Bian Guoqiang – 2004
京華道情
Life in the Hutongs

15_Bian-Guoqiang
京華道情

五十年代末我从香港到北京读书。放学後常和小朋友们一起到荒芜但仍健在的城墙上玩耍。忘了从哪年开始,老师带着我们去拆城墙。许多年後,我当了老师,我带着学生去拆城墙。到了八十年代城墙完全没有了。城墙原址的上面是二环路,地下面是地下铁。

北京的房地产业从九十年代初如燎原烈火开展起来。大片大片地拆除老四合院,一条条安静的胡同在紫禁城旁消失掉。我们的画家卞国强从九十年初开始十馀年来不曾间断地画着老四合院、老胡同,和生活在里面的人们。他的画展现了胡同生活的祥和。相对於在胡同内生活着的北京人的积极向上的精神,老胡同显得那么无奈。卞国强画里的胡同和胡同生活是原汁原味的。将来的孩子要问:“什么是胡同?”只有到卞国强的画中寻找答案。

方毓仁

2004年初夏

Life in the Hutongs

In the late 1950’s I left Hong Kong and was sent to study in Beijing. When my lessons were over after school I used to go to the deserted city wall and play there with my friends. One day we went with our schoolteachers and started pulling down the city wall. Years later, after I had become a teacher myself, I used to take my own students there to continue the work. By the 1980’s the Beijing city wall had completely gone. On top of its original site is now the Erhuan Highway and underneath it is the MTR.

Since the early 1990’s Beijing’s property development has spread like wildfire. Large sections of the city have been pulled down. One by one the quiet hutongs around the Forbidden City have disappeared.

Bian Guoqiang has been painting the Beijing hutongs and their inhabitants for over a decade. His paintings portray their harmony and tranquility. These ageing hutongs are powerless against the tide of modernization, however, the people living there continue their lives energetically. The hutong life portrayed by the artist in his paintings is authentic and not idealized.

In future when children ask us what is a hutong, you will be able to find the answer in Bian Guoqiang’s paintings.

Fong Yuk Yan

April 2004