巨神連線— 姚瑞中|12.9-1.28.2018|TKG+

巨神連線— 姚瑞中|12.9-1.28.2018|TKG+

 

巨神連線— 姚瑞中

展期 Dates| 12.09.2017 – 01.28.2018
開幕時間 Reception|2017.12.09 (Sat.) 4:30 p.m.
開幕演出 Opening performance| 黑狼/黃大旺 x Meuko Meuko
展覽地點 Venue| TKG+
更多資訊|TKG+


姚瑞中《巨神連線》系列攝影作品自2016年初開拍,歷時一年半,密集走訪拍攝全台二百三十餘間廟宇、墓園、公園及樂園集結而成;主要關注華人投射自我形象形塑出的神偶世界——祂們有些已然毀棄,逐漸佚失群體記憶中,大部份則仍存在公眾視野;透過這些由欲望投射組建成的「神相」,爬梳隱現於地理空間上的特殊政治性關係。

當攝影畫面有了人物的安排, 構圖往往就產生敘事;姚瑞中特意將具體的「人之形象」隱藏至畫面後方,偏向類型學景觀式攝影而非民俗攝影;拍攝的是常態樣貌而非特殊個案——人物缺席、迴避事件、遠離災難,採客觀冷靜的抽離姿態;拍攝對象也非宗教建築、民俗活動或信仰儀式,而是展現超越前述內容,信徒們膜拜的「巨大欲力投射」——神明具體形象。

所有宗教基本上都是對於「人類欲力」幸福許諾的體現,透過多重方式引導人類心靈成長與救贖。經文、宣教、念咒、法器和儀式外,往往需要透過符號象徵或具體形象鞏固教徒與教義。台灣目前一萬兩千多間廟宇,宮廟文化獨步全球,更是華人世界最複雜繽紛的一塊領域;大部分宮廟皆藏有凡夫俗子對現世的各種需求與寄託,民眾希望藉由超驗界力量滿足現實利益、肉身健康或來生想望,因此便產生了欲力的供需;而各地凝聚願力的參天巨神或逐漸遺落廢棄的宮殿廟宇,便是不同時代中的永劫回歸——芸芸欲力不斷具現/消亡所刻寫下的現世遺跡。

通常民間神祇雕像皆有分身,有宛若一棟巨型大樓者,也有數公尺高的中等尺寸規模;而小尊神像大多供奉於廟內主殿或住家神壇。若將巨大神像比擬為超級電腦;供奉在家的小尊神像可視為筆記電腦。電腦主機需要與伺服器連線才能展現其神通廣大,神像透過法師念咒開光如同電腦需要開機密碼,分神出去的眾多神像則需時時與主神連線;神明法力越來越高就如同電腦需要下載升級各類驅動程式,廟公如同工程師般檢修維護廟宇這台無敵電腦,協助信徒排解各種疑難雜症或防止病毒入侵;若神明退神,宛若移除電腦中央處理器,空乏欲力消散,徒餘軀殼留待時光分解。

萬眾欲力共構一尊尊巨大神像「外相」;再現此「相」,實為幻影,因所見實相皆為虛妄。姚瑞中捕捉台灣荒誕陸離現實地景,以巨神連線「眾生之相」,同步虛無又飽滿的人間欲力;300幅黑白影像凝煉出的「規模美學」,以冷冽飄蕩的視角,觀照這眾欲彙萃的社會變體。

展覽除了以陣列方式展出300件透寫「人類欲力」的黑白銀鹽攝影作品外,更將「巨神連線」影像紀錄轉化為「神龕繪畫式」的三頻錄像裝置,搭配採樣自美國太空總署錄製的宇宙電波混音,於本次展覽首度發表。三頻並列的各路眾神,彷彿歷史與社會鏡像疊影;公路電影般地解構串連台灣地景,令觀者得以跨越視界限界,感受與人性欲力喧囂錯雜的魔幻神性。

開幕當日並邀請聲響表演藝術家黃大旺與活躍於日本及台灣的獨立實驗電子音樂人「Meuko! Meuko!」共演,策劃一場當代新譯的酬神演出;脫胎轉化廟會視聽元素,連線「人間神相」的文化信仰變體——將自身化為另種視角,邀集觀者一同參演這「台灣製造」的魔幻超現實體驗。

First conceived in early 2016, Yao Jui-chung’s “Incarnation” series covers more than 230 temples, cemeteries, public gardens, and amusement parks, photographed within one and a half years in an intensive manner, featuring the statues of deities created by the Han people by reference to their self-images. Some of these statues are toppled, while others remain standing. Carefully observing these statues, namely the objects of people’s psychological projection, we may further grasp the endemic political relations in different geographical spaces.

The artist evades narrative by intentionally leaving out people in each frame, shunning religious gatherings or festivities. Instead, he focuses on the physical embodiment of the gods — a projection of the devotees’ fervent desire. Adopting a typological approach, he captures not the local folk culture, but the landscape that cradles the staggering sculptures; not unusual cases but mundane existence. Devoid of humans, events, or disasters, this body of work explores the manifestation of human wants in a clinical approach that eschews religious architecture, folk activities, or worship ceremonies. In a dispassionate, monotone palette, this new photography series scrutinizes the inextricable connections between man, religion, and faith.

With few exceptions, all forms of religion equally embody the human desire for happiness, and promise to bring people spiritual growth and salvation, though their approaches may diverge. To attract followers and solidify teachings, symbolic objects or specific images are necessary commodities in addition to scriptures, sermons, incantations, instruments, and rituals. The total of more than 12,000 temples in Taiwan help shape the sui generis temple culture that has become the most enigmatic and eventful dimension of the Greater Chinese world. Most temples serve to address ordinary people’s earthly needs of all stripes, and offer them spiritual sustenance. On a more specific basis, people expect to gain real interests, restore physical health, or satisfy spiritual yearnings for the next life with the assistance of transcendental powers, and the supply-demand issue has ensued. What inspires the followers’ devotion is not their genuine faith in the deities, but the extent as to how efficacious the deities are in producing miracles. And the statues of deities that are larger than life size in every way may well encourage the followers’ devotional practices.

The deities have many different incarnations as statues. Some are as colossal as buildings, others are medium in scale and several meters high, still others are small statues enshrined in the main halls of temples or on household altars. If we compare a colossal statue of deity to a supercomputer, small statues would be laptops. A computer wields no magic power if it is disconnected from the server. The consecration is to a statue what the password is to logging onto a computer. To be efficacious, the incarnations must connect themselves with the host deity. The increase of a deity’s supernatural power bears comparison with the upgrading of a computer’s software. The position of a temple keeper closely resembles that of a computer engineer if we construe a temple as an omnipotent computer. The temple keeper helps the followers solve particular difficulties, while the engineer protects the computer from virus attacks. Once a deity leaves a statue, which is nothing short of removing a computer’s CPU, the statue would no longer be the embodiment of human desires but a mere shell to be decomposed over the course of time.

The desires of the multitudes shape the explicit forms of these colossal statues of deities. However, these materialized forms are every bit as illusory as dreams and bubbles, since emptiness is the nature of tattva, or ultimate reality. Yao Jui-chung captures the absurdity of deity statues against the urban backdrop, where the interconnecting relationships between deities and humans resonate to the mundane desires that are at once vacant and lusty. Distilling a sense of beauty in the monotone palette, the 300 images document the sensualist society with clinical detachment.

In addition to the array of 300 gelatin silver prints that portray the human desire, a three-channel video installation of Incarnation is also on view, where the rising and falling tones of the complex radio spectrum of Saturn recorded by NASA transport the viewer to the mystical universe. Deities of all stripes on the three screens instantiate the intertwining relationship between history and society. Evoking a road movie, the video installation deconstructs and repaints the landscape of Taiwan, suffused with a magical divinity interspersed with sentient yearnings.

There is also a performance by sound artist Dawang Yingfan Huang and musician Meuko! Meuko!, who is known in Japan and Taiwan for her experimental approach to electronic music. Conceived as a modern version of religious tribute to the gods, the collaboration reassembles the visual and sound elements of a traditional temple fair and conjures an organic performance that manifests Taiwanese cultural and religious beliefs.