During a stay in China Bernhard Gwiggner acquired a scroll painting in a hidden flea market. Upon the old painting he applied ink drawings which represent present-day Beijing. For me, at first glance, three pairs of opposites quickly emerge: 1) Buddhist saints correspond or clash with people who are busy with their mobile phones, 2) the mythological landscape with a symbolic tree, stones and water rich in metaphors are increasingly threatened by buildings of the modern age, and 3) the depicted animals are juxtaposed to the guards. To the connoisseur Mao strides through the middle of the scenery. Here Gwiggner quotes the famous painting “Chairman Mao Goes to Anyuan” by Liu Chunhua and therefore he probably also quotes his own title “... Mao Goes to ...”, which somehow includes a question mark, without him placing it. The painting by Liu Chunhua shows Mao as a young man on the way to the city of Anyuan to lead a miners’ strike there. Where might Mao be going in Gwiggner’s picture? Where would the young Mao be drawn to in the China of today? Or is Mao to be seen as a representative of the Middle Kingdom, so that we should ask ourselves where the development of modern China - and with it maybe the whole world - leads? The ink drawings by Gwiggner seem to be a critical inventory of the post-modern world in East Asia and probably want to be understood as such. In a humorous way, I see the people immersed in their mobile phones but also exchanging messages with the Buddhist saints, as if they were writing an SMS to an Arhat. Indeed, modern communication always includes a transgression, an escape from the present, the here and now; perhaps a longing for the Pure Land in the West, for the Buddhist paradise, which can be read about and seen in the original scroll painting? According to religious ideas one can only reach this by deep contemplation and inner concentration. And so can be found on one side of the scroll painting a reference to a monk who loved meditation and therefore built a cabin in the woods. Without question modern media alienate us from the spiritual way. In the original we see three times how Bud166
dhist saints ride on animals. A long-standing sign that man has overcome his desires, the animalism in himself. Instead of lion figures in ancient China a symbol of strength and power - which in earlier times flanked the entrances of the wealthy and the gateways of governments buildings for protection, current China without guards in uniforms is now unthinkable. If they exercise protective functions or serve only the representation of power, is another question. And the pair of opposites idyllic nature/modern architecture? The buildings seem to displace, to destroy the world of Buddha, but the individual human being will probably still find a retreat to study the Lotus Sutra. Peter Simon Altmann
在中国驻留期间，Bernhard Gwiggner从一 个隐藏的跳蚤市场里得到了一个绘画卷 轴。在这张老画卷之上，他用水墨进行涂 绘，展现了今日的北京。对于我来说，在 看过第一眼便很快发现了三组对比： 1） 佛教圣人和忙于使用手机的人们形 成呼应或冲突，2）有着符号性且极具寓 意的树、石和流水的神话场景逐渐被现代 的建筑所威胁，以及3）画中描绘的动物 与守卫相并列。 对于鉴赏家来说，他们会注意到毛从画面 的中景大步走过。这里Gwiggner引用了一 幅著名的油画，由刘春华创作的《毛主席 去安源》。因此他或许也在他作品的题目 里引用了“毛去……”，并以这样的方式 自然设置了一个问号。 刘春华的这幅画表现的是年轻的毛泽东正 在去安源城的路上，去领导一次矿工的暴 动。毛又怎么会走进Gwiggner的画里呢？ 年轻的毛泽东又怎么会被描绘在今天的中 国呢？或者说毛是否已经被看做中国的代 表？而我们是否应该问问自己中国未来， 或者是整个世界的未来会被领向何方？ Gwiggner的水墨画被看作是东亚后现代世 界的批判性图录，可能他也希望被这样理 解。通过一种诙谐幽默的方式，我看到人 们沉浸在自己的手机里，却也在和佛教圣 人交换着信息，就好像他们在给阿罗汉发
Published on Feb 14, 2014
Published on Feb 14, 2014
5th catalog of the Austro Sino Arts Program published in 2013 with accompanying exhibitions in Chongqing and Ningbo, China. Edited by Lukas...