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動物研究室 Animal Lab

當期展覽動物研究室 Animal Lab

動物來自地平線。他們屬於那裡和這裡。同樣地,他們是平凡和不朽的。動物的血液像人類的血液一樣流動,但他的物種是永恆的... ──約翰.伯格(John Berger),《為什麼凝視動物?》(Why Look at Animals)

人類搜集動物活體的歷史脈絡溯及西元前古埃及時代,珍奇異獸象徵著皇室貴族的權力和財富,直至十九世紀前後公共動物園應運而生,背後仍意指著帝國主義及殖民主義對異地的征服;人們開始去動物園觀察動物,動物卻從人類日常生活中逐漸消失。近一百年來世界各國的動物園面臨積極轉型,對於多元物種的尊重意識抬頭,遂也形成正反兩極的聲浪及思辨。2019年末,全臺灣最老動物園──新竹市動物園重啟對外開放,延展八十餘年來民眾與動物園的共同記憶,「以動物為本」的棲地生態思維重塑,成為城市未來生命及永續教育綿延的場域。

人類並不是地球上唯一的感知生命,人類物種並非優越於大自然之外。當逐漸意識到以人類自我中心的過活方式促使大自然生態系運作出現種種難而未解的問題,1970年代西方哲學展開環境倫理學反思人與自然環境的關係,提出「永續發展(Sustainable development)」之價值觀。「永續」的思維不僅在生態科學領域被彰顯,也深深影響著教育思潮,以及當代視覺文化領域的探究。回溯史前藝術之根源,始於人類最古老的繪畫──法國肖維岩洞(Grotte Chauvet)的洞穴動物壁畫及雕刻,遠古人類油然敬畏自然且與萬物有情的生活可見端倪。然而動物在人類歷史和神話中的地位,自工業化和現代資本主義之後將牠們貶謫為功能性物質資源,人與動物之間「生物」的距離遂已漸遠。

即使如此,藝術家對於動物議題的關切,以及在當代視覺文化脈絡下的反思未曾止歇。本展覽「動物研究室」邀請周慶輝、黃建樺、夏愛華、吳權倫、羅晟文、陳佑而、邱君婷、陳聖文、鍾凱翔、萬向欣等十位長期聚焦動物的當代藝術家,以各自擅長的創作媒材為引,以藝術視角呈現他們對動物的紀錄、描繪、探究、共構多元面向的動物研究取徑,檢視人類如何看待、對待動物的方式,進而從動物的主體性,重新思考人與動物間的生命相互尊重之錯綜關係。

論及凝視與被凝視之主客體交互,「動物園」則為人類與動物之間的最直接的橋接。羅晟文長期觀察生活中人與動物的關係,試圖以科學研究方法和藝術創作誘發觀者對人與動物間關係的討論。錄像裝置作品《白熊計畫:大白熊進行曲II》自2014年起取材自歐洲及亞洲25處動物園內人類圈養的北極熊之「刻板行為」,試圖思考展演動物、圈養概念之因果與兩難。同樣以動物園場域為基底,周慶輝2010年展開為期5年的編導式攝影創作系列《人的莊園》,以新竹及高雄壽山動物園為拍攝場景,園內圍籬象徵現代人類身陷牢籠的生活樣態,影射自縛於社會無形制約而無法逃脫的被動處境,以一種荒誕詭譎的時空錯置共演一齣齣華麗視覺卻啞然無語的默劇。

除了真實攝像之外,也有藝術家以當代影像技術擷取、再製、擬真的手法,用於動物影像的再詮釋。黃建樺《編碼者》系列以突兀的拼貼般手法將動物影像置於超現實畫面中,隱喻人類與各物種已進入社群文化重新編碼的時代,以幽默的人性寓言探討人類存在於影像時代的身份定位;吳權倫《標本博物館》裡的動物肖像,探討實虛及虛實之間的應對關係,在真實標本與虛擬3D的重構間開展一種數位再現的可能性。

從視覺觀看至實體的形塑,雕塑家陳佑而將自己從小至今對於動物的關愛與情感,及曾任台北市立動物園志工協助製作動物標本的生命經驗,以生漆創作轉化為如剝製標本般的紀念作品;同樣自幼對動物情有獨鍾的鍾凱翔,中學時開始摸索自製動物紙模型,擅於以瓦楞紙製作栩栩如生的動物立體雕塑,作品細密著墨動物的關節和身體的肌肉線條,模擬人類與動物共生的生命姿態。

當人類文明與自然世界頻繁且密切的交互作用下,部份藝術家自環境永續的思維介入,如陳聖文以創作結合刺繡及人造垃圾,透過具溫度的針、線,栩栩呈現臺灣特有生物的形態,並以《缺席・八月二十九》裝置創作悼念百隻海龜消逝軌跡,表達對於文明與環境議題間的雙向思考。同樣盼以創作喚醒觀者的環保意識,萬向欣海報設計作品《Under 1.0》結合瀕危動物與視力表,結合全球12個國家涵蓋800多種瀕危動物,藉由等比繪製由動物構成、從上而下漸小的「C」字,表達動物的瀕危處境。

當然,也有藝術家嚮往回歸遠古人類與萬物有情的生活景緻,如夏愛華以奇幻的物種隱喻人生,她擅長運用活脫乾漆為創作媒材,透過古老且傳統的雕塑技法創造各種精靈雕塑、繪畫和裝置,深入探究生物「集體潛意識」的共鳴;邱君婷則擅長以繪畫透過動物意象敘述個人生命經驗與整體家族記憶,帶有詩意的線條及寓言情境的想像力。

此外,有電互動所創作的《十勇士》以老鼠為形象,探討在都市化的發展中,人類與自然動物要如何共處,並探尋動物動態所隱含的訊息,進而思考牠們與人類當代社會之間衍生的共存脈絡,開啟一種由動物出發的身體互動及環境對話模式。

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「動物研究室」

▶ 展期|2020/1/14(二)-3/22(日) 10:00-18:00 (免費參觀,週一及民俗節日休館)
▶ 地點|新竹241藝術空間(新竹市中央路241號6F)
▶ 策展人|張馨之
▶ 協同策展人|張聖坤
▶ 參展藝術家|周慶輝、黃建樺、夏愛華、吳權倫、羅晟文、陳佑而、邱君婷、陳聖文、鍾凱翔、萬向欣

🔸指導單位|文化部
🔸主辦單位|新竹市政府
🔸策展團隊| 沃沃美學 wòwò Aesthetics
🔸互動設計| 有電互動
🔸特別感謝| 伊日藝術計劃 YIRI ARTS

 

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“Animals came from over the horizon. They belonged there and here. Likewise they were mortal and immortal. An animal's blood flowed like human blood, but its species was undying…”
—John Berger, Why Look at Animals

The collection of animals can be dated back to the ancient Egypt, when owning exotic animals represented royal power and wealth. In the 19th century, public zoos appeared, indicating the conquering of lands during Colonialism and Imperialism. Since then, people began visiting zoos to observe animals, while animals vanished from human’s daily life gradually. Zoos around the world have transformed in the recent century, as awareness of respect for different species rises, resulting in both positive and negative debates. In the end of 2019, Hsinchu Zoo, the oldest zoo in Taiwan, was reopened to the public, extending the citizens’ 80-year-long memories of the zoo into an animal-oriented environment for future life education.

Human beings are neither the solo living creatures on Earth nor a species superior to the nature. In the 1970s, as people were aware of how human-centered civilisation has caused problems in the ecosystem, western philosophers developed the environmental ethics and reflected on the human-environment relationship, raising the value of “sustainable development”. The concept of sustainability has influenced not only the ecology field but also education, and even contemporary visual art and culture. Prehistoric art originated from the oldest painting in human civilisation – the animal cave paintings and reliefs in Grotte Chauvet, France, where an ancient lifestyle with awe to the nature and beliefs in Animism could be sensed. As the Industrialization and Capitalism trended, animals were relegated from their sacred roles in the history and myths to mere resources, leading to the increasing distance between human and animals.

Despite of the distance, artists’ care for and reflections on animals continue to extend in contemporary visual art and culture. In the exhibition Animal Lab, 10 contemporary artists, dedicated to animal-related artworks, including CHOU Ching Hui, HUANG Chien Hua, HSIA Ai Hua, WU Chuan Lun, LO Sheng Wen, CHEN Yu Erh, CHIU Chun Ting, CHEN Sheng Wen, ZHONG Kai Xiang and WAN Xiang Xin are invited to display their recordings, depictions and researches on animals through the artistic materials they specialize in, constructing an animal lab with various research perspectives. They look into how human understand and interact with animals, further pondering upon the complex human-animal relationship based on mutual respect.

When it comes to watching and being watched, zoos are the direct connections between human and animals. Having been devoted to observations of human and animals, LO Sheng Wen intends to provoke discussions on relations between the two through scientific research methods and art creations. Capturing the stereotypical behaviours of polar bears on display in 25 enclosures in Europe and Asia, video installation “White Bear: The March of the Great White Bear II” intends to ponder upon the contradictions and cause and effects behind displaying animals and animal in captivity. Based also on zoos, CHOU Ching Hui’s staged photography and video series “Animal Farm”, which began from 2010 and lasted for 5 years in Hsinchu Zoo and Shou Shan Zoo, take the enclosures as a metaphor of the encaged life of modern people, indicating the restrained situation through the exquisite mimes in ridiculous sets.

Aside from real shots, some artists apply digital manipulations to capture, reproduce and imitate animal images for reinterpretations. HUANG Chien Hua’s “Transcoder” series sets animals in surrealistic scenes with collage techniques, indicating that human and all species are recoded in the current society, investigating on the identity of human in an image-driven era through humorous visual tales. In WU Chuan Lun “The Museum of Taxidermy”, he looks into the intertwined relations between the reality and virtuality, developing a possible digital reproduction of animals with real taxidermy and virtual 3D graphics.

Extending visual observations into hands-on moulding, CHEN Yu Erh transforms her care and emotions for animals, as well as the taxidermy-creating experiences when volunteering in Taipei Zoo into the taxidermy-like lacquer sculptures, in memory of those lives. Also an animal-lover, ZHONG Kai Xiang began explorations of paper animal modeling since he was in junior high school. He specializes in creating realistic animal sculptures with detailed joints and muscles from corrugated fiberboards, simulating combined figures of human and animal.

As human civilisation and the nature interact frequently and intensely, some artists focus on environmental sustainability. Combining embroidery and wastes, CHEN Sheng Wen vividly embroiders Taiwanese endemic species through the warm texture of the works. He also presents the art installation “Absence on 29th August” in memory of the death of hundreds of sea turtles, expressing double-sided ponderations upon the civilisation and the environment. WAN Xiang Xin designs posters that combine endangered species and eye charts “Under 1.0” to show 800+ animal species in 12 countries, showing different situations that each species is encountering through the size-reducing Landolt C symbols of different animals.

And of course there are artists that yearn for the lifestyle with ancient beliefs in Animism. HSIA Ai Hua tells life stories through fantastic species. She creates fairy sculptures, paintings and installations with the traditional hollow dry lacquer technique, looking into the resonation from all creatures’ subconsciousness. On the other hand, specializing in painting, CHIU Chun Ting narrates her life experiences and family memories through animal paintings with poetic strokes and tale-like imaginary world.

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Animal Lab

▶ Exhibition Period | 10:00-18:00 from 14th Jan to 22nd March, 2020 (Closed on Mondays and holidays)
▶ Location | No.241, Zhongyang Rd., Hsinchu City
▶ Curator | CHANG Hsin Chih
▶ Co-Curator | CHANG Sheng Kun
▶ Artists | CHOU Ching Hui, HUANG Chien Hua, HSIA Ai Hua, WU Chuan Lun, LO Sheng Wen, CHEN Yu Erh, CHIU Chun Ting, CHEN Sheng Wen, ZHONG Kai Xiang and WAN Xiang Xin

🔸 Directed by | Ministry of Culture
🔸 Organized by | Hsinchu City Government
🔸Curated by | wòwò Aesthetics
🔸Interactive Design | ART POWER
🔸Special Thanks to | YIRI ARTS

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