Chengdu Daily, August 12, 2013:

At Xu Liao Yuan’s Museum (XLY MoMA) appears a new style of art

 

I am Antonio from Switzerland, living in Chengdu

 

Three-dimensional paintings? Hey, they are not made by a 3D printer! Can you imagine how this looks? In San Sheng Xiang, at the XLY MoMA New Art Experiment Centre, a whole building is filled with artworks of this “three-dimensional kind”. Various colors of paint are on the canvas, but not as we usually see it depicted, there are many ups and downs like on a small mountain. The thick areas might be up to 7cm high, the low areas around 2mm. Some of the artworks have already attracted Chengdu’s buyers. After seeing those works, famous painter He Duoling stated: “One can see right away that those artworks were not created by a Chinese artist, but there is an obvious influence of Chinese culture in them.” The author of those works is called Antonio Wehrli, he is an artist from Switzerland, but now he is willing to be called a “person from Chengdu”, because he has settled in Chengdu.

 

Interesting: Bedtime creation “Cream Cake”

 

“Where is your home?” Faced with this question, Antonio starts to smile, shrugs his shoulders slightly and answers: “Oh – in Chengdu!” Sometimes some words in Chengdu slang emerge, and he continues: “I live in Moonlight Lotus Pond (He Tang Yue Se)”. Naturally everybody begins to smile, this foreigner is very interesting. But when you read his works of art, you will feel that “interesting” is not only his character, but also his works, that are done in a very creative way. He says: “Most of my ideas are completed in bed, every day before I go to sleep, I meditate and paint in my head, sometimes, out of excitement, I will hurriedly draw a first sketch with pencil on paper.” The next morning, as soon as he wakes up, he will sketch his idea straight onto the canvas. I think, at first glance the artworks of Antonio will amaze and strike the heart: “Is there such a painting?” Pink, dark green… a variety of brilliant colors, no, accurately said, pigments, thickly “accumulated” on canvas. If it is a just-released new work, the pigment will emit a faint scent, like a freshly baked cream cake. “Such thick layers of color, will they crack after some time?” asks the reporter. Antonio replies happily: “I think so, but this will take about 30 years, and the natural cracking will make it a new work!” Such an alternative way to express makes almost all the people that pass care to know who the author is. Then, many people are aware of Antonio, and gradually artistic circles in Chengdu also consider him a minor celebrity. In Chengdu, enthusiastic and helpful Xu Liaoyuan became Antonio’s “Patron”, especially in organizing museum exhibitions and recommending Antonio's works to buyers.

 

Destined: Xu Liaoyuan, He Duoling are happy to help

 

Famous painter He Duoling is another patron of Antonio, he critiques this interesting works: “One can see right away that those artworks were not created by a Chinese artist, but there is an obvious influence of Chinese culture in them”. The affirmation given by Xu Liaoyuan, He Duoling and many other local artists for his artistic expression ranged between East and West, greatly enhanced Antonio’s confidence, while giving him a deeper impression of Chengdu. “I have come to China many times, but was immediately attracted by Chengdu.” Antonio told the reporter that since after he met his Chinese wife Zhang Yulian in 2007, China has become the place to which he often comes. In July 2011, his strong interest in traditional Chinese culture brought him to Heming Mountain, “En route through Chengdu, I cannot say what exactly, but a very comfortable feeling told me that I want to settle down here.” Just in this very simple way and with the strong support of Zhang Yulian, they rented a house in the Moonlight Lotus Pond to live. Then, Antonio soon discovered that his and the city's "fate" are deep. “The development of contemporary art in Chengdu is very prosperous, there are a lot of artists, and the entire city is filled with an artistic atmosphere. “ A chance that Antonio met Xu Liaoyuan, who wants to think of new ways to paint in Chengdu, he immediately obtained Xu Liaoyuan’s enthusiastic response. Quickly, Xu Liaoyuan opened up a new space at the New Art Experiment Center to let him have an exhibition. Xu Liaoyuan himself helped with the navigation and introduced Antonio to the audience. “Master Xu, Master He and many other young artists are very enthusiastic, I experience this place very welcoming and they accept me.” Antonio says frankly, that he decided to stay in Chengdu.

 

Determined: A wonderful combination of Western and Chinese culture from a different angle

 

“Design is the premise of art; Antonio’s artworks show a wide range of visual arts, they have changed the understanding of oil painting in Chengdu’s audience.” Xu Liaoyuan comments. Antonio recalls that an early artistic influence was the work of a Van Gogh in a museum. That painting was not done in the traditional way of oil painting; there were a lot of pigments, which gave Van Gogh’s artwork a three-dimensional relief, “but not as thick as my paintings now, only about 2-3 mm.” Antonio continues to say: “My work has a lot of Chinese symbols, for example, there are many landscapes, I have to admit, that Chinese paintings had a great influence on my creations.” Commenting on Antonio’s Chinese symbols, Xu Liaoyuan identifies that the use of strong colors is an element of Chinese folk tradition, “like embroidery”, they will not appear strange to foreigners, because the work itself is created from a Western perspective, and Chinese people experience a feeling of closeness, because the creative content relates to China. As example a “Lotus” painting has become the major artwork in a high-end club; Antonio did not paint it like Chinese artist from a commonly used 45-degree angle, but looking down, so that the effect becomes a lotus that is “looked at from above”, which actually feels very refreshing. Antonio told the reporter that Chengdu is his lucky place that attracted him and that gave him reason to settle down and live here. “Last year, my mom came from Switzerland to specifically see me. She was glad that I am able to integrate in Chengdu’s life, and when she left, she was very proud that I realized my artistic dreams in Chengdu. I want to continue to live in Chengdu, become a person of Chengdu, and later on, we will also have children in Chengdu.”

 

Reporter: Zhao Bin – Photography: Zhu Dayong - Translation: Zhang Yulian & Antonio Wehrli

 

 


许燎源博物馆里出现另类艺术作品

 

我是奥东尼奥 来自瑞士 家在成都

 

      立体画?不是3D打印哦!你能想象得到是什么样的吗?在三圣乡许燎源现代艺术博物馆里正展示着这样一些充满“立体”感的画作,各种色彩的颜料并不是像我们平时看到的那样描绘在画板上,而是像小山峦一样跌宕起伏,厚的地方能有六七厘米,薄的地方也有二三厘米。其中的一些作品已经花落成都买家。著名画家何多苓看到这些作品后评价:“这一看就不是中国人画的,但又受中国文化影响。”画的作者叫安东尼奥·威利,是一位来自瑞士的艺术家,不过他现在更愿意被人叫作“成都人”,因为他已经在成都安家。
 

有趣:睡前创作“奶油蛋糕”

 

     “你的家在哪里?”面对这样的提问,奥东尼奥通常都会咧嘴一笑,微微耸耸肩回答:“在成都啊!”有的时候还会冒出两句成都话,进一步告诉对方:“我住在荷塘月色。”很自然就会引起大家的一阵欢笑,“这个老外很有趣”。不过,当你看了他的艺术作品时,你会更加觉得“有趣”的不仅是他的个人,还有他的作品,甚至创作的方式。他说:“我的构思基本上都是在床上完成的,每天入睡前我都会臆想,然后在脑袋里先画一遍,有时激动就会赶紧起来用铅笔先构图。第二天早上起来再到画框上创作。”第一眼看到安东尼奥的画,相信大多数人会心里惊诧一下:“还有这样画画的?”粉红、深绿……各种绚丽的颜色,不,准确地说是颜料,厚厚地“堆积”在画框里。如果是刚刚出炉的新作,颜料还会散发淡淡地香味,像极了一块奶油蛋糕。这么厚的颜料,时间长了会不会爆开呀?面对记者的疑问,安东尼奥开心地说:“应该会吧,但爆开起码是30年左右的事情了,而且自然爆开本身又是一个新作品啦!”这样的“另类”表达,几乎所有经过的人都会关心下作者是谁。于是,很多人都知道了安东尼奥,渐渐在成都艺术圈里也算小有名气。热情且乐于助人的许燎源成为安东尼奥在成都的“贵人”,专门在博物馆为他举办了展览,并向买家推荐安东尼奥的作品。

 

有缘:许燎源何多苓等热情相助

 

     著名画家何多苓是安东尼奥的另一个“贵人”,他看到这些有趣的作品后评价:“这一看就不是中国人画的,但又受中国文化影响。”这种介乎东西方之间的艺术创作表达方式受到了许燎源、何多苓等本土艺术大家的肯定,大大增强了安东尼奥的信心,同时也让他对成都有了更深的好感。“我来过中国很多次,但成都一下子吸引了我”,安东尼奥告诉记者,自从2007年认识了他现在的中国太太章玉莲后,中国就成为他常来的地方。2011年7月,对中国传统文化充满兴趣的他专门去鹤鸣山游览,“途中经过成都,我也说不清楚是什么,但就是一种很舒适的感觉,我想留下来”,就这样一个非常简单地想法,章玉莲很支持,于是两人就在荷塘月色租了套房子住了下来。这下一发不可收拾,安东尼奥很快发现他与这座城市的“缘分”很深。“成都在当代艺术发展上很繁荣,有很多艺术家,而且整个城市充满艺术氛围”,一个偶然的机会,安东尼奥认识了许燎源,表达了想在成都画画的想法,立刻得到许燎源的热情回应。很快,许燎源现代艺术博物馆里专门开辟了一块空间,为他举办了展览,许燎源还亲自当导览,向观众介绍安东尼奥。“许老师、何老师,还有其它很多年轻的艺术家都对我非常友善,我感觉这个地方很热情、包容、接纳我”,安东尼奥坦率表示,他最终决定留在成都扎根落户很大程度与此有关。
 

有心:差异视角妙接东西文化

 

    “设计是艺术的前提,安东尼奥的作品展现出多元化的视觉艺术,改变了成都观众对油画的理解”,许燎源如此评价。安东尼奥回忆,自己受到的艺术影响最早是17岁时参观博物馆看到的一幅梵高作品,那幅画就不是传统油画,大量的颜料使用,让这幅梵高作品“立体”起来,“不过,没有我现在的画作这么厚,大约只有两三厘米”,安东尼奥回忆说:“我的作品里有很多中国符号,比如会有很多山水,我得承认,中国国画对我的创作有影响。”对安东尼奥的中国符号,许燎源认为十分到位的地方是关于中国民间色彩元素的运用,“像刺绣”,所以老外不会陌生,因为作品本身还是西方视角,中国人也会有亲近感,因为内容创意都跟中国有关,比如已经成为一家高端会所招牌画的《荷花》,安东尼奥并没有像中国艺术家那样常用的45度视角创作,而是俯视,这样出来的效果荷花变成了“平面视角”,反倒让人觉得耳目一新。安东尼奥告诉记者,成都是他的福地,既吸引了他,还给了他安家扎根生活的理由,“我的妈妈去年专门从瑞士来这里看我,她很高兴我能融入到成都的生活里,回去的时候她告诉我,我在成都实现了艺术梦想,她很为我骄傲。我要在成都继续生活下去,要当成都人,以后还要在成都生孩子!”本报记者 赵斌 摄影 朱大勇

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