Land of the Lustrous


其中,赵要呈现最新作品《有一团神气》。作品以气模的方式,将一块“精神高于一切”的石头放大了100万倍,顶端用藏语写着བསམ་བློའི་མཐོ་ཚད་ཀུན་གྱི་མཆོག (精神高于一切)。“精神高于一切”石头是当地刻玛尼石的师傅专门为“精神高于一切”项目镌刻的石头,它将项目名字译成藏文,并按照本地传统,刻在大小不一的石头上。在2016开始实施的“精神高于一切”项目里面,艺术家将一件长116米、宽 86米的布制抽象作品置于藏区海拔接近的5000米的雪山山顶,在自然环境里经历了半年的风吹日晒后撤下并回收展示,2018年5月18日在北京的工人体育场呈现了这一令人惊奇的壮举。

此次,艺术家以玛尼石为灵感,创作了这最新的作品,将具有精神故事的石头放大成巨大的气囊,并注满空气,让这团被包裹着的气体似乎也临时性的具有了某种能量。一颗“大而虚无”的精神石头躺倒在海天之间。我们已有的知识,无论是文化的、政治的,历史的,还是宗教的,又是如何影响我们对艺术的感知? Details »

ARTFORUM展评| 赵要:有神的信号,有神的信号。

Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven

文-Yuan Fuca (富源),英文原文刊载于《ARTFORUM》2019年2月刊

This past summer, Zhao Yao first exhibited his ongoing project The Spirit Above All, 2015–. This piece, spanning 107,500 square feet and assembled from colored cloth, was placed for six months out in the sun on a snowy mountainside in Nangqian, Qinghai, before being shipped back to Beijing, where it was ceremonially installed on the field in Beijing’s Workers’ Stadium for a day from sunrise to sunset. The work demonstrated Zhao’s interest in the spirituality of contemporary life. The same fascination was also evident in “Signals from Heaven, Signals from Heaven,” an exhibition composed of nine hutlike sculptures scattered on a salmon-pink office carpet.

Nyingma monks and Tibetan Buddhists in Ganzi and Nangqian use similar wooden huts as private spaces when they go into the mountains in late autumn for spiritual contemplation and self-cultivation. After being exposed to wind and snow, the structures’ highly personal and improvised exterior coverings of cloth and plastic have an unaffected beauty, and their simple rectangular box shapes stand for unambiguous individual existences. Inside each of these monuments to contemplation and personal evolution, the artist installed a monitor playing a looped video. The screens show texts transcribed from TED Talks, with stories of the Egyptian revolution, female refugees, or radical jihadists scrolling against a monochrome background whose color is either the red, yellow, blue, or green used in the Google logo, suggesting the subliminal cognition of contemporary life. The talks, with their didactic motivational spirit and emotional wording, are a sort of balm for the contemporary middle-class ache for spirituality, and the huts’ narrow spaces – each fits only one person – intensify the talks’ effect, so that they somehow become incomplete and listless, losing their original seductive charm. At the same time, what was an extremely private, almost inviolable sacred space has been transformed into a place for contemporary viewership, relaying emotional campaigns promising personal revelations through a connection to the journeys of discovery made by the various speakers. Inside the huts, it was almost impossible to engage in the contemplative activity for which they were built.

If collective modes of understanding today can be represented by TED Talks and the trademark colors of Google’s logo, what are the chances that the tools of a spiritual practice originating in a very distant time and place and dependent on a spirit of austerity and selfabnegation can renew our cognitive experience? Zhao’s juxtaposition of these two distinct realities presents the contradictions involved in pursuing personal value in today’s society, where cultural production and regulation act as a kind of invisible barrier constraining thought and action, and where we are unavoidably mired in self-absorption, awkwardly unable to imagine the alternative forms of spirituality we think we’re seeking. Details »