WEEKLY

SEEING IS DECEIVING
弄真成假

俗語說:「耳聽為虛,眼見為實。」然而事實不然,世界上最具欺騙性的,也許就是人的眼睛。在藝術世界裡,不少藝術作家透過色彩、光線和圖案變化,通過錯覺使人把平面畫像當成是立體圖,以假亂真,創造出令人驚歎的錯覺藝術。來自美國的當代藝術家Alexa Meade可算是錯覺藝術的佼佼者,有別於以往藝術家把平面變為立體,她竟創新地把立體變成平面。結合人體彩繪與油畫,利用光線與陰影,使人體的棱線完美揉合在油畫中,教人分不清是真是假,完美演繹「眼見未為真」。

現今社會趨向把2D變為3D,不少經典動畫也以3D形式重現世人眼前,近年更開始流行4D,為大眾帶來無窮無盡的新鮮感。另一邊廂,縱觀藝術世界,「逼真」、「栩栩如生」也看似是出色作品的必備條件。無論是藝術作品還是電影、電視劇,大眾普遍認為愈生動,愈逼真愈好,然而Alexa Meade恰恰相反,別人都希望的弄假成真,來到她手裡卻變成了「弄真成假」。看上去是一幅平平無奇的油畫,走近細看竟發現是活生生的人!以為自己在看畫,沒想到是一直被畫裡的人直勾勾地盯著。

Alexa Meade幾乎從未接受過正統美術訓練,於大學主修政治。政治與藝術,可算是完全沾不上邊。 當代行為藝術與古典油畫,也可算是完全不相干。主修政治卻能成為藝術家,更破天荒把古典與現代二合為一,打破了一個又一個的不可能。她熱衷於觀察影子,起初是喜歡於太陽的投影下描繪物體的影子,並比較光線與投影的變化關係,本來只想以繪畫影子的方式呈現藝術品的光線與平面度。後來於一次機緣巧合下,這個大膽創新的女孩在某次創作中找來好友作實驗,把顏料塗在好友身上,意外發現在人體上直接繪畫陰影,於不同角度和光源下,竟有相同的視覺效果。自此她便著手以真人作畫布,為模特兒的身驅裹上一層油彩外衣,開創了一種新的藝術形式。這種「會動的」彩繪藝術,巧妙利用光線與陰影,使畫面可平面可立體,模糊了視覺與現實的界線,可謂向藝術世界投下了一顆震撼彈。

在2018年,Alexa Meade更與美國知名歌手Ariana Grande合作,參與God is a woman的MV拍攝,她在Ariana Grande的身體上塗上染料,再讓她躺在飄滿染料的牛奶治池內,恬靜的色調溶蝕在流動的色彩內,締造了標志性一幕,更為美妝界帶來新靈感,社交媒體上隨即可看到化妝師們紛紛模仿Ariana Grande臉上的筆觸,這個年輕藝術家的作品一時間風靡各界,亦令世界各地愈來愈多人注意到她的作品。

她的每一件作品都是短暫而永恆的,撇除繪畫背景所需時間,製作一幅「活油畫」一般需時約三小時,由展出作品至模特兒卸妝離去也不過是數小時的事,模特兒離開油畫回到立體世界的一刻,一幅「活油畫」便失其精粹,等同消失。為保留每件獨一無二的作品,她會拍下每一幅作品,讓它們永恆存於照片中。這短暫的驚美,亦是永留記憶,常憶常新。

在她的「活油畫」內,人體模特兒都不動聲色,盛裝立在色彩繽紛的油畫中,靜靜凝視著川流不息的人潮。有時候站了一段時間,沒有先行告知便默默伸個懶腰,或是輕輕換個姿勢,此刻走近細看的人便像炸藥一樣炸開,嚇得落荒而逃。當然,把觀者嚇跑並不是她的創作初衷,模糊視覺與現實的背後,是對表象的真實性所作出的質疑,驅使觀者重新認真觀察並思考眼前所見事物的真實性,告知大眾「眼見不一定為實」。

從一個夢想成為政治家的少女,一躍成為當代灸手可熱的藝術家,Alexa Meade不斷從身邊的事物發掘新奇的元素,延續這場驚奇的藝術之旅,亦以她的自身經歷與作品告訴大眾,只要拋下現狀,以最真實的心感知身邊熟悉的事物,便可發掘底下蘊藏的「寶藏」,看到那些除了表面眼睛所見的事物。

撰文:許佩琳
美術:王曉澄

As the saying goes, ‘Seeing is believing.’ People have long been educated that only physical or concrete evidence is convincing. Yet, things aren’t always what they seem to be, especially in art. Over the years, artists have tried to challenge the human mind and fool the eye by mind-bending optical illusion art which manipulates patterns, shapes, colors, materials and forms. Alexe Meade, an American installation artist, is one of these artists. Meanwhile, in opposition to many classic painters who tried to recreate reality in their paintings, she turns reality into unreality in a groundbreaking way through painting directly onto the human body. In this case, seeing is NOT believing.

Alexa Meade attended Vassar college and graduated with a bachelor degree in political science, and she has never received an artistic education. Her idea comes from neither people nor paint, it comes from shadow. She has been fascinated with the absence of light and always wanted to find a way that she could give it a materiality, pinning it down before it changed. She then came up with an idea of painting the shadows. When she was putting black paint over the shadows, she realized that she could make a 3D space look like a 2D painting by painting the mapping of lights on the top of an object. Later, she wanted to put shadows on human body and invited her friend Bernie to be her model. She just wanted to create a mapping on his body in greyscale at first, but later when she finished and stepped back, she realized that she had turned her friend into a painting accidentally. Since then, she has started to paint directly on subjects, covering people and objects in layers of acrylic paint. She blurs the line between 2D and 3D art through the brilliant body painting and this unprecedented approach to portraiture has shaken the art world.

In 2018, she even created the iconic painted-liquid scene in Ariana Grande’s ‘God is A Woman’ music video. She body-painted Grande, and immersed her in a pool filled with vegan special-effects fluid. This scene went viral immediately after the release of the music video. Inspired makeup tutorials and social media posts about the clip took over the internet.

Meade’s work is momentary yet eternal. In essence, her work will be destroyed immediately upon completion. It takes her approximately three hours to bodypaint her model and once the model removes the acrylic mask, the work will be destroyed. However, everytime when she photographs her work, her work can be kept forever. She frequently paints over small rooms in which a human subject sits for the duration of the show, which also offers a performative aspect to her work.

From a girl who dreamed to be a politician to an artist who has successfully subverted the classic concept, her life has taken a drastic turn from where she thought she would be. Meade keeps breaking the ground and re-inventing the things around us. She has been experimenting new styles and unlocking new skills, as well as remaking the things that exist. Furthermore, the art of making a 2D representation looks 3D also changes the perspective of people ultimately, telling people that humans sometimes are horrible eye-witnesses.

Text: Natalie Hui
Art: Agnes Wong

ISSUE #238

SEEING IS DECEIVING

 

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