Idylls of the Kings

GAMA

NEW YORK

October 29 – December 19, 2015

Losung (Denouement) 鸳鸯马

2010

Oil on canvas  布面油画

98 1/2 x 78 3/4 in (250 x 200 cm) 

Die Wächter IX (The Guardian IX) 守护神 IX

2013

Oil on canvas  布面油画

118 1/4 x 98 1/2 in (300 x 250 cm)

Havarie (Ocean Flame) 一半是海水一半是火焰

2013

Oil and acrylic on canvas  布面油彩、丙烯

63 x 55 1/4 in (160 x 140 cm)

Imperial Garden 御花园

2014

Oil on canvas  布面油画

24 x 21 1/4 in (61 x 54 cm)

Chambers Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening on October 29, 2015 of GAMA: Idylls of the Kings. GAMA was born in Mongolia in 1977 and currently lives and works in Berlin. Raised in a traditional nomadic family, GAMA and his parents would move every four months as the seasons changed. His great aunt was an important shaman whose ability to connect with the supernatural world had a profound impact on the young boy. He eventually enrolled at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing where he studied oil painting. Finding that the prevailing academic approach did not satisfy him, he started looking at the works of European Old Masters in art books and pondering the works of contemporary German painters such as Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter. 

Thus Beijing was a brief hiatus between the country of his birth and Germany, the European country which seems to have the greatest affinity with the mysterious and uncanny, the birthplace of countless myths and legends not to mention the Brothers Grimm whose fairy-tales still enchant. In 2002 he gained entry to the Karlsruhe Academy and in 2007 became a master student under Gustav Kluge. During this period he was exposed to the figurative painting of the New Leipzig School and soon found that the painterly skills and techniques he had mastered in Beijing could be used for entirely different ends than the more prosaic task of recording appearances. 

When we look at GAMA’s paintings we are never allowed to forget that an oil painting is just that – oil paint squeezed from a tube and applied thickly or thinly on a primed canvas. Very often the main image which does not quite reach the edge of the canvas is surrounded by a thick layer of paint, leaving the impression that it could be peeled off to reveal a blank canvas. Elsewhere, dripping accumulations of paint question the illusion of three dimensional spaces. 

Scale is constantly called into question and inside becomes outside. Ambiguity is the prevailing mode as in Denouement in which the bodies of the horses fade away into the distance and the encounter between the two warriors hovers between hostility and mutual attraction. Figuration disrupts abstraction as we see so often in the Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles series of paintings in which there is always a contrast between the sky and the land, one of which is conveyed as a passage of abstract painting that echoes Gerhard Richter while the other is represented naturalistically. A dramatic example of this device can be found in Armored Car which is divided into four zones – a lonely traveler in the lowest zone, a band of clouds in the next followed by a range of mountains and a cheerful checkered sky into which a tiny lamp hangs from the top edge of the canvas.

Mushrooms, manikins and other low-life characters also meet high culture as GAMA has a strong attachment to a broad cross-section of Western Old Master and Nineteenth century painting. The attentive viewer has no trouble in identifying references to Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Courbet among many others in these quirky interiors. Not surprisingly, German Romanticism is very much in evidence. Caspar David Friedrich’s great masterpiece The Sea of Ice (1823-24) is revived in Ocean Flame, the frozen wastes of the original parting to reveal a colorful shipwreck in the bottom right-hand corner of the painting. 

All of this might be too much to take were it not for the fact that GAMA’s erudition is only one component of his thoroughly enchanting update of the world of the imagination that used to prevail before the universal acceptance of computerized fantasy. He is no longer a nomad but he offers insights into the world of the imagination that his previously unfettered way of life offered in abundance.

前波画廊诚挚地宣布将于2015年10月29日起举办展览《GAMA:诸王的花谷》。GAMA 1977年出生于内蒙古,目前生活和工作于柏林。他出生在一个随着季节变化而每四个月迁移的游牧民族。他的姑婆是一位德高望重的萨满,其与超自然界沟通的能力对年幼时期的GAMA产生了深远影响。后来他在中央美术学院学习了油画。但正统的学术派专业训练并没有满足他,他开始通过书籍研究欧洲早期艺术大师的作品,并揣摩乔治•巴塞利兹、西格马•波尔克以及格哈德•里希特等德国当代艺术家的创作。

由此看来,北京只是他从出生地到德国这段人生历程中一个短暂停留的驿站,而德国可以说是欧洲最神奇而又最具吸引力的国家,孕育了无数神话传说,更是家喻户晓的格林童话的诞生地。2002年GAMA被卡尔斯鲁厄艺术学院录取,2007年他成为了艺术家古斯塔夫•克鲁格的研究生。在此期间,他接触到了新莱比锡画派的具象绘画,很快便发现他在北京习得的绘画技巧可以创作出截然不同的效果而非仅局限于日常中平谈无奇的图像记录。

看GAMA的油画时,我们常常可以窥视到油画创作的过程——油画颜料被从颜料管里挤出来,然后被或薄或厚地涂在准备好的画布上。画面的主图像往往并不完全覆盖画布,而是被一圈厚重的颜料所围绕,令人产生一种可以将图像从画布上完全剥离开来的效果。在其它地方,堆砌欲滴的颜料同时也让人产生三维立体空间的错觉。

而作品中时常让人质疑的尺寸和空间的比例产生的效果是室内变成室外。蘑菇在作品《无名高地》中犹如参天大树,成为了画面的主角;而在《狐狸那时已是猎人》中,遍布地板和桌面的蘑菇又回到了其真实大小。又如在系列作品《千里走单骑》中,具象常常打破了抽象的画面,反之抽象也在具象中时隐时现;天与地形成了鲜明对比,两者之一好似格哈德•里希特的抽象作品,而另一个则是贴近自然的写实描写。作品《运镖》是一个更加生动的例子,画面被分为四个区域——最底层是一辆镖车的孤独身影,之上是一片云层,再上面是山峦,最后是欢快的方格天空与一盏悬挂在画布边缘的小灯。

由于GAMA对西方早期艺术大师及十九世纪绘画有着异常的眷恋,除了蘑菇、侏儒以及其它社会底层角色之外,他的作品中时常可见高雅文化的痕迹。细心的观者很容易在那些离奇而魔幻的室内场景中找到艺术家对维米尔、伦勃朗以及库尔贝等的引用。同时,德国浪漫主义在他的作品中也显而易见,如在作品《一半是海水一半是火焰》中就重现了卡斯帕•大卫•弗里德里希的杰作《冰海》,原作中从断裂的冰层里显露出来的船只残骸在GAMA作品的右下角却变得色彩斑斓。而作品《牧童》的下方则重现了德国浪漫主义后期的经典之作——阿诺德•勃克林的《死亡之岛》。

电子虚拟幻想被当今社会普遍接受,而GAMA的作品则是对电子时代之前所盛行的童话幻想的一种更新,他的博学也仅是其艺术创作的一个组成部分。他已经不再是一个游牧人,然而从其作品中,我们可以看到儿时无拘无束的生活给予他的那个丰富的幻想世界。

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