陶艾民 《女书》装置 2007年
Tiny Times, a Chinese feature film set in contemporary Shanghai, made headline news on its opening day in late June by knocking the Hollywood blockbuster Man of Steel from its perch atop the domestic box-office and breaking the opening-day record for a Chinese-language 2D release.
陶艾民以搓衣板为原版，用拓印的方法和传统线装书的形式创作了一件题为《女书》的作品。搓衣板上那些被磨损的瓦楞和鼈裂的痕迹就是用岁月搓洗出来的文字，也是用生命书写的文字。这是一种更具人生底蕴的文字，是一种可以直观的生命语言。陶艾民尝试将宣纸铺在一排搓衣板上，或拓印，或挥洒，在水墨的自然渗化中凸显出搓衣板的斑驳痕迹。 当她想到用线装书的形式来显现搓衣板所固有的生命语言时，想到与江永女书的结合。这样，她从搓衣板中发掘出的生命语言，与江永妇女所创造的符号语言十分自然地汇流在一起。而对女书文字的理解，如她所说，它的特有形式，阴柔中暗藏着锐气，尖而斜的字体仿佛将矛头指向天空，发出另类的声音。它是一个个独立而向往自由的灵魂，它为我的《女书》增添了神秘气息。既含蓄而又深邃，呈现的完全是一种不可阅读的视觉语言。 搓衣板本身已经是一件完美的艺术作品因为它是用女人一生的经历磨砺出来的一个生命的物证，艺术家通过这种极富传统文化气息的线装书形式，将这个普通到不屑一顾的生活用品提升为一种富有象征意义的女性文化！从而强有力地呈现出永恒之女性这一伟大母题，并借以体现出陶艾民重塑女性精神愿望。
The film follows four college girls as they navigate romance and their professional aspirations, but the bulk of the film is about the female longing for a life of luxury in the company of a good-looking man. Tiny Times is not a women’s film, though it does feature female characters, draped from head to toe in designer clothes and easily mesmerized by the presence of supposedly visually stunning males—not the usual, muscle-bound Hollywood types, but Asian boys of androgynous demeanor with compact frames, equisite facial contours and the look of perpetual youth.
CommendationBy Jia FangzhouThe recent work of Tao Aiming is his Female Text Only which is a device with garment board, rice paper and text rubbed on, thread-bound book alike. The garment board is used so directly to show the uncorrectable life tragedy of Chinese women.When he strived to the fix lives on the board, he thought of the Jiangyong Female Character, combining it in his work, the most mysterious characters perhaps on the world for women only, a character system, gentle but sharp, and free and far-reaching, subtle but profound, plus, there is an excellent visual effect.The garment washing board, daily used in Chinese family, already a perfect art piece, for it is the very right testimonials of womens live. On the other hand, thread-bound book is another thing symbolizing the traditional official culture and cultural hegemony that used to relate nothing to a common female, which indicates profoundly. Goethe once said, Eternal female is a great topic forever.
iconCourtesy of Tiny Times
At first glance, Tiny Times might be mistaken for a Sinicized Sex and the City, but soon it becomes clear that the four boy-crazed, mall-loitering characters in Shanghai have little in common with the fiercely independent career women in Candace Bushnell’s New York. Positioned in the market by Le Vision Pictures of Beijing as a coming of age story, the rite of passage for one dazed girl in the film is to grow into a competent personal assistant to her oh-so-handsome male boss whose aloof demeanor and penetrating gaze constantly destabilizes her. Another girl from a nouveau riche family, showers her boyfriend with expensive clothes and accessories. The third girl—chubby, suffering from stereotypically low self-esteem and emotional eating—is made fun of throughout the movie as she obsesses over young tennis player, the one man in the movie who actually possesses something resembling muscle. The fourth girl, a budding fashion designer from a humble background, is trapped in an abusive relationship with yet another good-looking boy.
Taking a page from the book of popular East Asian “idol dramas” that cater primarily to youth in their teens and twenties, the film features popular singers, actors, and actresses, cast regardless of any actual acting ability. Good idol dramas frequently feature teen romance, in which brooding characters with dark secrets and painful pasts elicit pathos and real emotion. Tiny Times, however, has done away with complex story arcs and character development. The film looks great but ultimately lacks substance.
The four characters’ professional aspirations amount to serving men with competence. The film is a Chinese version of “chick flick” minus the emotional engagement and relationship-based social realism that typically are associated with the Hollywood genre. The only enduring relationship in Tiny Times is the chicks’ relationship with material goods. The hyper-materialist life portrayed carries little plot but serves as a setting for consumption, and is more akin to MTV or reality TV than real drama. With its scandalously cartoonish characters, the film would have worked better as a satirical comedy, except that the director is too sincere in his celebration of material abundance to display any sense of irony.
We were caught completely off guard, stupefied by the film’s unabashed flaunting of wealth, glamor, and male power passed off as “what women want.” Its vulgar and utter lack of self-awareness is astonishing, but perhaps not too surprising. It appears to be the product of full-blown materialism in modern, urban Chinese society. The film speaks to the male fantasy of a world of female yearnings, which revolve around men and the goods men are best equipped to deliver, whether materially or bodily. It betrays a twisted male narcissism and a male desire for patriarchal power and control over female bodies and emotions misconstrued as female longing.