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Cerith Wyn Evans 凱裡斯·懷恩·埃文斯

Since the 1990s, Welsh conceptual artist Cerith Wyn Evans has created work about language, perception and representation. The artist skilfully weaves in elements of the musical, literary, philosophical and cinematic, resulting in exhibitions that are densely layered and at times even cryptic, and that have won him acclaim from international institutions such as the Tate Britain, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris and Austria’s Kunsthaus Graz, and participation in numerous biennales and triennials.

His most recent exhibition at White Cube Hong Kong, …)( of, a clearing, featuring installation, sculpture, painting and sound, continues his exploration of the visual and the aural, the relationship between them and the things that lie in between. Using the work of several modern artists as a point of departure, Wyn Evans creates a series of pieces that refer to seminal moments in art history theory, in particular Lucio Fontana’s Concetto Spaziale aesthetic (1947–68), which erased the boundaries among architecture, painting, sculpture and the fourth dimension within art, which cubist artist Max Weber described as “the consciousness of a great and overwhelming sense of space-magnitude in all directions at one time”.

Wyn Evans started out as a filmmaker and video artist in the 80s, working with director Derek Jarman, and film still informs his work today. The exhibition features 19 works executed in various media, arranged as scenography that hums with light and reverberates with sound, oscillating between the meditative – like a minimalist, modern Zen temple – and the extra-terrestrial, in its neon-lit, white sterility. The artist creates an audience experience by providing the opportunity for transcendence, less spiritually than beyond the pictorial plane, in order to shift and challenge our perspective and perception.

A series of four rectangular, white, neon works, Neon After Stella (2022), suspended in the ground-floor exhibition space, greet visitors upon entry into the gallery. Composed of concentric right angles, the works reference modernist artist Frank Stella’s iconic Black Paintings – black, enamel-painted canvases with thin, unpainted white lines, which explore the idea of the death of painting. Stella looked at painting as a flat image and an object. Wyn Evans has resurrected this idea in a three-dimensional, sculptural form, as a neon-light sculpture. They’re hung one behind the other, creating a moiré effect of light and shadow, the hypnotic, immersive works seemingly pulsing with life, beyond the confines of their static, sculptural form.

Standing to the side is a large potted bonsai tree, Still Life (In course of arrangement) VIII (2022), living nature transplanted into an artificial environment, contrasting with the urban, industrial materials of the neon. The tree, which calls to mind Marcel Broodthaers’ potted palms in La Bataille de Waterloo – exhibited in June 1975 at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, where Wyn Evans had his first show – creaks as it rotates slowly on a turntable. A piano composition plays softly from several suspended speakers, creating an ambient, contemplative mood, like a futuristic waiting room, that is absurdly interrupted by the intermittent creaking of the tree.

The upstairs exhibition space reveals the play of light, shadow and sound on an elegant composition of works and objects, in which each work can be understood in reference to the others. Circles and vertical lines are recurring motifs in the exhibition, creating a visual dialogue between various works. Light Track Assemblages (2022) is a series of six works composed of lighting tracks, spotlights and fluorescent lights, hung on the wall like paintings, based on a photograph that the artist took of the ceiling in White Cube Bermondsey, London, during his last exhibition with the gallery. The vertical neon lights also mirror the lighting strips running across the Hong Kong gallery ceiling, so that the eye is drawn up the wall to the light overhead. Circles of light freckle the exhibitions space around wall sculptures and two large gongs – resembling two large eyes, with their iris-like pattern – that are placed in the centre of the room and played at intervals by staff. The sound oscillates and reverberates throughout the brightly lit, white space, at once calming and unnerving with its eerie, otherworldly timbre.

Echoing the vertical lines of Light Track Assemblages, on an opposite wall hangs Indeterminate Painting XXII (2020) and Indeterminate Painting XXI (2020), two white-on-white varnish and acrylic-on-canvas paintings. The works require the viewer to move around the canvas to bring them to life, the barely perceptible lines of varnish reflecting light from various angles.

Across from the gongs stands Foldsin Shade, a Japanese fold-out screen made of seven panels of shattered glass, the cracks forming a delicate landscape like fine ink calligraphy. The cracks represent the energy of soundwaves made material: the invisible made visible. The sound from the gongs doesn’t just create a sense of calm, but also suggests conflict and chaos, as in the shattered glass. The composition of the works in the space creates sound lines as well as sight lines, linking them together through cause and effect. Sculpture and painting step beyond their immobile forms and enter space.

In an adjacent room hangs a series of five small, perforated canvases, (A) Plane (In Five) (Primed/Penetrated) (2020), referencing Fontana’s incision paintings and Francis Picabia’s Jeune Fille (1920). Circles are cut out of different areas of the white canvases, resembling braille, and echoing the circles of the spotlights in the adjacent room. Blurring the line between sculpture and painting, the artist redefines and plays with depth and space in the painting, as light and shadow animate the works.

Wyn Evans strives to explore new forms of expression in a collision of abstraction and symbolism, playfully creating visual riddles and exploding the linearity of perception. Unlike Frank Stella’s famous maxim that “what you see is what you see”, Wyn Evans’ work revels in ambiguities and a multiplicity of meanings that unfold over time and space. The exhibition space becomes a composition of signifiers as the artist creates sound lines and sight lines that traverse it. Works allude to other works, to each other and to the architectural space itself, and a superimposition and layers of meanings is created. We are encouraged to see more than we actually see.

Images: Exhibition views of ….)( of, a clearing by Cerith Wyn Evans at White Cube Hong Kong, January 21 – March 12, 2022. © Cerith Wyn Evans. Photo © White Cube (Kitmin Lee).

威爾士概念藝術家Cerith Wyn Evans(凱裡斯·懷恩·埃文斯)自1990年代起便開始圍繞語言、感知和象徵進行創作。其巧妙地將音樂、文學、哲學和電影等元素相互交織,使個展呈現出豐富的層次感,有時甚至略顯神秘,藉此其贏得了來自泰特美術館、巴黎現代藝術博物館及奧地利格拉茨美術館等世界各大藝術機構的讚譽,其作品更是無數次出現在各類雙年展和三年展上。

近期他在香港白立方舉辦的展覽「……。)(空空如是」通過裝置、雕塑、繪畫以及聲音作品繼續對視覺和聽覺、二者的關係以及介於二者之間的事物進行深入探索。以幾位元現代藝術家的作品為出發點,懷恩·埃文斯創作了一系列涉及藝術史理論開創性時刻的作品,特別是 Lucio Fontana的 「空間概念」(Concetto Spaziale) 美學(1947-68 年),指的是消除建築、繪畫、雕塑以及藝術第四維度(被立體派藝術家馬克斯·韋伯描述為「同時在各個方向上具有巨大和壓倒性空間感的意識」)之間的界限。

懷恩·埃文斯在1980年代最初從事的是電影製作和影像藝術,與導演 Derek Jarman一同共事,直至今日電影仍影響著他的創作。是次展覽共展出了19件不同媒介的作品,以透視圖法呈現,以光影充盈、與回聲共鳴。一會相似一場冥想,因其就像一座極簡主義的現代禪寺;一會又像外星地域,因其在霓虹燈照射下而呈現出一派白色與貧瘠。藝術家為觀眾創造了一種超越繪畫平面的體驗,從而轉變和挑戰我們的視角和感知。

一組四個白色矩形霓虹燈作品《Neon After Stella》(2022年)懸掛在底層展廳,迎接著步入畫廊的觀者。由同軸心的直角所構成的畫面,參照了現代主義藝術家弗蘭克·斯特拉 (Frank Stella) 的標誌性作品《黑色繪畫》,後者將畫布塗黑,留出細小的白色作為線條,以此來探索「繪畫之死」的概念。斯特拉認為繪畫是一個平面的圖像和物體。是次懷恩·埃文斯通過立體雕塑的形式將這一理念重現,使之成為一個霓虹燈雕塑。雕塑一個接一個前後懸掛,營造出光影間的摩爾紋效果。這些催眠的、令人身臨其境的作品似乎充滿了生命的脈動,從而超越了它們靜態的雕塑形式的限制。

一旁矗立著一棵高大的裝飾性樹木,這是作品《Still Life (In course of arrangement…) VIII 》(2022年),其將自然界的生物移植到人工環境內,與霓虹燈這一城市性、工業性的素材形成對比。這棵樹在轉盤上緩慢轉動發出吱吱聲,令人想起1975年6月馬塞爾·布達埃爾(Marcel Broodthaers)在倫敦當代藝術館展出的作品《La Bataille de Waterloo》中的裝飾性棕櫚樹。那裡也是懷恩·埃文斯首個展覽的場地。幾個懸掛的揚聲器輕柔地播放著一首鋼琴曲,營造出一種沉思冥想的氣氛,像是一個未來主義的候車室,卻突兀的被樹所傳來斷斷續續的吱吱聲打斷。

樓上的展廳通過作品和物體的優雅組合展現了光影與聲音的演繹,其中的每件作品都可以透過其他作品來理解。圓形和垂線是本次展覽中反覆出現的主題,並在各作品間展開一場視覺對話。由光軌、聚光燈和螢光燈構成的一組六件作品《Light Track Assemblages》(2022年),像畫作一樣被掛於牆上,它們是根據藝術家在倫敦白立方柏蒙西空間舉辦的最近一次展覽期間所拍攝的天花照片而來。是次,垂直的霓虹燈也反射了香港白立方展廳天頂的燈帶,由此將原本注視牆上的視線吸引去看頭頂的燈光。牆面雕塑和兩面大鑼周圍點綴著圈圈光斑。這兩面帶有光圈的大鑼,就像兩隻大眼睛。它們被置於展廳中央,並由工作人員在固定時間間隔後開始演奏,使得明亮的白色空間裡充滿震盪和共鳴的聲音,其怪異而超凡的音色即刻使人感到寧靜又不安。

兩幅在白色畫布上塗上清漆的丙烯畫《Indeterminate Painting XXII》(2020年)和 《Indeterminate Painting XXI》(2020年),掛在作品《Light Track Assemblages》對面的牆上,並與之垂直的線條相互呼應。作品要求觀者繞著畫布移動,此時幾乎難以察覺的清漆線條會從各個角度反射出光線,讓作品煥發出生命。

鑼的對面放置著作品《Foldsin Shade》,這是一個由七塊碎玻璃碎片製成的日本折疊屏風,上面的裂紋形成水墨書法般的精美景觀。在此,裂紋代表著由聲波能量製成的物質:使無形變成了有形。鑼聲不僅營造出一種平靜的感覺,並且還暗示著衝突和混亂,就像破碎的玻璃一樣。展廳裡的各個作品在構造上同時創造了聽覺和視覺上的線條,並用因果將它們聯繫在一起。最終使雕塑和繪畫超越了它們的固定形式,進入空間維度。

在相鄰展廳內懸掛著一組五幅穿孔小型布面油畫《(A) Plane (In Five) (Primed/Penetrated) 》(2020年)。以封塔納(Fontana)的刀割畫以及法蘭西斯·畢卡比亞(Francis Picabia)的作品《Jeune Fille》(1920年)為參照,此作品在白色畫布的不同區域切出一個個圓圈,相似盲文一般,同時與相鄰展廳的光圈做相呼應。光與影賦予了作品活力,藝術家通過模糊雕塑和繪畫間的界限,重新定義並玩味了繪畫中的深度與空間。


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