上世纪初，激进的历史前卫运动彻底否定了漫长的艺术惯例及其历史，开启了一个全新的艺术时代。然而，自60年代以来，前卫的原创性却不断遭到质疑，特别是随着全球化和当代以降，几乎所有的前卫行动都不得不退出历史的舞台，替代它的是 “复制” “挪用” “后制品” 等种种反前卫、反愿景的话语。从此，我们不再相信前卫，也不再相信前卫的原创性，乃至原创性本身。
百年后，AI（如 ChatGPT）的出现及其对艺术界及当前艺术惯例的威胁，将我们再次逼到了一个历史关口。且不论它会不会取代艺术家，乃至取代所有创造（意）性的活动，至少，对于我们已经习以为常的艺术创作经验和方式而言，它的出现无疑是致命的。也因此，为 “前卫” 招魂，重申 “原创” 的意义，在某种意义上成了艺术家和艺术行业自我 “拯救” 的道路之一。我们并不期望由是掀起一场伟大的艺术运动，至少可以因应危机，尝试一次彻底的自我清洗和自我革命，尽管这在当前依然举步维艰。
文 / 鲁明军
At the beginning of the last century, the radical, historic avant-garde movement gave its resolute disapproval of the long conventions and history of art, to open a brand-new art era. However, the originality of avant-garde later found itself facing constant query since the sixties, and more so upon the arrival of the globalization and the contemporary. Almost all the avant-garde actions had to retire from the stage of history. They were replaced by the anti-avant-garde and anti-visionary discourses such as the ‘replication’, ‘appropriation’, or ‘post-production’. From then on, we had lost our faiths in the avant-garde, the originality of it, and even originality per se.
A hundred years later comes the AI (such as the ChatGPT). Its rising and threat to the world and current conventions of art, once again, pushed us against a critical point of history. At least for the experiences and methods of artmaking we are used to, the AI’s coming is doubtlessly fatal. Not to mention whether it may or may not replace the artists, or all original/creative matters. Thus, for artists and the art business, it somehow becomes one of the roads toward self “salvation” to bring back the Avant-garde from death and reclaim the meaningfulness of Originality. We are not expecting to start a grand movement in art. We expect to at least comply with the crisis, and attempt a sheer cleanse and overhaul in ourselves, which still are difficult progress to make at this moment.
This exhibition resembles a questionnaire. The good news is that we find the 36 artists and groups rather optimistic and positive instead of anxious or pessimistic about AI’s rising. They even think of it as an unprecedented opportunity. The title of this exhibition, “Up in the Air” therefore contains two layers of meanings: first we still acknowledge that originality is a myth, up in the clouds. Secondly, despite so we still believe in the possibility and irreplaceable necessity of the original. And forasmuch, it should not be only in the air, but done – all it needs is an opportunity in history just like the one a century ago, or the one in front of us today.
Text / Lu Mingjun