Liu Libin:Can “Rainbow” Appear after “Visceral Manifestation”? Author:Liu Libin Date: 2012-09-11 Size:
  We are born with different languages but are telling stories in our life. These stories are reflection of what we see in this world. The observation is the source of wonderful stories, because our perception of this world depends on those what we see with our eyes. Just as a proverb saying tha

  We are born with different languages but are telling stories in our life. These stories are reflection of what we see in this world. The observation is the source of wonderful stories, because our perception of this world depends on those what we see with our eyes. Just as a proverb saying that one eyewitness is better than two hearso's, our perennial trust in visual images makes all things seen by our eyes to be considered as true without thinking, which usually is another kind of reflection. It is usually considered that a plain face without makeup can show one’s true face with any minor fault or mannered impression exposed to the public. But, people do not appreciate this mannered impression as it makes people uncomfortable. The mannered impression is a kind of conditioned reflex based on performance. Each expression on our face repeats the one that previously appeared. It will be not true so long there is performance. For me, heavy and plain makeup makes no radical difference in displaying a person. To learn about the true face of this world, we must remove performing elements, which requires us to always question about what we see and remove performance.

  Living in this world, to maintain certain sensitivity is the most fundamental artistic quality of a modern artist. How to remove performing element? The artist Shi Hengbo attempts to seize true information hiding at the back of the manifestation through fractions with his recent “Visceral Manifestation” series works.

  The stage of creating “Visceral Manifestation” is Shi Hengbo’s regression stage. Having very clear understanding of his artistic state, he divides his creation course into tradition-guarding stage, transferring & creating stage and Visceral Manifestation stage. After experiencing tradition-guarding and transferring stages, he returned to the original point or nature in creating stage. The regression seems to be a kind of self-communion and he begins to reconsider the original image of his survival and the expression force of his painting on it. Eventually, a group of “Visceral Manifestation” paintings appear to us.

  The work “Visceral Manifestation—Original Field” seems like a traditional stone arch, leading us to the level of the first image with performing elements removed by Shi Hengbo. How did he achieve the removal of performing elements? Through stabbing and jabbing the obscure world, “Visceral Manifestation—The Nail” vividly re-shows this ferocious scene. Firmly stab without any hesitation and another world is exposed to us. A pair of neck-conjoined cranes without heads comes into our view. These two neck-conjoined cranes stand there, nearby a tiger with its body prolonged is casting covetous eyes to the out of painting cloth and a statue without head stands under a green pine tree holding a guard plate in hands. The shape of distortion and extensive painting style closely attract people’s attention. By displaying these distorted virtual images, Shi Hengbo arouses viewer’s special perception on figure and consequently arouses “image”. The course of arousing “image” in viewers’ eyes is the course of its renascence, thus the “image” aroused in every view’s eyes is different. The “image” after its renascence is possibly the “original image” covered. The “original image” does not actually exist and Shi Hengbo does not attempt to show us what the “original image” is, but shows himself and viewers a channel or a symbol chain hiding under the virtual image to produce “original image”.

  How is the image on this chain selected? These source materials are scattered and no logic can be found. They are seemed to be obscure segments obtained from dream. Shi Hengbo explains that these select source materials, different from previously simplex and repetitive one, are like domino that one links with another. It creates a virtual image that is seemed to be impossible, but under the virtual image there is a chain of original image with butterfly effect. When the art enters the post-modernism stage, the grand narration suddenly disappeared. The creation of art originates from the blending of various historical segments, then at present after post-modernism, if there is a possibility that a stream of undercurrent swarms under these segments and seems ready to come out.

  In “Rainbow” series works, Shi Hengbo attempts to find temperature on oil painting by the way of fragments and he chooses to paint rainbow among the ruins. Stephen Owen once said: “The main image of the Chinese classical poetry on ruins came into shape by using synecdochic method, namely we use fragments to re-shape the entirety.” Shi Hengbo transferred synecdochic method from literature into his creation. He paints rainbow on a piece of burned broken stone and the fragmented lines of stone separate a complete image, which, however, is fragmentary itself. Involuntarily, the fragmented stone suddenly changes into a fragmented rainbow. The rainbow is not gorgeous and three colors red, white and blue are arranged in order. The picture painted by Shi Hengbo is no longer clean and concise as before, on the contrast, he uses tough painting method and piles up all pigments on canvas to create an oil painting with each brush stroke distinct and vivid.

  He intentionally treated the surface of “form”, which reflects his consciousness on material language of oil painting and sensitivity to the surface of “image”. He does not restrain himself in fine shaping and he still attempts to deviate from the customary vision. It is possibly that the past painting habit makes him be aware of the value of brush stroke, just like lyric is unboundedly prolonged in singing and the quality is thus highlighted. The sliding brush stroke is the trace left by artist’s vision, which roves here and there to question about singularity and inexplicability of things appearing before artist’s eyes no matter how common these things are. Therefore, brush stroke is not the ultimate goal that Shi Hengbo tries to pursue. He hopes to continue to seek original image by experiencing the medium charm of rainbow series works. Substantially, this is still an extension of Visceral Manifestation series works. The Visceral Manifestation series works are distortion of shape while rainbow series works abandon the restriction on image to realize through the expression of material texture.

  On the other hand, the heartily creation of an oil painting can make Shi Hengbo re-experience the temperature brought about by oil painting. When painting becomes a stacking of pigments, the simple and repetitive “hard work” gradually purifies the people’s heart and makes them calm. The new cognition of things always comes from an accidental insight in calm state. Shi Hengbo’s introspection on material texture and his creation experience can be traced to the same origin. The first two stages can be summarized as “one guarding and one attacking”. Now he is in the third creation stage and begins to regress to “guarding”. This stage is an important period for energy accumulation. Shi Hengbo is accumulating energy in dormancy.

  The preparation of this exhibition shows that Shi Hengbo has given much thinking on the relation between his works and exhibition site. He transferred from easel painting to painting in exhibition site, with “rainbow” spans over the exhibition wall, becoming a part with the most visual impact in the exhibition site. He put forward a question to us and meanwhile gave us an answer. What is the reason for the existence of painting? The painting can extend to exhibition site. The current painting is still looking for a breakthrough on what to paint and how to paint. The fashion of the former focuses on “painting conception”, while the latter focuses on chaotic brush strokes. If separating from a special “exhibition site”, the corresponding contextualized setting can hardly be created. The materials of easel painting extends externally does not surge full of force, but becomes a heart shaking power in a well-arranged type and invade into another space for existence. The resistance is an everlasting state, which is the internal tension of art and the existing state of artist. Meanwhile, it reflects Shi Hengbo’s consideration on current times. In fact, the rainbow with red, white and blue created by Shi Hengbo is made of cheap plastic color cloth strips. The color cloth strip is metaphor object of “cheapness” and “hardship” and color is metaphor object of “rainbow”. These two metaphor objects are the starting of his question. Thus, beautiful vision mixes with hardship experience, which is the “living scene” that he saw. Considering from this point, the Visceral Manifestation exists at the back of rainbow and there is rainbow after unveiling Visceral Manifestation.

  Shi Hengbo looks for painting temperature by means of fragments and thinks over his experience at current situation. His works produce questions toward the truth of vision and extend the traditional medium to establish a special critical system.

  [1]“藏象” initially was found in Plain Questions, Treatise on the Six Periods and Visceral Manifestation. “藏” refers to the internal organs of body. “象” refers to physiological and pathological manifestation. The science of visceral manifestation is to study the physiological function and pathological change of internal organs of body and mutual relations through observing the physiology and pathology of human body.

  [2] [English] John Buerger: “Appointment” Translated by Huang Huaqiao, Guangxi Normal University Press, P210

[Editor] 常霞