【GCA展览预告】︱顾雄：移途/Gu Xiong: Migrations
温哥华, 卑诗省, 加拿大
Department of Art, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
In 1982 by the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts Bachelor degree.
In 1985 by the Sichuan Academy of Fine Arts master's degree.
1986 to 1987, Canada Banff International Art Center College.
1989 to 1990, Canada Banff International Art Center College.
我又在一组大型图卷中见这场景，但这次是以油画，炭笔画，巨幅的画面，通过对片段和细节的复述，讲出一个故事。那人手握画本，一群年青人在他的周围，他指着一幅有高山的清晰画面，我即时认出那是劳伦斯 · 哈利斯作品。我就在那群年青人中，与顾雄手搭着肩在一起，指点着那幅画，中国内陆的山水随着图卷翻到后面去（那山水画仿佛出自富兰克林 · 卡迈克尔的手笔） 。每个人都在微笑；这一刻我们都以不同的眼光看世界，地貌移位, 我们的根基震动。这些图卷并不存在。
如果我的记忆正确，那是在文革高潮。一个年青人有幸从他所在的村子到北京，在北京他看了一场震憾人心的国外风景画展览，展出的作品中流露出无比的信心。作品显得那么现代，那么不受约束。年青人将这些作品精准地描绘在他的速写本里，就回去他的村子与同伴们分享，形容这些作品的气派与丰富色彩。 “这些作品甚至具有政治意义，”顾雄对我说，“但有关部门没有看出来。”他停顿了一下，向车窗外望去，巴士在一座几乎不见植物的山上行驶，狭窄的道路两侧挤满了建筑物。 “他们认为七人画派就是山水画家，想不到我们将这些作品当成是革命性的, 是自由的象征。”
在那张绘画里，顾雨总是显得太成熟了。当年，她还很年青，大约十或十二岁，但在画中的她好似二十多岁，如同现在的她，就在洛杉矶餐馆坐在我对面。我不记得自从1997年后我是否见到过她，也许那以后在温哥华的晚餐上见过一两次，虽是如此，也是短暂的见面。 “有什么不对劲吗？”当巴士缓慢攀上重庆一条陡峭的山脊时，她这样问我，我此时已大汗淋漓。高温下的潮湿感是如此的强烈。 （也许这是1998年？）我记得一条河流，在夜晚，潮汐涨退冲着岸上陆地而来，突然一个怪浪，搅乱了波澜，将河上船只推向一边，倾覆小舟。很显然，这是罕见的现象。有人称之为“龙”。生命，在中国是如此脆弱。不久，我们分道扬镳，我从北京，经温哥华返回甘露市；而他们就一心试图拜访山中的村庄。在一个深夜渡河时，他们的小船被撞，被压在水面以下，打转并且急速下沉，被水吞没，船内空气被水挤出，仿如小艇也在奋力吸气。她被困在船里，几乎丢了性命。我记得他们回加拿大的时候给我打的电话，和看她躺在医院的照片，顾雄试图重组顾雨在温哥华水池一次溺水的经历。他将她险些遇溺的故事去寓意中国的变迁。这组图画巨大，令人难忘，其中之一，她的头几乎占了整个画面，虽然部分脸孔被漩涡遮住，她的口张开，用力吸气。又一转眼，我们在洛杉矶的小东京餐馆，面对面坐着，我想问她记不记得那个晚上，但有谁又愿意重温噩梦呢？我告诉她对我来说，现在这一切的感觉就像是零碎的记忆，所有的移动和迁徙，恒常变化和错位，自从那次旅行之后很多都已改变。
巴士经过一条条蜿蜒在深山的隧道的入口，工人们在这里工作和起居，他们的机器设备就在入口大门的后面。这些隧道就像为这风景另写新章，是因为当年出于对西方的一种真实而困惑的恐惧，而在深山挖出四通八达的洞穴。洞穴挖出黑漆漆的空间，让人躲避从未发生的攻击，人与机器同在造梦，梦境伴随着烧焦的金属，切削液和煤油，加上肉汤和汗水的气味，裹在带有潮湿的岩石和泥土的洞里。强烈的气味从深处传出，夹杂着动物喷气和金属的气味。你会听到一声汽笛，接着黑马腾空而出，转身直奔下山。 “有什么不对劲吗？”她又一次问我，我们的巴士在坑洼的路上艰难行进。车停下来后，就看到一幅粉色纸的手写横幅，写上什么“安德鲁 · 亨特论加拿大艺术”之类的字。我每演讲一句就停下，好让顾雄翻译给四川美术学院的学生，但他的翻译好像很长，也引起学生们的笑声，我不知他讲了什么。那以后一切都变了，「家」从这一刻起看来很不一样。
顾雨站在山顶上，华工曾在此修建过鉄路。在她的碳笔画身影中，幻想有一条铁路就在她下方，穿过河流和峡谷。她曾同父亲来到甘露市，我记得她在大学的讲台上叙述她在中国成长和移居加拿大的经历，在她新公映的纪录片「春天飞蛾」里，她的经历被进一步展现出来。我们谈到在现实与想象的世界之间漂流，随着你所带来的记忆，「他方」如何常在「这方」，就在表象之下。她讲述她与父亲合作的项目，一个探索海外劳工的生活的项目。他们的过去如何活呈现在眼前，他们记忆中的家，还有在这里的梦，在卑诗内陆、在加州、卑诗低陆平原，安省南部。给人的感觉就像真实只存在于梦中，存在于我们讲述的故事里，这种寓意式的激情便是她父亲作品的基础。一条汇集袜子与三文鱼的河流，一条蓝色文化的黄河，成千头的小猪，没有什么只是它表面所呈现，那里总有一个故事去让你发掘真相。我告诉她说：“阿利克斯 · 柯威尔说过，'作为一名优秀的现实主义艺术家，我要重塑世界。”他称他的作品是“真实的小说”。我看顾雄的作品也具有同样的特点，我明白当年在北京，他和其他很多画家为何会被阿利克斯 · 柯威尔的作品所感染。 （1984， 一个好年头，让柯威尔在中国。）
我和同事在看劳伦斯 · 哈利斯的一件作品，这作品也许是1984年北京展出的其中之一，很可能亦记录在那速写本里。我现在是「负责」保管，带着它去加州参展，设想将哈利斯展示给新一批观众，那里的人们如何评价哈利斯那粗旷的北国视角。很巧，顾雄、葛妮和顾雨这时也在加州的洛杉矶，在一个有和煦阳光的日子里，在棕榈树下，我们又聚在一起。原来大家都想说的一个话题就是迁徙，那种没有固定居所，生活支离破碎的状况。第二天，我和顾雨再次会面。我们无话不谈，将我们相识二十年的记忆罗列在一起。顾雄和顾雨的父女关系，启发和影响了我与我女儿们的关系，她们参与了我的工作，是我的合作者。
我独自一人在开往威尔特郡大道方向的巴士上，车程远而且交通拥挤。我在车上昏昏欲睡，不记得停了多少站，一直坐到了终点站。下车即是海洋大道，我走下台阶，一脚踩到沙滩上，往海浪的方向走去。 “有什么不对劲吗？”当我走回车站又好像听到她这么问。 “我恍然体会到，”我回答她，“我想回家，但我不知何处是家。这种感觉似曾相识。”在那一时刻我想起从二十年前我认识他们开始，一切都变了。自那时起每当我看到七人画派的作品，我就想到中国；当我想起加拿大，它的过去和未来，我就想起我和他们的谈话。从那时起我对家的感觉发生了变化，变得飘摇不定，虚无模糊，在我的思想里，加拿大不是一个地方，而是一个不固定的理念，一次不断变换主题的对话，一个临时性的、有时具挑衅性的个人与文化群体的对话，这对话不曾落实，也许其实已越过我们而过去了，也许是一个缺乏连贯性、凝聚力，并且已经变得模糊的故事，总之就像一个梦。
“阿利克斯 · 柯威尔的马奔向迎面开来的火车，”他惊呼，“对我们来说那就是中国！”又一次的意想不到，在和煦阳光的日子里，在棕榈树下，我的知觉被移动，我自以为我所知道的被扰乱，一如既往，我因为这种经历而变得更加丰富。
安德鲁 • 亨特
弗雷德里 • 史 • 伊顿加拿大美术馆馆长
Andrew Hunter，Fredrik S. Eaton Curator of Canadian Art，Art Gallaery of Ontario
She reminded me to think in dreams.
Somewhere there is a sketchbook, a collection of drawings of landscapes and lakes, maybe icebergs, ragged pine trees, undulations of granite, expanses of wilderness. Snow, maybe a sleigh, possibly a church in a rural village, the images are small but detailed, exquisitely executed in pencil and ink on off-white paper. I imagine that the cover of the book is brown, thick unbleached craft paper that has been rolled back as the author holds it in his lap, arranges the pages to rework the images as he moves through the exhibition. It will be passed around so others can see what he has seen in Beijing, beyond the limited confines of the small village in the mountains, cut off from the outside world. The hand that rendered the images, and the hands that receive the book, look weathered, they are tough from manual work.
I see this whole scenario played out in a series of large drawings, but this time on canvas, in charcoal, monumental depictions of an exchange, the retelling of a story through fragments and details. The man holds the book and a group of youth gather around him, he is gesturing at a page, a clear image of a mountain that I instantly recognize as a copy of a Lawren S. Harris painting. I am there in the middle of the group, with Gu Xiong, we are teenagers, arms around each other’s shoulders, and we point at the image on the page as the landscape of central China rolls out behind us (as if rendered by Franklin Carmichael). Everyone is smiling; we are all seeing the world differently in this moment, the terrain has shifted, our foundations shaken. These drawings do not exist.
If I recall correctly, it was at the height of the Cultural Revolution. There was a man from their village who had been lucky enough to go to Beijing, and while he was there he saw a stunning exhibition of paintings of landscapes that exuded a remarkably bold confidence. The paintings seemed so modern, so unconstrained. He filled his sketchbook with precise drawings of these paintings and then returned to share them with his village, to describe their scale and vivid colours. “They were so political” Gu Xiong told me, “but the government did not understand this.” Gu Xiong pauses to look out the window of the bus as it climbs a mountain seemingly bereft of nature, packed with buildings that crowd the narrow road. “They thought of the Group of Seven as simply landscape painters, they didn’t understand that we would see them as revolutionary, as freedom.”
I want to believe that that lost sketchbook is still out there, somewhere, perhaps forgotten, or hopefully cherished and studied. I imagine it with a collection of notebooks, eight or nine inches square, that Gu Xiong completed while he was a teenager living in that tiny village in the mountains. Saved by his parents, they were passed back to him when they first visited him in Vancouver. In red ink, above a drawing of a contemplative self-portrait, a figure alone in semi-darkness that stands out from the heroic iconography of the Cultural Revolution that fill many of the pages, Gu Xiong has been scolded for being “Too Bourgeois!” Gu Xiong and I will eventually spread them all out in cases in a gallery, a foundation for a collaboration exploring our contrasting memories of China and Canada. There will be a wall of Group of Seven paintings that Gu Xiong surrounds with hundreds of iconic images of heroic workers and soldiers, a sea of postcards engulfing paintings positioned as a Canadian counterpart to Mao’s nationalistic propaganda. In the centre of the wall, anchoring the arrangement, there is an oil on canvas of the Canadian Shield by Carmichael, a receding expanse of undulating trees and exposed granite, a scene echoed in the next gallery by a monumental charcoal on canvas of a girl in the mountains.
Gu Yu always looked too old to me in that drawing. She was so young at the time, maybe 10 or 12, but in the drawing she looks to be in her mid-twenties, like she does now, sitting across from me in a Los Angeles restaurant. I can’t recall if I have actually seen here since China (1998?), maybe once or twice since then for dinner in Vancouver, but if so, never for long. “What’s wrong with you,” she asked me as the bus slowly churned its way up the side of one of Chongqing’s many steep hills and I continued to sweat profusely. The heat and humidity were intense. (Maybe it was 1998?) I remember a river, late at night, a tidal surge pushing inland, a single wave that disrupted the flow and pushed aside all the boats on the river, overturning small craft. Apparently, it was a rare event. Someone called it the “dragon.” Life in China felt precarious. Days later, we parted ways and as I returned to Kamloops via Beijing and Vancouver, they would head off to try and visit that village in the mountains. On a late night river crossing, their little boat would be rammed and pushed under, it would spin over, sinking fast and swallowing water, gulping in volumes as if the boat itself was gasping for air. She was trapped and barely escaped. I remember the phone call when they got back to Canada, the photographs of her in the hospital, Gu Xiong trying to reconstruct her experience of near drowning in a pool in Vancouver. He saw her a story of drowning as an allegory for the new China. The drawings are huge, haunting, in one her head nearly takes up the entire image, though part of her face is obscured by the swirl of water, her mouth open, gulping. Now, she sits across from me in Little Tokyo and I want to ask her what she remembers about that night but who would want to relive that nightmare. I tell her it all feels like fragments to me now, how so much has changed since that trip, all the moves and migrations, constant change and displacement.
She reminded me to think in dreams.
The bus passes by the open mouths of tunnels that snake deep into the rock, where people now live and work, laying down to sleep next to their machines behind iron gates. The tunnels are another narrative written in to the landscape, an intense burrowing that wormed its way deep down caused by a genuine obsessive fear of the West. In the darkness carved out as a place to hide from an attack that never came, the man and the machine dream together, their imaginings fueled by the scent of burnt metal, cutting fluid and oil, mixed with broth and sweat, all tinged with damp rock and earth. A powerful odour pushes up from deep within, an intense rank smell of surging animal and metal. You hear the whistle first and then the dark horse emerges into the open air, turns and races down the mountain. “What is wrong with you?” she asks me again as the bus shudders over potholes. At the end of the bus ride, there will be a hand-painted sign on pink tissue paper that says something like Andrew Hunter on Canadian Art. I will speak in short statements so that Gu Xiong can translate for the students at the Sichuan Art Institute, but when he talks he seems to go on forever, there is a lot of laughing. I have no idea what he told them. Everything changed after that, home looked very different from that moment on.
“That exhibition also had a profound impact on Chinese artists,” Gu Xiong tells me over breakfast in the warm sun, under palm trees, “everyone had that picture of the horse and train on their wall, we all understood his work, it inspired many of us.” We have spoken of Canadian trains many times, of iron horse locomotives and the precarious passes and tunnels cut through the mountains of British Columbia by Chinese labourers who were discouraged from staying in Canada and taxed to bring their families along, they spread out across the country to settle together in distinct Chinatowns, or to live alone and isolated in small prairie and northern towns, running restaurants and laundries (so often their only legal employment options). The west coast of North America was Gold Mountain, a name from the earlier wave of Chinese migration that came for the gold rush, before the railroad. I can see them all heading into the mountains.
Gu Yu stands high atop a mountain once carved and cut by Chinese railway workers. I imagine rail lines passing below the charcoal image of her, a river winding through a gorge. Once, she came to Kamloops with her father, I remember her on the stage at the university telling her story of growing up in China and then coming to Canada, and I have just watched that narrative further unfold in her recent film A Moth in Spring. Now, we talk about drifting between the real and the imagined, the memories you carry with you and how there is always here, just below the surface. She is describing her latest project with her father exploring the lives of migrant workers, and she wonders aloud about the presence of their past and home in their memories and dreams here, in California, in the Lower Mainland of BC, in Southern Ontario. It feels like the truth is in dreams, in the stories we tell, the allegorical impulse that is so fundamental to her father’s work. A stream of socks and salmon, a Yellow River of Blue Culture, thousands of little pigs, nothing is just what it appears to be, there is always a story to get you to the truth. I tell her, “Alex Colville said that As a good realist, I have to reinvent the world.” He called his works “authentic fictions.” I see this consistently in Gu Xiong’s work and I get why he and so many others were inspired by Colville’s exhibition in Beijing in 1984. (1984, what a year for Colville to be in China.)
Gu Xiong and I are trying to follow the signs through the suburbs in this small city in the mountains; below us two rivers flow together. At the end of a Cul-De-Sac, we find a sign and then follow a narrow path through the tall yellowing grass and sagebrush to the Kamloops Chinese Cemetery, a desolate area populated by hand-painted wooden markers. A few months later we will locate another such cemetery on Vancouver Island, tucked in to the back and beyond, out on the edge of Cumberland, a town that bulldozed its Chinatown in the 1950s. We’ve been piecing together histories by moving around the country and into the landscape, many of the same landscapes once depicted by the Group of Seven that would have adorned the walls of that Beijing gallery and been translated into that unknown man’s sketchbook. Back then, the images inspired, but they may have also carried another message. Growing up in Canada, those paintings often appeared in more than just art books, they would illustrate books on geography and the histories of resource industries such as mining and logging, oil and gas. Perhaps the Chinese government didn’t understand that these paintings would inspire revolutionary thinking among its youth, but they may not have missed Canada’s history of identifying with, while simultaneously exploiting, the natural world. Canada has consistently identified itself as a land of extraction and these efforts are being undertaken more and more now in collaboration with China and with China in mind. The Group of Seven may have helped to reveal a new Gold Mountain.
I am sitting now with a colleague looking at a painting by Lawren S. Harris that may have been one of the works that hung in Beijing in 1984 and could have made its way into that lost sketchbook. I am “responsible” for this work now and this is what has taken me to California, to imagine exhibiting Harris there to another new audience, and to wonder what they will make of his austere northern visions. By pure coincidence, we all find ourselves in Los Angeles and so we gather together at a table in the warm sun under palm trees, Gu Xiong, Ge Li and their daughter Gu Yu. It turns out that we have all been thinking of migrations, of what it means to be placeless and leading fragmented lives. The next day, Gu Yu and I will meet again and while we wander, we try to piece it all together, all the details of our connections since we met two decades ago. Gu Xiong’s relationship with Gu Yu inspired my relationship with my daughters, they have always been present in my working life, participants who are emerging as collaborators.
On the bus heading up Wiltshire Boulevard I am alone, the ride is long and the traffic is dense. I drift off, losing track of the stops and end up at the end of the line. I step out onto Ocean Drive, descending the steps to the beach and walk out to face the surf. “What’s wrong with you?” she’d asked me again as I headed for the bus. “I have come to realize,” I told her, “that I want to go home, but I don’t really know where that is, and that feels very familiar.” In that moment I realize that everything changed when I met them almost twenty years ago, that since then I have never really looked at a Group of Seven painting without thinking of China, and that I always return to my conversations with them when I think about Canada, its past and its future. My sense of home changed when I met them, became precarious, unstable, ethereal, I came to think of Canada as not a place but more of an unstable idea, a shifting conversation, a tentative, at times provocative, dialogue between individuals and cultural groups that will never settle and may in fact have passed us by, may have just been a story that now lacks coherence and cohesiveness, that has become frayed, like a dream.
“Alex Colville’s horse running towards that oncoming train,” he exclaimed, “that was China to us!” Once again, out of the blue, in the warm sun and under palm trees, my perception is shifted, what I thought I knew is disrupted, and, as always, I am richer for it.
Becoming Rivers/multi media installation/2010
A pigs River/multi media installation/2014
Crushed Coca Cola Cans/acrylic on canvas/2014
Invisible in the Light/multi media installation/2017
顾 雄 Gu Xiong
The Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art
黄中华 Huang Zhonghua
杨 述 Yang Shu
倪 昆 Ni Kun
展览统筹 ／ Coordinators
李 丽 Li Li
朱 君 Zhu Jun
李嘉欣 Li Jiaxin
龙邃洋 Steven Dragonn
傅 妍 Fu Yan
16:00, Jun. 10th, 2017
F1-F2, The Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art, Bloc 3, Xinghui Liangjiang Art Business Center, Liangjiang New District, Chongqing
Jun. 11th, 2017 to Aug. 11th, 2017
opening time：Tue-Mon 10：00-18：00
Ticket information: Free
Tel: +86 23 63111269
F1-2 Block 3, Xing Hui Liang Jiang Art Business Center,
Liangjiang New Zone District,
Chongqing, China 400021