【GCA展览预告】| 顾雄: 我的移途——从长江到菲莎河

时间2017-06-05

 

 

我的移途——从长江到菲莎河

 

我移民到加拿大菲莎河畔的温哥华已经快三十年了。明天我又要坐飞机回故乡重庆做我的展览“顾雄:移途”。这个展览是关于我在移民之后,怎样重建自己文化身份的经历与思考。

 

机场,是我每一年都要进进出出的地方。它是一个大门,分隔开非公民和公民。当我走出飞机舱门,进入候机室,就到了另外一个国度。国与国的界限可以这么短,仅一步之遥。但这个分界线,却隔不断我的思考和记忆,后两者都是延续的。一个人的经历,就是在不断跨越各种边界,穿梭于不同文化和地域中,慢慢构建起了自己的文化身份,然后这个身份不断地在充实、丰满。

 

我第一次来加拿大,随身带的就是一个背包、两口箱子。这就是当时我的所有。这些东西浓缩了我在中国三十年曾经拥有的一切,是我能带来展开自己生活的依据。

 

然而我的第一次移途,是在中国开始的。那是在文革当中,1972年初,刚刚中学毕业的我,跟成千上万的城市知识青年一起,被下放到农村,接受贫下中农的再教育。“滚一身泥巴,炼一颗红心。”而现实中,我们所有关于革命的梦想和热情,在农村——这个现实的边缘——化为乌有。每个知识青年面对的,是如何生存,如何通过劳动养活自己的问题。我和我弟弟,被下放到四川东北与陕西交界的大巴山地区。大巴山当时又偏僻、又贫穷,不通公路,没有电,甚至在山里连电台都收听不到。我们被下放到宣汉县清坪公社二郎沟生产队。这个村里只有两百多口人,散居在山腰各处。我们被安置在一个四合院里,与几家农户同住。对从未离家生活过的我俩,要学习的很多,比如烧麦秆做饭。附近的山已经光秃秃了,要走几十里远的山路去背柴。除燃料稀缺之外,劳动很艰苦。每天天亮出工,天黑才收工。生产队副队长每天吆喝着大家上工、收工。他手拿一个锣,每日在梯田间敲锣:“出工咯”,“收工咯”。然而生活的艰难、劳动的艰辛都可以忍耐,唯独思想的空虚和对前途的渺茫始终萦绕在我心中。就是在这个无助的时候我开始画速写。白天在田间休息时画农民,晚上在煤油灯下凭着记忆,纪录自己的思考,寻找自己内在的自我。慢慢地,从这些速写中,我找到了希望,渐渐接近了内在的、真实的自我。对未来的担心和无望,慢慢被对周围环境和人事的关注、对自我内在的成长取代了。这是第一次,艺术带着我走出我人生的最低谷。

 

在农村当知青的四年里,我画了二十多本速写。今天,当我翻阅这些速写本的时候,那些画面,又把我带回了那段离我远去的岁月。我的青春都被纪录在这些速写本里面。

 

我第一次出国,是作为中国—加拿大交换艺术家的身份,由班芙艺术中心学院选中,在班芙做了一年的访问艺术家。没想到,这会是我人生转折的开始。彼时我对加拿大的印象,局限在七人画派和白求恩。后者还是因为文革中被要求背诵“老三篇”,其中一篇是《纪念白求恩》。1975年,加拿大的“七人画派”来到中国,先后在北京和上海展出。当我第一次看到报纸上这个展览的介绍和图片,对我的影响是很大的。我还记得第一次看到劳伦·哈里斯的画,画里的蓝天、雪山给我留下深刻印象。七人中每个画家的风格完全不同,这和文革中千篇一律的“红光亮” 、“高大上”创作截然相反,对我的视觉是全新的冲击。我觉得应该做那样的艺术家,画自己的画。

 

▲顾雄在敦煌,1982

 

我在班芙从1986年9月待到1987年10月。班芙是加拿大的国家公园,坐落在雄伟的落矶山脈中,那是一个很美丽的地方。但是对我而言,生活在班芙却像是生活在隔离区里。语言不通导致我把自己束缚在工作室里,每天埋头做作品。当时班芙艺术学院艺术家工作室的系主任,澳文·鮑肯劝我,应该学习英文并和其他艺术家多交流。他每天花一个小时教我英文。我记得第一次见到澳文,我用蹩脚的英文对他讲:“My English is poor. ”(我英文不好。)他听了后哈哈大笑,说:“My Chinese is poor, too. ”(我中文也不好。)我一下子觉得和他拉近了距离,有一种亲近感。当时在班芙,有45名来自世界各地的青年艺术家生活和工作在一起。后来我们一起去纽约参观博物馆和美术馆。我的眼界一下开阔了。在中国只能看到印刷品的时候,能看到真品对我是一种视觉冲击。以上种种,让我悟到了我应该在艺术上走自己的路。在班芙这个既美丽、又隔离的环境中,我关于“网”的艺术观念形成了,并围绕它做了一系列作品。从小型的架上画,慢慢突破为大型的壁画、装置作品和行为艺术。这一年是我在艺术上突变的一年, 我带着自己的收获启程回国。

 

1987年回国后,我在自己的文化里竟然再次经历了“文化冲击”。我这才意识到,在加拿大的一年带给了我多么大的变化。我一方面在四川美院的教学里引进了装置和行为艺术。我的课程从静物、人体开始,然后以装置、行为艺术结束,让学生体验和参与当代艺术的新形式。学生们共同创作的装置作品进入了四川美院陈列馆,作为教学成果展出,并开展了几次教学研讨会,得到了师生的正面评价。与此同时,我也参与了中国的当代艺术运动,特别是参加了1988年在成都举办的西南艺术展,1988年11月在黄山举行的“中国现代艺术研讨会”,我的装置和行为艺术作品“网”参加了1989年2月在北京中国美术馆举办的“中国现代艺术展”, 并被中国日报英文版介绍。

 

1989年班芙艺术中心第二次邀请我作为驻留艺术家重回班芙。尽管当时我并没有意识到,但是我的加拿大移民之路由此开启。飞机从上海起飞,我望着窗外,飞机飞离长江入海口,进入太平洋上空,这时我的眼泪夺眶而出——我的父母、妻儿、姐弟都留在了身后,不知再见何时。

 

▲顾雄在《1989中国现代艺术展》,中国美术馆,北京,1989

 

移民的世界并非想象中的浪漫。语言的阻隔,思维方式的隔膜,现实极其严酷。没有运用艺术技能谋生,我选择通过洗车、做披萨、在大学食堂做清洁工来谋生。我挣扎在社会底层,也体验着社会的文化和经历。在生存的同时,我坚持做自己的艺术,来表达自己生活在两种文化碰撞之下的经历,去寻找和创作碰撞之后所形成的新的空间和思考。文化身份的重建是通过面对每一天琐碎日常生活中的挑战,不断地改变自己,学习新文化,反思固有文化而达到的。而这个过程是长期的,甚至是终生不停的。

 

我的艺术纪录了移民加拿大的经历,这是第二次,艺术带我走出人生的低谷,重塑了自我。我感觉这段经历使我真正成为了一个具有独立生存能力、独立思考能力的人。作为一个当代艺术家在加拿大生活是艰难的,必须有对艺术的付出和对艺术追求的纯粹,才能走出自己的路。

 

回顾我的移民经历, 首先,一个人须要有破釜沉舟的勇气,不要给自己留后路,不要怀旧,因为过去的一切都不再与现实有关,必须从零开始,去获得你的追求和目标。其次,还要有开放的心态,主动去学习自己陌生的东西,增进理解。若非如此,对新文化的排斥心理会让人寸步难行。而这种开放心态也是双向的,是移民必须有的,也是本地居民必须有的,否则无法进入交融的状态。最后,就是在任何情况下不要放弃自己的追求,特别是第一代移民,因为语言的障碍,很容易放弃自己原有的专业。第一代移民其实蕴含着最深的文化价值,最有潜力去交融两种文化。第一代移民若能融入主流社会,对子女就是最好的榜样力量。文化的传承和创新, 是要通过一代一代的付出。 文化身份不是空谈出来的,它是一个人多年在逆境中不懈的坚持与付出,在两种或多种不同文化的冲突、碰撞、碾压中,在肉体与灵魂的挣扎中,被反复锻造成型的。它不是原有文化的延伸,也不是陌生文化的复制,而是死而后生的炼獄。它是一个复合体,更是一个纯粹的结晶。

 

明天启程回重庆,我随身带着的是自己的作品和近三十年在加拿大的人生体悟,它们不再是当初我的两口行李箱所能承载的,它们也不是国界和飞机舱门所能阻隔的。对一个心中充满自由的人来讲,所有去过、生存过的地方,都能成为新的家。家的观念由此变得更加复杂和丰满——四海为家,注定是我的命运和归宿。

 

 

顾雄 

2017.5.11

 

 

My migrations – from Yangtze River to Fraser River

 

It has been 30 years since my immigration to Vancouver in Canada, a city by the Fraser River. Tomorrow, I will take a flight back to my hometown Chongqing, for my solo exhibition “Gu Xiong: Migrations,” which is about how I build up my cultural identity through my experience of migrations.

 

Airport is the place I keep entering and leaving each year. It has a gate that separates citizens from “the other.” After I walk out of the cabin and into the waiting area, I enter a new nation. The boundary between nations could be as narrow as a few steps. Yet this boundary, it could not cut off my thinking and memories, both of which expand beyond boundaries of nations and other sorts. As individuals cross all sorts of boundaries, all sorts of cultures and zones, they gradually build up and enrich their personal cultural identity.

 

On my first trip to Canada, all I had were a backpack and two suitcases. What I carried in the luggage was condensed everything I owned in China from my first three decades of life, everything I relied upon to build a new life in Canada.

 

Nevertheless, my journey of migration doesn’t start in Canada. It started within China during the Cultural Revolution. After I graduated from junior middle school in 1971, I was sent down to countryside with millions of other urban youths in 1972, to receive re-education from the poor and lower-middle class peasants. “Roll in the mud, and practice a red heart.” Yet in reality, our passion and dreams of revolution were crushed in the countryside – the margin of reality. Every sent-down youth had to learn how to survive through labouring. My younger brother and I were sent down to Daba Mountain area in northeastern Sichuan, bordering on Shanxi province. Back then, Daba Mountain was a poor and desolate place. There was no roads or electricity. There wasn’t even radio reception in the mountains. We served at the Erlang Gully production team, under the Qingping People’s Commune in Xian Han County. The village we lived at had a small population of around 200 and the households scattered on the mountains. We were assigned to live in a Chinese-style courtyard house with a few peasant families. It was the first time for the two of us to live away from home, so there was much to learn. Among others, we needed to learn how to burn barley straws to cook food. The mountain had already gone bare by the time we lived there, so fuels were scarce. We had to walk twenty or thirty kilometers of mountain roads to fetch firewood. Besides, farming was hard work. Everyday, we worked from sunrise to dusk. The deputy leader of our production team had a gong. He would beat the gong every day on the terraced fields, and shout either “time for work” or “end of work.” Among all, it was not the difficult living circumstances or the farming that I couldn’t bear; it was the empty mind and the bleak future. At the same time, I started to do sketches. During the day, I did sketches of the peasants. In the evening, I did sketches under the kerosene lamp, recording my memories and thoughts. Gradually, through the sketches, I found hope, and a genuine inner self. The worries and hopelessness towards the future was replaced by observation towards the environments, the people and things, as well as the growth of the self. This was the first time that art lifts me up from a low point in life.

 

▲顾雄在加拿大的个展“Behold the silence",1996年

 

During the fours years of my countryside life, I filled more than twenty sketchbooks. Today, when I leaf through them, it feels as if they could bring me back to the old days, to my youthful days.

 

My first trip abroad was to Canada as an exchange artist. The Banff Centre for the Art selected me as an artist-in-residence for a year. I didn’t expect it, but it later proved to a turning point in my life. Before the trip, my impression of Canada was limited to the Group of Seven and Norman Bethune. The latter I learned only through Mao’s essay “In Memory of Norman Bethune.” In 1975, the works of Group of Seven was on exhibition in Beijing and Shanghai. When I first read about the exhibition and saw photos of the paintings in newspaper, I came under their influence. I still remember the first time I saw the paintings of Lawren Harris. The blue sky and snowy mountains left a deep impression on me.  Besides, the seven artists all have unique styles, which is something unseen in the art during the Cultural Revolution. At the time, the artistic standard was “Red, Bright and Shining”, “Tall, Big and Perfect.” I felt that I should become an artist like Lawren Harris, an artist with personal style.

 

I lived in Banff from September 1986 to October 1987. Banff National Park is a beautiful place. Yet for me back then, to live in Banff was like living in isolation. The language barrier led to me working in the studio all day long, focusing solely on my art works. Alvin Balkind, the chair of the Art Studio Department at Banff Centre gave me some advice. He said I should learn English and communicate more with other artists. In addition, he spent one hour teaching me English every day. The first time I saw Alvin, I said in broken English: “My English is poor.” He laughed and replied: “My Chinese is poor, too.” It immediately drew me closer to him, made him feel like a friend. During my stay in Banff, there were 45 young artists from all over the world living and working there. Later, all of us went to New York to visit the museums and art galleries. My vision was broadened by the trip. Getting to see genuine works by the masters made an impact on me. All of these made me realized even more that I should do my own art. In the beautiful and isolating Banff, my idea of “enclosure” formed and I made a series of art works based on this concept. My art gradually grew from small-scale paintings to large murals, installation works and performance art. My year in Banff is the way to breakthrough in my art and life. By the end of it, I decided to return to China with what I had learned.

 

Upon returning to China in 1987, unexpectedly, I went through cultural shock again in my own culture. That’s when I realized how much my trip to Banff had changed me. As an instructor at Sichuan Fine Art Institute, I decided to introduce installation and performance art into my classroom, expanding from the still life drawing and life model drawing. Students got to experience and participate in these contemporary art forms in my classes. The installation made by my students was put on display in the Museum of Sichuan Fine Art Institute. I also participated in contemporary art movements at the same time. Among others, I took part in the 1988 Southwest Art exhibition held in Chengdu, the November 1989 Chinese Modern Art Conference in Huang Shan, and the February 1989 China Avant-Garde Art exhibition held at the China National Museum of Fine Art in Beijing. My installation and performance art “Enclosure” – part of the group exhibition China Avant-Garde Art – was introduced in the English version of China Daily.

 

▲顾雄在温哥华的家中创作,1996年

 

In 1989, Banff Centre for the Art invited me to be an artist-in-residence the second time. My journey of immigration thus started without my realization. When I was on board the plane, I looked outside the window; I saw how the plane took off and left the Yangtze River delta behind. My tears swarmed out, as it was also my parents, my wife, my daughter and my siblings who were left behind. I didn’t know when I would see them again.

 

The experience of immigration was far from romantic. The barriers of language and thinking patterns mean that I was confronted with a harsh reality. I decided not to use my art skills for a living. On the contrary, I worked low-paying jobs: car washing, making pizza and busing tables at a university cafeteria. I was struggling at the bottom of society, yet meanwhile I was experiencing life and culture of a different society. While striving to make a living, I persisted in making art. I used my art to portray my experience living in between two cultures, to search for a new space arising from the clash of these two cultures. The construction of cultural identity is made possible through the challenges of every day life, through changing myself, through learning about a new culture and reflecting on my own culture. It is a long process, a life-long process.

 

My art is record of my immigration. For the second time, it lifts me up from a low point in life, and allows me to rebuild myself. I feel that I finally become an independent person after the experience of immigration – with an ability to survive on my own and to think for myself. Being a contemporary artist in Canada is hard; one has to possess a genuine love for art and put much work into it.  Only then, would it be possible to create original art works.

 

Looking back upon my experiences, I made a summary of what it takes to immigrate: Firstly, you must be courageous, don’t be nostalgic or hang onto the past. The past is irrelevant, and you have to start from scratch. Find your goals. Secondly, be open-minded, learn new things and promote understandings. If you reject the new culture, you are tying yourself down. The need for open-mindedness applies both to the immigrants and the local residents. Without it, there would be no merging of cultures. Lastly, do not give up on your ambitions. This is especially true for the first generation of immigrants, as they are most likely to give up on the career they had in the country they came from. In fact, the first generation of immigrants has the most to offer, as they bring with them values and culture of their home country. If the first generation of immigrants could merge into the new society, it would be the biggest encouragement their children could use. Cultural heritage and innovation, it paid through generation to generation. It is a person for many years in the face of unremitting perseverance and paying, and in the conflict of two or more different cultures, was repeatedly forging of. It is not an extension of the original culture, nor is it a reproduction of the new strange culture, but the rebirth of the purgatory.

 

When I depart for Chongqing tomorrow, I carry with me my art works and thirty year of experience as an immigrant. The weight of these could no longer be born by my two suitcases, nor would the borders or gates I will be crossing cut them off. For a person with a free mind, any place they’ve been to or lived in becomes a new home to them. The definition of home enriches and expands in their journey – the Four Seas are destined to be my home.

 

 

Gu Xiong

May 11, 2017

 

 

《红河》/多媒介装置/2008

Red River/a multi-media installation/2008

 

《我和你》/摄影图片/1999

Me and You/Inkjet Print/1999

 

▲《文化冲击》/行为艺术/1992

Shock Culture/Performance Art/1992

 

 

顾雄是一位旅居加拿大的华裔多媒体艺术家。作为加拿大英属哥伦比亚大学艺术系的终身教授,顾雄的创作涉及广泛,包括架上画、素描、版画、 装置、行为艺术、数码、录像、摄影、文字和雕塑。


Gu Xiong is a Chinese-American multimedia artist who lives in Canada. As a tenured professor of art at the University of British Columbia, Canada, Gu Xiong's works cover a wide range of paintings, sketches, prints, installations, performance art, digital, video, photography, writing and sculpture.

 

 

参展艺术家/Artist

顾 雄 Gu Xiong

 

主办方/Organized by

GCA 星汇当代美术馆

The Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art

 

出品人/Produced by

黄中华 Huang Zhonghua

 

艺术总监/Art Director

杨 述 Yang Shu

 

策展人/Curator

倪 昆 Ni Kun

 

展览统筹 / Coordinators

李 丽 Li Li 

 朱 君 Zhu Jun

李嘉欣 Li Jiaxin

 

海报设计/Poster design

龙邃洋 Steven Dragonn

傅 妍 Fu Yan

 

开幕时间/Opening

2017年6月10日, 16:00

16:00, Jun. 10th, 2017

 

地点/Venue

重庆两江新区黄山大道中段6号星汇两江艺术商业中心3区

重庆星汇当代美术馆1-2楼

F1-F2, The Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art, Bloc 3, Xinghui Liangjiang Art Business Center, Liangjiang New District, Chongqing

 

展期/Duration

2017年6月11日至2017年8月11日

Jun. 11th, 2017 to Aug. 11th, 2017

 

 

 

特别鸣谢/Thanks to

重庆高科集团

星汇两江艺术商业中心

重庆筑尚文化传播有限公司

重庆HMD设计集团

加拿大驻重庆总领事馆

加拿大社会科学及人文研究委员会

重庆市甫金商贸有限责任公司

重庆希尔安药业有限公司

重庆牧青管理咨询有限公司

一路一带全媒体中心

VA国际艺术教育

 

 

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地址:重庆两江新区星汇两江艺术商业中心3区1-2楼

F1-2 Block 3, Xing Hui Liang Jiang Art Business Center,

Liangjiang New Zone District,

Chongqing, China 400021

 

 

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