Drawing of Reality
Source:Artintern.net Author:Duan Jun Date: 2010-11-27 Size:
The public got shock from the modern art in its early stage was because it was no longer set the artistic aesthetic value in a particularly important position, though Kant did not say that art must be beautiful.

The public got shock from the modern art in its early stage was because it was no longer set the artistic aesthetic value in a particularly important position, though Kant did not say that art must be beautiful. To Kant’s point of view, the intestines are really not beautiful so YANG Hong’s painting has no purposiveness after all. His picture looks untidy but, on the whole, it keeps its pace of drawing—the gathered intestines indirectly formed the unobjectionable roundabout lines—still, one cannot say that his paintings are beautiful.

In history, to draw a taboo theme is usually ironic. For instance, Goya once defended himself: artist would not only choose suitable subjects from all kinds of foolish behaviours and mistakes to draw, but also pick the topic from ignorance and lies. The ugliness was best fit for taunt in civil society as same as for artist to imagine his own work. In a sense, art should motivate some certain distance and neutrality, but, the not so clean look of intestines makes people far from imagination. For it is directly related to human sense of function, it is difficult to create distance perception. YANG Hong attempts to get the intestines processed technically so as to eliminate its senses. He reckons that the creativity only exists in the strength of counter balance and suppression. What he was trying to contend with is not only the symbolic and organic meaning of intestines, but also his own artistic skills and results: the realistic composition appeared in his work is true-life and aesthetics with an incompleted result.

Why will his work cause physical discomfort if staring at it for a long time? From the very first beginning, modern art achieved its goals and values by having the aid of negative ugliness. In 1948, Newman wrote: “the impulse of modern art is to destroy the desire for beauty, which thoroughly denies the relation between art and beauteousness.”The formation of ugliness originates from the frantic breakage of industrial society, performing more incisively and vividly. Industrialized production bring the intestines altogether, in which exactly reflected the ruins and reproduced in YANG Hong’s work. But, as the opposite of beauty, ugliness is being suspected increasingly by contemporary art theory, because it draws support from the negative philosophy that is no good for positive spiritual conversion. The artist sharply denounced the industry world by using not so pretty images, also re-creating another ugly object through the painting itself.

Once, XU Fuguan pointed out the value of traditional Chinese art in modern world: “the Western Modern Art increasingly brings the spiritual feeling of cruelty, confusion, isolating and desperate circumstance; while Chinese landscape painting is to transcend the nature of spiritual freedom, to maintain the purity of soul and to restore life. Facing the distracting situation caused by the machinery, corporations, organizations, industry of rationalization, which one is mankind needed, either in the western modern art with adding fuel to the flames, or the cool and refreshing Chinese landscape painting? Although his opinion of rejecting modern art has been criticized severely, his cognition about cool and refreshing of painting is still inspiring. Danto considered that the “uglification is a very passive posture it will eventually lose its utility. Because it is still in a state of aesthetic appreciation, then what follows the next is to reinforce its restraint but to get rid of it.” Classical art has been regarded as the aesthetic object, while the modern art is loud against being esthetic target a second time so it draws some miscreated factors in, unfortunately, in the end the modern art descends to ugly object. Escaping from the control of aesthetics, there is no need to be the opposite of beauty. Stop being an object should be no longer as opposed to the object. Therefore, by taking Danto as the representative of the contemporary art theoretician, they claimed that art should be changed more profoundly.

Nietzsche once pointed out that art itself was the attitude of the cruelness. The bloodiness of art is parting some localized substance off its animated integral by virtue of imagination. In human anatomy, the intestine is the segment of the alimentary canal extending from the stomach to the anus which is the most important part of the body. In Chinese society, the bowel often symbolizes one being sated with food and remaining idle. Perhaps, in YANG Hong’s mind, the fish guts is cleaner than human’s, for mankind are more cunning.

There is a story in (a respectful name for Zhuang Zhou): Confusius’ disciple Zi gong once see an old man watering by an earthern jar—get half the result with twice the effort—Zi gong cannot help asking him: why don’t you use the contraption irrigation which get twice the result with half the effort. The old man replies him smiley, he sure knows how to use the machine only doesn’t want to. For the complex of machinery will cudgel one’s brains to get it in right use which will also make people agitated, so as to be lost in the end. In short, he doesn’t want to be scheming. Zi gong therefore let Confusius know, unexpectedly, Kong Zi criticizes the old man for he only knowing half truths. In YANG Hong’s previous work, he thought about the conflict between traditional and the modern industrial civilizations. He venerates traditions in all aspects for it can still provide ideas and attitudes as guidance. In the interview with , YANG Hong indicated: he would try a new and fresh way of painting for his new series, lighter and brighter—a glimpse of his yearning.

His repetition of drawing bowel shows his thinking of industrial theme. In 1934, philosopher Dewey mentioned: industry has been commercialized while the artists cannot mechanical produce mass production. In order not to follow the economic development, they often think they need to exaggerate the unusual difference of their works. The large scale painting of intestines do not condemn the industry itself, but to complain the industrialism and how it derogates the manufacture by overlaid extreme commercialization. Traditional Chinese culture imposed restrictions on commerce age-old. The Lüshi Chunqiu compiled around 300 BC, one of its essays titled “Emphasis on Agriculture” which compared plain farming and trickery of commerce, affirming that either in economy or life style the agriculture was important than business. Nowadays, although there’s no need to haggle over farming and trading, but it is still necessary to alert the negative part of business, such as fraud, false, hypocrisy, lies, waste, greedy, humanity deaden, etc.

In late 20th century, the resistance of industrial system reached an extremely intense degree. The mainstay of Viennese Actionism, performance artist Hermann Nitsch(1938-) splashed with plenty of animal’s blood, entrails, for he thought that to experience the pain of slaughtered animals, to remove the internal organs, to be tortured by the death sentence would eventually step into metaphysical world. The anatomy of animals and use of internal organs were in order to free the soul of artist, so as to compete with the cold and stiff of modern industrial civilization. The living background of Nitsch was very similar with the contemporary Chinese society: rejoicing and distrusting about industrial development, imagining and denouncing about the indulgence of life. The way YANG Hong painted the bowel reminiscent of Nitsch’s "Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries", in which he put some noise in use creating confusion sense of life and art. Tanto once said: the boundary of art and life is to reappear, when the boundary has been damaged art, including actuality, will be disturbed. Because the reality is a cause of trouble, such as nasty words, splashed blood, incompleted body, existing danger, real pain, conceivable death and filthy excrement, etc. When the interfered reality merged with art, it will be no longer art or reproduction. So, for YANG Hong himself, to draw bowel is apparently no more a painting of intestines.

[Editor] Elemy Liu