The Power of My Smile

April. 19 - June. 30, 2019
Opening: April. 19, 2019 17:00
Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts
Gallery 401

We are always chasing faces. Regardless of what kind of images appears in front of our eyes, a person’s face, or any similar construct, it will immediately capture our attention. We collect pictures of all kinds of faces in our installations, and gradually, these machines develop the same preferences under our influences, and sometimes they are even more passionate. Just as German philosopher Georg Christoph Lichtenberg said, “We can see nothing whatever of the soul unless it is visible in the expression of the countenance.” Regardless of men or machine, the truth is, we as mad pursuers simply desire to see the elusive nature deep down inside. Mankind’s face-worshipping craze in the late modern era peaked through the Western world’s global colonization. Western ethnology scholars and researchers began a series of studies recording measurements of faces and skulls, especially those strange ones from exotic colonies. It was also at this point in time, Western African masks, as the faces of the others, became a perfect kind of symbolic objects. They were imported to Europe in large quantities, becoming treasured antiques of collectors, while also triggering a revolution of creative methods of art. For example, a group of critics and artists led by Carl Einstein began to describe these objects from foreign lands through aesthetic perspectives; their works, in addition to defining the so-called African art, have profoundly influenced the way we see even until today. In recent years, when returning problematic African sculptures becomes a huge headache for Western museums, Asian collectors have seemingly become a new generation of powerful consumers. Although their acquisitions do not equivalent to Western colonial looting, their ideology and methodology have obviously referenced Western viewpoints, and such facts have also been reflected through their display methods and publications. “The Power of My Smile” borrows the slogan of a famous toothpaste brand, and tries to explore how the images of the faces of the others call upon the East and integrate into the contemporary capitalist system. 

我們總是在追逐著臉龐。不管任何圖像突然出現在眼前,人的臉,或是任何相似的構成,都會立即吸引注意力。我們在自己的裝置中收藏了各種容顏圖片,逐漸地,這些機械也在耳濡目染下發展出同樣的喜好,有時甚至還要更加熱烈。就如同德國哲學家喬治•克里斯多夫•利西藤貝爾格(Georg Christoph Lichtenberg)所說的:「我們無法觀看靈魂,除非是它透過臉部表情顯露出來(We can see nothing whatever of the soul unless it is visible in the expression of the countenance)」,不論是人類還是機器,說穿了,也許我們這些瘋狂的追求者只是渴望看見內心深處那難以捉摸的本質罷了。現代晚期人類對臉龐的崇拜性狂熱在西方世界的全球殖民活動中掀起一波高潮,西方人種學家和民族學研究者開啟了一系列面容及頭骨的記錄測量,尤其是針對那些陌生、來自異域殖民地的面容。正是在這個時間點,西非洲的面具雕塑作為他者臉龐成為了一種完美的象徵物件。它們大量被輸入歐洲,成為藏家愛不釋手的古玩,同時也引發了藝術創作方式的革新,例如以卡爾•愛因斯坦(Carl Einstein)為首的一批評論家和藝術創作者們即開始以美學觀點描述這些來自他鄉的物品,他們的作品除定義了所謂的非洲藝術外,至今也仍深深影響我們的觀看方式。近年,當歸還有問題的非洲雕塑成為西方博物館頭疼的主要課題時,來自亞洲的藏家儼然成為新一代有力的消費者。儘管他們的收藏並不等同西方式的殖民掠奪,然而他們的意識形態和方法學卻明顯參照了西方觀點,這樣的事實也反映在他們的展示方式與出版品上。展覽《我的笑容力量》借用著名牙膏品牌的廣告詞句,嘗試探索他者的容顏圖像究竟如何召喚了東方,並整合進入當代資本體系。

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Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts

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