過往與當下的景觀:透過能量成形的畫作

Landscapes of the Past and the Present Drawn with Energy

文/金庭洛(韓國放送通訊大學文化教養學系教授)

By Kim Jung-rak (Professor of Department of Culture and Liberal Art, Korea National Open University)

“起初,能量充滿大地(Im Anfang war die Kraft)。”

歌德,《浮士德》

 

詩意繪畫

 

如同唐宋詩人在杭州西湖河畔的月光下飲酒時所創作的詩詞,張秦的作品也充滿一股詩意的感性情懷。

 

張秦的作品表達一股充滿詩意的氛圍,有時帶點敘事性,但大多給人史詩般的壯闊之感。張秦的畫作並不是傳統畫作形式或東洋畫的延續,而是自成一格的水墨風格。張秦將水墨手法融入單刷版畫,作品雖然看似由畫筆所描繪,但實際上是直接以雙手作畫或利用各種創作過程中的機緣與巧合。這樣的技法使得張秦的作品表現出一種自由奔放的風格,富有如同流水一般的活力與生命力。同時,張秦的創作手法也反映了西方藝術中獨特的破壞性,這項特質在二十世紀初期開始出現於藝術家的作品中,而此種風格延續至抽象表現主義時末期。然而,這並不表示張秦的作品充斥著西方文化中的暴力美學;張秦對於感性的追求與中國傳統詩人的特質是較為接近的。然而,張秦在創作過程中並不妥協自我,也不提倡東道西器等各種抽象理論。反之,張秦的作品之所以被歸類為東方繪畫,不是因為其在大學時期所受的教育,亦非其所選擇使用的繪畫工具,比如遠東繪畫中經常出現的墨條與岩石粉末,更不是因為張秦如五世紀中國作家與藝術史學家謝赫在《古畫品錄》中所描述的畫作鑑賞條目,以現代手法重新詮釋了深度精神含義或活力。張秦被歸類為東方畫作的畫家,是因為其觀看與表達周遭世界的方式,挑戰了東方傳統哲學中認為畫作應表現的理想世界。張秦透過實際的手法探索此信念而創作的作品,同時保存了此概念與議題的哲學深度。

 

通往感官之道

 

在此時期,受情感啟發的藝術主題常常被理性思維貶低。對許多當代藝術家而言,特別是關注物理世界與客體的理性認知之間的關係的創作者,情感僅是作品的調味劑,而非主體。然而,在張秦的作品中,情感扮演了純粹又重要的角色。張秦2009年於韓國錦湖美術館舉辦的個展名稱為《動人》,其中展示了藝術家透過感性所獲得的認知,而不是理性詮釋後的結果。

 

然而,單單以情感定義張秦的創作起源是不足夠的(此情感概念雷同於感官)。藝術家在此延用了「理解」(德文為verstand)的觀念,此為由十八世紀德國觀念論哲學家康德理念所延伸的人智學,主張人對於知識的獲取係依靠內化的、先天的判斷,而非理性認知。此種先天的判斷是純粹而直接的(德文為ding an sich,中文為「物自身」),換言之就是啟蒙的概念。啟蒙位於感知階級的頂端,其他層級包含了理性、情感等。在這樣的背景之下,張秦的“動人”展在知識論的層面詮釋了藝術家與客體之間、甚至是作品與觀者之間的關係。

 

奠基於知識的感知過程中,張秦尤強調感官領域,並建立了一個視覺與觸覺的世界。這些感官系統先於思考(感知、記憶、與理性思維),而藝術家為觀者提供了可運用這些感官自行解讀作品的空間,而非介入觀者的解讀過程。當然,其他藝術家也以類似的手法創作作品,但張秦的獨特之處在於其讓觀者盡可能有充分的思考空間。

 

由能量成形的景觀

 

張秦的風景作品在畫布上呈現個人內心與記憶中的景觀。這些作品不是自然界的臨摹,沒有特定的形象,在作品中也不具有明確的外形輪廓。事實上,人們觀看風景的方式自塞尚之後就產生了轉變。此外,張秦以當代手法所描繪的東方畫作風格,表現的也不是內心的景觀,而是以自己身體的原始感官作為感知途徑,創作出既抽象又寫實的作品。張秦作品的核心精神在於從能量的角度解讀風景畫。

 

張秦在創作的過程中,往往在挑選描繪對象後以直接的手法將其刻畫於所處的空間中。這時張秦不僅依據視覺感官作為創作線索,同時也以整個身體體會所描繪的對象。也許這也是為什麼張秦總是不採用具象、寫實的表達方式。如同前面所提到的「理解」(德文的verstand),張秦不僅以雙眼觀察創作對象,更以整個身體體會景觀所帶來的感受。就像歌曲《月光漫舞》的歌詞所述,敏銳的藝術家與周遭景觀共舞,讓自己成為情感的吸收體,用感官的觸角感知周圍細微的律動,進而將其轉化為創作中的景觀與歷史主題。張秦在自己的工作室中將各式形式的能量從觸角(或身體)中釋出;某種程度而言,張秦的作品具有抽象表現主義藝術家的風格。舉例而言,傑克遜・波洛克透過滴落在畫布上的顏料,表現內心衝動透過無意識被釋放的過程。像這樣的創作類型,藝術價值有很大一部分取決於一股近似美國印第安人儀式性的過程,或者是達達主義運動後所形成的自動主義。此種即興、隨性、又直接了當的抽象表現主義手法源自古代禪宗傳統。波洛克深受這樣的手法吸引,也因此受啟發創造了自身的繪畫手法。同樣的,張秦在創作中也使用了類似的手法。雖然波洛克將此種創作手法與自身的衝動連結在一起,張秦將自己的技法歸因於自然環境中的能量,並視自己的畫作為一種精神上的昇華。

 

從景觀到歷史

 

張秦在近期的創作中似乎將注意力從自然環境轉移至時間。張秦居住於仁川,近期的創作也關注仁川的歷史,仁川總是在他的心中留下深刻的印象。仁川人常說:「沒有所謂的仁川人」。十九世紀末,濟物浦成為仁川開放港口一帶的中心地區,從此仁川在日本殖民統治之下轉變為一個現代都市,也成為韓戰時期仁川登陸作戰計畫的歷史地點。仁川地區的建築仍保有殖民時期的色彩,與現代社會的消費文化並存。張秦的工作室位於仁川舊城的市中心,而他對於歷史的關注與詮釋正好與其對於景觀的描繪方式相符合,也就是注重歷史存留下來的輪廓以及概要。張秦並不將歷史整理為檔案或索引,反之,他將針對歷史的感受轉變成一種能量,表現在畫布之上。

 

張秦的畫作充滿現當代的特色,其中對於情感與自我抹滅的傳達一點也沒有淪為低廉的情感主義,然而卻反映了自身與觀者內心長久以來隱蔽的傷痛。當代藝術著重作品與過往的連結,這點也在張秦透過畫作而非文字所表達的歷史能量中顯現。

In the Beginning was the Energy (Im Anfang war die Kraft).

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust -

 

Poetic Painting

 

Like the poems by poets of Tang-Song Dynasties who wrote their poems while having a drink in West Lake Hangzhou in the moonlight, Jang Jin’s paintings are a collection of poetic sentiment.

Jang Jin’s paintings are poetic; a little bit lyric, but overall they are epic. This style of painting does not come from traditional ways and forms of Dongyangwha or Eastern painting. Jang Jin takes a unique approach to wash drawing on his own; he incorporates wash drawing techniques into printed paintings called monotypes. It looks like brush painting but he actually drew/painted with hand or relied on a coincidence to happen to complete his works. As a result, the touch is so free and unconstrained, which is suited to express vitality like flowing water. His painting techniques resemble the destructive form of modern Western art; he adopted the vandalistic attitude in art in the early 20th century, which lasted till the era of Abstract Expressionism. But that does not mean his canvas is overwhelmed by the aesthetics of violence in Western culture. His interest and sentiment is quite similar to of poets in the past. Nevertheless, he does not seek compromise or try to draw a conclusion ambiguously like in the theory of Eastern Way-Western Means.

Jang Jin’s style is classified as Eastern painting and this is not because of what he majored in college. Nor is it because of the materials he uses such as an ink-stick, crushed stone powders that are often used in the paintings of Far East. Moreover, it is not because of the fact that he made a modern version of spirit resonance or vitality, one of the key elements that define a painting in the Record of the Classification of Old Painter, a book written by Xie He, a writer and art historian in 5th century China. In fact, the way he sees and expresses the world challenges what the old philosophy of Eastern traditional painting presented as an ideal value and yet was never achieved, which makes him an Eastern painter. Jang explores the meaning of painting of this particular style in a most realistic way and at the same time maintains the philosophical depth of the concept.

 

A Path to Perception

 

At time, rational thought tend to despise emotion. Great sources of art subjects discovered through emotion are often undervalued and underused when an artist has a drift in his own thought and logics. For numerous contemporary artists, especially those who try to reconfigure the relationship between the world and objects based on rational thought, emotion is nothing more than a spice to the aesthetic recipe of an artwork. Yet, emotion is a pure and genuine element in Jang Jin’s works. The title of his individual exhibition held at Kumho Art Museum in 2009 was “Touching.” The artist encounters things and objects based on emotion, not based on rationality that tends to reorganize thoughts from the residue of senses.

However, it is impossible to explain the genesis of his works by the notion of emotion alone (here, emotion means similar to sensation). The author therefore employs the concept of anthroposophy that transcends the limitations of German Idealism of the 18th century; it is called, “understanding (verstand in German),” which developed out of the work of Immanuel Kant. Understanding is acquired through the development of native intelligence without the manipulation of rational thought, which is pure and direct (ding an sich in German, thing in itself in English). This in other words is enlightenment, which lies at the top of the perception structure composed of rationality, emotion and so forth. Against this backdrop, Jang Jin’s exhibition “Touching” gives an interpretation of the relationship between the artist and the object as well as between the artwork and the viewers on the horizon of understanding.

In the process of perception, which is based on understanding, Jang emphasizes the areas of senses and creates a figurative structure that can accommodate the senses of vision and touch. These senses come before taking the process of thinking – perception, memory and logical thinking – and the artist delivers such native senses to the viewers rather than intervening in the process in order to help them implement the process of their own accord. Of course there are other artists who create art from a perspective similar to Jang’s but what is special about him is that he tries to offer the viewers with as large shares to think as possible.

 

Landscapes Drawn with Energy

 

Jang Jin’s paintings bring up the image of landscapes as they reproduce landscapes that exist in his memory and life, which he aspires to express on the canvas. But the landscape he draws is not realistic as it is not drawn from nature. It does not have specific indications. The landscape as an object in his work is not sketched as an outline; the perspective has changed since the era of Paul Cezanne. Moreover, his Eastern painting style in a contemporary abstract quality is far from drawing a landscape of mental images. Created by using his body as the most essential and native medium of painting, his works are the product of painting in a highly abstract and yet realistic way. Decoding the very nature of landscapes conveyed through energy is at the core of his works.

Jang Jin picks an object to draw in a most direct way in the spaces he belongs to. Not just does he sketch it based on visual information he obtains, but he tries to feel it with his whole body. Perhaps that is why he tends to pay little attention to a figurative way of expressing it in a concrete and realistic fashion. As explained with the notion of understanding (verstand in German), the artist does not just observe the object with his eyes; he feels the sensation with his whole body that the landscape provides to him. Just like the lyrics of the song “Dancing in the Moonlight,” the sensitive artist dances with the landscape and becomes a sponge of emotion. He senses with his tentacles the subtle melody that the environment surrounding him plays out – and this later develops into his genres of landscape and history. At the studio, his tentacles (or his body) release an array of forms and shapes of energy into his works. In a way, his works of art resembles the works of abstract expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock; Pollock concentrates on the action of dripping paint onto a canvas to express his impulses liberated from unconsciousness. The artistic value, which is the traces of the action, largely depends on some sort of a ritual form of American Indians or the technique of automatism art after the Dada Movement. The root of the impromptu, spontaneous and direct attitude of abstract expressionism can be found in ancient Zen Buddhism. Pollock fascinated, by such a notion, created action painting of his own. A similar act of painting is employed by Jang Jin. Yet while Pollock connects his action with his impulses, Jang finds the sources of his action in energy from nature and his painting as an act is transzendental rather than impulsive.

 

From Landscape to History

 

His focus seems to have changed from the environment of the Mother Nature to a time frame; recently, Jang Jin has been drawing the history of Incheon, the city where he resides. Incheon, whenever dropping by, gives a particular impression to the author. Native-born Incheon citizens often say that “there is no such person as a native-born in Incheon.” A small fishing village called Jemulpo became the center of the Open-Port area in Incheon in the late 19th century. After that, Incheon was transformed into a modern city under the Japanese colonial rule and served as a historic site for the successful Incheon Landing Operation during the Korean War. Incheon is a city where past history remains in the buildings of the colonial period and today’s new development and strong demands for consumption exist simultaneously. And Jang Jin, who is originally from Incheon, is drawing the city’s history in his studio at the heart of the old part of the city. How he reads and interprets history is closely in line with how he sees landscapes; focusing on the outline of history, which only exists in the traces it has left. Instead of organizing history in an archive or index, the artist transforms his feelings about history into a form of energy on a canvas.

Jang Jin’s paintings are modern and contemporary; first of all, the emotions and the state of complete self-effacement expressed in those paintings do not at least fall into cheap sentimentalism, and second, his approach is to reveal the long-hidden emotional wounds of himself as well as the viewers of his works. Being contemporary in artworks means a creation of art through consistent synchronization with the past, which is explicitly expressed in Jang Jin’s works. The evidence of synchronization is easily found in his way of expressing history in the traces of energy, which exist in the form of painting, not in a text.

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