和当代艺术的一次近距离接触

我是最看不的得下雨的,特别是在曲终人散后。瓢泼大雨,下了一整夜,直到中午也不见天亮。下得我的心也跟着不由的伤感。

2017123日,那些来自世界各地的艺术家们,今天都要相继在这瓢泼大雨中程飞机回到自己创作的空间,开始另一段崭新的旅程。艺术展开幕前,他们携带着期待,憧憬,或许多年的积蓄,来到了这个郁郁葱葱的美丽花园城市。一层一层地,小心翼翼地把展品慢慢打开,挂起来,摆出来,艺术家也把自己的心徐徐地方开给了观众。

去年底,艺术展组委会找到我。说他们缺少懂中英文双语,和对艺术感兴趣的人帮忙做当代艺术的讲解员。机会难得,我欣然接受。

2017119-22日,短短的4天时间,我不仅欣赏到了上百件精美的当代艺术精品,并能近距离 地与世界各地的知名艺术家和策展人攀谈,学习,使得我这个非常不善于文字抒发感性的人也觉得有必要用文字纪念一下,这次对于来说意义非凡的艺术盛宴。

 

 

背后的故事

“活在当下”,是很多艺术工作者推崇的准则。时事变迁,花开花落,艺术创作者们都很努力地用自己的方式尝试着和公众对话,也许很多的我们还不十分理解乍看过去之后似乎难懂的作品。尝试和艺术家们对话,了解他们的生平和创作源泉和环境,对于理解艺术品就会变得十分重要。时间对于艺术家就是生命,能有机会和他们面对面,千载难逢。

 

语言的魅力

这次艺展上有很多为首次参展的中国大陆艺术家和艺术空间的策展人。我借助自己的语言优势和多年在外企积累下来的幻灯片演讲经验,帮助很多英文不是很流利的展位讲解艺术品背后的故事,希望能有更多的人了解中国本土当代艺术家和他们的创作历程。我们不推中国的艺术,谁来推?

我个人觉得虽然很多人都秉承艺术无国界“的理念,看到作品本身就是最好的解读。但是在陌生的文化中,有效的语言沟通是非常必要的。理性思维的大众可能很难在极端的时间内了解到用尽毕生经历思维并以视觉创作为主要平台的艺术工作者的核心观念。这完全超过了艺术品销售本身,更多的是让更多人了解来自另外一种观众可能完全不了界的文化和传承。我们永远不能低估语言沟通的重要性。特别是当代艺术的大环境里,语言和文化的交流不容忽视。

不忘初心,方得始终

今天的我们都被太多的快餐文化侵蚀。供房,买车,上学,名牌奢侈品占有欲… …等等。每个人的快乐源泉来自不同的地方,无可厚非。一辈子很长,也很短。两年前,我本考虑会等到两个目前三,四 岁的孩子们上了大学之后以最底风险的状况下在再开始搞创作,但是又实在觉得每天度日如年等十多个年头 太痛苦,就索性放弃了舒服而且稳妥的老牌油公司的丰厚待遇跳进了一个“深邃且神秘的艺术空间”。

就引用非常革命的一句话来概括并激励我和所有已经上路并有打算上路的同志们:“一万年太久,只争朝夕。”

A CLASSIC PLAY "TOP RESTAURANT" FROM BEIJING TO SINGPAORE

In the past few weeks, everyone is surrounded by Christmas and its festival atmosphere. We have all busy with present shopping, wrapping, bubbles or planning holiday to a relaxing destination etc. 

For me, Christmas has a special meaning. 14 years ago on a Christmas Eve,  I had made a decision to leave my dreamed city, the capital of China - Beijing (there was no haze at that time there) to pursue my corporate career with the biggest project of Shell in China in a small fishing village in Canton . Ever since, as long as I had a chance of travel northwards, I always find time to stay in Beijing for few days to explore or revisit my found memories.  

One of my favourite places I missed dearly is Beijing People’s Art Theatre (北京人民艺术剧院) which was established in 1952. Over the half century, it has been bringing much classic plays both from Chinese and West to people.  

Recently I found out that Beijing People’s Art Theatre is coming to Singapore with  one of the best shows at the Esplanade in March 2017.  

An exploration of national Chinese culture that is thought-provoking, reflective and enlightening. Gu Xiang, renowned Chinese author

Inheritance meets ingenuity in a compelling tale revolving around one of Beijing’s most iconic dishes.

After successful presentations of Teahouse (2015), and Savage Land (2016),  Beijing People’s Art Theatre returns to Esplanade to present Top Restaurant, a well-loved play with international acclaim that chronicles the ups and downs of a Peking duck restaurant over half a century, epitomising the colourful cuisine and history of China.

Since its premiere in 1988, the production has received international acclaim and several national awards, been staged more than 500 times and even made into a television drama in China.

Synopsis

Fu Ju De is a well-known Peking duck restaurant established in the Qing dynasty. Its aging boss retires, leaving the restaurant to his two sons and his assistant Wang Zixi. However, the sons have no interest in the restaurant, leaving Wang to recruit Lu Mengshi, a smart young man, to help keep the business running. Having been entrusted with this responsibility, Lu vows to turn the restaurant around into a successful business.

Through years of sweat, hard work and sharp business acumen, the manager of Fu Ju De finally manages to achieve some success. But his biggest test is still yet to come as two squabbling sons of the founding restaurateur come knocking, hungry for a share of the riches…

Last but not least, there are few places in Singapore with very authentic Peking Duck available too. Among all the ducks, Imperial Treasure ranks on high on my list.

Let's enjoy the classic show and try out the duck in 2017! 

41 YEARS IN SHIPPING WITH HEART AND PASSION - COLOURFUL MEMORIES

Retiring from a company for someone who has demonstrated passion and heart in their work, continuously over four decades is a tribute to the individual. By way of appreciation the retiring employee is often presented with a gift, usually something special that recognises their decades of service. 

The newly commissioned piece shown below was presented to such a special person. Mick Farrell spent most of his working life as a worldwide shipping expert in the chemicals industry. Mick originally from Chester, UK, joined Shell in his late teens and over the next four decades, took various roles and challenges within shipping. 

A lovely city in UK with black and white house as its signature sites for tourists.

A lovely city in UK with black and white house as its signature sites for tourists.

 In 2016, he decided to leave his employer after 41 years to enjoy his retirement with his family. I know Mick well and was lucky to be given the chance to be mentored by him during my time at Shell.

This piece was painted especially for Mick and was presented to him at his farewell in London, in November 2016. The piece captures all the meaningful elements, related to shipping with a flavor of China where Mick had had been involved for many years. 

Managing China Shipping business had been one of the most challenging projects for Mick.

Managing China Shipping business had been one of the most challenging projects for Mick.

After my usual research before I settle down to paint, I decided to paint a Chinese Junk boat and an old wooden boat, resting on the water, ‘watching’ the sunset.

Chinese Junk boats originate from HK, but have a special meaning between UK and China. Many Chinese used the boats as transport travelling from Chinese coastal areas to South East Asia in the early 20th century. The old wooden boats used to be the main transportation means around the East China River too.

Chinese Junk Boat in the old dates

Chinese Junk Boat in the old dates

The bright purple and pink light symbolises a peaceful and relaxing retirement life for Mick.

"Chinese Boats", Oil on Canvas, 2016

"Chinese Boats", Oil on Canvas, 2016

Distance doesn’t tear us apart. Great memory was well wrapped and ready for London. 

Distance doesn’t tear us apart. Great memory was well wrapped and ready for London. 

     Mick Farrell (wearing the black tie) was delighted when presented by the management team with the painting for his farewell party on 17th November 2016 in London.

 Mick Farrell (wearing the black tie) was delighted when presented by the management team with the painting for his farewell party on 17th November 2016 in London.

"I was delighted to work with Michelle Ma to find a unique present for an esteemed colleague on his retirement. Her creativity and thoughtfulness meant that we were able to find a subject matter that was meaningful to our team and colleague, as well as connected to Michelle’s style. The resulting painting is stunning and we were proud to present it, as our colleague was surprised and delighted to receive it. Thank you Michelle”. Catherine Hall, General Manager, Marine, Shell Chemicals ( The lady in pink in the above photo ) 

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