月光下的恶作剧 - Pranks in the Moonlight

Exhibition poster
Exhibition poster

Text in English and Chinese by Love Jönsson, curator, writer. Published at the website of CAFA Art Museum as an introduction to 月光下的恶作剧 - Pranks in The Moonlight, Torsten Jurell´s solo exhibition autumn 2017.


Torsten Jurell has a flair for transforming the venues in which he exhibits into highly evocative settings. The implication of his exhibition "Pranks in the Moonlight" is that a travelling theatre company has installed itself in the museum. The packing crates have been emptied and the props put in place in the darkened auditorium. The actors are in the wings and the audience can take their seats. Or has the performance already begun? The title of the exhibition is open to a multitude of interpretations. That creates a sense of uncertainty. A prank is a trick, a joke, buffoonery; moonlight is the pale nocturnal blush that illuminates the Earth in a way so different from the direct rays of the sun. In Torsten Jurell's own words, "In moonlight everything becomes ambiguous, without necessarily becoming any less true."

In the hands of Torsten Jurell the theatre becomes a metaphor for the world. The theatre - like the world - is a complex system in which places, figures and events are intimately interconnected. The exhibition lets us witness how machinery is set in motion, characters interact and various series of images are linked through recurring motifs. And yet, the contexts and connections are not always obvious. Historical and literary references are linked to aspects of the current public debate and popular culture in a way that eludes easy interpretation. The works have been produced using a raft of different techniques and materials - painting, graphics, photos and videos, ceramics and bronze. The diversity of these media and the way in which they coalesce accentuate the artist's aspiration to be on the move, seeking out new paths. And, by occasionally reworking individual items from his existing oeuvre into forthcoming exhibitions, Torsten Jurell drives home the point that the meanings of his works are constantly open to re-interpretation.

One of central themes suffusing the works Jurell has created during his four decades as a professional artist has been the human form as a vehicle for storytelling. During his years as a student at Valand Art School in Gothenburg, Sweden, (1971-76) the local art scene was strongly influenced by the iconography of social realism: it was the vulnerable groups in society that were the focus of attention. While this tradition may have laid the foundation for certain aspects of Torsten Jurell's own imagery, there is no doubting the fact that his artistic expressions have taken him in more impulsive and unpredictable directions. As a rule, he is more interested in the expressive rather than the realistic. He has shown less concern for reproducing the outward appearance of his models than for creating ambiguous, fictional characters that inhabit the borderlands between reality, legend and myth.

Through his adoption of the theatre motif in his major exhibitions of recent years Torsten Jurell has taken his inveterate exploration of the human form as a player in an ongoing event to a new and deeper level. By using theatre as the unifying element in his exhibitions, he also traces a link between his current production and his early artistic work in the 1970s and 1980s: while studying, he found occasional employment painting scenography for both established and independent theatre companies.

Since the turn of the century Torsten Jurell has divided his time between his home country of Sweden and China. Initially, from 2007 to 2009, he worked in the Suojiacun Art Village on the outskirts of Beijing, but since 2011 he has chosen Jingdezhen as his base. The exhibition at CAFA Art Museum, the most extensive survey of his work to date in China, builds on the success of well received exhibitions in Sweden and Europe in recent years. The mechanical marionette theatre that constitutes the focal point of the presentation has previously formed part of solo exhibitions dedicated to Jurell's work at the Röhsska Museum in Gothenburg (2014-15) and the Museum of Movement in Stockholm (2016). It was also shown in the major international group exhibition "Ready for the Stage, Act 1" at the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck in Germany (2016-17), conceived and curated to celebrate the centenary of the Dada movement.

Love Jönsson



涛斯顿﹒居尔具有天赋,能将自己的艺术展览场所变得引人深思。在《月光下的恶作剧》的展览里,艺术家将一个巡回演出剧团搬进了博物馆。装道具的箱子已经倒空,道具被安置在昏暗的会堂中。演员在会堂的两翼里面,观众可以择席而坐。难道演出已经开始了吗?展览的名称可以有多种理解方式,而这给人一种不确定感。恶作剧可以是个戏法、玩笑、谐谑;月光在夜间照亮地球的方式与太阳的直射截然不同。用艺术家自己的话来说:"在月光的谐谑中,一切事物变得模糊不清,但这并不意味着万物变得不真实。"

在涛斯顿﹒居尔的手中,剧院成为世界的象征。就像这个世界一样,剧院是一个复杂的系统,将地点、人物和时间紧密地连接在一起。展览让我们看到机械的运转方式,人物之间的互动和不同系列的图画与时常重现的主题的关联。但是,这其中的衔接和联系并非总是显而易见。作品中贯彻的历史和文学内容与当今的公开辩论和流行文化联系在一起,而其方式却隐晦含蓄。作品中采用多种手法和材料:绘画、图像、照片、视频和陶瓷。多样媒介的结合促使作者不断进取,开拓新的艺术道路。而且,为了新的展览,艺术家偶尔修改现存的某个作品,展现了他作品可以持续被赋予新的含义的特色。

在涛斯顿四十载的职业艺术生涯中,"人体形态可以作为叙事的载体"是其作品的一个中心主题。艺术家在瑞典哥德堡瓦兰德艺术学校学习时(1971-1976),当地艺术深受社会现实主义图示的影响:社会中的弱势群体是艺术所关注的中心。虽然这种传统或许是艺术家部分意象的基础,他的艺术表现方式却更为任性,无法预测,而这一点不容置疑。通常,他对表现性艺术更感兴趣,而非现实主义艺术。他更执着于创作虚拟模糊的形象,使之在现实、传奇和神话中穿梭,而不着重重塑模特的外形。

近年来,在其主要的展览中,艺术家通过对剧院的调整,将其由来已久对人体形象正在发生的事件中所扮演的角色的探索引入了新的、更深的层面。他还追溯其在七十和八十年代的早期艺术实践与现今作品之间的联系: 涛斯顿﹒居尔在读书期间,一些独立和成名的戏院就偶尔雇佣他进行舞台美学创作。

新世纪以来,涛斯顿﹒居尔在其祖国瑞典和中国度过他的岁月。起初,他于2007和2009年之间在北京郊区的索家庄工作。自2011年至今,他将景德镇作为其创作基地。在中央美院美术馆的这次展览是涛斯顿在中国国内作品的最广泛的一次检阅,延续了他近年在欧洲和瑞典成功举办的展览。这个机械性的木偶剧团是本次展示的焦点,曾作为艺术家个展的一部分在哥德堡的罗斯卡博物馆(2014-2015)和斯德哥尔摩的舞蹈博物馆展出过。该展览也曾在德国阿尔普博物馆的一个题为"准备奔向舞台,第一幕"的国际群展里展出 (2016-2017),用以纪念达达主义运动一百周年。

撰文:拉沃﹒雍森(Love Jönsson

独立策展人,罗斯卡博物馆馆长(2011-2017