這篇報導是因為倫敦的Tate Modern 美術館從9/30到明年的1/16展出名為"高更--神話的製造者"的專題展所作的介紹。
Gauguin: Maker of Myth高更的自畫像。
Tate Modern, London SE1
Details: (+44) 20-7887 8888
Calling Doctor Who ... Self-Portrait with a Palette by Paul Gauguin. Photograph: Francis G. Mayer/ Francis G. Mayer/CORBIS
Paul Gauguin: guilty as chargedColonialist, chauvinist, exploiter . . . Gauguin may have been all these things and more – but, as the Tate's brilliant new show reveals, his faults are what make him great
o Adrian Searle
o guardian.co.uk, Monday 27 September 2010 21.31 BST請點選此連結看影片: http://gu.com/p/2kvnp
This short film, based entirely on Gauguin's letters from the late 1900s, explores the artist's transition from conventional family man to avant-garde pioneer and maverick leader of the post-impressionist movement Link to this video
Gauguin, both man of the world and self-professed savage, is difficult. Many of his contemporaries were wary of him (his nine weeks lodging with Van Gogh had Vincent running from the house) and he remains a problematic artist. Yet it is these problems that make Gauguin great – and Tate Modern's new show confronts them head on. Gauguin: Maker of Myth rescues the artist from his reputation as the amoral, dissolute monster of trashy biopics, and gives us instead a Gauguin for our time.
amoral adj. enjoying immoral activities and not caring about behaving in a morally acceptable way 放縱的；放蕩的；道德淪喪的
The Gauguin myth, of course, also accounts for his popularity. It's the Tahitian women, the dusky flesh, the foetid jungle, the yearnings for lost paradise and innocence, the animism and the return to nature that have put posters of his work in a million bedrooms. Not to mention the syphilis, the abandonment of his family, the brawling and insufferable self-aggrandisement, or his taking, in middle age, barely adult Polynesian lovers.
dusky adj. 昏暗 n. dusk 黃昏；傍晚
animism n. 【宗】【哲】萬物有靈論;靈魂存在論;泛靈論
syphilis /'sɪfḷɪs/ n. 梅毒
brawling n. 1. 吵架;喧嚷
aggrandisement [əˈgrændəzmənt] n. (個人的)發跡,(權勢的)膨脹
Gauguin's sense of himself as an artist was multiple and various. His art is a hodge-podge of inconsistent and seemingly incompatible styles and manners, half-digested and invented myth, symbols, stories and allusions. He personifies the idea that the artist is as much an invention as the art itself. Beginning with portraits, this exhibition shows us that his self-invention was of a piece with his painting and sculpture. Here he is, bullish, guarded, saintly, pensive, dying. Conscious of his striking looks, he paints himself as hero of his own life (once, he portrayed himself as the protagonist in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables); he depicted himself as Christ and sculpted himself as the decapitated John the Baptist. The severed head, with a ruby red glaze of blood about its neck, is in the form of a stoneware jug. What, we ask, would we use it for: a chalice or a gravy boat?
hodge-podge n. 雜亂無章的一堆東西；大雜燴
pensive adj. thinking deeply about sth, especially because you are sad or worried 沉思的；憂傷的；憂戚的
In his self-portraits, Gauguin flips from naturalism to caricature, and then in his last year, about to be imprisoned for non-payment of taxes, as an ordinary man. Soon to die of a heart attack (he had several), he looks out grimly, in glasses, stripped of style and pose. With its direct and inexpressive plainness, the 1903 portrait reminds me of Egypto-Roman funerary portraiture, and of Luc Tuymans's portraits, derived from hospital photographs, of querulous men with hidden diseases.
portraiture /'pɔrtrətʃɚ/ n. 畫像技法；人像攝影法；肖像；畫像
querulous adj. complaining; showing that you are annoyed 抱怨的；顯得惱怒的
Touching portraits of the artist's sleeping children are followed by two strange pictures. In the first, a young girl peers over a table-top set with Cézanne-like fruit. In the second, the painter's friend Charles Laval peers at another table set with fruit. We look at them looking, and we look at the fruit, too, as if the squint-eyed girl, Laval and ourselves might each find the answer to some mystery there. Then comes a weird painting of puppies drinking milk from a saucepan among cups and pears, a hovering overhead view that looks like it might have been painted by Francis Picabia or Matisse.
Gauguin's work is full of possibilities. Like Kandinsky, he spawned some truly awful art, but also provided inspiration to Picasso, for Demoiselles d'Avignon and the heavy-shouldered, big-footed nudes of the early 1920s. He is there, like Zelig, walking beside expressionism and neo-expressionism, various tides of fanciful romantic figuration and colourful abstraction. He returns again in the work of Peter Doig and Chris Ofili (both now living in Trinidad, having distanced themselves from London, as Gauguin did from Paris). Gauguin has been both championed and reviled by art history, by feminism and critiques of colonialism. He's guilty as charged. The criticism has been a necessary corrective to the unsustainable myth of the artist as protean genius beyond the mores of time, place and society.
The quality of Gauguin's art that is "off" and strange – even a bit mismanaged – is also its strength. It gives us the peculiar atmospheres, the unearthly light over the Breton landscape, the static silences and frozen gestures, the strangeness and sadness, the melancholy and yearnings in his art. It is there in a ham and a few shallots on a plate in a window; in the corpse-like supine girl in a Breton field, a fox held in her arm, a wedding party approaching across the fields; in the lowering haystacks under a sky brightened by light from the ocean; in all those young women thinking unknowable thoughts on beds and couches.
We don't look to Gauguin for psychological portraiture, but it is there nonetheless. Gauguin is great at interiority, at painting a woman in the act of thinking. His 1892 Te Faaturuma (Boudeuse/Brooding Woman) shows exactly this. She's cross-legged on the floor, its emptiness sweeping around her, the dog yawning in the background; the image is one of endless waiting and regret. The simpler Gauguin's paintings are, the better they seem. And then there are the strange idols, shifty presences passing behind a vase of flowers, half-hidden in gloom or watching over someone unawares.
hark used only as an order to tell somebody to listen （用於命令）聽着，聽
allegory a story, play, picture, etc. in which each character or event is a symbol representing an idea or a quality, such as truth, evil, death, etc.; the use of such symbols 寓言；諷喻；寓言體；諷喻法
Gauguin never gives us the whole story, probably because there isn't one. He harks back to a culture that was already destroyed by missionaries and disease long before he arrived on Tahiti. He moves Mary and Joseph's flight into Egypt to a Polynesian island, and the Calvary and crucifixion to Celtic Brittany. They are the possibilities of stories, rather than illustrations, allegories or history paintings. Their content is as mysterious as their colour. He is almost a magic realist before the fact.
Cheap air travel and globalisation mean that artists can now live pretty much anywhere. You just need dealers in London or New York, the internet and good shipping deals. Gauguin spent months aboard steamers (but never painted or much recounted the tedium of his journeys), wrote long-delayed letters home, lived as much in poverty and semi-obscurity as in the limelight. He planned a triumphal return to Europe from his first trip to Tahiti, but walked off the boat with just four francs in his pocket. He made a good story out of a life that was, in many respects, terrible.
tedium n. the quality of being boring 單調乏味；冗長；囉嗦
obscurity n. 1. 默默無聞；無名 2. 費解；晦澀；難懂的事 3. 黑暗
As Belinda Thomson makes clear in her excellent Tate catalogue essay, in looking at his work, what we have to overcome, first of all, is the embarrassment of Gauguin's life and personality. Self-promotion and self-invention are inextricable from the art itself. Thomson shows us an artist, both outsider and careerist, who is a little bit dodgy in a way that anyone acquainted with today's art world would recognise.
inextricable too closely linked to be separated 無法分開的；分不開的'You paint too fast!'
Gauguin was the subject of several biographies, two operas and various fictionalised accounts of his life, never mind movies like 1956's Lust for Life ("You paint too fast!" Anthony Quinn's Gauguin tells Kirk Douglas's Vincent. "You look too fast," Vincent replies) and the wonderful 1961 Tony Hancock vehicle The Rebel. Lurking always is the idea that Gauguin was not just a self-invented figure, but a kind of imposter, uncomfortable in his own skin, running towards an idea of an untainted world, but also running away from career and personal difficulties.
imposter n. 冒名頂替
All this loads Gauguin with even greater biographical baggage and contradiction than he encumbered himself with. Going first to Martinique (via Panama, where he briefly worked on the construction of the canal) and then to Tahiti, Gauguin wanted to escape the killing fields of the Paris art world, his family problems, the problem of being himself. One-time seminarist, navy man, stockbroker, art collector and Sunday painter, travelling salesman, bill-poster, ceramicist, labourer, journalist and editor, Gauguin also had an eye for posterity. This brilliant exhibition gives us a Gauguin who could neither escape himself and his own myths – nor those that would emerge after his death.
encumber v. 拖累 http://gu.com/p/2kxja
posterity n. 後代；後裔；子孫；後世
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