記憶的景觀—付斌的繪畫與記憶術 Landscape of memory - Fu Bin’s painting and Mnemonics


在一般的行文中,常常以「繆斯」指代藝術,而其含義卻大於藝術。根據古希臘神話,形成了後來九位繆斯女神的說法,她們分別掌管了藝術、科學、歷史,修辭學等極廣範圍的人類知識。可是不要忘記,這九位繆斯女神共同的母親,即記憶女神謨涅摩緒涅(Mnemosyne)。她是上古十二泰坦之一,在許多神話和傳說中,還是敘事詩人的保護人,也是司管時間的女神。但她都作為繆斯的母親,西方世界的「記憶」一詞即是由她的名字演化而來,自古以來就作為記憶的人格化象徵,可見藝術與記憶之間密不可分的聯繫。

在實際的文化史研究中,記憶也與藝術有著及其緊密的聯繫。藝術史和文化史家阿比•瓦爾堡傾其畢生精力試圖建立一個被他稱作「記憶女神圖譜」(Mnemosyne Atlas)的無文字的人類圖像知識庫。其初衷就是尋找人類的文化記憶,並通過圖像的組織和歸類,探究人類深層的思維結構。瓦爾堡論述了記憶對圖像的儲藏作用,旨在通過圖像的並置與排列,來輔助記憶,換句話說,就是以圖像重構記憶。這種表達與人的精神世界息息相關,如果將雕塑,繪畫甚至印刷品等一切「圖像」(image)用瓦爾堡所謂的「悲愴蒙太奇」的方法按照肢體語言演變的順序排列起來,那麼它們就是歷史的圖像化記錄,在其上承載的是人類的精神世界,或者說記憶。瓦爾堡通過圖像來構建人類記憶,也反映在瓦爾堡圖書館的書目體系之中。書目就是一座紙質的圖書館,圖書根據書目各就其位,同時也便於回憶和查找。

瓦爾堡建立的「記憶女神圖集」影響了一位同樣作為瓦爾堡研究院研究員的英國歷史學家弗朗西斯•耶茨(Frances Yates),在她的代表著作《記憶的藝術》(Ars memoriae)中,耶茨描述了古代到中世紀及文藝復興的記憶術。這種被稱為藝造記憶術的方法是自古希臘以來,人們嘗試的促進或者維持記憶的方法的統稱。而那時的藝術,或可稱為輔助記憶的一種方式。耶茨在書中描述了古希臘詩人西門尼德斯運用記憶法的事例,西門尼德斯利用先前在宴會上的視覺定位印象,根據坐席的位置認出了會堂突然倒塌後已經面目全非的遇難者。這即是古希臘定位記憶法的早期實例。

由於近世以來歐洲傳教士來華,歐洲的古代記憶術便與中國產生了聯繫,同時也參與到了中國的圖像製作過程中,在輿圖製作與繪畫方面的影響尤為明顯。耶穌會傳教士利瑪竇即在意大利受過記憶術的嚴格訓練,那麼這一套定位記憶法也成了他贏得中國統治者信任的最佳手段。利瑪竇依靠傳授給中國人記憶法與中國統治階層結下了友誼,同時一些帶有基督教意義的圖像傳統也被引入中國。從此以後,這種人為的記憶術也在中國的思想體系中佔據了位置。在藝術領域,藝術家的創作離不開對於空間的把握和對具體對象的圖像特徵的描繪,而這樣簡單的聯繫就使記憶術的原理與今天的藝術創作緊密結合。今天的一些藝術家的創作實踐可以理解成一種構建「記憶圖譜」的方式,尤其是從事具象繪畫的當代藝術家。他們往往通過圖像的方式將想要留住的過往記錄下來,但是他們絕不是單純的記錄和對抗遺忘,他們是將潛在的空間邏輯賦予圖像,並通過多樣化圖像表現暗示某種地理方位信息。從這個角度看,中國當代藝術家付斌的作品似乎就是這種空間方位記憶法則的一種詮釋。我們在付斌的繪畫的圖像構建和製作方式中,可以找到一條記憶術的隱藏脈絡。

如果按照傳統的畫種來分類,付斌的作品不能被定義為任何一種,而只能稱之為「繪畫」;而其作品的製作方式與展陳方式,又不能歸為傳統意義上的「繪畫」。由於其以木板雕蝕,又不作傳統版畫意義上的複數處理,而直接將原板展出,故其作品又可以當作某種意義上的「雕塑」,或者「繪畫裝置」。明確的黑色油墨和刻刀留下的豐富肌理將圖像的表面塑造成多個層次,在網格化視覺和木板本身質地的襯托下,很容易形成多樣化的意指結構。這些含義構成了建構記憶圖譜的關鍵性元素。

空曠無人的城市角落往往是付斌作品中經常出現的意象,這些無人的場景彷彿又經過了局部的聚焦。排除了人物的存在,觀者自然容易產生一種疏離感,但是這種疏離不同於陌生;在熟悉的場景被抽象化的同時,場景自身的邏輯便凸顯出來;由於藝術家與這些場景的特殊關係,這些熟悉的場景便成為回憶過往的空間。在付斌極其簡化的圖像中,我們看到了圖像自身的框架。這種對場景的符號化和抽象化,實際上正類似記憶之中的圖景,它們由一系列空間中的框架構成,同時又反復出現一些細節,而有些細節又要靠我們人為的添加。在我們的頭腦中將付斌繪畫中的這些場景並置串聯起來,便形成了記憶術意義上的總體景觀,在標記特定場所的同時,在透視法構建出來的虛擬空間之中,輔助記憶的元素各就其位。付斌的「平行線」系列作品的意圖很明顯,就是要凸顯「線」的邏輯,用直線構建一種人工化的,理性的繪畫世界。而這種理性的邏輯秩序,即是構建所謂「記憶之宮」的關鍵要素。如果說「平行線」系列主要輔助人們的思想構建了記憶的基本框架的話,那麼付斌的「此時彼地」系列作品實際上正暗示了特定地點的具體記憶。 這些場景以及圖像細節一方面與藝術家的過往經歷有密切關聯,還可以看成是藝術家將這些承載著特定回憶的特定空間牢記於心的努力。這種方式與中世紀時流行的定樁記憶法異曲同工,定樁記憶法即是將特定的事物作為記憶素安插在想象出的建築空間中的特定位置,在回憶或者演說的時候再根據之前的構想,按照一定的次序將其提取出來。這正是古羅馬時期的律師、修辭學家昆體良所描述的記憶法的繼承與發展。昆體良認為,為了在記憶中形成一系列的場景,記憶的大廈必須足夠寬敞,前院、後院、客廳以及臥室和裝點房間的雕像和繪畫,應盡量錯落且有變化。如此安排之後,當需要激活記憶時,從房子內依次取出放置的物品即可。這些物品即作為輔助回憶的記憶素而存在。這種空間中放置的記憶素必須依靠有秩序的場景來組織,這樣看來,付斌繪畫中特有的秩序感也可以被看作是放置記憶素的理想空間。

實際上,我們今天的博物館陳列以及圖書館的書目,還有目錄等知識系統,都在某種程度上暗含了古代記憶法的諸多元素。這樣的知識和文化地形圖必須與實際的空間相結合,並且擁有編目和分類,那麼人們就可以根據特定空間位置查找到某個對象。或許在知識和圖像碎片化、網絡化的今天,雲技術以及共享科技可以在一定程度上代替那座想象中的宮殿,這樣看來,似乎那種往昔的藝造記憶術已經失去了其意義。但是,當我們在藝術創作活動中,憑借這種記憶法,我們確實能夠更好地把握圖像的確切信息和空間的特殊肌理,繼續在圖像中構建我們想象中的殿堂,這種古典的記憶法在藝術的世界永遠有效。

在當今的一些博物館策劃組織的學術展覽中,我們也可以找到中世紀的記憶術的影子。它們的展出方式、作品展陳序列以及它們與文獻之間的聯繫呈現的實際上是記憶的方式。在法國已故藝術史家阿拉斯對當代藝術的研究中,記憶術也時常以一種「錯時」的方式得以重現:阿拉斯將詹姆斯•柯爾曼(James Coleman)在達芬奇展覽中的展出方式、作品陳設視為一種記憶術的方式,並將安瑟姆•基弗(Anselm Kiefer)不同時期的作品的總體呈現方式看做一個記憶的迷宮。在阿拉斯眼中,記憶術不僅僅是一門屬於遙遠時代的技藝,它已作為再現世界的方式之一,連接了古代與今天。

今天與記憶術產生的作用密切相關的概念就是懷舊。「懷舊」一詞實際上就是思鄉症的症候,而它和鄉愁的英文原文都是「nostalgia」。這個由17世紀瑞士醫生以希臘文詞根創造的詞,如今被用來比喻現代性的時空觀念轉型的一種後果。這種後果同樣籠罩在當代藝術領域。付斌的一幅幅作品可以被看作是一個個時空的片段與充滿懷戀的過往,它們需要被某種敘事組織起來,而這種敘事可以以某種記憶的方式來呈現。付斌作品的圖像內容常常是與自己的過往經歷密切相關的場景和空間,在喚起記憶的同時,又必然感染上一種懷舊之感。懷舊是一種集體症候,尤其是在後社會主義文化和地理空間中以及在離鄉人心中的不斷回響的集體情緒。懷舊並不只針對過去,也可能帶有某種前瞻性和未來感;對於過去的懷想和眷戀直接影響到我們對於未來的某種判斷。通過懷舊和對過往的記憶,繪畫完成了它自誕生起的基本任務,即記錄形象;付斌的繪畫構建了一種總體意義上的記憶的景觀,將過往定格在畫幅之中,同時又提供了面向未來的視野和一個個思想暢行的空間,在這些空間之中,在這些畫幅之中,古代流傳下來的記憶法得到了視覺上的呈現。

In many literary contexts, Muse often refers to art, yet its implication is more than art. In ancient Greek mythology, Muses are nine goddesses of different fields of human knowledge including the arts, science, history and rhetoric. Their mother, Mnemosyne, is the Titaness of memory and remembrance. As one of the first twelve titans, she is also the goddess of time and the guardian of trouvères in many tales and myths. Mnemosyne has long been the personification of memory throughout the western history. The word “memory” is also derived from it. Art and memory are always strongly connected.

Such connection could be found in the research of cultural history. German art historian and cultural theorist Aby Warburg, in the last period of his life dedicated himself to establish a picture atlas named Mnemosyne, aiming to discuss human’s inmost thinking structure by searching for memory of human’s culture through the documentation and classification of images. Warburg expounded that memory could store image. The permutation and combination of images memorization assists memorizing. In another word, images reconstruct memory. Such expression is bound up with human’s spiritual world. Put in sequence of the evolution of body language according to Warburg’s “"Method, Madness, and Montage”, all the “images” (including sculpture, painting and prints) are records of history, carrying the spiritual world of mankind, or namely memory. Warburg uses images to construct human memory, which is also reflected in the bibliography of his private library (Kulturwissenschaftliche Bibliothek Warburg) for easy reference.

Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas influenced English historian Frances Yates who is also a member of the Warburg Institute. In her magnum opus “Ars Memoriae”, she describes mnemonics from ancient times, the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. The art of memory refers to various mnemonic principles and techniques used to organize memory impressions, improve recall, and assist in the combination and “invention” of ideas since Ancient Greece. Art could also be regarded as a form of memory aids. In the book Yates gave an early story of Greek lyric poet Simonides of Ceos to illustrate the method of loci, a method of memory enhancement which uses visualizations with the use of spatial memory to recall information. Regarded as its inventor, Simonides once managed to identity two unrecognizable corpses in a collapsed hall by recalling the location of their seats.

With the arrival of missionaries in China, Western mnemonics became connected with China, especially getting involved in the process of cartography and painting. Italian Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci managed to win the trust of Chinese emperor for his proficiency in the method of loci, since he underwent rigorous training of mnemonics. By teaching them mnemonics he forged profound friendships among the Chinese ruling class, while he also introduced traditional Christian images into China. Since then, mnemonics has kept a place in the Chinese ideological system. In the field of arts, Artists’ creation couldn’t be separated from the control of space and the depiction of objects, which easily connects contemporary artistic creations with the principles of mnemonics. Some artists’ practice of creation could be considered as a mode of building memory atlas, especially for contemporary figurative artists. They intend to record the passing time by means of images, yet it’s more than recording and fighting against forgetting. They endow potential spatial logic with images, and imply certain geographic location by presenting diversified graphics. From this perspective, Fu Bin’s works seem to be an interpretation of such mind palace techniques. In the construction and production of his painting could be found a hidden context of mnemonics.

Fu’s works couldn’t be defined as any one specific type of painting but “painting” itself by conventional classification. Neither could the production process and the display be categorized as “painting” in the traditional sense. Carving on woodblocks, he displayed the original woodblock instead of the traditional multiple impressions, so the works could also be considered as sculptures or painting installations. Distinct black printing ink and plentiful textures left by the gouge make the surface rich of layers, which may easily leads to a structure of diversified implications against the origin texture of woodblocks with a meshing vision. These implications are critical elements of building a memory atlas.

Empty corners of a city are a common scene in Fu Bin’s works, and it seems to be in focus. Taking out the figure of humans, the scenes give viewers a sense of alienation, but such alienation is different from strangeness. The spatial logic of the scene itself stands out while these familiar scenes are abstracted. Due to the special relation between the artist and the scenes, the scenes turn into spaces of memories. The framework of the image could be seen in Fu’s simplified paintings. The symbolization and abstraction of scenes is similar to the pictures in the memory. They consist of a series of spatial frames while several artificial details appear repeatedly. Lining up these scenes in our mind would form an overall landscape in terms of mnemonics. Elements to aid memory are in their places in a virtual space constructed by scenography while certain locations are marked. The intention of Fu’s series Parallel Lines is quite clear, which is to highlight the logic of “lines”, constructing an artificial and rational world by straight lines. The rational logic order is a critical element of building the “memory palace”. If the Parallel Lines mainly assists people to build a basic framework of memory, the series of Once Upon implies specific memory in certain places. On one hand these scenes and details are closely connected to the artist’s personal experience, on the other they could be regarded as his efforts to bear in mind these specific spaces that carry specific memories. This pattern is similar to the method of loci which is very popular in the Middle Ages. It is a method of memory enhancement which uses visualizations with the use of spatial memory. The items to be remembered in this mnemonic system are mentally associated with specific physical locations in the imaginary layout of a building, or any geographical entity which is composed of a number of discrete loci. When desiring to remember an item, the subject retrieves it by remembering the position. It’s derived from Roman rhetorician Quintilian’s depiction about mnemonics. He believes that to form a series of scenes in the memory, the memory palace must be big enough, with frontcourt, backyard, parlor and bedroom. As decorations of the palace, sculptures and paintings in the rooms should be well-arranged and full of variations. Hence, when the memory is activated, items could be retrieved in good order. All the items exist as elements of memory aid. These elements must be settled in a well-organized scene. From this perspective, the sense of order in Fu’s paintings makes these scenes an ideal space for putting memory elements.

In fact, systems like the display in museums, the bibliography in libraries and catalogues all imply many elements of ancient mnemonics. The knowledge and cultural map must be combined with the actual space. With a catalogue and classification, a certain item could be found with a specific spatial location. Today it seems that the old art of memory is out of date, since to some extent cloud computing and sharing science could replace the memory palace in an era of fragmented information and Internet. However, in artistic creation we could better master the precise information of images and special texture of different spaces with the mnemonics and keep building an imaginary palace in images. The classic mnemonics would be always useful in the world of art.

Traces of the medieval mnemonics could still be found in some academic exhibitions in the museum. The way and the order in which they are displayed, and their connections with references are actually patterns of memory. In the study of the late French art historian Daniel Arasse, the mnemonics often reappears in an “anachronistic” way. In his book ANACHRONIQUES, he mentions the display of James Coleman’s project of a temporary Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in 2003 as a way of “images-memories”; he views the general mode of the presentation of German artist Anselm Kiefer’s works in different periods as a “labyrinth” of memory. For Arasse the mnemonics is more than an ancient technique of memorization, it is a way to reconstruct the world, connecting the past and the present.

The concept that is closely related to the influence of mnemonics today is nostalgia. Originally to describe a medical condition of homesickness, this word is learned formation of a Greek compound, coined by a 17th-century medical student to describe the anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home. Now it refers to a consequence of the transformation of modern concept of time and space. Such consequence has also influenced the contemporary art. Fu Bin’s works could be seen as fragments of time and space with a wistful yearning for the past. They need to be organized by certain narration which could be presented by some means of mnemonics. Many images in Fu’s paintings are scenes closely related to his personal experience. When one recalling the past, it’s inevitable to feel nostalgic. Nostalgia is a collective syndrome, especially in the post-socialist culture and geographical space as well as in the collective mood of those displaced people. Nostalgia is not only about past, but also about foresight and future, since nostalgia could directly affect our anticipation of the future. By nostalgia and memory, the painting accomplishes its fundamental mission – recording the images. Fu’s paintings have constructed an overall landscape of memory, freezing the past in the paintings, while offering the sights of looking into the future and spaces for free imagination. The ancient mnemonics hence get visually presented among these paintings and imaginations.

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