深圳当代艺术的发展最早可以溯源至85新潮时期，当时深圳作为一个新兴的、充满想象张力的城市，催生和兴起了一些零星的艺术行动和个体实践，但其时，深圳的使命还是在于经济和政治领域的试验与奇迹创造，文化艺术的发展处于 “萌而未发” 的状态。
深圳当代艺术呈现出个体迁徙、频繁流动的状态，我们对 “深圳当代艺术家” 的界定也因应这种特质。他们中既有深耕二三十年的艺术家梁铨、周力，也有在深圳开启其艺术的重要岁月后又北上的蒋志，还有新生代的80后艺术家李燎；既有近几年离开学院迁徙到深圳的薛峰，也有处于候鸟状态、将深圳作为 “落脚城市” 的沈少民。我们都将他们纳入到深圳当代艺术家的范畴进行考察、梳理和展览呈现。我们当然深知其判断本身一方面会推动地方艺术生态的基础建设，同时也意味着这个工作会充满挑战和艰辛。但我们坚信，发展到今天的深圳当代艺术，亟需对自己过去短暂而丰富的历史进行回顾、梳理和审视，并对此时此地的现场形成观察和判断。深圳当代艺术要继续靠前走，就需要有一些自我的审视和冒险。
记得已故的深圳当代艺术的重要推动者、艺术评论家黄专说过一句话：“不是什么时代都能进入历史，只有那些真正改变了我们的生活价值的时代才能进入历史；不是任何人都能进入历史，只有那些真正具有创造能力的人才能进入历史。” 坪山美术馆就是在寻找那些 “改变” 和 “创造”，并将其编织到当代艺术的深圳叙事之中，我们希望以此为深圳、为中国南方当代艺术生态搭建出一些牢固和有时间重量感的 “基础设施”。
蒋志个展《刻舟的人》希望用改变展式空间的方式使 “观看” 以新的外貌构成新的展览概念，在展厅中开辟一条隧道，用缩小观众身体空间并调暗亮度的方式重构 “观看” 行为。所以姑且可以称我们将置身于一个展览宇宙 —— 面孔、言语、童话和渴望的具体化身。它的形态或许需要嵌入宇宙秩序在身体器官和社会延伸中的循环往复的再现。在这个召唤观看的装置里，观众不能走近作品，但可以走进作品。艺术家在用拍摄的方式进行观看，本展览也希望重现艺术家创作里的 “对观看的观看”；塑造一个个纵情延伸眼睛去包容旧的现实的姿势，塑造一个产生新的意识的空间。
展览名来源于蒋志文章《刻舟的人》。那个人 “在船边剑掉落的地方刻上一道”，虽然 “明知道在那里刻上一个记号是徒劳的…… 但这种行为本身是完成一件关于信念的事情。这个失去的事件需要被铭记。” 艺术家习惯于 “刻下”，不光是记录下周遭的片段、稍纵即逝的表情、行为社会的他者投射，也是用绘画、摄影、录像等方式留住的某种状态，用图像获得另一种意义的行为，发生另一种真实，为了平息…… 或可说，本次展览是由被刻下的意义所组成的聚集体。何况，《刻舟的人》意在打开了一个记忆的价值空间，不愿意看到历史记忆变得残缺，他收集可能会被遗忘的被时间熄灭的石火，收集片刻的电光。这并非要恢复一种有序的时间，而更倾向于相信一种拼贴的时间，这种时间体现于各种事物之间的散点式的并置。
在展览之中，“刻舟的人” 并不是被当作一个孤立的客体。展览希望能够建立起一种目光和所思的具体对象之间的关系。不是强制的关系，而是像星星一样松散却又是联结着的关系。展览使过去的事件与过去的事件相联系，或是与现在相联系。它作为一种历史发展的映像，体现了从 “童话” 到历史观念的变迁。各个星是独立的，却又与其他星之间产生不可估量的引力和张力，显现它们之间平等的并置关系，互为隐喻和寓言的关系，相互吸引和影响的关系，相互撞击、斗争的关系。正因为如此，“刻舟的人” 也不是一个总和，相反，它被置于一个强调与其他概念之间的相互联系和作用的力场之中的一个单位，一个作为自由开放过程的客体。作为一个反体系，展览的空间特征可以解释它的各个组成部分之间非线性的张力，用构建一个力场来思考非同一性，这个力场是历史性的个体之间所建立的不固定的和平共存的关系。希望用此模式将展览思想从固定的范式中解放出来，开启一系列的可能性。比如，一个交互关系构成的运动，一个不断地更新自己的意义域的观看行为，一个有无数把钥匙的保险箱，一个没有建构终结的星群。
Pingshan Art Museum | Shenzhen Contemporary Artists Series | Prelude
Making History and Making Endeavors
The development of contemporary art in Shenzhen can be traced back to as early as 85 New Wave period. At that time, as a burgeoning and imaginative city, Shenzhen gave birth to some sporadic art movements and individual practices. However, Shenzhen then was obligated to undertake the mission of conducting experiments and thereby working miracles in the economic and political fields. As a result, culture and art were emerging, with dramatic growth yet to come.
Until 1997, Shenzhen witnessed the building and opening of He Xiangning Art Museum and Guan Shanyue Art Museum in the same year. Contemporary art in Shenzhen has shown an increasingly clear academic positioning, while demonstrating the rise and vitality of Pearl River Delta in the contemporary art context. In 2005, OCAT, initiated by Huang Zhuan among others, was formally established in Shenzhen, marking the awakening of the subjective consciousness of contemporary art in Shenzhen. It can be concluded that Shenzhen position and its independent efforts concerning Chinese contemporary art have helped facilitate the academic research and value construction of Chinese contemporary art. At this stage, the contemporary art in Shenzhen has also witnessed the sprouting of non-indigenous and events-based art when a surprising number of biennales came out. Objectively speaking, the series of practices loosened and cultivated the soil for contemporary art in Shenzhen, while promoting and shaping the basic appearance of the development of contemporary art in Shenzhen today.
Against this backdrop, Pingshan Art Museum was established as the times demanded. Over the past two years of work, we have been emphasizing historical perspectives, contemporary pivots and prudent judgment, which should play a role in the construction of contemporary art scenes and local art. Based on the realistic situation and development stage of contemporary art in Shenzhen, the Shenzhen Contemporary Artists Series is expected to promote the major construction of contemporary art in Shenzhen by means of inspiring, assisting and inheriting acts. We hope to present the structure and texture of Shenzhen contemporary art through the analysis of individual cases. The richer the texture, the greater intellectual thickness and potential the city will have.
The contemporary art in Shenzhen presents a state of individual migration and frequent movement, which prompts the definition of “Shenzhen Contemporary Artists”. Among them are the artists Liang Quan and Zhou Li who have been involved into the field for 20 or 30 years, Jiang Zhi who went north after the momentous years of starting out a career as an artist in Shenzhen, as well as Li Liao born in 1980s. Besides, the said artists also include Xue Feng who has left school and moved to Shenzhen, and Shen Shaomin, who treats Shenzhen as a temporary place of lodging like a migratory bird. We categorize them as Shenzhen contemporary artists for inspection, sorting and exhibiting. Certainly, we are aware that the judgment itself will promote the infrastructure construction of the local art ecology on the one hand, which also means that this work will be full of challenges and hardships. However, we firmly believe that the shenzhen contemporary art today needs to be reviewed, sorted out and examined concerning its short yet rich history, thus resulting in observations of and judgments on the scene here and now. Should the contemporary art in Shenzhen advance, it needs some self-examination and adventure.
I recall that the late Huang Zhuan, an important promoter of contemporary art in Shenzhen and an art critic, said: “Not all times can go down in history. Only those times that have truly changed the value of our lives can make history; not everyone can go down in history. Only those who are genuinely able to produce creations can pass into history.” Pingshan Art Museum is looking for those “changes” and “creations”, while weaving them into the narrative of Shenzhen contemporary art. We hope to build some solid and time-honored “infrastructure” for Shenzhen and for the contemporary art ecology in southern China.
Liu Xiaodu, Director of Pingshan Art Museum
Zhong Gang, Editor of Readers of Shenzhen Contemporary Artists Series
Jiang Zhi: The Man Who Carves the Boat
The Man Who Carves the Boat, Jiang Zhi’s solo exhibition, hopes to reform “viewing” into a new exhibiting concept by way of changing the exhibiting space, a new channel is dug out for reforming the action of “viewing” by minimizing the physical spaces taken by viewers and dimming the lights. Let’s say that we are now in a universe of exhibition, with the embodiment of faces, languages, fairytales and desires. Its form may need installing by a universe order before it can reiterate in the cycle of human physical organs and social extension. In this installation calling for viewing, the viewers though stop far off the work, but rather step into the work. The artist views the world through photographing, which becomes the theme of this exhibition, namely presenting the “viewing on the viewing” in artistic creation. In this process, multiple eyes of extension are created to embrace the traditional real-life forms; a new space for consciousness is shaped.
The title of the exhibition comes from Jiang Zhi’s article The Man Who Carves the Boat. The man “carves on the boat where he dropped his sword.” He “knows that he did this in vain. But the carving, or recording, matters: it is here that he experienced loss. This conduct is to complete something about faith: the loss shall be remembered.” The artist is prone to “carve”: he not only records the episodes surrounding him, the transient facial expressions, and the projection of social behaviors, but also keeps some status down by way of drawing, photographing and filming — he tends to grasp meaning through the pictures, to generate a different kind of truth, or to appease… In other words, this exhibition is aggregated with carved meanings. What’s more, The Man Carving the Boat aims to open a value space for memory. Reluctant to see fragmentariness in historical memory, Jiang Zhi collects the fire that may be extinguished by time, and the memory that may be forgotten. In his temporary act of collecting, he tries to resist the loss and destruction of memory. This collection is not for restoring an orderly arranged time, but for collaging time which is shown in the juxtaposition of entities in chaotic and scattered ways.
Among all the exhibitions, The Man Who Carves the Boat is not recognized as an individual object. The aim of this exhibition is to establish a kind of relation between sight and the target in the sight, which shall not be compulsory, but be loosely connected, just like stars. The exhibition establishes relations between the events in the past, or those with the present. It, while mirroring the historical development, reflects the shift from “fairy tales” to historical concepts. Each star is in itself independent; but they together form constellations — such a relation guarantees the independence and essence of each star, which promotes the inestimable gravity and tension with other stars, and thus elaborates the juxtaposition of their equal existence. They are metaphors and fables to each other; they attract and influence each other; and they collide and struggle with each other, rather than resorting to compromise or merger. Because of this, The Man Carving the Boat is not a sum, instead, it is positioned as a section in a force field where the correlations and mutual-functions of concepts are stressed, thus assuming the position as an object in a free and open process. The exhibition, as a counter-system, applies its spatial features to explain the nonlinear tension between each component, creating a force field for us to ponder over the nonidentity which represents a relation of unstable yet peaceful coexistence among each individual along the historical past. With this, it is hopeful to release the concept of exhibition from the standard mode for a new series of possibilities: for instance, a movement made up by interrelations, an action of viewing that enables the self-updating of meaning, a safe box with endless keys, or a constellation without termination.
Wang You, Curator