Digital Mimicry 你与艺术之间只差一块屏幕的距离

April 27, 2020 2020年4月27日

On a Sunday afternoon in mid-April, MadeIn Gallery, on Shanghai’s West Bund, held its first art opening since it closed in January as part of China’s nationwide lockdown. The crowd was smaller than usual, and everybody wore masks. The gallery space, however, felt larger: only a few finished pieces, along with empty canvases, hung on the walls. The exhibiting artist, Ding Li, rehearsed a few brushstrokes on an unfinished piece in front of the absorbed audience. Everything was filmed and live-streamed on Zoom for those who couldn’t attend.


四月中旬的一个周日下午,在长达三个多月的全国封禁终于解除之后,位于上海西岸艺术中心的没顶画廊(MadeIn Gallery)终于举办了首场展览开幕式。观众比往常要少,每个人都戴上了口罩,但画廊却显得更大了:仅有几幅成品挂在墙上,与之一同呈现的是其他空白画布。在看得入迷的观众面前,参展艺术家丁力正挥动画笔创作。现场的展览被拍摄下来,并在 Zoom 平台上直播,与无法亲临现场的观众一起分享。

Named after the opening date and the gallery address, April 12th, No. 106, 2879 Longteng Avenue, Ding’s show displays recent works from his abstract portrait series that feature his trademark thick brushstrokes. Since he moved to the gallery in mid-March, he has been painting onsite and working with the curators to create a show that reflects our strange times.

“Like most artists, I don’t feel comfortable being watched while I’m working. I also have techniques I don’t want to reveal,” Ding says. “But I think that, given the present situation, we can’t resist doing so. The current crisis has made it more necessary for artists to be in front of the public and online.”

At a glance, it seems that Ding works on his paintings with a digital toolkit because of the tube-shaped lines that form his anthropomorphic compositions. He recreates the visual impact of digital art, especially the simple graphics of primitive 3D modeling. He even recreates flaws such as blurriness, distortion, and empty spaces between his lines.


丁力的这场展览《4月12日,龙腾大道 2879 号 106》以开幕日期和画廊地址命名,用他一贯充满个人风格的厚重笔触向观众展示了他最新的抽象肖像作品。自从三月中旬丁力将工作室搬至画廊空间,就一直在现场创作。通过这场展览,他与策展人希望激发人们思考现今这个光怪陆离的时代。

“和大多数艺术家一样,有人在身边我创作也觉得不自在。我也会有一些创作技巧是不想让别人知道的。”丁力说道,“但鉴于目前的情况,我们可能别无选择。眼下的疫情危机更有必要让艺术家出现在大众眼前,出现在网络上。”

乍看之下,丁力的作品似乎是用电脑处理创作而成的,管状笔触勾勒出一幅幅肖像作品。但他却是通过丰富渐变的色彩笔触变化达到的立体效果,重现了数字艺术的视觉冲击力。他甚至把模糊、扭曲以及线条之间的空白之类的数码绘画瑕疵也画了出来。

Angela Baby at Juan-les-Pins Beach (2019) 160 x 130 cm / Oil on canvas《朱安雷宾海滩的天使宝贝》(2019) 160 x 130 厘米 / 布上油画
Young Man 4 (2018 - 2019) 160 x 130 cm / Oil on canvas《男青年 4》(2018 - 2019) 160 x 130 厘米 / 布上油画
Young Woman 77 (2019) 160 x 130 cm / Oil on canvas《女青年 77》(2019) 160 x 130 厘米 / 布上油画
Female Teacher (2019) 160 x 130 cm / Oil on canvas《女教师》(2019) 160 x 130 厘米 / 布上油画

Ding began experimenting with the aesthetics of digital graphics in 2017, when he painted several untitled pieces that were utterly isolated from the world of recognizable forms. In these studies, we see his multiple layers of vigorous brushstrokes, color gradients, and the defused blurred effect of spray cans. The more digital resemblance he seeks, the more intricate his craftsmanship becomes.


丁力从 2017 年开始试验创作这种数码绘画风格的画作,当时他画了几幅无题作品,这些作品与可识别的成品作完全不同,在这些前期实验作品中,呈现出多层的笔触、渐变的颜色,以及喷漆的模糊效果。数码绘图感越要逼真,他使用的绘画技巧就越要复杂。

Untitled 55 (2017) 116 x 93 cm / Oil on canvas, spraypaint《无题 55》(2017) 116 x 93 厘米 / 布上油画、喷漆
Untitled 23 (2017) 30 x 20 cm / Oil on canvas, spraypaint 《无题 23》(2017) 30 x 20 厘米 / 布上油画、喷漆

Ding’s foray into portraits didn’t happen until 2018. His layered lines and color contrasts, either in bright tones or in grayscale, now create the impression of three-dimensional faces. The effect is fun, soothing, and haunting, all at once.

He paints his family and acquaintances, as well as people he knew in childhood. Nondescript titles like Teacher, Graduate, and Old Lady offer viewers only a vague idea of his subjects’ identity. “By giving them names and titles, I hope to emphasize the essential position that these figures hold in our society,” he says.


丁力从 2018 年开始创作这个肖像作品系列,层叠的线条,以及用明亮彩色或灰调形成的色彩对比,勾勒出立体的面容,呈现有趣、平静和令人难忘的画作。

他笔下画的都是他的家人和朋友,还有他在童年时代认识的人。用含糊其词的标题,比如《女教师》、《毕业生》和《老奶奶》,简单地向观众提供画中人的身份,他说:“我想通过这些名字和头衔强调这些人物在社会中扮演的角色。”

Young Man 25 (2019) 160 x 130 cm / Oil on canvas《男青年 25》(2019) 160 x 130 厘米 / 布上油画
Auntie (2019) 160 x 130 cm / Oil on canvas《阿姨》(2019) 160 x 130 厘米 / 布上油画
Young Woman under Neon Light (2019) 40 x 30 cm / Oil on canvas《霓虹灯下的女青年》(2019) 40 x 30 厘米 / 布上油画
Young Woman 9 (2019) 80 x 60 cm / Oil on canvas《女青年 9》(2019) 80 x 60 厘米 / 布上油画

In a corner, we see his studio equipment piled between two unfinished paintings. A large wooden board is clamped to a lab table; on top of it lie a mess of materials: used brushes and paint tubes, dirty tissues, solvent and water-spray bottles, turpentine, and a few cups of coffee. There’s also a Marshall speaker and flatscreen television standing on an easel.

Ding uses the screen to display references for his paintings since he also looks for photos of people online. His fascination with the digital world goes beyond its visual aspects: he admires the internet’s openness and interactivity and aims to reproduce these traits in this exhibition.

“I want to demystify the artistic process,” he says. “Artists and galleries need to learn and adapt to these changing times and give the audience a chance to appreciate the process, as well as to ask questions. In the age of screens, the way we work as artists needs to change.” The exhibition and his paintings work in unison: his style imitates digital tools that, in turn, mimic traditional painting tools.


在展厅一隅,他的工作器材堆在两幅未完成的画作之间。一块大木板夹在实验桌上,上面摆满了各种绘画用具:用过的画刷和颜料管、纸巾、溶剂和喷水瓶、松节油,还有几杯咖啡,一个 Marshall 音箱,画架上还装了一台平板电视屏幕。

丁力用这个屏幕来显示他绘画的参考图片,并且搜寻来自网上的人物肖像以作灵感。他对数字世界的着迷超越了其中呈现的视觉内容——他很喜欢互联网的开放性和交互性,因此希望能在本次展览上重现这些特质。

“我要去除创作过程的神秘性。艺术家和画廊需要学习和适应时代的变化,让观众有机会欣赏其过程,并提出疑问。在数字屏幕的时代,作为艺术家的我们也需要改变工作的方式。”他说道。这次展览形式与他的作品相互呼应:他在模仿数字工具的绘画效果,而数字工具本身却又是源于对传统绘画工具的模仿。

In the age of social distancing, this seamless interplay of online and offline experiences has become a temporary norm for artists and art institutions striving to keep their audiences engaged. While virtual museums and online exhibitions don’t replicate the thrills of live viewing, audiences seem to prefer a more intimate, informative, and interactive form of consuming art, through live-streamed performances, online studio visits, and Zoom conferences.

As China emerges from the crisis, Ding Li and MadeIn Gallery are experimenting with the possibility of a new dynamics in art that engages the viewer throughout the process of creation.

To keep up to date with upcoming exhibitions or works from Ding Li, visit the MadeIn Gallery website.


在一个要求保持社交距离的时代,线上和线下体验的无缝衔接,已成为艺术家和艺术机构努力与观众保持互动的临时性常态。尽管虚拟的画廊和在线直播展览无法重现亲临观展的快感,但却向观众提供了一种更亲密、更丰富、更赋予互动消费性的艺术形式,因而也更受青睐。

随着中国走出疫情的危机,丁力和没顶画廊正试图通过让观众参与到创作过程的做法,探索一种全新的艺术互动。

想持续关注丁力的展览和作品信息,可点击浏览没顶画廊官方网站。

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Contributors: Tomas Pinheiro, Colin Yang
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li
Images Courtesy of MadeIn Gallery


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供稿人: Tomas PinheiroColin Yang
英译中: Olivia Li
图片由没顶画廊提供

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