Xⁿ Talk | Tal R



 


[…] But it’s important to have art that deals with reality in less abstracted and utilitarian terms, and deals with daily-ness, and history, with a modicum of unsentimental, non-confessional sincerity, that isn’t glacially distant from its audience. Something more like a poem or a novel than an essay or a tretise…


——New Persian Letters (for Tal R) / Gary Indiana




| Tal R, Copenhagen



Tal在工作室, Tal at his studio



Xⁿ: I heard that you lived in Shanghai for a couple of years.


Tal R: Yes, from about 1989 to 1993. The things I learned back then still inspire me to paint today. At that time, I went to a calligrapher’s place to learn calligraphy in the morning. He could tell if there was any “Yi” (意, i.e. intention, idea) in each horizontal line I wrote. He said that I should use “yi” to motivate my moves. In the afternoon, I usually went to learn Kungfu. What surprised me was that the Kungfu master said the same thing to me. In western culture, the artistic language and the Kungfu language are two completely different systems, but they are the same in China. The philosophy behind them is consistent.



Adieu Interessant, 2005-2008



Xⁿ: Can we draw a parallel between “Yi” and the word “sincerity” that is often used in the discussion of European art?


Tal R: yes, but more than that. It can be described as a force that drives you to search for a suitable form. You can also say that it is the “idea”.


For example, if you go to a friend's wedding, there are often two kinds of speakers at weddings. The first type of orator prepares their speech draft well, suited and booted, stands on the stage and gives a beautiful and emotional speech with his draft in hand. The second type of orator might be the bride’s uncle or father. He is way too drunk, or even grease and oil stains from food on his shirt. Then, suddenly, he stands up, tries to say something, and maybe even knocks over the wine glass when he stands up. However, no matter how inarticulate he is, people always quiet down and listen to him. Because he has some solid words to say from the bottom of his heart, and everyone can feel that.



The Pipe, 2008



Xⁿ: You made a lot of works in various forms, from painting to collage, to installation, to sculpture. It is very difficult to conclude what you do in a few words.


Tal R: Yes, indeed, I do a lot of things, and most often, they are the things I should NOT do. I need to do them precisely because they might be wrong. Sometimes it happens to work, then it carries on. Sometimes it fails completely. This is even better. This means I can learn more from it. More specifically, compare to mediocre works, the bad ones are much closer to the extraordinary.


Keep making mistakes and keep re-doing are how an artist teaches him/herself.


When I studied in college, everyone rejected painting and thought that painters were stupid and that painting was a stupid thing to do. This atmosphere, on the contrary, made painting more possible, so I painted. Therefore, I painted. Until around 2000, painting suddenly became popular, and I thought, “that is too bad”. What once been deemed as stupid really became stupid.



Garbage Man



Xⁿ: Are there many collages in your work?


Tal R: I do more work in other mediums than I do collage, but I like collage. I feel like my creative capacity comes from making collage. While making collage, I break and even shatter myself to release more possibilities.


For many western artists, collage should be the most basic way of working. On top of that, it should be the most common way of thinking. It is neither painting, nor sculpture. It is a totally free and unrestricted method. Based on the making of collage, artists can develop the work into painting and sculpture.



Blind Date Almanak, 2013 – 2015



Xⁿ: How did painting essentially change before collage and after collage?


Tal R: Painting is like editing on a canvas. You add something and then take out something, back and forth. Although you can modify it, making painting is still a linear process and an irreversible way of working. Making sculptures is the same.


However, collage is different. Collage is absolute freedom. You just gather some junk, cut a picture out of it, move it on the canvas, take a photo, and cut another shape out of it… This means that the artist works in a multidimensional space, as if moving in a matrix of rotation.


The artist walks from an absolutely free space to a relatively limited space, such as painting. It's great! If you only make collages, you can easily get lost in such a boundless free world.



Rumdi Rumdi Rumdi, 1989 - 2013



Xⁿ: In this exhibition, we are going to exhibit your collage work. “Rumdi Rumdi Rumdi”. This collage spans the period from 1989 to 2013. How did this collage come into shape?

Tal R: I used to draw and sketch quite a lot before making A formal piece. Then I browsed my manuscripts and selected images I wanted to continue working on. After all these years, I have stocked many manuscripts. 20 years later, my “yi” still encourages me to move forward. The past has now become a burden, so I decided to turn them into a collage.


I categorised my manuscripts, with the less important ones, the ones that didn't need to be seen in their entirety, at the bottom. And the most important ones were put on the top. They stacked up like sticky notes. Therefore, even if audiences can’t flip over the top ones, they can enjoy the layers below and the hidden images and lines, through which they can speculate and imagine.




Collage: The Card Players, Shanghai, 2017



Xⁿ: Did you have any unexpected findings in the whole process?


Tal R: In order to find new forms, I need to empty myself. I eliminated some possibilities and left some experiments behind. Meanwhile, a new possibility engenders in this process.


I was also browsing and identifying a huge number of images. It was done subconsciously. I saw them, digested them, and then I forgot them.


Rekindling the threads of 20 years, I'm making choices again, and making art is really about making choices. When you are browsing images fast and intensively, your brain gets bored with some forms. And boredom is very good, it's the signal that means you need to absorb more new things. The more images you have stored in your brain, the more freely you can process them, just like learning a new language.



The Navigator, 2012



Xⁿ: What counts as good art, in your opinion?


Tal R: Good art calms people down. It silences people, makes them muted. The content of the painting can be something as simple as a bouquet of flowers, a cloud or a mountain, but it has some qualities that cannot be replaced with words or texts.


For example, you painted a lobster, a blue one, and tell your friend on the phone that you painted a blue lobster, he might answer perfunctorily by commenting that it sounds nice. However, when he physically stands in front of the painting, something would suddenly silence him, lulling him into contemplation and gazing.



The Bend, 2016



Xⁿ: What’s your relationship with the past masters?


Tal R: When I was young, I felt like they were high mountains. They were really far and unreachable. Maybe all the young artists feel the same.


In fact, you should imagine that they are some people you can talk to by looking at their works. At least to me, Qi Baishi and Matisse were talking about the same thing. They both talked about the flatness and unique beauty. Looking at their works is like walking into the room where they are having a talk, you listen to their conversation, understand their points of view, and have your own opinion, and leave the room with your opinion.


I don't know much about Chinese art, but it was very inspiring to me. The Chinese masters paint mountains and trees without sketching, they simply found the one they wanted from the canon. But when they actually start to paint, they change it a little bit and make it their own mountain, their own tree, adding a little bit of contemporaneity. Western art, on the other hand, is anxiously searching for all kinds of new iconography.


Maybe I'm rambling a bit. Let's just pretend this is some kind of collage of ramblings.



Thrift store painting, 2013



 

Tal R

Born 1967 in Tel Aviv, Israel

Works and lives in Copenhagen, Denmark

Taught at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg, and University of Art & Design Helsinki




 


...有一种艺术很重要,它们以不那么抽象,不那么功利的方式处理现实。它们带着略有些冷漠的态度对待日常和历史,具有非宗教性的诚挚,也不会将观看者拒之千里。这种艺术更近似诗歌或小说,而不是文章或论著....

——Gary Indiana 《波斯书信新篇(给Tal R)》



| Tal R,哥本哈根


这篇访谈采访于2017年年初。Tal R即将参加我们在上海策划的展览《拼贴:玩纸牌的人》,这篇访谈围绕着他的创作理念,以及拼贴对于他的意义。



Xⁿ: 我听说你曾经在上海生活了几年?


Tal R: 是的,大概89年到93年。我在那时学到的东西,至今仍然激发我绘画的灵感。当时我每天上午去书法家那里学写书法,他能够看出我每一次写出的横线里面,有没有“意”。他说要用“意”驱使动作。下午我通常去学武术,令我惊奇的是,武术的师父也对我说了同样的话。西方文化中,艺术语言和武术语言一定是两个完全不同的系统,而在中国不是,它们背后的哲学是一致的。


Xⁿ: “意”可以说是欧洲艺术所探讨的“诚挚”(Sincerity)吗?


Tal R: 是,但不仅仅如此,可以说是一种驱使你寻找恰当形式的力量。你也可以说它是 “想法”(idea)。


我打个比方,如果你去参加朋友的婚礼,婚礼上往往会有两种发言人。一种人提前写好了稿子,穿的笔挺,站上台拿着发言稿声情并茂的讲了一通。第二种人,也许是新娘的舅舅或父亲,喝得伶仃大醉,衬衫还沾着食物油渍,他忽然站起来要说话,也许站起来时候还打翻了酒杯。但无论他这时有多么口齿不清,人们都会安静下来,听他说话。因为他胸腔里,心里,有切切实实要说出来的东西,而所有人都能感受到。


Xⁿ: 你做了很多作品,很多不同的类型,从绘画到拼贴,到装置,到雕塑。很难一言概括你到底做什么。


Tal R: 我做很多东西,最经常做的是我“不应该做”的。正因为可能是错误的,所以我要去试试。有时候恰好成功了,那么在这之后还有延续。有时候彻底失败了,那更加好,我可以从中学到更多。确切的说,相比“还可以”的作品,最糟糕的作品才最接近超凡的作品。


不断犯错,不断再做的过程就是艺术家自我教育的过程。


我读大学时候,人人都摈弃绘画,觉得画家很蠢,画画是件很愚蠢的事。这样的氛围反而让绘画充满了可能性,所以我画画。而到了2000年左右,绘画突然热门起来,这下糟了,被视为愚蠢的东西真的变得愚蠢了。

Xⁿ: 你做许多拼贴作品吗?


Tal R: 我做其他媒材的作品多过于做拼贴作品。但我很喜欢拼贴,我觉得我的许多创作能力都是从拼贴而来。在拼贴的过程中,我在打破甚至粉碎自己,然后释放更多可能性。


拼贴对于很多西方艺术家来说,应该是最基本的工作方法,不仅如此,应该是一种普遍的思维方式。它不是绘画,也不是雕塑,它是一种完全自由的,无局限的方式,基于拼贴的过程,艺术家可以进一步做绘画和雕塑。


Xⁿ: 拼贴产生之前的绘画和在此之后的绘画有什么本质上的不同?


Tal R: 绘画就是在一张白布上,加上一些,减去一些,不断编辑。即便可以修改,但绘画仍然是一个单向发展,不可逆转的工作方式。不仅绘画,雕塑也是。


但是拼贴不同,它是绝对的自由。你捡回来什么破烂,剪下来一张图片,在画面上移动,再拍张照片,再剪成别的样子..这意味着,艺术家在多维度的空间工作,就像在矩阵中旋转移动一般。


然后再从一个绝对自由的空间,走向一个相对局限的空间,譬如绘画。这很好。如果专门做拼贴作品,也容易迷失。因为它太自由了。

Xⁿ: 这次展览我们要展出你的作品《Rumdi, Rumdi, Rumdi》。这幅拼贴的创作时间从1989年横跨到2013年。这件拼贴作品是怎么来的?


Tal R: 从读书时候开始,在做正式的作品之前,我就习惯画许多手稿和涂鸦。然后浏览筛选可以继续下去的形象。这么多年之后,我累积了无数手稿。20年后,我的“意”仍然驱动我前行,这些过去成了负担。于是我决定把它们做成拼贴。


我把手稿分组,一些不那么重要的,不需要被全部看见的放在最底下,最重要的放在面上,就像便利贴一样层层叠叠。所以即便不能掀开最上面的一层,观众也可以看见下面的层次,一部分图像线条,产生猜测和想象。

Xⁿ: 在这个过程中,你有什么意料之外的发现吗?


Tal R: 为了找到全新的形式,我需要清空自己。在这个过程中,我逐渐封闭一些可能性,把一些尝试抛在脑后,新的可能性也就随之产生。


我拼贴这些手稿的时候,也在大量的浏览和辨认图像,这是一种潜意识,我看到了,我消化了,然后我忘记了它们。


重新梳理20年来的脉络,我又在重新做选择,做艺术其实就是做选择。在高密度和迅速的浏览图像时,你的大脑会对一些形式感到无聊,无聊非常好,它是信号,意味着你需要吸收更多新东西。而你脑海中的图像存储越多,你就发现自己越能流利自如的处理它们,就和学语言一样。



Xⁿ: 你认为什么是好作品?


Tal R: 好的艺术让人安静下来,让人沉默,好像突然失语。一张画的内容可能非常简单,一瓶花,一朵云,一座山之类的。但它具备某些文字和语言无法替代的气质。


例如你画了一只龙虾,蓝色的,如果在电话里告诉朋友,我画了一只蓝色的龙虾。他也许会草草回应说喔,听起来不错。但他真的站在这张画面前的时候,有什么东西会让他忽然安静下来,陷入沉思和凝视。



Xⁿ: 你怎么看待自己和前人的关系?


Tal R: 我年轻的时候觉得他们都像大山,特别远,难以企及。也许所有的年轻艺术家都这样。


实际上你应该把他们想象成通过作品对谈的人。齐白石和马蒂斯,至少在我看来,就在谈同一件事,谈平面性,谈独特的美。欣赏他们的作品就像是走进他们座谈的房间,听他们谈话,了解他们的看法,然后你产生自己的观点,带着这些观点走出这个房间。


中国艺术我了解得不够深,但对我极具启发性。他们(中国大师)画山画树,不需要写生,只需要从图谱中找到自己要的那一种,但在真正下笔的时候,就会微微的改变一点,变成自己的山,自己的树,增加那么一点点当代性。

而西方的艺术着着急急的寻找着各种新的图式....


也许我说得有些漫无边际....我们就当这是种拼贴式的闲谈吧。


 

Tal R

1967年生于Tel Aviv,以色列

工作,生活于哥本哈根,丹麦

曾任教于杜塞尔多夫艺术学院,汉堡造型艺术学院,赫尔辛基艺术学院