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Death-Pay on the Coral Island (1980), Shanghai Film Studio, Directed by Zhang Hongmei

Surprise Attack (1960), August First Film Studio, Directed by Xu Youxin

Surprise Attack (1960), August First Film Studio, Directed by Xu Youxin

The photo archives from the local drama ensemble around 1960s to 1970s in China.

Retransformation of the Supporting Roles ( will be finish at 2018……)

2017,  HD  video installation, size variable

China since the 1950s , artistic practices grounded on policies and political agendas unfurled in various fields, and film production was no exception. A series of anti-fascisim, anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism, anti-socialist revisionism films became a gesture for political position, in this ideological “mobilization”, there was an urgency for the antagonist roles in order to contrast with the wise and courageous national heroes, the defiant fighters, fearless martyrs, resolute even in death type of revolutionary persona and etc, and what set off from these “protagonists” are the number of “villains” in “supporting roles” or the “counterpart temporary actors”, in order to “realistically” portray these “supporting roles”, in a period of political enclosure and tense military relations with the outside world, these roles had to be played by Chinese actors, some of the, are professional actors of the Uyghur, Kazaks, Muslim Minories, some are mixed blood with Russians, or han Chinese actors who had angular facial features that made make-up possible. Their retransformation allow them to adroitly dive into the satirical performance demanded of them in those scenarios, some of their hideous and creepy acting only flashed by on the large screen, others were depicted as the clumsy or cunning characters fulfill the imagination of the foreign enemies that their impact resonates in mainstream media until this day, whenever the internal political situation intensifies, these foreign “enemies” resurface, who are eternally relevant to whatever the current political satire may be, their restaged confrontation are aimed at defeating internal national conflicts.

As I give emphasis on the portrayal of these characters, most of them appear ferocious and conniving,  they are the American soldiers on the battlefield of the Korean War; the arrogant, dissolute and sinful European and American sailors stationed off the shores of Chinese seaports, or the European missionaries disguised as politicians during the colonial era, and the corrupt Soviet high ranking officers and spies. These characters have become the symbols of an “era”, which are being translated, appropriated again and again, their ghostly portraits and arrogant behavior have become the inseparable forms that is no exception in the contemporary art profession; in this double-channel video, I invited 5-6 actors, who are actors from the Uyghur, Kazaks and Muslim minorities of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, they will be assigned to play multiple roles, in the stereotypical scenarios of various political eras, deflecting off each other, repeating their performances by switching roles, as an infinite abyss. 

These “supporting roles” beg our reflection on the spectacle of reality that are common today, in a so-called context of “global contemporary art”, we are accustomed to assume to role of the “other”, which conceals a rather complex and conflicting mood and a unsettled sense of “homelessness”, and we, who play the global roles,  are enwrapped by the discourse and ideas of “center” and “periphery”, “participants” and “others”, “the participant” and the “observer”, they are the ineffable and undispelled ghosts, we continue to yearn for a “transformation”, or another round of changing roles, in order to fulfill our psychological desire to become the “protagonist”.

摇身一变

2016-(?) 即将呈现最终版本

中国从50年代开始,以政治方针、革命路线为基础的文艺创作在各个领域展开,在电影生产中也不例外。一系列关于反法西斯、反殖民主义、反帝国主义、反社会主义修正主义等影视作品成为了一种政治立场的手势,而在这场意识形态的“动员”之中,迫切需要一种敌对角色来反衬志勇双全的民族英雄、不屈不挠的斗士、大无畏的牺牲者、立场坚定宁死不屈的革命形象等等,而能够映衬这种“主角”形象的是兼具一系列“恶劣”品质的“配角”或“反派临时演员”,为了更加”写实”的妆点这些“配角”,在政治全面封锁、军事关系紧张的一段时间里,必须由中国演员来扮演这些角色,他们有的是国内专业的维吾尔族、哈萨克族、回族演员,也有少数中俄混血、或五官棱角清晰便于乔庄伪造身份的汉族演员。他们摇身一变,熟练的投入进剧情所需要的讽刺性表演当中,他们有的仅仅在荧幕前狰狞、猥琐的一闪而过,有的则被刻画的笨头笨脑或阴险诡诈,直至今天这些对于外部敌人的想象一直萦绕在各种大众传媒当中,一旦出现内部紧张的局势,这些外部的“敌人”又一次次的登场,他们永远与讽刺性的语境相连接,在一次次转身对视中意图击退国家内部的矛盾。

在我侧重描绘的这些人物当中,他们大多是面目狰狞、心思诡诈,在朝鲜战场的美国士兵;骄奢淫逸的驻留在中国港口沿岸的欧美水兵,或殖民主义时代政教勾结的欧洲天主教教士、腐败沉沦的苏修高级军官与间谍。他们的形象在大众经验中已成为一种“时代”符号,这种“符号”一次次的被再次转译、挪用,他们阴魂式的肖像和傲慢的言表,似乎已成为一种永远无法割舍的形态如影相随,在当代艺术行业中也不例外;这件双屏影像中,我将再次邀请5-6名演员,他们是来自中国的新疆地区维吾尔族与哈萨克族、回族演员,由他们再次扮演多种身份的角色,置身于各个典型政治时期的表演风格当中,互相镜像彼此,重复的换位表演,像是永无止境的深渊。

这些“配角”的形象不断让我思考今天的某种常见的现实景象,在一种所谓的“全球当代艺术”语境中,我们总习惯以一种“他者”的形象出现,这种形象里隐含一种极其复杂而矛盾的情绪和无从落脚的漂泊感,而恰恰正是处在全球角色扮演中的我们,被其“中心”或“边缘”,“参与者”或“他者”,“当事人”与“旁观者”的话语和思想缠绕,像是不可抹去的阴影和无力驱除的幽魂,我们不断的渴求一种“转型”,或者再来一次的角色更替,以此来填补满足我们成为“主角形象”的心理需求。

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