如何面對失常時代?:來自Francis Alÿs與Mika Rottenberg的啟示 | EPIPHANY IN AN ERA OF ABNORMALITY

2020年的世界經歷著各種各樣的改變,處於失常時代,我們應如何提升對當代生存境況的洞察和自覺?Francis Alÿs與Mika Rottenberg分別在大館舉行的首個香港個展也許會為你帶來新的立腳點去檢視世界。

In an era of abnormality, how should we gain insight or awareness into the paradoxes of contemporary existence? Francis Alÿs and Mika Rottenberg’s first solo exhibitions in Hong Kong may offer you new standing points to look at the world.

如果說Francis Alÿs的藝術嘗試在不可能的狀況下尋找無限的可能性,試圖理解世界,那Mika Rottenberg的藝術則遊走於現實與超現實之間,嘗試顛覆常規與一般認知,往往帶有怪異感並使人混亂。他們的作品都著重探討當前面臨的政治和社會挑戰,以具詩意或幽默的手法去詮釋這些嚴肅的議題,帶有一種強烈的解放感。

If the art of Francis Alÿs tries to seek possibilities in impossible situations and attempts to make sense of the world, the art of Mika Rottenberg stands as contrast as she tries to move between reality and fantasy, subverting general perceptions through the deconstruction of things. Yet, both of their works pay close attention to current political and social challenges, which open an artistic space for doubt and invention with a strong sense of liberation.

Francis Alÿs:「水限__ 陸界: 邊境與遊戲」| Francis Alÿs: Wet Feet __ Dry Feet: Borders and Games

這次展覽中既互補又相互聯繫的作品凸顯Francis Alÿs近期致力於探索說故事的方法,其敘述圍繞邊境與遊戲、幻想與現實之間。最先映入觀者眼簾的是67艘通過在人字拖和摩洛哥皮拖鞋上掛帆而成的小船(67 Shoe Boats),裝置與牆上的文字互相呼應:

「直布羅陀海峽寬7.7海里(13公里),將非洲和歐洲隔開。如果一群孩子排成直線,向著摩洛哥的方向遠離歐洲,而另一隊孩子向著西班牙的方向遠離歐洲,這兩隊人會在天海的嵌合處交會嗎?」

In this exhibition, three intertwined projects by Francis Alÿs are juxtaposed to present the artist’s recent explorations in storytelling, with narratives anchored around borders, play, fantasy, and reality. The first installation that catches the audience’s eyes is comprised of 67 little vessels created by mounting a sail on a flip-flop or Moroccan leather slipper. The work echoes with the words on the wall:

“The Strait of Gibraltar is 7.7 nautical miles wide (13km) and separates Africa from Europe. If a line of kids leaves Europe towards Morocco, and a line of kids leaves Africa towards Spain, will the 2 lines meet in the chimera of the horizon?”

67 Shoe Boats, Mixed media installation, 2007-2008

這為之後展示的三組影片掀起序幕,喚起我們對邊界的記憶和質疑,引起對移民、偷渡、難民等議題的討論。在《遇河之前莫過橋》(2008年)裡,鏡頭一時隨著海浪一浮一沈,一時轉向孩子的背影,跟著他們徐徐步入大海中。寂靜的海底空間與岸上的喧鬧聲形成對比,加上被分成兩邊的畫面,帶來一種撕裂錯覺和無言的窒息感。Alÿs的影片既詩意又飽含想像力,他的感性建基於他對個人意志以及地緣政治的關懷,同時深深立於日常生活之中。

This paves the way for the three films shown in the exhibition by evoking our memories and questions about the concept of borders, as well as shedding light on the issues of migration, illegal immigration, and refugees. In Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River (2008), the camera travels up and down with the waves and follows the view of children’s back as they gradually walk into the sea. The stark contrast between the silent underwater space and the cacophony of the shore, along with the splitting screen, give rise to a sense of fragmentation and suffocation. Alÿs’ films are deeply rooted in everyday life but at the same time are poetic and imaginative, whose sensibility is based on his concern for individual agency and geopolitics.

Francis Alÿs
Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River
2008
Tangier, Morocco
Photography: Kwan Sheung Chi
Don’t Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River, 2008, Tangier, Morocco
Photography: Kwan Sheung Chi

在展覽最後的部分,當觀者踏入房間便會被播放著兒童遊戲錄像的大螢幕包圍。這是Alÿs最新項目《兒童遊戲》(1999年至今),拍下了兒童們在街道、田野、空屋等自然場景中遊戲的片段。這些兒童來自不同國家,包括在飽受戰爭衝突所苦的國家,以及他曾經居住或走訪過的地方。在這個空間裡,遊戲沒有邊界,超越陳規、跨越語言,只有孩子無比的純真與救贖的力量。與此同時,他們在失序的社會中度日,使房間亦濔漫著蒼白的無力感和對未來的疑問。這個項目的下一個拍攝地點為香港,目前已經完成錄製兩三件作品,讓我們一起期待在不久的將來可以看到Alÿs對香港及其地域性的詮釋。

In the last part of the exhibition, the audience will enter a room in which they will be surrounded by an array of large screens showing videos of children’s games. This is Alÿs’ latest project, Children’s Games(1999–ongoing), which consists of more than 20 documentary videos of children playing in natural settings such as streets, fields, and empty houses. The children come from different countries, including those suffering from war conflicts and places where Alÿs has lived or visited. The audience can observe a poignant sense of innocence and the redemptive power of play—universal and transcending conventions, languages, and borders. At the same time, as the children live in disorderly societies, there is a sensory void that leaves the room with a sense of futility and uncertainty. Hong Kong is the next shooting location of the project, and a few recordings have already been completed. Let’s look forward to seeing Alÿs’ interpretation of Hong Kong and its locality in the near future.

Francis Alÿs
Children’s Games
1999–ongoing
Photography: Kwan Sheung Chi
Children’s Games, 1999–ongoing; Photography: Kwan Sheung Chi

Francis Alÿs:「水限 _ 陸界: 邊境與遊戲」​ Wet Feet _ Dry Feet: Borders and Games​
Date: 2020. 10. 28 – 2021. 2. 16​
Time: Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00 – 19:00​
Venue: 香港中環荷李活道10號大館賽馬會藝方​
JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong​

Mika Rottenberg:「乞嗤」| Mika Rottenberg’s SNEEZE

在這個失常時代,事實與虛構早已混淆不分,看著Mika Rottenberg充滿社會超現實主義的作品,不禁讓人提出疑問:我們到底如何分辨現實與幻想的邊界?這種分類又真的有意義嗎?

In this era of abnormality, the real world is rather surreal. Looking at the works of Mika Rottenberg which are characterized by social surrealism, one cannot help but wonder: How can we differentiate the boundaries between reality and fantasy? Or, does this really matter? 

這次展覽展出的四套影片記錄了現實的各個方面,並以嚴格的剪接技術,營造出精緻而顛覆常規的視覺敘事,虛實交錯,藉以突出當代人生存的美感與荒謬。Rottenberg的作品富有黑色幽默,運用了極端的鋪排和角色營造陌生化的效果。在《乞嗤》(2012)這部作品中,幾個臉上長著誇張大紅鼻子的男人輪流打噴嚏,一會兒打出了毛茸茸的兔子,下一秒打出了鏗鏘落地的燈泡。不同質地的畫面與聲效湊拼,配上壓迫感十足的特寫鏡頭,創造出荒誕怪想的錄像。Rottenberg的作品總是出乎意料的神奇,令觀者對下一步的變化產生猜疑和期待,觀賞過程中滲透著一份緊張感。

In the four works shown in this exhibition, Rottenberg documents aspects of reality while making connections between disparate objects and places. With a rigorous editing technique, the artist weaves elaborate and fantastical visual narratives that have a subversive edge. Her works are filled with dark humor, using extreme settings and characters which defamiliarize our perceptions of the world. Sneeze(2012) portrays men with exaggeratingly large red noses sneezing, one after another, and ejecting an odd assortment of objects on a table—rabbits, raw meat, lightbulbs, among others. By combining different textures and sound effects, coupled with elaborate close-up shots, this work is one of whimsicality and absurdity. Her works often depict the magic of the unexpected or the (superficially) inexplicable. There exists a constant tension, not only in the scenes within her works but also in the brooding expectation of what will happen next.

Mika Rottenberg
Sneeze , 2012
Single-channel video installation, sound, colour; 3 mins 2 sec
Dimensions variable
© Mika Rottenberg, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photography: Samson, Cheung Choi Sang
Sneeze , 2012; Photography: Samson, Cheung Choi Sang

同時,Rottenberg的作品探討當代生產過程,圍繞勞動和工作,以及西方與亞洲的聯繫。《星際發電機》(2017)呈現了加州的中國餐館和街頭小販,與內地市場內的店家。這兩個看似活在平行時空,互不關聯的世界,通過延伸的隧道和走廊相連,彼此出奇地並置,融混真實與虛構、誤傳與真確。這部作品的最大特點是令人眩目的繽紛色彩,鮮豔的顏色有著獨特的魔幻感與魅力,令人陶醉。Rottenberg透過衝擊眼球的視覺語言,思考當代過多的物質以及令人疲乏的國際經貿流動。

Mika Rottenberg
Cosmic Generator, 2017
Single-channel video installation, sound, colour; 26 mins 36 sec
Dimensions variable
© Mika Rottenberg, Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photography: Samson, Cheung Choi Sang
Cosmic Generator, 2017; Photography: Samson, Cheung Choi Sang

At the same time, Rottenberg’s works explore production processes, revolving around labor and work, as well as the connections between the West and Asia. In Cosmic Generator(2017), Chinese restaurants and street vendors in Calexico are juxtaposed alongside storefronts inside Chinese wholesale markets. The two worlds seem to exist in parallel universes but in the video, they are connected via extended tunnels and corridors, existing side by side. The work forges unexpected connections of time and space, as well as melding fact and fiction, misinformation, and earnestness. The most distinctive feature of this work is the dazzling variety of colors, which contributes a uniquely magical and attractive quality to it. With impactful visual language, the film playfully reflects on today’s overabundance of goods and its exhausting flow of global trade.

Rottenberg作品裡明亮但混亂的世界就如一面反映現實的鏡子,呈現出來的現實並不總是漂亮悅目,甚至是一塌糊塗的,容易令人迷失方向。Rottenberg說,她的作品是一種諷刺:帶有政治性,卻不說教,不會告訴人們要去思考甚麽。也許我們所有人都一樣,在這個已陷入瘋狂的時代裡進退兩難,感到無能為力,Rottenberg的作品以荒謬怪誕的方式讓我們直視現實的真面目。

The bright yet chaotic world in Rottenberg’s works serves as a reflection of reality. It is not always pretty, and it is certainly messed up, which easily leads to a feeling of disorientation. Her work is a form of satire; it is political without being didactic, without telling people what to think. Perhaps all of us are stuck in a dysfunctional world that has gone bonkers, leaving us feeling powerless. Rottenberg’s works help us examine the contemporary world through her lens that is authentic and honest.

Mika Rottenberg:「乞嗤」SNEEZE​
Date: 2020. 10. 24 – 2021. 2. 7​
Time: Tuesday – Sunday, 11:00 – 19:00​
Venue: 香港中環荷李活道10號大館賽馬會藝方​
JC Contemporary, Tai Kwun, 10 Hollywood Road, Central, Hong Kong​

Text by Janice Chow

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.