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藝術創作的表達方式層出不窮,有人喜歡在潔白的紙上揮筆舞動,有人則偏愛穿梭於大街小巷肆意作畫,而美國街頭藝術家及社會運動者Keith Haring則屬後者。他經常走到地鐵站,拿着粉筆逕自畫下他的內心世界。他的圖畫雖然線條簡單,但當中隱匿着更深層的意義,映射出對社會現狀、文化議題的想法。澳門威尼斯人即將舉辦全球首個《Keith Haring迷宫之旅》,大家不妨藉此機會欣賞他的作品吧!

Keith Haring於1958年在賓夕法尼亞州雷丁出生,他從小都是迪士尼卡通的擁躉,同時受到身為漫畫家的父親耳濡目染,故早已對繪畫產生濃厚興趣。他19歲時隻身到紐約視覺藝術學院進修,更開始不斷於地鐵站內的牆身繪畫,在熙熙攘攘的人潮面前獻技。有一次,他接受美國電視台的個人專訪,即興現場創作起來,豈料公然在牆上繪畫的行為令他遭警察逮捕,但也因而一夜成名。

他的創作時至今日仍遍佈世界各地,例如紐約高速公路旁的地標性壁畫《Crack is Wack》、巴黎某兒童醫院的外牆壁畫、阿姆斯特丹的巨型壁畫等。他亦曾到歐洲和亞洲不同地方舉辦兒童繪畫工作坊。為了將自己的藝術品普及化,他在紐約的蘇豪區開了一家店,名為「Pop Shop」,售賣印有他作品的T恤、玩具、海報及磁石等,教人再三反思藝術和大眾文化之間的關係。可惜好景不常,他於1988年不幸罹患愛滋病。然而,他並沒有籠罩在痛苦和陰暗之中,反而成立了「Keith Haring基金會」,以促進愛滋病治療的研究和兒童福利為宗旨。1990年,這位曠世奇才以31歲之齡與世長辭,成為藝術界一個永垂不朽的傳奇。

在短短十多年的創作生涯裏,Keith Haring留下了許多舉世矚目的作品。他的畫作線條分明、顏色鮮艷,簡約而直接,帶有強烈的「普普藝術」風格──即一種為大眾而設計的、短期而可隨意消耗的藝術。而Keith Haring喜歡反覆繪畫幾種圖案,包括發光的嬰兒、咆哮的狗、三眼怪物等,它們都具有特別的象徵意義。發光的嬰兒是最常出現在作品中的圖案,寓意年幼的天真純潔,是「人類存在最純淨也最明確的經驗」;咆哮的狗代表壓迫人們的專權政府或官僚體系;而三眼怪物為資本主義和消費主義的化身。患上愛滋病的他,不僅沒有自怨自艾,還創作了一系列畫作呼籲人們預防愛滋病。他的畫作與一些富有透視感的著名畫作可謂迥然不同,那些是用來臨摹和紀錄生活,而他的,則是為了創造生活。

近年人們開始深入探討「Affordable Art」(買得起的藝術)的議題,唯Keith Haring早在數十年前就已提倡這個觀念。對Keith Haring來說,藝術的力量委實不容小覷,而博物館和美術館彷彿是一個個藝術的監獄,限制藝術品的可能性。如果一件藝術品只可仰望而不可觸及,那它便談不上為藝術了。

「藝術應該解放你的靈魂,觸發你的想像並激勵人們向前走。」──Keith Haring

《凱斯‧哈林迷宮之旅》
日期:2018年9月28日至12月31日
地點:澳門威尼斯人金光會展展館F

撰文:王以珞
美術:王曉澄

Art has a dozen ways of conveying a message. Some people like to wield a pencil on white papers, whereas others love to traverse through streets and lanes, leaving their drawings outside of the room. Keith Haring, an American street artist and social activist, belonged to the latter ones. He always wandered around subway stations and drew pictures with chalks to divulge his inner world. Though his drawings were simple, they were embedded with deep meanings that reflected his thoughts towards the society and culture. Whilst the first “Keith Haring Maze Macao” over the world will be showcased in The Venetian Macao, let us take this chance to appreciate his works together!

Born in 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania, Keith Haring was fascinated by Disney cartoons since his early childhood. Also, he was greatly influenced by his father, who was a cartoonist, which intrigued him to immerse in the world of drawing. He went to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts at the age of 19. Soon after he studied there, he started to draw on the walls in subway stations, showing his drawing skills in front of a crowd of people. One day, while he was having an interview with a television crew and doing some impromptu drawings in the subway station, he was arrested for vandalism. Yet, this also allowed him to rise to prominence.

Today, his drawings can still be ubiquitously found all over the world, such as the “Crack is Wack” mural on a highway of New York City, the mural at a children's hospital in Paris, as well as the 40-foot mural in Amsterdam. In addition, he had travelled to different places in Europe and Asia to hold workshops for children. To make his art works more accessible to the public, he set up a store called “Pop Shop” in Soho, New York City, selling T-shirts, toys, posters and magnets bearing his graphics. He had led people to rethink about the relationship between art and pop culture. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1988. Without enshrouding himself in anguish and darkness, he established the Keith Haring Foundation to assist AIDS-related research and children’s programme. In 1990, he passed away at 31 and became a legend in the art community.

During his tragically brief art career, Keith Haring had created a lot of world-acclaimed works. His drawings always involve bold lines and vivid colors, which demonstrate a strong sense of “Pop Art”—a style of modern art that is created for public, and it is more likely to be transient and expendable. Keith Haring loves to use repeated symbols to express his messages, including radiant babies, barking dogs and three-eyed faces. Radiant babies always appear in his works, symbolizing youthful innocence and purity, as babies are “the purest and most positive experience of human existence”. Barking dogs represents authoritarian government and the abuse of power. Also, three-eyed faces are the incarnations of capitalism and consumerism. Although he was suffered from AIDS, he did not bemoan his fate but created a series of drawings highlighting the importance of AIDS prevention. Different other famous perspective drawings, which are more like the portrayals and records of people’s lives, his drawings aim to create life.

These years, people have started to explore the topic of “Affordable Art”, which Keith Haring had been advocating many years ago. Keith Haring believed that the power of art could not be underestimated, and museums were just as the jails that limited the possibilities of art works. Art is nothing if it cannot reach people directly.

“Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.” –Keith Haring

“Keith Haring Maze”

Date: 28th September to 31st December, 2018
Venue: Cotai Expo Hall F, The Venetian Macao

Text: Elok Wong
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #209

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