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2014联考英语阅读:京剧的魅力

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2014年05月14日 【我要咨询】 】 来源:清华在线

  A Russian-Irish artist's photographs of Peking Opera give a contemporary voice to the ancient art form. Cecily Liu reports in London.

  Varvara Shavrova believed she was looking at one of the most beautiful women she'd ever seen. But she was wrong.

  Not about the beautiful part. About the woman part.

  The Russian-Irish artist and curator was stunned when Chinese friends told her the female Peking Opera character onstage at the teahouse near the Forbidden City was actually a man.

  "I said 'No'. And they said 'Yes'. And I said 'No' - and still couldn't believe it," she recalls.

  But that wasn't all that captivated her about the show.

  "I loved the costumes, the makeup, the movements and how it can be formulaic in its own language," Shavrova says.

  "You can compare it to contemporary art."

  This initial fascination prompted the Russian-Irish artist and curator to research Peking Opera's history, understand the actors' lives and document their preparations and performances in her London exhibition The Opera.

  Peking Opera was initially an exclusively male pursuit, with female characters played by male actors since Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) had banned all female performers in 1772.

  Although the ban was lifted in 1912, the tradition of males playing female roles continues.

  This requires actors to put on layers of makeup and costumes, and heavy headdresses, which Shavrova says are almost like "helmets".

  She photographed actors getting dressed, in sets of eight, to show the gradual transformation.

  For example, the first picture of a series features a man without any makeup. The next few show the man applying layers of heavy makeup and putting on a head cloth to cover his hair, followed by an elaborate headdress with beautiful decorations. In the last few photographs, the character's femininity emerges.

  The final shot shows what appears to be a woman with long hair, delicate facial features and a soft gaze.

  The exhibition also displays a large-scale projection of a 17-minute film demonstrating Chinese opera and two plasma screens showing five-minute time-lapse videos.

  The exhibition was originally commissioned by and shown at the Espacio Cultural El Tanque in 2011 - an old oil depot on the Spanish island Tenerife. It was shown in 2012 at the Ballina Arts Center in Ireland and this year at the Patrick Heide Contemporary Art gallery in London.

  The first Peking Opera actor Shavrova met was Liu Zheng. He introduced Shavrova to others.

  "I became friends with these people," Shavrova says.

  "We went out to dinner together and socialized."

  She came to realize the financial difficulties they face as the genre's popularity declines.

  "They're doing lots of work for very little money," she says.

  "They have the fan groups and followers on blogs, but a lot fewer compared to big pop stars. But they don't do it for the money. They're doing something entirely beautiful and they love what they do."

  She once asked Liu to dress her up as the female role in The Drunken Concubine, which tells a story of the famous Yang Yuhuan, a concubine to Emperor Minghuang in Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). Liu's mother helped Shavrova dress up. It took two hours.

  When it was done, Shavrova stood up and felt dizzy.

  "Literally, I couldn't move. And these actors, on top of all this, they have to sing and dance, and they have to do a sword dance. It's really tough," she says.

  But while contemporary performances have stolen the stage from Peking Opera, Shavrova believes the genre is modern, rather than archaic.

  "I thought of it as being modern on an intuitive level," she says.

  "It is like contemporary art, which you wouldn't understand unless you put time into understanding what the artist means. It was very charming and very beautiful."

  She also believes it operates according to its own rules.

  "It has nothing to do with this life," she says.

  Shavrova worries this performance art will die out if its popularity further declines and if the Chinese government doesn't sufficiently support it.

  She points out a lot of the country's architectural heritage, such as Beijing's hutong, have largely vanished. If such performances as Peking Opera disappear, too, Chinese culture might be reduced to food and festivals.

  Shavrova believes the solution may be to promote among youth, such as in schools.

  "They have to understand that the actors are young and dynamic people, and not just some sort of old-fashioned boring people who have learned the lines by heart and are meaningless," she says.

  Shavrova was born and educated in Moscow. She moved to London in 1989 and shared her studio time between London and Ireland for the next 15 years, before moving to China in 2005.

  At the time, Shavrova's Irish engineer husband was working on a few architecture projects in China, so the couple relocated to China with their two children. Shavrova immersed herself in local life and the art community.

  "I was really inspired by 798, the art district in Beijing. I was offered a studio, and I met some Chinese and international artists. And I felt it was a really dynamic place where I can make new projects," she says.

  One of her exhibitions in China is Untouched, which compares Beijing with rural Ireland, showing old houses, walls, windows and the people in black-and-white images. Another is Borders, which shows the Russian-Chinese border. The show was inspired by her journey into China.

  Shavrova examines everyday Beijing life in Windows on the Hutong, which shows different activities that reflect the ordinary lives of inhabitants through windows. In this exhibition, she also recorded sounds of people chatting away in the rooms to be played alongside the installation.

  Her fascination with hutong is seen through the minute details in her photographs, such as window frames, writings on windows, curtains and fish tanks that display fish sold in restaurants. Shavrova did extensive research and interviewed local people. She also made a film about them.

  London-based art dealer, curator and gallery owner James Birch says The Opera is "absolutely great".

  "I like the idea of the before-and-after situation," he says.

  Birch has only seen Peking Opera images in books but never in an art exhibition.

  Birch says the show will also generate more international awareness about Chinese culture.

  "Many people don't know about Peking Opera, so it's good to make people aware," he says.

  Betty Yao, director of the London-based exhibition management firm Credential International Arts Management, also believes The Opera bridges China and the West.

  "As overseas Chinese, we all feel proud of what Peking Opera represents," she says.

  "But we have little opportunity to know more about it. We always think this is an art form for old people. What is fascinating for me is to see an artist representing a very modern contemporary angle to look at something that is a loved art form - it's her ability to create that bridge and bring in traditional art forms through creativity and reach the younger people of today."

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  瓦尔瓦拉·沙妩若是一位俄裔爱尔兰人。她是一名摄影艺术家,她的作品《京剧》系列给这一古老艺术增添了现代的光辉,中国日报记者Cecily Liu伦敦报道。

  沙妩若起初认为站在台上的表演者是一位貌美如玉的女性。可惜,她想错了,不是因为演员不漂亮,而是因为演员是位帅小伙。

  在故宫附近的一家茶馆里,当一位中国朋友向这位艺术家兼展览策划人介绍道台上的京剧演员是为小伙子的时候,她惊呆了。沙妩若回忆说:“当时我说不可能,朋友说确实是,我坚持说不可能,因为实在是太难以置信了。”

  当然吸引她的不仅仅只有这些,她说自己非常喜欢京剧的服饰、演员的妆容和舞台动作令她着迷,简直无法用语言来形容,这完全可以与现代艺术相媲美。

  和京剧的初次邂逅让沙妩若对京剧充满兴趣,她决定探寻京剧的历史,用相机了解和记录演员的生活,拍摄他们台前幕后的点点滴滴,并将作品在伦敦展出,展览主题为——京剧。

  乾隆皇帝(1711-1799)于1772年下令女性不得作为京剧演员,自此,京剧艺术便成为男人的专利,所有女性角色均由男性扮演。尽管1912年,这一禁令废止,这一传统依旧流传至今。演员们需要身着华丽服饰,头戴沉重发饰,浓妆艳抹,登台表演,在沙妩若眼中繁琐的发饰就像头盔一般。

  沙妩若拍摄了演员的化妆过程,一共用了8张图片展示,将每一个步骤都清晰呈现。比如,第一张照片就是一个男演员的素颜照,接下来几张拍摄了演员上妆,穿上华丽演出服,带上华美发饰的全过程。之后几张的照片中,一个貌美的女子慢慢呈现在观众眼前。最后的一张照片,你就能看到一个长发飘逸,妆容精致,眼神含情脉脉的女子。展厅中播放着一段17分钟的影片介绍京剧,另有两块等离子电视上展示了5分钟的微速拍摄视频。

  这场展览先是于2011年应邀在西班牙特内里费岛艺术展览馆展出,这里原来是一个废旧的油料库,2012年作品在爱尔兰巴利纳艺术中心展出,今年它们在伦敦Patrick Heide当代艺术中心与世人见面。

  沙妩若遇到的第一位京剧导演是刘铮,也是他带领着沙妩若走近这一行当。沙妩若说:“我和演员们都成了朋友,我们经常一起吃饭、聚会。”

  这位艺术家意识到,随着这门艺术的关注者越来越少,京剧这个行业也面临着经济危机。她说:“干这一行付出多,回报少。在博客中,你可以看到他们有粉丝团,有追随者,但是这远不敌那些流行巨星。但是他们从事这份工作并不是仅仅为钱,更是执着于他们热爱的事业,创造艺术之美。”

  沙妩若曾让刘铮把她装扮成《贵妃醉酒》中的杨贵妃,这是唐代(公元618—907年)唐明皇的最宠爱的妃子。刘铮的母亲用了两个小时完成了沙妩若的愿望。化妆之后,沙妩若站起来,顿时感到头晕目眩,她说:“说实话,当时我几乎不能走,难以想见那些演员在台上歌唱舞蹈如此艰辛,况且他们还得舞剑。”

  尽管京剧艺术似乎渐渐淡出舞台,但沙妩若相信这门现代艺术而非古老陈旧,她说直觉告诉她京剧很现代。“京剧就像当代艺术一般,只有你花时间去理解艺术家的思想才能了解一个作品。每一件作品都是那样精致美丽,充满魔力。”她认为京剧有着自己的内在发展规律,不受外界干扰。

  沙妩若担心如果中国政府不大力支持京剧事业,这门艺术会随着爱好者的减少而消亡。她指出,许多城市文化遗产正在大量消失,比如北京胡同。如果京剧遭受同样噩运,中国人的精神生活就太贫乏了。

  沙妩若认为解决这问题要从小抓起,特别是在校园。她说:“孩子们要理解这些演员都是富有朝气的年轻人,而不是那些因循守旧的台词背诵器。”

  沙妩若在莫斯科出生和上学,1989年来到伦敦,在2005年来到中国之前,她在伦敦和爱尔兰两地的工作室奔波。她的丈夫是爱尔兰人,是一名工程师,那时在中国做一些工程项目。所以,夫妻俩就决定带着两个孩子来中国生活。沙妩若觉得自己深深地融入了当地的生活和艺术社区,她说,“我在北京的798艺术区,经营着一个工作室,我在那里会见我的中外友人。在那里我总能感到灵感迸发,创意思想被激发。”

  沙妩若在中国的一个展览名为“逝”,用黑白照片对比北京和爱尔兰的乡村,展现了老房子、屋墙、窗户和人。另一个展览名为边境,拍摄了中俄边境,灵感来源于一次中国旅行。

  沙妩若通过胡同文化记录北京的生活,各种各样的活动反映了普通市民的生活。她还录制了人们聊天的声音,在展厅中播放,让人身临其境。摄影作品的微小细节反映了她对北京胡同文化的喜爱,比如窗框、窗花、窗帘和大鱼缸,大鱼缸就是餐馆里用来展示鲜鱼的那种缸。沙妩若对胡同文化做了细致的研究,采访了许多本地市民,还为此拍摄了电影。

  詹姆斯·伯奇是此次展览的投资商,同时他也是一位策展人,拥有自己的画廊。他以前都是通过书上图片了解京剧,这是第一在艺术展上接触它。伯奇说:“京剧系列摄影非常棒,我喜欢艺术家的构想,展现了京剧表演者上台前到上台后的全过程。我想,这次展览应该会吸引更多国际目光来关注中国文化。许多人不了解京剧,让人们意识到它的存在很有必要。”

  姚小姐是此次伦敦展览策划公司的经理,她一样认为此次摄影展架起了中西方文化的桥梁。她说:“作为身居海外的中国人,我们为京剧这一国粹感到骄傲。但是,我们很少有机会仔细了解它,一直以来把它当作是老年人关注的艺术形式。不过,让我倍感兴奋的是,一位艺术家从现当代的角度来看待它,她架起了文化的桥梁,带给传统文化新的创造力,让京剧离年轻人更近。”

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