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2018-05-19 - 2018-05-28
2018-05-19 15:00
广东 - 深圳
谷仓当代艺术空间 栗空间画廊




Shape of Memory- "Collection of Anecdotes in Ruins" of Dong Wentong and its "Individual Survival Spectrum"


Yang Xiaoyan


Motif of Dong Wentong is a little cruel and natural. He always gazes at the ruins, houses which have the same identity as the ruins, or scenery around these houses. His nervous and staring gaze becomes a wordless gaze, an insightful gaze, a warm and horizontal gaze, and a poetic gaze established in his heart with constant disturbance.


In fact, Dong Wentong is not interested in ruins which is just a pretext. What he persists is the past time and is blood trace which has been existed earlier than him for several hundreds, several thousands, or several tens of thousand years from generation to generation. The blood trace has been inherited to now in gene and will continue to be inherited. Meanwhile, it is persistently attached to living place, living house, living room, and articles of daily use so that the intrinsic surrounding environment is marked with maternal fetus. Material objects within his sight become eternal mirror image in his gaze after seeing these traces so as to move towards his young heart, while ambulatories like labyrinths one by one are established in visual area in his brain. He walks through these ambulatories for all days long so as to look for exit which may be true or false.


I suddenly remember the “Castle” of Kafka. The leading character constantly attempts to go ahead and constantly believes that he has touched the rough wall. However, he fails in vain time after time. It seems that rough wall is retreated infinitely so as to make search to be fact, while the leading character just wanders and has mixed feelings.


"Hometown" is the "castle" of Dong Wentong and it is to be found that "hometown" is still in the distance and an intangible hand summons him, makes him move forward, think and struggle upon continuous approach when he deems that the goal is achieved. So Dong Wentong approaches his "hometown" in all kinds of ways of seeing, then there are kinds of staring, gazing, looking straight ahead and staring contest. All his seeing states always remain on the ruin surface of "hometown" to forcefully shape the "memory" of sample meaning. These shapes become works, oil-painting, sketch, device and image of Dong Wentong.


Dong Wentong always tries to make "memory" touchable shapes so that he can then change watching into "touch" before the eyes while looking into the distance. He stretches out a hand which cannot be seen from the eyes and then he struggles to stretch it forward; he keeps it and he must stretch forward and forward regardless of spasm and suffocation…


So memory has its own shapes.


Lacan tried to prove memory origin and he dated this origin to uterus starting from mirror image theory. He thought that human growth has "secondary recognition" and the first recognition occurs at the time of pregnancy; individuals were thrown to totally strange unknown world along with warm flow of uterus to start initial adventure of life journey. The first growth birthmark was with both extrusion of uterus and touch of parents to finally form initial personality. Then individuals had to move towards society, go to nursery, kindergarten, primary school and middle school when they grew a bit older and their initial personality was subject to overall beat and even bully of the society; platform formed by original recognition became the beginning of secondary recognition and personality growth was completed in secondary recognition. They had to personally face all mixed situations of implied betray and fondness and taste asperity and excitement of life.


Actually an artist has finished "secondary recognition" of Lacan meaning when he is facing his motif and his artistic behavior is essentially "the third recognition"; he attempts to obtain a kind of eternal power through redefining motif so as to solidify original uncertain memory and make it into touchable and tangible things.


An adult who comes here to seek for past traces is carefully identifying a cabinet embedded in the wall in the oil-painting of Returning to Native Place and Collection of Anecdotes Creation Series I. A family picture frame is hung on the wall of close shot of the image and there may be group photos of the families in some places in the picture frames; several colorful paintings of bikini ladies are posted above the frame. People familiar with family layout all know that family picture frames are public history of the family and colorful paintings of bikini ladies offer the time of the house. Calendar of bikini ladies prevailed in 1990s and this business in the limelight suddenly declined at the end of the century. Major transfer of taste of grassroots took place, so bikini pictures became historical node symbol and it was posted on the wall to fix the history in certain touching moments like a clock. Putting up colorful pictures of bikini ladies in an archaic house originally declares forcible intervention of modernization and it triggers people‘s crazy imagination and chase of materialism. Then all is past and rapid development means discarding, so the house becomes a ruin and only old things on the wall can be distinguished vaguely. It is interesting that Dong Wentong draws another painting of a middle-aged man to explore old things so as to indicate that he uniquely favors the gesture of the person; seemingly it represents a kind of effort. The explorer becomes a photographer and he is recording the ruins before the eyes carefully through the camera lens in Returning to Native Place and Collection of Anecdotes Creation Series II. Dong Wentong turns the explorer to another middle-aged man in Returning to Native Place and Collection of Anecdotes Creation Series III and he is watching his former residence outdoors, expression indifferent and a bit curious.


It is the key that all these painting motifs are confirmed though pictures. That is to say that the artist records the old things before the eyes with camera lens firstly and then turns it to smooth paintings. Old things in pictures are still and they have certain representation once transformed into oil-paintings so that absurdness of them is highlighted. It is not difficult for artists to be engaged in expression through images today. There can be certain identity in terms of seeing to make pictures shine like old things in front of old things and pictures. The key is position of viewers and whether he can realize the meaning of watching itself.


He is familiar with watching intently, gazing, looking straight ahead and staring contest in terms of works of Dong Wentong and he continually transfers himself from the four watching ways from photography to plane and then to device and theatric effect right through several series of works so that watching itself indicates a kind of anxiety, a kind of anxiety twined with feelings to continuously deepen due to frequent conjugation. The result is that watching becomes a symbol and works is only the carrier of this series of symbols to state a period of true personal history. The series of My Primary School of the Abandoned World, the series of Abandoned School and the series of Destroyed Factory are actually unforgettable places for the artist himself from childhood to older ages and nodes which cannot be blurred during his growth; these places and nodes rise to the memory and are condensed into careful touchable shapes unexpectedly. Dong Wentong arouses his inner thoughts right through such touches over and over so as to transform memory form to objects of photography, description and manipulation and watching carrier so that personal survival becomes referred pedigree and the world is fixed in the memory.


So I think what Dong Wentong creates in efforts is actually a piece of works, namely "memory shape"; details of this form are scattered in places and Dong Wentong recovers past deserted and destroyed ages and materials and makes them stand in front of the world so that the dignity becomes the foundation once again through shooting, description, equipping and re-shooting, re-description and re-equipping over and over.







董文通22018-05-19 09:25:42
何铁手1152018-05-19 01:23:05


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