought by academic intervention, contemplation of life, participation of topic and measures as ideas, equipments, materials and experiments can make art “an interesting thing“. In the context of visual culture, it is not easy to make pictures more “attractive“ and “interesting“.

  What made these works interesting? As plot, narration and patterns, “techniques“ of painting do not possess obvious “epochal character“. It is impossible to stay unchanged, and it is a problem for how to change? The world of art now is alive, so people have more opportunities to show their own ideas, but there are also many false appearances… “As long as you know your goals and strong points, you will not lost yourself“, Haifeng knew well about it. It is OK to see, learn from new things, but never can imitate it. You will achieve nothing if you do thing like this today and like that another in this noisy world. No matter what, he loves “painting“, the key is “realism“, and steel languages, explore forms so as to figure out things in broader scope.

  Actually, Haifeng has another important advantage, which is he knows where his root is, and never stay far away from home; he loves his hometown where his position is. He always eats “Sichuan food and oil meet① …, so he is familiar with here, he can never finish drawing “eyes“ of people here. Indeed, “eyes“of Henan people have ever been “misread“①, so each people living here feel unfair about these fabricated stories, gratuitous suspicion and rumors. After these scandals disappeared, people in central plains tend to self-exam. Seeing in the facet is mountain ranges, from side, peaks. So how is the spirit of the cradle of China Civilization? Is it possible to see the past, present and future through eyes of those fellow townsmen? It is the vision of Haifeng to draw these things in the painting, but it was never easy to do so. As thought, techniques and faith are continuous work, it is necessary for painters to have “a red sailboat“ in the heart so as to connect the road of past with the road of tomorrow, and go to the undiscovered future where there are lights and mist.

  Not long ago, Haifeng was invited by local troops to create two big paintings themed by military history, so as what he usually did, he packed his bags and investigated along the path of “history” and culture, drew, interviewed, painted drafts and deliberated…it seems a little bit too “conservative” today to adopt such kind of work attitude and methods. But what did Haifeng think is that this is the only way to draw good pictures and find feelings and passions, so “I am just like that when I paint”…He is serious and persistent. In the near future, Haifeng will focus on works themed by country weddings. It seems that he has deeper understanding and conception about local cultural pictures. One afternoon, he was on the road with a big bag and a camera, and he shouted when he saw me at the other side of the street: “Go to Zhoukou. It’ll be fun to join a wedding party of my fellow and see her wearing a wedding dress sitting in a bridal sedan…” It seems that he will continue to “have fun” and “indulge in self-admiration” in recent period.

By Weiquan in Fall of Xinmao year in Qinghuayuan

  [①]“Being-there”, a philosophical concept quoted from Sein und Zeit by Heidegger. Here it can be generalized as dynamic, uncovered and substantial person in life activities.

  [②] Henan dialect: It refers to ossification, conservation and no change.

  [③] A kind of local snack of the Hui people in Shunhe district, Kaifeng city, Henan province

  [④] See the Mashuo: Whom did Henan people bother, Hannan Press, 2002, Chapter One, Incredible workd---Henan people uglified.

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