花團錦簇的鍊金術

策展人/劉素玉

曾雍甯嘗自稱「野人」,因為他從小到大的生長環境,不是在農村,就是在山林或海邊,由於從小喜愛藝術,以及業餘攝影家父親的鼓勵,消磨了許多時光上山下海,盡情地在大自然中寫生、拍照,留下大量植物花卉的素描、圖像,這些都成為日後藝術創作的養料,後來在藝壇投石問路的首次個展就命名為「野人花園」。

「野人花園」是曾雍甯對過去在大自然中成長及學藝經歷的一個檢驗報告,成果是美好的,他如願以償地敲開了台北藝術大學的大門,揮別了五、六年在鹿港家中閉門苦讀、自我摸索的漫長歲月。

野人花園10   Barbarian Garden 10 原子筆 紙  Ball-point Pen on Paper 2005 - 2007, 110 x 285 cm
野人花園10 Barbarian Garden 10
原子筆 紙 Ball-point Pen on Paper
2005 – 2007, 110 x 285 cm

2005年上北藝大是曾雍甯生命的一個轉捩點,這個從中南部來的野人,面臨的是一個與素樸小鎮截然不同的繽紛都會,所幸校園裡的生活並不太複雜,真正大的挑戰則是藝術上的學習和創作。就以所選擇的媒材而言,油畫、壓克力、水墨、水彩等才是學院的正統,偏偏曾雍甯選擇的是被視為「非專業」的原子筆,考上北藝大之前,他已經用原子筆畫了好幾年,如果繼續堅持下去,那麼他又何苦來學院走一遭?就算他想在學院多方取經,還是會比那些依循正規訓練的學生辛苦,因為大學裡沒有教授原子筆創作的老師,他所走的是一條沒有人走過的路,而原子筆這種媒材用以創作,先天上就有許多限制,不如油畫或壓克力顏料的色域寬、覆蓋性強、可塑性高,可以表現豐富的層次,生動逼真的效果;也不如水彩畫或水墨畫可利用疊色、渲染、平塗、縫合等技法,製造乾、溼、濃、淡,或黑白明暗等效果。凡此種種,曾雍甯都得要設法一一克服,並開發獨特技法去取代傳統材料創作的優勢。所幸,北藝大的教學思想開放,鼓勵學生自由學習,而當時的藝術界對於使用新材質的實驗風氣正方興未艾,曾雍甯的原子筆繪畫也頗受矚目,如曲德義、張正仁、薛保瑕、黎志文等都很賞識他,黎志文還在「野人花園」佈展時,就收藏了一件作品,成為曾雍甯作品的第一位正式藏家。

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曾雍甯畫室 Tzeng-Yong-ning’s Studio.

2004和2005年連續兩年,曾雍甯入選台北美術獎,2006年又獲得「李仲生基金會視覺藝術獎」,成為有史以來該獎項的最年輕得主,他首次嚐到了時來運轉的甜美滋味,2008年還獲選亞洲文化協會(ACC)台灣獎助計畫,得以到中國、日本遊學半年,開拓新視界。從此之後,他開始受邀參加各種聯展、藝術博覽會,及至私人畫廊邀約,舉行個展,順利地走向專業藝術家的道路,這總算為一路支持他的父母爭一口氣,隨著知名度的開展,他的作品在藝術市場上也廣受喜愛,他也終於可以回饋鹿港家人的關照。

從「野人花園」在藝壇初試啼聲以來,曾雍甯幾乎每年都發表新作,甚至是新的系列作品,可算是新秀藝術家中的佼佼者,這除了顯示他辛勤投注不凡的體力、心力之外,更顯示出他強大的藝術創作能量。原子筆繪畫是高度勞力密集的創作形態,沒有任何捷徑可抄,沒有任何功夫可省,絕對是一分耕耘一分收獲,工作室裡累積著難以計數的廢棄的原子筆筆芯,數量驚人,而作品裡數以千萬計的筆跡、繁複細密的圖案,及至滿溢的畫面、顯著的尺幅,都是曾雍甯日復一日辛勤付出的成果。

曾雍甯畫室  Tzeng-Yong-ning's Studio.
曾雍甯畫室 Tzeng-Yong-ning’s Studio.

不過,比起勞力付出更富有挑戰性的是作品的形式、內容。曾雍甯掌握了原子筆繪畫的基本表現的方法,從最簡單的點、線出發,如圓點的堆疊、線條的重複,形成有機的圖案或符號,像細胞的繁殖增長,延伸到無限的面。他的作品不具敘事性,多半以「花」或「花園」概稱,後來又加入了複雜的幾何形圖案,使作品在具象與抽象之間產生更大的張力;他甚至徹底放棄花卉的圖象和繽紛的色彩,而單純以線條的堆疊構成整個畫面,畫面上充塞著急促筆觸的所留下痕跡,反映了潛藏在他內在生命的爆發力。

曾雍甯對於原子筆的掌控能力隨著持續地精益求精而絲絲入扣,今年最新創作的貼金箔作品「花團圓」系列反映了他如同鍥而不捨的鍊金術士,在精進繪畫的道路從未停歇。貼金箔的作品《花團圓》首次出現在今年初在彰化縣美術館的「燦燦光彩」個展,雖然不是展場上最大的作品,但是很有吸引力。圓形幾乎是曾雍甯作品的標誌,但直徑長達一米五的大圓還是首見,鑲嵌在閃亮的金箔之中,令人眼睛為之一亮。巨大的圓形之中,又由無數的小圓,以各種不同形式、圖案、色彩堆疊,各自成長,不斷地向外、向上擴散,富有層次,使得畫面有立體感,凡此種種,讓人聯想到曼陀羅;巨圓外圍所貼的金箔,除了讓畫面金碧輝煌之外,更有一種莊嚴高貴的氣氛,懸掛在大片的深紫色展板,創造了一種神秘的氛圍,感覺像是聖壇,氣場很強。

曾雍甯  Tzeng Yong-ning 花團圓02  The Flower of Plenary 02 原子筆、彩色鉛筆、金箔  紙   Ball-point Pen, Color pencil & Gold Foil on Paper 2019, 131 x 153 cm
曾雍甯 Tzeng Yong-ning
花團圓02 The Flower of Plenary 02
原子筆、彩色鉛筆、金箔 紙
Ball-point Pen, Color pencil & Gold Foil on Paper
2019, 131 x 153 cm

曼陀羅直譯自梵語Mandala,意譯則是壇、聖圓、中心、圓輪具足、聚集等,簡而言之,曼陀羅是神秘的圓環,其中的圖像蘊藏著佛教義理,是古老而且意義深遠的象徵符號。瑞士心理學家榮格(Jung)認為曼陀羅是人類集體潛意識的原型、心靈圖像化的象徵,當一個人繪畫曼陀羅時,能夠反應當下的心境,進入潛意識探索更深層的自我,因此運用為藝術治療的方法之一。

展覽現場  Exhibition Installation.
展覽現場 Exhibition Installation.

本次「花團圓」展覽中也有三件貼金箔的作品,同樣讓人聯想到曼陀羅繪畫,不過曾雍甯創作概念確實與曼陀羅繪畫不同,但頗堪玩味的是,這些鑲嵌在金箔中的圓形作品,有一種特別的磁場,非常富有聚焦力。自古以來人們對於圓形就特別有好感,小孩子第一次畫的圖形是圓形,人們聚在一起會自動圍成圓形,代表正確的圓圈也是圓形。圓形的偏好在許多文化中屢見不鮮,古希臘人認為圓形是最完美的圖形,中國人講究圓滿,吃飯團圓要圓桌,英格蘭發現石器時代留下來圓形遺跡,羅馬競技場和法國最早建造的迷宮也是圓形,更不用說,許多宗教對圓形的尊崇,如聖母、聖子、天使和聖人等頭部上方常有圓形的光環,或是建築上對於圓形的運用,如大穹頂等。圓形是曾雍甯作品中的要角,幾乎所有的作品都有大小的不同圓形,圓形所象徵圓滿、和諧、循環、生生不息,也自然而然地從其作品中傳達出來。

曾雍甯的作品當然也有其他幾何圖形,甚至把各種圓形切割、堆壘,而並非完整的圓形,圓形還是佔有重要的份量,貼金箔的「花團圓」系列,圓形則躍居主宰地位,而巨圓之中包圍著無以計數的小圓,其紋樣、圖案、色彩、組成方式各異其趣,層層疊疊,繁密叢生,卻有一種統一感、協調感,這應歸功於所有的圓形都聚攏在巨圓之中。每一個圓都生機勃發,充滿能量,意欲向外擴張、向上飄浮,彼此互相擠壓,但仍統攝於巨圓之中,而巨圓像是一個蓄勢待發的星球體,鑲框在金碧輝煌的金箔之中,顯得神聖高貴,莊嚴典雅。

曾雍甯  Tzeng Yong-ning 花團圓04  The Flower of Plenary 04 原子筆、彩色鉛筆、金箔 紙   Ball-point Pen, Color pencil & Gold Foil on Paper 2019, 153 x 131 cm
曾雍甯 Tzeng Yong-ning
花團圓04 The Flower of Plenary 04
原子筆、彩色鉛筆、金箔 紙
Ball-point Pen, Color pencil & Gold Foil on Paper
2019, 153 x 131 cm

曾雍甯過去曾多次述及,他在作畫時,聽到原子筆在紙上發生規律的摩擦聲時,覺得心靈特別安靜,有時也會令他回想到從前母親為人縫製衣服時,雙腳踏踩縫紉機的聲音,那是他習以為常的一種韻律聲,是他心靈平靜的來源,而心靈的平靜與曼陀羅繪畫有異曲同工之效。

「花團圓」系列吸引人之處,貼金箔的效果功不可沒。這是他今年的最新力作,稱之為「力作」,並不誇張,因為貼金箔的技術難度很高,而且金箔光芒四射,運用不當,可能還有反效果,這就是他早已經構想很久了,事實上是早在五、六年前去京都旅行時就買下了,卻遲遲無法動手創作的原因,直到今年終於有了突破。為何想到貼金箔入畫?這與他從小生長環境有關,在鹿港土生土長的他,童年時光都是在龍山寺、天后宮等寺廟渡過,對於寺廟文化諸如建築、空間、色彩等都十分熟稔而喜愛,也一直是他日後創作的養分來源。當他去日本京都旅行時,最喜愛的就是參觀寺廟,當時除了寺廟的空間特別讓他有感之外,也對寺廟中的金色印象深刻,象徵尊貴、神聖的金色是寺廟中常見的色彩,也是曾雍甯從小看到大的顏色,而京都寺廟的金箔特別精美,金光閃爍,比台灣製作的更加優雅出色,令人愛不釋手,更激起他想要以金箔入畫的創作慾望,雖然每張金箔的要價不菲,他還是買了一批下來。

曾雍甯  Tzeng Yong-ning 花彩搖曳 01  Swaying Flower 01 原子筆、墨水  紙  Ball-point Pen & Ink on Paper 2019, 75 x 107 cm
曾雍甯 Tzeng Yong-ning
花彩搖曳 01 Swaying Flower 01
原子筆、墨水 紙 Ball-point Pen & Ink on Paper
2019, 75 x 107 cm

曾雍甯喜愛彩度高的顏色,例如黃色就常見於其作品之中,帶給作品明亮燦爛,而金光閃閃的金色比黃色更勝一籌。金色直接代表黃金,象徵尊貴、權力和財富,自古以來,金色就常見於藝術品中,例如王公貴族的肖像或服飾常用金色;宗教繪畫中,尤其中世紀時期,大量使用金色背景,代表神靈至高無上的榮耀;文藝復興時期的繪畫也常見金色,波提切利(Botticelli)的《春》,眾多女神都是金髮飄飄;提香(Titian)在色彩上的成就舉世聞名,他尤其擅長運用金色,「提香的金色」傳為美術史佳話。及至近代,最擅長使用金色的藝術家莫過於維也納分離派大師克林姆(Kilmt),大量揮灑金色,形成一種金碧輝煌的基調,強烈的神祕感和富麗璀璨的裝飾效果。他除了使用金色作畫,也直接貼上金箔,畫面看起來熠熠生輝,也營造一種超凡脫俗的氣氛,此外,也大量採用各式各樣的圖案,如長方形、螺旋形、圓形等,富有強烈的平面感和富麗璀璨的裝飾性,各種圖案紋樣的運用及其效果在曾雍甯的作品中也充分展示,如今又加上金箔,讓人有更多的聯想,特別是其中帶來的浪漫、神秘、激情的非凡氛圍。

曾雍甯  Tzeng Yong-ning 綻放63   Bloom 63 原子筆、壓克力  紙  Ball-point pen & Acrylic on Paper 2019, 107 x 75 cm
曾雍甯 Tzeng Yong-ning
綻放63 Bloom 63
原子筆、壓克力 紙 Ball-point pen & Acrylic on Paper
2019, 107 x 75 cm

曾雍甯的作品更多是充滿著動感,有的是規律的律動,有的是不安的噪動,好像是要蓄勢待發的動能,或是生生不息的生長力,如《 花彩搖曳01》、《 花彩搖曳02》、《 花彩搖曳03》、《綻放64》、《綻放65》等,有一些三角形很像是植物的葉子,三角形充滿張力,富有動感,也使得以圓形為主的畫面產生更多變化。
曾雍甯擅長運用幾何造型,近年來更加得心應手。運用幾何造型,讓畫面富有變化,充滿層次感、立體感,突破了原子筆繪畫所欠缺的肌理,而各種幾何形不是以單調的線條呈現,而賦予不同色彩,幾近色塊形式,圓形在層層交疊的各種幾何形之間穿插,非常生機靈動,卻又秩序井然,呈現規律感,因為其中有一定的脈絡,否則就會亂成一團,這對藝術家富有很大的挑戰性,甚至也是體力與眼力的一大考驗。

從「野人花園」在藝壇初試啼聲就一鳴驚人,但曾雍甯始終不敢懈怠,從題材到內容,從構圖到尺幅,及至畫面的精細繁複,創作語彙的變化更新,就像是一位意志堅定的鍊金術士,他日復一日不斷精進,鍊金術追尋的一不只是黃金,更是一種探索宇宙的真理,這也是曾雍甯創作的終極追尋。


 Alchemy

Starting from Tzeng Yong-ning’s Gold Foil

by Elaine Suyu Liu

Tzeng Yong-ning considers himself as a “barbarian,” because the environment he grew up in, was either the countryside, in mountains or by the sea. Due to his childhood interest in art and the encouragement of his father, who was an amateur photographer, Tzeng spent a great deal of time in nature, sketching, taking photographs, and ultimately leaving a large portfolio of botanical illustrations, all of which later served as inspiration for his art. His first solo exhibition came to be titled Barbarian Garden.

Barbarian Garden was a testament to Tzeng Yong-ning’s childhood experience with nature and art. Subsequently, the exhibition opened the doors to Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA), when Tzeng bid farewell to over five years of independent study in his hometown of Lukang.

曾雍甯畫室  Tzeng-Yong-ning's Studio.
曾雍甯畫室 Tzeng-Yong-ning’s Studio.

Attending TNUA in 2005 was a turning point for Tzeng Yong-ning. The “barbarian’ from central Taiwan faced a metropolitan city drastically different from the small town he knew so well. Fortunately, campus life was not too complicated. The real challenge was art, in learning and creation. In terms of selecting media, while oil, acrylic, watercolor, and Chinese ink were the staples at the University, Tzeng Yong-ning chose the “unprofessional” ball-point pen. Prior to his enrollment to TNUA, Tzeng had already worked with ball-point pen for several years, but if he continued with ball-point pen, why bother with university at all? Even if he wanted to pursue higher learning at university, he faced challenges different than students with conventional training, because there were no instructors who specialized in ball-point pen. The path he chose was one never chosen before. In terms of the media of ball-point pen itself, there are many technical limitations, whereas oil or acrylic paint can easily spread, blend, layer, and manipulate in general. Also, in comparison with watercolor or Chinese ink, the pen was not spontaneous and did not respond favorably to water. Each of these limitations Tzeng had to overcome and develop his own method of painting in response to convention media. Fortunately, TNUA was open to new ideas and encouraged students to explore freely. At the time, new media and experimentation was emerging in the art world, and Tzeng received the attention of faculty members and critics including Chu Teh-i, Ava Hsueh, and Lai Chi-man. During the installation of Barbarian Garden, Lai even picked out a piece and became Tzeng’s first collector.

展覽現場  Exhibition Installation.
展覽現場 Exhibition Installation.

In both 2004 and 2005, Tzeng Yong-ning was nominated for the Taipei Art Award, and in 2006, he won the Li Chong-sheng Foudnation’s Visual Art Award, thereby becoming the youngest receipt in the Award’s history. He enjoyed even more recognition in 2008, when he received the Taiwan Award by the Asian Cultural Council, and its sponsorship for a travel and study program to China and Japan for several months. Since then, Tzeng has been invited to various group exhibitions, art fairs, and solo shows by commercial galleries, and has been well on his way in becoming a full-time artist. Also, much to the relief of his supportive parents, his was gaining popularity in the art market.

Since the validation of Barbarian Garden by the art world, Tzeng Yong-ning has produced new works every year, as well as developed several different series, and has essentially made his presence as an emerging young artist. In addition to sheer physical audacity, his art is a testament of his creative spirit. Working with ball-point pen is highly labour-intensive. There are no shortcuts, and no energy can be spared. Inside his studio, lies countless empty pen cartridges: an extraordinary sight. Furthermore, on the paper of his work, tens of millions of lines, build and overlap in complex images, filling the entire composition, in which each and every line represents the daily labour of the artist.

曾雍甯畫室 Tzeng-Yong-ning's Studio.
曾雍甯畫室 Tzeng-Yong-ning’s Studio.

However, the real challenge to the labour is in form and content. In his mastery of the ball-point pen, Tzeng Yong-ning starts with fundamental elements. Starting with individual dots and lines, and progressing with intense repetition, dots and lines accumulate to shapes and planes, like cells reprocessing itself to create larger and more complex cells in an endless process. His works are not narratives, and are often simply titled Flower or Garden. With added complex geometric patterns, there is great tension between the figurative and abstract elements. He goes as far as to abandon the flower’s imagery and colors, to sketch compositions exclusively with lines. The trace or imprint of the ball-point on the paper reflects his strong artistic will.

Tzeng Yong-ning’s relationship with the ball-point pen continues to grow and develop.This year in 2019 his newest series, Flowers, featuring the addition of gold-foil reflects his spirit as an alchemist, in a never ending search for truth in art. The first work in the gold-foil series was debuted at the Glowing Nature exhibition this year at the Changhua Art Museum. Although it was not the largest piece in the exhibition, it received a great deal of attention. The circle is essentially a trademark in Tzeng Yong-ning’s work, but one with a diameter of over one and a half meters is brand new. Set in an encompassing sea of gold-foil, the work immediately grasps the viewer’s attention. Within the large circle are countless smaller circles of various colors, styles, and patterns. Each of the smaller circles interact and correspond with one another, in a sense of movement, in a image reminiscent of a mandala. In terms of the gold-foil that surrounds the large circle, the metallic shine is not only visually striking, but also sets an solemn and divine atmosphere. With the entire work framed by a deep purple wall, a further mysterious atmosphere is created, in a quasi-religious manner.

曾雍甯  Tzeng Yong-ning 花團圓03  The Flower of Plenary 03 原子筆、彩色鉛筆、金箔  紙   Ball-point Pen, Color pencil & Gold Foil on Paper 2019, 153 x 131 cm
曾雍甯 Tzeng Yong-ning
花團圓03 The Flower of Plenary 03
原子筆、彩色鉛筆、金箔 紙
Ball-point Pen, Color pencil & Gold Foil on Paper
2019, 153 x 131 cm

The term mandala is Sanskrit in origin meaning a divine circle, center or gathering, and is a geometric configuration of symbols that traces its origin to Hinduism and Buddhism with profound meaning. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875 – 1961) believes that the mandala is a prototype of human collective subconsciousness, and that when one draws a mandala, one reflects the current state of mind as a form of art therapy.

This present exhibition is centered around three gold-foil works, also reminiscent of the image of mandalas. While Tzeng Yong-ning’s approach to art is fundamentally different than that of mandala painting, the visual imagery of a circle encompassed in gold is spiritually engaging. The shape of the circle is embedded in human history. A child picking up a pen instinctively draws circles, and individuals tend to gather in circles, the only shape that includes everyone equally. This preference for circles is found across different cultures. The ancient Greeks believed it was the most perfect shape, while the Chinese saw it as the most complete. Furthermore, from the prehistoric monument Stonehenge in England to the colosseum of ancient Rome, as well as the circular halos placed behind depictions of saints and deities in numerous religious traditions, the shape has also been associated with greatness and the divine. Circles are a key element in Tzeng Yong-ning’s art,. Found in nearly all of his works are circles of various sizes and patterns, symbolizing harmony, circulation, energy, and perfection.

展覽現場  Exhibition Installation.
展覽現場 Exhibition Installation.

Of course, other shapes are found in Tzeng Yong-ning’s art as well, but many are variations of the perfect shape, such as ovals or half circles. However, the circle is most prevalent and dominant. In the gold-foil Flower series, a large circle dominates the composition, and is in turn filled with countless smaller circles, of various patterns, colors, and sizes. Packed together tightly, there is a sense of unity and harmony, due to the fact that all the individuals are grouped together, in a comprehensive whole. Yet, each circle is lively and energetic, seemingly expanding outwards, floating upwards, or squeezing each other. Encompassed in a field of gold, the large circle embodies a solemn planet, sitting scared and elegant in the serenity of space.

Tzeng Yong-ning has shared many times that while at work, when he hears the soft sound created by the friction of the ball-point pen on the corse surface of the paper, his mind becomes at ease. Sometimes it reminds him of the sound of his mother sowing, that is the swaying sound of the peddle of a traditional sewing machine. It is a rhythm he is accustomed to and a source of comfort, similar to the effect of creating a mandala.

展覽現場  Exhibition Installation.
展覽現場 Exhibition Installation.

Gold-foil in an integral part of the Flower series. It is his masterpiece of the year. Applying the foil itself is also labour-intensive, as well as unforgiving in terms of mistakes. He had worked with the idea in his head for a long time, and had bought the foil in a temple in Kyoto, Japan, over five years ago, but the idea only came to fruition this year. Why gold foil? It too is related to his childhood and his hometown of Lukang. Having spent many childhood years, playing in and out of the many historic temples throughout the town, the architectural elements and iconography of the temples became integral to his understanding and appreciation for art and culture. During his trip to Kyoto, visiting temples was the most memorable. In addition to how the architectural space is conceived and functioned, he was most impressed by the abundance use of gold. Symbolizing dignity and divinity, and color gold is commonly found throughout temples, and was an element Tzeng Yong-ning recognized since childhood. He also found the use of gold-foil in Kyoto more elegant and brilliantly applied than the temples in Taiwan, and there he decided to purchase some for future use, despite the costly nature of the material.

Tzeng Yong-ning prefers bright colors, such as the yellow often found in his works, which brighten up his compositions. Gold is essentially a brighter and shinier shade of yellow. The color gold directly alludes to the material gold, which represents power and wealth. Throughout history, gold is commonly used in works of art, such as in portraits of nobility, or the religious iconography of the Medieval Period. During the Renaissance, the Three Graces in Sandro Botticelli’s (1445 – 1510) Primavera are adorned with flowing golden locks, while Titian (1490 – 1576) was celebrated for his mastery of color, especially for his preference for the divine color. Closer to modern times, Austrian Symbolist Gustive Klimt adopted the gold as the primary color in his art, with the result being highly decorative and strongly mysterious. In addition to just the color, Klimt applied gold foil to his paintings, furthering the visual effect of the color. Klimt also employed the use of various geometric shapes and patterns, such as swirls and circles, to create a striking and pleasing image. The same use of shapes and patterns is found in Tzeng Yong-ning’s work, and with the further incorporation of gold-foil, similarities between Tzeng and Klimt become increasingly abundant, especially the sense of romanticism, aura of divine mystery, and artistic passion.

展覽現場  Exhibition Installation.
展覽現場 Exhibition Installation.

Tzeng Yong-ning’s works are filled with the sense of movement. Some are patterned rhythms, while others are wholly dynamic, filed with momentum and life. In Flower 070101, Flower 070102, Flower 070103, Bloom 64, and Bloom 65 some triangles appear similar to the leaves of plants, and their repetition simulates organic growth. Their presence also provides variation and contrast to the predominances of circles.

In recent years, Tzeng Yong-ning has become increasing proficient in the use of geometric shapes. Such use engages the composition, heightens the sense of depth and three-dimensionality, and thereby challenges the limitations of the ball-point pen. Furthermore, the shapes are not represented with simple lines, but with planes of colors. In the exchange of colors, circles overlap and interact with various shapes, seemingly organically and full of rhythm. As there is a certain order or pattern to the arrangement or progression of shapes, the composition does not descend into chaos, which is often a challenge faced by the artist, to be overcome with vision and perseverance.

曾雍甯  Tzeng Yong-ning 綻放62   Bloom 62 原子筆、墨水  紙  Ball-point Pen & Ink on Paper 2019, 75 x 107 cm
曾雍甯 Tzeng Yong-ning
綻放62 Bloom 62
原子筆、墨水 紙 Ball-point Pen & Ink on Paper
2019, 75 x 107 cm

Despite the success of the Barbarian Garden and the secure foothold it created, Tzeng Yong-ning never dared to slow down in his art. From theme to content, from composition to size, as well as the complexity of each image and the constant renewal of his will to create art, he has the spirit of an alchemist. The goal of alchemy is not to create gold, but to create the purest substance, and to find the truth within, that is the ultimate pursuit in Tzeng Yong-ning’s art.

水火之歌

劉國松的水拓畫vs.薛松的焚燒拼貼

策展人/劉素玉

運用水、火作畫,古今中外皆有,這是一種對材質的挑戰。主張「革筆的命」的五月畫會創始人劉國松,於七○年代初開始探索水拓技法,就是把墨或顏料滴入水中,再加入松節油等揮發性的油,以紙吸取飄浮於水面上自然散開的線條、紋路,之後再進行畫面的加工處理。

劉國松 Liu Kuo-sung<br>八月在絲綢路上 August on the Silk Road1986, 95.2 x 51cm設色紙本 Ink & Color on Paper

劉國松 Liu Kuo-sung
八月在絲綢路上 August on the Silk Road
1986, 95.2 x 51 cm
設色紙本 Ink & Color on Paper

劉國松說過:「我最滿意水拓畫的系列作品,在比率上它自然多,人工少。」他認為,人工太多便生刻板,只有自然,才能生動,才見氣韻。

劉國松展示水拓技法 Liu Kuo-sung demonstrating  the "Water-rubbing" Technique.

劉國松展示水拓技法 Liu Kuo-sung demonstratingthe “Water-rubbing” Technique.

水拓技法產生多變的線條、流動的紋路等自然效果,提供劉國松源源不絕的創作靈感。劉國松的「太空畫」講求事先佈局構思,屬於「胸有成竹」的創作;而「水拓畫」則因應拓印出來的效果去塑造意境,是運用「畫若佈弈」的理論。1974年的《錢塘潮》是他以水拓法完成的早期佳作,全畫以水拓法產生的自然流動紋路為背景,其上則裱貼一輪明月與幾塊山石,呈現月下浪潮拍岸翻騰的景象。1976年的《流動的山峰》則是利用流變幻異的水墨紋路創造出雲譎波詭的山水意境;1977年的《雲水一家》中,水拓法所產生行雲流水般的動感超越了畫筆所能呈現的自然效果;1982年的《白雪是白的》是水拓法所產生白雪般晶瑩剔透的效果,再以淡墨淡彩暈染;1985年的《吹皺的山光》運用水拓法產生有如岩石紋理的基礎上,再施以暈染及渲塗,前後的山石紋路層次豐富,渾然天成。劉國松的水拓畫,取代了傳統畫筆創造的山石、流水、雲霧,甚至更勝一籌,他勇於拋棄畫筆,另闢蹊徑,更加奠定他成為「兩岸水墨現代化之父」的英名。

劉國松  Liu Kuo-sung 吹皺的山光  Mountain Light Blown into Wrinkles 2015, 80 x 46 cm 石版  Lithograph Print  (版數 Edition of 100) 1 版 Screens, 2 色 Colors, 2 印 Runs

劉國松 Liu Kuo-sung
吹皺的山光 Mountain Light Blown into Wrinkles
2015, 80 x 46 cm
石版 Lithograph Print (版數 Edition of 100)
1 版 Screens, 2 色 Colors, 2 印 Runs

中國自秦漢時期就有「火燒畫」,至今仍盛行於西安一帶,西洋也有人以火焰作畫,如法國的伊夫.克萊因(Yves Klein),直到近代的美、加都有人持續探索,其所呈現的特殊效果與新奇經驗,超越了普通畫筆。中國當代藝術家中也有以玩火而走紅國際藝壇,如蔡國強的火藥爆破,而薛松更是直接拼貼焚燒過的碎片殘骸於畫布上,畫風獨一無二。

薛 松  Xue Song 秋水泛舟圖  Boating in Autumn Waters 2015, 80 x 180 cm 綜合媒材布面  Mixed Media on Canvas

薛 松 Xue Song
秋水泛舟圖 Boating in Autumn Waters
2015, 80 x 180 cm
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas

薛松的焚燒拼貼頗有一番波折與戲劇性,源自於90年代在他工作室發生的兩次大火,他從災後廢墟殘留的碎片得到創作靈感。燃燒的爆發力與殺傷力,令人驚恐,也令人刺激;而被火燒後的碎片殘骸,產生奇異的視覺動感,將其重組拼貼在畫布上,構成新的圖像,而殘片本身的內容與畫布上的形象互相對應,創造了一個全新的語彙,又賦予了多重意義,形成了破壞與再生、解構與建構的歷程。

1990年上海歌劇院小劇場失火現場 Xue Song's Studio by the Shanghai Grand Theatre, after the fire in 1990.

1990年上海歌劇院小劇場失火現場 Xue Song’s Studio by the Shanghai Grand Theatre, after the fire in 1990.

薛松作品的另一大特色是融入了中國傳統文化美學的形態,尤其他對傳統書法、山水的喜愛,不論是作品挪用古畫山水、書法形式,或是直接焚燒其碎片於作品,都使得他的作品含有豐富的水墨元素,而這與當今水墨畫尋求革新的精神,包括不拘媒材與多元形式的潮流不謀而合。

薛 松  Xue Song 梅蘭竹菊  Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, & Chrysanthemum 2016, 208 x 116 cm 綜合媒材布面  Mixed Media on Canvas

薛 松 Xue Song
梅蘭竹菊 Plum, Orchid, Bamboo, & Chrysanthemum
2016, 208 x 116 cm
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas

 A Song of Water and Fire

Liu Kuo-sung’s Water-Rubbing

Vs.

Xue Song’s Burnt Collage

by Elaine Suyu Liu

Painting with water and fire, in both historical and modern times, is a challenge in media. The founder of the Fifth’s Moon Painting Group, Liu Kuo-sung, who advocated “revolution against the brush,” began experimenting with the technique of “Water-Rubbing” since the 1970s. Liu’s pioneered technique involves dripping ink into water, then adding turpentine to manipulate the flow of the ink in the water, and finally placing paper onto the water’s surface to capture a “rubbing” of the ink’s pattern.

《錢塘潮》The High Tide of Qiantang River 絲網版 Silkscreen Print 27 版 Screens, 27 色 Colors, 27 印 Runs 版數 Edition of 100 2015, 53 x 104 cm

劉國松 Liu Kuo-sung
錢塘潮  The High Tide of Qiantang River
2015, 53 x 104 cm
絲網版 Silkscreen Print (版數 Edition of 100)
27 版 Screens, 27 色 Colors, 27 印 Runs

Liu Kuo-sung said: “I am most pleased with the Water-Rubbing series. In terms of ratio, it is more spontaneous, and less artificial.” Liu believes that too much artifice will lead to rigidness, and only spontaneity will allow for true liveliness.

Water-Rubbing essentially captures and records the endless possibilities of how ink flows through and mixes with water, and therefore provides Liu with endless inspiration. While Liu Kuo-sung’s Space series requires a planned general composition prior to execution, the Water-Rubbing series truly illustrates his belief of simply going with the flow, or painting with total spontaneity. High Tide of Qiantang River of 1974 is a great early example of the series, where the entirety of the background was created with “Water-Rubbing,” and only adored with additional collage pieces such as the moon and mountains. In Flowing Mountain Peaks of 1976, the naturally rising and sloping lines of “Water-Rubbing” alone comprise the peaks of valleys of the formal composition. In Water and Cloud Share the Same Source of 1977, the natural and delicate lines of “Water-Rubbing” surpasses any depiction done by the brush. In White Snow is White of 1982, the effects of “Water-Rubbing” brilliantly mimics the clarity and radiance of fresh snow, and is given depth with light washes of fine ink. Mountain Light Blown Into Winkles of 1985 utilizes “Water-Rubbing” to create the grain patterns of the mountain, with further layers of ink added on that natural foundation. With the “Water-Rubbing” technique, Liu Kuo-sung abandoned the conventional use of the brush and earned the title of “The Father of Modern Ink Painting” in both Taiwan and Mainland China.

劉國松與吹皺的山光   Liu Kuo-sung with Mountain Light Blown into Wrinkles

劉國松與吹皺的山光 Liu Kuo-sung withMountain Light Blown into Wrinkles

The practice of painting with fire in China can be traced back to the Qin and Han Dynasties, and is still prevalent today in the region around the ancient capital of Xi’an. In the Western tradition, Modernist such as Yves Klein, have experimented with the element, and have achieved an unique visuality far beyond any likeness of the brush. Chinese Contemporary artists have also emerged on the international spotlight by playing with fire, such as Cai Guoqiang with his explosives and fireworks, and Xue Song with his collages of brunt and charred images.

薛松將印刷品碎片焚燒 Xue Song burning images for collage。

薛松將印刷品碎片焚燒 Xue Song burning images for collage。

The origin of Xue Song’s brunt collage is quite dramatic. Having had two fires break out in his studio in the 90s, a distressed Xue found inspiration from ashes left by the destruction. The nature of fire is to consume and destroy, fueling both fear and a strange satisfaction. Xue’s burnt images are branded with a new visuality, and also given new meaning through rearrangement as collages pieces on the canvas. In turn, the process of destruction and reconstruction, and symbolic death and rebirth, creates a new artistic vocabulary.

薛 松  Xue Song 松陰樓閣圖  Pine & Mist Pavilion  2015, 180 x 80 cm 綜合媒材布面  Mixed Media on Canvas

薛 松 Xue Song
松陰樓閣圖 Pine & Mist Pavilion
2015, 180 x 80 cm
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas

Another major feature of Xue Song’s art is his integration of traditional Chinese painting motifs, especially his fondness and knowledge of calligraphy and landscape paintings. Whether his composition adopts the appearance of a Classical Chinese landscape or canonical calligraphy, or features brunt images of the genre within the artwork, Xue Song’s art is filled with the spirit of traditional ink painting, in which innovation is derived from tradition, and new media of born out of conventional ready-made materials.

清風遠逸

策展人/劉素玉

「我認為一幅畫應該像一首詩,一闋歌,或一篇美的散文。因此,寫一幅畫就應該像作一首詩、唱一闋歌,或做一篇散文。」— 傅抱石

郭凱的繪畫作品給人的第一印象,就是像一首詩,一闋歌,或一篇美的散文。「畫中有詩」向來是中國品畫的要項之一,郭凱的繪畫尤其含有濃得化不開的詩意,平淡樸實的畫名,不論是「春溪」、「冬水」、「橋影」、「靜亭」…,搭配他的繪畫,就像是一首首的「無聲詩」,更遑論是古意盎然的名稱,如「曉春煙雨」、「秋峰晴雪」、「幽谷雪霽」、「空山流泉」…,容易令人沈入唐詩宋詞的意境之中。

西洋的風景畫直到十七世紀融入了豐富的個人感情而引起世人驚嘆,如義大利的羅倫(Claude Lorrain, 1600-1682)、 荷蘭的路斯達爾(Jacob van Ruisdael, 1628-1682),英國藝術史學家宮布利希(E. H. Gombrich, 1909-2001)認為路斯達爾:「發現了北方風景的詩意,就如同羅倫之發現義大利景致裡的詩意,也許在他之前,沒有一個藝術家能像他一樣,在畫筆所反映的自然裡表現這麼多的個人感受與情懷。」[i]

路斯達爾曾被德國大文豪歌德稱讚為「畫家中的詩人」,他的繪畫主題以風景為主,從森林、空地到海岸、大海,不一而足。與同時代荷蘭畫家不同的是,他並不參照現實的真實風景,而任意安排畫中的樹木、植物、雲彩和光線等細部,還非常善於刻劃天空和雲朵。

同樣是以風景為主題的郭凱,也總是依靠直覺進行感性地繪製具有詩意的畫作,他主張「自覺的風景」,自謂「自覺才能自省,自省豐富玄想的感知,滋養心靈的風景」。[ii]他反覆思索當代美國攝影家法蘭克(Robert Frank)所說: 「我總是嘗試著從外表看到內部的東西,我試圖講出那真實的東西。但也許,除了那些外在的東西,並沒有什麼真正的真實;而那些外在的東西,正飛快的改變著…。」作品其實就是內在世界的投射,這與郭凱的創作理念「重要的不是風景,而是內心的景象」不謀而合。

郭凱也極力刻劃天空和雲彩,甚至在作品畫面中出現的比例高達一半以上,如《雪霧》、《紫雲》、《秋霧》等,這些佔據半個畫面的天空、雲彩使視野拉得很遠,作品看來高遠空曠,增添無限的詩意。宋代韓拙《山水純畫集》即曰: 「夫通山川之氣,以雲為總也。」雲在山水畫中不僅「通氣」,而且「助勢」,亦即增加動勢,因為相對於靜態的山石樹木,雲是動態的,白雲蒼狗使畫面生機靈動。

郭凱 Guo Kai 《雪霧》 Snow & Mist 油彩布面  Oil on Canvas 2015, 80 x 100 cm
郭凱 Guo Kai
《雪霧》 Snow & Mist
油彩布面 Oil on Canvas
2015, 80 x 100 cm

相對於風景中的實際景物,如天空、雲彩一樣的空虛之物,就是霧氣、煙雨、山嵐之屬了,而這在郭凱的作品中也佔有相當份量,而且由於運用得當,因而畫面別有一種朦朧、蒼茫、空靈的美感,這與古人「虛則實之,實則虛之」的審美觀念頗有相通之處。實際上,郭凱致力於「捕風捉影」、「無中生有」,研發一套獨特的美學標準及技法,如淡雅簡約的用色、謹慎節制的筆法,或是採用留白、飛白、刮痕、揉抹、擦拭、滴染等技巧,表現捉摸不定卻又變幻萬千的虛物,這是山水畫中的氣韻,風景畫中的氛圍,整體畫面中的詩意。

「一生癡絕處,無夢到徽州」[iii],徽州到處有古蹟、遍地多美景,郭凱徜徉其中,創作靈感取之不盡,用之不竭。他經常帶著學生,或獨自一人,到皖南寫生,往往一待就是十天半個月,這種習慣已經維持一、二十年。皖南的每一處美景幾乎都被他踏遍,春夏秋冬景色各異,總是百看不厭。他不但現場寫生,也搭配拍照,捕捉瞬間變化的風光,作為創作題材。

不過他的繪畫作品並非依樣畫葫蘆般的寫實,而更注重寫意。在他的作品中,徽州的經典素材,如黑瓦白牆、宗祠古塔,及至小橋流水,都一一重現,但都已精心重組,有些景色甚至是他營造虛構的,看起來如夢似幻,但卻又逼近真實,如近作《遠村如煙》就是他根據一些圖像的碎片,拼接而成的村落。郭凱很重視「直覺性的判斷」,「直覺會牽動一種真實的感受和自我。」他強調:「只有了解自己的感受,才能在畫面中表達出真誠。」這與古人「聊以寫胸中逸氣」的精神十分接近,而郭凱並未放棄「不求形似」,所以作品才常令人覺得既寫實,卻又夢幻。其實,郭凱的作品之所以迷人,除了高明的審美判斷之外,更在於「情景合一」,而且,除了真情流露之外,還傳達了他的生活態度,及至對大自然、人類生命的哲思。

郭 凱 Guo Kai 《遠村如煙》Misty Remote Village  油彩布面 Oil on Canvas 2018, 90x130cm
郭 凱 Guo Kai
《遠村如煙》Misty Remote Village
油彩布面 Oil on Canvas
2018, 90x130cm

例如他那些站在高遠的角度俯瞰的作品,既展現了比較大的企圖心,也唱出他的田園之歌,如《浮雲淡影之一》、《浮雲淡影之二》、《閑嶺初雪》等,遠近景色盡收眼底,將徽州山水及建築美好的元素融為一體,素樸的黑瓦白牆村落散佈在平疇綠野與群山之中,他營造了一個在深山腹地之中,遺世而獨立的世外桃源,風景優美,氣氛寧靜,令人看了也心嚮往之。

他也經常使用橫幅的水平構圖,將畫面拉得很平,景物向左右兩邊延伸,產一種開闊感,畫中心點明顯呈現一條水平線,將畫面分為上下兩半,鱗次櫛比民宅屋頂所形成高低起伏的動線,與其背後密密麻麻的樹林、層巒疊嶂的遠山所形成的動線互相呼應,形成一種錯落有致的韻律與節奏感,使畫面更有和諧之美。為了強調畫面向兩邊無限延伸的視覺效果,他甚至以雙連作表現,而且畫面上下扁平,特別狹長,如《秋霧》、《秋宅》,這種構圖方法,特別能呈現比鄰而立的徽宅在田野之間連綿不絕。

皖南境內流水多、小橋多,住宅更常沿著水岸而建,「小橋、流水、人家」已然是天然美景,而郭凱特別迷戀水面倒影,在他的橫幅水平構圖中,往往倒影就佔了一半的畫面,如《秋枝逆影》、《靜影No. 2》、《彩影》、《夢徽州》等,在他的畫筆下,波光瀲灩之美往往更勝實景,還有一種浪漫的夢幻氣氛。

郭凱 Guo Kai 《静影NO.2》 Tranquil Landscape No. 2 丹培拉油彩布面  Tempera & Oil on Canvas 2016, 100 x 150 cm
郭凱 Guo Kai
《静影NO.2》 Tranquil Landscape No. 2
丹培拉油彩布面 Tempera & Oil on Canvas
2016, 100 x 150 cm

郭凱雖然研讀的是西畫,甚至為了畫藝精進,遠赴巴黎訪學,但血液裡畢竟被源遠流長的徽州文化所浸潤,對於故里的青山綠水、花草樹木都有深情,至於被歲月與文化洗禮的古宅、祠堂更是迷戀,他用畫筆一再地呈現這種情懷,村落前的石牌坊、莊嚴大氣的祠堂,他用各種形式反覆呈現,如《徽州印象No. 1》、《氤氳古坊》是從遠處視角入畫,畫出了牌坊矗立在低矮的民宅之中,顯現高大雄偉的氣勢;而《徽州No. 2》、《古祠春意》則單純描繪牌坊的正面,把巨大方正的牌坊放在畫面的正中心,但是畫面卻不流於呆板,因為郭凱注入了許多迷人的元素,而顯得很有看頭,如《徽州No. 2》構圖嚴謹而複雜,畫中有畫,繁複的建築圖案簡化為各種幾何形層疊交錯,而古老牆面的錯落斑駁也以大大小小的方塊,表現歲月的滄桑;《古祠春意》也採用許多獨特的技法,如在畫布上刮、塗、揉、抹、擦等,畫面上的肌理變得層次豐富,表現出光陰摧殘的痕跡,又有一種朦朧之美。古祠前方有橫空而出的繽紛枝葉,點點滴滴的桃紅與翠綠,就把春天的生機盎然呈現無遺。

色彩淡雅、畫面迷濛是郭凱作品的一大特色,中性的灰色一直是他作品的主調,但是近兩、三年來,以灰色調為主的畫面中,也出現了繽紛燦爛的色澤,如《古祠春意》、《彩影》、《白橋No. 2》、《塔山爛漫》、《秋宅》等,雖然色彩鮮麗豐富,卻一點也不顯俗氣,這可歸功於他對於色彩運用遊刃有餘,例如他從不大片揮灑,而是點到為止;而不同顏色的搭配及比例也恰到好處。更重要的一點是,整個畫面上都加了工,即以色彩而言,從來不是單純的原色,而是精心調和過、漸層豐富的顏色;而肌理的層次變化更是豐富,他很少塗以厚重的油彩,而是稀薄、清新、明淨,有時甚至出現如國畫的留白、飛白,或是特意用紙巾或刮刀將畫布上的顏料塗掉,露出粗糙樸實的痕跡。

郭 凱 Guo Kai 《白橋NO.2》 White Bridge No. 2 油彩布面 Oil on Canvas 2017, 80x100cm
郭 凱 Guo Kai
《白橋NO.2》 White Bridge No. 2
油彩布面 Oil on Canvas
2017, 80x100cm

近年來他更潛心研究丹培拉(Tempera)技法,費心地以蛋白、蛋黃、纖維素或乾酪素[iv]等媒介,加上天然色粉,調製出穩定又美麗的色彩。丹培拉顏料可使畫面透明流暢,也可以飽滿沈穩,產生如絲綢般的悅目光澤,自然、柔和,而且十分穩定。郭凱朝夕研究,如今更加得心應手,使得他的創作有更新的突破。他認為技術本身可以變成內容,而技術的提升讓創作內容更加豐富。他的作品總是很有看頭,而往往讓人在第一眼就好奇到底怎麼畫的,郭凱不諱言,這正也是他努力想要達到的目標之一,以突出繪畫性本身的表達。

郭凱經常在古宅、祠堂間留連忘返。他覺得古宅裡的先人其實離他不遠,他甚至感覺到可以與那些先人溝通,古宅宗祠裡的傳家訓詞、箴言都還歷歷可見,那些古宅雖然都已歷經三、五百年的歲月,但較諸千百年的歷史長河,其實都還算年輕。郭凱這種對於時空的看法,很接近神秘主義,他並未加以深究。無論如何,愈是古老的、滄桑的文化總是一再地吸引著他,他光是拍攝徽宅古牆的照片就累積上千張,速寫更是無數。這一、兩年,他甚至穿越明清,與宋元畫家心領神會,而這種精神感應不知不覺呈現在他最新的作品之中,近作如《霧松》、《秋峰晴雪》、《藍山》、《空山流泉》等,俱皆古樸素雅,清幽迷濛,意境高遠。一直以來,郭凱的作品總予人清風徐徐之感,沁人心脾,如今他的作品古意益加盎然,宛如清風遠逸,直追宋元精神。

[i]E. H. Gombrich(宮布利希,又譯貢布里希)著《藝術的故事》第二十章<自然之鏡:17世紀的荷蘭>,

台灣聯經出版公司出版。

[ii]郭凱於2014年在台北高士畫廊個展即命名為「自覺的風景」,2014年高士文化藝術有限公司出版

《自覺的風景》。

[iii]明湯顯祖《遊黃山白岳不果》: 「欲識金銀氣,多從黃白遊。一生癡絕處,無夢到徽州。」「黃白」

指黃山、白嶽山(齊雲山) ,此詩將徽州描繪為富貴之鄉,但常被引之為贊美徽州風光。

[iv]乾酷素,又稱「酪蛋白」,從牛奶中提取。

 


 

Faraway Breeze

“I believe a painting should be like a poem, a song, or a beautiful prose. That is why painting a painting should be like writing a poem, singing a song, or writing a piece of prose.” – Fu Baoshi (1904 – 1965).

The first impression given by Guo Kai’s paintings is like that of a poem, a song, or a beautiful piece of prose. Poetry in painting has always been an integral part of classical Chinese painting, and Guo Kai’s paintings are particularly poetic. Plain and unadorned titles, such as Spring Stream, Winter Water, Reflection of the Bridge, or Quiet Pavilion, paired with his paintings become pieces of silent poetry. Not to mention the more classical titles, such as Early Spring Rain, Autumn Mountain Peak,Snowfall in Secluded Valley, or Empty Mountain Spring, which resonate strongly with the poetry of the Tang (618 – 907) and Song (1127 – 1279) Dynasties.

Landscape painting in the Western tradition was not embedded with strong poetic and personal emotion until the Seventeenth Century, with artists Claude Lorrain (1600 – 1682) and Jacob van Ruisdael (1628 – 1682). The art historian E. H. Gombrich said, “…it was [Jacob van Ruisdael] who discovered the poetry of northern landscape as much as Claude discovered the poetry of Italian scenery. Perhaps no artist before him had contrived to express so much of his own feelings and moods through their reflection in nature.”[1]

Jacob van Ruisdael was praised by the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe(1749 -1832) as a poet among painters. The subject matter of van Ruisdael’s paintings was almost exclusively landscapes, ranging from pastoral to marine. Unlike other Dutch painters of the period, van Ruisdael did not depict the scenery realistically as it appeared, but instead rearranged the compositional structures such as trees, clouds, and natural light as he saw fit, especially in his depictions of the sky.

Guo Kai, whose subject matter is also landscape, also draws upon personal emotion and intuition for his poetic images. Guo aims to maintain a “conscious landscape,” which he describes as “conscious and thus introspective, introspective and fanatic perceptions nourish the minds landscape.[2]He repeatedly reflects on a quote by the contemporary photographer Robert Frank (b. 1924): “I am always on the outside, trying to look inside, trying to say something that is true. But maybe nothing is really true. Except what’s out there. And what’s out there is constantly changing.” An artwork is a projection of the artist’s inner world, and this coincides with Guo Kai’s artist statement: “what is important is not the landscape, but the image in one’s mind.”

Like for Jacob van Ruisdael, the sky and clouds also play important roles in Guo Kai’s compositions, often to the point of dominating over half of the image. In Snow & Mist, Purple Cloud, and Autumn Mist, the sky’s large ratio over the land creates a distant field of vision, poetically rendering the scenery grand and vast. Han Zhou (c. 1094 – ?) of the Song Dynasty wrote in his treatise on landscape painting: “the essence of mountains and rivers [i.e. the landscape] lies in the clouds.” The role of clouds in Chinese landscape paintings is not only a pictorial device for negative space, but also for the sense of movement. In comparison to stationary elements such as rocks and trees, clouds are uniquely dynamic and constantly changing, and with correct use bring the painting to life.

In contrast with the physical elements within a landscape, other elements that share the same semi-physical qualities as sky and clouds are mist and rain, which play important roles in Guo Kai’s paintings. Mist and rain gives Guo’s images an atmospheric sense of vastness and obscurity, which is reminiscent of the Taoist (Daoist) concept of Yin and Yang, and the balance between the physical with the non-physical. In order to represent the non-physical, Guo Kai developed an unique set of painting techniques specifically designed for this aesthetic, such as light muted colors, controlled and highly-articulated brushwork, the use of a very dry brush, wiping excess paint off the canvas, or allowing the paint to run freely down the canvas. From this idiosyncratic oeuvre of personal techniques, Guo Kai transmits the essence of traditional Chinese landscape painting in an aesthetic that is poetic and distinctly his own.

 “The place of a life time, the dream of Huizhou.” Southern Anhui province, known in the past as the ancient state of Huizhou, is rich in historic buildings from the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing (1644 – 1911) Dynasties, as well as beautiful natural scenery, from which Guo Kai draws inexhaustible inspiration. Guo often travels to the countryside of southern Anhui to sketch from life, either with students or by himself. Going for weeks at a time, he has maintained this practice for over twenty years, and has set foot in every corner of the countryside, in every season, through rain and snow. In addition to sketching, he also takes photographs to capture the moment for further inspiration back in his studio.

However, Guo Kai’s paintings are not realistic representations of the scenery, as he is far more interested in representing the conception of the scenery and what it conveys. In his works, the classic features of Huizhou, dark ceramic tiles and whitewashed walls, ancient temples and pagodas, or bridges and canals, are faithfully captured but deliberately reconstructed. Some compositions are simply the artist’s own imagination. Take for example, the village in the recent Misty Remote Village; the line of houses is a reconstruction of several structures from different photographs. Guo Kai values “intuition, such that intuition activates an authentic understanding and self.” He believes, “only through self-understanding can truth be expressed in painting.” This notion coincides with the ancient Chinese belief of painting from the heart, rather than the eye. However, Guo Kai does not abandon painting what he sees, and therefore his works appear seemingly realistic and yet surreal at the same time. In fact, the appeal of Guo’s works, besides to his heightened sense of aesthetics, is his unity of emotion and scenery, which in turn is a revelation of his outlook on life, in terms of nature, human life, and philosophy.

The use of high perspective overlooking a distance in certain works is a projection of Guo Kai’s grand outlook on nature and life. In works such as Pale Shadows of Floating Clouds I, Pale Shadows of Floating Clouds II, and First Snow Over the Ridge, the foreground and mid-ground is placed uniquely low, thereby raising the vantage point. The natural landscape and historic architecture is blended together in the distance, where black ceramic tiles and whitewalls walls are nestled between stretches of green fields and a backdrop of a rising mountains. By placing the viewer on a high vantage point overlooking the landscape from afar, Guo creates a vision of a distant utopia, seemingly accessible to the viewer.

Guo Kai also makes use of long horizontal compositions. By structuring the composition on an expanded horizon, a panoramic sense of openness is created. Buildings of various heights are lined on the horizontal axis and set in front of densely packed trees, bobbing up on down across the axis. The undulating lines of buildings and trees are in turned echoed by the mountain ranges in the background, forming a visual rhythmic pattern in which every element is in perfect harmony. In order to further illustrate the sense of expansiveness, he often splits the composition onto two canvases. The visual advantage of a diptych is the sense of expansion created by the composition’s continuation from one canvas to another, as seen in Autumn Mistand Autumn Estate, in which the field of vision covering buildings and fields seem unbound and endless.

Where the Yangtze River cuts across southern Anhui, the land is ridden with rivers, waterways, and bridges. Traditional houses are often built right on the edge of the river, in a picturesque fashion. Guo Kai is particularly interested in the reflections in the water. In long horizontal compositions, he often reserves half of the image for the water’s reflection alone. In Autumn Reflection, Tranquil Landscape No. 2, Colors in Shadows, and Dream of Huizhou, more emphasis is placed on the water’s reflection than the scenery above, demonstrating Guo Kai’s interest in the water’s wavy and dreamy projection of the world, rather than the actual world itself.

Although Guo Kai’s field of study has always been Western painting, for which he went to Paris to perfect, his roots lie deep in the land of Huizhou, where the history and culture stretches back thousands of years. His identification with his homeland, his love for the native flowers and trees, his knowledge of the historical architecture are all recorded by his brush and canvas. Local icons such as monumental gateways or grand ancestral halls are repeatedly portrayed in his paintings. In Impression of Huizhou No. 1and Ancient Square, the subject is represented from a distance, in which the monumental gateway stands out and dominates the composition, thereby symbolizing its social role in the village. On the other hand, in Huizhou No. 2and Ancestral Temple in Spring, the building’s facades are directly presented in two-dimension. However, Guo Kai infuses the seemingly simple image with other painterly elements. In Huizhou No. 2, the composition is a complex deconstruction and reconstruction of various architectural details, symbolizing the building’s growth and decay over hundreds of years. Ancestral Temple in Springdemonstrates several of Guo Kai’s painting techniques, especially the technique of wiping paint off the surface of the canvas, while allowing a remainder of paint in the fine creases of the canvas. This creates a weathered look, which perfectly resembles the patina on an antique wall. In contrast with the aged building, bright colors and flowing lines of flowers and vines are added to the facade, thereby livening the composition.

Elegant colors are major features in the art of Guo Kai, in which the neutral color gray is a prominent theme. However, in the past three years, his overall gray-toned images are starting to show hints of bright colors, such as Colors in Shadows, White Bridge No. 2, and Autumn Estate. Despite the brighter palette, the painted image remains soft and elegant, due to his restraint in the use and placement of these colors, never in large clumps, and always neutralized by softer tones. More importantly, Guo Kai is particular in mixing the perfect tone before applying it to the canvas, and never allows paint to mix while on the canvas. Despite the use of thin paint, Guo’s paintings are far from being without surface texture. His textures are usually created by altering the paint after it has been applied, with different utensils, including a painting knife or paper towels. By removing paint rather than adding it on, the texture of his paintings recalls his restraint and control with color, as well as his general less-is-more approach and philosophy to painting.

Also in recent years, Guo Kai has devoted himself in studying the medium of tempera, which requires mixing powdered color pigments into egg yolk, the binding agent for the pigments. Tempera allows the image to become more transparent and smooth, as paint itself is more translucent compared to oil paint, and therefore reflects light in a soft and silky manner. Guo Kai’s extensive study of the medium has allowed him mastery over the technique, as well as innovations in his art. He believes painting technique itself can become a subject matter, and the advancement in technique elevates the subject. Ultimately, his art speaks for itself, and always captures the viewer’s attention in wondering how it was painted, which has always been a personal goal of his.

Guo Kai often finds himself lingering in historic buildings and ancestral halls. He feels that the former inhabitants of the buildings are not distant from him, and can imagine the tales of the great families or the precepts of the ancestors being handed down to him. Although most of the historic buildings of Huizhou have stood there for three to five hundred years, compared to the long length of Chinese history, which traces back over four thousand years, the buildings are relatively recent and close to our times. This understanding of time is alarmingly close to mysticism, but Guo Kai does not delve into it. In any case, the ancient and bygone have always attracted him, and his photograph studies of patina on the antique walls number to the hundreds. In the past two years, his journey through ancient China has taken him pass the Ming and Qing dynasties, into the golden age of Chinese painting during the Song and Yuan (1271 – 1368), and the spirit of past masters are born again in his recent works. In Mist & Pine, Snow Over Autumn Peak, Blue Mountain, andEmpty Mountain Spring, one can sense elegant and enigmatic nature of ancient paintings reemerging on Guo Kai’s canvases and brought back to life by the touch of his brush, like a faraway breeze gently carrying the spirit of the Song and Yuan dynasties.

Curator Elaine Suyu Liu

[1]Gombrich, E. H., “The Mirror of Nature” in The Story of Art. New York: Phaidon Publishing Inc., 1995. Pg. 320, 323.

[2]Guo, Kai, “Preface” in Conscious Landscape. Taipei: Loftyart Gallery, Co., 2014. Pg. 10.

松.煙.墨

薛松的藝術

策展人/劉素玉

松煙墨,天下名墨,採集松木,燒出煙灰作原料,故名。薛松,來自黃山邊之青松,創作自焚燒紙張始,灰飛煙滅化為墨,取代古人墨,自創松煙墨。其面貌,有古畫新解,中西合璧;其形式,乃浴火而重生,解構再建構。此一藝術實踐,可謂今之「松.煙.墨」。

中國人愛松成痴,松樹的挺拔蒼鬱、千姿百態,自古以來就是騷人墨客歌詠的繆思,更是畫家描繪的靈感泉源,對於松樹的寓意和審美也形成一套獨特的標準。黃山松聞名天下,尤其是矗立在黃山文殊洞上、倚青獅石破石而生的「迎客松」,不但是安徽省的地標,更是歷代畫家創作的重要題材。

一九六五年薛松出生於安徽省最北端的縣城──碭山,以產碭山梨馳名全國,已有二千多年的歷史,被冠上「中華梨都」的美譽。薛松雖然出生於梨都,但是生不逢時,國與家都處於艱困時期,他的父親薛幻洲以「松」為他命名,乃是有感於陳毅元帥的詩《青松》:

「大雪壓青松,青松挺且直。要知松高潔,待到雪化時。」

XS056 薛松 黃山松 2016    120X100cm 綜合媒材布面 小圖

薛松 Xue Song
黃山松 Yellow Mountain
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2016, 120 x 100 cm

《青松》是陳毅於一九六一年的冬夜大雪時所作,時值國家內外交迫,即景生情,借物詠懷,描寫青松堅忍不拔,傲雪凌霜,也寄寓自己像青松一樣,勇敢對抗嚴酷風雪的肆虐。薛松出生時,他的原生家庭也正面臨苦難的考驗,他的父親原是碭山一中的音樂老師,母親是小學校長,可惜遭逢文革浩劫,母親長期被批鬥,在薛松三歲時,就因為不斷被折磨、打壓,身體、精神承受過多壓力,最後因胃癌過世。薛幻洲也經常挨批鬥,甚至常常被關到牛棚,薛松有四個兄弟姊妹,母親過世之後,因為父親的工資不夠養活五個孩子,於是就把孩子們分散,薛松的姊姊、二哥及妹妹跟著被下放到農村的外公、外婆,他和大哥則住到另一個鄉下的叔叔家。

薛松童年的遭遇猶如嚴寒的大雪,而母親的早逝,則是他一生難以抹滅的傷痛,所幸薛松的個性一如父親所期許的「挺且直」,他還有一項嚴肅的父親未預料的──樂觀開朗。他在鄉下的生活雖然條件艱苦,卻覺得特別自由和快樂,天天和一幫孩子在外面玩,幾乎沒有讀書,只會捕魚捉蝦,上小二時連拼音都不會,他父親驚覺情況不對,就把他接回縣城了。

薛松不但從小就「挺且直」,而且倔強、固執。父親希望他學音樂,偏偏他喜歡畫畫,為此挨過父親好多次打,還是依然故我。從小學高年級起,他就畫個不停,念高中時,為了畫畫更經常不到學校,整整兩年的時間,都待在哥哥的一位在師範學校教書的同學的空房間裡,每天幾乎畫瘋了。

「每天就是畫畫。冬天特別冷,窗戶都是破的,還透風,我畫完了的稿紙就用來烤火。……我的繪畫基礎就是那兩年打下的。」[1]

潘天壽曾說過,做為一位藝術家,必須「膽要大,心要細,計畫要長遠,頂討厭的是沒有毅力。」薛松走上繪畫這條路,的確具有膽大心細的特質,而且有堅忍卓絕的毅力,他既要忍受父親的反對,還要克服環境的困苦,碭山是一個偏僻保守的縣城,經濟條件落後,繪畫的材料、資料都很欠缺,當時薛幻洲在圖書館工作,薛松常借一些大師的畫冊臨摹,考美術專業過了關,但文化課總是過不去,高中畢業三年才終於考入上海戲劇學院舞台美術系,當時他已經二十歲了。

 薛松 Xue Song 迎客松 Welcoming Pine 綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas1996, 110 x 110 cm

薛松 Xue Song
迎客松 Welcoming Pine
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
1996, 110 x 110 cm

從小看漫畫書《三毛流浪記》,對上海充滿幻想的薛松,如願以償到了這個五光十色的十里洋場,簡直如魚得水,猶如李安導演的電影《少年Pi的奇幻漂流》,他的勇氣、膽識、想像力、創造力,甚至是性格中輕鬆、灑脫、風趣、好玩的一面,被徹底激發出來,而他骨子裡所不喜歡的教條和平庸的東西,也被徹底拋掉。上海在廿世紀二、三○年代就是中國最早進行現代主義藝術實踐的場所,在改革開放後更加蓬勃發展,一九八五年薛松抵達上海,恭逢其盛。上大學時,他的陳均德老師的一句話:「面對畫布,你自己就是上帝。」對薛松簡直是振聾發聵,醍醐灌頂,有了強烈的自信的他,在藝術的世界找到實踐自我的新天地。

在有意無意中,薛松的作品中出現各種松樹,或許因為松樹是國畫常見的題材,因此很難迴避;又或許是他潛意識裡的松樹情結,一九九六年他創作《迎客松》,時隔二十年,又創作《黃山松》,兩件作品都是以盤據在黃山峰頂上的松樹為主題,都是一反國畫慣例地把主體放置在畫面正中,加上強烈的鮮紅色,二○○六年的《黃山松》還把代表遠山的青綠高山放置在畫面下方,很有一種石破天驚的氣勢。這令人聯想到李商隱的《高松》:「高松出眾木,伴我向天涯」。年輕時走出故鄉,以叛逆之姿從事當代藝術的薛松,在半百之際,卻頻頻回首來時路。

煙之於薛松,有不解之緣。他終日幾乎香煙不離手。他創作的最大特點是使用焚燒過的殘紙碎片,再拼貼在畫布上,因此經常燃燒大量的圖片紙張,工作室裡煙霧繚繞已是常態。

今年(2017)瑞典頂級空氣清淨機品牌Blueair進軍中國市場,邀請薛松在空氣清淨機面板上創作,還拍攝了一個宣傳片。影片中,薛松配合腳本說,自己經常焚燒紙片,很怕吸入過多有害氣體,特別需要空氣清淨機。當時我與他一起觀看剛出爐的影片[2],聽到這段話,忍不住向他說:「才怪!」

會害怕就不是薛松的本色!

不知道當初Blueair相中薛松時,是否也着眼於薛松的煙霧情結?薛松確實需要空氣清淨機,不過有益他的身體健康,更應該是戒煙吧!朋友們都知道,他不但嗜酒如命,更是「嗜煙如命」,他不是天天喝酒,香煙可是一根接一根抽;更重要的是,拼貼焚燒紙片是薛松獨創的藝術形式,已經發展出一套體系,不可能輕易放棄。

1990年上海歌劇院小劇場失火現場 Xue Song's Studio by the Shanghai Grand Theatre, after the fire in 1990.

1990年上海歌劇院小劇場失火現場
Xue Song’s Studio by the Shanghai Grand Theatre, after the fire in 1990.

藝術家的創作歷程中,經常有戲劇性的轉捩點,有些還伴隨傳奇事蹟,而愈刺激、離奇、悲壯,就愈被人們爭相傳誦。譬如畢卡索每每有新戀情,就興起他的創作激情;梵谷求愛不成,割掉自己的耳朵,並畫下悲慘的自畫像,而傳頌一時;水墨現代化之父劉國松於千禧年登珠穆朗瑪峰時,因氣壓變化劇烈,下山後喪失一耳聽力,從而發憤開創「西藏組曲」,將「抽筋剝皮皴」[3]發揮至巔峰。而薛松最為人們所津津樂道,就是火劫後找出新契機,浴火重生。

薛松遭遇兩次大火,一次是一九九○年年底,半年後,又發生一次,甚為慘烈,尤其第二次火災,把他自前次火災發生以來試驗的作品全部燒毀。所幸,薛松從那些被燒毀的物品中,發現新大陸。

這個來自黃山的故鄉的青松,還真是愈燒愈旺!他發現,被焚燒過的殘片與未燒過的去拼貼,視覺效果不一樣,意義也不同。對於薛松來說,火災是偶然,也是必然。在火災之前,如果沒有長期的探索與實驗,不可能找到一個突破點,如果沒有長期的準備和反叛意識,再發生十次火災,對於他的創作也是無濟於事。

機會都是留給準備好的人!

一九九二年之後,薛松開始進行無數次的燃燒實驗,最早的時候還是一種混沌狀態,漸漸地從無意識變成有意識的選擇與燃燒,薛松形容自己的創作是先畫靶再射箭,靶子就是他的目標,目標一旦確立就有了針對性,然後對收集來的印刷品破壞、焚燒、分配、組合。

人類對於火始終有一種既愛又怕的情結,火的發明是人類文明的起點,火也是權勢的象徵。希臘神話中,普羅米修斯盜取火種給人類,觸怒天神宙斯,宙斯將他鎖在高加索山的懸崖邊上,懲罰他日日被惡鷹啄食肝臟;秦始皇焚書,意在維護集權統治,統一思想,反對古是今非。大火是極大的破壞,也帶來新生,薛松使用燒烤過的碎片進行拼貼,就有了死亡與再生、解構與建構的意義。薛松坦承,「焚燒紙片時,特別有一種快感、刺激感。」這或許讓潛藏在他靈魂深處的反叛精神得以解放吧!

徐鋼曾經以「波瀾不興,榮辱不驚,少言寡語,忠實可靠,嗜酒如命」[4]描述薛松。與薛松熟識後,覺得徐鋼的形容頗到位,尤其他指出薛松的出生地碭山,是老莊故里的近鄰,因此性格「絕對有老莊出世的遺風」。薛松並不否認,但卻也說:「出生在中原,其實是很悶的,有很多的傳統框架限制。」[5]言下有些許無奈。他還說,今年十月剛去參加第一屆內蒙雙年展,覺得塞外民族特別豪邁,一如他所接觸過的其他非漢族,都很熱情開朗,無拘無束,令他心嚮往之!

薛松年輕時比現在更沈默寡言,人多的場合,他更是沈悶,只有酒過三巡後,才漸漸活潑起來;除了喝酒之外,抽煙也是他自我釋放、解悶的方法,而焚燒紙片的煙霧,也有同樣的效果吧?

薛松畫面上的墨,不是一般的油畫、墨汁,而是他自行研發──焚燒紙片,化為煙灰,和以丙烯顏料形成,可謂今之「松煙墨」。

薛松就讀上海戲劇學院時,國畫老師張培礎認為他速寫功底較深,線條畫得流暢,常給他一些宣紙,讓他試畫水墨,薛松從此有了水墨情結。當時薛松迷戀西方及現代主義,骨子裡對守舊、古板的東西甚為反感,奇怪的是,卻始終持續地畫水墨;更奇怪的是,年紀漸長之後,對傳統文化、藝術更有興趣。對於這種轉變,薛松一開始也想不太清楚,後來感覺到這是從自己的文化中流淌出來的。

比起同世代的中國當代藝術家,薛松對傳統文化的情結比較深、也表現得比較早。一九九二年他開始使用焚燒過的殘片拼貼時,就大量使用書法碑帖,如《蛻》、《心連心》等,新穎的圖像與古老文字交織,強化了作品的深厚度。一九九六年他創作第一幅山水畫《山水》,前景小山、遠景天空就是拼貼焚燒的書法碎片,中景高山則是古畫碎片,畫面兩邊的紅色長條宛如書法條幅,形式上就是國畫的中堂,左右再搭配對聯。

薛松受邀在今年香港舉行的第三屆水墨藝術博覽會(Ink Asia)[6]舉辦個展,有幾幅山水畫就特別依據畫中意境搭配對聯,較諸十年前的《山水》,其形式、風格與傳統書畫更加緊密,又因為對聯另行獨立創作,就可以進行多樣變化,包括字體、色彩,及至拼貼的內容,都有更大的揮灑空間。他最新的作品《山水》、《水墨》更別出心裁,表現國畫講究虛虛實實,畫外氣趣的特點,他利用在台北故宮博物院購買的文徵明複製畫上挖出「山、水、水、墨」字樣,另行貼在上方,而被挖空的部分,則在其底下拼貼書法碎片。在畫面中貼上「薛松製造」的鈐印。薛松從國畫的裝裱、配置及至構圖形式汲取靈感,玩出新的焚燒、拼貼花樣,創造了古畫新用的新手法,如同他在一幅二○一六年的作品《溪山泛舟圖》的上方配上「除舊佈新」的書法,更強化了傳統國畫的形式感,也更具有文人的雅趣。

 薛松 Xue Song 溪山泛舟圖 Sailing Among Mountains 綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas 2016, 190 x 114 cm

薛松 Xue Song
溪山泛舟圖 Sailing Among Mountains
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2016, 190 x 114 cm

薛松對於書法碑帖一直情有獨鍾,不但大量做為拼貼碎片,而且另闢「意象書法」系列。在中國美術館、西安美術館的大型展覽中,他以六十公分見方的單幅意象書法做有機組合,最大的達到四十八件作品,造成強大的視覺震撼,展覽時特別吸睛,中國美術館並因此典藏其四十件「意象書法」。「意象書法」表達了薛松對書法線條美感的掌握,直弧、長短、粗細、方圓、枯潤、虛實、相背、提頓、聚散連繞、飛白、抑揚頓挫…,他順手拈來,千變萬化;而他只截取字的局部,並不在意字義,更突顯書法的抽象之美。特別有意思的是,他的書法字體大都不是以黑墨呈現,反而是五顏六色,背景的色彩也同樣多采多姿,與文字線條的色彩或互補、或對比,變化多端。這種形象是傳統、顏色卻是繽紛的,非常具有波普主義風格,也造成視覺上的衝擊,真是古為今用、中西合璧的經典範例。

薛松表示,「做山水系列是對年輕時代的某種情結的一個補償,或者是補充自己當年的某種丟失。」[7]他的「符號山水」所隱藏的含意,頗值得玩味。他最早的符號山水《打X的山水》,其中的「X」以黑墨呈現,後來的系列作品改為紅色,看起來更加觸目驚心。文革時期,在大字報上打叉的,就是要批判的對象,薛松在山水圖上打叉,批判國畫的意圖顯而易見。然而,就像在文革時被打倒的對象,有些可能是無辜的,或被誣陷的,甚至他們還具有很多美德,讓人懷念不已。薛松年輕時批判的山水畫,真的惡名昭彰嗎?年歲漸長之後的他,日益喜歡山水畫,山水畫上讓人驚心動魄的紅X,是破碎時代的符碼,也是過往歲月的傷痕,除了批判之外,可能也有悔恨與追憶吧!

二○○五年的三連作《有符號的山水》,除了打叉的符號之外,更加上醒目的紅色箭頭,其所要探討的問題就更多了,箭頭所指的是山水畫的布置或所謂構圖關係,也是水墨畫現代化所追尋的方向。

 薛松 Xue Song 秋江泛舟 Autumn River Boating 綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas 2015, 120 x 152 cm

薛松 Xue Song
秋江泛舟 Autumn River Boating
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2015, 120 x 152 cm

黑墨在薛松作品中佔有顯著的地位,不同於國畫的「墨分五色」,他的墨只有黑色,而且是濃黑色,這是他自行調製的「松煙墨」,其特色正是「深重而不姿媚」[8]。他偏愛挪用弘仁的山水畫,一方面向弘仁致敬,另一方面,在於弘仁的山水結構嚴謹,線條如鑄鐵般單純堅硬,以深重的煙墨表現,更為強而有力。不過,這種煙墨較難表現水墨線條的流利,而有一種呆滯、生硬感,薛松並不在意,他所追求的本來就不是筆墨關係。他所有的作品都有出處,譬如山水圖,主要是對歷代名作或大師作品的挪用,再根據畫面的需要而改動,圖像也不是原本照搬,他所要保留的只是一個圖式,圖式裡面或外面所拼貼的碎片內容,有的互相有關連、有的彼此矛盾,有的純粹只是並置,碎片做為材料本身,以及碎片內容與圖式之間的關係,就表達出比繪畫更多的東西。

薛松的作品也追求一種廣告的效果,即以最簡單、直接的方式引人注目,他常以拼圖、大色塊做為作品的基礎,黑墨在其間就更有分量,黑墨可以勾勒圖式線條,也常用以平塗色塊,妙用無窮。

薛松也常挪用《三毛流浪記》、豐子愷作品的圖像,都有特別因緣,前者是他從小就愛看的漫畫書,後者則是在二○○三年非典期間,平靜他的心寧,讓他感覺到質樸與寧靜是中國傳統最美好的一面。除此之外,漫畫作品的線條簡潔、構圖單純,作品內容所描繪的事物是近代中國人耳熟能詳的,這些都很符合波普藝術構成的要件,也讓薛松的煙墨得以發揮特點。

就像早年嘗試過各種主義、畫派的藝術家作品,剛開始只是隨意的,頗有實驗的意味,有特別的心得之後,漸漸演變為一個系列。如今山水系列愈來愈多,其中又分出支系,如《芥子園畫譜》、宋徽宗、黃賓虹、八大山人、徐悲鴻等,他從傳統書畫中汲取的養分愈多,所呈現出的文人趣味也愈濃烈。

薛松 Xue Song龍虎塔  Dragon and Tiger Pagoda  綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas2014, 120 x 100 cm

薛松 Xue Song
龍虎塔 Dragon and Tiger Pagoda
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2014, 120 x 100 cm

二○一三年我邀請薛松來台灣創作《台灣八景》,這是他首次以實地風景創作的當代山水畫,他運用發展完備的個人語彙,將台灣原住民、新住民,以及象徵漢文化的傳統書畫文字、代表現代建設的摩天大樓,巧妙拼貼,熔於一爐,既是台灣三百年歷史發展的縮影,也呈現了台灣的多種族、多元文化的特色。

《台灣八景》的成功,催生了《澳門八景》,而有了前者的基礎,他畫澳門八景就更得心應手,在取景、構圖及拼貼內容上很快就有靈感。澳門有不少天主教堂,薛松在澳門采風之後,又遠赴義大利米蘭參加聯展,沿途收集很多歐洲著名的古典、宗教名畫畫冊,正好在澳門八景中派上用場;他所繪製的新美高梅酒店,以各國紙幣拼貼,更是一絕,金碧輝煌的賭場型酒店就是用金錢堆砌起來的,這讓人看了,眼睛為之一處,不禁會心一笑。

拼貼需要使用大量圖片、紙張,這讓薛松養成了收集圖書、文物的習慣。他從一九九四年起收集新中國美術作品,包括版畫及原作,如今竟已累積五百多件,而七、八年前開始收集日本浮世繪,如今也有五百多件。他的收藏癮頭愈來愈重,光是每年購買書刊就花費十多萬,而收藏美術品的經費則更難以估量。收藏癖好向來是中國文人特有的情懷,從一個前衛的波普藝術家,到如今的好古敏求,或許也是源自於「松煙墨」因緣吧!


[1] 劉淳著《薛松訪談錄》第17頁,山西出版傳媒集團.三晉出版社2015年出版。

[2] 2017年11月8日筆者在薛松畫室進行對談,他播放剛出爐的這段Blueair宣傳片,翌日在上海廿一當代藝術博覽會中正式播放。

[3] 「抽筋剝皮皴」是劉國松所開創的水墨技法,在特製的粗棉紙大筆揮毫後,再撕去紙筋,露出不吸墨的白色線條,如同水墨畫的皴法。

[4] 新加坡當代美術館、林大藝術中心2013年出版《薛松》第12頁,徐鋼撰《薛松與新海派藝術》。

[5] 2017年11月8日筆者與薛松在他上海莫干山路訪談。

[6] Ink Asia是國際第一個以水墨畫為主題的藝術博覽會,每年年底在香港會議展覽中心舉行,今年突破傳統水墨畫的定義,將富有水墨精神的作品納入,媒材不拘一格,特別邀請薛松舉行個展。

[7] 劉淳著《薛松訪談錄》202頁,山西出版傳媒集團.三晉出版社2015年出版。

[8] 明代文學家屠隆《考槃餘事》墨箋一節曰: 「余嘗謂松煙墨深重而不姿媚,油煙墨姿媚而不深重。」


薛松 Xue Song秋江泛舟 Autumn River Boating 綜合媒材布面Mixed Media on Canvas2008, 100 x 174 cm

薛松 Xue Song
秋江泛舟 Autumn River Boating
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2008, 100 x 174 cm

 

Pine, Smoke, Ink – the Art of Xue Song

Pine smoke ink, famous throughout China, is a type of precious inkstick made from pine soot, or the deposition of smoke particles from burning pinewood. Xue Song, who is named after the great pines (song in Chinese) of Yellow Mountain, begins his collages by burning printed images, in which the ashes are collected and mixed into his paint; this artistic practice and synthetic medium can be regarded as a new Pine, Smoke, Ink.

Since the late 1990s, Xue Song has made extensive use of traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting, either as ready-made images for his burnt collage, or as classical themes to be reinvented in a contemporary context. Although his practice is derived from Pop Art, it carries a profound sense of Chinese culture and the spirit of ink painting. The artistic practice of Pine, Smoke, Ink opens a new chapter in genre of Modern Ink.

Pine

The Chinese revere the pine tree. The pine’s weathered bark and twisting trunk has captured the imagination of painters and poets for ages. In terms of symbolism and aesthetic, the pine has formed a classic genre. The pine trees of Yellow Mountain are famous throughout China, particularly the Welcoming Pine. Bore out of a rock and perched on a cliffside, the tree is not only a landmark of the local province of Anhui, but also a favorite subject for generations of painters.

In 1965, Xue Song was born in the northernmost county in Anhui Province, Dangshan. Known for its cultivation of pears, a tradition tracing back two millennia, the county has been crowned the “Pear Capital of China.” Although Xue Song was born in the prosperous Pearl Capital, his birth was during a turbulent time, for both his country and his family. His father Xue Huanzhou named him Song, meaning “Pine” in Chinese, after the Marshal Chen Yi’s (1901 – 1972) poem, Green Pine:

                        Snow weighs heavy on the green pine,

                        The green pine stands stiff and straight.

                        To know the pine’s height and purity,

                        Wait until the snow melts.

Chen Yi wrote Green Pine during a great snowstorm in the winter of 1961, a time in which the country was mounting with internal strive and foreign pressure. Borrowing the imagery of the snowstorm, Chen wrote of a pine tree standing in defiance against the harshness of the winter snow, as an allusion or reminder to himself to be brave in face of adversity. At the time of Xue Song’ birth, his family was also faced with hardship. His father was originally the music teacher of Dangshan First Junior High School, where his mother was the principle. But caught in the chaos of the Cultural Revolution (1966 – 1976), his mother was met with repeated political persecution. When Xue Song reached the age of three, due to the constant torment and suppression, her spirit finally collapsed, and she died of gastric cancer. Xue Song’s father was also regularly persecuted, and frequently jailed in a cow pen. After his mother passed away, Xue Song’s father could no longer support him and his four siblings, so his father was forced to send the childern away to their relatives. Xue Song’s two sisters and second elder brother was sent to the countryside with their grandparents, while he and his eldest brother was sent elsewhere in the countryside with an uncle.

 薛松 Xue Song 更上一層樓 New Heights 綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas 2015, 151 x 181 cm

薛松 Xue Song
更上一層樓 New Heights
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2015, 151 x 181 cm

Xue Song’s childhood experience was as harsh as a snowstorm, and his mother’s early death has always been an unceasing pain in his life. Even so, Xue Song’s personality became what his fathered had hoped for, “stiff and straight.” What his strict father did not expect, however; was the optimistic and cheerful side of his personality. Although life in the countryside was difficult, there Xue Song felt free and happy. Everyday was spent playing outside with other children. He rarely studied and knew only how to fish and catch shrimp. By the second grade, he did not even know pinyin (Chinese alphabet), and so his father brought him back to the county.

Xue Song was not only “stiff and straight” from an early age, but also stubborn and unyielding. His father wished for him to learn music, but he was only interested in painting. For this, his father beat him on more than one occasion, but Xue Song’s mind was already set. Since elementary school, he spent all of his time drawing, and in junior high school, he often cut class to draw. For two whole years, he spent in his elder brother’s friend’s spare room at the local university, drawing away furiously.

“Everyday was painting. The winter was very cold, and the windows were all broken, which let the cold air in. After I was finished drawing, I would burn the paper to keep warm. …My foundation in sketching was laid during those two years.”[1]

薛松 Xue Song 觀瀑圖 Waterfall View 綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas2010, 170 x 114 cm

薛松 Xue Song
觀瀑圖 Waterfall View
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2010, 170 x 114 cm

The painter Pan Tianshou (1897 – 1971) once said, “As an artist one must “be audacious and attentive, and plan for the long-term; the problem is the lack of perseverance.” Having embarked on the path of painting, Xue Song must indeed have audacity and an attentive nature, but more importantly, an unyielding perseverance. Xue Song often imitated paintings from albums of past masters, and so he passed the entry examinations for fine arts with ease. But the humanities requirements always held him back. Only after three years since his high school graduation was he finally enrolled in the stage design department at the Shanghai Theatre Academy; he was already twenty years old.

Having read the Adventures of Sanmao[2] comics as a child, and filled with imagination about Shanghai, Xue Song’s move to the modern metropolis was like a duck takes to the water. Comparable to Yann Martel’s Life of Pi (2001), Xue’s courage, imagination, and creativity, as well as the free, easygoing, and adventurous side of his personality was finally allowed to roam free in the new city, and what he detested about the social stigmas of the past were completely left behind. Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s was the forefront of Modern Art in China, and since the economic reforms of the 1980s, the city has been began to surpass its former glory. Arriving in Shanghai in 1985, Xue Song ushered in the new era. At the Shanghai Theatre Academy, his instructor Chen Junde said to him, “Facing the canvas, you are your own God.” For Xue Song, this was awakening and enlightening, and gave him a strong sense of self-confidence to find his place in the world of art.

Intentionally or otherwise, pine trees often appear in Xue Song’s works. This is partially due to the predominance of the pine tree as a genre in traditional Chinese painting. But it may also be due to Xue Song’s subconscious identification with his namesake tree. As early as 1996, he painted Welcoming Pine, and twenty years later, Yellow Mountain Pine was painted. Both works feature a large pine tree lodged on a Yellow Mountain peak, and both break the conventional composition of traditional Chinese painting, by placing the subject directly in the center. Yellow Mountain Pine of 2016 even places the background mountains at the bottom of the composition, thereby elevating the presence of the tree in a striking manner. The imagery is reminiscent of the first verse of Li Shangyin’s (c. 813 – 858) poem, Lofty Pine:

                        The lofty pine rises above the woods,

                        Accompanying me toward the horizon.

Although Xue Song left home in his youth to pursue contemporary art, now in middle age, he retraces his steps time and time again.

Smoke

Smoke and Xue Song share an unbreakable bond. He has a cigarette in hand all day long, and the most prominent feature of his art is the burning of printed images, in which the burnt fragments are pasted onto the canvas as collage. Considering the amount of burnt images required to fill a canvas, his studio is usually ridden with smoke.

薛松上海莫干山路工作室Xue Song's Studio at M50 Shanghai

薛松上海莫干山路工作室
Xue Song’s Studio at M50 Shanghai

This year in 2017, Sweden’s leading air purifier company Blueair is entering the Chinese market, and has invited Xue Song to act as spokesperson and decorate the front panels of three air purifiers for a promotional video.[3] In the video, Xue Song kept with the script and said that because he burned paper regularly, he is afraid of inhaling excessive fumes and is in particular need of air purifiers. When I was watching the video with him, upon hearing this line, I could not help myself but to say to him, “You are not afraid!”

Being afraid just is not Xue Song!

I wonder when Blueair chose Xue Song as their spokesperson, if they understood his relationship with smoke. Xue Song does indeed need air purifiers, but in terms of improving his health, quitting smoking might be a higher priority! As his friends all know, he not only has a taste for drinking, but also for cigarettes. Regardless of his addictions, the burning of printed images is at the very core of Xue Song’s art, something he cannot easily abandon.

In the careers of artists, it is not uncommon to find dramatic turning points, often known to the world as celebrated stories. The more exciting, unusual, or tragic, the more memorable it becomes. For example, Pablo Picasso’s surges of creativity often parallels the coming and going of women in his life. Vincent van Gogh’s self-mutilation of his ear is forever immortalized in his self-portrait. Liu Kuo-sung (b. 1932), the father of Modern Ink Painting, climbed Mount Everest in 2000, and upon his descend, due to the sudden change in air pressure, became deaf in one ear. But from the loss of hearing, Liu gained the inspiration for a new series, the renowned Tibetan Suites. Finally, what Xue Song is known for is how he found inspiration in the fiery ashes of his art.

Fires broke out in Xue Song’s studio twice; once at the end of 1990 and once more roughly six months later. The fires were devastating, especially the second one, which thoroughly destroyed what had survived from the first. But from the ashes lying on his studio floor, Xue Song was to build a new world.

Like the pine trees of Yellow Mountain, fire only fueled Xue Song’s transformation, as he discovered the visual impact, symbolism, and also gestural significance of the burnt images. For Xue, the fire was an accident, but it was not accidental. Had he not already experimented tirelessly with the medium of collage, or had he not sought to express themes of discontent and destruction, the fire could have broken out ten times more, and it would have been inconsequential to his art.

Opportunity comes to those who are prepared!

Following 1992, Xue Song began countless experiments with fire. At first, the experiments were more of a chaotic frenzy, and gradually they became more controlled and productive, as Xue shifted his attention and energy from the sensation of burning itself, to what he was burning and how. In his own words; he painted the target first, before he shot the arrow. Having set a target in mind, then begins the cutting, burning, and pasting of the printed images he collects.

薛松於上海莫干山路工作室Xue Song in his studio at M50, Shanghai

薛松於上海莫干山路工作室
Xue Song in his studio at M50, Shanghai

Since the dawn of mankind, human beings have always had a loving and fearful complex with fire. The invention of fire sparked the human civilization, and fire has since been a symbol of power. In Greek Mythology, the titan Prometheus stole fire to give to mankind and thereby angered the god Zeus, who condemned him to eternal torment by bounding him to a rock and having an eagle feed on his liver, which would grow back only to be eaten again the next day. The first Emperor of China, Shihuangdi (c. 259 – 210 BCE) is infamous for burning heterodox books in his efforts to consolidate central power and unify thought. Fire is greatly destructive, but in its destruction, it allows for new life. By burning and partially destroying ready-made images, and reassembling the burnt fragments on the canvas in a different context, Xue Song’s artistic practice embodies destruction and rebirth and also deconstruction and reconstruction. Xue acknowledges, “When the paper is being burned, there is a special kind of satisfaction and excitement.”

Xu Gang once described Xue Song as “a man of few words, …cool and calm, not easily startled or surprised, [and] unwilling to chase after fame or wealth.”[4] After becoming well-acquainted with Xue Song, I found Xu Gang’s description quite on point, especially when he pointed out that Xue Song’s birthplace of Dangshan is also the region the Daoist philosophers Laozi (c. 604 – 531 BCE) and Zhuangzi (c.369 – 286) are believed to have originated, and so his personality carries “the legacy of Laozi and Zhuangzi’s birthplace.”[5] Although Xue Song does not deny such claims, he maintains that “being born in China proper is actually very suffocating; there are many traditional frameworks limiting you.[6] He also lamented that, during his participation in the first Inner Mongolia Biennale this October, he felt the people beyond the Great Wall were frank and easygoing, just like the other Chinese ethnic minorities he has met, who have all been warm and high-spirited.

In his youth, Xue Song was a man of even fewer words, and in a crowd of people, he just kept to himself. Only after three rounds of drinks, does he begin to lighten up. Aside from drinking, smoking cigarettes is also an outlet for him. Perhaps the smoke from burning the images for his collage achieves the same effect.

Ink

The black ink on Xue Song’s canvases is not ordinary paint or Chinese ink, but is something his own creation – the ashes of incinerated images mixed together with acrylic paint, otherwise known as Pine, Smoke, Ink.

When Xue Song was attending the Shanghai Theatre Academy, the traditional Chinese painter instructor, Zhang Peizhu, believed he was skilled in drawing and the lines of sketches were lively. Zhang often gave him Chinese rice paper for him to try traditional ink painting, and so Xue Song’s relationship with ink painting began. However, at that time Xue Song was infatuated with Western and Modernist Art, and strongly detested all things conservative or traditional. Remarkably enough, he has kept with ink painting ever since. What is even more remarkable is his growing appreciation for traditional arts and culture as he grows older. As for this reversal, Xue Song was not aware of it at first, and only later realized this was his own culture coming forward.

 薛松 Xue Song 山水 Landscape 綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas  1996, 180 x 150 cm

薛松 Xue Song
山水 Landscape
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
1996, 180 x 150 cm

In comparison with many other contemporary Chinese artists of the same generation, Xue Song has a deeper appreciation for traditional Chinese culture, and has drawn inspiration from it earlier. When he began his burnt collages in 1992, Xue chose many images of written calligraphy and calligraphy from stone rubbings, as seen in Metamorphosis and Hearts Together, in which the fusion of ancient characters with strange shapes strengthened the depth of the work. In 1996, he created his first landscape painting, simply titled Landscape. A hill is placed in the foreground and is surrounded by burnt fragments of calligraphy in the sky behind. The mountain in the mid-ground is composed of images of ancient Chinese paintings, while the central image is flanked on both sides by two long red banners with abstract lines representing calligraphy. In terms of formal composition, the central image is the centerpiece in traditional Chinese painting, and the flanking banners are the accompanying couplets of calligraphy.

 薛松 Xue Song 水墨 Ink 綜合媒材布面Mixed Media on Canvas2017, 105 x 30 cm

薛松 Xue Song
水墨 Ink
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2017, 105 x 30 cm 

This year in 2017, Xue Song is invited for a solo exhibition at the third annual Ink Asia art fair in Hong Kong. For the exhibition, Xue Song paired several landscape paintings with corresponding couplets in the manner of 1996’s Landscape. In terms of both form and style, the landscapes bare a closer resemblance to traditional Chinese painting, and because the couplets were created separately, they allow for a reinterpretation of the centerpieces, with the style of calligraphy, the additional colors, and the contents of the collage fragments. Xue Song’s latest works, Landscape and Ink, are even more ingenious; he uses the reproductions of paintings by the Ming Dynasty master, Wen Zhengming (1470 – 1559) from the National Palace Museum in Taipei, in which he cuts out silhouettes of the Chinese characters for “landscape” and “ink” (shanshui and shuimo), pastes them elsewhere on the painting, and then fills cutouts with images of calligraphy, thereby playing with the traditional notion of solid and void in Chinese painting. The lower right corner of the collages are impressed with his personal seal, bearing the words: “Made by Xue Song.” From traditional Chinese painting, Xue Song draws inspiration in the formats of framing and mounting, as well as the manner in which they are hung and presented. For a painting from 2016, Sailing Amongst Mountains, the characters “Out with the Old, In with the New” were added on top, strengthening the sense of tradition in the style of the Chinese literati, and also adding a form of self-commentary to his own artistic practice.

Calligraphy is a reoccurring motif in Xue Song’s art; not only as images in his collage, but also as its own series of paintings, the Calligraphy Imagery series. For large-scale exhibitions at the  National Art Museum of China and the Xi’an Art Museum, he pieced together individual square canvases of 60 centimeters, each containing a single character, with the largest polyptych up to forty-eight squares. The series attracted a great deal of attention at the exhibitions and forty pieces were collected by the National Art Museum. Calligraphy Imagery demonstrates Xue Song’s understanding of the traditional aesthetics of calligraphy, in terms of the proportion in composition, the flow and direction of lines, and the speed and strength of execution. For each character, Xue selects only a portion of the character in order to remove meaning from the word, and to highlight the abstract beauty in Chinese calligraphy. What is also interesting is his use of vibrant colors in contrast to the conventional black in rendering calligraphy. The background colors are also equally diverse, both in compliment or in contrast with the character’s colors and contours. While the image is traditional, the use of colors is not, and is instead a feature of Pop Art. This series is strong in terms of visual impact, and a classic example of the blending of tradition and modernity, as well as and of Western and Eastern cultures.

 薛松 Xue Song 意象書法 Calligraphy Imager綜合媒材布面  Mixed Media on Canvas2014, 60 x 60 cm x 9

薛松 Xue Song
意象書法 Calligraphy Imagery
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2014, 60 x 60 cm x 9

Xue Song said, “The Landscape series is a kind of emotional compensation for my youth, or for something I lost in the past.”[7] The meaning behind his Symbolic Landscape series is worthy of attention. In the earliest example from the series, X Landscape, the “X” was painted in black ink, and later on in the series, the color was changed to red, becoming even more visually striking. During the Cultural Revolution, the names of political target were written on so-called “Big Character Posters,” and crossed-out with a large “X.” By crossing-out the image of a traditional Chinese landscape, Xue Song hints at the rejection of traditional arts and culture. However, similar to many of the victims of the Cultural Revolution, who were in fact innocent intellectuals, traditional Chinese landscape painting was never without merit. In his rejection of the traditional genre during his youth, how complete or severe was Xue Song’s rejection? With a growing appreciation for the genre in middle age, Xue Song marks the landscape with a giant red “X” as a symbol of a broken age and as a scar of the past, with a sense of regret and remorse.

The 2005 triptych Symboled Landscape features not only a “X,” but also several stark red arrows, in which the symbolism becomes even richer. The arrows mark the general structural composition of traditional landscapes, as well as suggest the presence and intrusion of Western culture, or specifically Western art, in Chinese painting.

薛松 Xue Song山水  Landscape綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas2017, 164 x 84.5 cm

薛松 Xue Song
山水 Landscape
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2017, 164 x 84.5 cm

Chinese ink reserves a prominent position in Xue Song’s art. Unlike the traditional notion of “Five Shades of Ink,” Xue’s ink is solely black, which he finds most expressive. He has repeatedly borrowed images of the monk Hongren’s (1610 – 1663) landscape paintings, on one hand as a tribute to the master, but also because his landscapes are minimal in composition and his brushstrokes are simple and defined, which are well-suited for representation with Xue Song’s synthetic medium of ash and acrylic paint. However, the synthetic ink is less effective for representing the fluidity of conventional Chinese ink, because it is much denser and heavier. Xue Song actually prefers the heavy nature of his synthetic ink, because it creates a bold texture, which traditional ink cannot produce. The source of inspiration can be found in all of his works, and in terms of  his landscapes, the inspiration is generally derived from famous paintings or styles of past masters, which are rearranged according to the needs of the given composition. He retains the outlines of the formal composition, but the areas interior and exterior of the outlines are filled with burnt fragments of other images, some of which are interrelating, while others are conflicting. The fragments are its own medium in addition to ink or paint, and relationship between the fragments and the overall image can be more effective in expression in comparison to conventional painting.

Xue Song also pursues the effect of commercial advertisement in his paintings, to attract attention in the most simple and direct way. He often divides his images in large solid colors, in which black ink appears even bolder, effecting outlining the image. The Adventures of Sanmao and Feng Zikai are frequently featured in Xue Song’s works. The reason behind the choice of these images is due to Xue Song’s interest in comic books as a child, and during the SARS outbreak of 2003, Xue revisited these comics and found a sense peace and comfort in the parables of traditional Chinese values. Additionally, the images of comics are simple and the outlines are concise, and its themes are familiar to modern Chinese people. All of these qualities fall in line with the elements of Pop Art, allowing Xue Song to unleash the potential of his synthetic ink.

 薛松 Xue Song致敬 - 羅斯科之一 Tribute to Rothko I綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas2015, 200 x 100 cm

薛松 Xue Song
致敬 – 羅斯科之一 Tribute to Rothko I
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2015, 200 x 100 cm

As for Xue Song’s earlier ventures into other genres and styles of painting, the incursions were mostly by chance, and rather experimental. Only after experience and reflection did these various ventures gradually develop into specific series. In recent years, the Landscape series has become more and more expansive, with sub-series such as the classic Mustard Garden Manuel of Painting, and tributes to past masters including the Emperor Huizong of Song (1082 – 1135), the eccentric Bada Shanren (Zhu Da, c. 1626 – 1705), and the modernist Xu Beihong (1895 – 1953), in which Xue Song draws from China’s long and illustrious history of painting to fuel and reflect his own interest in the identity of the Chinese literati.

In 2013, I invited Xue Song to Taiwan for an art creation project, Eights Vies of Taiwan. This was the first time he represented real sceneries into his contemporary landscape paintings. Implementing his system of burnt collage, Xue integrated images of Taiwanese Aboriginal Peoples with Chinese settlers, and also traditional Chinese calligraphy and painting with modern skyscrapers. In a melting pot of cultures, Xue not only visually summarized three hundred years of Taiwanese history, but also accurately portrayed the island’s ethnic and cultural diversity.

The success of the Eight Views of Taiwan led to the Eight Views of Macau, and with the foundations laid on the former project, Xue Song easily found inspiration for Macau in terms of subject matter, composition, and collage material. There are many historical cathedrals in Macau from the colonial era, and after visiting Macau Xue Song traveled to Milan, Italy for a group exhibition, where he collected large volumes of books on Medieval and Renaissance religious painting, specially for the Eight Views of Macau project. Moreover, for his collage of the new MGM hotel, he used fake bank notes of different countries, as a stark allusion to what the hotel and casino is truly composed of.

Due to the fact collage requires great quantities of printed images, in his constant search for collage material, Xue Song has develop a taste for collecting vintage books and other printed materials. Since 1994, Xue has collected over five hundred artworks from the Communist Era (1949 – c. 1980s), including propaganda prints and political paintings. Also, in the last seven or eight years, he has collected over five hundred Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. His passion for collection is growing steadily; his budget for books alone is over a hundred thousand yuans a year, and the amount spent for his art collection is incalculable. The art of collection has always been part of traditional Chinese literati culture, but for a contemporary Pop Artist, to be passionate of the ancient past, is perhaps due to the artistic practice and his synthetic medium of Pine, Smoke, Ink.

Curator Elaine Suyu Liu

薛松 Xue Song煙霞秋色圖 Autumn Colors綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas2016, 150 x 150 cm

薛松 Xue Song
煙霞秋色圖 Autumn Colors
綜合媒材布面 Mixed Media on Canvas
2016, 150 x 150 cm

 


[1] Liu Chun, Dialogue with Xue Song, Shanxi Publishing Group, 2015; pg. 17.

[2] The Adventures of Sanmao, created in 1935 by Zhang Leping (1910 – 1992), is a popular comic book series about an orphaned boy named Sanmao, set in Shanghai during the 1930s and 1940s with themes of war and colonization.

[3] Interview with Xue Song by the author at his studio on Moganshan Road, Shanghai on November 8th, 2007, in which he displayed the video that was to be officially released the following day at the Shanghai Art021 Art Exposition.

[4] Xu Gang, “Xue Song and the Neo-Shanghai Style” in Xue Song: Works 1988 – 2013, Singapore Museum of Contemporary Art, 2013, pg. 25.

[5] Xu, Ibid., pg. 25.

[6] Interview with Xue Song by the author at his studio on Moganshan Road, Shanghai on November 8th, 2007.

[7] Liu Chun, Dialogue with Xue Song, pg. 202.

點滴.自在.圓滿

記林磐聳六十藝術展

文/劉素玉

少年聽雨歌樓上,紅燭昏羅帳;

壯年聽雨客舟中,江闊雲低,斷雁叫西風;

而今聽雨僧廬下,鬢已星星也。

悲歡離合總無情,一任階前,點滴到天明。

今年的幾場演講中,林磐聳都提到南宋詞人蔣捷的這首詞《虞美人.聽雨》,詞人以三種不同階段聽雨的境況,將一生心境轉折,表露無遺。同樣「鬢已星星」的林磐聳,也經歷過少年得志,壯年奔波的人生境遇,而今體悟了「悲歡離合總無情」,才能夠徹夜聽雨,心如止水,靜觀萬物皆自得。

林磐聳 Lin Pang-soong 《聽雨》  Listening to Rain 紙本水墨  Ink on Paper  2013, 136 x 70 cm (10.6 才)
聽雨 Listening to Rain
水墨紙本 Ink on Paper
2013, 136 x 70 cm

淅淅瀝瀝的雨聲迷人綺麗,最能激起騷人墨客的浪漫情懷,林磐聳於2013年創作的水墨畫《聽雨》,將台灣島籠罩在縹緲迷濛的煙雨之中,這是一件構圖與意境都很出色的佳作,在他的藝術創作歷程上,相當具有指標性意義。《聽雨》(136x70cm)展現林磐聳朝大尺幅創作的企圖心,並採用暈染手法,不但增添了畫面的層次感,畫面的空間更深邃,更能呈現出煙雨濛濛的迷離氣氛,這在他過去的作品中十分罕見。

林磐聳創作《聽雨》正值壯年之秋,此前一年,他毅然決然地辭去台灣師範大學副校長的職位,比一般預計的六十歲退休,提早了五年,提早退休的想法之一就是為了專心創作。隨後,他更加海闊天空,開創「大山無價」系列,其中一幅《退思》充分傳達了退休後的心情,在該畫的背後,以毛筆寫下他的感言: 「二○十二年八月一日台師大退休,人生里程轉彎,值得記錄,有如Milestone的巨碑。」「大山無價」系列不只 標示了他人生的里程轉彎,更是藝術上的一個里程碑,有別於過去的「我的台灣」系列,不只是畫面突破單純的台灣圖象,而且在尺幅、筆法上都有更多的變化及創新,除了特有的點滴、點描法之外,也加入了潑墨、暈染等技法,與《聽雨》同樣尺幅的作品如《夢的島嶼》(2012年)、《繁華》(2012年)、《疊翠》(2013年)等,俱皆佳品。近年來他還在成扇、圓形的紙面上創作,富有新意;今年最新的一件作品《行旅五帖》共五條幅,其實是一種直立式的長卷,多點透視,由下而上,五條幅中,有疏有密,分開陳列,形成新穎有趣的視覺效果。

 

阮若打開心內的門,就會看見五彩的春光。

這首曾經被鳳飛飛唱過的台語老歌《阮若打開心內門窗》,詞、曲俱皆優雅,林磐聳藉以形容自己走上藝術之路的契機。打開他心靈門窗的人,就是他的父親林慶雲先生。林慶雲是台灣的前輩攝影家,林磐聳從小就看著父親在三地門、六堆等地拍照,體會到父親對鄉土的關懷,更時常聽到父親與攝影同好聊構圖、色彩、光影等,藝術的種子悄悄散播在他幼小的心田,而父親對古典音樂的愛好,同樣也留傳給他,這些都是滋潤心靈的藝術養分。

生姿  Sign of Life 鏡框 水墨紙本  Ink on Paper 2016.05.06, 36 x 26 cm
生姿 Sign of Life
我的台灣系列 My Homeland Series
水墨紙本 Ink on Paper
2016, 36 x 26 cm

蔣捷出自宜興巨族,青年即中進士,出任官宦,並富有文名,被稱為「櫻桃進士」[1]。林磐聳也是少年得志,就讀台師大美術系時,就有傑出表現,在大三時與同學成立工作室,第一件工作是替一家幼稚園進行整理形象規畫設計,逐漸投入企業識別系統領域,1985年,他才28歲,就出版了《CIS企業識別系統》,這本至今還不斷再版的書,讓他成為台灣的CI先鋒,也讓他贏得「台灣設計界導師」、「台灣設計的發光體」美名。[2]

雖然少年得志,但林磐聳始終保持虛懷若谷及樸實敦厚本色,這除了是個人修養良好之外,更不得不歸功於他的家庭教養,林慶雲先生雖然已過世多年,但他一生行誼至今仍被親友懷念不已。

2005年春節,林磐聳回到東港老家,看到父親生前栽種的黃金葛,頓時感觸良多,便畫下佈滿黃金葛的台灣,從此開創了「我的台灣」系列。這個系列一開始是用素描的手法,將各種台灣常見的植物、花卉、石頭,及至抽象的線條、符號畫成台灣島嶼造形,他從此一發不可收拾,幾乎每日創作,藉此和過世的父母,也和這塊土地對話。

 

寒天飲冰水,點滴在心頭。

林磐聳常以「寒天飲冰水,點滴在心頭」來形容自己的創作心情。他的創作屬於細水長流,每天畫一點,慢慢地畫、細細地點,不急不徐,積少成多,自2005年迄今,成果相當可觀。「點滴」既是形容他創作時的心情,也是他獨特的筆法,他用毛筆或針筆畫在紙上,從早期的素描,發展為以細密小點推疊、聚散,造成畫面上的肌理與層次,這是一種硬功夫,在旁人看起來更是一種苦功夫,但是他卻自得其樂,今年一月及四月分別在台中及高雄的佛光緣美術館展覽,主題就命名為「點滴自在」,既點出其創作形式和態度,也很切合展覽場地的情境。

常有人戲術林磐聳是台灣設計界的過動兒,因為他經常出差、旅行,行跡遍佈全世界,而林磐聳則認為,人有很多種,有些人屬於動物性格,有些人屬於植物性格,他由於從小在海邊長大,所以自行歸納為海洋性格,就是那種流動不息的海洋特質促使他產生飄泊不定的個性,因此長久以來投入國際設計推廣與交流活動,樂此不疲。他酷愛旅行,這是他保持創意的泉源之一,能激發五感共鳴,是一個人心靈的壯遊(Grand Touring of Mind)。他覺得,放空的同時,也是汲取靈感最好的觸媒。他保持創意的泉源之二是閱讀,他經常手不釋卷,博覽群書,他聲稱,旅行也是一種閱讀,這與古人的「行萬里路,讀萬卷書」不謀而合。

然而旅行過多,其實不利於藝術創作,尤其是需要耗費體力、心力的大尺幅作品。林磐聳以每天堅持創作來克服這個難題,縱使一天只有一、兩個小時,他也一定要想方設法達成,通常是一大清早,或夜深人靜時刻,是他創作的最佳時刻;他也善於利用零碎、片斷的時間創作,以補時間不夠之不足,例如開會、坐車、坐飛機期間,及至等待時的空檔。多年下來,他歸結出一套教戰守策:「時間多就畫大畫,時間少就畫小畫,沒時間就在心裡畫。」林磐聳家中客廳掛著鄭善禧教授送他的一幅字「勤勉惜時」,他把這幅字當做座右銘,身體力行,發揮得淋漓盡致。

每天畫畫,其實也是維繫靈感不致枯竭的良方,對林磐聳而言,更有一種安定的作用,就像是和尚作早課誦經一樣,又像是和尚抄寫經文一樣,透過每日潛心作畫,抒發性情,聆聽內在聲音,也用以鍛鍊人格與修養,尤其是點畫法,最需要功夫與工夫,他說:「每個點的大、小、輕、重,都可以看出當下心情起伏的律動,透過作品可觀照自己內心。」這種鍛練,正好可以平衡他那飄泊不定的海洋性格。

 

走自己的路,圓滿自在…

2007年,林磐聳榮獲國家文藝獎美術類得主,以五十歲的年齡,成為歷屆美術類得獎者中最年輕的得主,也是首位榮獲國家藝術文化肯定其專業成就的設計家,不僅打開了視覺藝術領域的門檻,接納了視覺設計師同樣具有美感創意,可以榮獲文化藝術的獎項。他在台灣設計界的成就有目共睹,然而他總是謙稱,早年他選擇的是一條特別的路。他說:「這條路並不好走,卻讓我因此看到了不同的人生風景;正因為走這條路的人比較少,所以我才能幸運地受到矚目。」

回溯到林磐聳就讀大學美術系的年代,設計是不被重視的領域,但是他投入之後,在國內外獲得無數的獎項,提振了他自己與整體設計界的信心,而這一路走來,其實相當艱辛,並非只是「幸運地受到矚目」而已。

林磐聳覺得在「人生半百」之際,獲得國家文藝獎,具有象徵性的意義,他要花更多的時間與精力投入藝術創作,這又是一條特別的路,也是一個重大的轉彎。他在設計界的盛名,對於他從事藝術創作,有正、反兩面的作用,盛名既激勵著他,但也會是個包袱,所幸,他有著「海納百川,有容乃大」的海洋性格,促使他勇於擺脫一成不變的既定方向。

2011年暑假,由我策畫的「絲路之旅」中,林磐聳大量在成扇上作畫,他希望做到「日行一扇」,並且「廣結扇緣」。我覺得他做人寬厚、樸實,作品豐富、動人,因而「廣結善緣」,像這次與佛光緣美術館的結緣就是一種善緣,在此我要特別感謝黃淑珍女士的熱心牽線,以及覺居法師、如常法師、如川法師、有泉法師的賞識及努力,得以在台中及高雄的佛光緣美術館舉辦「點滴自在」展覽,在林磐聳六十歲的這一年舉行這兩場展覽,特別富有意義。

與阿瘦文化藝術基金會的合作也是另一個善緣,該基金會執行長鄺書瑛女士透過我的介紹,即使她與林磐聳素昧平生,就樂意贊助林磐聳今年的展覽活動。當我第一次在電話中告訴林磐聳這個消息時,他馬上就想出展覽名稱:「走自己的路」,我一時還會意不過來,他提示我說,這個基金會來自於阿瘦皮鞋集團,展覽名稱要與行走有關,他的慧黠與巧思不禁令我刮目相看。

林磐聳回顧過去,大概每隔十年,就會面臨一次人生的轉折。五十歲那一年,他得到台灣最大的美術大獎,所謂「五十知天命」,他認為這個天命就是藝術創作;在佛光緣美術館展覽時,有一件作品《圓滿自在》恰足以呈現他目前的生命情境,這件圓形構圖的作品佈滿了密密麻麻的點點滴滴,大圓中有小圓,小圓中有小點滴,宛如天際的繁星點點,圓滿自在的各自運行,形成一個奧秘和諧的宇宙。今年林磐聳正式邁入耳順之年,所謂的耳順,就是對於外界的各種聲音都能平順接受,波瀾不起,寵辱不驚,這不就是圓滿自在的境界嗎?

2017年夏至前夕於大台北華城

圓滿自在  Complete Freedom 鏡框 設色紙本  Ink & Color on Paper 2016, 70 x 70 cm

圓滿自在 Complete Freedom
鏡框 設色紙本 Ink & Color on Paper
2016, 70 x 70 cm

 

[1] 蔣捷的《一剪梅.舟過吳江》中有一句「流光容易把人拋,紅了櫻桃,綠了芭蕉」膾炙人口,故被人稱為「櫻桃進士」。

[2] 2003年台灣的中華文化總會策畫,藝術家出版龍冬陽女士所撰寫的《台灣藝術經典大系.形象與包裝卷》將林磐聳譽為「台灣設計界導師」,表揚他對台灣設計教育的影響及地位。2004年經濟部商業司頒發首屆「傑出商業設計獎」,隔年出版《林磐聳─台灣設計的發光體》,推介其致力普及並展現台灣設計創意,提升台灣設計水平為職志努力不懈。

 


 

 

A Perfect State of Being

– Record of the Art of Lin Pang-soong at 60

 

In youth I listened to the rain in house of song, red candles dimly lit the silk bed curtains.

In my prime, I listened to rain traveling on boats, the river broad and the clouds low, geese wailing in the west wind

And now I listen to rain in a monk’s hut, my hair streaked with grey

Sorrow and joy, meetings and partings, are all nothing in the end, let the rain drip on the steps till the break of day

In several of this year’s speeches, Lin (Apex) Pang-soong referred to the poem Listening to Rain, by the Southern Song Dynasty poet Jiang Jie (c. 1245 – 1310), who vividly described the circumstances of listening to rain in three different stages of life, as it unfolds. Lin Pang-soong, whose hair is similarly “streaked with grey,” has gone through an ambitious youth and a lively prime, and has now realized that “sorrow and joy, meetings and partings, are all nothing in the end.” So, he can listen to rain throughout the night, with his mind as calm as standing water, clearly reflecting all things with ease.

The steady beat of raindrops falling is comforting, and most capable of stirring up the sentiments of artists. Painted by Lin Pang-soong in 2013, the ink on paper painting Listening to Rain depicts the island of Taiwan shrouded in rain and mist. The painting is a masterpiece in terms of both composition and conception, and is a significant milestone in Lin’s painting career. Listening to Rain (136 x 70 cm) records Lin’s ambitious venture into large-scale compositions and his experience with techniques of ink wash, which not only enhance the sense of depth, but also create the misty atmosphere of the rain. Both the scale and technique are seldomly seen in his past works.

Lin Pang-soong’s creation of Listening to Rain was during the transition between his prime and his later years. The year before its creation, he resolutely decided to resign from his position as vice-chancellor of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), thereby retiring five years short of the standard retirement age of sixty. One of the main reasons for the early retirement is to concentrate on painting. Soon after, he further expanded his oeuvre and began the Invaluable Mountains series, in which the painting Invaluable Mountains: Retreat fully conveys the mood of retirement. On the back of the painting, rendered in calligraphy, he left “August 1, 2012, the day of the great retirement from NTNU, a change in the trajectory of life, worth recording, like a monument milestone.” The Invaluable Mountains series not only marked a transition in the trajectory of his life, but moreover a direction in his art. In contrast to his past My Homeland series, there is a breakthrough from the stock images of Taiwan, as well as the use of new painting techniques. In addition to pointillism, ink wash incorporated, as seen in Listening to Rain, and also other large-scale work, such as Dream Island of 2012, Flourishing of 2012, and Pinnacle of 2013. In recent years, Lin has found new inspiration in fan-shaped and circular formats. This year’s newest work, Traveling Pentaptych, is an ensemble of five hanging scrolls; with multi-point perspectives and compositional variations between dense and sparse, visually it is exceptionally engaging.

沈默的山音:山光  Silent Sound of the Mountain: Mountain Light 紙本水墨 Ink on Paper 2013, 30.5 x 45 cm

沈默的山音:山光
Silent Sound of the Mountain: Mountain Light
大山無價系列 Invaluable Mountains Series
水墨紙本 Ink on Paper
2013, 30.5 x 45 cm

 

 

If I open the window in my heart, you will see colors of spring light.

Sung by Fung Fei-fei (1953 – 2012), the Taiwanese classic, If I Open the Window in My Heart, is elegant in its melody and lyrics, and has been used by Lin Pang-soong to describe how he entered the world of art. The one who opened the window of his heart was his father, Lin Ching-yun. Ching-yun is one of Taiwan’s pioneering photographers. From an early age, Pang-soong watched his father photograph their native county and felt his father’s attachment to the land. He often listened in on his father discussing with other photographers topics such as composition, color, and light, and the artistic seed was thereby planted in young Pang-soong’s heart. Ching-yun also had a passion for Western classical music, which he also passed onto Pang-soong, as something that nourishes the soul.

The Southern Song poet Jiang Jie came from a distinguished family, passed the highest level of government exams at a early age, and served as a high official. He was both privileged and famous for his literary talents, being known as the Cherry Blossom Scholar.[1] Lin Pang-soong was also successful at an early age. While studying Fine Arts at NTNU, Lin established a workshop with other classmates in junior year. Their first business was to recreate the image of a nearby kindergarten. Gradually, Lin entered the field of corporate identity systems. In 1985, at twenty-five years old, Lin published a book on the subject, which has been republished continuously since, placing him at the forefront of corporate identity design in Taiwan and earning him the title “the Master of Design in Taiwan.”[2]

Despite his early accomplishments, Lin Pang-soong remained humble and honest, which reflects not only his self-cultivation, but more importantly his family education. Although Lin Ching-yun has passed away for many years, his legacy and memory is stilled cherished by his friends and family.

During the Spring Festival (Lunar New Year) of 2005, Lin Pang-soong returned to his childhood home in Tungkang and saw the golden pothos planted by his late father. Lin suddenly felt a surge of inspiration and painted an arrangement of golden pothos in the shape of Taiwan, thereby creating the My Homeland series. The series began as live sketches, assembling plants, flowers, rocks, commonly seen in Taiwan, as well as abstract lines and patterns into the shape of the Taiwan island. Ever since, it has become almost a daily ritual, creating an image every couple of days, in a dialogue with his late parents and also the land of Taiwan.

 

A drink of icy water on a cold day, the taste is in my heart.

沈默的山音:氣象 Slient Sound of the Mountain: Atmosphere 紙本水墨 Ink on Paper 2013, 45 x 30.5 cm
沈默的山音:氣象
Slient Sound of the Mountain: Atmosphere
水墨紙本 Ink on Paper
2013, 45 x 30.5 cm

Lin Pang-soong often describes his approach to painting as “a drink of icy water on a cold day, the taste is in my heart.” His approach is slow and steady, like the flow of a long and winding river. Everyday he paints a little; slowly but surely, dot by dot, he pieces the image together, and from 2005 to the present, what he has amassed is a sight to behold. This describes not only his mental approach, but also the technical. With the Chinese brush and sometimes the technical pen, he progressed from early sketches to pointillism, constructing the composition through the build-up of dots alone. This in itself is a form of art; while others perceive it as tedious work, Lin takes pleasure in it. In January and April of this year, Lin’s exhibitions at the Fo Guang Yuan Art Museums in Taichung and Kaohsiung respectively, was titled A State of Being, evoking his approach to art, as reflecting the exhibition venue with poetic resonance.

People often jokingly describe Lin Pang-soong as hyper-active in Taiwan’s field of design, as he is constantly traveling the world. In response, Lin believes there are many types of people; some are like animals, while others are like plants. As Lin grew up by the ocean, he regards himself to be like the sea. It is precisely the rising and falling of tides that keeps him floating and drifting, tirelessly immersing himself in international design events. He happens to also have a passion for traveling, which serves as a source of inspiration to him, stimulating his perception of the world, as a personal grand tour for the mind. He believes, times of leisure is when inspiration strikes best. A second source of inspiration for him is from reading, and he is often found with a book in hand. He voices his belief that traveling is a form of reading, which exemplifies the Chinese idiom “travel ten thousand miles, read ten thousand books.”

Yet, excessive travel is not conducive to creating art, especially for energy-demanding large-scale artworks. Lin Pang-soong overcomes this problem by insisting on painting every day; even only for an hour to two, he forces himself to find time, usually early in the morning to late at night. He is adept in finding and making time to paint, such as time spent in the car, on the plane or even in meetings. After many years, he came to the conclusion that “if there is plenty of time, paint a large painting; if there is little time, paint a small painting.” In Lin’s living room hangs a piece of calligraphy by the traditional Chinese painter, and his former colleague, professor Cheng Shan-hsi (b. 1932), of the characters: “Diligently Treasure Time (Qin Mian Xi Shi),” which he sees as a motto to live by.

 

Walking my own path, a perfect state

In 2007 Lin Pang-soong received the National Award of Art in the Fine Arts category at the age of fifty, as the youngest award winner of the Fine Arts category as well as the first designer in the award’s history. Lin thereby created a new field of opportunities for visual designers, by bringing the profession onto the fine art stage. Although, his achievements in design in Taiwan are well-renowned, he humbly maintains that he had chosen a different path early in his career. He says “it was not an easy path, but it allowed me to see a different perspective in life; and because those who went down this path are few, I have the good fortune of being recognized.”

LPS097 林磐聳 沈默的山音:九月心情 2013 紙本水墨 45x30.5cm
沈默的山音:九月心情
Client Sound of the Mountain: September Feeling
水墨紙本 Ink on Paper
2013, 45 x 30.5 cm

Back in Lin Pang-soong’s student days at the Fine Arts department of NTNU, visual design was not a prestigious field. However, having received numerous national and international awards since his entry in the field, has boosted his confidence as well as those of his colleagues in their vocation. Looking back on the path, it was not only a matter of “good fortune.”

Having received the National Award of Art at “half way to a hundred” is symbolic to Lin Pang-soong. It is a turning point onto another path, dedicated to painting. His success in design plays both a positive and negative role on his art. He is driven by his reputation, which can also be a burden. Fortunately, he has the spirit of the sea, in which “the sea encompasses a hundred rivers, it is great because of its capacity,” thereby encouraging him to forge another path.

On my curated project, Silkroad – A Contemplative Journey, during the summer of 2011, Lin Pang-soong worked almost exclusively with the medium of the folding fan, jokingly wishing to make attract many “fans.” I believe he is generous and modest, and his works great and moving. My opinion is also shared by his fans who made the exhibitions at Fo Guang Yuan Art Museums possible. I would like to acknowledge the warm enthusiasm of Ms. Huang Shu-chen, and also the Venerable Masters Chue Chu, Ju Chang, Ju Chuan, and Yu Chuan, for their support for Lin’s A State of Being – The Art of Lin Pang-soong at 60 exhibitions at both Taichung and Kaohsiung’s Fo Guang Yuan Art Museums. To have such exhibitions at the age of sixty is especially meaningful for Lin.

A.S.O. Culture & Art Foundation is another fan of Lin Pang-soong. Upon my introduction of Lin to the CEO of the foundation, Ms. Kelly Kuang, the foundation found Lin to be very agreeable and was pleased to sponsor him in this year’s exhibitions. When I first told Lin on the phone of the sponsorship, he immediately came up with a name for the exhibition, Walking My Own Path. At first, it did not dawn on me, until he pointed out that the foundation came from the mother company of leather shoes. I found his quick and witty response admirable.

Lin Pang-soong recalls, every ten years or so his life is met with turning points. At fifty, he received the greatest art award in Taiwan. Quoting Confucius’ phase “knowing the mandate of heaven at fifty,” Lin believes his mandate is art. One of the painting featured in the exhibitions at the Fo Guang Yuan Art Museums, Complete Freedom, perfectly resembles Lin’s present self. The painting’s circular format is densely filled with circles and dots of all sizes, like a magnificent constellation of stars in the night sky.  Continuing the same quote from above, this year Lin Pang-soong will officially enter into the “year in which one’s ears are accepting [of truth, at sixty years old].” In terms of accepting, the quote speaks of one’s ability to accept everything one hears, without alarm or distress. Is this not a state of complete freedom or perfect being?

by Elaine Suyu Liu

(Translated by Timothy Chang)

Early Summer 2017, Great Taipei New Town

扇緣名山  Mountain Fans  鏡框 設色紙本  Ink & Color on Paper 2016, 70 x 70 cm

扇緣名山 Mountain Fans
設色紙本 Ink & Color on Paper
2016, 70 x 70 cm

 

 

[1] Jiang Jie’s poem, Crossing Wu River by Boat, uses the imagery of cherry blossoms, and was therefore known as the Cherry Blossom Scholar.

[2] Taiwan Art: Image & Packaging published by the General Association of Chinese Culture in 2003, called Lin the “Master of Design in Taiwan.” Great Commercial Design Award published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in 2004 called Lin the “Light of Design in Taiwan.”

大山無價

林磐聳細密山水畫展

文/劉素玉

林磐聳的水墨新作中,有幾幅圓形畫頗為迷人,十分典雅,尺幅雖然不大,但是構圖嚴謹,筆墨精湛,意境雋永,小中見大,咫尺天里。

圓形畫是國畫中歷史悠久的一種藝術形式,源自於扇面畫,分為折扇與圓扇,集藝術鑑賞與生活實用為一體,自唐宋來就廣受人們喜愛,歷久彌新。

 

山外山 Distant Mountains 紙本水墨 Ink on Paper 2016, 70 x 70 cm

大山無價 Invaluable Mountains
紙本水墨 Ink on Paper
2016, 70 x 70 cm

 

 林磐聳於2013年偕友同行絲路時,想出了「日行一扇」的創作形式,有利於行旅倥傯之際創作,去年「台灣八景」創作計劃中,也是以折扇來呈現,慧心獨具,出奇致勝。今年舉行個展,他改以圓形的形式創作,想必是折扇畫的延伸,他不喜歡墨守陳規,而喜愛創新的性情,由此可見一般。這批精彩又精緻的圓形畫也展現出他豐沛的創作能量,以及辛勤誠懇創作的用心。他不僅是位優秀的設計家,更是不折不扣的藝術家。

 

160407 林磐聳 大山無價 現場照片 06

《圓》系列 Circular Series

 


 

「小品畫也應該有大寄託」

-這是張大千說過一句很經典的話,用來形容林磐聳的小品畫,再貼切不過了。

誠然,有一些畫家的小品畫頗為隨意,甚至是畫的不好的作品裁切下來的。不過好的小品畫並不輸大幅畫作,有些巨幅畫作內容空洞,構圖鬆散,大而無當;反之,精彩的小品畫尺幅雖小,內容雖簡,但筆墨精湛,意境深遠,足以小中見大,正所謂「小品畫也有大寄託」。

 

《台灣家書系列》 Homebound Letters Series  紙本水墨 Ink on Paper  2016, 32.5 x 25 cm

《台灣家書系列》 Homebound Letters Series
紙本水墨 Ink on Paper
2016, 32.5 x 25 cm
 
 
林磐聳喜畫小品畫,多年下來,累積的數量不少,但是張張構圖完整,各有千秋,一點也不馬虎,長久以來,他以各種造形「形塑」台灣圖像,成為創作的一個主軸,花草樹木、山林川流、雲彩奇石,到抽象線條,台灣圖像在他筆下千變萬化,絢麗新奇,他的創造力之豐富、構圖之複雜,令人嘖嘖稱奇。

近年來他開始畫台灣的大山。台灣雖小,但島上多雄偉壯麗、氣勢磅礡的大山,足以傲視全球。用巨幅大畫來畫大山,自然容易大展身手,但是以小品入畫如何不受尺幅局限?這可就看功力了。林磐聳用細密的筆墨苦心經營,其獨到之處在於疏密變化,運用「疏中密,密中疏」來呈現大山的紋路、質地、向背,以及高山的雲霧縹緲,達到了疏中有景,密處有韻的境界。

 

160407 林磐聳 大山無價 現場照片 07

《台灣家書系列》 Homebound Letters Series
 
 

走出美術館,走入民眾中

洪易登陸首展  -  北京三地呈現:

奧林匹克公園、雁棲湖地壇公園

文/劉素玉

台灣雕塑藝術家洪易的彩繪雕塑作品顏色鮮艷,圖案富有台灣特色喜氣歡樂吉祥富貴,以動物為主題的系列作品造型飽滿,充滿狂想與童趣,近年來早已風靡台灣。不但擁有廣大收藏族群,且成為台灣各重要地標公共藝術的首選。

2013年,洪易在日本箱根雕之森美術館舉行「快樂動物派對」展覽,成為繼國際雕塑大師朱銘之後,第二位在該館展出的台灣雕塑藝術家。洪易雕塑藝術的原創性與藝術性皆受到高度的肯定。2015年洪易在美國舊金山市政廣場展出「花漾動物嘉年華」,成功登陸新大陸。證明以東方圖騰與色彩為主要創作元素的洪易作品,一樣能夠獲得西方人士欣賞與共鳴。

160217 洪易 奧林匹克公園 0V5A0115
北京奧林匹克公園 Beijing Olympic Green

 

2016年洪易進軍中國大陸,推出命名為「歡樂西遊記」的展覽,首站巡禮北京,共分三個場地:奧林匹克公園、雁棲湖畔、地壇公園。此三個場地都是北京首屈一指的著名景點,奧林匹克公園即在北京知名建築「鳥巢體育館」前,雁棲湖畔位於曾舉辦亞太經合會(APEC)的雁棲湖國家會展中心,地壇公園更是歷史悠久的旅遊勝地。

洪易的登陸首展是由廣西桂林愚自樂園與台北高士畫廊共同主辦,同時更獲得北京虛苑文化藝術發展有限公司的大力促成。愚自樂園是台灣金寶山集團在大陸所建立的現代雕塑藝術公園,迄今已經有20年的歷史,董事長曹光燦多年來陸續收藏許多洪易的作品。2013年起愚自樂園與世界知名旅遊集團法國地中海俱樂部(Club Med)合作,成立愚自樂園地中海俱樂部渡假村,吸引大量來自全世界的高端旅客。

北京APEC雁栖湖 APEC Yanqi Lake

2014年以來,愚自樂園更進一步與台北高士畫廊合作,一起在大陸推廣洪易的藝術。高士畫廊董事長劉素玉曾任台北漢雅軒執行董事,現兼四川大學藝術學院客座教授,在大陸的美術學院界與藝術批評界擁有豐沛人脈。在曹光燦的邀請下,洪易也在愚自樂園成立了洪易藝術工作室,常態性的進行雕塑藝術的創作與展示。洪易在愚自樂園的藝術工作室迅速成為愚自樂園地中海俱樂部旅客遊園參觀重點,他的作品受到各國遊客的喜愛,證明洪易的台灣藝術語彙獲得了國際共鳴。

160218 洪易 雁栖湖 05

大力促成洪易北京展覽的北京虛苑文化藝術發展有限公司總經理姜興道是在參觀了愚自樂園之後,深深的被洪易的藝術所吸引。同時也是大陸規模最大的版畫工坊-虛苑國際版畫中心創辦人的姜興道認為,洪易的作品吸收了中華文化中最民俗的元素,再以當代藝術的手法做出最精緻的呈現,將大俗做到大雅。將一般民眾喜聞樂見的色彩、造型與圖案,化為能走進現代精緻空間,跨入國際的藝術語彙。

洪易的藝術養分,來自民間,來自鄉土。洪易的登陸首展採取另類思考,不以美術館為首站,而是走出美術館,走入民眾中,貼近民眾,散播歡樂。選擇在中國人最喜愛的春節假期,洪易北京展出的三地都推出了熱鬧喜慶的活動,奧林匹克公園與雁棲湖畔舉行「冰雪嘉年華」活動,包括滑雪、滑雪板、滑雪圈等多項雪上戶外運動,洪易色彩繽紛、造型活潑可愛的「歡樂西遊記」大型戶外雕塑作品就置放在嘉年華活動的人造雪場地上,成為嘉年華中的一大亮點。

160216 洪易 地壇公園01
北京地壇公園 Temple of Earth Park

置放在奧林匹克公園的「鳥巢體育會」前面的洪易作品,是洪易在桂林愚自樂園所創作的「廣西遊記」,內容包括長達8公尺的白龍馬,其上載著唐三藏、孫悟空、豬八戒、沙悟淨,高度超過3公尺;而在「廣西遊記」之後的是排列成行的12匹駱駝,象徵秉持恆心、毅力,一路前行,洪易將這批吃苦耐勞的沙漠之舟繪上鮮艷的色彩,突破傳統形象,深具現代感而又充滿活力。

160218 洪易 雁栖湖 14地壇公園的文化廟會至今已邁入第31屆,是北京最受民眾喜愛的春節活動之一,其勝景被譽為中國的狂歡節,每年都吸引百萬人次遊客,今年適逢猴年,洪易展出將近4公尺高的巨大不銹鋼烤漆作品「馬上封侯」,既應景又喜氣,在猴年為北京民眾帶來吉祥的祝福。地壇廟會雖然只有大年初一到初五短短五天的活動,但是吸引了超過50萬人的參觀,和「馬上封侯」作品拍照的民眾將作品圍的水泄不通,北京市民已經愛上了首度在北京亮相的洪易作品。

接下來,在愚自樂園與高士畫廊的合作下,還將在大陸推出更加別開生面的洪易展覽,為這位充滿藝術能量的藝術家開疆避土,散播歡樂的色彩與吉祥的祝福。

160217 洪易 奧林匹克公園 0V5A0060

台灣八景

藝術創作計劃 2013 – 2014

文/劉素玉

「台灣最美的風景是人」,這句話近來蔚為時尚,言者意指台灣人素質高、人情味濃,但是否也意味著台灣風景不美呢?起碼不比人美?其實台灣的天然景觀變化多端,極富特色,較之人文景觀實不差矣。

「台灣八景」最早見於1694年的《台灣府志》,400年來,八景名單因時空移轉而變更,除了開發建設、社會變遷等外在因素之外,民眾的審美力和認同度的變化更頗值玩味。風景美麗與否?因何美麗?遊人的主觀看法時常超越客觀條件。2013年起,兩岸的三位藝術家林磐聳、周剛、薛松受邀進行台灣八景創作計劃,八景名單事前並未限定,而讓他們盡情暢遊台灣,希望透過藝術家獨到的眼光與美學素養,再根據他們個人的特有藝術語彙來描繪,呈現在這個特定年代以藝術定格的台灣八景。

 

林磐聳

林磐聳 Lin (Apex) Pang-soong 西門紅樓 Red House Theater  紙本設色 成扇 Ink and Color on Paper, Fan 2015, 20 x 56 cm (正面 Front)
林磐聳 Lin (Apex) Pang-soong
西門紅樓 Red House Theater
紙本設色 成扇 Ink and Color on Paper, Fan
2015, 20 x 56 cm (正面 Front)

林磐聳以台灣島圖像進行創作已行之多年,台灣島的圖像固然不變,內容則千變萬化,植物花卉、山水雲石、線條點線…,皆可入畫,形塑台灣。

台灣八景創作計劃,林磐聳暫時捨棄「一圖一台灣」,而改為「一圖一景」,並延續絲路之行的創作形式-日行一扇,亦即畫在紙扇上。紙扇作畫在國畫中有悠久傳統,有攜帶方便、隨時隨地可畫的便利性,也便於人們收藏、把玩;但扇型尺幅對於構圖限制較多,但若掌握得宜,則增添趣味性。

林磐聳根據不同景色,分別採取單點透視或多點透視作畫,扇面上的風景因而呈現環景效果,觀看時,一折一折展開扇頁,映入眼簾的就是一段段的美景,其效果與觀賞手卷如出一轍。紙扇背面是畫家的書法手帖,內容簡述各景點的史地淵源,以及遊歷時的心境感懷,文字生動,情真意切,宛如一篇篇簡潔優美的遊記。這種「圖文並茂」的形式,延續並擴大他長年以來的家書創作計劃,因為較之明信片,扇面所能發揮的空間更大了。

 

周剛

周剛成長於古都西安,大學時就讀中國美術學院、畢業後又留校任教而移居杭州。江南山清水秀,與西北的壯麗遼闊大異其趣,周剛很幸運地在兩地都有長期生活與遊歷的體驗,這豐富他的創作歷程。他又熱愛出外實地寫生,足跡踏遍大江南北,唯獨未及台灣,雖然過去十多年來,因公差多次來台開會、教學、評審,對台灣風土人情並不陌生,卻從未實地寫生,此次參加台灣八景創作計劃可一償多年宿願,行前他就預料,從藝術創作的角度出發必定與尋常的旅遊大不相同,果不期然。

周剛認為,台灣風景雖然不及大陸壯闊,但卻小而美,最美之處在於「恰到好處」,而且和人的關係融洽和諧,不論自然風景或人文風景都可親可近,許多名勝,不僅是觀光景點,也是居民日常生活的天地,令人感到親切,例如鹿港小鎮,就令他留戀不已,簡潔素樸的龍山寺更吸引了他,走訪龍山寺當天,恰逢寒流來襲,他壓下帽沿、豎起衣領在刺骨的彰濱海風中畫了一下午;他也喜愛古意盎然、車水馬龍,生活步調卻悠閒的台南,那天走訪祀典武廟時,已近黃昏,為捕捉朱紅外牆在夕陽餘輝交相輝映的瞬間美景,他在對街赤嵌樓外的街邊展開畫紙和時間競賽,下筆迅速,酣暢淋漓。

暢遊台灣采風寫生,周剛眼到、意到、筆到,盡情揮灑,收獲豐盛,遠遠超出預期。

 

薛松

薛松 XUE Song 《龍騰斷橋》Longteng Bridge  布面綜合媒材 Mixed Media on Canvas 2014, 80 x 100 cm
薛松 XUE Song
《龍騰斷橋》Longteng Bridge
布面綜合媒材 Mixed Media on Canvas
2014, 80 x 100 cm

薛松作品的特點是將現成的圖像、文字進行拆解、重組、拼貼、繪製,其中又以火燒烤印刷品形成的灰燼或碎片最為獨特,那些印刷品,包括圖書、字帖、畫冊、照片等不一而足,經過火的洗禮之後,轉變為新的形態,產生新的視覺效果,而其內容又與創作主題互相呼應,產生對話關係,可以是矛盾、批判、隱喻、反諷或幽默的,整幅作品富有多重意涵。

薛松一向重視歷史與現實的思考,創作主題多元,山水、人物、名畫、時尚等,其中山水是一大亮點。他改造古山水,也繪製新風景,古山水的圖像裡有新風景的碎片;反之,新風景中有古山水的碎片,十分耐人尋味。

邀請薛松創作台灣八景,雙方一拍即合,賓主盡歡。他兩度來台,重要景點都不錯過,甚至去了外島馬祖,喜歡飲酒的他,進了八八坑道大開眼界,笑得特別開心。回去之後,如期繳出畫作,八件作品各有千秋,令人讚嘆的是他把搜集到的圖書文物一一繪製畫中,美景裡有原住民、漢人、荷蘭、日人…,也有閩南遺物、殘山剩水、文史字畫、蟲魚鳥獸…,巧妙安排,無懈可擊,即便101那樣新潮的大樓,因有人文、史地的拼貼碎片,而把現代與傳統、時尚與文化連結起來。台灣的風景繽紛美麗,除了自然景觀千變萬化,更因多元文化、多種住民、繁多物產等因素交織之故,薛松的魔幻技法最能充分呈現。

 


 

Eight Views of Taiwan: Art Creation Project 2013 – 2015

“The most beautiful scenery in Taiwan is the people,” has recently become a popular phrase, meaning the Taiwanese people are warm and loving. But does it suggest the scenery of Taiwan to not be beautiful? Or at least incomparable to the people? In fact, Taiwan’s natural landscape is vastly diverse and full of character, very much like the people.

Eight Views of Taiwan first appeared in 1694 in the official Taiwan Chorography. In the four following centuries, the list of Eight Views has undergone a series of changes according to the times, due to not only the island’s development and social growth, but also the people’s choice of aesthetics and sense of cultural identification. What makes a scenery beautiful? A viewer’s opinion often oversteps the boundaries of objectivity. From 2013, three cross-strait artists, Lin (Apex) Pang-soong, Zhou Gang, and Xue Song, were invited for the Eight Views of Taiwan creation project. Without a preconceived list of Eight Views, the artists were invited to travel around Taiwan, and through their experience and interaction with the island, each represent the scenery in their own artistic language, ultimately painting a view into the cultural and historical heritage of Taiwan.

 

Lin (Apex) Pang-soong

林磐聳 Lin (Apex) Pang-soong 西門紅樓 Red House Theater  紙本設色 成扇 Ink and Color on Paper, Fan 2015, 20 x 56 cm (背面 Reverse)
林磐聳 Lin (Apex) Pang-soong
西門紅樓 Red House Theater
紙本設色 成扇 Ink and Color on Paper, Fan
2015, 20 x 56 cm (背面 Reverse)

Lin (Apex) Pang-song has adopted the image of Taiwan as his subject matter for many years. While the image of the island remains stable, the composition is ever-changing. From flowers and trees to clouds and mountains, they are all drawn together to form the image of Taiwan.

For Eight Views of Taiwan, Lin temporarily abandoned his usual iconography and continued his series from the Silk RoadA Fan a Day. Fan Painting is a classic genre in traditional Chinese Painting. Convenient in size and form, the fan can be carried and painted on without constraints with location, and is therefore popular among connoisseurs.

Lin Pang-soong utilizes the shape of the fan with the use of multi-point perspective, thereby representing the landscape in panoramic view. As the viewer opens the fan fold by fold, the composition is revealed in small sections, recalling the effect of a traditional hand scroll. On the reverse side is a brief history of the scenery, as well as Lin’s recollections, rendered beautifully in running-script calligraphy. This form of documentation through painting and calligraphy continues and expands his ongoing performance art piece with postcards and letters, in which the fan fuels the performance.

 

Zhou Gang

周剛 ZHOU Gang 《鹿港龍山寺》 Longshan Temple, Lugang 紙本水彩 Watercolor on Paper 2014, 46 x 61 cm
周剛 ZHOU Gang
《鹿港龍山寺》 Longshan Temple, Lugang
紙本水彩 Watercolor on Paper
2014, 46 x 61 cm

Zhou Gang grew up in the ancient capital of Xi’an and attended university at the China Academy of Art, where upon graduation he stayed on teaching at the academy, and has resided in Hangzhou since. The lush and subtle landscape of the Yangtze delta region is strikingly different from the dry and rugged northwest, and Zhou’s experience in living and traveling in both environments enriches his understanding of landscape art. In fact, Zhou is a firm believer in live sketching on location. Although he has traveled throughout the mainland in search of subject matter, the island of Taiwan has always eluded him, and desipte visiting Taiwan for academic purposes, the landscape of Taiwan remains strange and attractive to him. Therefore, the Eight Views of Taiwan creation project finally fulfilled his wish to capture Taiwan with his brush.

Zhou Gang believes while the landscape of Taiwan is incomparable to that of China, in terms of the sheer scale, he points out being small in size has its advantages. What he finds most remarkable is how cultural life in Taiwan is seamlessly integrated with the landscape. Whether a view of a natural scenery or one of historical importance, the location is not simply a tourist site, but also where residence conduct their daily lives. In small town of Lukang, Zhou was captivated by the Longshan Temple, and how it stood and functioned unchanged for hundreds of years. We visited the temple in late November, as the damp winter cold was settling in. Zhou; however, was completely undeterred by the winter wind and painted the afternoon away. He was also drawn to the quaint and relaxed pace of life of old Tainan. That day, as we visited the Martial Temple close to dusk, Zhou brilliantly captured the red temple walls set against the golden sunset. Sat on the sidewalk across from Fort Provintia, he set himself on a race against time, wielding his brush furiously before every inch of sunlight passed.

Through his journey around the island and his interaction with the scenery through live sketching, Zhou Gang’s emotional impressions of Taiwan are colorfully reflected in his paintings.
  

Xue Song

A prominent feature of Xue Song’s art is the reconstruction of ready-made images through collage, specifically with the burning of printed materials to create shards and ashes. These materials include books such as art catalogues, copybooks for calligraphy, and photographs. Whichever the material, the images are chosen to reflect or represent the subject matter, through juxtaposition, allusion, or metaphor. After being burned into spontaneous shapes, the individual images are then pasted onto the canvas in precise arrangements to form the overall composition, thereby achieving a multitude of visual effects.

In art, Xue Song explores the relation between history and contemporary life. His subject matter includes landscapes, historical figures, famous paintings, and fashion, in which the landscape genre plays a defining role. He transforms the traditional Chinese landscape by integrating images of contemporary life, creating a new composition that is stylistically both classical and modern.

In inviting Xue Song for Eight Views of Taiwan, he was enthusiastic about project and was a pleasure to work with. Twice coming to Taiwan, we toured nearly every important location, and even visited the Matsu Islands, where upon entering Tunnel 88 where Kaoliang liquor is distilled and stored, Xue gave off the happiest smile. Shortly after his return, eight astonishing artworks were completed. What is most remarkable is his use of materials he gathered in Taiwan, including vintage images of Taiwan aboriginals, Chinese settlers, Dutch traders, and Japanese colonials, as well as historical monuments, cultural landscapes, and famous paintings and calligraphy. By reassembling these images in collage, Xue Song’s creates a fascinating view into the cultural diversity and historical heritage of Taiwan’s beautiful sceneries.

 Elaine Suyu Liu

 

薛松 XUE Song 《漁人碼頭》Fisherman's Wharf 布面綜合媒材 Mixed Media on Canvas 2014, 100 x 100 cm
薛松 XUE Song
《漁人碼頭》Fisherman’s Wharf
布面綜合媒材 Mixed Media on Canvas
2014, 100 x 100 cm

走過絲路,飄洋過海到台灣

記2013-2015年的台灣八景創作之旅

文/劉素玉

人生的際遇真是奇妙,有誰能預料,2012年六位藝友同行的一趟絲路創作之旅,翌年四月於台北高士畫廊展覽之後,並沒有隨著展覽結束而劃下句點。由於展覽及出版畫冊的成功,吸引了新的贊助者──巫永堅先生,透過林磐聳介紹,誠懇的循著絲路之旅贊助者許宗煒先生的足跡,請我策劃另一趟旅行創作計劃:台灣八景。

走過絲路,敦煌佛窟裡的莊嚴神聖佛像令我大開眼界,滋長了我的藝術素養,而佛窟裡刻記著無以數計的供養人名字也令我難以忘懷,由於他們的虔誠供養,造就了萬古流芳的敦煌藝術,許先生與巫先生如同敦煌佛窟的供養人,我們欣然接受這樣一個富有意義的創作之旅。只是,這趟台灣八景創作之旅卻走得十分散漫,從2013年起,斷斷續續,直到2015年終於完成任務,對於贊助者巫先生總算沒有繳白卷。

 

台灣人美,還是景美?

「台灣最美的風景是人」,這句話近來蔚為時尚,言者意指台灣人素質高、人情味濃,但是否也意味著台灣風景不美呢?起碼不比人美?其實台灣的天然景觀變化多端,極富特色,較之人文景觀實不差矣。

十六世紀中葉,葡萄牙船員航海經過台灣海面時,從海上遠眺,發現島上崇山峻嶺,林木鬱鬱蒼蒼,不禁高呼:「Ilha Formosa」,意指「美麗之島」,葡萄牙人浪漫的讚嘆:Formosa(福爾摩莎),成為台灣引以為傲的代名詞。

孤懸在太平洋上的台灣島,面積不大不小,景觀、生態千變萬化,氣候氣象萬千,因而風情萬種,嬌媚迷人。台灣高山遍佈,3000公尺以上的高峰超過260座,台灣最高峰-玉山-海拔3952公尺,是東北亞最高峰,也使台灣島成為世界地勢高度第四高的島嶼;全島山巒綿亙起伏,地形錯綜複雜,造成氣候因子詭譎多變,地形與氣候交互影響之故,形成熱帶、亞熱帶、溫帶、寒帶等氣候區,孕育豐富的物種,呈現生態環境多樣性的特質,種類繁多與珍貴稀有程度舉世聞名。

薛松 XUE Song 《玉山》 Mount Yu    布面綜合媒材 Mixed Media on Canvas 2014, 60 x 120 cm
薛松 XUE Song
《玉山》 Mount Yu
布面綜合媒材 Mixed Media on Canvas
2014, 60 x 120 cm

台灣四周環海,海岸線長,各地海岸景觀不盡相同,造就台灣取之不盡的美景資源,1694年(清康熙33年)高拱乾主編的《台灣府志》首度提及台灣八景,除了「雞籠積雪」之外,其他七景都與海景有關:安平晚渡、沙鯤漁火、鹿耳春潮、東溟曉日、西嶼落霞、斐亭聽濤、澄台觀海。足見台灣人對海景的鍾愛其來有自,當時台灣開發不多,取景受到諸多限制,往後歷經歲月變遷、建設擴大、政權更迭,台灣八景內容物換星移,但台灣人對海景始終一往情深。

1927年《台灣日日新報》透過民眾票選出的八景1,出現了高山、縱谷:阿里山、八卦山、壽山、八仙山、太魯閣峽谷,而海岸美景依然擄獲人心:淡水、鵝鸞鼻。美景自然有山、有水,海岸之外,幽靜清澈的潭水也別有風情,日月潭首度躍上了八景名單,歷久彌新。

1953年,台灣省政府制定的台灣八景為雙潭秋月、玉山積雪、安平夕照、阿里雲海、大屯春色、魯谷幽峽、清水斷崖、澎湖漁火;2005年交通部觀光局透過票選的台灣八景為台北101、台北故宮、日月潭、阿里山、玉山、高雄愛河、墾丁、太魯閣峽谷。

隨著時空移轉,一些景色已經不復舊貌,今昔對照之下,昔日八景以天然景觀取勝,但貫注了文人吟風弄月的匠心,富有濃濃詩意,如漁火晚渡、聽濤春潮、朝日夕霞、春雨秋月…;今日八景則加入了文化與建設的輝煌成果,如台北101、台北故宮,甚至高雄愛河,也是因為整治成功,而成為民眾流連忘返的都會美景。美景名單隨著時空轉變實屬自然,熱門景點固然有其特出之處,但人人心目中的美景必然不盡相同。

 

藝術家心中的台灣八景

參加台灣八景創作之旅的三位藝術家:林磐聳、周剛、薛松,對於台灣之旅充滿憧憬,兩位大陸藝術家周剛、薛松自是不在話下,雖然他們皆非首次遊台灣,但是像這種肩負創作目的的深度之旅卻是第一次,尤其又有專門為他們詳細規劃行程的導遊一路相伴,當然不會等閒視之;至於林磐聳,台灣是生於斯、長於斯的故鄉,足跡早已踏遍台灣各地無以數計,不過,他對以台灣為素材的創作熱情終於不虞匱乏,何況還有兩岸藝術家同行,行政助理隨行侍候,當然心嚮往之。只可惜,三位藝術家都是大忙人,經過無數次居中連繫,竟然排不出同行的旅程,變通之道只好各行其是,反正人人心中各自美景不同,創作方法也各異其趣。如此寬鬆「自由行」的結果,一走就是將近兩年之久。

對於策展人與行政助理來說,藝術家的「自由行」愈多,意謂者狀況愈多,因為行程安排反覆重疊,頗費周章;但從另一個角度來看,三位藝術家各有風格,即使同一地點多次隨行,也有不同收獲,就當作是賺到一次次的旅遊吧!凡事換個心情,又是一番風景。唯一麻煩的是時間似乎總是不夠,因而創作之旅延宕甚久。

周剛 ZHOU Gang 《國父紀念館》Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall 紙本水彩 Watercolor on Paper 2014, 46 x 61 cm
周剛 ZHOU Gang
《國父紀念館》Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
紙本水彩 Watercolor on Paper
2014, 46 x 61 cm

林磐聳、周剛與我們一家人於三年前同遊絲路,朝夕相伴,已經是老友了,再度旅行台灣,分外親切。原本要藉著這一次旅行,重溫暢遊絲路的消遙快活,只可惜林磐聳總是太忙,只好放他一馬,隨他自由創作;周剛的行程也很都滿檔,2013年12月,趁著他到亞洲大學開會空檔期間,安排探訪台灣八景,雖然來去匆匆,但是行程緊湊,一樣收獲頗豐。亞洲大學在台中霧峰,第一站就直奔日月潭,接著遍遊台中公園、台中孔廟、鹿港。鹿港之行,巫永堅不但親自參加,並帶了他的父母、女友一塊遊玩,一行人男女老少,浩浩蕩蕩,有說有笑,周剛依然能抓緊時間,認真寫生;接著南下古都台南,走訪赤崁樓和武廟;回程北上參觀國父紀念館和101大樓。有趣的是,國父紀念館原來不在周剛規劃的台灣八景之內,為了要畫101大樓,我們驅車在101大樓周邊逛了兩圈,都找不到合適描繪的角度和地點,最後決定拉遠距離,以便觀察全貌,到了國父紀念館前廣場,發現可以遠眺101大樓全景,角度、背景俱佳,周剛喜出望外,開心展紙動筆,畫霓101大樓,他意猶未盡,無畏當天攝氏10度的刺骨寒風,又畫了一張國父紀念館,之後到對面吃了一大碗牛肉麵,寒氣盡消,大呼痛快淋漓。

全台一行,讓周剛印象最深刻的首推鹿港龍山寺,龍山寺的簡潔素樸之美與廊柱飛簷線條的優雅俐落,較之一般閩南式寺廟的金碧輝煌,多了一分雅緻,少了一分俗麗。抵達龍山寺的午後,恰逢寒流來襲,鹿港緊鄰彰化海濱,海風肆虐,同行人等儘皆入廟避寒,周剛不愧是陝西長大的男子漢,不畏低溫寒風,一個人坐在廟埕專心致意作畫。

薛松為了台灣八景創作計劃兩度來台,第一次走訪101大樓、日月潭、阿里山、台南(赤崁樓、安平古堡、武廟)、高雄(左營春秋閣、英國領事館)、淡水。第二次走訪台灣之外的馬祖以及東部的花蓮,之所以遠赴馬祖,一是巫永堅在馬祖藏有一批好酒,酒香引人,二是馬祖的前哨戰地,讓薛松感受一下兩岸對峙時期的肅殺氣氛。

兩次台灣之行,令薛松印象最深刻的地方也是鹿港。他認為,鹿港保留了大片古蹟,而且還是可居可遊的生活古蹟,更為珍貴,對照現今大陸許多城市沒日沒夜大拆特拆,喜新厭舊,新蓋的建物又沒有特色,千篇一律,令人扼腕。薛松興緻昂然地在鹿港的大街小巷穿梭,細細品味,慢慢遊蕩,享受了一般遊客沒有的深度知性之旅,難能可貴的是,古樸小鎮人煙稀落,更引人發思古幽情。位於天后宮對面的永安宮,其主祀是薛府王爺,特別吸引了薛松的興趣,進去探索憑弔一番,才瞭解此薛王爺乃唐朝名將薛仁貴,他在感到與有榮焉之餘,也讚嘆古老文化傳承深入台灣民間,殊為難得。

薛松 Xue Song
薛松 Xue Song
台北台灣e店 Taiwan’s Store, Taipei

三年前的絲路之旅,一夥人同進同出,朝夕相伴,旅程中互相扶持,創作時互別苗頭,不時談笑風生,交換所見所聞,也激盪出更多創作靈感,此次遊台灣卻只能各行其是,創作計劃也因而延宕甚久,這實是此行美中不足之處。不過,做為策展人以及行政助理的我們三人,卻仍然很有收獲,從行程規劃之初,搜集台灣歷史文獻、擬定旅遊路線等經驗,讓我重新認識台灣。在規劃行程方面,林磐聳投入最多,他還帶給我幾本有關台灣八景的書籍與史冊,這是激發我深入面對台灣的起點,說來慚愧的是,過去對於自己的故鄉,因為太過熟悉,反而加以忽視,這次為了創作計劃,更為了要讓大陸藝術家迅速進入狀況,我潛心研讀台灣史地,並購買相關書籍分贈每位藝術家。記得薛松來台北的第一天晚上,在101大樓的欣葉餐廳用完餐,順道逛逛101大樓之後,就帶他去台大校園對面巷子裡的書店尋寶,他尤其喜愛「台灣e店」,在裡面待了最久,購買了好多有關台灣史地圖書,他後來一一將相關素材融入自己的油畫創作之中,這一點令我相當感動,並有一種得意的參與感。

周剛與林磐聳的台灣八景作品,一樣都深深打動我的心,這不僅僅是因為他們的作品裡面都有我們策劃的用心痕跡,更因為作品內容是我們一起走過、遊過的地方,裡面有過我們共同的歡笑與記憶,意義更加不比尋常。

1. 1927年8月,《台灣日日新報》舉辦透過民眾投票方式,選出「台灣八景十二勝」,票選結果有兩種說法,其一:基隆旭岡、淡水、八仙山、日月潭、阿里山、壽山、鵝鸞鼻、太魯閣峽谷;其二:烏來、新店、八仙山、日月潭、阿里山、八卦山、台南安平、墾丁。

 


 

Beyond the Silk Road, Across the Sea to Taiwan

 – Eight Views of Taiwan: Art Creation Project 2013 – 2015

 

Chances in life are truly wonderful. Who could have predicted, the 2011 art creation journey across the Silk Road with six close friends, and its exhibition at Loftyart Gallery in the following year, did not come to a conclusion with the exhibition’s end. Due to the success of the exhibition (Silk Road: A Contemplative Journey 2011 – 2013) and its catalogue, the project attracted a new sponsor – Yoken Wu. Introduced by Lin (Apex) Pang-soong, Wu sought to follow the footsteps of the Silk Road’s sponsor, Hsu Cong-wei, and asked me to curate another art creation project: Eight Views of Taiwan.

Traveling through the Silk Road, the ancient Buddhist reliefs at the Mogao Grottoes of Dunhuang were an eye-opener for me, as visual nourishment to my artistic accomplishment. The names of countless patrons carved onto the grottoes’ walls were an unforgettable sight. Because of their donations and offerings, the art of Dunhuang has been preserved and handed down for generations. Hsu Cong-wei and Yoken Wu’s contributions are comparable to the patrons of Dunhuang, and we are pleased to accept this kind of contemplative creation project. However, the execution of Eight Views of Taiwan was rather disoriented. Stretching from 2013, it was finally completed in 2015, much to the relief of our sponsor Yoken Wu.

 

The Beauty of Taiwan, the People or the Scenery?

“The most beautiful scenery in Taiwan is the people,” has recently become a popular phrase, meaning the Taiwanese people are warm and loving. But does it suggest the scenery of taiwan to not be beautiful? Or at least incomparable to the people? In fact, Taiwan’s natural landscape is vastly diverse and full of character, very much like the people.

In the Mid-Sixteenth Century, Portuguese traders sailed upon Taiwan for the first time. As they gazed at the island from their ships, they were moved by its rising mountains and luscious foliage. They thereby named it “Ilha Formosa,” meaning “beautiful island,” and the name Formosa has been proudly held synonymous for Taiwan ever since.

Off the coast of China on the Pacific Ocean, the island of Taiwan is sub-tropical in climate with a wide range of fauna and flora. The island is lined by a central mountain range across its north-south axis, with more than 260 mountains over 3000 meters above sea-level. The highest mountain, Mount Yu, towers at 3952 meters as the tallest in East Asia. Due to its mountainous terrain, Taiwan is abundant in geographical wonders.

As an narrow island, Taiwan has two long coastlines, with very different characteristics. In Taiwan Chorography, complied by a Qing dynasty official in 1694, a list of eight sceneries were outlined, forming the canon of what later became celebrated as the Eight Views of Taiwan. Of the original eight, seven were of the coastal landscapes. Understandably, as the province of Taiwan was not widely inhabited during that time, the choice of sceneries was limited to the coast. However, as time progressed, settlements developed, and regimes changed, the Eight Views of Taiwan changed accordingly.

林磐聳 Lin (Apex) Pang-soong 淡水觀音 Mount Guanine from Tamsui  紙本設色 成扇 Ink and Color on Paper, Fan 2015, 20 x 56 cm (正面 Front)
林磐聳 Lin (Apex) Pang-soong
淡水觀音 Mount Guanying from Tamsui
紙本設色 成扇 Ink and Color on Paper, Fan
2015, 20 x 56 cm (正面 Front)

In 1927 during the Japanese Colonial Period, the Taiwan Daily News selected a new list of Eight Views by popular survey, in which mountains scenes; Mount Ali, Pakua Plateau, Monkey Mountain, Eight Immortals Mountain, Taroko Gorge, gained a majority over coastal scenes; Tamsui and Cape Eluanbi.Also the reservoir Sun Moon Lake made its first appearance on the list.

In 1954 after the retrocession, the republican government of Taiwan established an official Eight Views with Sun Moon Lake, Mount Yu, Fort Zeelandia, Mount Ali, Mount Datun, Taroko Gorge, Qingshui Cliff, and the Pescadores Islands. Finally in 2005, the Tourism Bureau conducted another survey, which selected the current list with the Taipei 101, the Palace Museum, Sun Moon Lake, Mount Ali, Mount Yu, the Love River of Kaohsiung, Kenting National Park, and Taroko Gorge.

As the times change, some sceneries are no longer popular or relevant. In examining the past with the present, it appears in every era, the Eight Views were generally composed of natural landscapes. However, within each landscape there is also a strong sense of human activity or cultural identification. Today, the list includes achievements of human engineering and culture, such as the Taipei 101 and the Palace Museum. As sceneries come and go out of fashion, the changing lists provides an insightful view into the visual culture of Taiwan. While popular locations are outstanding in their own right, the sceneries in everyone’s minds are bound to vary.

Eight Views of Taiwan in the Minds of the Artists

The three artists invited for Eight Views of Taiwan, Lin Pang-soong, Zhou Gang, and Xue Song were pleased by the chance to travel around Taiwan. For the two Mainland Chinese artists, Zhou Gang and Xue Song, that goes without saying. Although it was not their first time visiting Taiwan, an artistic journey such as this was definitely the first, especially with the project curated toward their artistic outlook and personal style. As for Lin Pang-soong, who was born and raised in Taiwan, and has explored nearly every corner of the island, his passion for adopting Taiwan as his subject matter has never waned. Moreover, to be accompanied by fellow cross-strait artists, and friendly painting assistants, Lin was glad to be onboard. Unfortunately as all three artists lead terribly busy lives, despite our relentless effort, a common time for the project could not be reached. Instead, each made a trip separately. It is interesting the project turned out this way, as each artist chose to depict different sceneries. Ultimately, in the spirit of “independent travel,” the project ran for over two years.

As for the curator and painting assistants, the three artists’ separate trips proved to be inconvenient, as their itineraries eventually overlapped in certain locations. However, from another perspective, as each artist has his own style, to all depict the same subject matter would have been unfitting and impersonal. Rather, each location was specifically chosen for an artist, in regards to his artistic medium and mode of representation. And for the curator, as long as one faces each trip in the right mood, the sceneries are beautiful every time.

Lin Pang-soong and Zhou Gang had joined our family on the Silk Road four years ago, and have since remained close friends; to travel again with them around Taiwan would have been a pleasure. We originally planned to revisit our memories of the Silk Road through this journey. Unfortunately, Lin Pang-soong was always too busy, so we were forced to proceed without him. Zhou Gang’s schedule was also full. So in December 2013, while Zhou Gang was attending a conference at Asia University, we used the opportunity for him to begin his Eight Views of Taiwan. Although the schedule was tight, it was rewarding nonetheless. Asia University is located in Wufeng district of Taichung city, from there we first visited Taichung Park and the Confucius Temple; then we crossed south into Nantou county for Sun Moon Lake, and finally headed east to the town of Lukang. There, not only did our sponsor Yoken Wu join us, he also brought his parents and daughter to join us as patrons of the arts. While we scrolled leisurely through these scenic locations, Zhou Gang wasted no time and sketched away furiously. Further south, we traveled to the ancient capital of Tainan, and visited the city’s Martial Temple and the old Dutch settlement of Fort Provintia. On the return trip north, we stopped at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall and the Taipei 101. Originally, the Memorial Hall was not envisioned as one of Zhou’s Eight Views, but in order to capture the 101 from a suitable angle, we circled the tower until we arrived in front of the Memorial Hall, and Zhou was more than pleased with the location and began sketching immediately. Once he started, despite the cold winter weather, he could not stop, and the painting of Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall was the result.

周剛 ZHOU Gang 《鹿港龍山寺》 Longshan Temple, Lugang 紙本水彩 Watercolor on Paper 2014, 46 x 61 cm
周剛 ZHOU Gang
《鹿港龍山寺》 Longshan Temple, Lugang
紙本水彩 Watercolor on Paper
2014, 46 x 61 cm

Of Zhou Gang’s tour around Taiwan, he was most impressed by the Longshan Temple at Lukang, in which the buddhist temple’s simplistic design and rustic charm provided a refreshing alternative, to the usually elaborate Southern Hokkien style of architecture common to Taiwan. Having arrived at Longshan Temple late in the afternoon that day, the weather was extremely cold. As Lukang was an old port by the sea, the ocean wind brought devastating chills throughout the town. While the rest of us sought refuge inside the temple, Zhou sat alone outside, in sheer defiance to the wind, and concentrated on his art.

For the Eight Views of Taiwan project, Xue Song made two trips to Taiwan; the first included the Taipei 101, Sun Moon Lake, Mount Ali, Tainan (Fort Provintia, Fort Zeelandia, and the Martial Temple), Kaohsiung (the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas and the Former British Consulate), and Tamsui. The second trip was to the Matsu Islands and Hualien in Eastern Taiwan. What drew us all the way off the coast of Taiwan to Matsu was principally Yoken Wu’s Kaoliang liquor collection there, but also Matsu’s rich heritage of the Chinese Civil War, a subject in which Xue Song has long explored in his artwork.

Twice visiting Taiwan, what left Xue Song with the strongest impression was also Lukang. Xue felt Lukang preserved a great amount of historical sites, in which many sites still operate and function as they did in historical times. This stands as a stark comparison to the ceaseless demolition and new construction occurring in Mainland China, where the newly-built lack genuine forms of connection with the past. In Lukang, Xue eagerly walked through every main roads and small alleyways, fully appreciating the pattern and spirit of the town. Across from the main city temple, was what appeared to be small shrine dedicated to the Patriarch of the House of Xue, which naturally caught Xue Song’s attention. After a brief investigation, he proudly discovered the patriarch, who shares a rare surname with him, was a historical general from the Tang dynasty, whose legacy has been preserved and appropriated into Taiwanese folklore. Although the town of Lukang was rather empty, traces of its past glory could still be felt.

周剛 Zhou Gang 台南武廟 The Martial Temple, Tainan
周剛 Zhou Gang
台南武廟 The Martial Temple, Tainan

Recalling the journey across the Silk Road four years ago, the artists traveled as a group, painting together day and night, while sharing ideas as well as laughter. This time, the journey around Taiwan was made separately by each artist, which is somewhat regrettable. However, as the curator, the extended journey proved to be just as rewarding. From researching Taiwanese history to the planning of each location, the whole experience gave me a chance to consciously revisit Taiwan. In terms of the itinerary, Lin Pang-soong contributed the most. Lin found several books and historical documents on the Eight Views of Taiwan canon, which inspired me to dive deep into my own investigation of visual culture in Taiwan. During my research I realized, as I am ashamed to admit, due to the apparent familiarity with the subject, I have ignored or overlooked certain aspects in the past. This time, for the project, and also for sake of the Mainland Chinese artists, I read widely on Taiwanese geography and its relation to cultural heritage; and shared with the artists my humble findings. On Xue Song’s first night in Taipei, after dinning on top of the Taipei 101, we went shopping for materials, in bookstores hidden in the alleyways across from the National Taiwan University. Xue’s favorite store was one dedicated to Taiwanese history, where he spent the longest time picking out materials for his collages. I was particularly impressed by Xue’s genuine attitude toward his art, which also gave me a sense of involvement in the creation process.

Zhou Gang and Lin Pang-soong’s artworks for Eights Views of Taiwan were also quite moving for me, not only because they reflect my curatorial effort and research, but more importantly because the artworks contain journeys in which we travelled together, with laughter and memories we shared – this is what makes the artworks so special.

Elaine Suyu Liu

 

1 Taiwan Daily News, August 1927: A popular survey was conducted for selecting Eight Views of Taiwan in which the result has been a topic of debate between two versions. 1: Keelung, Tamsui, Eight Immortals Mountain, Pakua Plateau, Sun Moon Lake, Mount Ali, Monkey Mountain, Cape Eluanbi and Taroko Gorge. 2: Wulai, Hsindian, Eight Immortals Mountain,, Sun Moon Late, Mount Ali, Pakua Plateau, Fort Zeelandia, and Kenting.

 

現代水墨傳教士的聖經

印製劉國松版畫的使命

文/劉素玉

在兩岸藝術界,年逾八十的劉國松被尊稱為「水墨現代化之父」,然而他還有一個有趣的封號:現代水墨傳教士。劉國松當年創辦「五月畫會」時,他的夫人黎模華形容他宛如「傳教士」,因為他推動現代水墨的熱情無與倫比,簡直就像狂熱的宗教領袖,無時無刻到處宣揚,即使受到他人冷落、揶揄,甚至唱反調,也不以為意。劉國松雖然不是教徒,也不隨時捧讀聖經,對於這個其實是有點調侃他的封號卻欣然接受,「現代水墨傳教士」一名自此不逕而走。

劉國松信仰的是藝術,現代水墨畫就是他的聖經,一個甲子以來,他拿著他的聖經在世界各地行走,不但教人畫畫,也到處舉辦展覽,當年一頭濃密黑髮的青年,如今已是白髮稀疏的八旬老翁,他對現代水墨畫的熱情依舊不減,只是與一個甲子之前不同的是,當年他被罵「藝術的叛徒」1,即使有「五月畫會」同志支援,但與深厚的傳統國畫和龐大的摩登西畫勢力相較,他無疑勢單力薄。如今時勢不同了,現代水墨畫邁入新世紀以來,漸漸方興未艾,近兩、三年來更是欣欣向榮,劉國松的作品突然也在畫畫市場上炙手可熱,其實他的作品過去一向在全球各地廣受喜愛,全球超過七十個公立美術機構典藏他的作品,應是當今被最多被國際美術機構收藏作品的華人藝術家,但在書畫市場上卻並未特別受到國人青睞,直到近一、兩年來才有明顯變化。

劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung 《日月浮沈》Sun and Moon: Floating? Sinking? 銅版 Etching Print (版數 Edition of 100) 2014, 59 x 98 cm

1956年劉國松發起成立五月畫會,這是台灣第一個現代藝術畫會,其所要面對的,不只是當年時髦的西洋畫派,還有保守的國畫畫派,這兩大陣營都有大批人馬,聲勢浩大,以劉國松為首的五月畫會,左批崇尚印象畫路線的西洋畫派,右砍死抱舊傳統不放的國畫派,他英勇地向兩大勢力開戰:「我們既非古時之中國人,亦非現代的西洋人。」2同時也遭受兩面勢力的無情夾擊,他一面畫畫,一面執筆,畫畫實踐自己的藝術理念,執筆論述釐清自己的理論架構,同時也反駁不同的藝術思潮,這常使他深陷背腹受敵的險境,而面對險境,他永遠都像是右手拿寶劍,左手拿聖經的信徒,義無反顧的往前衝,從不退縮。

除了自己畫畫,劉國松也到處教人畫畫,不只是在校園裡、課堂裡,也擴及社會各界,他任教於香港中文大學時,便首創「現代水墨畫」課程和校外進修部成立了「現代水墨研習班」;除此之外,他在各地舉行藝術展覽之際,也同時展開演講,甚至親自公開技法展示及教學示範,1983年他接受當時中國美術家協會主席江豐之邀到北京中國美術館舉行個展,並於中央美術學院公開演講,隨後巡迴展於南京、廣州、武漢、哈爾濱、上海等美術館,隨後三年共巡迴展出十八個城市,並均作多場演講,每一次的展覽及演講,無不渾身解數宣揚現代水墨畫,在當年閉鎖的中國藝壇裡,他的展覽與演講激起無數漣漪,數不清有多少後進受到啟發,一頭栽進現代水墨的創作潮流。

劉國松常常對學生說:「繪畫是不停的實驗」3,而他本人也身體力行。綜觀他創作半個世紀以來,繪畫實驗從未間斷。但凡能在美術史上成為一家者,皆必須有個人獨特的創造,劉國松的實驗無非就是追求創新,早年他大膽地揚棄筆和墨,甘冒大不韙地大聲疾呼「革筆的命、革中鋒的命」,他要求學生由「一隻筆走天下」的文人畫家「筆墨論」一言堂的封建思想中解放出來4,他親力親為,把自己創新的技法教給學生,並要求學生拋開所有包袱,他主張「先求異,再求好」5,也以陳其寬和余承堯都沒有臨過古畫,也沒有畫過文人畫,都沒有所謂的中國傳統繪畫的基礎和基本功,卻畫出個人獨特風格,並受到國際畫壇的重視與肯定,來鼓勵後進以實際行動反叛文人狹隘的筆墨論。

劉國松其實從小就學習傳統國畫,但後來卻能果敢地捨棄,他也寫得一手好毛筆字,卻鮮少公開展現,在一些公開場合,頂多「畫字」6。他力行「筆墨無用論」,開創了「抽筋剝皮皴」、「水拓法」、「漬墨法」…,連紙張都加以革新,開發了佈滿粗紙筋的棉紙-即後來被美術史家所稱的「劉國松紙」。他大半生不遺餘力地啟發觀念,掙脫傳統束縛,作育英才無數,他不僅是一位藝術家,更是一位藝術思想推廣家。而他的行動力強,自發起五月畫會以來,凡畫會展覽出錢出力,絕不藏私,為了壯大現代水墨隊伍,更總是熱心召集畫友、學生,到處舉行聯展,近年來更多次組織「白線的張力」巡迴展、「劉國松師生展」,在全世界巡展,以個人資源獎掖志同道和與門生後進,任勞任怨且任謗,這樣的付出與執著豈止像虔誠的教徒,根本就是狂熱的傳教士。

劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung 《雲水一家》Water and Cloud Share the Same Source   絲網 Silkscreen (版數 Edition of 100) 2014, 65 x 100 cm
劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung
《雲水一家》Water and Cloud Share the Same Source
絲網 Silkscreen (版數 Edition of 100)
2014, 65 x 100 cm

筆者與劉國松相交長達十年以上,有幸成為他的傳記作者,在2007年出版《宇宙即我心-劉國松的藝術創作之路7,及至成立高士畫廊,進一步經紀他的作品,在此期間,深感喜愛劉國松作品的人士愈來愈多,尤其近兩年來,其市場價格一飛沖天,原作更是一畫難求,為了推廣劉國松的藝術,決定製作版畫,版畫就如同傳教士的聖經,傳教士的聖經要多多益善,然此「聖經」畢竟是劉國松藝術的衍生,因此除了數量之外,更嚴格要求品質精美,以及接近原作特色。這個理念得到劉國松的認可,更得到虛苑國際版畫中心主人姜興道的大力支持,他以罕見的魄力,一聲令下,號召虛苑三十多位資優技師,全力投入劉國松版畫的製作行列。在經過與專業技師充分討論之下,挑選了木刻水印、銅版、絲網等三個版種,分別製作劉國松的九件精彩原作,這些原作早已為國際知名美術機構典藏,或落入重要收藏家之手,連劉國松本人都難以親見,例如英國倫敦大英博物館典藏的《日月浮沈》、美國哈佛大學美術館典藏的《寒山雪霽》與《雲水一家》、美國舊金山亞洲藝術博物館典藏的《世界屋脊》、香港藝術館典藏的《雲樹銀枝》…,除此之外,九件原作也分別是最能呈現劉國松技法,在他創作歷程中最具代表性的神品,其中部份作品更已被收錄入各大重要美術史冊。

選擇以不同的版種來呈現原作的風格與特色,需要相當厚實的經驗、老到的技術,以及充分的美學素養,因為不論木刻水印、銅版、絲網版畫,都是重新製版,再一次次分版、上色,等同於二次創作,而又受到必須忠於現原作特色的限制,其製作艱辛程度著實不下於原作創作。虛苑主人姜興道十分欣賞劉國松的作品,更肯定劉國松終生推動現代水墨畫的努力,或許也受到這位現代水墨傳教士精神感召,因此不惜以最大的心血,甚至不惜血本,製作一批前所未有的版畫,例如以銅版製作1米乘2米的《雲樹銀枝》,銅版製作本來就耗時費力,成本高昂,光是鐫刻大型銅版就花了將近兩個月時間,印製過程也極耗功夫,這件堪稱亞洲已知最大的銅版畫,連劉國松本人看了都瞠目結舌,贊不絕口,更重要的是,它雕刻細緻,線條生動,完全能呈現原作崇山峻嶺之中雪花飄揚的動感與浪漫詩意;即使是絲網製作的《藍色光波》,都能呈現豐富多姿的色彩,其層次感與光波流動感栩栩如生,劉國松看了不禁豎起大姆指說:「(世界屋脊版畫)比我的原作更氣派,(藍色波光版畫)比我的原作更漂亮!」

劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung  《世界屋脊》Roof of the World 木刻水印 Woodblock Print (版數 Edition of 100) 2014, 100 x 201 cm
劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung
《世界屋脊》Roof of the World
木刻水印 Woodblock Print (版數 Edition of 100)
2014, 100 x 201 cm

誰也沒有想到,當年劉國松夫人幾近調侃劉國松的「傳教士」封號,跟隨劉國松已逾一甲子,誠然所謂知夫莫若妻,然而最重要的是,劉國松孜孜不倦宣揚現代水墨畫,終生奉行不渝,若沒有教徒的虔誠以及堅定的信仰,何以至此?現代水墨畫如今終於受到世人肯定,劉國松的作品更受到眾人追捧而一畫難求,這批能忠實呈現劉國松原作精髓,並獲得他大力讚賞的版畫,將會是他繼續傳播現代水墨藝術的聖經。

1. 1965年劉國松在《文星》雜誌上發表的<中國現代畫的路>自述:「保守者常稱我等為『藝術的叛徒』。」在守舊勢力龐大的時代,這是大扣帽子,為此他也付出相當代價,包括無法任教於國立大學美術科系。
2. 1965年劉國松在《文星》雜誌上發表的<中國現代畫的路>就大力抨擊:「傳統的『皴』早已變成僵硬的『地龍乾』(曬乾的蚯蚓),固有的形式(如山水、人物、翎毛、花卉)早已變成了封閉的枯井,毫無生命之可言。因此,我一定要送他進殯儀館(而不是博物館)。一味跟隨西洋現代風格形式,亦失去自己,我們既非古時之中國人,於非現代的西洋人,我們既非生活在宋元的社會,亦非生活在歐美的環境,我們抄襲古畫就是作偽,畫西洋現代畫又何嘗不是?」。
3. 1996年劉國松在《美育月刊》發表<談水墨畫的創作與教學>說:「作為一個畫家與作為一個科學家沒有什麼兩樣,……。畫家也是一樣,他必須全心全意地在畫室中不停的實驗,實驗成功了才有所創造,有所創造才能成其為畫家。」
4. 1999年劉國松發表<二十一世紀東方繪畫的新展望>於《二十一世紀視覺藝術新展望國際學術研討會論文集》提到,要學生「走出筆墨論的一言堂」。
5. 見於1999年劉國松發表的<先求異再求好-從事美術教育四十年的一點體悟>。
6. 劉國松為了貫徹反筆墨的理念,所以不寫書法,但在公開場合應眾人要求,他用大筆觸入畫,稱為「畫字」。
7. 《宇宙即我心-劉國松的藝術創作之路》,張孟起、劉素玉合著,典藏藝術家庭股份有限公司於2007年4月出版。


The Scripture of the Missionary of Modern Ink Painting
- The Mission of Creating Liu Kuo-sung’s Prints

 In the art worlds of Taiwan and China, Liu Kuo-sung (b. 1932) has been crowned the Father of Modern Ink Painting. However, Liu also holds another title; the Missionary of Modern Ink Painting. When Liu Kuo-sung founded the Fifth Moon Group in 1956, his wife Li Mo-hua described him as a missionary, due to his passion in promoting modern ink painting, with an almost religious zeal wherever he went. Even in the face of criticism or ridicule, Liu’s passion in the new genre never swayed. Although Liu is not religious, nor does he read the Bible, he gladly accepts the title of a missionary, and fully lives up to it, as a true missionary of modern ink painting.

Liu Kuo-sung’s faith is art, and modern ink paintings are his scripture. Over the last sixty years, Liu has spread word of his scripture around the world, showing his paintings in art exhibitions and discussing his art in academic seminars. From years of youth to this day in old age, Liu’s passion for modern ink painting has remained just as strong. What has changed is that Liu Kuo-sung is no longer slandered as a traitor to art.1 Due greatly to Liu’s efforts, the art world of Taiwan and China is no longer dominated by conservatives of traditional Chinese ink painting, and have gradually come to embrace modernism as a necessary development to ink painting. In terms of international recognition, Liu Kuo-sung’s artworks have entered public collections of over seventy museums and academic institutions worldwide. However, in the last several years, have they also entered the spotlight of the art market, and have since become extremely sought after.

When the Fifth Moon Group was founded in 1956, it was Taiwan’s first art group to specialize in modern ink painting. The group faced the duel challenges of Western painting and traditional Chinese ink painting, both of which were strong and popular movements. On one hand, Western painting, in imitation of the Impressionists, was considered fashionable among the young and educated. While on the other, conservatives, especially in academia, desperately called for the revival of traditional Chinese ink painting in the classical manner. Unsatisfied with the two extremes, Liu Kuo-sung boldly stated: “we are neither Chinese living in classical times, nor are we Westerners.”2 Despite suffering attacks and criticism from both sides, Liu continued down his chosen path to paint and write on modern ink; experimenting with new techniques of ink and wash, as well as publishing articles on his findings and beliefs. Comparable to a missionary, Liu Kuo-sung holds his scripture in one hand, and a sword in the other.

劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung 《寒山雪霽成》Wintry Mountains Covered with Snow 木刻水印 Woodblock Print (版數 Edition of 100) 2014, 100 x 64 cm

In addition to his own painting, Liu Kuo-sung is also passionate about teaching others how to paint. During his term as professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Liu created the Modern Ink and Wash Painting course for enrolled students, and also with the help of the extension school, created the Modern Ink and Wash Painting Diploma course, available to the general public. Also, in his exhibitions, Liu often demonstrates his own painting techniques, as a performance to further promote the new genre. In 1983 Liu was invited by Jiang Feng, the chairman of the Chinese Artists’ Association, for a solo exhibition at the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, and to give a series of lectures starting at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Over the next three years, Liu toured in eighteen cities throughout China, in numerous exhibitions and seminars, bringing modern ink painting to the long isolated Chinese art world.

Liu Kuo-sung often tells his students: “the art of painting is to constantly experiment,”3 and does exactly that himself. By examining Liu’s long journey of artistic creation, and the various innovations throughout his art, it is evident his spirit of experimentation has never diminished. In order to secure a rightful place in the history of art, an artist must have an unique and personal style. In retrospect, Liu Kuo-sung’s art is nothing less than the constant pursuit for innovation. During Liu’s early years, he discarded all traditional Chinese conventions of the brush, and boldly exclaimed to “revolutionize the brush.”4 He has since urged his students to rethink how they hold and execute the brush, and to personalize their painting instruments according to their own needs. In terms of style, Liu advocates to “first strive for individuality, then strive for perfection.”5 Liu deeply admires Taiwanese artists Chen Chi-kwan (1921 – 2009) and Yu Cheng-yao (1898 – 1993), both of whom have never trained in the classical Chinese tradition, but have nonetheless developed their own styles in ink painting, and have received international recognition for doing so. Their success serve as an inspiration to Liu’s students, as well as himself.

劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung 《藍色光波》Blue Light on the Ripples   絲網 Silkscreen (版數 Edition of 100) 2014, 67 x 90 cm
劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung
《藍色光波》Blue Light on the Ripples
絲網 Silkscreen (版數 Edition of 100)
2014, 67 x 90 cm

In fact, Liu Kuo-sung childhood was immersed in traditional Chinese ink painting, which he grew to renounce as an adult. Despite being well-trained in the art of calligraphy, Liu rarely displays this talent in public. He sees past the limitations of brush and ink in themselves, and has experimented with unconventional methods of applying ink onto paper. His success can be seen in his renowned techniques of water-rubbing and steeped ink. Through trial and error with different variations of rice paper, Liu has created his own paper with very dense fibers, which has been coined by art historians as Liu Kuo-sung Paper. What is truly remarkable about Liu’s innovations is his enthusiasm in sharing them with everyone, selflessly announcing his findings and techniques in public seminars and demonstrations. Since the days of the Fifth Moon Group, Liu has helped and sponsored countless artists and friends in scholarships and exhibitions. In recent years, Liu organized the Tension of White Line group exhibitions for his students to tour in museums across Taiwan and China. In this way, Liu Kuo-sung is not only an artist, but also an educator. He is a man on a mission – a mission to promote modern ink painting.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Liu Kuo-sung for over a decade, and the honor of co-authoring his biography, Universe in My Mind – the Artistic Journey of Liu Kuo-sung, published in 2007. Since opening Loftyart Gallery in 2012, and further managing Liu’s career, serious collectors in Taiwan and China have become very attuned to Liu’s paintings on the art market. Especially in the past several years, his paintings have become increasingly sought after, and in response their market value have skyrocketed. In order to continue promoting Liu’s art, Loftyart has decided to assist Liu in creating a series of prints. To the missionary, that is Liu Kuo-sung, prints are his scripture, to be made available for wide admiration and to reflect on his faith in modern ink painting. This statement is recognized by Liu himself, and also strongly supported by Jiang Xingdao, the founder and manager of Xuyuan International Print Centre in Beijing. With great enthusiasm, Jiang has organized a dedicated team of over thirty printers for the project, and together with Loftyart, carefully selected nine of Liu Kuo-sung’s most representative paintings as inspirations for the prints. In examining the unique qualities of each painting, Xuyuan and Loftyart have chosen three types of prints, woodblock, etching, and silkscreen, to fully represent the diverse variety of Liu’s art. The nine paintings themselves, being defining works in Liu’s career as well as modern Chinese art history, have all entered renowned museums or important private collections, such as Sun and Moon: Floating? Sinking? in the British Museum, Wintry Mountains Covered with Snow and Water and Cloud Share the Same Source in the Harvard Art Museums, and Roof of the World in the Asia Art Museum of San Francisco.

劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung 《雲樹銀枝》Sun and Silvery Woods Amidst Cloudy Mountains   銅版 Etching Print (版數 Edition of 100) 2014, 100 x 200 cm
劉國松 LIU Kuo-sung
《雲樹銀枝》Sun and Silvery Woods Amidst Cloudy Mountains
銅版 Etching Print (版數 Edition of 100)
2014, 100 x 200 cm

Xuyuan’s team of printers have demonstrated considerable knowledge, technical skill, and aesthetic accomplishment in creating Liu Kuo-sung’s prints. As each board is individually carved, etched, or drawn, and later printed with multiple runs, the prints are truly works of art in themselves At the same time, through Liu Kuo-sung’s kind guidance, they remain faithful to their original inspirations. Xuyuan’s manager Jiang Xingdao deeply admires Liu Kuo-sung for his art, as well as his contributions to modern ink painting. As a print specialist, Jiang is determined to use this opportunity to challenge the boundaries of printing in China. For the monumental etching Silvery Woods Amidst Cloudy Mountains, which measures one meter in height and two meters in length, Jiang had the oversized copper plate and acid pool custom made for the project. Etching the plate alone was a lengthy two month process. However, the printed result is unprecedented and phenomenal. Jiang is confident it is the largest etching ever produced in China. Liu was delighted by the vivid textures created by the etching needle and its effective representation of the harsh winter landscape. Moreover, Liu was so pleased with how the colors were rendered on the silkscreen Blue Light on the Ripples, he wholeheartedly told the printers: “this is prettier than my original painting!”

No one would have thought Li Mo-hua’s joking description of her husband as a missionary would become Liu Kuo-sung’s title for the next sixty years. Through Liu Kuo-sung’s selfless dedication and faith in modern ink painting, he has amassed a legion of followers to his cause. Modernism has finally been recognized as a necessary development to ink painting, and Liu’s artworks have received their due attention on the art market. In faithfully representing Liu Kuo-sung’s most defining artworks, and earning his esteem in the process, this series of prints will ultimately become the scripture Liu needs to carry on his lifelong mission of promoting modern ink painting.

Elaine Suyu Liu
Translated by Timothy Chang

1. The Way of Chinese Modern Painting” Literary Star, 1964.
2. Ibid.
3. Liu Kuo-sung “On Creating and Teaching Ink Painting” Journal of Art Education, 1996.
4. Liu Kuo-sung “21 Century New Visions of Oriental Art” 21 Century New Visions of Visual Art International Symposium, 1999.
5. Liu Kuo-sung “First Individuality, then Quality” Forty Years of Art Teaching, 1999.