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日历上的海报:为什么这幅画传递了时代的焦虑

更新时间:2019/2/18 21:15:01 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The image that sums up our anxieties?
日历上的海报:为什么这幅画传递了时代的焦虑

If you want to measure the soul of an age, don’t rifle through its literature or wrestle with the writings of its thinkers. Study instead how it decorates its calendars. Calendar designs quietly attest to how a culture grapples with its perishable presence in the world. An illustrated history of humankind is waiting to be compiled, stretching from ancient Egypt to the present day, that showcases the evolution of how we adorn those rigid grids of days and weeks and years through which our lives are slowly sieved.

切不要通过文学,亦或是埋头于这个时代思想家的作品,来衡量一个时代的灵魂。相反,可以研究一下这个时代日历的画面。日历的设计在潜移默化中展示了某个文明是如何挣扎求生的。古埃及时代开始,人们就已经将历史绘声绘色地编纂成历书,展示了人们生老病死的过程,展示某几天、某几周或是某几年的行为的缓慢演变过程。

What it says about our own era that, at the start of 2019, the bestselling wall calendars feature cats performing yoga and (perhaps a variation on the same theme) the pouty poses of Little Mix and Liverpool FC, is for our descendants to decide. A mesmerising poster for the Viennese calendar firm Fromme’s, designed 120 years ago by the Austrian artist Koloman Moser, offers an intriguing window into one of the most ambitious imaginations in modern art. The poster is currently on display in Vienna at the MAK (the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art) as part of an exhibition devoted to the manifold artistic creations of Moser, who collaborated – in the closing years of the 19th Century – with Gustav Klimt in founding the pioneering art movement known as the Vienna Secession.

历史对我们所处时代的描述取决于后世的人。2019年初,卖得最好的日历图案包括瑜伽猫、摆出销魂姿势的英国女子音乐组合混合甜心(Little Mix),以及利物浦足球俱乐部。维也纳傅罗曼日历公司Fromme有一张120年前的海报,是由奥地利艺术家科罗曼‧莫泽设计的。海报十分迷人,饶有生趣,用最丰富的想象为人们打开了现代艺术的大门。目前,这张海报在维也纳的MAK博物馆展出。展览致力于展现莫泽的多种艺术创作方式。19世纪末,莫泽同奥地利着名象征主义画家克里姆特(Gustav Klimt)一起发起具有开创性意义的维也纳分离派运动。

Moser’s heavily stylised portrait for ‘Fromme’s Kalendar’ is dominated by the sidelong stare of a mysterious woman whose air of cold clairvoyance is in accord with the artistic temperament of the times. Gazing past the hourglass that she lifts like a sacred chalice or sacrificial offering, this archetypal mystic could easily have been modelled after a young Madame Blavatsky, the Russian occultist philosopher and co-founder of the Theosophical Society, whose esoteric ideas about Ancient Wisdom were shaping the artistic attitudes of everyone from Piet Mondrian to Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky to Hilma af Klint.

莫泽为傅罗曼日历设计的画面风格很凝重,画面中一个侧面斜视着的神秘女子占据了主要空间,她穿透时空的冷漠眼神与该时代的艺术气质极相吻合。这位神秘女子以捧着圣杯或是贡品的虔敬态度拿着一个沙漏,但她的目光却越过沙漏凝视着前方。她的原型很可能是年轻的布拉瓦茨基夫人(Madame Blavatsky),她是俄罗斯神秘主义哲学家、以及神智学会的联合创始人。布拉瓦茨基夫人在古希腊罗马哲学智慧方面有着独到的内行见地,影响了很多人的艺术态度,如蒙德里安(Piet Mondrian)、马列维奇(Kazimir Malevich)、康定斯基(Wassily Kandinsky)、克里姆特等(Hilma af Klint)。

Designed in 1899, as an increasingly industrialising world braced itself for the uncertainties of a new century, Moser’s enigmatic portrait vibrates with anxiety about what lies ahead for mankind. To judge from the diminishing volume of sand in the upper bulb of the hourglass, time is quickly running out. As our eyes swivel from that ominous timepiece to the curvilinear ribbons and tresses that flow from the seer’s temples, a cascade that merges into her shadowy physique, we begin to suspect that our elusive woman is less an actual figure in the here-and-now and more a kind of cursive character to be read – a symbol, perhaps even an ancient one, of riddling portent.

十九世纪工业化进程日益加剧,人类面临一个诸多不确定性的新世纪,莫泽1899年设计的这幅神秘的日历肖像图,传达出着当时人们对于人类未来的不确定而感到的焦虑。画中沙漏里上层的沙子逐渐流失,似乎暗示人类时日已无多。把视线从这个不祥的沙漏移到这个看向沙漏的女人面部时,看到的是女人弯曲的长发,如同瀑布一般和她朦胧的身躯融为一体。不禁让人猜想,这个谜一样的女人或许不是现实中真实存在的女子,她更像是一个即兴画出的人物,是一个象征,或許是一个古老的谜语,需要我们去解读。

A bold new frontier

大胆的艺术新疆界

In her emotional evasiveness and refusal to be pinned down to any particular time or place, Moser’s inscrutable construct can be understood as a close cousin of the countless allegorical enchantresses that come glitteringly to life on the surface of Klimt’s works. Klimt’s own alluring watercolour Allegory of Sculpture, created the same year as Moser’s poster, for a festschrift to mark the 25th anniversary of the Imperial Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (today’s MAK), is also on display in the exhibition.

虽然,画中女子的情感缥缈,而且很难定义她来自哪个时段、是哪里人,但是画家难以捉摸的构图还是能够让人理解的。 无数充满寓意神秘魅惑的女子在克里母特的画布上金光闪闪,栩栩如生,而莫泽的这幅作品就是它们的近亲。莫泽创作这幅海报的同年,克里姆特为庆祝帝国皇家奥地利艺术和工业博物馆(MAK博物馆)25周年纪念日而创作了水彩作品《雕塑的寓意》(Allegory of Sculpture),如今也一同展出。

Six years Klimt’s junior, Moser shared with the creator of The Kiss (1907) a passionate belief that art in Vienna had grown far too fusty and academic in its prejudices. Together with a clutch of avant-garde architects and painters (including Wilhelm Bernatzik, Josef Hoffmann, Max Kurzweil, and Joseph Maria Olbrich), Moser and Klimt established a new consortium of contemporary energy that sought to challenge conservative artistic norms, especially those that demanded fealty to nationalist themes and subjects.

莫泽比克里姆特小6岁,但在艺术观念上他和这位在1907年创作了着名作品《亲吻》的艺术大师持有一样的激情信念,都认为维也纳的艺术圈子过于迂腐守旧、充斥了学究气息且偏见十足。他们同先锋建筑家和画家一道[包括贝尔纳齐克(Wilhelm Bernatzik)、霍夫曼(Josef Hoffmann)、库尔兹威尔(Max Kurzweil)和奥布里希(Joseph Maria Olbrich)创立了一个新的当代艺术流派,以挑战保守的艺术教条,尤其是那些要求艺术服务于民族主义主题和题材的条条款款。

Determined to break free from the shackles of expectation, the Vienna Secessionists welcomed innovation, in whatever form it might take, and eclectically embraced the competing objective of Symbolist, Realist, and Impressionist artists in forging an aesthetic that was crisp and fresh and unapologetically modern. Moser’s sibylline sorceress can be seen as the poster child of a bold new movement that played by its own mysterious rules.

他们自称维也纳分裂派,决心摆脱艺术界期待的束缚,欢迎任何形式的创新,打折扣地接受象征主义、现实主义以及印象派艺术家在铸造一种清新且义无反顾的现代美学时那种要独树一帜的目的。莫泽这幅神秘的巫女,可以被理解成是一场大胆的新艺术运动的海报产物,是按照其独家的神秘原则而创作出来。

In Moser’s own mind, it was not enough, however, that the artificial boundaries that separated artistic styles should be erased. The arbitrary distinctions between high and low art, enforced by the elites who control culture, should go as well. The pursuits of painting and sculpture had wrongly been elevated, Moser felt, over folk craft and the fashioning of the objects we use in everyday life. Committed to the concept of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or ‘total work of art’, Moser ambitiously committed himself in the late 1890s not to bridging the distance between fine and applied arts, but to creating from the historical friction between the two a lustrous synthesis. “It is out of the tension between these two opposites,” according to curator Christian Witt-Dörring, that Moser “designs the volume of his practical objects”.

然而莫泽个人认为,抹去人为创造的艺术风格界限还远远不够。他还认为,掌控文化的艺术精英们人为地将艺术划分为高雅与低俗两类的旧习也该退出历史。在他看来,绘画、雕塑这样的艺术形式不该被过份抬高价值,让人觉得它们就是高于民间艺术、以及我们日常生活中的一些时尚玩意。莫泽深信总体艺术(Gesamtkunstwerk)的概念,在19世纪90年代后期,莫泽不仅致力于缩小高雅艺术与应用艺术之间的距离,并且还消除了两者之间的历史摩擦,创造出华丽的作品。展览的策划人多林(Christian Witt-Dörring)说:“考虑到这两种对立艺术形式之间的紧张关系,展览的设计突出了莫泽应用艺术作品的分量。”

Moser began conceiving of the spaces that we inhabit as stages on which every object, however utilitarian, should match in its exquisite stylishness every other object we encounter. For a decade, from the inception of the Vienna Secession in 1897, Moser would devote himself to designing a dizzying array of furniture, ceramics, silverware, glass works, stained-glass windows, and graphic arts whose elegance embody his unifying vision. His commitment to conceiving a ‘total work of art’ only accelerated in 1903 with his co-founding, along with Josef Hoffmann, of the legendary Wiener Werkstätte, a workshop of master tradesman dedicated to creating objects of timeless grace.

莫泽开始把我们所居住的地方当作他艺术构思的舞台,无论实用与否,每一个设计的器具都会以其精美的形式与我们日常所见的器物相匹配。1897年维也纳分离派创立的十年后,莫泽投身于设计家具、陶器、银器、玻璃工艺品、彩色玻璃窗以及绘画等令人眼花缭乱的艺术作品,这些作品优雅地体现了他一贯的艺术视野。至于他所设想的总体艺术概念,一直到1903年,他与霍夫曼(Josef Hoffmann)共同创办了著名的维也纳工作室才得以发扬光大。这个工作室的成员都是致力于打造永恒艺术品的大师级艺术家。

A symbol of the eternal

永恒的象征

If we look closer at Moser’s poster for Fromme’s calendar, a detail that one might dismiss as a mere stylistic flourish suddenly seems resonant with meaning – a secret shorthand for the artist’s unifying philosophy. Orbiting the hourglass that the sphinx-like sorceress lifts is a snake or dragon devouring its own tail. Known as an ‘ouroboros’, this esoteric symbol originated in antiquity and was associated in Ancient Egypt with the union of the realm of the sun god Ra, and that of the god of the underworld and afterlife, Osiris. In later eras, the emblem of a self-consuming serpent would be seized upon by alchemists and theologians alike as denoting the eternal harmony of all things.

仔细观察莫泽为傅罗曼设计的日历海报,有一个细节,人们可能会以为是装饰,因而没有注意到。一旦知道了它的含义,就别有一番趣味了:那是一个神秘的符号,体现了画家认为万物一体,万物皆可以是艺术的哲学思想。那位带有斯芬克斯神秘气味的女子手里举着的沙漏上绕着一圈首尾相接的蛇(也可能是龙)。这种神秘符号起源于远古,叫做“衔尾蛇”。古埃及的太阳神、以及掌管阴间和往生的神奥西里斯(Osiris)都和衔尾蛇有着一定关联。后来的炼金术师和神学家都会以自噬蛇作为万物永恒和谐的象征。

That a snake bracelet has also wrapped itself around the arm in Klimt’s own Allegory of Sculpture establishes a unity across the creative consciousnesses of the Secessionists. Encircling, as it does, the emptying hourglass in Moser’s poster, the ouroboros asserts a cosmic order that supersedes the clumsy calibrations of time in this world. Once spotted, the ancient symbol transforms Moser’s poster into a New Age tarot, one whose unflinching fortitude trumps any anxieties about the future that lies ahead.

克里姆特的作品《雕塑的寓意》中,也有一条蛇形手镯缠绕在雕像的手臂上,体现了分裂派艺术家艺术创造意识上的合一思想。正如莫泽海报中一端快倒空的沙漏一般,衔尾蛇代表了一种周而复始的概念,是坚持用宇宙秩序取代人间笨拙的时间计量方式。一旦观众发现了这一细节,莫泽的海报就能够被解读成是新时代占卜用的塔罗牌:莫泽所展现的坚毅和不屈不挠,完全战胜了对于未来的焦虑。

The ouroboros, resuscitated by Moser as an emblem of unity for an age of uncertainty, offers itself as a lens through which one can bring into sharper focus the full spectrum of the artist’s creativity. The curators of Koloman Moser: Universal Artist Between Gustav Klimt and Josef Hoffmann have assembled an impressive array of objects produced by the artist, before he decided to step away from the financially floundering Wiener Werkstätte in 1907 to return exclusively to painting. From innovative wooden writing desks with disappearing chairs, to lidded silver goblets as shapely as orchid buds, to ornamental boxes wrought with the charm of a treasure salvaged from a dream, the works summoned for the show reveal Moser’s artistic ingenuity.

莫泽重新使用衔尾蛇这个古代象征图像,用以表现这个充满不确定性时代将归而为一。衔尾蛇这一标志如同一块透镜一般,从中我们能够更清晰地看到这位艺术家全部的创造力。展览《莫泽:将克里姆特和霍夫曼归一的艺术家》的策划人集合了一系列莫泽的设计作品。1907年,维也纳工作室财务困难,莫泽才离开工作室,一门心思投入到绘画中。从不配备坐椅的创新木质写字台,到带盖的银质兰花状高脚杯,还有从梦里汲取魅力灵感制作而成的首饰盒。这些作品展示了莫泽天才的艺术创作力。

Samples of fabric patterns also created during this period seem at once familiar in their organic nature and strangely abstract in their biomorphic whimsy, as if presciently anticipating the non-figurative concerns of later artists. Lost in these absorbing designs that suggest an enveloping harmony over all things, visitors will fathom anything they want. Personally, I see a supple squadron of kittens limbering up for sun salutations and downward dogs.

在此期间莫泽创作的织物图案似乎既保留了物体的自然属性,又在生物形态上有着天马行空的创意。就仿佛莫泽未卜先知,知道后世的艺术家会更加注重非具象的东西。这些设计达到了一种包罗万象的和谐状态。参观者沉浸在莫泽的作品中,在此能够充分发挥自身的想象。就我而言,我看到的是一窝柔软的瑜伽小猫,它们正在热身,准备做瑜伽拜日式和下犬式动作。

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