...And so it was Night!

 

Images from the exhibition at The Museum of Movement, Stockholm Feb- May 2016.

Museum of Movement (Dansmuseet), Drottninggatan 17, Stockholm, Sweden

...AND SO IT WAS NIGHT! 夜幕降临! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Dolls” is perhaps the word some people may choose to describe the nine actors in my theatre. I myself call them performers. Otherwise I think I prefer the term marionettes; puppet theatre characters is not really the correct term either, as it is glove puppets that are most commonly used in a puppet theatre. But the most serious objection I have to the term “dolls” is that it implies something you play with, playthings whose sole purpose is mere amusement. Calling them marionettes enhances the importance of these figures. Admittedly, there is no getting away from the fact that they are indeed “dolls” – figurines used for entertainment – but first and foremost they are artists performing in a play. Someone pulls their strings, guides their movements, controls their lives. By making this distinction, I am also making the point that I am investing part of my life in work that is deadly serious, even when it is fun. This is not child’s play.

 

或许,有些人会把我剧院里面的九个演员戏称为“玩偶”。而我自己则称他们为“表演者”。我甚至喜欢使用“牵线木偶”来描述他们;虽然“木偶剧演员”这种称呼其实并不太贴切,因为木偶剧院里使用的的木偶大多是手套木偶。但是,我反对使用“玩偶”这个称呼的最重要原因是这个词意味着他们是被把玩的东西,也就是别人的玩物,仅仅供人消遣。如果称其为牵线木偶则增加了他们几个作为雕塑作品的重要性。固然,他们的确是“玩偶”——做娱乐之用——但是首先他们是在剧场中进行表演的演员。有人在幕后操纵,指引其动作,控制其生命。通过这样区分,我同时强调自己把生命的一部分用于制作极其严肃的作品,即使作品看起来搞笑。这可不是小孩子的游戏!

 

The theatre is a medium that embraces a long list of different art forms, from acting to playwriting, composing music, designing stage sets, painting them, etc., etc. Theatre is all about the relationships between people on the stage and how these are portrayed; relations between the actors involved in the play and relations between the audience and the characters played by the actors, relations between the people within a society, but also relations between different societies and between different things, relations between light and between sounds. Working with my theatre has made me aware of the importance of the relationship between sound and movement, movement and inactivity, sound and silence – and the significance of pauses. I make it possible for observers to take on the role of the audience in the theatre and of the performers in the play – at one and the same time... But remember: it is not a theatre that I am creating. It is a picture of a theatre – a picture of the life that is lived while you look on … and are manipulated!

 

    剧场是一个载体,承载着一长溜不同艺术形式,包括表演、剧本创作、编曲、舞台设计、绘画等等。剧院所描述的是舞台上演员之间的关系、剧本中演员的交互和他们扮演的角色与观众的关系、社会中人与人之间的关系、不同社会和不同事物间的关系、光线和声音之间的关系。通过剧院作品的创作,我意识到声音和动作、动态和静止、有声和无声的重要性,还有暂停的意义。我能够使观众在剧中同时担任观众和演员双重身份。但是,记住,我构建的不是一个剧院。而是关于剧院和生命的一副图画,众目睽睽之下被操纵的生命画像。
 

 

 

 

... And so it was night!

The moon sank with a jolt

a fragment

invisible
floating
defiantly
behind warring stars
the sun,
which otherwise never waits.

Actors
darkness
shadowplay.

Welcome.
Welcome to the World
of the Marionettes.

 

于是,夜幕降临!

月亮跌下山

一点点

无法看见
目中无人般飘荡
在交战的星星后面
太阳
几乎从来不曾等待


演员
黑夜
皮影戏

欢迎
欢迎来到牵线木偶的世界

 

 

 

For five years I have been renting a table to work on in the midst of local ceramicists and artists in Jingdezhen in China. It is fantastic! Jingdezhen is like an open book – here I’m able to see for myself what is happening.

 

五年来,与当地的陶瓷家和艺术家一起,我在景德镇租用了一张工作台。这实在太棒了!景德镇就像一本打开的书。在这里,我能够亲眼目睹周围发生的一切。

 

Eventually I asked Xiao Xue, “How do you go about getting the glaze to look the way it does?”
“God knows!” was her immediate reply.
I understood. This response came to define my relationship to the way in which I approached working with glazes: “I just do it. Then wait to see how it turns out…” That was what Xiao Xue meant with her answer, and so that’s that how I have continued to work.
Serendipity is based on respect for craftsmanship and tradition. Whereas an experienced ceramicist achieves his or her intended result in a single firing, I take a chance. I stumble on, out into the unknown, firing and firing and firing again until I’m satisfied. As a rule, the result can never be considered a failure since I don’t set out with a plan for what the “right” result might be. If anyone asks me about the glaze, why or how it looks the way it does, I simply answer, “It’s Xiao Xue glaze...”

 

最终,我禁不住问小雪:“你是怎么使釉产生这种效果的?”
“鬼才知道!”她不加思索地回答道。
我理解她的意思。她的答复逐渐定义了我与釉之间的关系——凭感觉做,然后看效果如何……。这就是小雪要表达的意思,也是我的工作方式。
意外发现的基础建立于对工艺和传统的尊重。有经验的陶艺家烧窑时可以一次性达到预期效果,而我则要碰运气。我蹒跚行进,走进未知领域,烧一次不成就两次,两次不成就三次,直至满意为止。
通常,无论最后结果如何,结果都不会被定义为“失败”,因为我没有预先制定可以接受的标准。如果有人问我如何烧出这种釉彩,为什么釉是这种颜色的,我就回答说“这是小雪釉……。”

Photo: Sun Jing/Torsten Jurell

There is, oh, so much art theory, yet so very little that is said about the actual dynamics of the creative process that enables me to learn from the achievements and shortcomings of other artists. More often than not, in my experience it is in interviews with musicians or in biographies of musicians that the real nuggets of interest are to be found.

That’s where I can come across candid disclosures of the unexpected, the unplanned, the spontaneous that an experienced practitioner is able to make use of. What’s interesting about such texts is that musicians often have a very open, generous attitude towards other artists and are frank about acknowledging the traditions within which they work.

Keith Richards frequently acknowledges his debt to Chuck Berry, Slim Harpo or the Everly Brothers. In much the same way, I steal a riff from a thousand-year-old bowl and use it to create an expression of my own.

 

世上有太多的艺术理论,但对于真正创 作过程的表现力,却提的少之又少。而这个过程帮助我理解其他艺术家的成果和缺陷。通常,经验告诉我,在与音乐家的访谈中或者其传记里面可以找到其真正的兴趣所在。正是在那里我发现, 阅历丰富的实践者可以坦白无 疑地将自己意想不到的、未计划的心声自然流露出来的秘密所在。有趣的是,音乐家对其他艺术家的态度一般很开放并宽容,他们不隐藏自己承继的工作传统。吉斯·理查德经常承认自己受益于查克·贝利、詹莫斯·摩尔或者埃弗里兄弟。同样,我从一只千年古碗上窃取一丝创意,用来制作自己的作品。

 

 

The Three Promises 三个承诺

 

SI SAN:
We’ve now been on the road for a hundred and forty-one days with our theatre and given – let’s see – two hundred and eighty-two performances.

ER YI:
Huh! Two a day. That’s what we’ve been doing for twenty-eight years now. And what have we got to show for it all? No matter how many performances we give, we never earn enough for more than one bowl of rice congee between the two us. Even then we have to dilute it: it needs to keep us going both at breakfast time and in the evening. And everyone knows what you get if you dilute water with water.

SI SAN:
You really do try my patience, Er Yi. Don’t you ever stop your damned whining? Hell’s bells, man! You’ve been complaining ever since… since you were born!
(In the distance the sound of an engine is heard, the noise gradually fades away.) Oh, I’m sorry … It’s late. It’s night-time and we’ve still not found anywhere to sleep. We’re tired. I’m tired. I’m sorry … Forgive me for finding fault like that. I didn’t mean it, Er Yi. I’m sorry.

ER YI:
Forget it, forget it, forget ..!

 

四三:
我们已经在路上一百四十一天了,并做了——让我想想——二百八十四场演出。

二一:
 啊呀!一天两场,二十八年如一日。可是我们有什么呢?无论演出多少场,我们的收入从来都只够买一碗粥充饥,而且是两个人分。即使是分粥,我们还要加水稀释。那点粥既要当早餐又要作晚饭。谁都知道粥里加水会调和成什么。

四三:
二一,你真想逼疯我吗!你什么时候能不发牢骚呀?讨厌!你从一生下来就牢骚不休!
(远处听到引擎声,之后声音逐渐消退)哎,抱歉……天晚了,夜幕降临,而我们还没有找到歇脚的地方。我们都累了。我累了。对不住了……原谅我吹毛求疵。我没有那个意思。二一,对不起!

二一:
没事儿,没事儿,算了!



 

Early on a Saturday morning I bump into Liu Xi by one of the little food stalls on Xinchangdonglu, the street outside the Sculpture Factory, Diaosu ci Chang, in Jingdezhen. I tell her that I still haven’t managed to get any of the black glazes to turn out exactly how I want them to, and she advises me to buy glaze from one of the other shops.

When I explain that I’ve already tried shop after shop in my search for the right result, she merely shrugs her shoulders and says with cool indifference, what does it matter that she’s been trained at CAFA, the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, or that she’s been working with ceramics full-time for seven years; she still knows nothing.


Liu Xi intends her reply to be interpreted as words of encouragement.

 

一个周六的大清早,我在新厂东路上的一个小吃摊上碰到了柳溪。这条路在景德镇雕塑瓷厂外面。我告诉她自己还未能把任何黑釉作品烧成预期效果,她建议我从其他的店铺买釉彩。当我解释说我已经去过好多店铺时,她耸耸肩,有些黯然地说,虽然自己是从北京中央美院出来的,而且已经花了七年时间全职创做陶瓷作品,可惜有什么用呢?到现在为止,她依旧对陶瓷釉彩知之甚少。
柳溪想用这样的方式来鼓励我。
.

 

The moon brings light to the world in a different way from the sun. Sunlight differs from moonlight.
Moonlight is the opposite of sunlight, even though we know that moonlight reflects the light of the sun. When the sun disappears behind a cloud, the world remains well-lit. When the moon is obscured, everything is plunged into darkness.

Things look different by moonlight, taking on different contours, evoking different associations. Moonlight is the fictitious world that we can compare with the world we are more used to seeing. In the moonlight everything becomes ambiguous, without necessarily becoming any less true

 

月亮给我们的世界提供光泽的方式与太阳不同。阳光和月光也不同。月光是日光的反面(即使我们不知道月亮反射太阳光)。太阳躲到云后时,这个世界依然明亮。但是月亮被遮住时,一切陷入黑暗之中。东西在月光下看起来不同,有不同的形状,引发不同的联想。月光给我们一个虚拟的世界,与我们熟悉的世界互为参照。

One day in the maze of alleyways close to my studio, an old man shows me a treasure trove. Day after day I have walked past the wall around the yard, seen the roof of the house and shooed away the geese outside the gate. It has always been just one house among many.

But now the man beckons me to follow him through the gate and his little garden to a shed stacked high with sculptures from Lao Chang, the Old Factory. Beaming with pride, he shows me the porcelain artefacts he has collected – fifty, maybe sixty years old – and for each one he produces, he says, “Lao de” – “It’s old”.
It’s a strange experience, almost like a scene from a film. Why, I wonder, is he showing me all of these things? It isn’t a museum he has here; it isn’t even a proper collection. Just a jumble of porcelain sculptures from a few random years in the long, long history of Jingdezhen, piled high in a corner of a yard. Suddenly a golden-brown cat leaps out and the sculptures tumble down in a cloud of dust. It’s all so very typical for the way

 

一天,在我工作室周围的像迷宫般的胡同里,一个老人把他的百宝箱展示给我。日复一日,我走过这溜院墙,看到屋顶的瓦片,嘘跑门外这些鹅子。这栋房子并不起眼,与其他的毫无区别。现在这个人示意让我跟他走,通过院门和小花园,走进一个棚子。里面高高地堆放着来自老厂的雕塑。他满意地微笑着,把自己收藏的大约有五六十年瓷龄的瓷器给我看。而且,每拿出一件,他都会说:“老的。”


这是一次离奇的体验,好像是电影中的镜头。我纳闷他为何要给我看这些东西。他的这些宝贝算不上一个博物馆,连一个藏集都够不上,顶多就算来自于景德镇长长历史之河里面的一堆杂乱的瓷器,在一个院子的角落高高地堆放着。突然一只棕黄色猫跳了出来,瓷器晃动不稳,尘土四起。这好像是我对中国的典型体验:一扇门打开了,而我恰恰在那里。

 

In the light of darkness
stars sing
dreams are woven.
Who pitched their theatre tent
while we were so soundly asleep?
 
 
黑暗的光明里,
星星歌唱,
编织梦想。
我们熟睡时,
是谁起搭了
剧院的帐篷?