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2013年8月13日 星期二

賴伊欣《藝術與修行的賦格曲-沈昌明繪畫中的東方哲思》

藝術與修行的賦格曲-沈昌明繪畫中的東方哲思
文 / 賴伊欣


人生,是一連串不斷銜接的際遇和轉變所組成,在不同的階段中,這些際遇與轉變,深化自我對生命的理解與體驗,也造就了創作者生命歷程與文化和藝術美學本質三者之間的關係。對於藝術家沈昌明來說,多年前一場意外的車禍讓他深陷喪子的悲痛,在最為哀慟之時,他選擇不斷地抄寫《心經》迴向給愛子,不停的書寫行為釋放悲傷的情緒,卻在其中得出不同的情感,發展出創作中的另一種可能,一套融合東西方的繪畫語彙。

符號的對應與律動

早期沈昌明的心經書寫是在宣紙上,爾後逐漸將生命體悟結合繪畫經驗發展至畫布上。在藝術創作中,以「心經」為概念所延伸的作品,不論在文字或內涵的沿用上,沈昌明並非唯一,但在反覆抄寫之中,他因生命頓悟而「悟」出了一種新的創作面向的可能性,並在藝術和自我的來回辯證中發展出新的繪畫能量。《心經.賦格曲》發展自2005 年,是藉由過往對心經的思考與認識,在書寫的感官經驗中,將腦海裡自動浮出的心經字句重疊,讓文字化為符號,在畫布上對話/對唱,各畫布中的律動也以不同和聲在進行,形成一種對比形式的風格,為「心經」在藝術形式的表現中創造新的註解。
沈昌明提到,當時在書寫的過程中,常常一句還沒寫完,腦海便浮出下一句,在來不及書寫的狀態下,就將句子重疊在一起。重疊的字與句在畫布上形成新的文字結構,透過不同方向和顏色的組合產生一種律動,構成悠遠的空間狀態,產生新的視覺效果。這些律動性的符號式文字,重點已跳脫文字內容,也跨越心經的涵義和思想,在字的線條和空間中產生的一種旋律,如同古典音樂中的「賦格曲」,採用一個旋律,抑或一段短短的歌,加以不斷發展延續,在該旋律發展的同時,另一條旋律同時出現,彷彿協助伴奏,以多聲部織體完成的作曲形式,在不同旋律線、聲部的對應和重疊之中,產生新的對位和曲風。

東方美學的陰陽相生虛實相應

有別於心經.賦格曲所構成的符號律動和對話,是始於創作者對於自我內在的關照與對於心經的體悟,眾生相則以心經為主體,結合過去他所擅長的人像繪畫。藉由在畫布上重複書寫心經的過程,形成一種繪畫的特殊肌理,透過重疊次數的多寡產生不同的厚薄肌理,在光線折射中形成特殊的陰影效果,沈昌明說道,這種陰陽相生、虛實相應,是中國禪學中的一種東方美學,像是電影技法中的蒙太奇montage),東方的陰陽學和西方技法產生重疊,在拼湊中產生一種新的意象。而畫中所使用的篆刻字體,是以陰刻的形式表現,篆字在中國文化中保有象形文字的明顯特點,沈昌明認為其線條美學是現在的美術字所無法取代的,因此他將東方文化的字體表現與和西方技法中人像繪畫結合,企圖使觀者在觀看的過程中藉由不同角度的觀看經驗,在畫中人物和文字的虛與實之間產生互動,甚至是一種對應,進而建構繪畫與實體間之時間、空間的存在。
至於畫中的人物形象,包括梵谷Vincent van Gogh、弘一大師、聖嚴法師和歐巴馬Barack Obama等,皆是引領沈昌明生命思考有所體悟的對象,而人像一旁所出現的插圖符號,如聖嚴法師所主張的樹葬、歐巴馬的桂冠等,則是他針對畫中人物的角色有所思考後,所轉化的圖像表現。在人像、字句與插畫的多方結合中,沈昌明在畫中建構了一個觀看人物、體悟心經字句和符號想像的空間透過圖、字和符號的呈現,企圖引領觀者來回推測和想像,進而產生自我當下的解讀與辯證。站在創作者的角度,在提供視覺意象的同時,這種觀看的經驗與畫作在社會、文化中所可能被解讀的多層涵義,與創作本身擁有相同重要的地位。

深刻的人生體悟造就創作語彙

宇宙萬物皆是陰陽、正反,且不斷在尋求一種調和,繼續向前邁進,進而達到平衡,仔細觀看、思索沈昌明的作品,發現每一系列中皆欲傳達一種生命的對應與調和他近年來的新作《山.石 非相》,企圖在抽象中隨機地尋求具象的姿態樣貌,像是佛家所主張的「因緣法」—「諸法因緣生,諸法因緣滅」,他以隨意的甩點方式將顏料灑在畫布上,重複產生圖像後再依據圖像的樣貌進行整理這種在隨機之中尋求平衡的過程,對他來說也是一種修行的歷練。沈昌明的創作從過去具象的心經文字書寫,發展至以心經字句回應、關照社會人物和文化再延伸至近期的隨機抽象創作,「心經」,無論在他的生命和創作中,已從具象的抄寫、對文字的體悟,內化往前推進至整體萬物與時空的有機和和諧

繪畫,是和自己不斷的賽跑,沈昌明30 多年來未曾發表過個展,這些年間,他身兼創作者、收藏家和畫廊經營者等多元角色,比起一般的創作者與人事物有更為廣泛的接觸、互動與思考,他認為人生沒有整理思緒、深刻的得到體悟,並建構出自我的創作語彙,終將只能跟隨他人的腳步。在這近十年的時間裡,他不停歇地書寫繪畫,近乎苦行僧的修煉,企圖忘卻世俗的罣礙,卻也在不斷的磨鍊中找到新的繪畫語彙,在東方美學文化和西洋油畫技術中,開創新的語彙,傳達自我的生命力道。



Life is made up of a chronological sequence of encounters and changes that deepen one’s understanding and experience of life at different stages and form a link among an artist’s life history, the culture(s) s/he has been exposed to, and the essence of aesthetics. A car accident that occurred many years ago left artist Chang-Ming Shen deeply stricken by grief at the death of his son. At those mournful moments, Shen chose to transcribe the ‘Heart Sutra’ and dedicate merits to his beloved son. Shen’s repeated transcription not only released his great sorrow but also inspired different feelings, prompting him to create special painting vocabulary through a fusion of the Eastern and Western elements.  

Symbolic Correspondence and Rhythm

Shen first transcribed the Heart Sutra on rice paper and then gradually had his realization of life and painting experience embodied on canvas. Shen is not the only artist that has applied the concept of the Heart Sutra, whether in terms of its texts or denotations, to art creations. Yet, his repeated transcription made him see life in a different light and ‘inspired’ him to explore a new dimension of creation and develop new painting energy through the dialectic between art and his ego. The ‘Heart Sutra Fugue’ series, commenced in 2005, is the embodiment of Shen’s cumulative thoughts and knowledge of the Heart Sutra. The overlap among the transcribed texts from the Heart Sutra, which had popped up spontaneously in his mind, turns the texts into symbols engaging in dialogue/antiphonal singing on canvas. All the artworks of the series, each with its distinctive rhythm, are also singing in perfect harmony, which creates a contrasting style and provides a new annotated version of the ‘Heart Sutra’ in art form.  
As Shen mentioned, the religious sentences popped up in his mind one after another often too rapidly for him to finish whichever he was transcribing, thus resulting in the overlap among the sentences. Such overlap forms a new text structure, produces a rhythm through the changes of writing direction and color, creates an extensible space, and achieves a new visual effect. These rhythmic and symbolic texts have advanced beyond their original meanings, transcended the denotations and thoughts of the Heart Sutra, and produced a melody around the lines and strokes of the characters just as a ‘fugue’ in classical music, which features a theme or a short melody being developed and extended while accompanied simultaneously by another theme. The polyphonic texture in the composition sees the correspondence and overlap among different themes or voices, which leads to a new counterpoint and music style.

The Interrelationship between Yin and Yang as well as the Reciprocity between Blankness and Fullness in Eastern Aesthetics

Unlike the ‘Heart Sutra Fugue’ series, whose symbolic rhythm and dialogue derive from the artist’ own reflection on his inner self and understanding of the Heart Sutra, the ‘Portrait’ series features the application of the Heart Sutra to portrait painting, at which he has long excelled. The overlap of the Heart Sutra texts on canvas contributes to special texture in painting. The degree of the textual overlap affects the thickness of the texture and creates a special shadow effect as a result of the refraction of light. As Shen pointed out, “The interrelationship between Yin and Yang as well as the reciprocity between blankness and fullness is highly characteristic of the Eastern aesthetics in Chinese Zen Buddhism. It’s like the use of montage in film editing. When the Eastern Yin-Yang concept overlaps with the Western techniques, a brand-new image arises from such fusion.” The seal characters in the paintings are in intaglio. Bearing in mind that seal script, which retains the pictographic flavor of the Chinese culture, can never be replaced by modern artistic calligraphy in terms of aesthetics of lines, Shen combined the Eastern script writing with the Western techniques for portrait painting, with an attempt to make viewers observe the paintings from different perspectives, interact with the blankness and fullness of the figures and texts in the paintings, or even form a reciprocal relationship with the paintings, which further helps construct the time and space between the paintings and real objects.    
The figures portrayed in Shen’s paintings, including Vincent van Gogh, Master Hong-Yi, Master Sheng-Yen, and Barack Obama, are those who have inspired Shen to give some serious thought to life, while the accompanying illustrations, such as the green burial promoted by Master Sheng-Yen and the laurel wreath on Obama’s head, are the graphic representations of Shen’s thoughts on the portrayed figures.   Through the combination of portraits, texts, and illustrations, Shen has constructed in his paintings a space, where viewers can observe the figures, contemplate the Heart Sutra texts, and stretch their imagination by taking in the images, texts, and symbols in the paintings, and attempted to lead the viewers to alter constantly their perceptions and imaginations about the paintings and further debate with themselves over their own interpretation of the paintings. As far as an artist is concerned, whether the visual image of his/her artwork may involve viewers in spontaneous observation and elicit multiple interpretations from viewers within a specific social and cultural context is just as significant as the creation itself.

The Vocabulary of Creation Attributed to a Deep Realization of Life

All things in the universe exist in a Ying-Yang or positive-negative relationship with one another, constantly seek to live in harmony, and continuously proceed toward a balance. Careful observation of and critical thinking about Shen’s every series of artworks should reveal the correspondence and harmonization in life.  Shen’s ‘MountainStone’ and ‘Beyond the Form’ series, created in recent years, shows his attempt to seek randomly the posture and appearance of concreteness in abstraction, which seems to follow the ‘Buddhist principle of interdependent causation’: “Everything arises from causes and conditions; everything ceases due to causes and conditions.” By splattering paints on canvas in a casual way, he produced an image repeatedly and then rearranged it holistically. The process of seeking a balance at random also meant Shen’s practices of Buddhist principles. Originally engaging in concrete transcription of the Heart Sutra texts, Shen came to show his response to and concern for people and culture in contemporary society and further produced abstract paintings at random. The ‘Heart Sutra’ has not only motivated Shen to carry out religious transcription and inspired him to ruminate over the texts but also made him internalize the Buddhist principles and seek the organism and harmony among everything in the universe through time and space.

Painting is a race in which the painter competes with himself only. During the past thirty-odd years, Chang-Ming Shen did not give any solo exhibition but played such multiple roles as an artist, collector, and gallery owner, which enabled him to have more encounters and interaction with and give more thought to persons, events, and things than other artists. In his opinion, artists may end up following suit unless they can reflect on their experience, achieve a deep realization of their life, and build up their own vocabulary of creation. In the past decade, Shen devoted himself to religious transcription and painting. While trying to forget worldly concerns by living an ascetic life, he came up with new painting vocabulary through tests of endurance. He has created new vocabulary for expressing his strength and vitality through the combination of the Eastern aesthetic culture and the Western oil painting techniques.    


沈昌明2013高雄個展
【空故納萬境】
展出日期  /  ~  / 18

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