《风景-无地》以一种游移和变幻趋势展现于我们眼前，孙尧通过一系列艺术技巧和形式上的策略实现了可识别性和潜意识里的诡异之间的摇摆，并呈现了某种表面上一致的环境。这些技巧和策略既是历史性的，又同时具有时代特征。通过有限的用色（可称之为单色），孙尧将其美学表现与现代抽象表现主义者（如巴内特·纽曼）以及包括马克·罗斯科（Mark Rothko），甚至肯尼斯·诺兰（Kenneth Noland）在内的色域派画家形成关联。与此同时，虚幻的表面便让位给了一个不可测料的深度，孙尧引领着我们进入了一种绘画的暗物质，类似于我们所居住的神秘宇宙的虚空。这些绘画的巨大在场不仅因为尺寸而得到增强，更因为在他的画面设计中，负空间的神秘性成为了积极的组成部分。孙尧以黑色为主，白色作为从属来处理黑白明暗的相互作用，似乎颠覆了传统明暗对照法（chiaroscuro）的惯例，或者说，他通过黑白的明暗相互作用，在一幅绘画中反向地来创造三维空间。
当人进入展览空间时，他会被绘画所围绕，因此试图找到一种起始、过程和终结的线索是徒劳的。这是过去一些大型绘画的某种特质，最显著的可数杰克逊·波洛克的作品《秋日的节奏》（1950年）。孙尧的画作唤起了我们对于自然景观的记忆，但随之也把我们置入了另一个世界。在这个世界里，形象和纯粹的抽象诗意地相互牵扯。虽然也有其他的艺术家间接地涉及到了类似的展览装置，比如曾在纽约现代艺术博物馆展示的克劳德·莫奈（Claude Monet）的作品《睡莲》（1914-26）和美国惠特尼艺术博物馆展示的安迪·沃霍尔（Andy Warhol）的作品《阴影》（1978-79）。但与莫奈和沃霍尔的不同在于，《风景-无地》作品系列不失为一种对于视觉文化形式的源生和离场的现时回应。如同电影之于莫奈和艺术的媒介、互联网和虚拟空间对沃霍尔的影响一般。莫奈的《睡莲》伴随着电影的初生，沃霍尔的《影子》是对于虚拟空间的先见。而《风景-无地》则通过没入式的语汇形成剧场般的体验，当人进入到展览的空间时，会切身感受到被一个连续统一体中彼此相邻的绘画所完全包围。这种仿佛置身于巨大屏幕前的情景类似于数字化的虚拟现实所营造的感受，然而具有讽刺意味的是，孙尧用绘画来影射的电影和虚拟现实媒介，却恰恰被认为是与绘画背道而驰的。
Liang Project Co Space
展览时间: 2019.6.23 – 2019.7.21
开幕时间: 2019.6.23 16:00
地址: 上海市普陀区莫干山路 50 号 18 号楼 102
Self-consistent · the art of Sun Yao
Light Energy, Dark Matter: Notes on Sun Yao’s Landscape-NeverlandPaintings
By Raul Zamudio
Sun Yao: Self-Consistentis a series of paintings exhibited as an architectural, environmental installation that, among other things, expands the viewer’s static experience of art. Although the paintings are affixed to a wall, they incorporate the architecture in which they are presented and activate the exhibition space in ways that undermine its role as neutral catalyst for art viewing. One of the first instances of this occurs with the 0.10 exhibition held in Petrograd, Russia in 1915-1916. In that groundbreaking exhibition, Kazimir Malevich presented Black Square (1915), which was installed where the left and right edges of the painting were mounted to the respective walls that met at the corner. The viewer’s role is altered via this idiosyncratic installation in which individual works are part of a gestalt akin to gesamtkunstwerk, or total work of art.
What further accentuates this in Sun Yao: Self-Consistent, are the individual paintings that are relatively equal in size and all titled Landscape-Neverland, and this deliberate uniformity is a formal and conceptual strategy and exhibition device. Both elements of the hyphenated titles allude to topographies: one refers to a genre of art and the natural world and the other is a mythical place and first appears in the Scottish writer J.M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Never Grew Up.
Sun Yao, however, offers interesting pictorial renderings as to humanity’s relationship to the real and mythical in this group of paintings. Executed in the artist’s signature style of large, expansive passages of color that sometimes border on the monochromatic, there is a visually poetic tension in Sun Yao’s paintings between the representational and the purely abstract. We look at Sun Yao’s paintings and slowly comes a recognition that their subject matter indeed is some type of landscape or environment that were familiar with, but at the same time, they are beyond our ability to fully identify them as actual locales. Their reminiscent uncanniness is subconscious as if they are some kind of Rorschach blot or stain. Psychologists utilize the Rorschach blot or stain.
But it is apparent that the works affect the viewer beyond that of just a purely formalist, aesthetic encounter. On the other hand, if one takes the opposite philosophical position of spirituality or metaphysics, that is to say, materialism and science, Sun Yao’s Landscape-Neverland paintings may be seen as artistic explorations of the most ostensibly unbelievable ideas at the frontiers of theoretical physics about emptiness and the void existing throughout the cosmos. But emptiness and the void are not referred to as an absent presence, but rather as some form of intangibility or of what is referred to in scientific parlance as Dark Matter. And it is here where Sun Yao’s paintings aptly embody their titles.
The Landscape-Neverland paintings have a tendency to morph or even shift before our eyes, they ostensibly cohere in our visual field as some kind of environments that teeter on recognizability though subliminally strange. Sun Yao achieves this through an eclectic array of artistic techniques and formal strategies that are historical and contemporaneous at the same time. By working in a limited palette that could be referred to as monochromatic, there is a linking of Sun Yao’s aesthetic to Modernist Abstract-Expressionists such as Barnett Newman and the Color Field painters including Mark Rothko or even Kenneth Noland.
The indubitable visual presence of Sun Yao’s hues is also intensified by the diversity of his confident execution of paint. Mark-making, for Sun Yao, entails a broad purview of qualities including dense brushwork in counterpoint to more washed out passages that are opaque and seemingly reflect light as well as absorb it. Some works are variations of black inflected with white and this creates an active surface.
Simultaneously the illusionistic surface gives way to a fathomless depth. Sun Yao leads us into a kind dark matter of painting akin to the mysterious, universal void we inhabit. This overpowering presence of the paintings are not only enhanced by their size, but more so by the enigmatic quality of the negative space that becomes positive component in his designs.
When one enters the exhibition space one is surrounded by paintings thus it’s futile to try to locate a sense of a beginning, middle, or end. This was a feature of some of the large-scale paintings in the past, most notably among them being Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm (1950). While Sun Yao’s paintings evoke landscapes, they also transport us to some other world in which figuration and pure abstraction poetically push and pull towards and away from each other. There have been, however, other painters alluding to the idiosyncratic exhibition installation as far back as Claude Monet’ s Water Lilies (1914-26) at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Andy Warhol’ s Shadows (1978-79) at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Landscape-Neverlandpaintings differ from Monet and Warhol in that they are also responding to forms of visual culture that were either in their genesis or completely absent, like cinema was to Monet and media art, the Internet, and virtual space were to Warhol. Sun Yao’s Landscape-Neverlandcorpus is an immersive artistic experience that is cinematic because one is surrounded by paintings similar to how one sees a large film projected on a screen. One feels completely enveloped when one enters the exhibition space. Being surrounded by paintings that are next to each other in one continuum is similar to digitized virtual space. Ironically, Sun Yao alludes to the media of cinema and virtual space which have been often construed as counter to the medium of painting.
Sun Yao: Self-Consistentand the Landscape-Neverland works reminds us with visual deftness how painting continues to respond to and influenced by, myriad forms of visual culture both historically and contemporaneously. The exhibition ostensibly incorporates installation and architecture in its presentation and points to ever new possibilities between art and its experience. And as the works contain within them make quite clear, the artist Sun Yao continues to explore and innovatively expand the boundaries of what painting can be today.
Liang Project Co Space
Artist: Sun Yao
Duration: 2019.6.23 – 2019.7.21
Opening: 2019.6.23 16:00
Address: Room 102, Building 18, No.50 Moganshan Road, Putuo District, Shanghai