Artificial Bliss 人造的塑料欲望

August 30, 2019 2019年8月30日
Duck (2017) 140 x 160 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《鸭子》(2016) 140 x 160 厘米 / 布面丙烯

Flexible, accessible, and strong, less a necessity than an object of desire, plastic is as seductive as it is destructive. It’s the perfect symbol for the hazards of materialism, and it’s a source of inspiration for Sun Yitian, one of China’s most intriguing artists under 30. Her paintings range from the abstract to the hyper-realistic, and always bring together the tacky, the humorous, and the ironic.


灵活多变、随手可得又坚韧可耐,虽然不是必需品却让人渴望拥有——塑料,令人着迷的同时也具备有害性,这似乎正是物质主义中欲望与危险的出色映证。但同时,塑料也是孙一钿的作品灵感来源之一。她是目前中国三十周岁以下最炙手可热的艺术家之一。她的创作从抽象到超现实,涉及相当广泛,并总能把附庸风雅、幽默讽刺的主题出色的融合在一起。

Right Hand (2017) 53 x 45 cm / Acrylic on board 《右手》(2017) 53 x 45 厘米 / 木板丙烯
Left Hand (2017) 53 x 45 cm / Acrylic on board 《左手》(2017) 53 x 45 厘米 / 木板丙烯

Sun grew up as an only child in Wenzhou, a place where you can find anything you can imagine, from luxury goods to lousy knock-offs. Consumer products gave her lively imagination something to play with, as did busy streets, flashy billboards, and loud TV shows.

Her artistic epiphany came at a young age. “When I was five, I drew a princess on my handbook,” she remembers. “I left a star-shaped space on her skirt and glued the drawing to the window. The sunlight shone through it, causing a shiny effect on the skirt. My classmates thought it was amazing. That’s when I fell into the trap of art.”

At age 15, Sun moved to Beijing to study at the high school affiliated with the Central Academy of Fine Arts. “I felt like a shrimp going into a vast ocean,” she says. “Everyone was into art, literature, philosophy.” It was this environment that prompted her to cast a critical eye at everything around her, and she began to see human creations as low-quality versions of the natural world. In fact, her subject matter can be understood as the intersection of these two lines: the natural and the artificial. She often depicts elements of nature, but in their most artificial form, playing with loud colors and textures.


孙一钿在温州长大,是家中的独生女。在温州,你能找到任何能想象到的事情,从奢侈品到劣质山寨货,各种商品应有尽有。满目琳琅的货架、繁忙的街道、炫亮的广告牌以及嘈杂的电视节目为她带来了鲜活的想象空间。

小时候的她便对艺术开了窍,“五岁的时候,在本子上画了一位公主。” 她回忆道,“我特意在她的裙子上留下了一个星形的空缺,然后把她粘在窗户上。当阳光照射过来,裙子就会熠熠闪亮。当时同学们都觉得这幅画太棒了。从那时起,我就爱上了艺术。”

15 岁时,孙一钿搬到北京,就读于中央美术学院附属高中。“我感觉自己就像一只小虾,突然闯进了广阔的海洋。”她说,“在那里,所有人都很热爱艺术、文学和哲学。”这种环境促使她学会以持批判的态度看待周围的一切。孙一钿开始将人造物视为劣质版本的自然世界。而她的创作对象可以被理解为自然和人造这两个世界的交汇点。她经常以人造物的形式来描绘大自然的元素,用抢眼的色彩和纹理来进行重新演绎。

Let Me Hug You (2015) 133 x 200 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《让我抱抱》(2015) 133 x 200 厘米 / 布面丙烯
Parrot (2017) 200 x 130 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《鹦鹉》(2017) 200 x 130 厘米 / 布面丙烯

In her latest series, A Twinkle, Sun represents a type of man-made reproduction of nature that’s plastic in both the literal and the metaphorical sense: she paints all kinds of blow-up toys, ranging from goofy animals to human figures. Cheap inflatable products like T-rex costumes and flamingo pool floats are often treasured ironically by millennials. Her paintings are a nod both to contemporary attitudes and to older traditions of pop art and photorealism.


在她的最新系列作品《一钿》(A Twinkle)中,孙一钿用人工的手法重新打造了一个从表面到喻意上都是塑料的自然世界。她画了几种充气玩具,包括蠢萌的动物和人物形象。充气玩具其实造价低廉,也没有实际用途,但令人感到讽刺的是,在社交媒体的大环境下,霸王龙和火烈鸟套装常常是千禧一代在互联网上追捧的物件。而这一系列的画作正展现了当今时代的观念,同时致敬流行艺术和照片写实主义的绘法。

Pink Dinosaur with Blue Wing (2016) 230 x 230 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《有蓝色翅膀的粉色恐龙》(2016) 230 x 230 厘米 / 布面丙烯

One of the most remarkable pieces is the large portrait Pink Dinosaur with Blue Wings, which combines colors to striking effect. The pink hue violently dominates the canvas, dissolving from bright ruby to pastel and shaping the object according to light’s reflection. The dinosaur’s nose and horn are simply marked by an abrupt color change to red. Sun gives the animal a perfectly rounded eye, depriving it of any realistic expression.


其中最引人注目的作品之一是巨幅的《有蓝色翅膀的粉色恐龙》,通过色彩打造醒目的视觉效果。强烈的粉红色调占据画布,从明亮的红宝石色逐渐过渡到柔和的粉红色,根据光线反射勾勒出充气玩具的轮廓,用突兀的红色来表现恐龙的鼻子和角的部分。孙一钿给恐龙画了一双圆润的眼睛,避免了任何写实的表达。

Spikes (2018) 230 x 230 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《刺》(2018) 230 x 230 厘米 / 布面丙烯
Spikes (2018) 50 x 50 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《刺》(2018) 50 x 50 厘米 / 布面丙烯
When You Look into My Eyes (2015) / Acrylic on canvas 《When You Look into My Eyes》(2015) / 布面丙烯

Another notable painting is Spikes, a close-up on the spiky parts of two different inflatable toys, one pink and one yellow. What’s fascinating about this piece is the way Sun explores the qualities of the material she’s depicting, giving the viewer a tactile sensation of the opaque, smooth surface of the toy. You almost think you can squeeze it to feel how fully it’s inflated.

In all her pieces, the wrinkles and seams on the plastic surface are visible, as are the little imperfections typical of mass-production. The objects have shiny surfaces and deep shadows behind them, details which add a hyper-realistic touch. Only upon close examination does the viewer realize that they are in fact acrylic paintings. To achieve this result, Sun buys the inflatable toys on Taobao, sets up a proper studio and photographs them from multiple angles. Based on these pictures she starts the long painting process.


另一件瞩目的画作是《尖峰》(Spikes),两款充气玩具分别用粉色和黄色对突出的尖刺进行特写。这件作品令人着迷之处在于孙一钿对所描绘的材料的探索,成功让观众感受到这种不透明、光滑的材料的表面触感,似乎可以用手挤它,来感受其中的充气乐趣。

在所有作品中,塑料表面的皱褶和接缝清晰可见,就连批量生产过程中的那些常见的小缺陷也表现了出来。所有物体都有着亮泽的表面,在背后投下深色的阴影。这些细节增添了超现实感,只有走近仔细察看,观众才可能发现画中的丙烯原料。为了达到这种效果,孙一钿先是从淘宝上购买充气玩具,搭一个合适的摄影棚,再从多个角度拍摄,最后根据照片,开始漫长的绘画过程。

A Tender Panter (2017) 150 x 150 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《不咬人的豹子》(2017) 150 x 150 厘米 / 布面丙烯
Leopard Print (2017) 150 x 150 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《豹纹》(2017) 150 x 150 厘米 / 布面丙烯

The paintings indeed look like works of photorealism, but Sun maintains that they’re merely the product of her detached perspective: “I don’t think my works are in the realm of photo-realism. I just want to observe things objectively and from a higher ground,” she says.

The same series complements these representational works with an array of abstract compositions—geometrical shapes or simple color gradings, studies in the manipulation of light and form. That manipulation is the basis of her technique.


这些作品看上去像是用多种媒介打造的写实绘品,然而孙一钿坚持认为,它们只是她超然而客观的个人视角:“我不认为我的作品属于照片写实主义绘画的范畴。我只是想从更高的角度,客观地观察事物。”

作为这些具象作品的补充,孙一钿在同一系列中又加入了多幅抽象作品。一系列几何形状和单一颜色渐变,对光和形式的操纵研究构成了她创作技巧的根基。

Deep in the Fire (2016) / Acrylic on canvas 《火焰深处》(2016) / 布面丙烯
Interval (2017) 120 x 120 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《隔间》(2016) 120 x 120 厘米 / 布面丙烯
Stripes (2017) 120 x 120 cm / Acrylic on canvas 《条状物》(2016) 120 x 120 厘米 / 布面丙烯

Despite her youth, Sun’s works show a remarkable confidence, and her paintings have been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. A Twinkle was a breakthrough for the artist, as the series connects twentieth-century trends to contemporary cultural contexts. In her precise hands, these cheerfully disposable toys take on a haunting permanence.


尽管年纪尚轻,但孙一钿的作品展现出非凡的自信力,频繁并广泛地在国内外进行展出。《一钿》是她的一次突破:整个系列将二十世纪的艺术元素与当代文化背景联系了起来。在她精准的画笔下,这些有趣的 “一次性” 玩具令人过目难忘。

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Contributor: Tomás Pinheiro
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
Images Courtesy of Bank Gallery / Mab Society


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供稿人: Tomás Pinheiro
英译中: Olivia Li
图片由 Bank 画廊与 Mab Society 提供

A Modern Dystopia 1984 的科幻,2019 的现实

August 28, 2019 2019年8月28日

We’re already living in a dystopia. Most people just haven’t realized it yet.

Or at least that’s what artist Ju Yong Lee believes. The Korean illustrator, who works under the name Mr. Misang (meaning Mr. Anonymous), creates intricate works that depict the corporate world in a grim light. These works, chock-full of vibrant colors and playful details, touch on dark, Orwellian themes and reflect the artist’s cynical perspective.


我们已经生活在一个反乌托邦社会。但大多数人还没有意识到这一点。

至少韩国艺术家 Ju Yong Lee 是这么想的。这位插画家以 Mr. Misang(意为佚名先生)的名字创作了许多错综复杂的作品,描绘出当下严峻的社会。这些作品充满鲜艳的色彩和有趣的细节,令人联想起英国作家乔治∙奥威尔笔下的极权寓言作品,也折射出一种他对世界愤世嫉俗的见解。

Lee’s meditation on today’s society forms the basis of Modern Life is Rubbish, a series titled after Britpop band Blur’s sophomore album. In it, he depicts a city where the populace has been subjugated by a powerful corporation. The city’s inhabitants are depicted as swarms of nearly identical men so lacking in individuality that they’ve been reduced to numbers and barcodes. Their insignificance is evident how they arrive to work: like specks of dirt, they’re simply vacuumed into the building. Once inside, the dejected workers are electrocuted and then resurrected by a Buddha-like deity into enthusiastic employees. This rebirth represents the indoctrination into today’s dollar-hungry culture, where money is worshipped as an idol. Each illustration in the series is loaded with enough details and symbols to operate as a standalone piece of social commentary, but together they form a larger warning against toxic work culture and the pitfalls of unbridled capitalism.


Lee 以自己对这个功能失调的现代社会的思考为基础,创作了《Modern Life is Rubbish》(现代生活是垃圾)系列,和英国摇滚乐队 Blur 的第二张专辑同名。这个系列中,他所描绘的城市由一间大型公司所控制,城市里挤挤挨挨的居民几乎毫无个性,千篇一律,已经沦为单纯的数字和条形码。而人们上班的方式更进一步突显了他们的微不足道:他们像灰尘一样,被吸入建筑大楼里。进去之后,这些无精打采的工人立即被处以电刑,然后被一个类似佛像的神灵复活,变成热情的员工。这种重生描绘了当今社会对人们金钱至上的这种思想的灌输,在这样的文化中,金钱像宗教一样被人们所崇拜。系列中的每一幅插画都充满着无数的细节和符号,每一幅都可单独成为一则社会评论,但放在一起,又构成了更宏大的画面,警示人们现代社会中的 996 工作制和极端资本主义所带来的问题。

Lee’s earlier works cast a similarly critical gaze at modern life. In Supersize Them, a title riffing on Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me (2004), the artist puts the fast-food industry in his crosshairs, specifically the big four: Burger King, McDonald’s, KFC, and Wendy’s. The project depicts greasy factories where workers churn out food to satisfy the appetite of each brands’ iconic character—a conveyor belt delivers Whoppers directly into the Burger King’s stomach, feeding tubes pump Big Mac sauce and McFlurries into Ronald McDonald’s mouth, frying oil from metal drums is mainlined into Colonel Sanders’s head, and Wendy Darling is being injected by Frosty-loaded syringes. Through these intentionally unpleasant images, Lee questions whether convenience should be prioritized over health.


Lee 早期的作品也曾对现代生活的其他方面进行过批判。在《Supersize Them》(快餐胖报告)中,他引用了 2004 年 Morgan Spurlock 的纪录片《麦胖报告》(Super Size Me),批判了快餐行业,特别是四大连锁快餐品牌:汉堡王、麦当劳、肯德基和温蒂汉堡。这个系列描绘了一间间油腻的工厂,工人们在这里为各个品牌生产其标志性的食物:传送带将皇堡送入汉堡王的肚子,喂食管将巨无霸酱汁和麦旋风送入麦当劳的口中,煎炸油从金属桶中被抽入桑德斯上校的头中,而装满沙冰的注射器正插在温蒂身上。通过这些令人不快的画面,Lee 是在质问:便捷度是不是比健康更重要?

Lee’s latest project, temporarily titled Modern Life is a Theme Park, is just as charged. It takes place, as the title suggests, entirely in an amusement park. Against the backdrop of gargantuan attractions and masked carnies, he revisits several themes of his earlier works, such as the manipulation of media and the idolatry of money, and takes aim at other issues, such as the objectification of women, the rhetoric of hate, and passivity in the face of evil. “I’m not going to make bold claims about thinking my art can change the world,” Lee says, a statement that seems to be equal parts humility and equal parts cynicism. “Being able to use my work to communicate ideas and viewpoints important to me is already a blessing.”


他的最新项目同样如此,这个暂时命名为《Modern Life is a Theme Park》(现代生活是个主题游乐园)的系列一如其名,画中的背景均是游乐园。以巨型的娱乐项目和蒙面狂欢活动为背景,Lee 重新回顾了他早期作品的几个主题,如媒体的操纵性和金钱至上的理念,同时探讨了其他问题,如物化女性、仇恨言论以及对罪恶的无动于衷。“我不会自大地宣称自己的艺术可以改变这个世界。”Lee 说道,这句话听上去既像是谦卑,也似是讽刺。“能够通过我的作品来传达对我来说很重要的想法和观点,这样已经是很幸运了。”

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Contributor: David Yen
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li


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网站: mrmisang.com
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供稿人: David Yen
英译中: Olivia Li

Morbid Fantasies 用色彩对抗黑暗

August 26, 2019 2019年8月26日

The walls in Yeo Kaa’s bright Manila studio are covered by canvases in various stages of progress for her upcoming solo show in Paris. Everything here is neon and pastel, drenched in blazing pinks and purples, electric blues, and fluorescent yellows—and that includes Kaa herself, with purple hair, lipstick, and an outfit to match. But despite the color and cuteness, the content here is very dark. Her acrylic paintings are full of disemboweled characters and suicidal figures. Flowers bore her.


Yeo Kaa 在马尼拉有一间敞亮的工作室,墙壁上布满不同进度的画布,那是她即将在巴黎举办的个展作品。放眼望去全是霓虹色调蜡笔画风的作品:亮粉亮紫、电光蓝和荧光黄,就连 Kaa 本人也不例外:紫色的头发、口红和相得益彰的装束。虽然作品的色彩鲜艳可爱,但画中的内容却十分暗黑:这些丙烯画描画的大多是开膛剖肚和充满自杀倾向的人物。对 Kaa 来说,幸福快乐的主题太无趣。

One of Kaa’s current pieces, standing nearly as tall as her and twice as long, shows the body of a girl laid out on a table being dissected, with a sign listing prices for selfies with the corpse. In a world where sex and violence sell, the depiction of a disemboweled corpse as a carnival attraction forces a discussion of the exploitation of women’s bodies into the center of the room. Kaa is not shy about challenging anyone; another canvas encourages viewers to “suck her non-existent dick.” The work is transgressive and defiant but also entertaining. This Filipina artist is uncompromising, and the glowing colors and kawaii faces add a cute, almost kid-friendly veneer to what is clearly adult content.


Yeo 一幅新近的作品几乎和她等高,且两倍于体宽。画面中,一个女孩正躺在桌子上被解剖,上面放了一张和尸体自拍的价格表。在一个性和暴力被标价出售的世界里,一具被解剖的身体就一项娱乐项目一样夺人眼球,迫使人们去讨论剥削女性身体的话题。Kaa 并不害怕迎战他人。在另一幅画中,她邀请观众“亲她不存在的老二”。这是一幅越界的作品,充满挑衅,同时也充满着娱乐性。作为一位毫不妥协的菲律宾艺术家,她以闪亮的色彩和可爱的面孔,为这些成人内容披上儿童的可爱外衣。

Kaa’s paintings upend traditional gender expectations by showing that just because someone is feminine and cute doesn’t mean they can’t be dark and angry. It follows in the footsteps of Japanese artists like Hikari Shimoda and Shintaro Kago. But she’s not intentionally illustrating any kind of feminist theory, she’s just being herself; she’s venting and happens to like kawaii stuff. Her work is more visceral than methodical.


Kaa 的画作颠覆了人们的传统性别期望,看上去充满柔美和可爱的女孩,并不意味其内心不会阴暗和愤怒。她的作品令人联想到日本艺术家下田光(Hikari Shimoda)和驾笼真太郎(Shintaro Kago)的作品。但她并没有特意去申张任何女权主义,她只是在表达自己的想法;她在宣泄,只是她恰好喜欢可爱的东西。她的创作更多是遵循内心,而不是特定的创作方式。

In fact, Kaa never even intended to be an artist. She moved from the island of Palawan to Manila and enrolled in a fine arts program. After winning numerous art competitions it became clear that art was the right path for her. In the last few years, she’s landed solo shows across Asia and Europe. “My mom didn’t want me to be an artist or to dress colorfully—she’s a businesswoman and wanted that for me, too,” Kaa says. “But she’s still supportive of my art.”


事实上,Kaa 以前甚至从未打算成为艺术家。从巴拉望岛搬到马尼拉后,她参加了一个当代艺术项目。她意识到艺术这条路走对了,是在获得了许多艺术竞赛的奖项之后。在过去几年里,她分别在亚洲和欧洲都举办了个人展览。“我妈妈不希望我成为一名艺术家,也不喜欢我穿得这么色彩缤纷。她是一名女商人,也希望我和她一样。虽然如此,她还是很支持我的艺术创作。”Kaa 说道。

The darkness in Kaa’s work comes from a very real place: she suffers from mental health issues. “I used to call the suicide helpline a lot, but it’s staffed by untrained volunteers. Twice, they simply told me to talk to a pastor,” she recalls. Kaa is not religious. More recently she’s stopped calling and started filling entire notebooks with bleak sketches as a way to express her deep despair. While art offers a respite, it’s only a temporary distraction. She spends ten hours a day in the studio painting, and as soon as she stops, it’s often be a quick slide back into the depths of depression. But her friends help keep the demons at bay. They often drop by to keep her company, some of whom deal with similar issues and can lend an empathetic ear. Last year, she also got a Pomeranian puppy named Fake who she says has helped a lot.

As our interview wraps up, she has Fake do some tricks, which he’s eager to perform. “He’s such a happy, energetic little creature. It’s hard to be upset around him.”


Kaa 作品中的黑暗并非无病呻吟,她有心理健康问题。“我以前经常打电话给自杀热线,但那里好多志愿者都是没接受过培训的。有两次他们都只是叫我去和牧师谈谈。”她回忆道。但 Kaa 本来就不是宗教信徒。最近,她不再打这个热线电话了,转而开始在笔记本上画满各种风格阴暗的画,以此表达她内心的绝望。虽然艺术给了她喘息的机会,但也只是暂时的。每天,她都会在工作室画上十个小时的画,一旦停下来,她很快又会深陷抑郁情绪。但幸好还有她的朋友,他们经常会过来陪她,其中一些朋友也和她一样承受着同样的问题,所以他们可以互相开解。去年,她还养了一只名叫 Fake 的波美拉尼亚小狗,它的到来也令情况有所好转。见面快结束时,她让 Fake 表演特技,Fake 很是热衷。“他是一只快乐、活泼的小狗。有他陪伴,想不开心也很难。”

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Website: yeokaa.com
Instagram: @yeo_kaa

 

Contributor: Mike Steyels
Photographer: Andrea Beldua

Chinese Translation: Olivia Li


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网站: yeokaa.com
Instagram: @yeo_kaa

 

供稿人: Mike Steyels
摄影师: Andrea Beldua

英译中: Olivia Li

The Universality of Art 拆不掉的墙

August 23, 2019 2019年8月23日

All around the world, French artist Julien Malland, who goes by the artistic name Seth Globepainter, brings dull and neglected walls to life by painting them with magnificent murals. He often portrays children, their faces turned away or covered in rainbows, as if they’re about to cross into a fantastic new world. Seth’s colorful street art shows a nostalgia for childhood and a sensitivity to context, and frequently involves the participation of nearby residents.

Born in 1974 in Paris, Seth first started tagging in the 1980s, and by the mid-1990s he was an active member of France’s graffiti circles. He went on to travel the world and discovered that through painting he could connect with people from different cultures. His travels led him to host eight episodes of the documentary series Les Nouveaux Explorateurs, in which he introduced different countries through graffiti.


在世界各地,法国艺术家 Julien Malland(又名 Seth Globepainter)以令人震撼的壁画,让那些沉闷、被荒废的墙壁重现活力。他的作品描绘的大多是小孩,他们扭过头或将脸埋在彩虹中,仿佛即将跨入一个梦幻的新世界。Seth 丰富多彩的街头艺术展示了对童年的怀念和环境敏感性,还常常会包括附近居民的参与。

Seth 于 1974 年在巴黎出生,从 80 年代开始创作涂鸦签名 tag,到了 90 年代中期,他已经成为法国一名活跃的涂鸦艺术家。之后 Seth 的足迹遍布世界,在旅途中,他发现画画可以让自己和来自不同文化背景的人相交流。有了这些旅行经历,他被邀请主持一个 8 集的系列纪录片《Les Nouveaux Explorateurs》(《新探索者》),通过涂鸦介绍不同的国家。

Seth has been coming to China for a long time, and his other nickname, Mr. Qi, is a translation of sorts of his artistic name. (In French, ‘Seth’ is a homonym for sept, or seven, which in Mandarin is qi.) When he first visited the country, he encountered a new and unique reaction to his work. “China doesn’t have a street-art culture like other Asian places, such as Japan or Thailand,” he explains. “Chinese people have a totally fresh curiosity when it comes to this form of expression, and that’s what’s motivated me to continue working in the country.”


Seth 来中国已经有很长一段时间,他的另一个外号“柒先生”是他艺名的中文翻译。法语里,“Seth”与“sept”谐音,意为 7,中文为“柒 。当他第一次到访中国时,他发现当地人对自己的作品有一种截然不同的独特反应。“中国不像日本、泰国和其他亚洲地区那样有着街头艺术文化。”他解释说,“中国人对于这种艺术表达(涂鸦)有新鲜感和好奇心,这也促使了我继续在中国创作。”

In Shanghai alone, he’s created over 20 murals in public areas. Most of these he painted in old shikumen, the city’s traditional lane houses, many of which have been torn down to make way for high rises. Seth often paints amid the rubble, after the evacuation but before complete demolition, portraying characters from the lanes’ former bustling life. “I like to walk in these old parts of the city. That’s where I can find the last vestiges of old China, the one that has always fascinated me. My paintings are a way to debate the rapid transformation of the country.”


单是在上海,他就创作了 20 多幅墙绘,大多数都画在上海的传统弄堂建筑老石库门上,其中许多已被拆除,给高楼大厦让位。Seth 常常在居民迁出后,大楼被完全拆掉之前的瓦砾中创作,刻画出弄堂居民之前熙熙攘攘的生活。“我喜欢在上海的老城区逛,在那里,我可以找到始终让我着迷的、旧中国的痕迹。我的作品其实是对中国快速转型的讨论。”

In 2018, he spent two months in the city for a residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA). On a half-destroyed portico on Kangding Road, Seth painted two kids in the red scarves worn by all primary school students in China. It’s a simple but meaningful element that every Chinese person immediately recognizes and remembers. One block away, he painted another mural with a more melancholic air: a girl holding a tiny house in her arms. Her eyes are shut and she has a mournful expression as if trying to hold on to the home that she had to abandon.


2018 年,他作为上海当代艺术博物馆(MoCA)的驻地艺术家,曾在这座城市生活过两个月的时间。在康定路一座半毁的门廊上,Seth 画了两个戴着红领巾的小学生。在中国,所有小学生都会佩戴红领巾,这是一个简单而有意义的元素,每个中国人都能马上认出并记住。而在一个街区之外,他又画了一幅风格更为忧郁的壁画:一个小女孩手中抱着一幢小房子。她闭上了眼睛,透露出一种悲伤的表情,仿佛在试图抓住她不得不放弃的家。

All of Seth’s works in these old neighborhoods were eventually covered or destroyed by the authorities. Yet he isn’t distressed about this fact: “I’m very interested in the fate of my paintings. If they are destroyed by the authorities or preserved by the communities, that says a lot about the places where they were made.”


Seth 在这些旧街区的作品最终都被当局覆盖掉或拆毁。然而,他并不心疼:“我很关心我的画的命运,不论是被当局销毁或被当地社区保留下来,这都能让人对当地有所了解。”

In Fengjing, a historic town near Shanghai, Seth’s works are still standing. They play with the architectural traits of the buildings and local history: a triangular roof forms a bamboo hat, representing rural culture; a window gives shape to another beloved home and, while held tight by a girl, it represents youth migration to urban centers. This series shows how Seth establishes an intense dialogue with the local population, which is for him the purpose of creating in public spaces: “Painting is a pretext. What counts is the exchange between the inhabitants and the artist,” he says. In Fengjing, Seth enlisted a local calligrapher to help him with the quotations from ancient philosophical texts that he incorporated into some of the murals.


在上海附近历史悠久的枫泾古镇,Seth 的作品存留至今。这些作品充分利用了当地建筑的特征和当地历史:一个三角形的屋顶形成一个斗笠,代表当地的乡村文化;一扇窗户构成了新家的轮廓,被一个女孩紧紧抓住,象征青年人迁移到城市中心。这个系列展示了 Seth与当地居民所建立的深层对话,这正是他在公共空间创作的目的:“绘画只是一个借口。重要的是居民和艺术家之间的交流。”他说。在枫泾,Seth 招募了一位当地书法家,帮他将中国古代哲学文献中的引文,加入到一些壁画中。

One of Seth’s more fascinating projects in China is Back to School. In order to bring art to the lives of kids from poor villages all over the country, he selected ten of the best street artists in the world—all of whom already had a connection with the theme of childhood—to create large murals in schools. This colossal project, which he carried out with the Shanghai-based curator Cao Bin, involved finding schools, understanding different communities, working with the authorities, and transporting the heavy equipment necessary to paint the huge walls.


Seth 在中国最引人入胜的项目之一是《Back to School》(回到学校)。为了让艺术走进中国各地贫困村庄的孩子的生活,他找了世界上十位最优秀的街头艺术家,他们的作品都与童年主题有关,然后邀请他们到学校里创作大型壁画。他与上海策展人曹彬一起开展了这个庞大的项目,包括寻找学校、了解不同的社区、与当局合作,以及运送在大幅墙壁上创作所必要的重型设备。

In a village near Mount Siguniang in Sichuan, Seth himself painted a mural five stories high depicting a local girl in the process of drawing a sketch that was given to him by the children of the school. He concentrated on the patterns and details of her traditional Sichuan costume, an elaborate painting work that wittily contrasts with the other childlike elements of the original sketch.


在四川四姑娘山附近一个村庄,Seth 自己在一幅五层楼高的墙壁上创作了一幅壁画,描绘了一个当地女孩画画的情景,而那副画中画则正是当时学校的孩子送给 Seth 的。他细致描画出女孩身上的传统四川服装的图案和细节,与原来那幅充满孩童风格的简单草图形成有趣的对比。

Each artist established a relationship with the local community and integrated their experiences to the murals. Not just the children but also their parents interacted with the artists, sharing music, food, and other aspects of their culture. “The presence of the artist was equally important for the grown-up population,” Seth notes. “They revisited their traditional roots. I believe they knew they’d live with the mural for a long time, so it was important to create a strong bond with its creator.”


每位艺术家都会与当地社区建立一定的关系,将自己的经历融入壁画的创作中。不只是孩子,小孩父母也会与艺术家有所互动:分享音乐、食物和他们其他方面的文化。“艺术家的存在对于成年人来说同样重要。”Seth 说,“这会让他们重新审视自己的传统根源。他们知道自己会与这些壁画一起生活很长一段时间,所以很有必要和壁画的创作者形成一个稳固的连接。”

Seth doesn’t spell things out for the viewer. His art is more intelligent than obvious, more suggestive than provocative. He evokes tradition while tactfully alluding to social and political issues, sparking a range of reactions among locals. No matter where he paints, he attributes the ownership and responsibility for his works to the local population. “I leave my work to those who live around it,” he says. “It all belongs to them.”


Seth 不会将作品的内涵直接挑明给观众。他的作品充满智慧,却不是一目了然;更多的是暗示,而非不言而喻。他引用传统,又巧妙地影射社会和政治问题,激起当地观众的反应。无论在哪里画画,他都将他的作品的所有权和责任交托给了当地居民。“我将自己的作品留给附近生活的居民,作品的一切都属于他们。”Seth 说。

Like our stories? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Website: seth.fr
Instagram: @seth_globepainter

 

Contributor: Tomas Pinheiro
Translation: Olivia Li
Images Courtesy of Julien Malland


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网站: seth.fr
Instagram: @seth_globepainter

 

供稿人: Tomas Pinheiro
英译中: Olivia Li
图片由f Julien Malland 提供

Local Color 如梦似幻,却又真实可见

August 21, 2019 2019年8月21日

A sweltering sun in a blue sky beats down on the yellow earth. It’s a scene bursting with pure, vibrant colors, the kind of scene that Hailun Ma, a photographer from in Ürümqi, regularly captures. The landscape sets off the figures in her photos, forming a composition that shows her idiosyncratic take both on her hometown and on traditional beauty standards. “There are two sides to my work,” she says. “One side is an in-your-face femininity, the other side is more relaxed and natural, and closer to everyday life. But where the two sides meet is in my focus on color. I’m drawn to vivid tones and ordinary people.”


在金色土地与蓝色天空之间,炎炎灿日洒在人身上,绽放出质朴鲜艳的光彩。乌鲁木齐长大的女孩马海伦(Hailun Ma)将这些场景用相机记录下来,照片上人物与景色相互映衬,浑然天成,勾勒出她对故乡以及美学标准的个性认知。“我有两面,一面是天马行空的少女气息;另一面贴近生活的自然与轻松感。但相同的是,我也很在意颜色。那些鲜艳的颜色和素人,是最吸引我的。”

Ma’s earliest sense for art came during childhood. She and her family often took nature outings, and as she looked out on green mountain ranges and majestic wildlife, an idea sprouted in her mind: she wanted to be an explorer and an artist. When she got her first camera, she’d put together all sorts of getups and dress up for her self-portraits. That’s how she developed a love for capturing the human element. At age 18, Ma moved to New York to study fashion photography and photography theory at the School of Visual Arts. The eight years she spent in the city, she says, were the most formative time in her life.

On the streets of New York, she saw people sporting all kinds of outfits. They had the courage to express their individuality, the courage to accept their true selves. Ma learned that beauty takes on a wealth of different forms, and she began to turn a critical eye to the beauty standards of China and the rest of Asia. “When I was young, I was never a pretty girl, according to most people’s ideas of beauty. But in New York you can see people of skin tones, ethnicities, and different body shapes,” she says. “You experience a more diverse beauty that takes on a range of forms. I began to reexamine the overly unified, fixed, superficial ideas of beauty I’d had before.


马海伦对艺术最开始的嗅觉来自童年,小时候的她经常与家人一起游玩在自然风光中,那些青葱的山脉与可爱的动物,萌发了她成为探险和艺术家的想法。获得自己第一台相机之后,她时常在镜头前将自己打扮成各种造型,从此便与人物摄影结缘。十八岁的海伦带着成为专业摄影师的梦想,来到纽约视觉艺术学院School of Visual Arts)进行摄影理论和时尚摄影的学习,在她看来,呆在纽约的八年是人生中最重要的时光。

在纽约街头,她看到了各式各样穿着打扮的人群,他们敢于表达内心,敢于直面真正的自己。海伦认识到,美的表现本应是丰富多元的,并开始用批判的视角反观国内或其他亚洲地区的审美标准。我从小不是一个大众审美里的漂亮女孩。但是在纽约,你会看到不同肤色、种族、体型的人,你会感受到的多元化的、不同形态的美。我开始审视那些过于单一、固化、甚至肤浅的审美。

Ma integrates this critical thought into her works. From the woman incongruously wearing a floatation device in her Pink Bikini series, to the portraits that look like Renaissance oil paintings, her works give a sense of what’s distinctive about her subjects—whether herself or another person—while blending and exploring Asian and Western cultures. Some even call to mind yishuzhao, the goofy costume photos many Chinese youth remember from their childhood.

Out of love for the land where she grew up, Ma blends traditional Xinjiang customs into her own personal style and seeks to use her camera to show faces from her hometown with a wider audience and in a novel angle. She often returns to Ürümqi, capturing the visual contrast of traditional dress combined with modern aesthetics. She sees fashion photography as a highly personal medium, one she can use to share the distant lands and cultures familiar to her. “Even setting aside the fact that it’s my home, I think Xinjiang is the subject I’ve always wanted to shoot. More importantly, it’s a very interesting place—I think there’s nowhere more diverse within China.” she says. “Maybe it’s because I grew up in a place like Xinjiang, but ‘high fashion’ has always felt very foreign to me. I think the people and styles I’m drawn to are more unaffected. But I also really like doing fashion shoots.” 


马海伦将这种批判性思考融入进自己的作品当中,从 Pink Bikini 系列作品中格格不入的游泳圈女生,再到受文艺复兴时期油画影响的肖像作品,从个人再到他人,你会感受每个主角身上明显的个人色彩,以及东西方文化的交融与思辨。一些照片还会让人联想到中国传统的艺术照,贴近生活同时又颇具幽默感。

出于对家乡的喜爱,马海伦将新疆当地的风土人情与个人风格联系在一起,希望用相机对家乡人 “貌进行重塑。她多次往返于故乡,在那里记录下传统服饰与现代审美交融下的视觉冲击。在她的眼中,时尚是一个自陈其说的故事,讲述着那些不为人知的地域和文化我觉得新疆会是我一直想要拍的主题,抛开这是我的家乡。 更重要的是,新疆真的是个很有意思的地方。在国内,没有比新疆更让我觉得多元化的地方了。因为可能从小在新疆长大,那种所谓的 high fashion 其实对我来说是很陌生的。我觉得真实的人和风格更吸引我,不过我也很享受拍时尚照片的过程。

Ma now lives in Shanghai, and her unstinting pursuit of beauty and character has paved the way for her success in the fashion and art worlds. “I really like Shanghai. I think in some ways it’s similar to New York,” she says. Her photography subjects have always included people from different backgrounds, from Japanese model Keisuke Asano to Chinese teen idol Fan Chengcheng, from underground musicians like Chacha and Scintii to the Xinjiang women’s soccer team. “When I take portraits, I start by doing some research, then I come up with an image of the subject in my mind.”


如今的马海伦居住在上海,那些往日里对美和个性化的不断追求,促成了她在时尚和艺术领域的成就,我很喜欢上海,觉得某种程度和纽约很像。她的摄影对象也不断涵盖着不同文化背景的人群:日本都市男生浅野启介、中国青春偶像范丞丞、地下音乐女侠客 Chacha Scintii 以及我行我素的新疆足球女孩…… 我在拍摄人物时,会先去做调研,然后将我脑海中他们的样子呈现出来。

It’s an approach she adheres to on even commercial projects. Ma’s recent Burberry shoot may lack the vibrant backdrops of her other works, but her pared-down palette of cool tones heightens the emotions in her subjects’ faces and captures a youthfulness rooted in the present. “Focusing on youth culture is a pillar of my work,” she says. “What I want to show is the diversity of these young people, along with the diversity of beauty and the diversity of identity.”


在马海伦最近为 Burberry 拍摄的一组照片中,没有以往丰富的背景色,单一的冷色系反而令人物的面部深情更加出神,生动地再现年轻人当下的状态,关注年轻人和青年文化也是我作品中很重要的部分,我想要表达的,是年轻人多元化的状态,以及对美的多元化,对自己身份认同的多元化

For the subject, the image is a candid moment frozen in time; for the photographer, it’s an exploration of artistic concepts. Through her photography, Ma is redefining traditional Chinese beauty standards, even as she’s preserving a moment in China’s youth culture, and it’s this duality that makes her portraits so compelling.


让片刻永存,是被照相者真诚的流露,也是摄影者用艺术打造观念的途径。在她的镜头里,中国传统中关于的标准被重新定义。当快门按下,温暖的高光、艳丽的色彩调度、当下青年视角一涌而出;灯光一闪而过,镜头里每一位肖像都楚楚动人。

Hailun Ma’s Xinjiang works can be seen at Photofairs Shanghai and Shenzhen’s Arbre Talk art space.

 

Photofairs Shanghai

Exhibition Dates: September 20 to 22, 2019

Address:
Shanghai Exhibition Center
Yan’an Middle Road., No. 1000
Jing’an District, Shanghai

 

Arbre Talk

Exhibition Dates: Opens September 7, 2019

Address:
Yuanling Xincun, Bldg. No. 74
Futian District, Shenzhen

 

Like our stories? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Website: hailunma.com
Instagram
: @hailunma

 

Contributor: Pete Zhang
English Translation: Allen Young


马海伦在新疆拍摄的作品将会在 Photofairs Shanghai 和一树 Arbre 艺术空间进行展览:

 

Photofairs Shanghai

展览日期: 2019920——22

地址:
上海展览中心
上海市静安区
延安中路 1000 号

 

一树 Arbre

开幕时间: 从20199月7日开始

深圳市福田区
园岭新村74号楼

 

喜欢我们的故事?欢迎关注我们 Neocha 的微博微信

 

网站: hailunma.com
Instagram: @hailunma

 

供稿人: Pete Zhang
中译英: Allen Young

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From Village to Gallery 从乡下茅屋,到城市画展

August 19, 2019 2019年8月19日

If someone took an 8-bit Nintendo video game, mixed it with Terry Gilliam’s style of animation in “Monty Python,” and then rinsed it through Filipino social media, the end result would be something like Richard Quebral‘s art. The Pinoy artist creates mixed-media pieces characterized by bright pastel colors, grids, and unexpected textures. While his art is often deeply personal, it’s communicated in a way that’s humorous and engaging. It often depicts homey—albeit strange—settings inhabited by characters based on Quebral’s real-life neighbors and family.


如果有人将 8-bit 像素的任天堂游戏,与特瑞·吉列姆在《巨蟒与圣杯》中的动画风格相混合,然后再经过菲律宾本土社交媒体元素的冲洗,差不多就是 Richard Quebral 的作品了。这位来自菲律宾的艺术家,用明亮淡雅的色彩、栅格设计以及意想不到的纹理,绘制出多媒介混合而成的拼贴感作品。他的作品通常描绘着家中舒适的环境,虽然作品看上去有些奇怪,但取景与人物灵感都来自他真实生活中的家人和邻居;虽然个性十足,但却总能以幽默和引人入胜的方式表现出来。

Quebral grew up in the region of Ilocos, in a rural town that he still calls home. His work is heavily inspired by small-town life, with its overly inquisitive neighbors, strong community bonds, and quiet days set against the sound of crashing waves and swaying bamboo trees. It’s an idyllic way of life to him. His community is mostly filled with hardworking fishermen, farmers, and construction workers who are happy with living a simple life. Even the gossipmongers, or chismosas, that small towns are notorious for, are frequently featured in his art as prying sets of eyes peering in from the window. “I love these kinds of neighbors. They always keep me up to date with daily news,” he laughs.


Richard 在伊洛克斯省(Ilocos)的乡村小镇长大,并在那里一直生活至今。小镇生活是他主要的创作灵感来源。那里的邻里关系融洽,大家总是忙着询问彼此的生活,社区之间也联系紧密,日子过得恬静平淡。对他来说,这是一种田园诗般的生活方式,到处是海浪和竹木摇曳的声响,小镇居民是他源源不断的创作灵感。社区里住着渔民、农民和建筑工人,他们勤劳努力,过着简单并快乐的生活。即使是小镇上臭名昭著的 “闲话爱好者”,也经常出现在他的艺术作品中,变成一双双在窗边窥视的眼睛。“我爱我的邻居。他们让我不会错过每天的新闻。”他笑着说道。

His favorite part about living in a small village is the strong sense of bayanihan, a Tagalog word meaning communal unity. It’s a uniquely Filipino term that refers to when a community comes together to help one another in times of need, and it’s a concept that’s ingrained in the culture. This sense of community still exists in larger cities, but in smaller villages like the one where Quebral lives, it can be strongly felt day to day. He shows it in his art through the roster of familiar characters and brick houses, which evoke a communal spirit. The reappearing motif of radio and cellular technology is a visual representation of this sense of connectedness.


Quebral 很喜欢村里强烈的 “bayanihan” 精神,这是一个塔加路语,意为 “社区团结”。作为菲律宾当地的特殊用语,“bayanihan” 指社区在需要时团结一致,相互帮助,这也是当地文化中一个根深蒂固的理念。如今,强烈的社区意识在菲律宾大城市依然保留,而在较小的村庄,如 Quebral 的家乡,你能愈发强烈地感受到这种精神的存在。在作品中,他通过对自己熟悉的人物和砖房的绘画,将社区群体发扬光大。作品中反复出现的收音机和蜂窝通讯技术图案,以视觉呈现的方式把大伙儿维系在了一起。

Quebral’s most recent show, held at Manila’s Blanc Gallery and titled Lazaro Trails the West, is named after his grandfather, who embodied this community spirit. “Lolo Lazaro was a plumber and a miner when he was still alive, and he loved cockfighting in his time off,” Quebral recalls. “He was humorous, cheerful, and hardworking.”

Quebral has certainly inherited his grandfather’s levity and humor. His work is impossible to view without a smile. “Humor is important in my daily life to stay inspired and productive. It also helps with my art and allows me to express my emotions freely,” he says.


最近在 Manila’s Blanc Gallery 举办的展览中,作品《Lazaro Trails the West》以 Quebral 祖父的名字命名,在他看来,祖父身上有着明显的社区印记。Quebral 回忆道:“我的祖父 Lolo Lazaro 生前曾做水管和矿工,闲暇时光喜欢斗斗鸡,幽默、有趣、勤奋是他的个性。” 显然,Quebral 也继承了祖父的幽默感。他的作品总是让人会心一笑,这种幽默感也来自他的生活态度:“幽默在我的生活中充当着重要的部分,它能让我保持灵感和创造力,能让我随心所欲地表达自己的情感,对我的艺术创作有很大帮助”。

Being an artist in a village far from the city can be difficult, but in recent years it’s become easier to stay connected. “You have to spend money and invest your time traveling to the city in order to attend openings, visit galleries, learn from other artists,” Quebral notes. “But despite those challenges, social media is helping to bridge some of those gaps. It’s easier to keep up with the art world, find fans, and even buy supplies.”

To keep up to date with Richard Quebral’s work, visit Blanc Gallery.


作为一名艺术家,生活在远离城市的村庄并非易事,但近年来,情况有所改善。“每次去城里去参加开幕、参观画廊、向其他艺术家学习,你都要花一定的金钱和时间。” Richard 指出:“虽然有这些困难,但社交媒体有助于弥合其中的差距。现在,无论是获取艺术世界的新趋势,还是收获粉丝或者购买原材料,都变得更加轻而易举了。”

想了解 Richard Quebral 的更多最新作品,请浏览 Blanc Gallery。

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Contributors: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li


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供稿人: Mike Steyels
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li

The Festival of Smiles 这个城市微微一笑

August 16, 2019 2019年8月16日

MassKara is a celebration held every October in the city of Bacolod, on the island of Negros in the Philippines. Unlike the Venice Carnival or the National Mask Festival in Papua New Guinea, this mask festival isn’t steeped in centuries of history. It began in 1980, when a pair of artists, Ely Santiago and George Macainan, hit upon a creative way to address the region’s high unemployment rate: they thought they could help people make a livelihood by teaching them how to create and sell handmade masks. Jose Montalvo, the mayor at the time, liked the idea but thought they could take it one step further. How do you create a demand for masks? With a festival! The idea for MassKara was born.

With government backing, plans were quickly underway. But then tragedy struck.


MassKara 是每年 10 月在菲律宾内格罗斯岛的巴科洛德市举办的面具节。不同于威尼斯狂欢节或是巴布亚新几内亚的国家面具节,MassKara 并非一个有着几百年历史的节日。这个节日起源于 1980 年,当时两名艺术家 Ely Santiago 和 George Macainan 为了解决当地高失业率的问题,想出了一个创意:他们想教当地人手工制作和销售面具来谋生。当时的市长 Jose Montalvo 很喜欢这个想法,但认为他们可以更进一步:要如何增加人们对面具的需求?不如创办一个节日吧!于是举办 MassKara 的想法就诞生了。

在政府的支持下,这个计划很快就开展了。但随后发生了一件不幸的事件。

In April 1980, a ship bound for Bacolod from Manila, the MV Don Juan, collided with an oil tanker and sank. Over a hundred people died or went missing. In the wake of such devastation, the organizers considered canceling the festival. Yet Montalvo made the tough call to go ahead with the plans, reasoning that after such a tragedy it was more important than ever for Bacolod to put on a citywide event: he saw it as an opportunity to bring the residents some much-needed joy. So it was that an idea to jumpstart the local economy grew into something much more profound: MassKara became a symbol of Bacolod’s resilience, and the festival’s iconic smiling masks have become synonymous with the city’s nickname of the “City of Smiles.”


1980 年 4 月,一艘从马尼拉前往巴科洛德的船“MV Don Juan”与一艘油轮相撞并沉没,导致一百多人死亡或失踪。灾难发生之后,组织者考虑取消节日。然而,Jose 作出了艰难的决定,呼吁人们继续举办节日,他认为,在经历了这样的悲剧之后,更有必要在巴科洛德举办一次全市活动,为居民带来些急缺的欢乐。因此,MassKara 这个原本旨在推动当地经济发展的项目有了更加深刻的意义:它成了巴科洛德复原力的象征,而这个节日的标志性微笑面具也成为了这座“微笑之城”的标志。

The colorful festival has changed significantly in the intervening decades, with the masks and costumes becoming even more intricate and colorful. Events like parades, dance performances, concerts, and more now take place throughout the entire month of October. The highlight of the festival, a dancing competition between Bacolod’s barangays, happens on the fourth Sunday of October. In recent years, a separate nighttime event called Electric MassKara, with floats and masked performers decked out in neon and LED lights, has complemented the festivities.


几十年间,这个色彩缤纷的节日发生了巨大变化,面具和服装设计变得更加繁复和丰富多彩。在整个 10 月期间,还会举办游行、舞蹈表演、音乐会等活动。整个节日的亮点在 10 月第四周的星期天,那是在巴科洛德村庄间举办的舞蹈比赛。近年来,还多了一场名为 Electric MassKara 的独立夜间活动,霓虹灯和 LED 灯装饰的花车和面具表演者,让整个节日更加精彩。

MassKara is now thriving beyond the founders’ dreams, as tens of thousands of visitors flock to Bacolod each year to witness one of the most extravagant celebrations of the archipelago.

The 2019 MassKara Festival will mark the celebration’s 40th year and festivities will kick off on October 1st. To find out more about the event, visit the official website.


如今,MassKara 的蓬勃发展已经超出创始人的最初预想,吸引了成千上万的游客涌向巴科洛德,一同见证这个群岛上最盛大的节日之一。

2019 年,MassKara 音乐节迎来了 40 周年纪念,庆祝活动将于 10 月 1 日开始。要了解有关该活动的更多信息,请访问官方网站

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Websitewww.masskarafestival.ph

 

Contributors: Daniella Danuvy, Claudio Sieber
Photographer: Claudio Sieber
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li


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网站www.masskarafestival.ph

 

供稿人: Daniella Danuvy, Claudio Sieber
摄影师: Claudio Sieber
英译中: Olivia Li

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Freezing Land 一座空城记

August 14, 2019 2019年8月14日

“I’m the quintessential Chinese small-town boy, someone who went to college in a big city—Shanghai—and ended up staying,” says Chen Ronghui. Though he started out as a photojournalist, he now works in the realm of fine-art photography, and is about to embark on an MFA at Yale. This transition into art has allowed him to dig into more conceptual narratives, which, he discovered, are often inadvertently related to his own identity. “I’ve reflected on my works of from recent years and realized they’re closely linked to my personal experiences,” he says, “On one hand, I can’t return to my hometown, but on the other, I don’t have a Shanghai hukou. So in this regard, I’m living as an inbetweener.”

These themes of displacement and searching for belonging are the core stories he tells: in a rapidly urbanizing China, how do the youth find belonging? What are the insecurities and anxieties they collectively share?


“我是一个典型的中国小镇青年,去大城市上大学,然后留在上海这样的特大城市。陈荣辉说道。曾经身为报道记者的他,现在是一名摄影艺术家,并将赴美就读耶鲁大学的 MFA。但身份的转变却并没有带来“身份”的落定,“我自己思考这几年的创作,其实和我的个人经历是紧密结合的。一方面,我没有办法回到故乡,另一方面,我在上海也没有户口。从社会层面来说,我居住在一个中间地带。”

而这就是他要讲述的故事——在全世界最大规模城市化的中国,普通的青年如何找到自己的归属,他们又面临着怎样的不确定性和不安。

The portraits in his series Freezing Land feature people he discovered on Kuaishou, a popular Chinese video app with millions of users mostly in third and fourth-tier cities. The videos showcased on the app present ordinary people doing everything from eating dinner to performing in drag to doing the latest viral dance. For this series, whenever he came upon someone interesting, he’d contact them through the app to meet up and take photos.

“The most memorable person I shot during the series is the boy who does drag,” Chen recalls. “His videos were were intense, with views in the millions.”

The boy was only 14 years old at the time Chen took his photo. Both of his parents had abandoned him, and as a foster kid, he relied on these internet performances to make money. Chen says that despite the boy’s online popularity, when they met up to shoot, all he saw was his loneliness.

The backstories of these participating models are an important part of Chen’s photo essay, but the project is a macro look at a much larger topic.


在《空城计》这个系列中,有大量的年轻人肖像,很多都是他选择通过“快手”找到的。这个短视频 APP 上聚集了千万用户,大部分都是来自中国内地三四线城市的年轻人,吃播、反串、社会摇,这些夺人眼球的视频以惊人的点赞量出现在首页。陈荣辉找到其中让自己印象深刻的播主,然后去联系拍摄。

“这个表演反串的小男生或许是最吸引我的,他在网上的表演非常劲爆,点击率过百万。”陈荣辉说,拍摄这张照片的时候,男生才 14 岁,因为生父生母已经离开了他,寄人篱下的他在互联网上表演反串节目来养活自己。虽然获赞无数,“在现实生活,拍摄这张肖像的时候,我看到的是一种孤独感。”陈荣辉如是说。

The 14-year-old boy he photographed is from Fularji, a once-booming industrial hub that—like many small cities in northeaster China—has fallen into decline. “This series is the finale of my probe into the relationship between man and city,” he says. In his project Petrochemical China he looks at the country’s industrialized cities, while in the more recent Runaway World he points his lens at cities desperate to turn a buck through gimmicky tourist attractions. The final installment is Freezing Land, which Chen says is an examination of cities on the verge of vanishing.


这个男生所在的城市是富拉尔基,一个曾经非常裕富、有很多大型重工业的城市,但这几年经历了全方面的衰败,这也是中国北方许多城镇的缩影。“这个系列其实是我在探讨人与城市关系的最后一个篇章,此前两个系列分别为《石化中国》和《脱缰的世界》——从工业化到娱乐化,最后就是消亡的城市。”

Visiting these withering cities, he sought to learn more about the younger generation who still live in them, and through their stories, shed light on their plight and anxieties. “It’s an exploration of youth and the uncertainty of their future,” he explains.


陈荣辉造访这些收缩的城市,并希望能以此了解当地和他年龄差不多的年轻人,并通过他们的故事,揭示他们的困境和焦虑。“我探索的是年轻人的不确定性。他说。

The third and fourth-tier city residents he met through Kuaishou often relied on donations through the app to make a living, but many their accounts have ended up banned. Some have tried their hand at starting restaurants or clothing stores with the money they made on the platform, but these businesses usually failed, Chen says. “Some also end up in gangs, but most often, they choose to leave in search of opportunity.”


在这个系列进行过程中,陈荣辉拍摄的许多三四线城市居民最初都依靠通过短视频打赏谋生,但后来好几个他认识的都停更或被销号了。有些人试图在当地尝试开饭店或者开卖衣服的店铺,但是现在也并没有很成功。“也有的在混社会。更多的,还是继续出去寻找机会了。”

The images from the series without human context paint an equally bleak picture. Chen’s cityscapes evoke imagery of the dystopian future that’s commonly depicted in cinema: cities turned ghost town, barren stretches of land dotted with crumbling infrastructure. While these works of sci-fi remain in the realm of fantasy for now, Freezing Land seems to tease that in the future, these scenes may very well become reality.


而通过陈荣辉这个系列的探索,在思考城市社会结构变化的过程中,也不禁让人想起许多科幻电影中的开篇场景:昔日的摩天大楼悉数被废弃,偌大的钢筋水泥之城变为了空城……虽然现实并不像电影那么夸张,但未来我们是否会面临一样的境遇呢?

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Website: www.ronghuichen.com
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Contributor: Chen Yuan


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网站: www.ronghuichen.com
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供稿人: Chen Yuan

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Bare Masculinity 袒露男性气质

August 12, 2019 2019年8月12日

The light filters softly in through the window on the figure of a young man. Face half-covered, with a calm and slightly defiant expression, he looks as though he knows something he doesn’t want to reveal. The photo is part of Comfort Boy Zoom, a series of portraits of men in varying states of undress taken by Yan Yufeng. Asked why so much of his work features semi-naked men, he laughs. “That’s a misunderstanding,” he says. “That’s just one of my projects. Maybe everyone remembers it because it’s been going on for a while now.” It’s memorable not for the suggestive subject matter, but for the way the portraits blend confidence and vulnerability, withholding and revealing in equal measure. “The subject is an exploration of masculinity,” Yan explains. “And the models decide whether or not they wear clothes.”


光线透过窗户,投落在一名年轻男孩身上。半遮掩的脸上,表情平静又略带挑衅,像是藏着一个不想透露的秘密。这张照片来自严玉峰的摄影系列《Comfort Boy Zoom》,其中有许多男性私房照。谈到为什么他的大部分作品都是半裸男人时,他笑着说:“我觉得这是个误解。这只是我的其中一个拍摄项目,可能因为这个项目延续时间比较长,所以大家比较记得。”这个系列之所以令人难忘,不仅在于当中的性暗示主题,更因为这些肖像作品那种兼备自信和脆弱的矛盾性,以及在表象之下有所隐藏的神秘感。“模特穿不穿衣服都是由他们自己决定的,这个主题主要还是对男性气质的探讨。”严他解释道。

Yan grew up in Chengdu and studied printmaking in college in Milan. He began taking photos only a few years ago, in 2015, as part of a school project. He found he had a knack for it, and before long he’d turned his hobby into a profession. Now he lives in Shanghai and shoots for fashion brands such as Angel Chen, Ponder.er, and Untitlab, and magazines such as ELLE Men. When he’s not taking pictures for clients, he works on building his portfolio.

And whatever he says, that portfolio is dominated by half-naked men. They recline on couches, lie draped over chairs, stand baring all—though in many of the photos, the sensitive areas have discreetly been blurred out. Often a rectangle of sunlight falls across a chest, a geometrical counterpoint to the human subject. Yan’s genius lies in his knack for using light to give his photographs an unexpected depth.


严玉峰自小在成都长大,大学时去了米兰就读版画专业。直到 2015 年,因为学校的一个项目,他才开始涉足摄影。很快他就发现自己在摄影方面颇具天赋,这个爱好就变成了职业。现在,他居住在上海,为 Angel Chen、Ponder.er 和 Untitlab 等时尚品牌拍摄,还有 ELLE Men 之类的杂志。不用给客户拍照时,他就会进行个人创作。

虽然他表示自己不只是拍摄半裸的男性,但作品确实大都是这个题材。这些男人或靠着沙发、倚着椅子,或赤裸地站着,不过敏感位置都已被他模糊处理掉。在他的照片中,常常会有一抹方形的阳光落在模特胸前,与他们的身体形成具有几何感的对比。严玉峰的摄影,其过人之处就在于利用光线让照片呈现意想不到的深度。

For Ponder.er 《Ponder.er》合作拍摄
For Dear Boy Magazine 《Dear Boy Magazine》合作拍摄

A portrait of the photographer Liu Shuwei, taken at his Shanghai home, is set against the fading rays of a late afternoon sun. Another, more immediate light illuminates Liu from the front, and almost seems to radiate out from his body. The fine balance between these sources of light is what gives the portrait its electric energy.


他给摄影师刘树伟在上海家中拍摄的照片里,渐隐的夕阳映衬着他的身影。与此同时,另一个更直接的光源从正面照亮他的面孔,看上去就像有光线从他的身体辐射出来。不同光源之间的出色平衡使他的肖像作品充满扣人心弦的力量。

Even more dramatic lighting is at play in Yan’s black-and-white self-portraits, floating against a black backdrop and edited to leave only isolated strips of bare skin. The result is a series of almost geometric compositions—monochrome arrangements where the human figure has been sublimated into an abstract shape.


而在他自己的黑白自拍中,他又运用了更具戏剧性的布光:设景的黑色幕布再加之后期编辑,最后只留下了几片裸露的肌肤。最终,呈现出一系列几何风格的构图——通过单色构图,将人的形体升华为抽象的形状。

Given his close attention to form, it’s surprising that Yan says he’s led largely by instinct. “What I think about most [when shooting] is whether I like the photo or not,” he says. “Whether it’s a travel photo, a still life, or a portrait, if it ultimately carries out its mission, it’s a good shot.”


严玉峰的照片虽然看上去形式感很重,但令人惊讶的是,他说他拍照主要还是出于直觉。“我考虑最多的还是这张照片最后我自己喜不喜欢吧,我觉得一张好的照片,这个‘好’的定义每一个人都不太相同,不管是旅游照还是静物,人物的拍摄,照片最后完成了它本来的使命了,就是一张好照片。”他解释道。

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Website: yanyufon.com
Instagram: @yanyufon

 

Contributor: Allen Young
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li


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供稿人: Allen Young
英译中: Olivia Li

 

Am I a Butterfly in a VR Headset? 你想按下现实与虚拟的开关吗?

August 9, 2019 2019年8月9日

 

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A man begins speaking in Hindi as the video begins. “This footage looks real, isn’t it? You see people . . . are easy to believe what perceived by their senses [sic],” read the strange subtitles.“Because it’s easy, right? You see . . . when you start to question reality, you will start to feel like life is a video game, and you can shut down this machine anytime. So the final question is . . . do you have fun?”

In surreal fashion, the subtitles are completely unrelated to the actual audio, which in fact says, “Rooms are closed for an hour, did you know? That’s why America has technology that, when the room is left open for an hour, someone can record.” It is the first of many bizarre easter eggs for the viewer in this endlessly watchable, multilayered music video.


MV 开场,一个印度男人对着摄影机讲着奇怪的话,字幕上写着: “这段影像是真实存在的,对吧? 你看……人们都愿意相信自己生理上的直观感知。因为这是轻而易举的事,对不对?但……当你开始质疑现实,你会开始发现,生活就像是打游戏,你可以随时关掉游戏机。但最终的问题在于……这个游戏,你玩得开心吗?”

然而,字幕与印度男人的话没有任何关联,他实际上是在说:“你知道那些房间已经关闭了一个小时吗? 在美国有一种说法,当房门敞开一个小时后,你才能进行拍摄”。这种 “词不达字幕意” 的超现实主义表达方式只是 MV 许多彩蛋中的一个,而 MV 中多层次的寓意与内容,值得你反复观看。

“Tomorrow Can Not Be Waited” [sic] is the lead single to Howie Lee’s upcoming full-length studio album, due out this fall. It’s a bold introduction to an album: like much of Lee’s recent work, the four-minute track forgoes any kind of standard song structure in favor of a series of quick thematic shifts, never to be revisited, that push the narrative along.

The track’s peculiar title is a reference to a story in the Daoist classic known as the Zhuangzi. In it, a madman named Jie Yu comes to Confucius’s door and asks why the sage has come to the state of Chu, a declining power. “The future cannot be waited for, the past cannot be chased,” the madman says enigmatically. In the larger context of the teachings of the Dao, these words are profound, invoking the idea that worry comes from having one’s mind in the future, and regret comes from having one’s mind in the past. We can only live in the moment and take things as they come.


《明日不可待》是 Howie Lee 即将于今秋发行的全长录音室专辑中的主打曲目。其大胆张扬的风格为专辑代言:四分钟的歌曲长度,摒弃任何音乐的结构准则,取而代之的是一系列快速的主题切换,不会流连忘返,持续推进着故事。

歌名取自道教经典《庄子》里的一个故事。楚国狂人接舆在孔子车前走过时,问他为什么来楚国这个衰落的国家,狂人深不可测地回答道:“来世不可待,往世不可追也”。在道教教义中,忧虑来自人对未来的欲望,悔恨来自对过去的追思。我们只能生活在当下,既来之,则安之。

The idea of embracing the present feels apt for a track that asks listeners to revel in its unpredictability. Although the composition jumps from one dramatic moment to the next, it still seems to sit comfortably in whatever is its present. Yet existing in the now doesn’t mean that the now is something harmonious. A cheerful intro, recalling the awakening of a new day, soon crescendos into plucked strings that might sound pleasantly anticipatory were it not for the dark bassline looming beneath. The track is chock-full of such moments: a little good in the evil sounds, a little evil in the good ones.

The video released along with the track is rich with evocative imagery, emphasizing the cinematic nature of the song. Created by Teom Chen of Taiwan, it’s a fascinating contemplation of the constructed or conventional nature of any society, using the imagery of video games and virtual reality to question whether human beings are indeed free. “I believe that humans don’t have free will,” Lee remarks. “People are products of their social environment.”


这种拥抱当下的态度,很符合歌曲不断切换主题的概念,带听众领略不可预知的盛宴。尽管编曲方式接二连三地变换,但仿佛达到了某种随心所欲的自在境界。然而,活在当下也并不能意味着畅然自得。悦耳的序曲响起,仿佛唤起人新的一天;但很快,旋律随着传统弦乐的拨动而迅速上扬,而深沉肥厚的贝斯线条却让愉快的旋律也变得黑暗起来:邪恶与美好被交织混杂在一起。

与歌曲一同出现在大众视线范围内的,还有台湾视频制作人 Teom Chen, 他在充满令人回味的图像中,凸显出歌曲本身极富画面感的个性。视频中,Teom 用电子游戏般的画面与虚拟现实的影像,对人类的真实存在提出质疑,同时体现出他对社会构建与传统本质的深思。Howie Lee 提到:“我觉得人类是没有自由意志的,人只是社会环境的产物。”

Riffing on this idea, the video opens with what appears to be a standard fighting video game, with a pair of hands holding a gaming controller in the corner. But with a flick of a button, the whole world shakes, revealing that this pair of hands controls not just the characters but their whole environment as well. The figure on screen, his sword in mid-swing, disappears in a fizzle and is replaced by a shirtless Indian man.

A moment later, the frame zooms out to reveal that this man, and the hands on the video game controller, are on a screen, opposite the same man in a set of VR goggles. He is not holding the controller, which suggests that someone else is controlling what he sees. All this takes place in a small room floating in an ocean in another video-game world. As the frame floats away, the scene changes and settles on a screen showing a live-action version of the same man, now seemingly fully in control of himself, laughing maniacally. To create this surreal sequence, Chen gathered a series of images of humans, and fed them to an AI program. After learning how to distinguish humans from other objects, the AI program randomly found and selected the live-action footage of the Indian man. Chen then modeled his own rendering of the recurring character after this footage.


依照这个想法,视频以经典的格斗游戏画面开场,你会在角落里发现某人的双手,它们正操纵着游戏手柄 —— 但只要轻轻一按,整个世界就开始摇晃,这双手不仅控制着游戏人物,也在控制整个环境。屏幕上的角色挥舞着手中的剑,突然间他嘶得一声消失在屏幕里,恍然变成了那个光着膀子的印度男人。

过了一会儿,镜头向后拉远,男人和控制游戏手柄的双手都出现在屏幕上。相同的男人坐在屏幕前,头戴一副 VR 眼镜,手中的游戏手柄不再出现,意味着有人正在控制他眼前的画面。所有这一切都发生在汪洋大海中漂浮的房间里,存在于另一个游戏世界中。随着这个画面再一次漂远,场景再度发生变化,切换成大屏幕,播放着印度男人的真人实拍录像。而现在,他看上去像是一切尽在自己掌控之中,正疯狂地大笑。

为了创造这些超现实的系列画面,Teom 收集了许多人类图像,将它们输入 AI人工智能。在学会了如何辨别人物行为过后,人工智能系统随机搜索并选择了这个印度男人的真人录像,再经过 Teom 的渲染与建模,这个角色用另一种方式重新出现在影像中。

The video also cleverly interpolates footage from one of Lee and Chen’s joint live shows. In these performances, the two stand opposite each other, Lee performing the music with an array of MIDI controllers laid out around him, and Chen using custom controllers and a laptop to navigate and manipulate the world he’s created. Events in the virtual realm can be triggered not just by Chen but also by Lee’s instruments, syncing the music and the visuals even more closely. As with the Indian protagonist, both filmed and virtually rendered versions of the two performers appear throughout the video. The duo thus appears simply as additional characters in the larger story. “The virtual and the real are on a converging path,” Chen says. “When mind and matter are one, the virtual is the real, the real is a dream.”


短片还巧妙地插入了 Howie 和 Teom 一次联袂表演的现场镜头。表演中,两人背靠背站在一起,Howie 用面前的一系列 MIDI 控制器进行演奏,而 Teom 则操控着调配好的控制器(其中一些是他制作的)和一台笔记本电脑来,二人合力操纵着他们创造的世界。无论是 Teom 或 Howie ,他们都可以触发这个虚拟世界中发生的任何事件,紧密地同步着音乐和视觉之间的联系。与印度男人一样,两位表演者的录像和虚拟渲染版本在整个视频中交替出现。因此,二人只是这个更宏大的故事中的配角。“虚拟跟现实正走在趋同的道路上”, Teom 说,“只要心物合一了,虚拟即实境,实境即梦境。”

The layers in the video—filmed, virtual, screens within screens—lead the audience question to not only the existence of free will but also the very nature of our reality. This too has deep roots in Daoist texts, specifically in Zhuangzi’s famous dream that he was a butterfly and his subsequent question: is he in fact a butterfly dreaming he’s a man?

The artists insert themselves as characters in their own video, suggesting that the reality we perceive is just one more layer: who’s to say which layer is real? Chen says that these days, the dividing line between the virtual and the real has become less and less clear to him. His work is a reflection of these growing uncertainties. “Yesterday I had a dream,” he says. “At the entrance to the dream I had my hand on a switch—all I had to do was press it and I’d wake up. What do you think: should I press it?”


短片中层层嵌入的不同维度——录像、虚拟、环环相扣的大屏幕,让观众扪心自问自由意志的存在,同时也在向我们所感知的现实世界发出质疑。这种质问深深扎根于道教文化中,特别是著名的理论 “庄周梦蝶”:在梦里,庄子变成了一只蝴蝶,他问道:自己会不会本来就是一只蝴蝶,只是在梦里变成了人类?

两位艺术家在视频中扮演着各自的角色,也侧面显示现实的对立面:视频里和现实中,究竟哪一边是真的?也正因如此,Teom 认为,当下的虚拟和真实之间的分界线对越来越模糊,而他作品也折射出这种日益增长的不确定性。他说:“昨天做了个梦,梦见我在梦的入口拿着一个开关,我只要按下去就能醒来,你说我要按吗?”

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Contributor: Kiril Bolotnikov
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
Hindi Translation: Rewant Prakash


喜欢我们的故事?欢迎关注我们的微博微信

 

Instagram: @howieleeofficial | @teomchen

 

供稿人: Kiril Bolotnikov
英译中: Olivia Li
印地语翻译: Rewant Prakash

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