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哈瓦那:霓虹灯之城半世纪后重焕昔日光彩

更新时间:2019/6/12 21:10:46 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Is Havana getting a makeover?
哈瓦那:霓虹灯之城半世纪后重焕昔日光彩

In the mid-1900s, Havana twinkled with thousands of technicolour tubes of neon. The city’s glitterati flocked to grand theatres glowing with multi-coloured facades. Bars thrumming with jukebox tunes beckoned Habaneros inside with flashing signs. And on the city streets, the seductive curves and chrome of American-made cars glinted in the neon-lit night. Havana was a city shining in decadence, culture and art.

20世纪中期的哈瓦那,成千上万盏霓虹灯管闪闪发光;门面灯光斑斓闪耀的大剧院令名流们流连忘返;灯牌标志亮眼的酒吧里,自动点唱机传出的歌声吸引着哈瓦那人。城市的街道上停着美国进口的汽车,汽车动人的线条设计和镀铬光泽,在霓虹灯点亮的夜里闪烁着。曾几何时,哈瓦那是这样一个闪耀的城市,充斥着醉生梦死、文化和艺术。

But following Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution, government regulations and different economic priorities forced many of Havana’s swanky venues to shutter, leaving their neon signs to go black with them. Decades of economic turmoil and tight trade restrictions under the US embargo have made it difficult to repair these rusted relics, and Havana’s once-bright signs have all but faded from memory.

卡斯特罗(Fidel Castro)1959年的革命之后,迫于政府法规和经济重心的转变,很多哈瓦那的时髦场所只得关闭,霓虹灯标志也从此不再闪耀。接踵而来的美国贸易禁令,古巴陷入数十年来的经济动荡和严厉的贸易制裁。要修复这些闪耀的遗迹也就变得十分困难。哈瓦那曾经闪亮多彩的灯牌,差不多也随着记忆慢慢被人们所淡忘了。

Now, more than half a century later, a Cuban artist is switching the city’s vintage neon tubes back on and relighting Havana’s streetscapes for the city’s 500th birthday in 2019. During the past three years, artist Kadir López has been painstakingly rescuing and restoring the city's vintage signs one by one as part of his Habana Light Neon + Signs project. So far, he and his team have resurrected more than 50 signs to their former glory. And, nearly 40 years after it closed, López re-opened Havana’s famous Rex Cinema in April as the new REX Neon Center.

在半个世纪后的今天,有一位古巴艺术家将城市古早的霓虹灯管重新安装了回去,点亮了哈瓦那街景,并以此来庆祝这座城市的第500个生日。过去3年里,艺术家洛佩兹(Kadir López)苦心孤诣,一一寻求城市复古招牌的拯救方式和修复的门道。这是他的艺术项目“哈瓦那霓虹灯光+灯牌”的一部分内容。截至目前,洛佩兹的团队已经修复了50余块霓虹灯招牌,让它们重现了旧日的风采。4月,洛佩兹还重新开放了40多年前的哈瓦著名的雷克斯电影院(Rex Cinema),并将之重新起名为雷克斯霓虹中心(REX Neon Center)。

“Neon has illuminated the dark and allowed people to see what they didn’t see before,” López told me as we sat in the REX. “The effect of neon is phenomenal. People are looking at the city in a different way. With a little bit of light, locals can see the city’s wrinkles and the light of history.”

在雷克斯中心,洛佩兹告诉我说:“霓虹灯能够照亮黑暗,给人们带来全新的景象。它能带来十分惊人的效果。人们现在看待哈瓦那的方式不同了,只要有一点光,哈瓦那人就能够看到这个城市的历史纹路和光亮。”

From the 1930s to 1950s, when bars, boudoirs and burlesque lured the mafia, the rich and the libertine to Cuba, Havana was ablaze with neon signs advertising bawdy theatre, sequinned showgirls, Golden Age celluloid, restaurants and other businesses. Havana had its own Broadway – named Calle 23 – and more than 140 cinemas (more than New York and Paris had at the time), all gleaming with neon.

上世纪30到50年代,酒吧、女士闺房和剧院吸引黑手党、阔佬、花花公子来到古巴寻欢作乐,此时的哈瓦那许许多多的霓虹灯牌,照亮了喧嚣的剧院、身着亮片的歌舞女郎、黄金时代的电影院和餐馆等等。哈瓦那有自己的百老汇卡莱23(Calle 23)和140多家电影院,比当时的纽约和巴黎的电影院还要多。所有的电影院都闪烁着霓虹灯光。

In the 1960s, after the Communist Cuban Revolution closed and nationalised corporate American businesses, Castro’s new government invested in ballet, art, theatre and film, but not in the city’s ageing streets and architecture. Havana’s high-voltage signs were torn down or left to wither in situ like dead fireflies.

上世纪60年代,古巴革命爆发,美资公司被迫关闭,被政府没收国有化。卡斯特罗新政府虽然也投资芭蕾、艺术、戏剧和电影等,但他们没有投资这座城市古老的街道和建筑。哈瓦那形形色色的霓虹灯牌,不是被拆除,就是在原处废弃,像死去的萤火虫一样不再发光。

But thanks to the state’s increased legalisation of private businesses, property sales and foreign investment within the last decade, a growing number of Havana entrepreneurs have begun commissioning neon signs for their new businesses. This newfound commercial interest, coupled with financing from international sponsors for individual signs, has led López’s restoration project to slowly begin re-lighting the once-bright neon signs adorning state-run theatres, cinemas and restaurants that had gone dark in recent decades.

由于过去10年,古巴政府逐渐容许私营企业经营、房地产交易以及国外资本的投资,越来越多的哈瓦那的企业主开始招标,找人为他们的商店制作霓虹灯牌。这是一个全新的商业市场,加之有海外赞助人提供资金支持,洛佩兹的灯牌修复计划开始渐渐有进展,恢复了一些霓虹灯牌,这些霓虹灯曾经在国营剧院、电影院和餐馆的门面上闪闪发光,距今已经黯淡了数十年时间。

López woos potential sponsors with the line “These are abandoned creatures [that] need adopting”.

为了招徕潜在的客户,洛佩兹打出了这样的广告:“[霓虹灯牌]这些曾经被古巴抛弃的生灵,需要有人能来领养”。

Restoring these neon relics is a painstaking process. Once López and his team receive a commission, they set up scaffolding to carefully remove and lower the old sign with rope. They then place it in the back of a pickup truck, drive it back to López’s workshop in the Kohly neighbourhood and begin slowly removing any rust before heating the tubes to bend the letters perfectly back into place. Restoring one sign may take between two or three weeks, depending on the condition of the sign and the complexity of each design. Once the sign is repaired, they’ll drive it back and resurrect it in its original location.

要修复这些霓虹灯牌并不容易。团队一接到订单,就要搭建好脚手架,小心翼翼地将旧灯牌用绳索降下来。随后,他们把灯牌装在皮卡车车兜里,运回洛佩兹在科里(Kohly)街区的工作室。随后,他们便要一点点去除灯牌上的锈迹,所有锈迹清理干净之后,才能加热灯管,将灯管弯曲成所需要的字母。修复一块灯牌,根据灯牌自身状况和设计因素,需要大概两三周的时间。灯牌修复完成后,再运回去,放在原来的位置上,如此让霓虹灯牌起死回生。

Like delicate filigree, López’s bright signs are also helping to shine a light on Havana’s wealth of Baroque, Art Deco and Spanish colonial facades. His team is currently restoring the gloriously curlicue Fin de Siglo sign on the eponymous department store on Galiano Street, signs for the San Rafael Boulevard and the entire neon constellation at the city's famous Tropicana Cabaret. In the past three years, López and his team have restored sparkling tubes for Central Park’s Hotel Inglaterra, the Cine El Mégano theatre and the storied Mella Theatre. Some 150 additional neon signs have been commissioned for restoration.

洛佩兹修复的霓虹灯牌就像金银丝饰品一样,彰显了哈瓦那丰富的巴洛克风格、装饰派艺术风格、以及西班牙殖民风格的建筑艺术。目前,洛佩兹的团队正在修复加利安诺大街同名百货商店的 “世纪之末”(Fin de Siglo)灯牌,这是一块花体字灯牌,十分华丽。他们正在修复的还有圣拉斐尔大道的霓虹灯,以及哈瓦那著名舞厅“热带歌舞女郎”(Tropicana Cabaret)的霓虹灯管群。过去3年里,洛佩兹的团队已经为中央公园的英格兰酒店(Hotel Inglaterra)、埃尔梅加诺剧院(Cine El Mégano)和梅拉剧院(Mella Theatre)修复过灯牌。此外他们一共还接了150块霓虹灯牌的修复订单。

López grew up in Havana, whose streets were littered with rusted and burnt-out signs, but it wasn't until 10 years ago that he became interested in using old signage in his art work – a journey that eventually led him to neon. López began salvaging American petrol station signs from Havana backyards and layering them with 1950s archival photographs. He also began sifting through old maps, albums, letters and discarded signs around Cuba. Some of these signs sported the tell-tale puncture holes of neon tubes. López then took pictures of Havana theatre and cinema facades and translated these snapshots into oil on large-scale canvases for a series displayed during the 2012 Havana Biennial.

洛佩兹在哈瓦那长大,当时街道上常看见不是已经生锈,就是已经烧坏的霓虹灯。10年前,他对将这些旧灯牌应用到自己的艺术作品之中产生兴趣,这最终将他引上了修复霓虹灯的道路。他开始在哈瓦那人的后院里搜集美国加油站的灯牌,然后将其和50年代的档案照片归类放在一起。他也开始在古巴各地搜寻和筛选旧地图、旧唱片、旧信件,以及丢弃的招牌。其中一些招牌上有霓虹灯管的穿孔。然后,他又拍摄了哈瓦那各个剧院和影院的建筑外观,并将这些照片转印成系列大型油画,在2012年哈瓦那双年展期间展出。

López continued to be intrigued by the puncture holes after the 2012 exhibition, and began thinking about incorporating neon into his art. “My training had all been classic, in the durability of art, so I found it hard to define neon as art,” he said. “The light of the neon – a gas in a tube that can’t escape – is akin to putting something in jail where it dies. But then I thought, that same light, the neon, gives a chance to illuminate and make change.”

展出结束后,洛佩兹的兴趣转移到了打孔艺术上,同时也开始思考如何把霓虹灯运用到自己的作品之中。他说:“我所接受的艺术培训都是经典流派的,更多在于表现艺术的耐久性。因此,非要说霓虹灯是一种艺术,我自己也很难接受。霓虹灯之所以能发光,是因为人们将稀有气体放入了密闭的管道之中,就像是把东西关进监狱里,让其慢慢死去。但后来我想,同样的霓虹灯光,也能带来光明、带来改变。”

In a country that produces very little, forcing thousands to go bulk shopping in Miami and Panama for everything from spare tools to paint, López wondered how he could make neon with limited materials. But his light-bulb moment came when he tracked down two Cuban glass workers and began repairing existing tubes using old tools discovered in Havana. A fortuitous meeting with Cuban-American neon sign restorer Adolfo Nodal and an introduction to Jeff Friedman of New York’s Let There Be Neon studio forged the perfect fit. With Nodal’s background and Friedman's expertise, logistics and donated supplies, López’s Habana Light Neon + Signs project was born.

古巴生产力落后,从备用工具到油漆,所有东西都要到迈阿密或者巴拿马批量买入。如何在材料有限的情况下制作霓虹灯,是当时让洛佩兹十分头疼的问题。有一回,他正在寻找两个古巴玻璃工匠,并开始用现成的旧工具修复起了哈瓦那的旧灯管,这时机遇来到。偶然的一次机会,他遇到了以修复霓虹灯为业的古巴裔美国人诺达尔(Adolfo Nodal),此外经人介绍他认识了纽约"要有霓虹灯"(Let There Be Neon)工作室的弗莱德曼(Jeff Friedman)。这两次机遇促成了完美的结果。有了诺达尔的技术背景和弗莱德曼的专业知识、后勤和资金支援,洛佩兹的“哈瓦那霓虹灯光+灯牌”计划开始起步。

López converted his backyard in Havana into a workshop. It soon took on the appearance of an unkempt graveyard with signs, wires and jumbled neon. He was at the point of quitting when he learned that Cuba’s first multiplex theatre, the 1938-built Rex Cinema, could be rented from the government. Undeterred by decades of stacked sewage inside the abandoned 650-sq-m space, López and a team of construction workers began restoring the Rex and the adjacent former Cine Duplex, transforming the two into the new multipurpose REX Neon Center.

洛佩兹把哈瓦那住所的后院改建成了工作坊。其后院很快就乱如坟场,到处堆放着各种灯牌、线缆,以及混杂的霓虹灯管。有一段时间,洛佩兹几乎要放弃了,但突然得知古巴的第一家多功能剧院,即1938年建成的雷克斯电影院,政府将开放租赁。这个面积达650平方米已荒废的电影院,堆积了几十年的污水垃圾。洛佩兹没有望而却步,他和施工团队一起修复了雷克斯电影院和旁边的并联影院(Cine Duplex),并把两者合而为一,全新的多功能雷克斯霓虹中心随之诞生了。

In addition to housing a dazzling display of restored signs, the newly opened centre features displays about Havana's neon heritage and an array of old neon lights. The former Cine Duplex will feature a lecture space, a theatre to screen films about art and a gallery featuring the work of Cuban artists. A production centre with an in-house glass worker is set to open in the future. The hope, according to López and Nodal, is to interest young Cubans in neon light work.

雷克斯霓虹中心除了陈列令人眼花缭乱的修复好的灯牌,还展示哈瓦那的霓虹灯文化遗产,以及一系列旧的霓虹灯。从前的并联影院,以后会改成一个讲演厅,和一个放映艺术电影的剧院,以及一个展示古巴艺术家作品的展览厅。未来还会开放生产中心,里面会配备一个室内玻璃工匠。洛佩兹和诺达尔希望以此吸引古巴的青年人,让他们投身霓虹灯相关的产业之中。

Nodal’s backstory could not be more perfect to help spark Havana’s neon revolution. He spent 25 years restoring 300 signs in Los Angeles, driving the streets “like the neon police,” he said. These days, when Nodal is in Havana working on the project with López, he spends his time sifting the streets in search of forlorn dangling signs. “We want to protect them now as people will take them down,” he said.

诺达尔的故事最能激发哈瓦那的霓虹革命。他在洛杉矶做了25年的霓虹灯修复工作,修复了300个霓虹灯,他说,他的作品犹如"霓虹警察"般装点着洛杉矶的街道。当前,诺达尔在哈瓦那给洛佩兹的计划帮忙。他经常在街道上寻找落单的灯牌。他说:“现在有人想拆除灯牌,我们希望给予保护。”

“The ultimate goal is to bring back a sense of light in the public realm,” Nodal said. “It’s great to see an artist changing the way a city looks.”

诺达尔说:“我们的最高目标,就是把过去霓虹灯光灿烂的场景重新带回大众的视野之中。艺术家们努力改变城市形象,让我觉得很欣慰。”

I left the REX, walking past the blinking scarlet-red Cinecito sign towards the ice-blue letters signalling the Inglaterra and set up my camera to capture these treasures glowing in the dusk. The street was thronged with tourists and locals, and as they strolled under the neon signs fronting the city’s theatres, cinemas and cocktail bars, Havana never seemed to shine brighter.

从雷克斯霓虹中心离开后,我前往英格兰酒店那冰蓝色的灯牌,途中路过了闪烁着猩红灯光的影院灯牌。写有英格兰字母的灯牌在黄昏下发着蓝光,我拿出相机拍下这薄暮时分灯光闪耀的美景。大街上游客和当地居民熙来攘往,络绎不绝。他们在剧院、影院和酒吧闪耀的霓虹灯牌之下信步闲逛,这时的哈瓦那是格外的亮眼。

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