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The art born of destruction


FOR artists, acts of war and iconoclasm often serve as a call to arms, triggering creative expressions of rebellion and dissent. Over the past half century, contemporary artists have created powerful works whose genesis lies in destruction. These artworksquestion the meaning and weight of losses, whether of cultural heritage or human life.


Some have reacted to destruction with destruction. Born in 1957, Ai Weiwei came of age during China’s Cultural Revolution. A dark period in China’s history, during which the country’s historical sites and artefacts were subject to devastating damage, the Cultural Revolution has found ironic echo in the artist’s own iconoclastic gestures. Mr Aihas coveredNeolithic vases with synthetic paint and photographedhimself dropping a 2000-year-old Han-dynasty urn. Hehas created sculptures using materials from demolished houses and temples. His work consistently draws attention to the destruction of China’s heritage, at once questioning and underscoring the value of history.


Other artistschoose to pay tribute to vanished heritage through symbolic resurrection. Carved into the side of a mountain in Afghanistan in the sixth century, the Buddhas of Bamiyanstood 35 and 53 metres tall untilthe Taliban blew them up with dynamite in 2001. In 2015,Jason Yu and Liyan Huprojected life-size, three-dimensional holograms of the Buddhas into the empty caverns that once housed them (see below). Theygave the projector to the Afghani government, providing a means to periodically salve the physical, emotional and symbolic wounds left by the Taliban’s destruction.

其他艺术家选择通过象征性的重生向消失的遗产致敬。巴米扬大佛(the Buddhas of Bamiyan)从六世纪阿富汗一座山的一侧雕刻而来,高35×53米,直到塔利班在2001年用火药将其炸毁。2015年,Jason Yu和Liyan Hu将与实物大小一样的3D全息图投射进曾经容纳他们的空洞穴里。他们将投射器交付阿富汗政府,提供间歇性抚慰塔利班毁坏留下的物理上、情感上和象征性的伤疤的方式。

Artistic responses to destruction are not always positively received, particularly when they dwell on loss of life. A sculpture by Eric Fischl, an American artist, which responded to the attacks of September 11th 2001, promptedsuch a violent public outcrywhen it went on display in 2002 that it was removed within a week. Entitled “Tumbling Woman”,the sculpturedepicted a figure that had jumped from one of the Twin Towers, crumpling at the moment of impact with the earth. Some members of the publiccomplained that the sculpture was exploitative. Others felt it celebrated the bravery of a woman choosing the manner of her own death, and saw in it an allegory for human dignity.

艺术家对毁坏的回应不总是被人正面接受,尤其是当他们在聚焦生命逝去的时候。美国艺术家埃里克·费谢尔(Eric Fischl)的一个雕塑作品针对2001年的911袭击事件,雕塑在2002年进行展示的时候,引发了公众强烈抗议,导致一周之内就被撤掉了。该雕塑名叫“坍塌的女人”,刻画了一位从双子塔跳下的身形,在着地受力时候开始变形。有的公众抱怨,该雕塑太具有剥削性了。有的认为它颂扬了一位女性选择她独有死亡方式的勇敢,并从中看到了关于人类尊严的寓言。

Morehshin Allahyari, an Iranian artist, createda series of sculptures exploring“the poetic relationships between3D printing, plastic, oil, technocapitalism and jihad”. She printed 12 small plastic replicas of artefacts destroyed by IS; inside each, sheplaceda USB containing photographs, files and archival documents with information about the original piece. Last February,she releasedall her research to the public online.

伊朗艺术家Morehshin Allahyari创作了一些列雕塑,探索3D打印、塑料、石油、和圣战之间诗性的关系。她打印了12部IS毁坏的手工艺品的塑料复刻版;在每个作品内部,她放置了一个USB,存有关于原作的照片以及文件和档案文献。去年二月,她在网上公开了自己所有的研究。

The projectwas meant not onlyto counter the destruction of IS butto critique 3D printing projects by firms in America and Britain thataim to “rebuild” vanished monuments such as the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra, which was replicated by British archaeologists in 2016 and displayed in London, New York and Dubai. “It’s problematic becausethe UK and the US have been part of this crisis and this mess and now they’re the civilised people, the white heroes whoare saving these things [from] the Middle Easterners, the Muslims, the savages whoare destroying them,” she says. “This project is not justan architecture reconstruction project. It’s not just a political gesture. It comes with all these layers of symbols and metaphors and emotional and poetic relationships.”


Those fraught relationshipsare given further attention thanks to Michael Rakowitz’s work: his response to IS’s destruction will top the empty fourth pillar in Trafalgar Square in 2018 and 2019. The artist’s winning work is a 14-foot sculpture of the lamassu—a winged bull that guarded the ancient Nergal Gate in Nineveh from 700BC until 2015.

那些令人忧虑的关系进一步受到关注,这要得益于麦克·拉克威茨(Michael Rakowitz)的作品:他对IS毁坏行为的回应将于2018和2019年填补特拉法加广场第四根柱子的空缺。这位艺术家的获奖作品是一个14英尺的拉玛苏雕塑(the lamassu),它是一头长翅膀的公牛,从公元前700年到2015年守护着尼尼微的古尼格尔门。

Part of an ongoing series entitled“the invisible enemy should not exist”, Mr Rakowitz began creating such art in 2007 as a response to the looting of the National Museum of Iraq. To date, hehas reconstructed 700 objects from a list of 7000 destroyed and stolen Iraqi artefacts. The artistfocuses on the destruction of cultural heritage as a way to obliquely reference human losses, deliberately differentiatinghis sculptures from the originals byusing packaging from Middle Eastern food and Arabic newspapers. His lamassuis made from empty cans of Iraqi date syrup. “Nobody’s going to be able to put together the families that have been torn apart by death and by forced immigration,” he says. “I want to be able to speak to that and to point to the impossibility of reproducing anything except a ghost. And a ghost can comfort, but a ghost can also haunt.” Counteringthe iconoclasm of groups like the Taliban and IS through art is an ingenious way to express defiance. These new works serve both as memorials and as symbolic rejections of ideologies thatfetishize death and destruction whilefailing to understand the power and necessity of creativity.



本译文仅用于学习和交流目的。非商业转载请注明译者、出处,并保留文章在译言的完整链接。商业合作请联系 editor@yeeyan.com 参考原文地址:http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2017/06/ex-nihilo

来源:嘉兴在线—嘉兴日报    作者:摄影 记者 冯玉坤    编辑:李源    责任编辑:胡金波