The Temperature of Artist Luo Li(罗隶)

 

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I’ve never really felt qualified enough to talk ‘art criticism’. For the most part, I don’t really know what it entails. I’m sure there’s some magic formula that experts can use which instinctively tells them the difference between genuine, authentic art and mass-produced works from Ikea, but when I consider judging abstraction I can only do it through the lens of irony, picturing myself as Danny DeVito in a white Andy Warhol wig shouting ‘Derivative!’ at all the art pieces. A frightening number of things I fear can be related back to ‘that one episode of It’s Always Sunny’. Still, sometimes talent is apparent even to the untrained, and personal intrigue is something that I don’t think should ever be ignored.

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我从来没觉得我有资格来进行艺术批评,因为我无法对艺术作品所传递的讯号进行完全的把握。虽然内行人能遵从某些神奇的配方,用直觉去分辨真诚的艺术和宜家(瑞典家具连锁店品牌)里批量制造的艺术产品的差别,但是我只能从带着反讽意味的镜片中去思考抽象,就像Danny DeVito(一位意大利血统美国演员、喜剧演员、导演和制片人,获过金球奖和艾美奖)在电视秀《总是晴天(It’s Always Sunny)》中,带着Andy Warhol(美国艺术家、印刷家、电影摄影师,是视觉艺术运动波普艺术的开创者之一)式的白胡子,对所有的艺术作品都狂啸着喊出的“都是假的!(Derivative)”。这一集始终让我心有余悸,对很多艺术作品都有种恐惧感。然而有时就算是对于艺术界的门外汉,艺术作品中迸发出来的天才之光也是遮掩不住的,而且我认为不容忽略的一点是艺术的引力对于每个人来说都是独特的。微信图片_20200521201554微信图片_20200521201514微信图片_20200521201520

The work of 罗隶 speaks for itself. The visible brushstrokes make it clear that what we’re seeing is artistic, abstract and imagined, but still we recognise the movement in the bodies, the realism involved in the human form. It is sexual, but it’s also innocent. The black and grey fish-netted leg in a single heel, disappearing into shade and blackness that clearly indicates the cavernous orifice inbetween. This same suggestiveness is seen in the pop-art style breasts, the pubic bones, the arms grabbing women by the waist from seeming darkness. It’s passionate work that doesn’t shy away from our primality, and there’s a lingering animalistic quality beneath the façade of beauty. Still, the openness of it all makes it appear natural and unthinking. The sheer joy of experiencing the bodies’ appealing aesthetic is an innocent act in itself.

罗隶的作品本身已经是罗隶所追求的艺术的最好载体。从那些醒目的笔触中我们能清晰的感到,这些作品是艺术的,是抽象的,是虚构的,但是我们依然可以感应到画面中人体的动作,以及在人体中所蕴含的现实主义的艺术倾向。这些画面充满了色欲的诱惑感,但同时也是无邪的、纯真的。那一条穿着黑灰渔网袜蹬着高跟的人腿,消隐在了那些似乎在指向着人体中幽深孔隙的色调与暗处里。相似的暗示意味也出现在了艺术家笔下的那些有波普艺术风格的乳房、耻骨和手臂中,隐约露出的黑暗一把抓住了女人们的腰。这些作品充满了激情,它们从不避讳我们人类本能中的原始性,在美的深处,我们还能追寻到些绵延的野兽之性。同时,这些画面的开放性让它们变得自然和率真。为了这些动人的人体之美而感到纯粹的欣喜,这本身就是一个纯洁的活动。微信图片_20200521201530微信图片_20200521201507

The way 罗隶 plays with shape and suggestion is also incredibly interesting. The tiniest change in the stroke’s direction can show you the crease of an arm or the shape of a hand. The viewers piece the bodies together ourselves from what is merely a shadow of a shape. Contrasting this is the occasional, but powerful, intensity of detail. The back of a hand is seem to be startlingly realistic, while the rest of the painting will still maintain the abstract, dream-like quality so reminiscent of 罗隶’s style.

罗隶对色调和暗示的拿捏相当有趣。笔下最细微的一处变化就能让你注意到一个手臂上的褶皱,或是一只手的形状。观者只能自己从那些还是一团阴影的形状中去构建出人体。和这种模糊影像形成对比的是那些偶然蹦出的,但是强有力的、丰富的细节。一只整体外观很模糊的手的手背逼真得让人意想不到,而画面中余下的部分则仍沉浸在抽象的、如梦的世界里,这非常有罗隶的风格。微信图片_20200521212100格。微信图片_20200521201501微信图片_20200521201452微信图片_20200521201444

Yet, at some point in the paintings, the bodies fade and disappear. The hands on a thigh will seem so clear, but there’ll be nothing above the neck. Arms reach out from nothing, a lying lower body seems to end above the hips. It seems painfully apparent that we’re dealing with fragments. The variety of colours shows the diversity of feeling. The black and white pieces seem to show people in complete anguish, stark and vulnerable, curling in on themselves. The neon green faces scream of slyness, beauty and alienism. We see skin, pastels, ink-like books of blackness, brightness, day-glow, realism in male and female alike.

不过,在画中的某些时刻,这些人体却淡去甚至消失了。放在大腿上的双手异常的清晰,但是脖子以上却什么也没有。手臂凭空伸出来,平躺着的下半身到了臀部那儿就没有了。我们痛苦的发现看来我们要去应对的都是些碎片。画面中丰富多样的色彩传递出了复杂多样的情感和体验。那些在黑白画面中的人体似乎在极度的痛苦、荒凉和脆弱的状态中,向内蜷缩成一团。那些闪着霓虹灯绿光的脸,显得狡诈、美丽和怪异。我们在男人和女人的身体中看到了人体肌肤,彩色笔画,混合着黑暗、明亮和日光的水墨般的书,还有现实主义。微信图片_20200521201436微信图片_20200521201430

So what, if anything, does is all mean. Let’s turn to someone who knows significantly more than I do:

我只能说,艺术作品本身即是艺术作品所意味着的含义。我们不妨还是去问问比我对这些作品了解得多的艺术家本人:

  1. What messages are you attempting to convey with your art?您想在您的作品中传达些什么呢?

我这么多年创作都是在关注一个人,一个大写的人。一个一直出现在我存在中的人,她一直吸引我的思考。我把这些感受都注入了我的内心。这也许就是我一直持续创作温度系列作品理由,在作品创作过程中,我需要对创作元素不断的理解分析,比如对于不同的姿态、不同的表情理解分析。在我的感受中这些存在状态一直都在变化,变化过程折射反映了人的内心世界与复杂社会的关系,也是人的文化思想情感在变化过程中的直接反射。创作中我始终关注思考变化。观察这个过程,慢慢接近理解这个过程,感受这个过程,因为我是面对一个生命。一个有温度的存在,我把它看做是一个活着的生命状态。我觉得我的创作过程就是感受存在温度意义的过程,是存在温度给予生命带来的意义过程。

I rivet my eyes unfalteringly on a human being, a human being written in capital, who continuously appears in my core existence; she attracts me to muse about her. I water my works with such thoughts. This is probably the creative drive of mine over these years. I always need to comprehend and analyse every element that enters my mind and works, for example I prompt myself to get a grip on different postures and facial expressions of the one person. I feel them and my feelings are changing all the while, and my changes indicate the ties between human mentalities and complicate society,  unfurling the picture of human intelligence, thinking, and emotions. I am always aware of the changes in my thoughts when I am working on my art. I observe this process and try to approach some understanding of this. I can feel those changes because I am facing a human being. A life emits temperature; my artistic life is to feel those temperatures and the meaning of life accordingly.

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  1. Why are bodies such an important tool for you? What do they signify?为什么人体在您的作品中如此重要?它们意味着什么?

我想谈谈我是怎么看待“性感”的。对于当代社会,性感变得很表面,可以说已成为大众文化消费的一部分,茶余饭后的闲聊。我所理解的是它背后被忽略的存在。我说的性感超越了表面的感受意义。性感是精神里面不断滋生出来的。只有精神感受到才会不断的贴近你的内心感觉。我理解的不是社会那个普遍的认知。我已经不在那种感知里面。从另一个角度同样找到支撑,这就是润滑剂。另外一种声音,性感是精神的,性感是一切又不是,是能看得见又看不见的存在。存在需要性感,因为它使生命丰富,它就是一切存在的润滑剂,改变生命状态的存在,对于每一个存在,性感是需要每一个生命创造出来的。

I’d rather like to talk about how I think about “sexiness/being sexy”. In our time, sexiness can be very superficial, as part of the common consumer culture or of idle chatter after dinner. But I understand sexiness from a more neglected back side and I mean something more than the primal sensations. Sexiness grows out of human spirit. Only when you can feel it by virtue of your own spirit, you can get to know better about yourself. In this way, I don’t appreciate sexiness in the way many people do. I can find some solid buttresses from another angle; this is what I think of as a lubricant. Sexiness helps us to hear another voice, it contains two sides of the same thing: spiritual and non-spiritual, everything and nothing; sexiness is an existence both visible and invisible to us. Existence requires sexiness to enrich life and offer a lubricant to other existences that can change the state of living. As to every living existence, sexiness should be created by individual lives.

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  1. How would you describe the style of your art? 您如何来描述自己的艺术风格呢?

我非常喜欢可能性这个三个字。 可能性是事物发展不可预知与一个人向前行走的动力,是希望前进的动力,人在这个感觉里面其实很有意思,这个感觉就是期待可能呈现,希望期待欲望交织在一起,在这种不断变化的过程中。会产生很多可选择的方向,它会很刺激。这种刺激让人处于兴奋的状态,性感的状态,它就像是加速机器运转的润滑剂。在我的创作中可能性是我必须要面对的选择。要达到理想的作品要求,就需要在那个状态中,需要长期留住保持动力的润滑,我始终认为人的存在需要拥有不断的被向前推动前进的感觉。

 

运用新媒体技术创作,完全出于我对它的好奇,我认为它更符合时代潮流,更有时代感,它变化多端的技术运用手段更能满足我内心的创作意图,我发现它的背后隐藏着无限的可能性。一切有利于我创作的元素我都可以通过新媒体技术去表达我的艺术观念,它与架上绘画有着本质的区别。近几年创作的作品就是我艺术观念全面改变的结果。在艺术观念上从来我没有想局限自己,一层不变不是我对艺术的状态。变化应该是我对新艺术理念的追求。

I never want to restrict myself to a certain artistic style. Indeed I began to find and live with my artistic styles these past years. I welcome and pursue changes in my artistic creation. Just like how I experiment with new-media technology in my art, I am curious about this type of technology and I think it fits well with the trend of our time with manifold technological skills that can also give reference to my inspirations. I get along well with this technology and express my artistic ideas on this new platform; this process has fundamental difference from what I can work on a traditional canvas.

I am fascinated by a word “possibility”. This type of unpredictability superimposes with what makes you go ahead and what refuels your hope. It’s very interesting to feel possibilities combining your hopes with your desires, and you will have numerous choices in the junction. This is an exciting process that keeps you excited. You can find it sexy and you can find your lubricant for your art that speeds up your pace in another mode. Artists should be like this to create ideal works; they should keep their creative drives active in the long term, just like how human existences are motivated to move forward.

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  1. How do your personal experiences influence your art? 您的个人生活经验是如何影响您的艺术作品的呢?

生活就是感受,觉得还是要有质量。对于一个人来说,一生的存在感受,其实很重要,对于存在,人还是放松点更好。活着的状态就是一个存在的智慧。其实我是一个很慢的人,但我喜欢讨论研究我创作中的问题。因为时代,整个大的世界环境都在变化,作为个体有的时候面对问题还是要理性冷静,这个时期我觉得还是比较有意思的。我可能是属于那种感性型的人,我对于我一些思考的问题,我会解慢慢开一些我所需要的东西。

我一直保持松散的自由状态,这也是我的生活理念。时常和朋友打牌聊天喝咖啡,人与人之间的那种关系,我觉得很有意思。更多时间在研究我的艺术问题。几年过来我做了大量的实验性的作品,花了很多时间与费用,研究作品。在创作中有很多东西要把它呈现出来,要去分析思考那个感觉是否是能最大限度的呈现。我创作的每幅作品,我对它的感知与感受必须要达到最高的那个燃点,最高的那个温度。因为在这之前,很多的感觉 它达不到我对创作的要求。很多的想法它总是欠缺,始终就是停留在那个地方,内心的感觉总不能到达那个燃点,这个时期对于我来说真正感受了不同温度的意义,然而,任何事物的发展都是量与质的关系,当欲望的突然发现,让温度提升,期待的感觉在靠近,靠近内心那个燃点。兴奋的状态就像弹簧一样,忽上忽下的跳动,就始终在这个感觉里面,始终在这样的一个跳动的感受里,心脏一样的跳动,它就在那个地方,在跳动着。不一样的存在,生命里面的东西,存在的温度。可以说,我的生活就是在寻找中创造艺术,寻找的过程就是我的生活状态。

I am a laid-back person, and I hope to retain this free life state. I often play cards with friends, talking and having coffee. I love this kind of social relationship. I spend most of my time thinking about my artistic questions. Our era is changing, the world is changing. But as a person, I have to stick to my reason with clear thoughts. I am a rather sensitive man, so I have to uncurl my emotional knots or intellectual puzzles very slowly. In my creation, I often have many things to say and I ruminate about whether this is the right form to bring things out to the largest extent. There are times my drafts do not meet my expectations towards art. Many ideas appear but could not trigger the ignition point in my heart. Only in this period, I begin to savour the significance of different temperatures. When desires surface in hues, the temperature goes up, my expectation walks closer to the ignition point in my core feelings.  Being excited is like being a spring, stretching out and pulling in within gusts of inspirations, just like heartbeats. There is a different existence in life; an existence can be felt by temperature. I can say this, my life is to create art works in a constant search, to search is my life state.微信图片_20200521201602

Review and interview conducted by Cathleen Davies

Chinese translation: Ellie LI

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