By Jerry Cullum
Xuhong Shang’s art operates between cultures, or between realities – for reality is defined, more than we realize, by the culture in which we live. 
Shang’s Mountains series of paintings juxtaposes versions of Chinese landscapes (but they might also be enormously enlarged details of Renaissance landscapes) with contemporary abstraction.  This is our first cue that things in this artist’s world are seldom as they seem; yet he poses not the old philosophical question of appearance and reality, but the assertion that appearance is reality.  (This is a subtle variation on Kenneth Burke’s dictum to his literary students, “Be careful how you think about the world; it is like that.”)
The world is a vigorous illusion, Buddhism tells us.  By contrast, the religions of Europe, Africa and the Arab world insist upon the world’s metaphysical solidity; our philosophy has usually thought of art as illusion, a mere representation of reality.  Only recently has art been considered a reality in and of itself.
Marcel Duchamp, one of Shang’s influences, played with all of these perspectives.  René Magritte brought the philosophical discussion to a wittily flat-footed conclusion with his picture of a pipe labeled “This is not a pipe.”
Shang’s installations explore many of the paradoxes of representation and reality.  Although they often involve full-scale observation decks with real plants on them, what is observed from the deck is a sequence of paintings that virtually tells us, “This is not a landscape.”
The paintings appear on a shelf, or along the room’s baseboards.  Wherever they appear, they depict the natural world meticulously, but often with impossible simultaneity.  The sky appears in a succession of colors suggesting the movement from dawn through midday to evening twilight, so that a walk across the room is also a walk through hours of time.  Or rather, it would be if the viewer were not looking down, at a thin strip of images, a reminder that the position of the body is real, but the Nature in the painting is not.
Or are both illusions, or are both different kinds of reality?  Does the terminology matter?  As the Buddhists ask, where is there any duality?  It is the mind that gives names, makes distinctions, and creates the world it lives in.  What we call “matter” is the base on which a convincing structure of reality is erected in the mind, by culture or by imagination.
Every so often, something happens to remind us that this elaborate structure has the solidity and permanence of a soap bubble.  At its best, Xuhong Shang’s work provides this deeply cross-cultural experience of impermanence and unpredictability – a shock that, in mystical traditions, can lead to something more.
Like Duchamp, though with different motives, Shang means to be more than just a thumb-nosing bad boy; he wants to unsettle our expectations for our own good.
Jerry Cullum is an artist, poet, freelance curator and cultural critic.  An editor of the Atlanta based magazine Art Papers, he writes frequently for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other publications.
Cullum, Jerry. “Xuhong Shang.” Sculpture (January 2016): 63.
杰類 卡倫 (美國藝朮評論家,美国艺术报刊主编)
作為一個多年旅居美國并長期活躍于國際藝術展覽的中國藝術家, 商徐宏是中國在海外的為數不多的几個极其冷靜, 毫無虛張聲勢地從事觀念性及极簡主義与抽象意識相結合的藝術創作和研究的藝術家之一. 他的作品明顯地試圖在傳統与現代, 意象与現實之間建立一种新的視覺方法与秩序.商徐宏的作品明顯是操作于不同的文化及不同的現實之間, 因此現實更為延伸, 更為 廣泛而被常人所忽略的, 他的藝術品并不在僅僅滿足于表達傳統的哲理性問題 – 關于意向与現實之間的關系. 當然在他的作品中存在著這种趨向确是一個不可否認的 現實. 他的作品為觀眾所提供的美妙視覺效果, 正如偉大的西方哲學家康德警告他的學生們: “小心地思考這個世界和宇宙, 難道它正是我們所見嗎?”彿學告誡我們, 世界是一個不斷擴張的虛幻, 与此對比歐洲, 非洲, 及阿拉伯世界的宗教更為堅持世界是一個物質的實在. 西方哲學更以為藝術是一种虛幻, 因為藝術更遠离于現實生活, 只是到了近代, 西方哲學才意識到藝術是一种現實的再現及現實的本身.二十世紀西方觀念藝術大師馬修杜桑就是運用了意向与現實的思維的游戲在他的作品中, 并且發揮得淋漓盡致, 可見商徐宏的作品受其影響之深, 并有著同エ异曲之處. 二十世紀另一個現實主義及觀念藝術家勒內馬格利特的作品也充分運用著理性的沖突, 在他的著名煙斗圖中寫著 – 這不是一個煙斗.

商徐宏的裝置作品表達了許多意向与現實的矛盾及沖突. 他的作品常常運用整個展覽空間制造出一种自然景觀的形式, 或是庭園, 并在周圍牆角邊配上天空景色的圖像, 并讓觀眾登上他特意制作的觀景台, 或在展覽空間的周圍牆上于常人的視平線上安裝一個簡單的架子, 并在架子上放上各种小型的風景圖像及建筑模型等物品使觀眾產生一种無限自然的空間, 但同時也在告誡我們: 這也許不僅僅是風景和庭園.

天空景色呈現在觀眾的視平線的架子上, 或天空景色沿著牆角的邊沿周圍環繞, 無論這些景色如何地呈現, 而且在不斷地變換著色彩隨著景色不斷地沿著周圍牆角延伸, 這同時也正在再一次地暗示從晨間到傍晚的時間變換和移動. 當觀眾走過整個裝置作品的同時, 時間也正在過去, 或者, 觀眾根本也沒有朝下觀看或根本沒有關注沿著牆角周圍的景色圖. 事實是, 這不也是一种提示嗎? 現實是觀眾的姿態是正确的并保持著自然狀態往前走并同時往前看 – 平視, 而那牆角邊的景色是并不自然的. 或許本身這兩种姿態及現實都是一种意向, 或同時都是一种現實, 難道這兩种形態中都有著重要的關系嗎? 事實是我們的意識給予了事物的名稱, 制造了距离感, 創造了 世界為我們所生存. 我們所謂的 “重要及關系”及 “現實与意象”其實都基于現實所制造的使人信服的框架之中并且在我們的思維中突現, 而且也源之于我們各自的文 化背景及想像. 就像在生活中常常會遇到的有些事物發生時會提醒我們這种精心設計的框架就有著肥皂泡沫般的永久性.

商徐宏的作品所提供的這种深刻的東方及西方文化經驗的思考, 以及那股非永久性和無法預測性的力量使人感到震惊, 同時又具有一种神秘性能夠把觀眾的視覺和感受帶到更遠的深處. 就像馬修杜桑怀著不同的動机在其作品中的カ量, 商徐宏的本身意義遠遠高于扮演一個頑皮的游戲者. 他更希望我們作為觀眾能不确定自己的期待并抱著一种更為廣泛的視覺去感受生活中的一切.