Ruprecht von Kaufmann
(Germany , b. 1974)

Ruprecht von Kaufmann 魯普雷希特.馮.考夫曼 (德,b. 1974) 出生於德國慕尼黑,BFA洛杉磯藝術中心設計學院畢,曾任教柏林藝術大學、漢堡應用科學大學和萊比錫美術學院,現居住創作於柏林。作為一位突出的圖像敘事藝術創作者,他選擇研究圍繞著人的各種層面,利用當代繪畫的視覺語言,展現批判敘事與平行現實幻境。於歐洲各大城市倫敦、柏林、斯圖加特、奧斯陸、紐約展出;作品獲紐約知名收藏家族(Hort Family)、德國 Sammlung Philara 博物館、德國法蘭克福德意志聯邦共和國國家銀行等,眾多公私立機構永久收藏。

2019  Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany(德國現代藝術陳列館)

2019  `Inside the Outside´, UN Headquarters, New York (紐約聯合國總部)

2018  `Die Evakuierung des Himmels´, Kunsthalle Erfurt, Erfurt (愛爾福特藝術館)

2019  “The three princes of serendip” Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg (新勃蘭登堡藝術收藏)

藝術家考夫曼 Kaufmann 使用油彩創作,包括繪畫、雕塑和紙上作品,他創作靈感來自於生活經驗,更多時候他利用閱讀文學、音樂、電影引發腦海中各種意象與想像,尤以電影影響甚鉅。相較於電影的時間敘事與聲線的交織,繪畫是定格的作品,藝術家在繪畫中引入前與後的感覺,以此方式打開更多表達的可能性,也預期觀者觀看作品時,隨著畫面構圖的引導,產生強烈的情緒反應。繪畫是連續性的決策所構成的結果,但同時也會承擔著不可預期的畫面,如在他的作品中常見反覆被厚塗消失、模糊的面孔,指涉未設限且開放的人物形象。雖然考夫曼 Kaufmann 擅長觀察與捕捉人的形象,但卻不是創作傳統的「肖像畫」——人的面孔不是指特定的對象,而是特定類型的人。在低彩度、象徵抑鬱色彩的連續性構圖,考夫曼 Kaufmann 捕捉到許多深刻的個人時刻、個體的脆弱,也暗示了一種普遍的人類經驗。

具象藝術(Figurative Art)是指作品的形象以現實世界中的物件為基礎,並在各種可辨識的人事物中,帶入各種藝術家的觀點與思想。不同於人物畫經典藝術家法蘭⻄斯.培根(Francis Bacon)的作品受希臘古典悲劇的影響,表達人類的殘酷暴力與恐懼,人物畫抽搐般的面孔特徵,人的形象與空間保持消失、失衡等狀態,表現行屍走肉的靈魂。考夫曼 Kaufmann 以內斂且細膩的方式呈現人物畫,以開放及幽默的手法,描繪當代人的矛盾與失落,他的創作融合超現實及荒誕不羈,談論個人的疏離及孤獨寂寥。對照1940年代美國藝術家愛德華.霍普(Edward Hopper)的作品描繪各個靜謐場景、窗邊、加油站、餐館中的人們,每個獨立個體都陷入沈思彼此疏遠,這些個體間的關係及世界的想像,引發觀者的好奇。或是當代挪威藝術家拉爾斯.艾林(Lars Elling)所描繪的虛實交錯的魔幻世界,疊影的畫面,是對周圍環境世界的不完整體驗,憧憧幽影的再現。對應經典文學領域,法國文學家卡繆(Albert Camus)的荒誕,以孤寂與心靈疏離、創造了人們荒謬的現實,人類既無力作惡也無力為善。抑或是當代電影鬼才大衛.林區(David Keith Lynch)的詭異多變的超現實風格,創造如夢似幻的影像。魯普雷希特.馮.考夫曼 Ruprecht von Kaufmann 以其擅長講故事,同時作品充滿黑色幽默及濃烈的憂鬱色彩的風格,一如其他跨越時代的創作者,他的作品反映出當下我們在動盪不安的社會中的行為、思想和感受。

在歷經 Covid-19 流行的這段期間考夫曼 Kaufmann 也表示他感受到社會孤立的壓力,這對任何人來說都是艱難的時刻,對應著持續變化的日常風景,在逐漸接近末日的當下,人彷彿在夢境遊走,經歷一切的超現實。在藝術家魯普雷希特.馮.考夫曼 Ruprecht von Kaufmann 的世界,人們延續著日常的場景,甦醒、又潛入夢境,在即將崩毀的世界建立秩序,持續向前。


Solo Exhibitions

2023 Leben zwischen den Stühlen´, Buchheim Museum, Bernried
2022 In the Street´, Kristian Hjellegjerde Gallery, Londo
2021 Just Before Dawn´, Galerie Thomas Fuchs, Stuttgart
2021 Dreamscapes´, Cermak Eisenkraft Gallery, Prag
2020 The Three Princes of Serendip´, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London
2020 Inside the Outside´, City Gallery Gutshaus Steglitz, Berlin
2019 Inside the Outside´, UN Headquarters, New York
2019 Inside the Outside´, Museen Böttcherstrasse, Bremen
2019 Die drei Prinzen von Serendip´, Kunstsammlung Neubrandenburg, Neubrandenburg
2019 Die Augen fest geschlossen´, Galerie Thomas Fuchs, Stuttgart
2018 Die Evakuierung des Himmels´, Kunsthalle Erfurt, Erfurt
2018 Liederbuch´, Galerie Thomas Fuchs, Stuttgart
2017 Event Horizon´, Kristin Hjellegjerde Galelry, London
2016 The God of Small and Big Things´, Galerie Crone, Berlin
2016 Phantombild-Blaupause´, Nordheimer Scheune, Nordheim, Germany
2015 Grösserbesserschnellermehr´, Forum Kunst, Rottweil
2014 Fabel´, Georg Kolbe Museum, Berlin
2014 Carna(va)l´, Museum Abtei Liesborn, Liesborn
2013 Die Nacht´, Junge Kunst e.V. Wolfsburg
2013 Die Nacht´, Galerie Rupert Pfab, Düsseldorf
2012 Der Ozean´, Galerie Christian Ehrentraut
2011 Altes Haus´, Galerie Rupert Pfab, Düsseldorf
2011 Zwischenzeit´, Neue Galerie Gladbeck, Gladbeck
2010 Äquator Teil I´, Galerie Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin
2010 Herr Lampe´, Bundesbank, Frankfurt
2009 Nebel´, Galerie Christian Ehrentraut
2009 Halbmast´, Philara Collection, Düsseldorf
2008 Ruprecht von Kaufmann´, Galerie Rupert Pfab, Düsseldorf
2007 Eine Übersicht´, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, Berlin
2006 Bathosphere´, Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago
2006 Bathosphere´, Kunstverein Göttingen
2006 Als mich mein Steckenpferd fraß´, Galerie Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin
2005 Bildwechsel´, Galerie Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin
2005 Neue Zeichnungen´, Kunstschacht Zeche Zollverein, Essen
2003 `Of Faith and Other Demons´, Claire Oliver Fine Arts, New York

Group Exhibitions

2022        `On the Wall´, Building Gallery, Mailand
2022       `Das Eigene im Fremden – Einblicke in die Sammlung Detlev Blenk´, Museum Bensheim
2021        `Gefühle r(aus)! Global Emotion´, Motorenhalle, Dresden
2020        `Neue Wilde und Andere aus der Sammlung Stefan Neukirch´, Coesfeld
2019        `Feelings´, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
2019        `Metaphysica´, Haugar Art Museum, Tønsberg, Norway
2019        `Birkholms Echo´, Faaborg Museum of Art, Faaborg, Denmark
2018        `Contemporary Chaos´, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Vestfossen, Norway
2018        `Schwarze Romantik´, Künstlerhaus Thurn & Taxis, Bregenz, Topicuv Salon, Prague
2017       `Ecce Creatura´, Kallmann Museum, Ismaning
2017        `Paintingguide NYC´, Booth Gallery, New York, USA
2017        `Schwarze Romantik´, Bukarest, Berlin, Backnag, Bregenz, Prag
2016        `Wahlverwandschaften, German Art since the late 1960s´, National Museum of Latvia, Riga
2016        `Prozac´, Kunstverein Glückstadt, Glückstadt, Germany
2015        `The Vacancy´, Friedrichstr., Berlin
2015        `Kunst Wollen?´, openAEG, Nürnberg
2015        `Du sollst Dir (k)ein Bild machen´, Berliner Dom, Berlin
2015        `Time Lies´, KinoInternational, Berlin
2014        `The Sea´, Brandts Museum, Odense
2014        `Revolution´, Rohkunstbau, Roskow
2014        `Waffensichten´, Museum Galerie Dachau, Dachau
2014        `Malerei am Rand der Wirklichkeit´, Haus am Lützwoplatz, Berlin
2013        `Tierstücke´, Museum Abtei Liesborn
2013        ‘Alles Wasser’, Galerie Mikael Anderson, Copenhagen
2013        ‘Weltenschöpfer’, Museum für Bildende Kunst, Leipzig
2012        `Convoy Berlin´, Bzarsky Gallery, Budapest
2011        `I am a Berliner´, Tel Aviv Museum, Israel
2010        `Werkschau I der Erwine Steinblum Stipendiaten´, Kunst:raum Syltquelle, Rantum / Sylt
2009        `Menschenbilder 1620/2009´, Museum Hoexter-Corvey, Hoexter
2008        `Daydreams & Dark Sides´, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
2007        `Stipendiatenausstellung´, Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation, Berlin
2006        `Full House´, Kunsthalle Mannheim
2006        `Gletscherdämmerung`, Eres Stiftung, München
2003        `RePresenting Representation VI´, Arnot Art Museum, New York
2002        `The Perception of Appearance´, The Frye Art Museum, Seattle
2001        `Representing LA´, The Frye Art Museum, Seattle, Art Museum of South Texas and Orange County Museum of Art, LA

Publication

Dissonance – Platform Germany, DCV, Texte: Mark Gisbourne, Christoph Tannert, 2022, ISBN 978-3-96912-060-6
Leben zwischen den Stühlen, Distanz, Texte: Dr. Brigitte Hausmann, Daniel J. Schreiber, Sylvia Volz, 2020, ISBN 978-3-95476-354-2
Inside the Outside, Distanz, Maynat Kurbanova, Michele Cinque, 2019, ISBN 978-3-95476-270-5
Maynat Kurbanova, Michele Cinque, Inside the Outside, Distanz
Magdalena Kröner, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Kunstmarkt
Robert Hughes, Rolf Lauter, Julia Wallner, Ruprecht von Kaufmann 2005-2006, ISBN 978-3-00-020112-7
Leah Ollman, Los Angeles Sunday Times, ‘Painting a Mirror for Humanity’, 16. Juni 2002
Garrett Holg, Art News, ‘A futurist Manifesto’, Ruprecht von Kaufmann at Ann Nathan Gallery Chicago’, Januar Ausgabe 2002

Collection

Collection of the Federal Republic of Germany
Collection of the German Bundestag
Collection of the National Bank of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frankfurt
Coleccion Solo, Madrid
Collection Ole Faarup, Kopenhagen
Collezione Coppola, Vicenza
Hort Family Collection, New York
Uzyiel Collection, London
Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf
Sammlung Hildebrand, Leipzig
Sammlung Holger Friedrich, Berlin
Sammlung Museum Abtei Liesborn, Liesborn
Sammlung Veronika Smetackova, Pragu

Trailer:「潛意識獨⽩ Monologue」- Ruprecht von Kaufmann 魯普雷希特.馮.考夫曼 在台首個展
Artist Video:Ruprecht von Kaufmann 魯普雷希特.馮.考夫曼 藝術家影片

訪談文章及學術評論 Art Critique

圖像形成如一面(扭曲的)現實之鏡

By Dr. Sylvia Dominique Volz

人類存在的所有複雜性—那種透過操縱來控制他人的努力,一種無關乎理性或非理性的原始本能行為—是Ruprecht von Kaufmann作品的主軸。在這裡,人類因為其世俗存在中的需求、脆弱、與有限性,被大自然與自身物種視為是一種威脅。

既深沉又神秘地,這些畫作吸引著觀眾並使他們著迷。我們受到作品的加密與相互矛盾性質所帶來的多樣性與複雜性挑戰。它們釋放了我們內心的各種聯想,從而產生了一種混合的情緒;正如同藝術家所指出的,這些情緒與我們自己的生活經驗最密切相關:從焦慮不安、沮喪、與感覺到受威脅,到喜悅、愛、與希望—而且有時候混合這所有情緒於一張畫作之中。我們試圖參與、破譯、和理解事物,最終得出結論發現這所發生的一切不全是在眼前,更多的是發生在我們自身上面。這些畫作主角是反映出我們自己嗎?我們扮演著什麼角色?我們是否參與於展開的畫作前並將其意念延伸成為自我的一部份呢?

因此,這些成為與身為觀者的我們產生共鳴與互動的圖像。在社交媒體的世代,這對我們來說似乎很自然。Ruprecht von Kaufmann本人著迷地觀察著所謂的用戶如何利用敘述來塑造他們自己的個人特質。這些即是被操控的主觀真相,因為有些圖像的設計確實旨在向外傳達意念。觀看的時候,腦中所感知到的是情感上觸動觀者的一幅美麗(被美化的)肖像,因為它產生了一種匱乏感且喚醒了深沉的隱性需求。簡而言之,Ruprecht von Kaufmann藝術地捕捉了現實與虛構之間的差異。在他一幅描繪一位背對著的女性正在脫去她比例勻稱的皮膚的畫作中,顯現出來的是一位瘦到近乎消失的纖弱人形,而且她與即將要被拋掉的皮膚形象幾乎沒有任何共同之處(Take off Your Skin[譯:脫去你的外皮])

然而,人們套用各種角色或扮演操控形象這種行為,不僅是現代現象,而是或多或少地貫穿了整個人類與藝術史;人類始終在乎著他們想成為什麼樣的人以及他們想要被看到的角色。即便是在古代,人或表面形象的概念也普遍地被演員應用於所使用的面具以及其於生活中或戲劇中所扮演的角色。幾個世紀以來,肖像,不論是文字還是圖像,從輪廓到每個小細節都經常被精心設計著:想想那些以精心部署的象徵手法來炫耀自己社會地位、教育程度、以及所謂高尚特質的統治者們,從而以最真實的意義建構了他們的形象。

Ruprecht von Kaufmann對於在真實與虛構世界之間搖擺不定的形象特別感興趣;因此,對於美國創作歌手 Tom Waits所寫的歌詞成為他的靈感來源之一也就不足以為奇了—這位音樂家本身就是一位難以自我受限的創作家,他以在歌詞中呈現各種虛構人物並營造出一種不一致且複雜的氛圍為特色,如同我們在Ruprecht von Kaufmann的作品中所感受到的那般。畫作中的主角以不同的形式出現,有些帶有強烈的操控或威嚇感,有些則是有需求或脆弱的感覺。我們會遇上一些奇特的混合型生物,例如半人馬這種怪物睡在床上,然後一位裸體的女性信任地依偎在牠身上(Monster [譯:怪物]),或者是一個完全被包裏在像麻布袋中的生物蹣跚地在房間內移動著(Die Gefährten [譯:夥伴們])。他們的真正身份其實並未向我們揭露,尤其因為他們的頭被轉向、被扭曲得面目全非、或者被遺漏了。由於我們總是試圖閱讀與識別臉部特色以定位我們與對方之間的關係,這樣的呈現更是讓人感到困惑。

基於明顯受到人們與其行為控制的因素,當觀察那些有時顯得複雜的圖像空間時,我們容易疏忽地斷言Ruprecht von Kaufmann的作品缺乏敘述性。事實上,這並非藝術家本意:在他看來,敘事是觸動人們情感的基本手法。因此,他不願意單純地從形式或知識層面上接觸繪畫。這確實值得注意,因為這使他的畫作與當前藝術語境對繪畫敘事的消極態度相悖。此外,這種立場十分有趣,因為Ruprecht von Kaufmann讓人對他的印象是擁有高智商的人,而且他的畫作更是證明他對歷史、文學、古代神話與音樂有著深入的研究。

儘管如此,在觀眾眼前展開的一切無論如何都不能被視為一個完全發展的故事。相反的是,它們是片段,或者更確切地說,它們是帶有暗示意味但不是解答的敘述線索。一開始,藝術家使用符合我們既定觀看模式與主觀經驗視野的有形手法來喚起敘事,因而提供了一種看似簡單的方式進入圖像。這種手法同樣適用於馬戲團場景、山景、或例如童年或成年過渡時期的自傳主題等應用。

隨後,我們便會對自我假定的見解產生懷疑。Ruprecht von Kaufmann便向我們展示各種難以理解的細節,像是一匹有兩個後驅的馬(Pastorale [譯:牧人]),一個不合建構邏輯的空間結構,或者甚至是圖像中的間隙;當獨自觀賞時,不只無助於釐清情境,反而延伸出更多的疑問。觀眾更是被鼓勵自由發揮幻想、解決矛盾之處、並化不合邏輯為合理。Ruprecht von Kaufmann表示:「圖像實際上只在觀眾自己的腦海裡出現。」敘事片段因此扮演著藝術家為我們搭建的橋樑角色,而他本人則在基地周遭徘徊,並且在鼓勵我們持續前進之後。

另一個Ruprecht von Kaufmann的作品與純粹敘事性質背道而馳的方面是他在開始工作之前並不會準備一套填滿細節的概念。他從一個模糊的想法開始行動,允許這些想法引導他。最後在繪畫的過程當中,整體的作品細節才會逐漸變得清晰。

藝術家本人喜歡提及「偶然性」原則,意即偶然觀察到一些原本無意探尋的事物,卻展開新的驚喜發現。這種原則反映在Ruprecht von Kaufmann的創作藝術過程之中,使他不需考慮整體的概念,能夠自由地從一個靈感進行到下一個想法。偶然的連結從這裡或那裡突然冒出、或者產生改變方向的想法,而這些有時會帶來意想不到的發現。最後的結果可能是鑽孔或拼貼狀的元素,破壞作品的表面使其產生動態感。

畫作的標題通常也是在創作過程中才確定。如果,以例外的情況來說,假設作品主題在一開始就設定好,它將會是參考啟發藝術家靈感的一句名言、聲明、或者歌名—例如Babe I’m Gonna Leave You (譯:寶貝,我要離開你了)You never know (譯:你從不知道)。然而,隨後在圖像表面上所形成的東西將會與純粹的示意圖相去甚遠。

整體來說,這些標題在某種程度上常常具有令人驚訝的諷刺意味—例如,在My Thoughts Grow so Large on Me (2016) (譯:思想在我身上變得如此之大)的作品中,畫作主角的頭頂上卻幾乎只剩下抹刀塗抹的殘留漆料;這讓人聯想到的反而是廢物而非其他情操更高尚的活動。或者例如Der Entertainer (譯:表演者)中,主角的頭部僅以一縷輕煙呈現。又或者當Rude Awakening (譯:後悔莫及,第138頁)裡面熟睡的情侶從向下傾斜的床上倒掛下來時,彷彿真的被丟棄了一樣。不證自明地,一個幽默的標題能夠相對化作品的陰鬱與沉重;就如同當那隻像是地獄獵犬一樣的生物正在撕毀另一隻野獸時,畫作的標題卻是Sorglos (譯:無憂無慮)。如此這般地產生吸引人的對比性,使人聯想起Martin Scorsese或Quentin Tarantino所執導的電影中,殘忍行徑的場景通常會伴隨著歡快的配樂。

Ruprecht von Kaufmann的作畫手法玩弄著我們典型的感知方式,使觀者的雙眼不停移動著。我們的雙眼找尋支點,然後在找到了之後再次分心;接著可能再次返回稍早停佇過的點,然後再離開朝向其他方向。物理上來說,在畫作前的空間上下移動著似乎仍然無法提供足夠的說明。可能的例子是In the House (譯:房子裡)這個作品,觀者在作品中的視線移動—如電影運鏡那般—由左至右穿過一個屋子。整個過程經歷了六個位置,從樓梯井開始,觀眾被引導至越來越深的內部,直到突然發現自己身處屋外。

對Ruprecht von Kaufmann而言,重要的是視角的變化;這個概念在這裡特別容易理解,因為藝術家分別在鳥瞰方式與採用較觀者視線稍高一些的視角之間交替變化著,一次從左斜對角,然後下個瞬間便改由右斜對角開始。眼神的閃爍掃視為觀者帶來一種不安全感,甚至是一種令人壓抑的感覺—特別是當藝術家從背後的角度向我們展示一位雜耍演員,站在令人眼花繚亂的高空鞦韆上俯視著馬戲團的地板,那是最專注且神經緊繃的時刻。那感覺幾乎像是地板正在從我們的腳下被抽出—好像我們才是負責要像雜耍演員那般地盪那個鞦韆並在空中旋轉(Der Trapezakt (譯:高空鞦韆)。在State of the Art (譯:先進前衛的,第58頁)這種多重元素作品中,其繪畫的視角與繪板的形狀讓我們產生更多的問題,像是一幅可折疊的祭壇畫,卻有著不對稱的外形,讓人永遠無法如願地使其發揮作用。

雖然Ruprecht von Kaufmann多年來一直在畫布上以油彩創作,2014成為了一個轉捩點,他決定使用油氈作為畫布,並從那時起一直這樣創作著。多部組成的肖像作品Die Zuschauer (2014) (譯:觀眾們)就是這種轉換的例子:從55張DIN A4尺寸的畫作中凝視著我們的,是各種人像或「人格特質」;這裡運用的是各種形式的肖像畫技,從頭像到及胸半身像,再到頭肩像至完整的半身像。當你移動視線進入時,你會注意到有些肖像似乎時不時會消失。眼睛部位被挖空、僅以模糊或勾勒的方式呈現臉部特徵、或者是直接以刮刀塗抹並因此可能使其他部份受損。同樣引人注目的是我們看到的各式色彩,這種用色風格從保守的灰與藍色調變化到尖銳的橙色、黃色、或明亮的洋紅色。然而,這樣的色彩試驗不只與肖像本身有關,也似乎是從背景色調中汲取靈感。有時候,油氈上仍然明顯留有奇怪的色調。

在這裡,我們會發現自己處於色彩的核心來源:實際上是油氈本身真正地為畫作定下了基調。Ruprecht von Kaufmann偶然發現了這種材料—一種亞麻籽油與軟木的混合物。當他在家中建構作品時,他發現各種顏色的油氈板,而這很快地引發了他的藝術好奇心。這種材料以各種色調生產,有望成為具有無限可能性的實驗場域。

他隨後訂製了一個40 x 30 公分的混色板,並大量地測試油畫顏料在畫板表面的表現方式;與一般畫布不同的是,因為其材料特性的關係,作畫時並不需要塗底漆。Ruprecht von Kaufmann也注意到,通常空白的白色補片在畫布上總是看起來像「未完成品」,但油氈板的基材在需要時,可以簡單地將其「單獨放置」(Schmelzwasser (譯:融水)。因此,他讓自己被各種材料色彩引導著,以各自的色調活力作為參考點。因此,一個有趣的過程、一種對話隨之開啟,因為每一個圖像與每種色調都將產生新的想法:當紫羅蘭色遇上黃色、黃色碰上藍色、橙色遇見灰綠色、而洋紅色撞入黑色。更具實驗性的是這些畫作,壁紙或地板上被覆蓋滿五顏六色的圖像,人物則像是身在叢林中那般被框住,例如Monster (譯:怪物)、Auferstehung (譯:復甦)、Der Zeuge (譯:目擊者)、或You Never Know (譯:你從不知道)。潛在的色彩組合似乎無窮無盡。

這種新發現的材料符合Ruprecht von Kaufmann長期以來抱持著的渴望,希望更有力量地運用色彩作為單一元素;相較之下,他早期作品的特點是相當均勻柔和的調性。因此,這些圖像達到了明顯的存在感,但仍能保持足夠的隱晦性而不至於太過搶眼。

從畫布切換到油氈時,Ruprecht von Kaufmann還因此能實現另一個願望,即賦予畫作中的各個元素更多的圖像品質,從而將它們與畫作中的其他區域切割開來。如果我們看諸如Schmelzwasser (譯:融水)這一類的作品,畫中的主角看起來既精緻又含蓄,如同畫在紙上那般。藝術家尤其喜歡強調筆刷與漆料在油氈上極佳的流動性,非常適合書法手法。他幽默地表示,圖像背景可以「像一幅拙劣的油畫那般輕鬆地塗抹」,將顏色保留在最上方,覆蓋著下方的漆料。

他進一步解釋,最後,但同樣重要的是,與畫布相比,這種材料的特點是抗壓性比較高;當Ruprecht von Kaufmann偶爾需要以抹刀在個別部位塗上顏料時,這個特質對他來說相當重要。

更不用說,上述所提及的形式變化也會在對作品內容產生影響。圖像元素與背景中未上漆的各個區域有時都會使畫作產生一定程度的抽象性,從而與作品的其餘部份發展出令人興奮的對話交流。如果有人看過Ruprecht von Kaufmann在改成油氈板之前的最後一些畫布作品—馬戲團系列作品—將會發現這其中已經有更抽象化的趨勢了。與早期的畫作相比,這裡的背景已經不再那麼精細,但仔細觀察的話,更容易讓人聯想到素描般的幾何圖形。

最終,這樣的發展導向了油氈畫,使其中的各個圖層都顯得更加的鮮明,比以往更清晰—以圖像元素、以溶入挖空記號的區塊、還有以拼貼方式應用的箔片碎片呈現。所有的這些都有助於提升畫作上逐漸增加的雕塑品質—幾乎是想挑戰古典藝術在繪畫、雕塑、與素描流派間的歷史區別。

內容層面上,各個圖層亦同樣表現著不同的含義:舉例來說,Schmelzwasser (譯:融水)前景出現的四個人像是直接塗在「原始」的油氈板上,代表著四個世代的藝術家族。由左到右,坐著的是Ruprecht von Kaufmann的曾祖父,站在一旁的是他的祖父,接著是在畫作斜對角的父親,以及最後是藝術家本人以幾乎水平的方式呈現在作品中。身穿軍服的人物以順時針的方向排列,就像是在暗指時間因素且一切因此頃刻即逝。

有趣的是,代表Ruprecht von Kaufmann的人像是畫作中唯一僅以輪廓方式呈現的,因此避開了我們的感知;也就是說,他的祖先們享有較大的身體存在。這似乎暗示著他的生活仍然有被「充實」的空間。另外,在人物背後升起的是讓人印象深刻的山脈,其中間的部份,現在則是融掉的冰川,已經被從圖像表面鑿除並破壞掉了。

從他們的穿著來看,圖中的人物不只是家人,而且是四代的高山部隊。完成山地救援兵役的Ruprecht von Kaufmann強調那段時間培養了他對大自然的熱愛。他對大自然有永久的責任感,以及對所有與此相關或者其未來所有世代有責任,這尤其體現在他整個作品反覆出現的山地主題之中。這裡是嚮往與紀念相互結合之地—尤其是後者,當藝術家想表達冰川融化的威脅時,不只在上述提及的Schmelzwasser (譯:融水)作品,而且也出現在Jannu (第185頁)、Der Fjord (譯:峽灣)、Natur (譯:自然)、以及Landschaft (譯:風景)這些作品之中。特別是當前關於氣候行動的辯論與為氣候罷課運動正盛行的情況下,這些圖像比以往任何時候都更引人注目。

很明顯的,Ruprecht von Kaufmann的畫作永遠不應該單純地以主觀自傳為背景下去思考,然而,更甚於此的是,我們必須以全世界通用普遍有效的角度來思考這些作品。這些是極度個人化的畫作,我們只能從自己的情緒之中來理解。我們從中尋找、認識、質疑所呈現的內容並進一步將其發展。畫作主角的力量或無力都反映且感動著我們,主要是因為它們展現了人類多麼地易變,無論是消極還是積極的層面上。從肇事者轉化成受害者的步驟—或反之亦然—往往是一步之遙;而在這種獨特的糾纏之中,我們彼此相互影響著。在Ruprecht von Kaufmann的畫作之中,人的多樣性就如同黑白色調之間那般多變。身為觀眾,我們面臨著進入對話的挑戰,以便為了透過動態可變的方式實現夙願。

作者:Sylvia Dominique Volz

為德國著名藝術顧問、編輯和策展人,於海德堡大學取得藝術史博士學位。她為私人藏家及企業機構提供當代藝術收藏顧問諮詢,同時也多次擔任知名當代藝術私人收藏指南《BMW藝術指南》(The BMW Art Guide)主編。

IMAGE FORMATION AS A (DISTORTING) MIRROR OF REALITY

By Dr. Sylvia Dominique Volz

Human existence in all its complexities—the efforts to control others through mani- pulation, a primal instinctive behavior that does not differentiate between rational and irrational—is the central theme of Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s work. Here, man is seen as a threat to nature and his own species, characterized by the neediness, vulnerability, and finitude of his earthly existence.

Deep and mysterious, the paintings draw viewers in, leaving them spellbound. We are challenged by the diversity and complexity of their encrypted and contradictory nature. They unleash a variety of associations within us, thereby generating a mix of emotions that, as the artist notes, corresponds most closely to our own experiences in life: from unease, dismay, and feeling threatened, to joy, love, and hope—at times all within a single image. We attempt to engage in, decode, and make sense of things, finally to conclude that what takes place occurs less before our eyes than within ourselves. Are the protagonists ultimately a reflection of ourselves? Whose role are we taking on? Are we an active part of the scenery unfolding before and within us?

These are therefore images we resonate and interact with as viewers. In the age of social media, this seems almost natural to us. Ruprecht von Kaufmann himself observes with fascination how so-called users employ narratives to form their own personal identities. These are the manipulated, subjective truths that certain images are designed to outwardly convey. What sticks in the mind when looking is an enviably beautiful (beautified) portrait that touches the viewer emotionally insofar as it creates a sense of lacking and awakens deeply hidden needs. In a nutshell, Ruprecht von Kaufmann artistically captures this discrepancy between reality and fiction in his painting of a female figure from behind ridding herself of her amply proportioned skin. Seen emerging is an almost vanishingly thin, slight person who seemingly shares nothing in common with the one about to be left behind (Take off Your Skin).

Slipping into various roles or manipulated images of oneself, however, is not only a phenomenon of modern times, but runs more or less throughout the entire history of mankind and art; humans have forever been concerned with whom they would like to be and in what role they would like to be seen. Even in ancient times, the concept of the person or persona was commonly used, among other things, as a term for the actor’s mask and the role one plays in acting or in life. Throughout the centuries, portraits, whether in word or image, have frequently been choreographed down to the very last detail: just think of rulers who flaunted their social status, their education, and supposed noble character traits by means of elaborately deployed symbolism, thus constructing their image in the truest sense of the word.

 Ruprecht von Kaufmann is particularly interested in such figures who oscillate between worlds, between truth and fiction, and it is hardly surprising that the lyrics of US singer-songwriter Tom Waits serve as one of his sources of inspiration—a musician who is himself hard to pin down, who takes on the identities of various invented figures in his songs and creates the kind of contradictory and complex atmosphere that we encounter in Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s pictures. The painter’s protagonists appear in various guises, some powerfully manipulative or menacing, others needy and vulnerable. We encounter strange hybrid creatures, such as a centaur—half-human, half-horse—asleep in bed, a nude female figure trustingly cuddled up against it (Monster), or a being completely ensconced in a sack-like fabric moving somewhat awkwardly around the room (Die Gefährten [The Companions]. Their true identity remains literally hidden from us, not least because their heads are turned away, are distorted beyond recognition, or even omitted. This is particularly bewildering in view of the fact that we always seek to read and recognize facial features, to position ourselves in relation to others.

When observing the at times complex pictorial spaces, dominated predominantly by people and their actions, it would be remiss of us to assert that Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s work lacks narration. In fact, this is not the artist’s intention: in his view, narrative is a fundamental means for touching people emotionally. He is therefore reluctant to approach painting from a purely formal and intellectual level. This is indeed worth noting, since this pits his images against current negative attitudes in the art context towards narrative in painting. Moreover, this stance is interesting since Ruprecht von Kaufmann comes across as a highly intellectual individual whose images attest not least to an intensive examination of history, politics, art history, literature, ancient mythology, and music.

Nevertheless, what unfolds before the eye of the viewer is not to be regarded in any way as a fully developed story. Rather, they are fragments, or more precisely narrative strands that are only intimated but not resolved. At first, the artist evokes narrative using tangible means that correspond to our established modes of seeing and our subjective horizon of experience, thus offering a seemingly easy way into the imagery. This applies equally to images of circus scenes, mountain landscapes, or autobiographical themes such as childhood and the transition to adulthood—to name just a few.

Subsequently then, our presumed insights are themselves called into question. Ruprecht von Kaufmann thus confronts us with all sorts of incomprehensible details, such as a horse with two hindquarters (Pastorale [Pastoral], an illogically constructed spatial structure, or even gaps in the image, which, viewed in isolation, raise more questions than contribute to clarifying the scene. The viewer is specifically encouraged to give his fantasy free rein, to resolve what is at odds, and to convert the illogical into the logical. “The image,“ says Ruprecht von Kaufmann, “only actually comes into being within viewers themselves.” Narrative fragments thus serve as a bridge the artist constructs for us, while he himself lingers around its base and retreats after encouraging us to continue onward.

Another aspect that runs counter to the purely narrative nature of Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s work is the absence of a fully fleshed-out concept before setting to work. He begins with a vague idea that he allows to guide him. Only in the course of the painting process does it become clear what the painting is all about.

The artist himself likes to refer to the principle of “serendipity“, meaning observing something by chance you weren’t looking for, but which turns out to be a new and surprising discovery. This very principle is reflected in the creative artistic process of Ruprecht von Kaufmann, who freely proceeds from one idea to the next without an overarching concept in mind. A coincidental connection crops up here or there, or a change of direction is undertaken, at times making for unexpected discoveries. Bored-out holes or the application of collage-like elements can develop as a result, breaking up the surface and setting it in motion.

Titles for the paintings are also typically only worked out in the course of the creative process. If, as an exception to the rule, the title is decided upon beforehand, it will reference a sentence, a statement, or a song title that has inspired the artist—such as Babe I’m Gonna Leave You or You never know . But what takes shape then on the image ground is a distant cry from pure illustration.

In general, the titles are in a certain way often surprisingly ironic—when, for instance, there is almost nothing more left of the top of the head of the person portrayed in My Thoughts Grow so Large on Me (2016) than spatula-applied paint remnants, which are more reminiscent of refuse than higher-minded activity. Or Der Entertainer, whose head consists solely of a plume of smoke. Or when the sleeping couple in Rude Awakening slides upside down off the downward sloping bed, as if being literally disposed of. It goes without saying that a humorous title can relativize the gloom and heaviness of the image theme when a hound-from-hell-like creature tears away at another beast and is simply titled Sorglos [Carefree]. A riveting contrast emerges, reminiscent of films by Martin Scorsese or Quentin Tarantino, where a scene marked by brutality is often accompanied by cheery music.

Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s manner of playing with our typical modes of perception in his paintings keeps the eye of beholder constantly in motion. It seeks out a pivot point, finds it, is distracted again, then potentially returns to the earlier point and drifts off from there in another direction. Physically the moving up and down in the space in front of the painting also does not seem to provide sufficient clarification. Potentially paradigmatic of this is the work In the House , in which the viewer moves—reminiscent of a film sequence—from left to right through a house. A total of six locations are traversed; beginning with the stairwell, the viewer is led deeper and deeper into the interior until suddenly finding himself outside the house.

Significant for Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s work is the variation in perspective that is particularly easy to comprehend here, given the artist’s alternating between a bird’s-eye view and an only slightly elevated observer’s point of view, once diagonally from the left, and then, in the next instant, diagonally from the right. The darting of the eye creates in viewers a sense of insecurity, even an oppressive feeling—specifically when the artist shows us an acrobat from behind standing on a swing at a dizzying height looking down at the floor of the circus ring, in a moment of maximum concentration and tension. It almost feels as if the floor is being pulled out from under our feet—as if it were up to us to swing the swing and whirl through the air like an aerial acrobat (Der Trapezakt [Trapeze Act] . The visual angle of the painting but also the very shape of the painted panels raise questions when a multi-element work like State of the Art (p.58), reminiscent of a foldable altarpiece, has an asymmetrical outer shape that would never allow it to function as such.

While Ruprecht von Kaufmann has been creating his works in oil on canvas for many years, 2014 marked a turning point when he decided to use linoleum as painting surface and has since then been doing so consistently. The multi-part portrait series Die Zuschauer [The Spectators] (2014) serves as an example of this switch: peering out at us from fifty-five DIN A4-sized panels are various characters or “personalities”; a variety of portraiture forms are employed here, from the head shot to the bust and the head-and- shoulder portrait, to the half- length figure. As you move in, you notice that the portraits almost seemingly dissolve at times. Eyes are drilled out, facial features are only indicated vaguely or in outline or even painted over using a spatula, while scraping threatens to destroy others. Also conspicuous is the assortment of colors we encounter here; the palette ranges from more reserved gray and blue tones to shrill orange, yellow, or bright magenta. Such color experimentation, however, is not only related to the portraits themselves, but also seems to take its cues from the background hues. At times, strange color sprinkles from the linoleum remain evident.

Here we find ourselves at the core source of the color: it is actually the linoleum itself that literally sets the tone for the painting. Ruprecht von Kaufmann came across the material—a mixture of linseed oil and cork—by chance. While doing construction work on his own home he discovered variously colored linoleum panels that soon aroused his artistic curiosity. The material, produced in a variety of shades, promised to become an experimental field of almost unlimited possibilities.

He subsequently ordered a colorful potpourri of 40 x 30 cm panels and experimented extensively with the way the oil paint behaves on the surface of the ground, which, unlike canvas, does not need to be primed due to its material properties. Ruprecht von Kaufmann noticed that while a blank white patch on canvas always looks “unfinished,” the substrate of a linoleum panel can simply be “left alone” when needed [Schmelzwasser [Meltwater] , Revision . Accordingly, he allowed himself to be guided by the material’s various colors, working with the vibrancy of the respective hue as a reference point. A playful process, a dialogue was set in motion, because each image, each color, gave birth to a new idea: violet meets yellow, yellow encounters blue, orange comes across gray-green, magenta runs up against black. Even more experimental are the paintings, in which wallpaper or floors are covered with colorful patterns and the figures framed as if in a jungle, such as in Monster , Auferstehung [Resurrection] , Der Zeuge [The Witness] , or You Never Know. The potential color combinations seem virtually inexhaustible.

The newly discovered material matched Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s long- cherished desire to use color more powerfully as an individual element, in contrast to earlier works, which are characterized by a rather homogenous, muted tonality. The images thus achieve an obvious presence, but still remain subtle enough that they avoid becoming too conspicuous.

In switching from canvas to linoleum, Ruprecht von Kaufmann was also able to fulfill another wish to give individual elements in the image a more graphical quality, thus setting them apart from other areas of the image. If we look at works such as Schmelzwasser [Meltwater], the figures actually seem refined and reserved, as if drawn on paper. The artist likes to emphasize that brushes and paint flow particularly well on linoleum and that it is well suited for the calligraphy of motion. The image background, he humorously remarks, can be “painted over as easily as a botched oil painting,” where the color also remains on the top surface, over underlying layers of paint.

Last but not least, the material, he explains further, is characterized by a certain resistance to pressure compared to canvas. This is of particular significance when Ruprecht von Kaufmann occasionally applies paint to individual parts of the canvas with a spatula.

It goes without saying that the formal changes mentioned also have an effect on content. Both graphical elements and individual areas left unpainted in the background at times lend the pictures a degree of abstraction that enters into an exciting dialogue with the rest of the painting. If one looks at the last works Ruprecht von Kaufmann created on canvas prior to switching to linoleum—the series with circus scenes—a tendency towards greater abstraction can already be seen in them. In contrast to earlier paintings, the background here is no longer as detailed, but is on closer inspection more reminiscent of sketched-out, geometric forms.

Ultimately this development leads to the linoleum works, in which individual image layers are distinguished from one another even more clearly than before—by graphical elements, by sections that dissolve into carved-out marks, and by fragments of foil applied in a collage-like manner. All of these contribute to the increasingly sculptural quality of the images—almost as if wanting to question the classical art historical distinction between genres of painting, sculpture, and drawing.

Content-wise, the individual layers represent different levels of meaning: for example, the four figures in Schmelzwasser [Meltwater] seen in the foreground of the image and painted directly onto the “raw” linoleum, represent four generations of the artist’s family. From left to right, seated, is Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s great-grandfather, standing next to him his grandfather, followed by his father placed diagonally in the image, and finally ending with the artist himself in a nearly horizontal position. The figures, dressed in military uniforms, are arranged clockwise, as if alluding to the factor of time and thus to transience.

It is interesting to note that Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s figure is only rendered graphically in outline, therefore escaping our perception, so to speak, while his forebears enjoy a greater physical presence. It seems as if the artist is alluding to the fact that his life can still be “filled out.” Rising up in the background behind the figures is an impressive mountain range, whose mid-section, now a melting glacier, has been removed and broken up by marks gouged out of the image ground.

Based on the clothes they are wearing, the figures shown are not only family members but also four generations of alpine troops. Ruprecht von Kaufmann, who completed his military service in mountain rescue, emphasizes how much this time fostered his love of nature. His abiding sense of responsibility towards it and, related to this, towards all future generations, is echoed in particular in the mountain theme that recurs throughout his body of work. This is where the location of yearning and the memorial are united—the latter in particular when the artist expresses the threat of melting glaciers and icebergs, not only in the work Schmelzwasser [Meltwater] mentioned above, but also in Jannu , Der Fjord [The Fjord], Natur [Nature] and Landschaft [Landscape]. Especially in the context of the current debate on climate action and the global Fridays For Future movement, these images are more compelling than ever.

It is clear that Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s paintings should never be thought of solely in a subjective-autobiographical context, but that, above and beyond this, they must also be considered from a global, universally valid perspective. These are deeply personal images that we are only able to access via our own emotionality. In them we search for, recog- nize, question what is presented and develop it further. The power and powerlessness of the protagonists reflect and move us, above all because they show us how mutable man is, in both a negative as well as positive sense. The step from perpetrator to victim—and vice versa—is often less than a stone’s throw away from each other, and in this peculiar entangling we have a mutual effect on one another. In Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s painting, man’s facets are as varied and diverse as the range of tonalities between black and white. As viewers, we are challenged to enter into a dialogue in order to come to this realization in a dynamically variable manner.

Ruprecht von Kaufmann訪談:像執導一部電影那般繪畫著

像執導一部電影那般繪畫著

1974年誕生於幕尼黑,Ruprecht von Kaufmann是一位目前生活與工作於德國柏林的當代畫家。Von Kaufmann以他具象的作品獲得了國際認可,主要作品方式包括油布上的繪畫與炭筆素描。這位德國藝術家以他靈活的筆觸與特殊的用色風格將自己與大多數當代具象畫家作出區分。強烈的畫風遊走於超現實主義與荒謬主義邊緣,von Kaufmann用人物充填畫作內容與風景;從日常生活中汲取作品靈感作為對現實的評論,喚起耐人尋味的敘事與迷人的圖像。

Julien Delagrange (JD): 首先,歡迎來到Contemporary Art Issue;謝謝你花時間來接受訪談。

Ruprecht von Kaufmann (RVK): 這是我的榮幸!

JD: 開啟此次對話的唯一方式,就是先恭喜你最近發表了專題著作Ruprecht von Kaufmann: 2013 – 2020;這幾乎是一部印刷版的回顧展,對任何藝術家來說都是一個真正的里程碑。你能帶我們聊聊這本書的內容嗎?

RVK: 我在2013年自己開發了油布繪畫的作品領域。在那之前,我正將我的繪畫推向了一個新的方向;簡化畫作的背景並在完成的作品之中留下一些可見的底層繪畫。這樣的作品顯得更有粗糙感、更像素描畫。而且,我覺得這樣風格的作品更切中要害也更有影響力。這種變化的奇怪之處在於,我一直努力著想要將我的作品推向什麼方向,然後這扇門突然打開了,而我只需要走過它即可。

而2018年時,當我首次開始思考製作一本新書時,記錄這些關鍵轉變並給予我的重點畫作一個展現平台這件事似乎非常重要。這就是為什麼這本書具有回顧性質。在與我的妻子討論時—她非常支持我的工作並且是我這本書的設計者—我們產生了不以時間序展示作品的想法,而是將它們重組為重疊的主題,將不同年代的作品相互連結起來。儘管出版商一開始也抱持著懷疑的態度,我很高興我們選擇了這條路;這樣的作法讓整本書讀起來更生動有趣。Sylvia Volz出色地完成了這項艱鉅的任務,成功地將所有內容整合進她的文字之中。我認為這是能進入我的繪畫世界的重要邀請。

不過,COVID-19疫情的影響幾乎使計畫卡關。對於在2020這個如此不可預測的一年進行這件事感到十分不確定。幸運的是,柏林Gutshaus Steglitz的市立美術館以及慕尼黑附近的Buchheim博物館在這段時間提供我開設個展的機會,也因此從這裡獲得了一些金援。如此的發展才最終使得整個計畫得以順利進行。這樣的一本書是需要協作努力的;如果沒有後面這一大群人的支持,我完全沒有辦法完成這件事。太多人需要感謝,我就不在此一一列舉了!

JD: 通常專題著作或回顧展是藝術家反思其作品的關鍵。這本專著對你的藝術實踐或方向有影響嗎?

RVK: 老實說,其實還好。我一直都不是那種會回頭看的人。就像爬山時,上次的攀登一點也不重要,下一次的攀越才是重點。對我來說,繪畫也是如此。

同時,是的,能夠產出這樣一本書很棒,因為它提醒著過去幾年你在生活中做了些什麼事。但對我來說,改變與持續發展工作始終是不可或缺的。如果我只是重複做著以前一直在做的事,我還不如從事其他的工作。成為一名藝術家最美好的事,就是因為每幅作品都想要呈現一些不同,展示一個新的自己。

今天我強迫自己逐漸轉變與改變,因為多年來我了解到,收藏家、畫廊、與藝術評論家無法如此快速的跟進;你需要給他們時間去追上腳步,所以需要以思考引導他們。有好幾次,我幾乎失去了所有願意接受我作品的收藏家,而我不得不去建立一個新的收藏家清單,只因為他們不喜歡我當時的創作方向。而這只是工作的一部份。

JD: 這本書匯集了你20132020年的作品,你認為這其中是否有顯著的改變發展嗎?

RVK:當然,我會這麼說。如同我前面提到的,2013年為我的作品帶來了巨大的轉變,而書中的第一幅畫仍然是畫布作品。然後接著可以看到我如何探索不同的途徑與管道,而這因此改變了作品中呈現的材料與思維。我的英雄之一是Beck (一位音樂家),我喜歡那種永遠猜不到他下一張專輯會帶來什麼的感覺;唯一可知的就是一定會有些不同。所以,在這本書中,讀者可能不會讀通整本書後還喜歡每一幅畫;但是可能,而且希望,其中的一些作品會逐漸與讀者產生共鳴,而讀者也會因此喜愛上這些一開始可能沒有連結感的畫作。

比較可惜的是,這本書沒有包含一些比較小的作品。那些通常是我的實驗基礎,並且填補了我某些大型作品間的步驟;但是把這些作品包含進去的話,會太過廣泛。所以未來可能還會再有另一本書單獨呈現小型作品。

JD: 正如你提到的,可惜現在仍然是COVID-19的疫情期間。你如何經歷這場疫情,以及它對你或你的作品是否有任何影響?

RVK: 疫情帶來的是一場複雜的經驗。一方面來說,我蠻享受這期間的緩慢步調,這讓我有更多時間作畫,減少組織展覽的時間。這同時也讓我思考更多其他可能的途徑,包含重新投入教學。我喜愛教學,但這是一件十分耗時的事;而疫情讓我重新思考這個選項。

然後是那些隱藏的展與取消的活動。我現在在柏林Gutshaus Steglitz市立美術館有一場展覽,但卻沒有人可以欣賞它,這真的是個很悲傷的體驗。即使我已經比其他人更習慣較少的社交接觸,我對於社交隔離也逐漸感到壓力。但我盡量不讓自己太過擔心,專注於未來以及如何持續前進。到目前為止,我的藝廊在疫情期間都努力堅持著。而我真正最擔心的是我的孩子,他們幾乎都失去了一整年的學業與陪伴,這對他們來說真的十分艱難。

而這些體驗最後可能會默默存在於我的作品之中;當下的經歷通常會需要花點時間通過記憶的濾網並重新組合成為繪畫靈感。

JD: 沒有面孔的臉反覆出現在這七年的作品之中;模糊的、躲藏的、隱晦的、以Impasto厚塗手法,或者有時候直接沒有塗抹的表現方式。這個策略是如何產生的,以及為什麼?

RVK: 我希望我畫作中的人物不是特定的人,而是特定類型的對象。所以我有意識地在我的畫作之中使用「肖像」。對我來說,畫作在後來透過觀者的欣賞才會變得生動。而對觀眾來說,如果他們能夠在自己的生活經驗中識別出畫作裡的對象,他們便能夠將這幅畫變成他們自己所擁有的體驗。所以我在具體化人像時也盡可能地減少其中的限制。

JD: 在過去的二十年裡,這樣呈現圖像的方式變得越來越明顯。你對這點有什麼看法?為什麼我們對於沒有臉孔或者欣賞無臉的圖像衝擊感會如此強烈?

RVK: 我們透過臉孔與他人建立連結;人們認為自己能夠從眼睛裡「理解」他人,而且我們認為情緒是通過臉上表情而傳遞的。但是如果失去這樣的線索,我們就會被拋回自身;我們直接地對透過姿勢或肢體語言所傳達的情緒產生同情與共鳴。這樣的反應更加的微妙;當表面看似無害且平靜時,有股激流將我們拉進畫中。當情緒被激發後,我希望觀者能夠對我的畫作產生強烈情緒反應。

JD: 是否繪畫本身有時候也會有模糊或隱藏臉孔的需求?

RVK: 模糊或是抹除是我呈現畫作常見的手法,我希望這些作品帶有一些生澀感與流動性,如果我在某些部份做了太多工,這樣的效果就會消失。所以當我覺得它們變得太過緊實與精確時,我常常會使用刮刀把洞的區域挖除,使它們回到一開始殘餘的狀態。破壞與重置可能會耗上一段時間,但我希望失敗的狀態仍然可見。對我來說,這樣的輪廓更加可信,因為它們有缺陷,就像人類一樣。但是讓錯誤可見也呈現出我脆弱的一面;只有當你允許自己變得脆弱時,才能建立起真正的連結。而我希望我的作品能與觀眾建立連結。

JD: 身為一位畫家,可以說你是一位發自內心作畫的藝術家。直覺在你的創作過程中扮演什麼角色呢?

RVK: 直覺一直是繪畫過程中十分重要的一部份;這就是繪畫與觀念藝術之間的區別。繪畫過程是一系列連續且有時候是遞增的決策。當然,其中有些決策,通常是劇烈的或戲劇性的,是經過精心且深思熟慮計劃過的。然而,如果在沒有意識的思考過程中做出太多次要的決策,那就大大低估了這些決策的重要性了。就像開著車在路上行進一樣,是的,你會在轉彎時做出思考;但是整個駕駛過程中,我們大部份的人卻都是下意識的在行動。

然而,最重要的是,別低估失敗與快樂的錯誤。它們無法被計算與預測,但是當它們發生時,有時會因此決定一個你之前從未想過嘗試開始的新方向。有時候它們會使一個新的靈感成形並幫助你更加精準的行動。我想這就是過去人們常說的「繆斯」。有可能某幅畫突然握有掌控權,明確的告訴你它需要些什麼。而我的職責就是後退一步並追隨靈感的引導。我發現這樣的方式通常會帶來比我期望更好的畫作。所以這是一個既直覺又滿是計劃與概念式思考的過程。而經驗的累積讓這兩者之間的界線越來越模糊與通透。

JD: 就我個人而言,當我瀏覽你的作品時,最讓我震驚的是你構圖與人物的高度多變性。有些圖像似乎超越了荒謬主義,描繪出即使是狂熱的夢境也無法誘發的場景。你可以告訴我們更多關於你如何產生這些構圖與圖像的思維嗎?

RVK: 構圖可能是關鍵,我對構思佈局深深著迷,它們是我每幅畫作的中樞並提供了許多影響繪畫情感表達的可能性。有可能是以十分井然有序的構圖來對抗極端的圖像,或者反之亦然。我一直很羡慕電影導演,因為他們有時間順序、音樂與聲音。所以對我來說,在繪畫中帶入一種之前/之後的感覺是很重要的;那是一種一定是某些什麼事情逐漸導致出所描繪時刻的強烈感覺,並且體認到接下來勢必還有什麼會發生。以這種方式思考我的畫作為我開啟了許多表達的可能性。

JD: 關於2015Die Gefährten (譯:夥伴們),看到這幅特別的畫作時,我不禁微笑了起來。看起來像是一隻被變形服套住的小恐龍?像是一段純科幻情境與某種幻覺的有趣交集。可以請你說明這整個過程嗎?包含畫作是如何產生的,以及我們應該/可以用什麼方式理解這幅畫?

RVK: 其實沒有什麼正確的方法來理解一幅畫。就是允許自我完全融入繪畫世界中的內部邏輯,潛入情緒之中。我試著用我的畫作來創造一個「平行」現實,這在某種程度上映出了我們的自我,卻又奇怪地讓人感到不安;就像感受我們自己的行為在外面的人眼裡看進來是什麼樣的感覺。因此,藉由允許自己融入這幅畫作之中,理想的情況下,我希望觀者從中走出來時能同時帶出對自己生活有些改變的觀點。

這幅畫中,主角是那位蹣跚而行的「怪物」。我喜歡你這個被變形服套住的恐龍的描述。我試圖去捕獲這隻看起來有點舒適、柔軟、且無害,但卻又同時讓人感到恐懼的生物;因為它的形狀難以讓人辨識且朦朧,它感覺既熟悉又異常陌生。

然後接著是這幅畫命名中所指的夥伴們;那些被擺放在置物櫃裡的男人們背對著那隻怪物。作品的靈感來自奧德賽;那裡—如同許多英雄故事那般—有著奧德賽的手下們,他們是整個冒險旅程裡忠實的伙伴。但我們卻從不知道他們的名字或更多與他們有關的資訊。他們是可被取代的替身、步兵、是神話中的「雜耍鮑伯」,他們是拋棄式產品。當你需要一隻可以變成豬的對象,只要隨手從衣櫃中拿取一個即可。

儘管這幅畫有點黑暗且喜怒無常,但這並不是一件意味著嚴肅的作品。我的畫作裡面通常帶有很多幽默;所以我很高興它讓你微笑。

JD: 你作品中的另外一個特點,在各種場景與構圖中提供著視覺連續性,那就是你的用色風格。我注意到作品中有許多的藍色、紫色、粉紅色、以及綠色佔據了你作品中的整體視野。這些色彩似乎在證實我們所見並非現實。

RVK: 當我開始繪畫的時候,我深受早期大師們的影響。我使用的是「老大師風格」,因此,我的畫作有那樣的色彩與光線。但我總覺得不太對勁;那樣的光線看起來不像現在的光影,有著霓紅燈與各種五顏六色的光源。我想要的色調比較像是感覺在水下,或者是在燈光昏暗的夜店之類的地方。那些環境讓膚色看起來不太健康或無法呈現粉嫩色感,而是以綠色或藍色為主。呈現出來的效果就是我們確實沒有看到真實的東西,而是現實的反映,我們正在經歷著某種白日夢。就像在夢中那般,東西看似熟悉,卻又不完全像在醒著的生活之中。

JD: 我們可以確定一個世代的當代具象畫家的特點是超現實主義與深植於存在主義之中那更黑暗的氛圍。在我的淺見看來,你一直是這個世代的領軍人物;你對於當代繪畫這種趨勢的看法如何呢?

RVK: 其實,我對於當代繪畫的「當下趨勢」不是非常確定。我只是一直對於嘗試將我的作品逐漸地推向我覺得應該前進的方向這種事感興趣,然後藉此畫出我腦中出現的靈感。而這是以過份關注他人在做些什麼為代價的。這聽起來或許有些自大,但是對我來說,這關乎於我如何分配我的時間。我沉迷於繪畫,而我始終在思考著如何獲取下一個創意靈感。然後就這樣了。當然,對於一個藝術家來說,沒有比這個更美好的讚美了;然後還能因此激勵其他藝術家,沒有比被視為是藝術家的藝家大師更大的榮譽了。然而,這是我無法定論的眾多事物之一。我能做的,就是完成我的工作,僅此而已。

JD: 我認為這讓一切變得更加有趣。在與這樣的潮流相關的藝術家交談時會發現這似乎是一種無心而成的現象。大家似乎都只是追隨著自己的興趣和衝動而已,你也是如此。是否有哪些藝術家或同事是你認為能夠與你的工作產生密切關聯?這其中是否有相互的影響?

RVK: 當然,我正在瘋狂地從中偷取東西。但是我很難把這些限縮到只有幾個名字。而且,通常我盡量不看我非常欣賞的人他們的IG分享,就是因為害怕受到太多影響。簡單列舉幾位就好,我欣賞Lars Elling (生於1966年)、Justin Mortimer (生於1970年)、以及Nicola Samorì (生於1977年)。

但是更重要的是,我從歌詞與書籍中汲取靈感。我喜愛文學,而且我沉迷於有聲書 (以及咖啡來成就我的成癮三部曲)。一本好書可以在我腦中激發出上百萬張圖像來運行。這就是為什麼我的許多作品都是以歌詞或散文來命名。當然,還有電影:它們對我的巨大的影響。我在作畫的時候,我的腦子裡就像是在執導一部電影。在繪畫過程中會產生許多需要找到解答的問題,從構圖、到光影、到一日中的時段、到衣服、色彩、背景、以及如何剪裁圖像。所有的這一切都影響著最終的成果,就像導演一部小電影那般。

JD: 我很期待你未來將要執導的「電影」—畫作。謝謝你寶貴的時間,更感謝你對藝術、畫作、以及生活的真實且有趣的看法。Ruprecht von Kaufmann,與你的訪談過程十分愉快,謝謝。

Painting as if Directing a Movie

Ruprecht von Kaufmann, born in 1974 in Munich, is a contemporary painter living and working in Berlin, Germany. Von Kaufmann achieved international recognition with his figurative body of works, mainly consisting of oil paintings on linoleum and charcoal drawings on paper. The German artist distinguishes himself from the bulk of contemporary figurative painters with his dynamic touch and unique colour palette. Strongly marked by an edge of surrealism and the absurd, von Kaufmann populates interiors and landscapes with figures. Drawing inspiration from daily life as a comment on reality, evoking intriguing narratives and captivating images.

Julien Delagrange (JD): First and foremost, welcome on Contemporary Art Issue. Thank you for taking the time for this interview.

Ruprecht von Kaufmann (RVK): My pleasure!

JD: The only way I can start this conversation is by congratulating you on your most recent monographic publication, Ruprecht von Kaufmann : 2013 – 2020. Almost a retrospective in print, a true landmark for any artist. Could you talk us through the catalogue?

RVK: In 2013 I had discovered linoleum for myself as a painting ground. Just before that I had pushed my painting into a new direction, of simplifying the backgrounds and leaving some of the underlying drawing visible in the finished painting. The paintings became rougher and more sketch-like, but at the same time – I felt – more to the point and more impactful. The strange thing about these kind of changes was, that I had been striving to push my work into that kind of direction for a while, and then all of a sudden this door opened and all I needed to do was walk through it.

In 2018 when I first started thinking about a new book, it seemed very important to document these crucial shifts, to give those, for me very pivotal works, a platform. So that’s why it has some retrospective qualities. In discussion with my wife – who is incredibly supportive of what I do and who has designed the book – we came up with the idea of not showing the works in chronological order, but to restructure them into overlying themes that tie very different pieces from different years together. Even though the publisher was sceptical at first, I am very happy we went that way. It makes the book more lively and interesting to read. Sylvia Volz did an incredible job with the very difficult task to tie it all together in her text. I think it is a very important invitation into the world the paintings encompass.

The pandemic nearly chocked the project. My gallery – Gallery Thomas Fuchs in Stuttgart – who has co-financed the book was really uncertain if we should go through with it in an unpredictable year like 2020. Fortunately two museums, the city owned Gallery at Gutshaus Steglitz in Berlin and the Buchheim Museum near Munich, offered me solo shows at around the same time, and with that came some financial support from their end. That finally got the project off the ground. A book like this is a collaborative effort, that I couldn’t have realised without the support of a holehost of people. Too many to name them all here!

JD: As often, monographs or retrospective shows are key moments for an artist to reflect on their work. Does the monograph have an effect on your artistic practice or direction?

RVK: Not really, to be honest. I have never been much of a looking back kind of guy. It’s like mountain climbing. The last climb isn’t of any importance. Only the next one counts. For me it’s the same with paintings.

And at the same time, yes, a book like this is great, because it reminds you of what you have done with your life for the past couple of years. But for me, changes and the continuous evolving of my work has always been essential. If I would just repeat what I have been doing before, I might as well be working in any other job. What is so fantastic about being an artist, is that every painting wants something different, something new from you.

Today I am forcing myself to make shifts and changes more gradually, because I learned over the years, that collectors and galleries and art critics don’t follow along as quickly. You need to give them time to catch on, lead them along with your thinking. Several times, I have lost almost all of my collectors and had to built up a new collector base, because many just didn’t like the direction I was taking with my work. That’s just part of the job.

JD: The book compiles your work from 2013 up to 2020. Would you say there is a visible development?

Absolutely, I would say so. As I have mentioned before, 2013 brought huge shifts in my work and the first paintings in the book are still painted on canvas. And then you can see the process of how I explored different routes and avenues, that the changes in material and in thinking offered. One of my heroes is Beck (the musician). I love how, with his albums, you never know what you will get in the next one. The only thing you can rely on is that it will be different. So in the book you probably won’t read through it and like every painting. But maybe, and hopefully, you will grow to understand and love some of the ones that you didn’t connect with at first.

Unfortunately the book doesn’t include the smaller works, they often are my experimentation ground and could have filled in some of the steps in between larger works. But it would have gotten too extensive. So maybe there will be another book with just the smaller format works in the future.

JD: As you have mentioned, sadly, there still is the issue of Covid. How did you experience the pandemic and in what manner did it have effect on you or your works?

RVK: The pandemic has been a mixed experience. Partly, I enjoy the slow pace, because it allowed me to spend more time painting and less time organizing exhibitions. It also has led me to think about other avenues more, like maybe getting back into teaching as well. I love teaching, but it’s also such a time drain. But Covid has got me thinking about that again.

Then there are all the concealed shows and the cancelled fairs. I have an exhibition in the City Gallery Gutshaus Steglitz in Berlin right now. But no one can see it. That’s a really sad experience. And even though I am used to less social contact than most people, I am starting to feel the strain of social isolation. But I try not to worry too much and focus on what’s ahead and how to keep going. So far my galleries have been doing great work to power through the pandemic. But really I am most worried for my kids right now. They have more or less lost an entire year of schooling and of companionship. For them it’s been really rough.

All of that might creep into my paintings eventually. It usually takes a little while for current experiences to filter though memory and be reassembled into ideas for paintings.

JD: A recurring characteristic throughout this body of works of seven years of painting is the implicit absence of faces. Blurred, evaded, hidden, destroyed with a strong impasto or sometimes simply not painted. How did this strategy come about and why?

RVK: I want the people in my paintings not to be a specific person, but a specific type of person. So I am consciously avoiding ‘portraits’ in my paintings. For me a painting becomes alive through the viewer who encounters the image later on. And for the viewer it becomes possible to make the painting their own if they recognize figures out of their own life experience. So I try to leave the figures as open as possible while being as specific as necessary.

JD: The implementation of this image formula has been increasingly visible over the past two decades. What’s your viewing point upon this matter? Why do we feel so strongly not to paint faces and/or view pictures without faces?

RVK: We make connections with another person through the face. We think we can ‘read’ othersthrough their eyes. We also think that emotions are transported through the expressions on a face. But if those clues are missing, we are being thrown back onto ourselves. We intuitively empathise with emotions that are communicated through posture and body language. This reaction is much more subtle. It’s like a riptide that pulls us under and into the painting, when the surface looked harmless and quiet. But then your own emotions that are being triggered. I want the viewer to have a strong emotional response to my paintings.

JD: Does painting itself sometimes demand to blur of hide the faces?

RVK: Blurring or erasing is a regular part of my painting practise. I want the paintings to have a certain rawness and fluidity that would get lost if I laboured too much over a certain section. So I often take a scraper and scratch out hole areas when I feel they have gotten too tight and too precise and then work back into the remnants of what was there before. That process of destroying and rebuilding can go on for quite a while. I want the failures still to be visible. To me the figures look more believable that way, because they are themselves flawed, like actual human beings. But leaving mistakes visible also allows a presence of vulnerability on my end. A true connection is only possible when you allow yourself to be vulnerable. And I want the paintings to connect with their audience.

JD: As painter, one could argue you are a painter who paints from the heart. What role does intuition have in your creative process?

RVK: Intuition is always a very essential part of the painting process. That’s what differentiates painting from Conceptual Art. The painting process is a continuous series of sometimes incremental decisions. Of course some of these decisions, usually the drastic and more dramatic ones, are well planned and thought out. But to brush over the many, many minor decisions you take without a conscious thought process, would be greatly undervaluing their importance. Like driving a car down a road. Yes you think about it when you need to take a turn. But a large part of the driving process happens subconsciously.

But most importantly, don’t underestimate failures and happy mistakes. They can’t be calculated and anticipated. But when they happen they sometimes dictate a new direction that you hadn’t thought of starting out. Sometimes they crystallize an idea and help you in being more precise. That’s what people used to call ‘a muse’ in the old days, I presume. It can happen that a painting takes control, tells you exactly what it needs. And then it’s my role to step back and follow that lead. I find that this usually results in a better painting then I could have hoped for. So it’s a process that is just as much intuition as it is planing and conceptual thinking. And experience makes the borders between the two more and more blurry and permeable.

JD: Personally, when I am browsing through your work, what staggers me the most is the immense variety of compositions and figures. Some images seem to go beyond the absurd, depicting scenes that could not even be induced by a feverish dream. Could you tell us a bit more how these compositions and images are built?

RVK: Composition is probably the key. I am obsessed with compositions, they are the backbone of every painting and offer so many possibilities to influence the emotional expression of a painting. It’s possible to counter very extreme imagery with a very orderly composition or vice versa. I am always envious of film directors, because they have a timeline, music and sound available to them. So to me it’s important to introduce a sense of a before or after into the painting. A strong sense that something must have led up to the depicted moment and that something will happen afterwards. Thinking about my paintings that way opens up so many possibilities of expression to me.

JD: I can not help but smile when seeing this particular painting, Die Gefährten – The fellows in English – from 2015. It looks like a small dinosaur is captured in a morph suit? A fascinating intersection of pure science fiction and a hallucination of some sort. Could you talk us through the process, how the image originated and how one should/could approach this painting?

RVK: There is no right way to approach a painting. It’s allowing yourself to buy into the internal logic of the painted world, to dive int o the mood. I try with my paintings to generate a ‘parallel’ reality, that somewhat mirrors our own, but is strange enough to feel unsettling, like how our own behavior might look to someone looking in from the outside. So by allowing yourself to slip into the painting, I hope you come out of it with a slightly altered perspective on your own life. Ideally.

In this painting the main character is the ‘monster’ lumbering about. I like your description about a dinosaur captured in a morph suit. I was trying to get this creature, that looks sort of cozy and soft and unthreatening, but at the same time feels unnerving, because the shape of the thing is unreadable and obscured. It is at the same time familiar and strangely alien.

Then there are the Companions that the painting is named after. The men that are placed in the lockers turning their back to the monster. The inspiration is taken from the Odyssey. There – as in many other hero stories – are Odyssey’s men, who are his faithful companions throughout his adventures. But we never learn their names or anything more about them. They are exchangeable stand-ins, foot soldiers. The ‘sideshow-bob’ of mythology. Disposables, that you can pull out of the closet, whenever you need someone whom you can turn into a swine.

Even though the painting is kind of dark and moody, it’s one that isn’t meant to be all serious. Usually there is a lot of humour in my work. So I am glad that it makes you smile.

JD: Another characteristic aspect of your oeuvre, offering visual continuity throughout the variety of scenes and compositions, is your colour palette. I note there are many blues, purples, pinks and greens dominating the overall view of your works. They seem to affirm what we’re seeing is not reality.

RVK: When I started out in painting, I was very influenced by the old masters. I was using the ‘old master style’ and therefore my paintings had that coloration and light as well. But I always felt it wasn’t quite right. The light didn’t look like light looks nowadays, with neon-lamps and all kinds of colourful light sources. I wanted to have a coloration that feels more as if being under water, or in a badly lit night club or something. Where skin tones don’t look healthy and pink, but are dominated by greens and blue. The effect would be exactly that we do not see something real, but what we are seeing is a reflection of reality, that we are moving through some kind of daydream. Like in dreams, things look familiar, and also not at all like in waking life.

JD: One can ascertain a generation of contemporary figurative painters marked by surrealism and a darker atmosphere rooted in existentialism. In my humble opinion you have been one the leading figures for this generation. What’s your view on this tendency in contemporary painting?

RVK: Honestly, I am not very firm about ‘current tendencies’ in contemporary painting. I was always just simply interested in trying to push my work more and more to where I felt it needed to go, to paint the things that go through my head. That has come at the expense of looking too much at what others are doing. That might be arrogant, but for me it’s a matter of how to spend my time. I am addicted to painting and I am always thinking about how to get the next creative hit. So there you are. Of course there is no greater compliment for an artist, then to be able to inspire other artists, no greater honour then to be seen as an artist’s artist. But that’s one of the many things that aren’t for me to determine. All I can do is make my work, that’s it.

JD: I think that makes it even more interesting. It seems to be a very unintentional phenomenon when speaking with the artists associated with this tendency. They all seem to be following their own interests and urges, as do you. Are there certain artists, colleagues, with whom you can identity your work with? Has there been a reciprocal influence?

RVK: Of course, I am stealing stuff like crazy. But it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few names. And usually I try not to look at the instagram feed of people whose work I admire too much out of fear to be influenced too much. I adore the work of Lars Elling (b. 1966), Justin Mortimer (b. 1970) and Nicola Samorì (b. 1977) to name just a few.

But even more, inspiration I draw from song lyrics and from books. I love literature and I am addicted to audio books (and coffee to complete the trilogy of my addictions). A good book can trigger a million images in my head, that I can just run with. That’s why a lot of my titles are quotes from Song Lyiks or prose. And then of course movies: they have been a huge influence on me. In my head I am directing a film as I paint. There are so many questions that need to be answered in the course of a painting; from composition, to lighting, to time of day, to clothes, colours, backgrounds and how the image will be cropped. All of which influence the final outcome. It is like directing a small movie.

JD: I’ll be looking forward for the ‘movies’ – paintings – you’re set to direct in the years to come. Thank you for your time and even more for your genuine and intriguing view on art, painting and life. It has been a true pleasure, Ruprecht von Kaufmann.

虛無的藝術

by Daniel J. Schreiber

當Ernst Ludwig Kirchner的Große Berglandschaft與Ruprecht von Kaufmann的Der Fjord於2021年首次一同在Buchheim博物館展出時,那簡直是一場泰斗會面的場合。這兩個山景作品各有二乘六米;除了作品的尺寸、極端的橫幅模式、以及主題之外,這兩件巨幅作品似乎沒有什麼共同之處。在Kirchner的畫作之中,觀者會有種在仲夏時期,身處於高山山谷間草地、樹木、與巨石之中的感覺。另一方面,Ruprecht von Kaufmann的作品則是採取一個較為冷漠且有距離感的角度;觀者像是在峽灣旁遠眺白雪覆蓋的高山山脈。

Von Kaufmann有許多能夠近距離研究Kirchner巨幅作品的機會;他在圖青(Tutzing)的施坦貝爾格湖(Lake Starnberg)長大,距離Buchheim博物館所在的Bernried僅七公里之遠。Kirchner在那裡的主要作品是博物館創辦人Lothar-Günther Buchheim的部份表現主義收藏品;然而,當博物館於2001年成立之時,Kaufmann早已離開並走向世界了。高中畢業後不久,他便前往洛杉磯的Pasadena College of Art就讀藝術;此後,他住在洛杉磯、紐約、並且於2003年搬至柏林。但是當他想見父母或者思念他年輕成長過程中的當地景色時,他就會回到圖青;而他也會去欣賞Kirchner的Große Berglandschaft。

1931年,Kirchner將幾乎沒有混色的構圖結合他大膽的筆刷塗抹在作品表面的粗麻布上。暖色調橙棕樹幹與巨石在森林與草地的翠綠之中顯得格外顯目。樹木與巨石的深藍輪廓線條強調了對比的交互作用。淺藍色的天空,像楔子般地插入山脊之中,將觀者的注意力吸引至畫作中心。這部壯麗的作品是Kirchner在1931年於Gasthof 「Zum Sand」,一間位於Davos Frauenkirch的小旅館,演出的混合唱戲劇表演所創作的;作品明顯沒有提到具體的地點。作為Paul Appenzeller戲劇「Die Tochter vom Arvenhof oder Wie auch wir vergeben (英文意譯:Arvenhof來的女兒,或者當我們原諒之時)」的表演背景,這幅畫作充分顯露出一種整體的民俗風味魅力。正如Lothar-Günther Buchheim所說的,它是「阿爾卑斯山景觀的原型」。

儘管作品是Kirchner在1905年於Dresden所創立的藝術家團體「die Brücke」解散後18年才創作的,這幅大型畫作仍然是該團體很好的一個例子。根據Buchheim的說法,Kirchner與他的朋友們認為圖像再現實際情況的功能與表達的自由形式兩者的追求同等重要。而傳達這兩種相反的趨勢至今仍然是一項持續進行的藝術任務。換句話說,只有從我們的經驗視野開始,藝術才能夠被理解;並且只有超越它才能變得強大。這在當時與今日都一樣真實。

一開始,von Kaufmann的fjord景觀作品似乎與這個定義不太相干。畫作中細緻筆觸的逼真精度產生了太大的作用;我們毫無疑問地正在面對的是實際山脈的描繪。因此,我們對這幅畫提出的第一個問題是這座白雪覆蓋的山在哪裡,而不是它是否存在。即便是上面驚人的虹彩也不會破壞它逼真的外觀。從William Turner與隨後的水彩藝術中,我們感知到藝術家利用自然界中特殊的照明條件,例如日落,將色彩繽紛、富有情調的構圖帶到畫布之中。我們假設自己正在觀察一個冬季下午的全景;色譜從右側邊緣的橙色午后陽光到左側傍晚時刻較冷系的紫藍色調。

與第一印象相反,von Kaufmann的fjord畫作遠遠超出了我們對所感知的現實。實際上,相較於Kirchner的作品呈現著他所在的時代,fjord更像是地球上所有山景的「體現」,因為von Kaufmann的想像畫面是根據他對Landwassertal山谷斜坡的印象。另一方面,身為世界公民的von Kaufmann也曾經是山地獵人、滑雪者、以及登山客;他曾登上各大洲的許多山峰。他所描繪的山脈在哪?它漂浮於空中,無處不在卻也不在何處。這幅畫是畫家於New England、California、Alaska、Norway、他所在當地的Karwendel山脈、以及其他地方的繪畫與登山經驗所累積出來的基礎。

作品的配色方式與實際的光線情況無關;即使色調暗示了浪漫的日落氣氛,畫作表面落於周邊的亮白又大大的中和了這點。相較於Kirchner的畫作,構圖的概念顯然在這裡更是至關重要。表現主義的用色風格在此刻重新被詮譯著。在整個六米寬的作品上,von Kaufmann從橙色到藍色之間進行了幾乎無法察覺的過渡轉化—而Kirchner所強調的兩色則是在他的山景畫作中創造了一個果斷且互補的對比。這兩種顏色分別代表著夏天與冬天、白天與黑夜、以及寒冷與溫暖;它們是典型的對比。Von Kaufmann仔細雕琢的漸層清楚地表明,世界上的一切都屬於同類,即使是最大的對比。

然而,對von Kaufmann來說,最重要的藝術元素並非色彩亦非形式,而是畫作其中的虛無!事實上,我們起初很少關注這些空白的原因是在於我們視覺感知的特殊性。在試圖了解周邊環境時,我們的眼睛會不斷地來回移動;這樣做的同時,只有小部份區塊會顯現在水晶體上。而另一個限制是,敏銳的視力只能夠在視網膜上的一小部份上呈現;我們的大腦在不自覺的情況下將模糊的圖像直接排除掉了,而到達我們視覺皮質的脈衝僅佔視覺印象的一小部份而已,甚至比我們搜索的眼睛所掃描的周邊圖像量少得更多。儘管如此,我們仍然能夠獲得整體畫面的視覺感知,這是基於我們大腦強大的能力,能夠根據過往經驗與生物參數來補足缺失的訊息。我們的視覺皮質中只有大約10%的神經纖維起源於眼睛,而大腦會將剩餘的視覺資訊補足。因此,我們習慣於用很少的資訊得出我們對事物的看法。

Ruprecht von Kaufmann巧妙地向我們展現這個系統有多麼容易故障。只有經過幾次仔細查證後,我們才會發現,我們所看到的只不過是畫作表面那超過60%的彌漫且柔和的白。我們的感知將這些虛無轉化成霧濛濛的冬日天空、白雪覆蓋的岩石與草地、以及滑過谷底的冰舌。然而,並非每種虛無都是一樣。天空露出的是光禿且未加工的底板;而透過一些粗略筆法的幫助,將前景中那白雪覆蓋的岩石從我們的想像中誘發出來。除此之外,單純的底板也以此方式閃耀著,其柔和、彌漫、且略帶色調的白是von Kaufmann極其獨特的材料選擇:我們在這裡看到的並非帆布、紙板、或木材,而是油氈。

如同我們在美術課中學習到的,這種材料很容易切割與雕刻。而藝術家也利用了這種獨特性質,畫作上面冰舌所佔據的空間,最初便是Kaufmann以寬刷塗抹的厚塗顏料。這樣的顏料應用仍有部份保留在圖畫右下角,也就是峽灣出現之處。水平的筆觸讓人聯想到夕陽映照的平靜水面。整幅畫的用色風格都是以厚厚的塗抹形式表現,有些甚至延伸到畫作的邊緣之外。接著,藝術家再用油氈刀依照冰舌形狀從畫作表面雕刻出來,使其從源頭滑過山谷至水中。而殘餘的漆則僅保留於刀痕之間的山脊上。這樣的呈現方式使單色表面活躍了起來,並讓它看起來像是冰團表面那多孔洞且破碎邊緣的樣子。

不過,我們在von Kaufmann的fjord中體驗到最大的奇蹟是觀看冰川時所感受到的立體效果。我們怎麼會認為眼前所見的真實冰團,實際上是被切成空心的白色油氈?在這裡,藝術家也同樣利用我們感知裝置的弱點來欺騙我們。嚴格來說,我們的眼睛無法感知空間性。視網膜上的影像總是二維的,而具有空間感的影像則是僅由我們大腦對視覺印象的詮釋。例如,與空間有關的訊息是從陰影和比例獲得而來的。而藝術家同時利用了這兩者。一方面,鏤空的切面隨著深入的距離而變窄;另一方面,窪地間的山脊產生了陰影。我們的眼睛無法分辨它是空心的還是凸起的。當我們的大腦需要判斷眼前的物件,而它的判斷則需基於證據;由於沒有人見過下凹形式的冰川,所以大腦便認為這裡也因此不會出現這種形式。所以,大腦便會將二維的影像連同陰影轉化成向上凸起的雕刻。

但是如果我們更仔細地檢查圖像,尤其是從側邊觀察表面時,我們就能發現自己陷入了視錯覺之中。接著因此理解到,我們的想像力已將虛無轉化為雕刻。這樣的畫作鼓勵我們以超越自我經驗水平的方式進一步思考。我們是否也能以想法填充其他的虛無?有沒有可能用一種以朝著洞悉與行動為導向的方式來窺視未來的虛無?難道我們不應該只評估過往和現在的資訊來替未來添加預期的變化嗎?特別是冰川這個主題似乎更需要這樣的想像力。一張1895年拍攝的Alaskan冰川歷史照片啟發了Kaufmann的冰川畫作。從那時起,大部份的冰川都已經因為地球暖化的關係而融掉了;只有當冰川滑入山谷時所造成的景觀變形仍然存在。或許文明化所帶來的損失應該被視為一種對想像力的挑戰;一個能夠在他們所存在的地方展望著一個嶄新且更豐富未來的人。

作者:Daniel J. Schreiber (b. 1965)

Daniel J. Schreiber 為德國著名藝術史學家,現任德國施塔恩貝格湖畔貝恩里德幻想博物館(又名布赫海姆博物館)的館長,為收藏德國表現主義藝術作品的指標性博物館之一。Schreiber 在慕尼黑的路德維希馬克西米利安大學學習哲學、民族學、德語和比較民俗學,隨後於漢堡大學先後取得哲學、藝術史及民族學碩士學位。曾任職於漢堡工藝美術館、不來梅貝特西街(Böttcherstraße)藝術收藏、巴登-巴登弗里德布爾達博物館、羅蘭塞克阿爾普博物館,並於圖賓根美術館擔任管理策展人。

THE ART OF THE VOID

by Daniel J. Schreiber

It is a meeting of titans when Ernst Ludwig Kirchner’s Große Berglandschaft and Ruprecht von Kaufmann’s Der Fjord appear together for the first time in an exhibition at the Buchheim Museum in 2021. Both mountainous landscapes measure two-by-six meters each. Apart from their size, their extreme horizontal format, and their theme, the two monumental paintings seemingly have little in common. In Kirchner’s painting, the viewer has the impression of standing in the middle of a summertime, alpine valley of meadows, trees, and boulders. Von Kaufmann’s counterpart takes a coolly distant position. We observe from a distance a snow-covered alpine mountain range by a fjord.

Von Kaufmann had numerous opportunities to study Kirchner’s monumental painting up close. He grew up on Lake Starnberg in Tutzing, only seven kilometers away from Bernried, where the Buchheim Museum is located. Kirchner’s major work there forms part of the Expressionist collection of museum founder Lothar-Günther Buchheim. By the time the museum was founded in 2001, Kaufmann had long since left and made his way into the world. Soon after finishing high school he moved to Los Angeles to study art at the Pasadena College of Art. Thereafter, he lived in Los Angeles, New York, and moved to Berlin in 2003. But whenever the desire to see his parents and the local landscape of his youth drew him back to Tutzing, he would also go see Kirchner’s Große Berglandschaft.

In 1931 Kirchner applied the composition of barely mixed colors with bold dashes of his brush onto the coarse burlap of his painting surface. Warm-hued, orange- brown tree trunks and boulders stand out against the crisp green of the forest and meadows. The dark-blue linear contours of the trees and boulders underscore the interplay of contrasts. A light blue sky, inserted wedge-like between the ridges, draws the viewer’s attention to the center of the painting. This magnificent work, which Kirchner created in 1931 for a mixed-choir theatrical performance at the Gasthof ”Zum Sand“, an inn located in Davos Frauenkirch, apparently does not reference a specific location. As a backdrop for the performance of the play “Die Tochter vom Arvenhof oder Wie auch wir vergeben” (“The Daughter from the Arvenhof, or As We Forgive”) by Paul Appenzeller, the painting exudes an overall folksy appeal. It is, as Lothar-Günther Buchheim put it, an “archetype of the Alpine landscape.”

Although it was made eighteen years after die Brücke had dissolved, the large- scale painting is a fine example of the art created by the artist group Kirchner co- founded in Dresden in 1905. According to Buchheim, Kirchner and his friends placed just as much importance on the function of the image to reproduce reality as on the striving for free forms of expression. Conveying these two opposing tendencies has remained an ongoing task of art to this day. In other words: art is only comprehensible if it starts with our horizon of experience, and only powerful if it transcends this. That was as true then as it is today.

At first, von Kaufmann’s fjord landscape seemingly has little to do with this definition. The realistic precision of detailed brushwork plays too great a role. There is little doubt that we are dealing here with the depiction of an actual mountain range. The first question we ask of the painting is where this snow- capped mountain is located, not whether it even exists. Even its astonishing iridescence does not undermine its photorealistic appearance. From William Turner and the art of watercolor that followed, we are aware that artists make use of special lighting conditions in nature, such as the sunset, to bring colorful, atmospheric compositions to canvas. We assume here that we are observing a panorama on a winter afternoon. The color spectrum ranges from the orange of the afternoon sun on the right edge of the picture to the cooler purple and blue tones of the twilight hour on its left edge.

Contrary to first impressions, von Kaufmann’s fjord painting goes far beyond our perceptual reality. In actuality, it is much more an “embodiment” of all mountainous landscapes on earth than Kirchner’s painting was in his time, since Kirchner’s imaginary image was based exclusively on his impressions of the valley slopes of the Landwassertal. Von Kaufmann, on the other hand, a citizen of the world and former mountain hunter, skier and climber, has summited many a peak on various continents. Where is the depicted mountain range to be found? It rises up into the sky everywhere and nowhere. The painting is a substrate of the artist’s painterly and mountaineering experiences in New England, California, Alaska, Norway, around his local Karwendel range, and elsewhere.

The color scheme has nothing to do with an actual lighting situation. A romantic sunset atmosphere is hinted at, but the surrounding white of the painting surface largely neutralizes this. In comparison to Kirchner’s painting, it is obvious that a compositional concept was critical here. The expressionist color palette is reinterpreted. Over the entire breadth of six meters, von Kaufmann executes a barely detectable transition from orange to blue—the two colors Kirchner highlighted in creating a decisively placed, complementary contrast in his mountainous landscape. The two colors stand for summer and winter, for day and night, for cold and warm. They are the quintessence of contrast. Von Kaufmann’s measured gradation makes clear that everything in the world belongs together, even the greatest contrasts.

With von Kaufmann, however, the most important artistic elements are not the colors, not the forms, but the voids! The fact that we initially pay the slightest attention to them is due to a peculiarity of our visual perception. In seeking to take in our surroundings, our eyes move constantly back and forth. While doing so, only small areas appear before the lens. Another limitation is that sharp vision is only possible on a small part of the retina. Blurred images are excluded by our brain without our noticing. The impulses arriving in our visual cortex comprise only a fraction of the visual impressions, and are even a far smaller part of an image of our surroundings scanned by our searching eyes. Nevertheless, we get a visual sense of the overall picture. This is based on the enormous capacities of our brain to supplement missing information based on previous experience and biological parameters. Only about 10 percent of the nerve fibers in our visual cortex originate in the eye. The brain adds the remainder of the visual information. So we are used to arriving at our view of things with very little data.

Ruprecht von Kaufmann ingeniously shows us how susceptible this system is to failure. Only after several careful inspections do we notice that we are seeing nothing more than the diffuse, muted white of the painting ground on over 60 percent of the painting surface. Our perception has turned these voids into a hazy winter sky, snow- covered rocks and meadows as well as a glacier tongue sliding over the valley floor. But not every void is the same. The sky reveals the bare, unworked painting ground. The snow-capped rocks in the foreground are enticed out of our imagination with the help of a few sketchy brushstrokes. Otherwise, the pure painting ground shines through here too. Its soft, diffuse, slightly tonal white is the result of von Kaufmann’s very special choice of materials: what we are looking at here is neither canvas, nor cardboard or wood, but linoleum.

As we all know from art class, this material is easy to cut and carve. The artist also makes use of this unique characteristic. The section occupied by the glacier tongue was originally covered in impasto paint that Kaufmann had applied with a broad brush. Part of this paint application remains on the lower right edge of the picture, where the fjord appears. The horizontal brushwork evokes the idea of a calm surface of water illuminated by the evening sun. The painting’s entire palette of hues is seen here in thick smears, some of which extend beyond the painting’s edge. However, the artist carved out the painted surface with linoleum knives following the form of the glacier tongue, which flows from its area of origin through a valley into the water. Remnants of paint are only preserved on some of the ridges remaining between the tool marks. They enliven the monochrome surface and give it the appearance of a porous, broken edge of an ice mass.

The greatest marvel we experience with von Kaufmann’s fjord painting, however, is the three-dimensional effect that occurs when looking at the glacier. How can it be that we think we see the ice masses physically in front of us, when they have in fact been cut into the white linoleum as hollow forms? Here, too, the artist plays a trick on us by exploiting a weakness in our perceptual apparatus. Strictly speaking, our eyes cannot perceive spatiality. The retinal image is always two- dimensional. A spatial image is only created by our brain’s interpretation of the visual impression. Information about spatial relationships is gained from shadows and proportions, for example. The artist makes use of both. On the one hand, the cross-sections of the carved-out hollows become narrower as they recede. On the other, the ridges between depressions cast shadows. Our eyes cannot make out whether it is a hollow or a positive form. So the brain has to decide what is in front of it, and it does so based on evidence. Nobody has ever seen a glacier as a negative form. That’s why this can’t be the case here either, it thinks. And it transforms the two- dimensional image with shadows into a sculptural, positive form.

But if we inspect the image more closely, especially when looking at the surface from the side, we can see that we have fallen for an optical illusion. We realize that our imagination has turned a void into a sculptural body. Here the painting encourages us to go beyond our horizon of experiences and think further. Can’t we fill in other voids with ideas as well? Shouldn’t it be possible to peer into the void of the future in a way that is oriented toward insight and action? Shouldn’t we only have to evaluate past and present information and add in anticipated changes for the future? The subject of glaciers in particular seems to demand such imagination. An historic 1895 photo of an Alaskan glacier inspired Kaufmann’s painting of the glacier. Since that time most of the glacier has melted due to global warming. Only deformations in the landscape created as it slid down into the valley still remain. Perhaps the losses brought about by civilization should be seen as a challenge to the imagination. One that envisions a new, richer future in their place.

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