——关于吕松的Almost a Portrait
Shadow Portrait 6 影 6, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
When Theseus stepped into the fabled Labyrinth, he clutched a ball of string in his hand. With one end of the string secured to the entrance of the maze, Theseus carefully made his way into its depths. Taking each step as if it was his last, the hero listened to the beast’s gruesome cries echoing across the maze. The beast was called the Minotaur. Half man, half bull, it lived in the Labyrinth on the island of Crete, and it would devour seven pairs of boys and girls sent as tribute by Athens.
As a prince of Athens, Theseus gave himself up as one of the tributes. He was determined to save his people. When he arrived in Crete, a princess loved him at first sight, and it was she who gave him a sword and the ball of string. According to legend, Theseus slayed the beast with that very sword, and then found his way back out of the Labyrinth by following the string he laid down.
Shadow Portrait 4 影 4, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
Generation after generation has retold this tale. Each time, Theseus emerges victorious from the Labyrinth, while the Minotaur is relegated to the shadows of history. When he entered the Maze, Theseus was a prince of Athens, but when he returned, he was immortalized as a hero. Yet, no one knows what truly occurred on that fateful night within the depths of the Labyrinth. No one ever laid eyes on the Minotaur, there was only the maze from which no one had ever returned, and a hero who did return. No one knows what was in Theseus’ heart when he came face to face with the Minotaur.
Shadow Portrait 7 影 7, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
吕松却想重回那一刻——在阴翳之中渐渐浮现的不可名状的事物，他命名它：“Almost a Portrait”。LU Song wants to revisit that moment when the murky darkness parted to reveal the unspeakable and indescribable. He calls his work, “Almost a Portrait.”
Shadow Portrait 8 影 8, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
吕松在绘画这一次的作品时，追求着一种“仪式化”的效果。他说：“像祭祀一样，把它神圣化”。面对同一图景，吕松画了20多遍。每一遍都会由不可逆的笔触带领着自己，呈现出一个截然不同的气象来。每一次，同样的画布尺寸（2米*1.5米），同样的起点，同样的企图，他开始进入了迷宫。这是一次惊险的实验，源自吕松对自己绘画过程的发现：“随着创作的展开，意外和错误也会出现。解决这些问题的过程引导着我一遍遍调整原有的计划。最后，绘画作品会呈现出另外一番形态。”吕松将画布视为自己的“第二大脑”，他觉得在画面中会形成一种特殊的思维，一种不可逆的思维，这构成了画面的特殊气质，也是创作者独一无二的精神世界。When painting the works on show in this exhibition, the artist sought a “ritualized” effect. “I wanted to sanctify it, like a sacrifice,” said LU.LU painted the same thing over twenty times. Each time, the irreversible brushstrokes would present to him a new work of totally unique character. Each painting had the same 2 meter by 1.5 meter dimensions, the same starting point, and the same goal. Each time, he would enter the maze. This experiment had its risks, which originated in LU Song’s discoveries about his process. “As the work developed, accidents and mistakes appeared,” LU said. “In order to solve these problems, I was led to adjust my original plan over and over again. At last, the painting would present another form.” LU says he sees the canvas as a “second brain,” and he believes that painting forms a unique kind of thinking -- one that is irreversible. This is what comprises the singular temperament of each painting, which also happens to be the artist’s unique spiritual world.
Shadow Portrait 9 影 9, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm“每一次会遇到不同的问题，为了解决这个问题画面就会发生其他的变化。最后画面会呈现出意想不到的情形。”似乎是为了穷尽画面的可能性，吕松对同一图景反复描绘，可当他都能把画面细节烂熟于心时，画面上依然会出现不一样的东西。他无法穷尽一切可能，他发现绘画的本质是变化，即使在有限的画布上，依然存在着无限的路径。呈现出无限的路径，是他这次冒险的乐趣所在。“Each time, I would encounter a new problem. In solving these problems, the canvas would be transformed,” said LU. “In the end, the canvas would present an unexpected circumstance.” LU Song’s repeated attempts at the same composition seems to be an effort to exhaust all possibilities of the image. But when he had mastered every minutiae, the scene continued to surprise him with new elements. He was unable to exhaust all possibilities. Instead, he discovered that change is the nature of painting. Even within the limited confines of the canvas, there were still infinite paths to take. The joy of experimentation was found in the discovery of these paths.
Shadow Portrait 10 影 10, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
深入一个主题，只画一张画是远远不够的。吕松认为，“它需要在你的体内通过一段时间的消化之后，你才能得到凭大脑想象不出来的东西。”因此吕松在画布上一次次重启，就像一次次主动进入迷宫的忒修斯。他每一次都彻底放弃了线团，他渴望迷路，他渴望遭遇弥诺陶洛斯，他要走上一次未曾途径的道路，他要从未知的阴翳之中再次遭遇那让自己颤栗的一刻。在对同一图景的反复描绘中，渐渐地，植物失去了植物的特殊性，画面上是无法辨认的明暗交织，是阴影和阴翳的不同组合，是意识深处的流淌，是某种情绪，或者准确地说，是某种深处的潜意识。视线追随着画面上的色彩和结构的变化，随着笔触一同走向迷宫深处。而迷宫深处的神秘之物，渐渐地如同肖像一般，从阴影中走出，忒修斯遇见了弥诺陶洛斯。那是临界状态的感受，因未知而充满紧张，也充满了某种原始的生命力，让人兴奋，甚至感到晕眩。那是阴翳之中所潜藏的秘密，它召唤着人们最直觉的本能。When one delves deeply into a subject, a single painting is far from sufficient. “The work must undergo a period of digestion within your own body,” said LU. “Only then can you obtain that which your mind alone cannot imagine.” Each renewed effort is a re-entry into the Labyrinth. But each time, LU released his ball of string because he desired to lose his way and encounter the Minotaur. The artist sought a path that was untrodden, to encounter a moment of trembling within the shadow of the unknown.In painting the same scene again and again, plants gradually lost their plant-like characteristics and the canvas became an unrecognizable interweaving of light and dark -- varying combinations of shadow and haze, the flow hidden within consciousness, and a certain emotion. In other words, it was something pulled from the depths of the subconsciousness. The eye follows the changes of color and structure on the canvas, following each brushstroke into the Labyrinth, and that mystery which lies at the center of the Labyrinth emerges from its depths like a portrait. Theseus encounters the Minotaur. Such is the sensation of the critical state, filled with the tension of the unknown and some primitive life force. It is exciting, even dizzying. It is the mystery of the shadows which calls to our most intuitive instincts.
Shadow Portrait 11 影 11, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
迷宫本身就是吕松的目的。同一入口，并不必有同一结局。他在此处实践的，是以绘画抵达开放式结局。他一遍又一遍地回到同一图景的起点，在每一次都得到了不同的路径和不同的出口。这是一场冒险，也是一场游戏。当意识跟随着笔触在画布上疾走时，吕松进入了意识的深处。他构建了一个深邃又模糊的心理空间。吕松如此描述自己的创作：“我的创作过程始于情绪，我从电影文学和个人经历中获取灵感。我的目标就是获得对这些情绪的更深层理解，并丰富自己绘画实践中的感觉。绘画对于我来说就像写作，是一个梳理、归纳和探寻未知的过程。”吕松此次的绘画，让人一次次凝视同一图景，并获得了不同的心理感受（the state of mind）。一直凝视，直至模糊。
The Labyrinth itself is LU Song’s destination. The identical entry point does not necessitate an identical ending. He is engaging in the practice of creating an open end through painting. The artist returns again and again to the same scene, but each time, he reaches his destination via a different path and a different exit. This is an adventure and a game. Awareness sprints alongside the brush, and LU Song enters the depths of consciousness to construct a deep and murky mental space. “My creative process begins with emotion. I find inspiration in film, literature, and my personal experiences,” said LU. “My goal is to obtain a deeper understanding of these emotions, and to enrich the feeling within my artistic practice. To me, painting is like writing in that it is a process of sorting, categorizing, and discovering the unknown.” LU presents the same scene over and over again to the viewer, so that they may encounter different states of mind. The same scene, again and again, until it becomes indistinct.
Shadow Portrait 12 影 12, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
如果忒修斯并未遇见弥诺陶洛斯，他只是顺着线团走出了迷宫，人们依然会相信他的胜利，因为能从迷宫折返，就意味着战胜了命运。If Theseus had merely followed the ball of string back out of the Labyrinth, never encountering the Minotaur, the people would still have believed him victorious. The very act of return represented a victory over fate.But was it really Theseus who returned from the Labyrinth?
Shadows 6 翳 6, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 200 × 150 cm
吕松常在他热爱的文学和电影中获取灵感。这次的创作，他提到了《爱情·死亡·机器人》系列剧中的一集《Beyond the Aqulia Rift》（《天鹰座裂缝之外》）。弥留之际的宇航员从沉睡的美梦中醒来，发现自己早已身陷在银河系的碎片之外。模模糊糊之中，一直陪伴并给他美梦的她出现了，她从阴翳中走出，接近某种肖像，面目不可名状，他惊声尖叫。吕松渴望自己创作的影和翳拥有类似的气息——眼前的一切，在凝视中接近模糊。他想让弥诺陶洛斯从阴影之处走出，又或者，走向阴影深处时，让忒修斯自己成为了阴影的一部分。又或者，忒修斯从未离开过迷宫。不同的忒修斯在不同的时刻走入了迷宫，这一次的忒修斯遇见的是上一次迷路的自己。久久沉浸在迷宫之中的忒修斯早已忘记了自己的名字，而世人称呼它为弥诺陶洛斯。绘画之中的意识与时间，以一种不可思议的方式相遇。我们得去相信，当我们主动寻找未知时，我们才能不断地告别已知。线团是安全感的来源，唯有切断已知的路径，才能遇见不可知也无法命名的almost a portrait。唯有下坠时，才能体会重力。唯有潜入阴影之中，才能分享关于阴影的秘密。挪威艺术家蒙克，也曾有过一次次重回主题的尝试。石版画、木刻版画，都是他创作的手法。在新的媒介上，他重回到了那些令他激动的主题和图像之上：爱、焦虑、忧伤、死亡。他曾出版过一本关于艺术理论的书《绘画与素描》，其中他记录了马克斯·克林格的艺术观点——“版画的作用同绘画一样，绝不是次要的角色，展现的是“生活的黑暗面”。要表达艺术家最深的信念，想象世界中的幻想、痛苦和折磨，甚至像诗歌或音乐一样，唤起观众心中的联想。”蒙克深知，当一位艺术家一次次回到衷爱的图像前进行创作时，他并非是为了重复，而是为了再一次找寻心头曾经划过的悸动。犹如重新潜入梦境，那些隐藏在神秘气氛之中的不可见之物，唯有先召唤了同样的神秘气氛，神秘之物才可能再次浮现。
LU Song says he often finds inspiration in his favorite literature and media. For this series, he was inspired by the episode, “Beyond the Aquila Rift,” from the series, “Love Death + Robots.” In the episode, the protagonist awakens from an induced slumber to discover that his ship has travelled off course into a debris filled section of the galaxy. In the confusion, the woman he has been dreaming about emerges from the shadows, resembling a sort of portrait. Her face is indescribable, and he screams. LU Song longs for the shadow and shade of his work to elicit a similar sensation. As everything in the viewer’s gaze approaches murkiness, the Minotaur emerges from the shadows. Or rather, in entering the shadows, Theseus himself becomes part of the darkness. Then again, perhaps Theseus never left the maze and a different Theseus enters the Labyrinth at a different time. This new Theseus encounters a version of himself who entered the maze and lost his way. After wandering the maze for an unknown amount of time, the old Theseus has forgotten his name, and the world calls him the Minotaur. The consciousness of painting encounters Time in an inconceivable manner. When we seek out the unknown, we are bidding farewell to the known. The ball of string is the source of comfort because it is known. We must let go of it in order to encounter what is almost a portrait -- what is unnameable. We can only understand gravity by falling. We must enter the shadows to perceive the mystery of the shadows.Norwegian artist Edvard Munch also experimented with painting the same scene over and over again. He worked with lithographs and woodcuts. In new media, he returned repeatedly to themes and images that moved him -- love, anxiety, sorrow, and death. He published a book on art theory entitled, Painting and Sketching, in which he described Max Klinger’s artistic views. “Print has the same effect as painting. By no means does it play a secondary role. It reveals the ‘dark side of life.’ It must express the artist’s most deeply held beliefs. It imagines the fantasy, pain, and torture of the world. It is even like poetry or music in that it elicits associations in the audience’s mind.” Munch understood that when an artist returns again and again on a heartfelt image, it is not for the sake of repetition. Rather, he is once more in search of that which caused a paroxysm of the heart. Like slipping once more into a dream state, that which is unseeable is hidden in that mysterious atmosphere, only by conjuring that same atmosphere can the mystery be revealed once more.
Shadow Portrait 13 影13, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 250 × 200 cm
本次《Almost a Portrait》中的作品命名，有“影”系列和“翳”系列。若一定要分辨出两者的区别，可能是每次吕松在迷宫深处得到的不同路径的区别。“翳”系列中，画面的层次更为幽微深邃。吕松对阴翳的认知，深受谷崎润一郎的影响，这位著名的日本作家写下了《阴翳礼赞》，并认为“美，不存在于物体之中，而存在于物与物产生的阴翳的波纹和明暗之中。” 之前吕松的绘画中出现过大量的风景，那些拥有深邃心理结构的风景，构建着一个内部的心理空间和现实。这一次吕松构造的画面依然充满“记忆的、心理的、经验的”的特质，这次的重回同一图景的实践，甚至有种精神分析的气质，在一遍又一遍重回叙述和表达的过程中，找寻到游离其中的自我。每一次画笔引领着他潜入意识深处，迷宫渐渐浮现。他要画的是可见之物吗？不，他要画的是不可见之物，他画的是传说中的兽，是弥漫在空气之中的集体无意识。
The works exhibited in “Almost a Portrait” are named either “Shadow” or “Shade.” Perhaps the only difference between the two sets is the differing paths through which the artist came to them in the Labyrinth. The layers of the paintings in the “Shade” series are slightly more subtle and profound.LU Song’s understanding of shadow is deeply influenced by Junichiro Tanizaki, the famed Japanese author who wrote In Praise of Shadows and said, “we find beauty not in the thing itself but in the patterns of shadows, the light and the darkness.” LU’s previous works featured a large number of landscapes. These paintings possessed a deep psychological structure, which formed an internal psychological space and reality. In this exhibition, LU’s works are still imbued with qualities of “memory, psychology, and experience.” The artist’s practice of returning again and again to the same scene could even be described as psychoanalytical. In the process of revisiting the same narrative and expression, the artist is able to free the Self. Each brushstroke leads him further into the depths of his subconsciousness, and the Labyrinth gradually floats into view. Is the artist painting something visible? No, he is painting the unseeable. He is painting the beast of legend -- the collective unconsciousness all around us.
Shadows 3 翳 3, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 120 × 90 cm
在技法上，吕松十分克制。这一次的《Almost a Portrait》中，他并没有大量使用已经形成个人标识的边缘线。在上一次的个展中，吕松用液体乳胶遮盖，实现清晰的边缘线，这几乎成为了他的一种语言风格。可吕松不想那么“熟练”。他对“熟练”有种清晰的警惕。他引用的依据是加拿大一个土著部落的长老的智慧。那个部落在长年累月的迁徙中，有一个令人不解的习惯。就是当他们找到一个落脚之处，并已经可以熟练猎杀野兽并融入当地自然环境时，全族就会拔起帐篷重新出发，找到一个全新之处，从零开始。长老觉得，如果在一个已经熟悉的地方继续生活，人会趋于平和，生活缺少挑战性，因此缺少生存的意义。唯有在陌生的地方重头开始，族人方能保持真正的生命力。对于吕松，他也如此理解绘画。当他使用某一种技法至纯熟时，当他警觉此时心中渐渐升起“无聊”的感觉时，他会停下，因为如此进行下去，“就变得失去了绘画的意义，就不能把画面当做我的第二大脑，就只能把画面当成一个秀场了。”持续地寻找未知和模糊，是吕松真正感兴趣的地带。对于吕松，画面是战场，充满了挑战，同时也会充满厌倦。每一次当他熟练掌握了一种技艺时，他就想另觅他途。他试图将制胜点放在不可控的因素上，而非绘画的技术上。In terms of technique, LU Song is restrained. He has forgone the boundary lines which have become an identifying characteristic of his work. In his previous show, LU created clear boundary lines with liquid latex. This technique has almost become the signature style of his visual language. But for this exhibition, the artist did not want to rely on his “proficiency.” Vigilant against such “proficiency,” he cites the wisdom of the elders of a Canadian First Nations tribe. That tribe had a puzzling habit in their many years of migrating across the land. Each time they found a place to settle down -- integrating themselves and becoming proficient at hunting the native fauna -- they would depart from that place in search of new land. They would start again from nothing. The elders believed that remaining in familiar territory would lead their people to dormancy; their lives would be without challenge, and therefore meaningless. Their tribe could only preserve the true vitality of life by starting over again in the unknown.This philosophy is also LU Song’s understanding of painting. Once the artist becomes familiar with a particular technique, and a sense of ‘boredom’ begins to arise, he will stop using that technique. “If I continue with the technique, painting will lose its meaning,” said LU. “Then the canvas will no longer be a second brain, it will only be a stage.” The continuous search for the unknown and the indistinct is LU’s true passion. The canvas is a battlefield -- filled with challenge, but also filled with potential for boredom. Whenever he becomes familiar with a technique, he begins seeking another method. He finds triumph in elements which cannot be controlled, rather than relying on tried and true painting techniques.
Shadows 4 翳 4, LU Song 吕松, 2019. Acrylic on canvas 布面丙烯, 120 × 90 cm
在谷崎润一郎另一篇小说《刈芦》中，有让吕松念念不忘的文学结构。故事真正的高潮来自离故事结束仅二十行的地方。《刈芦》中无论是叙述者“我”，还是“我”遇见的另一个男子，都并非主角，甚至占据读者心灵的女性角色——温雅的阿游小姐，也未必是真正的主角。这些细腻温婉的描写都为了指向一个不动声色的高潮。吕松将这些辅助的通道称为“引桥”，引领着人们去往真正的故事核心。Almost a Portrait中，观众也需要仔细分辨，吕松所创造的视觉世界之中，那些色彩和笔触是引桥，还是那些阴影和深邃的空间是引桥？最后观者心中涌上的情绪，是否就是那不动声色的高潮？可能，忒修斯是引桥，弥诺陶洛斯也是引桥，最后的主角，也并非迷宫，而是阴影中尚未出现的无限路径。Another of Tanizaki’s works, The Reed Cutters, possesses a literary structure that LU thinks about constantly. The climax of the story arrives a mere twenty lines from the end. In the short story, neither the narrator or the man he meets are the protagonists of the tale. Even the gentle Ayo -- the female character who occupies the reader’s mind -- is not necessarily the protagonist. The author’s delicate and placid prose leads the reader to a quiet climax. LU Song refers to these auxiliary passages as “access bridges,” which bring the reader to the true heart of the story.In viewing “Almost a Portrait,” the audience must uphold that same delicate sensibility. What are the access bridges in the visual realm that LU has created? Are they found in his use of color and brushstroke? Or are they found in his use of shadows and depth? Then what of the emotion that slips quietly into the audience’s heart? Is that the quiet climax of the story?Perhaps Theseus and the Minotaur are both access bridges. In the end, the protagonist is not the Labyrinth, but rather, the infinite paths hidden in the shadows, yet to be revealed.
作者 / 沈奇岚
Writer / SHEN Qilan
吕松（生于1982年）毕业于英国伦敦艺术大学温布尔顿艺术学院（2016年），现生活并工作于北京。近期个展包括“谿谷”（Massimo De Carlo画廊，香港，2017年）、“控制点”（东画廊，上海，2018年）、“流”（OCAT西安馆，西安，2017年）、“马背上的醉乞丐”（Galeria Nicodim, 罗马尼亚布加勒斯特，2015年）、“腹地”（锦艺舫，香港，2015年）、“Hills Beyond the Backdrop”（Alexandre Ochs Galleries，柏林，2014年）、“To the River till Sunrise”（Dominik Mersch Gallery，滑铁卢／悉尼，2013年）、“To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent”（Alexandre Ochs Galleries，柏林，2012年）、“曙光别墅”（Alexander Ochs Galleries，北京，2011年）、“Tiny People in Curious Pursuits”（Hub @ Alexander Ochs Galleries，北京，2010年），参加群展包括“作为窄门的绘画：80后艺术家邀请展”（蜂巢当代艺术中心，北京，2016年）、“幻光一瞬”（锦艺舫，香港，2016年）、“怀景之二”（科恩画廊，上海，2015年）等。
LU Song (b. 1982) graduated from Wimbledon College of Art, University of London (2006), currently living and working in Beijing. His recent solo exhibitions include “Combe” (Massimo De Carlo, Hong Kong, 2018), “Control Point” (Don Gallery, Shanghai, 2017), “Flow” (OCAT Xi’an, Xi’an, 2017), “The Drunken Beggar on Horseback” (Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest, Romania, 2015), “Hinterland” (Galerie Huit, Hong Kong, 2015), “Hills Beyond the Backdrop” (Alexandre Ochs Galleries, Berlin, 2014), “To the River till Sunrise” (Dominik Mersch Gallery, Waterloo/Sydney, Australia, 2013), “To One Who Has Been Long in City Pent” (Alexandre Ochs Galleries, Berlin, 2012), “Dawn Villa” (Alexander Ochs Galleries, Beijing, 2011) and “Tiny People in Curious Pursuits” (Hub @ Alexander Ochs Galleries, Beijing, 2010). He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions such as “Painting as Strait Gate: Post-80s Artists Invitation Exhibition” (Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, 2016), “Magic Hour” (Galerie Huit, Hong Kong, 2016), “In Memory of a Landscape 2” (James Cohen Gallery, Shanghai, 2015), etc.
In the meantime, Don Gallery will participate ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair to present artworks by CHANG Ling, HU Zi, LI Shan, LIU Ren, LU Song, QU Fengguo, XIANG Zhenhua, ZHANG Peiyun, ZHANG Ruyi and ZHANG Yunyao.
东画廊 Don Gallery
2555 Longteng Avenue, West Bund, Shanghai
+86 21 6473 1533
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