李真-精神.身體.靈魂 2009新加坡美術館個展 Li Chen : Mind.Body.Spirit 2009 Solo Exhibition at Singapore Art Museum

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LI CHEN: MIND.BODY.SPIRIT Round Table Discussion with International Curators

On the Spiritual in Art: Is there a place for the transcendental in contemporary sculpture? Round Table Discussion introductions by

T.K. Sabapathy Papers presented by

Gao Minglu, Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker and Kwok Kian Chow With curatorial introductions by

Tan Hwee Koon



MIND BODY SPIRIT 17 September to 9 December 2009

精神 身體 靈魂 李 真 2009 新加坡美術館個展


PUBLISHED BY SINGAPORE ART MUSEUM 71 Bras Basah Road Singapore 189555 www.singaporeartmuseum.sg ASIA ART CENTER CO., LTD. No.177, Sec.2, Jianguo S. Rd., Da-an District, 10659, Taipei No.2, Jiuxianqiao Rd., Dashanzi 798 Art District, Chaoyang District, 100015, Beijing www.asiaartcenter.org DESIGNED BY UNIQUE AD OFFICE PRINTED BY P. W. Design and Production Copyright © 2010 by publishers, artist and authors. Published in conjunction with the exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum 17 September – 9 December 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the copyright owners. The opinions expressed in this publication are the sole responsibility of the Writers and not the Publisher. ISBN 978-986-84060-8-7 PHOTO CREDITS The Publisher would like to thank the following for granting permission to reproduce photographs: Wu Yu Shan Rich Huang


Li Chen 5


Table of contents Foreword

Tan Boon Hui




Li Chen: Mind.Body.Spirit connecting the fragmented spaces within a garden city

Tan Hwee Koon




連接花園城市分散空間的橋梁 Introduction

T. K. Sabapathy


T• K• 薩巴帕迪


Yi Pai: A Synthetic Theory Against Representation

Gao Minglu




Concerning the Spiritual in Art

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker


Li Chen’s New Works and the Spiritual in Art

Kwok Kian Chow







Foreword The exhibition Li Chen: Mind .Body .Spirit, co-organised with the Asia Art Center, is the Taiwanese artist’s biggest outdoor solo show in Asia, an inaugural display of large-scale sculptures situated at prominent locations within the Bras Basah/Bugis precinct. The exhibition highlights a wide repertoire of works from the various artistic phases of Li Chen, and may be experienced as one continuous walking trail beginning at the inner courtyards of the Singapore Art Museum and extending into the Campus Green of the Singapore Management University and the National Museum/Fort Canning Park gardens. This concept of a walking trail takes art out of the museum confines of white cube galleries and enables the public to experience the sculptures in the wide open spaces and greenery. For the Museum, it is really an attempt to bring art that much closer to the public who may hesitate to step into the gallery. The lush greenery is the perfect setting for Li Chen's sensuous and joyful figures which never fail to stop visitors in their tracks. This ambitious project would not have been possible without the support and collaboration of the various venue and agency partners in the area: the Singapore Management University, the National Museum of Singapore, Land Transport Authority and NParks. We would also like to thank the official hotel St Regis for being such wonderful hosts for our international guests and the artist. A note of gratitude also goes to the curator Tan Hwee Koon, project manager Patricia Levasseur, and Steven Lee from the Asia Art Center for going beyond the call of duty to bring this project to fruition. Most of all, I would like to thank the artist Li Chen whose passion and energy for art was really the genesis of the project. Tan Boon Hui Director Singapore Art Museum



前言 本館與亞洲藝術中心聯辦的 “ 李真:精神 ‧ 身體 ‧ 靈魂 ” 是臺灣藝術家李真在亞洲 規模最大的戶外個展,前所未有地在勿拉士巴沙、武起士一帶較為顯著的地點展示一 系列的大型雕塑。本展覽的展品廣取兼收,選自李真不同的創作階段,在空間安排上從 新加坡美術館庭院一直延伸到新加坡管理大學的校園綠色空間以及國家博物館門前 / 福 康寧公園,讓觀賞者可在步行間依次體驗,儼然自成一條連綿的雕塑路徑。

這個步行路徑的概念,讓藝術走出了美術館四四方方的白色展廳,使公眾有機會在開闊 的露天場地及青翠草木之間體驗雕塑。對本館而言,這無非是一種嘗試,是要讓藝術更 接近那些或許總在展廳門外裹足不前的公眾人士。李真形象悅目而又充滿喜氣的塑像總 是吸引訪客駐足,配以綠意蓊鬱的環境可謂更形完美。

當然,這個頗顯大氣的專案若不是得到有關地區各個場地及與機構夥伴的支援與合作, 絕對是辦不成的。為此,我們感謝新加坡管理大學、新加坡國家博物館、陸路交通管理 局以及國家公園局,同時也要感謝指定的瑞吉酒店如此盛情款待我們的藝術家和外國賓 客。對於策展人陳慧君、項目經理 Patricia Levasseur 以及亞洲藝術中心的李宜勳,我 們也要表示謝意。他們為了把展覽辦好,投入的心血超乎職責要求,功不可沒。最後, 我更要向藝術家李真致謝。他對藝術的熱情、為藝術煥發的能量,實實在在正是本展覽 項目的緣起之由。

陳文輝 新加坡美術館 館長 ( 吳錦漢 翻譯 )


Li Chen: Mind.Body.Spirit

connecting the fragmented spaces within a garden city Tan Hwee Koon When the material, psychological and spiritual dimensions are brought into balance, life becomes whole, and this union brings feelings of comfort and security. Only if you feel sure of your place in the universe can you begin to face the fact that you are surrounded by creation and destruction as they constantly play themselves out... Deepak Chopra Connecting Mind, Body and Spirit [1] Li Chen: Mind .Body .Spirit is an attempt to adopt a holistic approach to exhibition space usage outside of the conventional museum white cube space. This is Li Chen’s (b. 1963) first outdoor sculpture exhibition in Asia, with a total of 21 works (25 sculptures) located in four sites across the Bras Basah area, within the arts and heritage district of Singapore. From the inner courtyards of the Singapore Art Museum, across to the Land Transport Authority sites above the Mass Rapid Transport Museum Station, the Campus Green area of the Singapore Management University and the National Museum of Singapore site with the Banyan Tree[2] , the sculptures are released from the confined courtyard space within the hard white colonial architecture into the soft green lungs of the garden city. This also determines how light is received by the sculptures on the sites – from the phenomenon of the enclosure to the light filtering through 25 by 25m Rain Tree canopies. The Bras Basah area encompassing the four exhibition sites is a civic area with rich historical background situated at the foot of the Fort Canning Park. Representative architecture from the British Colonial Period found in this area includes the former St. Joseph’s Institution that began its life as a church and became a school for boys in 1833. Today, the former school building (constructed in 1903) houses the Singapore Art Museum. The National Museum, once known as the Raffles Museum, at the base of Fort Canning Hill was built during the Victorian era, with additions made in the earliest part of the 20th century. The Singapore Management University, occupying the former Bras Basah Park, is situated between the two museums and sandwiched between two main roads: Stamford Road, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, and Bras Basah Road [3] .

Singapore Art Museum The Singapore Art Museum, which is converted from the St. 12

Joseph’s Institution building, has an interesting architecture from the British Colonial era, echoing the existence and encouragement of a dialogue between the old and the new[4] . Both the interior courtyards and exterior façade of this white architecture are important sites in this outdoor sculpture exhibition, first initiated through the negotiation of exhibition space with the Singapore Art Museum. The inner courtyards of the Singapore Art Museum, known as the Waterloo and the Queens Courtyards, paved with cobblestones and dotted with palm trees, were designed as an area for quiet enjoyment and relaxation during the restoration [5] . This atmosphere is further enhanced by the placement of Li Chen’s Golden Rain, 2005, next to the fountain releasing droplets of water in one courtyard. This is a more recent work which has transcended the artist’s deep roots in the Buddhist sculpture tradition and marked the successful transformation of his Buddha and Bodhisattva figures into a universal child-like human figure. An experience everybody can identify with. In the other courtyard the traditional role of secluded devotion of the cloister is rediscovered through the placement of Li Chen's earlier work with strong religious iconography. Here landmark works in the artist’s transition from religious sculptures to his mature style of sculpture injected with Taoist chi and influences from Buddhist iconography include: Water-Moon Avalokitesvara, 1992; Three Bodies of Buddha, 1998; and Avalokitesvara, 1999. At first sight, this location resonates with the site of Li Chen’s last exhibition at the Telecom Italia Future Center, a former San Salvador Convent, as a collateral event of the Venice Biennale in 2007. The historical role of the cloister as an area within a monastery or convent which the religious are normally restricted to, links the site of Li Chen’s last exhibition in Venice with this first outdoor exhibition in Asia in Singapore. The communal space of the cloister is at the same time one for quiet reflection

in solitude. And the placement of the sculptures in the circular manner allows viewers to meditate and heighten their awareness of the sculpture and the phenomenon of enclosure. As they make their way around the energised field in the centre of the inner courtyards, they experience how natural light is received by the hard architectural surface and the sculptures, in particular through the compassionate gesture of the Avalokitesvara with its open arms, embracing the reflection of its surrounding environment onto its smooth black belly. At the main entrance of the Singapore Art Museum, the placement of the largest work in this exhibition, an almost five meters high Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva, 2001, allows viewing of the sculpture at the speed of cars passing through the main Bras Basah Road, and an East-meets-West reading of the smooth traditional Chinese black lacquer-like finished bronze sculpture set against the white Colonial architecture of the central building with curved wings, dome and porch designed by Charles Nain in 1903. Li Chen’s sculpture is given an amplified strong presence by the background building in classical style and Baroque flavoured curvature. The cast iron bronze-painted statue of St. John Baptist de La Salle, founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, on the façade also gives an additional layer of meaning to the positioning of the Avalokitesvara-on-dragon theme sculpture inspired from the Chinese sculpture tradition [6] . Perhaps it signifies the amalgamation of cultures and traditions in the Singaporean multicultural context.

Above the Mass Rapid Transport Museum Station On the other side of the main Bras Basah Road separating the Singapore Art Museum and the Singapore Management University Campus, two recent works from Li Chen’s outward-

looking Soul Guardian Series are situated above the Mass Rapid Transport Museum Station. Instead of a figurative adaptation from traditional folklore, Li Chen’s three meter high Lord of Fire, 2008, plays on the functional attributes and the cycle of change of the Wuxing. The traffic-stopping, rough-textured bright red sculpture supported on a stainless, reflective stand to produce the effect of a flame dancing above the charcoal, is incidentally situated next to the traffic lights. At the other end of the station grounds, the Lord of Wind, 2008 takes position as a black inflated mass with contrasted light and shadow by means of the reflective smooth and rough textured surface in Li Chen’s signature black lacquer finish. The awkwardness of the position of both sculptures – created for an age of disasters and calamities – is in line with their sentinel nature as a warning to the passerby of the consequences of human’s disrespect for nature. This is in stark contrast with the calm and welcoming presence of the DragonRiding Bodhisattva at the Singapore Art Museum entrance on the opposite side of the Bras Basah Road.

Campus Green, Singapore Management University The Singapore Management University Campus Green area is designed as open public space in memory of the former Bras Basah Park and assumes its role as a people’s park. All the existing trees are conserved, and the magnificent raintree canopy retains the memory of these early garden city lawns[7] . And the white colonial architecture of the Singapore Art Museum and the National Museum of Singapore at both ends forms a visual corridor relating to the civic space for art in between[8] . The Campus Green area connects between the two institutions – linking Singapore’s historical past with contemporary art. Besides acting as a green connector to the Fort Canning Park, a key openspace ‘lung’ of the Bras Basah area, the Campus Green area also offers quiet and relief from the surrounding urban activity [9] . 13

Taking central position in this green area is the oldest self-seeded Ficus religiosa, more commonly known as the Bodhi Tree. One can make reference to the religious significance of the sacred fig tree located in Bodh Gaya under which Buddha attained enlightenment, recognizable by its heart shaped leaves. Both the vertical and horizontal sculptures are placed strategically in a circular manner around the Bodhi Tree. One can embark on a personal pilgrimage of spiritual rejuvenation, amidst the lush greenery providing repose. Re-trace Li Chen’s self-healing journey through his child-like figures with strong Buddhist theme titles: Float to Sukhavati, 2002; Pure Land, 1999; and Clear Soul, 2002. One could identify with the sculptures positioned here in various states of rest, relaxation and reflection: having a good night’s rest amongst the clouds, lying backwards relaxing on top of the mountains and be in a state of reflection. The highlight of this grouping is the child depicted in Floating Heavenly Palace, 2007, who is totally at ease balancing the Heavenly Palace on one finger and the Taihu rock on one leg. On the nearby pathway area, covered by the majestic 25 by 25 meters spread canopies of four Rain Trees, Li Chen’s early work, All in One, 1998, stands in solitude. The Rain Tree (Samanea saman) is a popular wayside tree introduced into Singapore around 1876 from South America. It is a large ornamental tree which can reach a height of 25 meters and a diameter of 40 meters. Widely cultivated in the parks and along roads of Singapore, it has a thin symmetrical spreading crown. The common name Rain Tree came about as the leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening. The Buddha sculpture enshrined within the light-sensitive shade cover of the four Rain Trees seems to be paying tribute to the history of introduced ornamental plants which have become integrated as part of the garden city. The light-filtering atmospheric effect of the Rain Tree canopies also has the immediate effect of transporting urban dwellers back into the deep mountains for a quiet respite from the noise and crowd of the city. 14

National Museum of Singapore (under the Banyan Tree)

Located at the foot of the Fort Canning Park, the green area beside the National Museum helps to connect the Campus Green area of the Singapore Management University to the main green ‘lung’ of the city. The old tree, anchored as a landmark here seems to acknowledge the historical past of this site with its extensive cover spread and aerial prop roots swaying in the wind. The placement of Li Chen’s Five Elements or Wuxing sculpture installation from his 2008 Soul Guardians series in the grounds of the National Museum of Singapore, a history museum, gives new perspective to a distinctive system of mapping the world coming from Chinese tradition. Enter into the energized fields of the Wuxing on a Chinese feng shui compass installation where myth and fiction are interwoven into the artist’s fabric of individualized expression. In this closely-knit system or cycle of change, mystical beast and human figure are fused together into organic forms beyond imagination, allowing for a contemporary seeing of an ancient text and in the process creating a new context for another story. In the process of searching for alternative space to site the sculptures, what started originally as a negotiation of exhibition space within the Singapore Art Museum transformed into new possibilities of connecting the fragmented spaces within the garden city. Li Chen’s sculptures act as a bridge linking the key arts and heritage architecture and areas together as one space – like the mind, body and spirit of Li Chen’s work as one in unity. From the Singapore Art Museum, to above the Mass Rapid Transport Museum Station, to Campus Green, Singapore Management University and to the National Museum of Singapore, a continuous parcel of outdoor space connects the contemporary art museum and the history museum with the small green ‘lung’ of the city. In terms of chronology, Li Chen’s earlier landmark

works from the Beauty of Emptiness series (1992-1997) and The Energy of Emptiness series (1998-2000) with strong Buddhist sculpture influences are positioned within the Singapore Art Museum inner courtyard space. And his most recent works from the 2008 Soul Guardians series produced in an age of disasters and calamities, are positioned at the entrance of the National Museum of Singapore. Large works from the 2001 Spiritual Journey through the Great Ether series are sited in the Singapore Management University Campus Green area where one is free to take a little quiet rest from the noise of the city and retrace the footsteps of the artist in his personal spiritual journey. At the same time, the outdoor sculpture exhibition, Li Chen: Mind.Body.Spirit also poses questions on whether the museum is an appropriate location for spiritual art and, in this respect, on the role of the museum.

[1] Deepak Chopra. Connecting Mind, Body and Spirit. The Invisible Threat: Aging, Stress and Body Rhythms. The Essential Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Harmony Books, New York, 1993, 2007. p. 73. [2] A botanist has questioned the identity of the tree at the site that has come to be known as National Museum of Singapore (Under the Banyan Tree) and has confirmed on the 15.11.09 site tree survey that it is a Ficus elastica (Indian Rubber) and not a Ficus benghalensis (Banyan Tree). [3] A. History of the Site Area. V. University Planning and Design Guidelines. Urban & Architectural: Design Competition, Singapore Management University, 2000. p 13-14. [4] Relating the old and the new. Southeast Asia Building: Incorporating Architecture, Interior Design and Landscaping, Trade Link Media Pte Ltd. p 4. [5] Overview of Facility. Southeast Asia Building: Incorporating Architecture, Interior Design and Landscaping, Trade Link Media Pte Ltd. p 6. [6] The Buildings. Southeast Asia Building: Incorporating Architecture, Interior Design and Landscaping, Trade Link Media Pte Ltd. p 18. [7] Singapore Designs of the Year: President’s Design Award Nominated Design – Singapore Management University by Cicada Pte Ltd, 2007. [8] 1. A New Civic Park. A. Open Spaces. VI. Urban Design Guideline Plans. Urban & Architectural: Design Competition, Singapore Management University, 2000. p 29. [9] B. Context. V. University Planning and Design Guidelines. Urban & Architectural: Design Competition, Singapore Management University, 2000. p 17.


SMU Campus Green 16

【李真:精神 ‧ 身体 ‧ 靈魂】: 連接花園城市分散空間的橋樑 陳慧君 當物質、心理和精神層面獲得平衡,生命就會完整,如此一來,人便會感到安慰,也富有安全感。唯有非常肯定自己 在宇宙間的位置時,才會開始面對生命無常的事實…

狄巴克 ‧ 喬布拉 身、心、靈的聯繫[1] 正在新加坡舉行的【李真:精神 ‧ 身體 ‧ 靈魂】展,


是藝術家李真(1963 年生)在亞洲舉辦的首個大型戶外






21 元件(相等於 25 件個別雕塑作品),分佈在勿拉士峇






一路延伸到新加坡管理大學校園綠地以及新加坡國家博物 館榕樹下[2]的位置。雕塑作品從堅硬的白色殖民地建築的封


閉庭院空間內被 “ 釋放 ” 出來,分佈在城市花園柔軟的綠




內擺放的展品,和在高達 25 米的傘形雨樹庇蔭之下的雕



道家的 “ 氣 ” 和佛教元素,逐漸展現其成熟風格。代表李





址,它於 1903 年最初建成時是間教堂,後來於 1833 年改

最初看到這個地點時,不禁令人想起李真為 2007 年威尼


斯雙年展于義大利未來展望中心(Telecom Italia Future












坡的英國人-史丹福萊佛士的名字命名 。

冥想。觀眾步行于庭院中的磁場,可感受到堅固建築和圓 渾雕塑在自然光照耀下的特殊視覺效果。特別是張開雙臂


的《大士》,把四周景物擁入那光滑黝黑的懷裏,體現了 他慈悲和包容的胸襟。

曾經是聖約瑟書院校址的新加坡美術館具有英國殖民地建 築特色,既反映也促進了新與舊之間的對話[4]。我們和新加







的黑色銅制雕塑背景,是 Charles Nain 於 1903 年所設計








館二樓擺著基督教兄弟會創始人拉薩爾(St.John Baptist de La Salle)的鑄鐵雕像,與門前源自中國雕塑傳統的騎 [6]

龍大士 ,未嘗不是新加坡多元文化匯流現象的一種寫照。

綠色空間中央種有島國最古老的自身傳種菩提樹。釋迦牟 尼就是在菩提伽耶的一棵菩提樹下修道成佛,因此樹葉呈 心形的菩提樹深具宗教象徵意義。立像和臥像以菩提樹為


中心點,佈置成圓形格局。遊人可以沉浸在這一片寧靜盎 然的綠意之中,修身養息。作品題材雖然還是源自佛教,












性化的生動形象。2007 年作的《天闕輕舟》是這個展區的


重要創作。藝術家以一指頂著 “ 天闕 ”、一足立於太湖石的


逗趣孩童形象,生動地表達了 “ 快樂似神仙 ” 的境界。

而起,黑色發亮的漆面上有平滑和粗糙的紋理質感,營造 出來的是光影交錯的視覺效果。它們是藝術家針對時下各

臨近小徑邊種有四棵樹冠直徑達 25 米的巨大傘狀雨樹,


樹下立著李真的早期作品《合十》。雨樹約於 1876 年從




達 25 米,傘狀樹冠直徑可達 40 米,既能遮陽又能美化市




名稱便由此而來。在四棵雨樹庇蔭下的佛像,似乎在向外 來裝飾性樹木傳入我國的這段歷史致敬-這些樹木早已成


為城市花園密不可分的一部分。陽光透過樹冠照射在雙手 合十、閉目冥想的雕塑人物上,呈現出特殊的光影效果,





園內原有的樹木都被保留下來;龐大的雨樹樹冠,更保存 了早期城市花園的記憶[7]。大學的綠色空間位於新加坡美術


館和新加坡國家博物館的白色殖民地建築之間,形成了行 政文化區的視覺藝術走廊[8];它也是銜接這兩座建築物的綠




的懷抱中。與此同時,【李真:精神 ‧ 身體 ‧ 靈魂】戶







自【神魄】(2008 -)系列,由分佈在五個方位的五件雕塑 組成,依序陳列在新加坡國家博物館外。把《五行》放置此處,

(吳毅慧 翻譯)

更能凸顯其中的中國傳統世界觀。觀眾可在陳列五行雕塑的 巨大風水羅盤上自由走動。李真在此通過神話和虛構故事的 交織融合,表達個人藝術理念。在這個井然有序的系統裏, 神獸和人體形成超乎想像的混合體。作品為五行觀念賦上現 代意義,讓現代人從另一種角度審視世界,瞭解歷史。

我們在尋找展覽場地的過程中,最初只是把目光放在新加坡 美術館內的展覽空間上,後來我們把焦點轉移到戶外後,竟

[1] Deepak Chopra. Connecting Mind, Body and Spirit. The Invisible Threat: Aging, Stress and Body Rhythms. The Essential Ageless Body, Timeless Mind, Harmony Books, New York, 1993, 2007. p. 73. [2] 根據本地植物學家於 2009 年 11 月 15 日的實地考察結果,國 家博物館門前的大樹並非孟加拉榕樹(Ficus benghalensis),而 是印度橡皮樹(Ficus elastica)。

然意外發現連接市內各個分散空間的可能性。李真的雕塑作 品就如一道橋樑,把市內重要的文化歷史建築和地區銜接起 來,這種景與物相交融會的現象,也反映在李真作品中把心

[3] A. History of the Site Area. V. University Planning and Design Guidelines. Urban & Architectural: Design Competition, Singapore Management University, 2000. p 13-14.



[4] Relating the old and the new. Southeast Asia Building: Incorporating Architecture, Interior Design and Landscaping, Trade Link Media Pte Ltd. p 4.

校園綠色空間和新加坡國家博物館的場地串連起來便成了雕 塑作品的戶外展覽區。雕塑作品可被視為貫穿美術館、國家 博物館和市內小型綠肺地帶的交點。按創作年代順序而言,

[5] Overview of Facility. Southeast Asia Building: Incorporating Architecture, Interior Design and Landscaping, Trade Link Media Pte Ltd. p 6.

李真的【空靈之美】(1992 - 1997)和【虛空中的能量】 (1998 - 2000)系列代表作屬於早期作品,具有濃厚的佛 雕特色,均陳列在新加坡美術館庭院內。而在天災人禍不斷 的時代裏所創作的【神魄】(2008 -)作品系列則屬於近期 創作,展示地點就在新加坡國家博物館的大門處。新加坡管 理大學的校園綠色空間,是展示【大氣神遊】(2001 - ) 大型作品的地點。遊人可在這個無門無牆、無開放時間限制 的戶外展區,一邊歇腳,一邊觀賞這些戶外雕塑作品,並無 拘無束地與李真踏上一次精神探索之旅。綠色空間兩旁是車 輛川流不息的勿拉士峇沙路和史丹福路,當人們被城市節奏 逼得快喘不過氣來的時候,不妨暫停腳步,投入自然和藝術

[6] The Buildings. Southeast Asia Building: Incorporating Architecture, Interior Design and Landscaping, Trade Link Media Pte Ltd. p 18. [7] Singapore Designs of the Year: President’s Design Award Nominated Design – Singapore Management University by Cicada Pte Ltd, 2007. [8] 1. A New Civic Park. A. Open Spaces. VI. Urban Design Guideline Plans. Urban & Architectural: Design Competition, Singapore Management University, 2000. p 29. [9] B. Context. V. University Planning and Design Guidelines. Urban & Architectural: Design Competition, Singapore Management University, 2000. p 17University, 2000. Pp 17.


Round Table Discussion (from L. to R.): T.K. Sabapathy, Peini Beatrice Hsieh, Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Gao Minglu and Kwok Kian Chow


Introduction T. K. Sabapathy A roundtable discussion by art historians and curators, whose fields are marked by engagements in modern and contemporary art in Asia, was convened at the Singapore Art Museum (hereafter SAM) on September 26, 2009. It featured Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Gao Minglu, Kwok Kian Chow and Peini Beatrice Hsieh. The discussion was spurred by two overlapping spheres of interest. The first had to do with an exposition of sculptures by Li Chen in the courtyards of SAM, the Land Transport Authority sites, the precincts of the Singapore Management University and the Singapore National Museum, which are across the road from the host institution. Twenty-one works, mainly cast in bronze, some in fiberglass, featuring single and grouped figural representations, spanning ten years (i.e., 1998-2008), had been installed in the open. They constituted the artist’s first outdoor sculpture exposition in Asia; and it was inaugurated in tandem with the roundtable discussion. The second and related sphere of interest was posited by a dialogue held in Beijing in 2008; in it Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Gao Minglu and Kwok Kian Chow discussed with Li Chen a range of topics; topics related to his education, material and iconographic resources, connections with and departures from tradition and thoughts on the spiritual in seeing and talking about the artist’s practice of sculpture. Indeed, it was this dialogue that directly and manifestly led to convening the twin events in Singapore. The entire caucus from Beijing appears to have assembled in Singapore, along an amplified, expansive scale. Not surprisingly, the principal discussants at SAM were the very ones who were in conversation with Li Chen in Beijing, a year earlier. And by all accounts, Danzker was a driving spirit in consolidating the roundtable meeting. Not surprisingly too, the topic for the meeting sprang from the Beijing dialogue. It was formally designated as follows:

On the Spiritual in Art. Is there a place for the Transcendental in Contemporary Sculpture? This publication features presentations by three of the discussants and a guide to Li Chen’s sculptures in which particulars concerning sites and thoughts on installing works individually are described in detail. Part of the title is derived from one of the foundational treatises on the modern in European art history. Danzker deals with this in her presentation which, largely, has to do with describing circumstances which prompted Wassily Kandinsky to write a text, published in German in 1911 and which appeared in English translation in 1914 as On the Spiritual in Art. Spirituality and the transcendental are presented as overlapping one another, and at times as one subsuming the other. Danzker effectively sets the scene for the proceedings of the roundtable. She draws attention to the appropriation (rendered by her as misunderstanding, misreading) of thoughts and precepts from Asia, leading to significant artistic innovation in art practices and productions by artists in Europe. The ramifications of this text in the histories of art in the world are extensive and complex, but deserving attention. In the spirit of this occasion and spurred by Danzker’s thoughts, I put forward the following: Was Kandinsky’s text read and circulated in the artworlds in Asia or encountered by artists from Asia while sojourning in Europe? Was it, employing Danzker’s nomenclature, misunderstood and misread with comparatively significant consequences, artistically? Are there writings in Asia, produced in the early decades of the twentieth century, in which the spiritual and the transcendental are forwarded as germane and foundational for aesthetic apprehension? It is with matters such as these foremost in mind that we turn to Kwok Kian Chow’s presentation; and we do so with forward21


Golden Rain at SAM

looking anticipation. His is the only discussion that deals with the topic per se and especially with its second register which is inserted as a question. In doing so, Kwok trains sustained attention on Li Chen and, by implication, redirects the Beijing dialogue towards the ambit of the roundtable convention. Taking his cue from the iconographic substrates of Li Chen’s representations, Kwok sets out to forge kinship between notions of the void and of form, as these are explicated in Buddhist texts purported to be produced by Chan patriarchs, and his readings of this artist’s sculptures. These are valuable initiatives. The matter may be pressed further by deepening interpretive frames so that forms that are installed variously on sites, may yield spiritual resonance through visual apprehension. This is vital. Seeing, visualizing, looking are central and formative engagements in any spiritual experience, as they are in the reception of art. In these respects it is more than worth the while re-reading A.K.Coomaraswamy (Kwok cites him briefly) and Stella Kramrisch deeply, regarding again their meditations on aspects of Indian art traditions; and the latter especially, for her exemplary, spiritually heightened analysis of Indian sculpture.

China. In its stead Gao posits a theoretical construct or scheme which he designates as Yi Pai and which translates as Resonance/ Synthesis. Such a scheme has as its destination or goal a durable relatedness, even a synthesis of varying conditions. Rather than succumbing to the prevailing characterization of these conditions as irredeemably transient, consumerist and fragmentary, Gao seeks to recuperate a true humanistic spirit in art. Such a quest resonates with both the spiritual and the transcendent. This roundtable discussion directs attention to topics that are rarely broached in discourses on the contemporary in regions in Asia. Indeed, matters such as the spiritual and the transcendent are regarded somewhat suspiciously, as pointing to illusory and delusory interests. The presentations published here urge us to reexamine prevailing assumptions and to scrutinize contemporary practices with fresh lenses. The spiritual and the transcendent are deep-seated, human wellsprings that continually reignite desires for integrative existences.

Gao Minglu’s thesis may be regarded advantageously within these broad perspectives. This is not to enter a special plea for including and commenting on his presentation; rather, it is to enter a preparatory note for encountering it. Gao does not attend to the topic ostensibly. Yet, it is in weighing the spiritual and in attending to complexities that pertain to the transcendental that Gao’s interest in advancing a fresh or new critical frame for apprehending the modern/the contemporary in art in China gains for it credence and admission into the scope of this roundtable. Gao rightly identifies notions of representation as marking foundations for theoretical discussion of art in European and American discourses. These notions tend to coalesce around assertions in which representational forms and their counterparts as entities in actuality are dichotomously related. Such a premise is ill-suited for apprehending works of art produced by artists in 23

International Curators’ Dialogue with Li Chen in Beijing


序言 T• K• 薩巴帕迪 2009 年 9 月 26 日,幾位與亞洲現當代藝術深度交接的



研討 “ 現代性 ” 的基礎性論著。Danzker 在她的論文演述

圓桌討論會。與會的演講人為 Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker、

中正好探討了這層關係。她主要描述了瓦西裏 • 康定斯基


(Wassily Kandinsky)在什麼樣的情況下撰寫了上述著


作,也就是 1911 年以德文出版,並於 1914 年推出英譯版

該 展 覽 將 21 件 橫 跨 1998 至 2008 十 年 歲 月、 包 含 個 體

的《論藝術中的精神性》(英譯書名為 On the Spiritual in




存在著 “ 彼包攝於此 ” 的關係。Danzker 實際上為整個圓






讀)的史實,並且指出:如此的東學西漸,竟也導致歐洲 藝術家在創作的行為與成果上實現了重大的藝術革新。

至於第二個關注面,與此亦大有關聯,源於 2008 年在北 京展開的某一場對話。當時,Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker、



又複雜,確實值得注意。在 Danzker 覃思精論的刺激下,





於靈性 / 精神性的一些想法。

亞洲藝術家在歐洲居留時,是否曾接觸過這部著作?它是 否也曾(像 Danzker 所說的那樣)為人所 “ 誤解 ”、“ 誤讀 ”,


導致藝術上產生了相對重大的影響?在撰寫於 20 世紀上





討論者,也正是一年前在北京與李真交談的那幾位。當中 的 Danzker,絕對是這次圓桌討論會上起著整合作用的驅




靈性:超越性在當代雕塑領域是否自有其地位?》— 那自







手,試圖接合兩個方面 — 一是據傳為禪宗宗師傳世佛教文


獻所闡述的色空觀,一是他自己對李真雕塑的詮讀。這些 都是大有價值的進路。我們其實可以循此更進一步,深化


Pure Land (detail) and Float to Sukhavati SMU Campus Green





疑慮的眼光看待 “ 靈性 ” 與 “ 超越性 ” 之類的話題,認為它



性、構成性的交接方式。就此而言,被郭建超稍加引述的 A•


K• 考馬拉斯瓦米(A. K. Coomaraswamy),還有斯特拉


• 克拉姆裏施(Stella Kramrisch)兩人的著作,都是非常




精思 — 特別是克拉姆裏施,對印度雕塑的分析堪稱典範, 頗具精神高度。

(吳錦漢 翻譯)

游走於這些視野廣闊的論說之間,其實有利於我們接收、 思考高名潞的論題。我之所以這麼說,並不是要就 “ 為何 收錄及評論他的演述 ” 這個問題避而不答、另作迂回的辯 解,而是要在我們接觸他的宏論之前先稍作提示。高名潞 表面上並未觸及討論會的主題。他只著眼於提倡一套新的 評論框架,供我們體悟中國藝術之現代性 / 當代性的本質 所在。然而,他為此探討了靈性 / 精神性的問題,以及與 超越性相關的複雜情況,終究可納入討論會的範圍。高名 潞正確地指出:歐美話語中藝術理論探討的基礎,以 “ 具象 ” 的觀念為標誌性特點。這類觀念在哪里有顯著的表現呢? 往往就在將造型與現實中之摹寫物件對立起來的斷言中。 若要瞭解中國藝術家的作品,這樣的前提並不適宜。高名 潞認為,我們應以被他稱為 “ 意派 ”(其英譯含有 “ 共振 / 綜合 ” 之義)的一種理論概念或體系取而代之。“ 意派 ” 的 終點或目標,是一種長久的關聯性,甚至可以說是各種條 件的綜合。當前人們總將這些條件視為短暫存在、消費主 義式、支離分散、不成一體的,高名潞則不然。他所尋求 的,是在藝術中恢復真正的人文精神。這樣的追求,何嘗 不與靈性、超越性的天地同聲共振?



Yi Pai:

A Synthetic Theory Against Representation Gao Minglu At the beginning of the 21st century, there is a demand for rethinking of modernity and contemporary art in the nonWestern cultural area, even the modernity or contemporaneity in the West. But what is the theoretical ground, and its inner logic, that has driven non-Western, such as Chinese contemporary art? In other words, can we continue to apply Western modernism or postmodernism as a playground of influences to interpret twentieth century Chinese art without considering the different social context, the specificity of twentieth century Chinese historical conditions, and China’s longstanding ties with traditional cultural forms? If it is no longer proper, then what would be an integrative theory that could be applied to the future study of Chinese contemporary art? Recently, I published a theoretical work titled, Yi Pai: a Synthetic Theory against Representation. In the book, I demonstrate an investigation and critique of Western theories of classicism, modernism and postmodernism from a broad view of comparative studies[1] . I argue that no theory from Western art history can be defined without reference to the notion of representation, which regards art as a substitute for human reality, concepts and logic, namely a mimetic substitute for truth and reality. It is this notion of representation’s relationship to “truth” that has set the foundation for realism and conceptual art, as well as abstract art, three vital domains in Western modern art. Therefore, modernism, postmodernism, the contemporary avantgarde, the historical avant-garde, and the neo-avant-garde, all these categories of Western art are, in fact, in pursuit of a real, authentic, original representation of the truth, either from the outside world or from inner thoughts, even though they may claim a deconstructive approach against conventional visual representation. It is just another extreme gesture in the pursuit of mimicry of truth. The question is, how one can fit this theory 28

of representation to those cultural areas where there has never been an idea of a substitute for “truth,” in an absolutist sense? For an equivalent example, the real, or truth, in Chinese is zhen. In ancient China, however, almost all philosophers who discussed good (shan) and beauty (mei) in artistic expression, never touched upon the issue of “truth” (zhen), because they had no desire to let art mimic the real. In Chinese aesthetics, art never bears the responsibility to substitute for visual reality or true thought logic. Ancient Chinese theory always respects yi, or “something that comes from your mind”, which in the Chinese context always merges image, concept and scene. This synthetic-resonance tendency has been embodied in the theory of Chinese Literati landscape design, calligraphy and poetry. All of them never bear the responsibility of mimetic representation, nor do they pursue an extreme expression or conception in the sense of Western aestheticism. The consequences of the philosophy of mimicry of truth and the theory of representation in Western art lead visual art, in particular contemporary art, toward revealing certain portions of the world in terms of fragmentation, transience, and extremity as well as isolation. This theory has departed far from a synthetic outlook on humanity. Most philosophers and theorists of the 20th centur y, worldwide, have fallen into this fragmentar y, deconstr uctive framework with the exception of a few, exemplified by the linguistic theories of Constructivism, Marxism and Heidegger’s Existentialism. The domains of realism, abstraction and conception all address their autonomy from one another, assuming their own positions extremely distant from one another. Otherwise, there would be no autonomy for each of them (Fig. 1). Accordingly, Western art has transitioned from a tactile perspective in Egyptian art to the single vanishing point perspective which generated the classical realist style in the Roman and Renaissance periods (Riegle). This three-dimensional illusion met the modern revolution

Fig. 1

under the slogan “painting is painting itself ” and saw a parallel liquidation of literary narrative. Modernism believed that its method directly represented the “idea,” the supremacy of which has been underscored in Western metaphysics since Plato, and therefore modernist flatness became a teleological priority and advanced over (perspective) three-dimensional illusions (Fig. 2). This debate, however, merely reveals the dichotomous model of representation of an absolute truth throughout modernism’s history.

Fig. 2

Conceptual art (as well as postmodernism in general) began to challenge this model by getting rid of dimensional issues and challenging the materialization of art, by insisting that any objects, even ready-mades, can be applied directly to substitute for truth, as long as they would bear a conceptual logic (or an imbedded social critique). Although Western Conceptual art attempted to transcend the dichotomy of modernism, its revolutionary concept of “what is art” is still compartmentalized in an object world. Although it has broadened the manner of art expression, which was only confined within the issue of flatness vs. three dimensions in classical and modern arenas, and reached the realm of free choice of objects (ready-made, earth work, human body, even words, writing and voice), the fundamental idea of “what is art” still remains the same, namely, that art functions as something that should substitute something, e.g. the truth or the real. Therefore, the revolution of postmodernism only minutely advanced over the classical and modernist representational world view in a broader context of subject matter. This broader view was caused, however, by the disillusionment of postmodernists who knew that representation would never be able to reflect something we can see or think about, such as a text, as the old semioticians and modernists believed. Instead, for Conceptual art, or the neo-avant-garde, representation itself was framed by an institutional (as well as a linguistic) power which we are not able to discover through texts (or artworks), per se. Therefore, representation is a discourse of power, rather than a language that arbitrarily presents a truth, as Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes and Derrida pointed out. It seems, however, that there is still a fundamental connection between the two, as the diagram shows (Fig. 3 and Fig. 4). The postmodernist theories initiated by the French School have inspired me to think about the methodological issues concerning the interpretation of Chinese contemporary art. The sophisticated discussions of the relationship between text and context have also stimulated my interest in transforming Chinese traditional concepts in art into contemporary theory, which I have now 29

Fig. 3

With reference to an ancient Chinese theory of Li, Shi and Xing, or “principle, concept and appearance” from the 9 th century Tang Dynasty, I constructed my Yi Pai theory. Yi Pai literally means School of Resonance/Synthesis. Yi Pai is formulated in a pluralized structure rather than a dichotomous perspective. Furthermore, Yi Pai theory demonstrates a world view continual with the ancient period, which valued synthesis rather than fragmentation. From a methodological perspective, Yi Pai favors yizai yanwai or “the truth being always beyond language,” rather than a dogmatic or logical reflection of truth or reality. However, Chinese ancient aesthetics, while admitting that yi, or “something that comes from your mind,” is dissociative and elusive, tries to overcome this defect of images or “xiang,” as Confucius said, “to establish the images in order to capture the fullness of the concepts in their minds” (lixiang yi jinyi). Therefore, traditional Chinese aesthetics has a high expectation of images or “xiang,”, because xiang, which is an empirical category, is neither a subject nor an object; instead it includes observers, the thing being observed, and the moment and contextual process of observation. The level of complexity inherent to the concept of “xiang” is of an entirely different order than mimesis in the West.

Fig. 4

named Yi Pai. This is perhaps also a project of the synthesis between East and West, or zhongxi hebi on the theoretical side, with an obviously tough challenge of a grand theory. As Jean Francois Lyotard noted, the Grand Master narratives of the West were not only an incomplete project, but a failure (perhaps because they assumed the hegemony of the West). However, monsieur Lyotard had not encountered the rise of China and the full fruition of globalization in the 21st century, unfortunately, before he passed away. I have been assured by people who knew him that he would have loved the challenges that the Chinese avant-garde represent for historians and the new possibilities for aesthetic interpretation and representational theory. 30

One thing we should keep in mind is that the “image” in early Chinese aesthetics, for example in the The Book of Changes, should not be confused with the illusionistic “likeness” that Western representation speaks about today, because the “likeness” is no more than a state of the “image.” The “image,” in traditional aesthetics, can be divided into three categories as The Book of Changes indicates. The first category pertains to the hexagram, or the “guaxiang”. This dates back to The Great Treatise of The Book of Changes, which is very much similar to what Chinese find in Western modernist painting, known as abstraction (chouxiang), which literally means “to summarize images into a principle.” [2] The second meaning of the “image” has to do with the calligraphic connection with statements or “ci.” Its function is to

append statements to give the fullness of what was expressed through both words and images, namely, to express in calligraphic writing whatever is inexpressible in speech[3] . The third is “what you are looking at” or the actual images. In this context, “image” means “appearance of things.” To summarize, there are three categories of “images” in the Book of Changes, the hexagram, calligraphy, and the appearance. If yi is a realm of the mind wandering, then xiang is the embodiment and resemblance of yi. The embodiment includes three types, hexagram (guaxiang), calligraphy (zixiang), and appearance (xingxiang). The three types of xiang also have three correspondences in the manner of visualizing yi, as Zhang Yanyuan from the 9th century in the Tang Dynasty indicated, namely li, shi and xing. Zhang said, “The concept of art expression (tuzai) contains three topologies. The first is the form of principles: the forms of the hexagram are such (li). The second is the form of concepts: the study of written characters has to do with this (shi). The third is the form of appearance (xing), and this is paintings (Fig. 5).”[4] As a matter of fact, principle, concepts

in visual art between the East and West. It has nothing to do with a framework which is based on representation of the real or absolute truth; rather it is an embodiment of the relational structure between man, things and the world. It is this different mentality and visual philosophy that has framed the idea of total modernity and the cultural avant-garde in Chinese modern and contemporary art. In total modernity theory there is no desire for the autonomy of art, or a split between morality and science. In visual art, the synthetic theory of Yi Pai indicates that the principle (li), the concept (shi) and appearance (xing) are always in a relationship of cross-fertilization, overlap and correspondence. The May Fourth generation still kept the synthetic mentality, even when Western modern civilization impacted Chinese culture in the twentieth century until Mao’s revolutionary art became the dominant force. Hu Shi’s famous saying, the synthesis of “particular time, specific space and my choice” perhaps is a perfect footnote for the ancient “li, shi and xing” theory[5] . Even in Mao’s mind, art was no more than a part of revolutionary life, although art is a political ideological

and appearance in traditional Chinese aesthetics correspond to three such concepts in the West, notably abstraction, conception and realism in modern art. It is easy to understand the correspondence between li and abstraction, and xing and realism. But in the process of development Western modern art, abstraction, conceptualism and representation are mutually exclusive as we saw in the illustrated model (Fig. 1). However, li, shi and xing in ancient Chinese theory, are always in an inclusive, relational, overlapping and mutually resonant state (Fig. 5). This synthesis has been embodied by poetry, calligraphy and literati painting throughout the ancient period, and is the foundation of Chinese traditional art. This synthetic theory corresponds to traditional philosophy and the three domains of li, shi and xing as the visualization of the philosophy and worldview. Therefore, the synthesis and resonance of these three domains is a different way, epistemologically speaking, as well as a major difference

Fig. 5


instrument. It is during Mao’s social realist period that the ancient synthesis theory was almost abandoned. And the generation of the ’85 Movement had to revitalize the early dream, which seems still a challenge in the current world. This is the historical reality which makes me think about the possibility of finding a new methodology. This desire even came early during my Chinese graduate school period, when I wrote my thesis titled Zhao Mengfu's Archaism and the Transition in Song and Yuan Painting Aesthetics. It was an historical study on the transition from the art of the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279) to the Literati painting of the Yuan Dynasty (1279 – 1368). In that period, I carried a strong intention to get away from Mao’s representational theory (art is a reflection of social life), because in it art practice and history became a mirror of the social background. In this philistine method, it was easy to insert a social meaning and subjective interpretation into a ready subject matter of artworks. Instead, I wanted to put art practice into a relationship between political life, poetry, calligraphy and the scholars’ mentality in general, to conclude what was the significant change in the early Yuan Dynasty within the movement of Literati Painting led by Zhao Mengfu and others [6] . Interestingly enough, when young Chinese art historians attempted to break down Mao’s old Marxist social theory after the Cultural Revolution, in the West postmodernism arose and rebelled against modernism. One of the instruments they employed was Neo-Marxist theory as adopted by some new art historians, including T. J. Clark and Tomas Crow in the same period. This dislocation in the different cultural arenas seems to have existed forever. In the 1990s, when globalization and urbanization become the dominant theories in general artmaking in the West, in China it emerged with Apartment Art and Maximalism, which rejected the economic and ideological framework in place by making something unsalable, unexhibitable, except in a familial space. In this case, both materials and symbolic meaning are isolated from the outside forces of 32

globalization and the market. It is a kind of meditation involving labor that is both time consuming as well as difficult because it touches upon personal things. From a material point of view, one might like to define the artworks of the Chinese avant-garde as either Minimalist, or Western neo-avant-garde, in an anti-capitalist institutional context. Further study, however, reveals the Chinese contemporary approach is totally different from either Western modernism or globalized postmodernism. As I discussed in the last two chapters (e.g. Apartment Art and Maximalism) that concerned the spatial forms of artworks, Maximalism and Apartment Art exist as a search for infinite, non-delineated space. The Maximalists have no interest in the wholeness of their compositions, which emphasize the difference between center and edge. They do not create independent or self-sufficient paintings. On the contrary, they aim to express their spatial concepts through perpetual forms imbued with the concept of continuation to the infinite. Their "wholeness" is realized in a series of partially completed works. According to the Maximalists, there is no fixed, isolated, or unchangeable space limited by a frame. Space is a kind of relationship, always moving and metamorphosing. It is a kind of Yi Pai spatial theory. Therefore, the “space” in Maximalism is neither a composition portraying the spiritual idealism aimed at by the early Modernists, nor is it the closed, unchangeable, theatrical space of the Minimalists, nor something as symbolic as a gesture in the dichotomy of “individual vs. global,” as the popular theory of globalization describes. On the contrary, Maximalism seeks to express the infinity of visual space, not its wholeness. It is antiwholeness and anti-theatricality. Furthermore, the space of Chinese abstract art goes far beyond its physical presence; it consists of the presence of both interior and exterior space. One cannot truly understand the "space" inside the artwork without a thorough comprehension of the conceptual space of the artist in the relation between interior and external world.

Accordingly, we can compare early Western abstract art (e.g. Mondrian) (Fig. 6), later abstract art (e.g. Minimalism) (Fig. 7 and Fig. 8) with Chinese Yi Pai (e.g. Maximalism) (Fig. 9) by the diagram in the following illustrations. It may help to consult the images, for a better understanding about the dislocation of the spatial approaches which reveal a different world view. Therefore, one of the functions of Yi Pai theory is to discover and describe the dislocation. In postmodernism, there are many theorists who have discussed the concept of ambiguity which inspired me to develop Yi Pai theory. However, Yi Pai is by no means a return to dichotomous ambiguity, such as subject vs. object, text vs. context, signifier vs. signified, etc., rather, Yi Pai attempts go beyond dichotomies to establish a structure consisting of triple, even multiple portions, as an interpretative model of dislocation. The synthesis of Yi Pai theory is thus by no means only to commit a “plus” method, like a + b + c …, rather it is a main method of interpretation of both art and history by discussing the overlapping portions between li, shi and xing, namely the mixture, approach and departure portions between abstraction, conceptualism and realism in the well known terms of Western art (Fig. 10). Although today, in this period of so-called contemporaneity with the digital revolution in visual culture, the three categories may rarely be applied in criticism. The presumption of the three categories, and of the dichotomy of representational theory, may still provide a framework for criticism and art historical research, in particular, when some critics look at a non-Western contemporary art phenomenon. The discussion of art and history in this book attempts to demonstrate these presuppositions by unveiling certain misunderstandings of Chinese contemporary art. For instance, the idea of total modernity and the synthetic cultural framework of the avant-garde in both the early twentieth century and in the 1980s; the tie between the avant-garde and Mao’s revolution; the political existence of the “art for art’s sake” faction in avant-garde art during and after the Cultural Revolution; the

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Fig. 8


Although they do not perhaps fit my new direction in theoretical work, Yi Pai theory, very integratively, they might send certain messages about Yi Pai theory I have just introduced above.

Fig. 9

art with a modernist appearance that reveals a non-evolutionary spatial consciousness (instead a meditative spatial consciousness) in the artworks of Maximalism and Apartment Art, etc. All this dislocation, from the point of view of Western modern art, needs to be understood within a specific framework of history, as well as a synthetic overview. Some of the chapters in this book come from my writings which were already published in one form or another, years ago.

Fig. 10


Today, when globalization and urbanization have continually swallowed indigenous heritage with various fragmented theories, such as deconstruction and appropriation in the domains of art making, cultural originality has been thrown away, while the coherent and harmonious traditional philosophy of human beings has been replaced by “transience” and “fragmentation.” Is it possible, however, to re-establish a synthetic theory against the fashionable interpretation of globalization and urbanization that favors the “fragmentation” of the human mind and the “consumption of personality” in visual art criticism? Especially when China has now also joined the world community of industrialization, commercialism, pragmatism, and instrumental rationalization, while facing the similar problem of modernity and the avant-garde that the West began during its own industrialization in the period of Romanticism, roughly in the mid-nineteenth century? Because of this, when I wrote Yi Pai and this book, I by no means meant to establish a particular art form, movement or style in either the material or historical sense, but rather I intended to enforce the true humanistic spirit in art with reference to the specificity of Chinese culture and history in the twentieth century.

[1] The Chinese version has just been published with the title Yi pai:yige dianfu zaixian de lilun [Yi Pai: A Synthetic Theory Against Representation] (Guangxi Normal University Press, 2009).

Fig.1, Three Domains from Western Modern Art

[2] “Fu Xi (a legendary ruler of great antiquity, the first of the Three August Ones) began to create the Eight Diagrams by way of connecting with the essence of the universe and imitating living things on earth, through his observations of celestial phenomena, the geological environment, and the conditions of all living things as well as the changes of the earth, with his body or other living things at a distance being the objects of his experiment.” From Book of Changes.

Fig.4, Dichotomy Models of Iconology and Semiotics

Fig.2, The Principle of Modernism Fig.3, Content vs. Form: Dichotomy Model of Western Modernism Fig.5, Three Domains from Ancient Chinese Art Theory Fig.6, Individual Encoding Mode of Western Early Modernism Fig.7, Theatricality – Late Modern: Minimalist Model (1) Fig.8, Theatricality – Late Modern: Minimalist Model (2) Fig.9, Maximalist and Apartment Model Fig.10, Yi Pai: Dislocation is Formed within Synthesis

[3] As the Book of Changes said, “observing images while understanding ci, or statements.” [4] Zhang Yanyuan, A Record of the Famous Painters of All the Dynasties, finished in the year A.D. 847. The English translation of this part, see William Reynolds Beal Acker, Some T’Ang and PreT’Ang Texts on Chinese Painting (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1954), p65-66. [5] See “Introduction.” [6] “Zhao Mengfu de fugu yu Song Yuan hua feng de bianyi [Zhao Mengfu's Archaism and the Transition in Song and Yuan Painting Aesthetic]”, a master’s thesis published three times, summary in Meishu shilun [Art History and Theory], no. 4,(1985): p6068 .; complete version in Shanghai Huayuan Jinian Wenji [Commemorative collected works of Shanghai Academy of Painting] 1985, and in Xin Meishu [New Art], no.3 (1989): p40-57.


意派:一個顛覆再現的理論 高名潞 二十一世紀初,我們有必要重新審視非西方文化世界的





任務。中國古代理論向來尊重 “ 意 ”,即 “ 心中的意念 ”, 而 “ 意 ” 在中國語境裏,綜合了形象、概念和場。中國文人





義或後現代主義視為各種影響的 “ 發源地 ”,並以此來解讀


二十世紀中國藝術,而且在這個過程中,無須考慮不同的 社會情境、二十世紀中國歷史的各種特定因素,以及淵遠



是當代藝術)傾向於表現世界上那些分離、瞬間、極端以 及孤立的狀態。再現理論不是以綜合角度審視人類自身。







我在書中從比較研究學的宏觀視角審視和批評了古典主 義、現代主義和後現代主義這三種西方藝術理論[1]。我認為


在西方藝術史上,沒有任何美學理論能夠脫離 “ 再現 ” 這


個概念;“ 再現 ” 理論主張藝術足以替代人類現實、觀念和




再現與 “ 真理/事實 ” 之間的這種關係,是西方現代藝術 的三個主要領域-即現實主義、概念藝術以及抽象藝術的 根基 。現代主義、後現代主義、當代前衛藝術、歷史前衛 藝術以及新前衛藝術等西方藝術類別,即便聲稱採用了與 傳統視覺再現不同的解構法,但實際上它們于外在現實或 內心世界所追求的,依然是一種反映真理或事實的原始再 現。 換句話說,這只不過是模仿真實的另一種極端做法。 而接下來的問題是,這種再現理論對那些從未有 “ 替代 事實/真理 ” 觀念的區域文化而言是否適用?英文的 “the real” 或 “the truth” 相等于中文裏的 “ 真 ”。然而在古代中國, 幾乎所有討論過藝術表現中的 “ 善 ” 和 “ 美 ” 的哲學家,都 從未提到 “ 真 ” 這個問題,因為他們從來沒有要求讓藝術


Fig. 1

Fig. 3

Fig. 2

古典寫實主義風格。西方現代藝術追求 “ 繪畫即終極目標 ” 使三維幻覺的再現方式走向終點,文學敘事的表現模式同 時崩潰。自柏拉圖以來,西方形而上學便一再強調 “ 理念 ” 的重要性,而現代主義相信,其方法就能夠直接呈現 “ 理 念 ”。因此現代主義的平面性特徵變成了目的論式的優先 考量,並且超越了(具透視感的)三維式幻覺(圖二)。 但事實上,這只不過說明了真實再現的二元模式,是現代 主義發展歷史上不可或缺的一部分。 Fig. 4

概念藝術(以及後現代主義)通過成功擺脫空間維度的問 題和反對藝術的具體化,開始對這種模式做出挑戰。它們








的革命性概念-即 “ 什麼是藝術 ”,仍然被局限於一個物





因此就如蜜雪兒 • 福柯、羅蘭 • 巴特和德里達指出,再現





已經把藝術再現的概念擴大,但是 “ 什麼是藝術 ” 這個基 本觀念仍然不變,也就是說,藝術的功能是替代他物,再








第二個類型是與 “ 辭 ” 有關的書法文字類的 “ 象 ”,其功能

種新理論稱為 “ 意派 ”。“ 意派 ” 也可被視為一項 “ 中西合璧 ”

是 “ 系辭焉以盡其言 ”,即通過文字和圖像把意思完全表達



充滿挑戰性的。就如弗朗索瓦 • 利奧塔所說,西方宏大的

涵 義[3]。 第 三 個 類 型 則 是 “ 所 見 到 的 ” 實 際 形 象。“ 象 ”


(image)在這裏指的是 “ 事物的表像 ”。綜觀上述,《易經》


所載的三種 “ 象 ” 是卦象、字象和形象。

紀時期中國的崛起與全球化的全面實現。那些認識他的人 曾經向我保證,他肯定會對中國前衛藝術向歷史學家所拋

如果說 “ 意 ” 象徵漫遊四方的內心世界,那麼 “ 象 ” 則通過


卦象、字象和形象體現和反映了 “ 意 ”。這三種 “ 象 ” 是 “ 意 ”


的形象化,也就是唐代藝術史學家張彥遠所說的 “ 理 ”、“ 識 ” 和 “ 形 ”。張彥遠說:“ 圖載之意有三:一曰圖理,卦像是也;

中國九世紀的唐代張彥遠提出過有關 “ 理、識、形 ” 的藝




是 “School of Notion”。意派是建立在一個多元而非二元的

代藝術的抽象、觀念和寫實範疇相對應。 “ 理 ” 與 “ 抽象 ”、

架構之上。另外,意派理論的主張和古代世界觀是一脈相 承的,它注重融會契合,而非對立分離。從方法論的視角 而言,意派主張 “ 意在言外 ”,而非以武斷或邏輯手法反映 現實或呈現真理。 然而,中國古典美學在承認 “ 意 ”(即 “ 心中意念 ”)之餘, 卻因為這是曼妙游離、難以捉摸的概念,而嘗試設法彌補 在 “ 象 ” 方面的缺憾,也即孔子所說的 “ 立象以盡意 ”。因 此中國傳統美學對 “ 象 ” 寄予莫大希望,因為象這個屬於 經驗主義範疇的概念,既非主體也非客體;它包括了觀者、 觀察項目,以及觀察時刻和情狀。西方模仿現實的傳統,


Fig. 5

是無法和 “ 象 ” 如此複雜精深的概念相提並論的。

“ 形 ” 與 “ 寫實 ” 之間的對應關係是相當明顯的。


但是就如上文所述,在西方現代藝術的發展中, 抽象、概

所提到的 “ 象 ”,用來和今天西方再現理論中所指的幻覺式


“ 形象 ” 混為一談,因為這個 “ 形象 ” 只不過是 “ 象 ” 的一


種狀態。根據《易經》所載,“ 象 ” 在傳統美學裏可以被分


為三個類型。一為《周易 • 系辭》所說的 “ 卦象 ”,它和西











論是他們所採用的其中一項工具,這項理論在這期間被 T. J. Clark 和 Tomas Crow 等新藝術史家所採納。不同文化






宰西方理論的一股旋風,反觀中國卻出現 “ 公寓藝術 ” 和 “ 極


多主義 ”,中國藝術家在個人住家空間內利用一些不能賣







論思想。從胡適的一句名言,我們領略到 “ 這個時間、這


個境地、這個我的這個真理 ” 的契合,是 “ 理、識、形 ” 古


代藝術理論的完美注腳。 在毛澤東心裏,藝術是一種政治






投入 ’85 美術運動的那一代藝術家必須重拾舊夢,而在當


代,要做到這點看起來似乎並不容易。 極多主義和公寓藝術是一種無止境、無設限的空間探討。 這個歷史現實促使我去探討尋找新方法論的可能性。其實




想法。當時我寫了一篇題為《論趙孟頫的古意 — 宋元繪畫


美 學 的 變 遷 》 的 論 文, 從 歷 史 角 度 探 討 宋 代(960 -

而其 “ 完整性 ” 則體現在一系列已部分完成的作品中。極

1279)藝術至元代(1279 - 1368)文人畫的發展過程。






理論之下,藝術的實踐和歷史變成了社會背景的寫照。這 種平庸的方法,讓我們很容易能夠在現成的藝術作品題材

因此極多主義裏的 “ 空間 ”,既非反映早期現代主義藝術






所描述的 “ 個人對世界 ” 二元對立現象的那種手勢般的象


徵意義。極多主義要表現的,是視覺空間的無限性,而非 其整體性。它是反整體性、反劇場化的。另外,中國抽象 藝術的空間遠遠超越了其有形的存在狀態;它包括了內在 和外在空間的存在狀態。沒有徹底瞭解藝術家在內外世界 關係上的概念性空間,就無法真正瞭解藝術作品裏的 “ 空 Fig. 6

間 ”。 我們於是能夠以圖解的方式對早期西方抽象藝術(例如蒙 德里安)(圖六)和後期抽象藝術(例如極少主義)(圖七、 八),與意派(例如極多主義)(圖九)進行比較。這些 簡圖有助讀者進一步瞭解各種空間概念的錯位現象;這種 現象反映了不同的世界觀。

Fig. 7

因此,意派的其中一個功能便是發掘和學述這個錯位現象。 後現代主義的許多理論家曾討論過 “ 多義性 ” 的概念,這 觸動了我建立意派理論的靈感。然而意派不是要回到二元 多義性上來,例如主體相對客體、本文相對上下文、能指 相對所指等關係。意派試圖超越二元關係,建立一個三元 甚至多元的結構,作為錯位的解讀模式。因此,意派的綜 合理論不是在主張一種 “ 加法 ” 模式(如 a + b + c…), 而是一種通過討論理、識、形的重疊部分,也就是相應於 西方抽象、觀念和寫實藝術之間的混合、臨近以及分離部

Fig. 8

Fig. 9 Fig. 10


分,來闡釋藝術和歷史的重要方法(圖十)。 在視覺文化正經歷數碼革命的今日或所謂的當代,藝術評 論很少會涉及這三個範疇。三個範疇和再現理論的二元性 主張,也許能提供美學評論和藝術史研究的框架 — 尤其是 評論家在觀察非西方當代藝術現象的時候。這本書在藝術 和歷史的論述上,嘗試通過消除對中國當代藝術的某些誤

[1] 《意派:一個顛覆再現的理論》中文版剛在不久前由廣西師 范大學出版社出版(2009 年)。

[2] 根据《易經》所載,太昊伏羲是中華民族人文始祖。伏羲藉 著宇宙天地的元气和對世間生物的模仿,并通過對宇宙現象、 地理環境、万物生態和大地變化的觀察,還有利用身体或其 他生物作為實驗對象,開始創制八卦。

解,來說明這些預先假定事項。例如,如何從二十世紀的 “ 整一現代性 ” 的角度去理解二十世紀初和八十年代的前衛

[3] 就如《易經》所說,“ 觀其象而玩其辭 ”。

藝術的發展邏輯;二十世紀中國前衛藝術和毛澤東的社會 革命之間的複雜關係;文化大革命期間和文革之後,前衛 藝術中的 “ 為藝術而藝術 ” 與西方美學自律的區別以及中 國這些所謂 “ 純藝術 ” 的強烈的政治身份;在九十年代的 極多主義和公寓藝術中,那些外表具有西方現代主義的痕 跡的點、線、面的作品,實際上和現代主義的抽象美學無

[4] 張彥遠:《歷代名畫記》,成書于公元 847 年。有關部分的 英文翻譯資料,請參見 William Reynolds Beal Acker, Some T’Ang and Pre-T’Ang Texts on Chinese Painting (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1954), 65-66.

[5] 胡适,《實驗主義》,載《新青年》六卷四號,1921 年。。

關。從藝術家、作品和環境的整體上下文去審視,它們呈 現了當代全球化、都市化空間擠壓之下的個人冥想狀態,

[6] 《趙孟頫的古意-宋元繪畫美學的變遷》,曾三度刊行,論


文概要發表在《美術史論》1985 年第四期,第 60 - 68 頁;

地從西方現代藝術的觀點來看中國的當代藝術現象,我們 必須通過特定歷史框架和綜合性概述才能瞭解這些錯位關 係。 今天,當全球化和城市化不斷以藝術實踐中的 “ 解構 ” 和 “ 挪

完整版發表在《上海畫院記念文集》,1985 年,以及《新美術》 1989 年第三期,第 40 - 57 頁。

Fig.1, Three Domains from Western Modern Art Fig.2, The Principle of Modernism Fig.3, Content vs. Form: Dichotomy Model of Western Modernism

用 ” 等分離主義理論吞噬著本土文化之際,文化原創性已

Fig.4, Dichotomy Models of Iconology and Semiotics

經被拋棄,和諧一致的人類傳統哲學則被 “ 瞬間 ” 和 “ 分離 ”

Fig.5, Three Domains from Ancient Chinese Art Theory


Fig.6, Individual Encoding Mode of Western Early Modernism

對抗全球化和城市化的 “ 分離 ” 思想主張以及視覺藝術評

Fig.7, Theatricality – Late Modern: Minimalist Model (1)

論上 “ 人格消費 ” 的傾向?尤其當中國已經加入工業主義、 商業主義、實用主義和工具理性為重的世界社會,而且它 目前所面臨的現代性和前衛主義問題,和西方在十九世紀

Fig.8, Theatricality – Late Modern: Minimalist Model (2) Fig.9, Maximalist and Apartment Model Fig.10, Yi Pai: Dislocation is Formed within Synthesis

中葉工業革命前後的浪漫主義時代的情況相似。因此我在 撰寫意派理論和這本書的時候,並無意創造新的藝術形式、 藝術運動或藝術風格,而是希望以二十世紀中國文化歷史

(吳毅慧 翻譯)

的特定價值為考量,提倡藝術中的真實人文精神和新的思 維方法。


Lord of Fire (back view) LTA


Concerning the Spiritual in Art Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker It is exactly 99 years ago that the Russian-German painter Wassily Kandinsky wrote his influential text Über das Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art) which he published the following year, in 1911. The English translation was to appear in 1914 under the title The Art of Spiritual Harmony, a translation which – although not accurate - hinted at a possible influence of Oriental thought in the artist’s writings. Re-reading Kandinsky’s treatise nearly a century after it was written, one is tempted to question its significance, and to ask why, for the past one hundred years, it has been so influential, and considered so radical. A close examination of the text lays bare an uninformed enthusiasm for the esoteric pseudo-mysticism promoted by Madame Blavatsky (1831-1891), one of the cofounders of the Theosophical Society. Blavatsky’s writings, as Kandinsky noted in Concerning the Spiritual in Art, were a source of inspiration for many artists and intellectuals in the Western world at the turn of the last century: Mme. Blavatsky was the first person, after a life of many years in India, to see a connection between these "savages" and our "civilization." From that moment there began a tremendous spiritual movement which today includes a large number of people and has even assumed a material form in the Theosophical Society. This society consists of groups who seek to approach the problem of the spirit by way of the INNER knowledge. The fascinating aspect of reading Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art at the beginning of the twenty-first century is that his description of the political, artistic and intellectual world of 1910 sounds remarkably like our own. Instead of a “steady cooperation” among artists Kandinsky describes “a scramble for good things. There are complaints of excessive competition, of over-production. Hatred, partisanship, cliques, jealousy, intrigues are the natural consequences of this aimless, materialist art.” Spirituality, and political life, Kandinsky writes, had been debased.

People call themselves Jews, Catholics, Protestants, etc “but they are really atheists.” Some even “openly avow [that] ‘Heaven is empty,’ ‘God is dead.’” In politics, he notes, “these people are democrats and republicans” who direct “fear, horror and hatred” against anarchism “of which they know nothing but its much dreaded name.” In economics, he continues, “these people are socialists [who] make sharp the sword of justice with which to slay the hydra of capitalism and to hew off the head of evil.” Others, he writes, “read the political leading articles in the newspapers. In economics they are socialists of various grades, and can support their ‘principles’ with various quotations, passing from Schweitzer’s Emma via [Ferdinand] Lasalle’s [1825-1864] Iron Law of Wages, to [Karl] Marx’s Capital (1867), and still further.” In art, Kandinsky observes, there are those who “are naturalists. … despite their infallible principles, there lurks … a hidden fear, a nervous trembling, a sense of insecurity. ..this modern sense of insecurity.” Kandinsky then goes on to say that “that which belongs to the spirit of the future can only be realized in feeling, and to this feeling the talent of the artist is the only road.” This road – which was to lead to what in the West is called abstract or non-objective art – also drew heavily on the discourses associated with Transcendentalism. Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau believed that an ideal spiritual state “transcended” the physical and the empirical and could only be realized through the individual’s intuition, rather than through the doctrines of established religion. In 1854 Thoreau wrote in Walden: In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavat Geeta, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature 43

seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma, and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the root of a tree with his crust and water-jug. I meet his servant come to draw water for his master, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges. Regrettably, the fascination which the East held for Western intellectuals in the middle of the nineteenth century when Thoreau wrote Walden, and at the turn of the 20th century when Kandinsky penned Concerning the Spiritual in Art, did not ensure – either then or in our present day – a profound or broadly based understanding of Asian philosophy, aesthetics, or languages – outside of the domain of highly qualified specialists in these areas. Instead an Orientalist fascination for the East – one that combined spiritual longing, idealism, the promise of enlightenment, and a refuge in mystical visions – took hold of the Western imagination. Among those who succumbed to this fascination in their spiritual longing and idealism were the artists Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondriaan, Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley; the writers William Butler Yeats and T. S. Eliot; and the composers Gustav Holst and Alexander Scriabin. Their studies of the metaphysics and laws of the “spiritual paradigm” of Theosophy revolved around the notion of a “spiritual hierarchy” that was helping humanity evolve to greater perfection according to these laws. Rhythmic form and the power of the triangle were among the building blocks of a new life of the spirit. These misinterpretations – and misunderstandings – of Eastern aesthetics and philosophy – whether they came from India or China – resulted nevertheless in extraordinarily important innovations in Western art and music in the twentieth century, ranging from the non-representational Neo-Plasticism of Mondriaan to the theories of the abstract and the non-objective 44

proposed by Wassily Kandinsky and the German artist and co-founder of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Hilla von Rebay. In music Theosophy provided the rationale for the dissonant counterpoint of a composer such as Alexander Scriabin. In Concerning the Spiritual in Art Kandinsky described the experience of listening to Scriabin’s music and that of Arnold Schoenberg: Almost alone in severing himself from conventional beauty is the Austrian composer, Arnold Schonberg. He says in his Harmonielehre: “Every combination of notes, every advance is possible, but I am beginning to feel that there are also definite rules and conditions which incline me to the use of this or that dissonance.”[1] This means that Schonberg realizes that the greatest freedom of all, the freedom of an unfettered art, can never be absolute. Every age achieves a certain measure of this freedom, but beyond the boundaries of its freedom the mightiest genius can never go. But the measure of freedom of each age must be constantly enlarged. For Kandinsky, and especially Mondriaan, abstraction, nonobjectivity and Neo-Plasticism held the promise of an “enlarged freedom”, especially in an age of dictatorship, brutal war and mass annihilation. This was profoundly and movingly described by Mondriaan in his text Liberation from Oppression in Art and Life, written during the Second World War. In a paper on abstract art from 1941 he proposed that Abstract art is in opposition with our natural vision of nature. But it is in accordance with the plastic laws which in nature are more or less veiled.[2] “Art,” he continued, “is the aesthetic establishment of complete life – unity and equilibrium – free from all oppression….For this reason it can reveal the evil of oppression and show the way to combat it.” [3] Following the teachings of Theosophy, Kandinsky noted in Concerning the Spiritual in Art that the life of the spirit could be “represented in diagram as a large acute-angled triangle.” At the

apex of this triangle Kandinsky placed the artist-genius. I quote: At the apex of the top segment [of the triangle] stands often one man, and only one. His joyful vision cloaks a vast sorrow. Even those who are nearest to him in sympathy do not understand him. Angrily they abuse him as charlatan or madman. So in his lifetime stood Beethoven, solitary and insulted. Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art created fertile territory for what would later become a Hollywood-style caricature of the angst ridden modern artist – a bearer of new truths, alone and misunderstood on his pinnacle, his (and possibly her) talent the only path to “the spirit of the future.” The aesthetic representation of this spiritual revolution was abstract and nonobjective art. The political stance was one of “resistance” against all – against organized religion, against the political class (the democrats, the republicans and the socialists), and against the age of materialism. Kandinsky wrote in 1911: When religion, science and morality are shaken, the two last by the strong hand of Nietzsche, and when the outer supports threaten to fall, man turns his gaze from externals in on to himself. Literature, music and art are the first and most sensitive spheres in which this spiritual revolution makes itself felt. They reflect the dark picture of the present time … they turn away from the soulless life of the present towards those substances and ideas which give free scope to the nonmaterial strivings of the soul. It would be remiss of me not to mention that there were artists from the West who did indeed seek to understand the philosophy and aesthetic principles of the East in a more profound manner. The first of these is Mark Tobey (1890-1976) who studied calligraphy with the Chinese artist Teng Baiye (1900-1980) in both Seattle and Shanghai. Another was Tobey’s colleague, Morris Graves, also from the Pacific Northwest of America, who studied Zen Buddhism and travelled three times to Asia between 1928 and 1930. Finally I want to recall the work and writings of Bernard Leach (1887-1979) who co-founded Leach Pottery

in Cornwall, England, in 1920 with the Japanese potter Shoji Hamada. Leach, who was born in Hong Kong, was a close friend of Tobey and traveled with him to Asia. In conclusion I would like to return to the convictions espoused by those artists who had been swayed by Theosophical beliefs, such as Kandinsky, that the spirit of the future can only be realized in the feeling and intuition of the individual, and that the only road to this feeling is “the talent of the artist.” Our era, one hundred years after Kandinsky penned his treatise, is still haunted by hidden fears, “a nervous trembling, a sense of insecurity. ..[and a] modern sense of insecurity.“ I would like to pose the following questions: Is the highly individualized spirituality which Kandinsky proffered to the West (and the East) the path to the “spirit of the future?” Did this individualized spirituality enlarge the “measure of freedom” of our age? Is our continued faith in the “talent of the artist” (and his or her intuition) as the path to, and a prophecy of, the future justified? And, finally, did the search for, and the profound longing for, a form of spirituality that could cross cultural boundaries result in a moving closer of East and West, either at the turn of the last century or today?

[1] “Die Musik,” p. 104, from the Harmonielehre (Verlag der Universal Edition). [2] Piet Mondrian, “Abstract Art” (1941) in The New Art – The New Life: The Collected Writings of Piet Mondrian edited by Harry Holtzman and Martin James, London 1986, p311-312. [3] Ibid, p323.


Lord of Wind (back view) LTA


論藝術的精神性 Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker 俄羅斯籍德國畫家瓦西裏 • 康定斯基在 99 年前寫完《藝

在政治上,他指出 “ 這些人都是民主主義者和共和主義

術的精神性》,並於翌年 1911 年出版這本對後世影響深

者 ”,他們利用 “ 憂慮、恐懼、憎恨的情緒 ” 對抗 “ 他們一

遠的著作。英文翻譯版則在 1914 年問世,儘管其書名《精

無所知卻聞之喪膽 ” 的無政府主義。在經濟方面,他認為


“ 這些人都是社會主義者,他們用磨得鋒利的正義之劍剷




在他筆下,其他人則是 “ 報章政治要聞的讀者。在經濟方




他們的 ‘ 原則 ’,從史懷哲的《艾瑪》、拉薩爾(1825 -



夫人(1831 - 1891)所提倡的一種玄奧且近似神秘主義


的思想。康定斯基在《藝術的精神性》裏便提到,布拉瓦 茨基夫人的著作,為上世紀之交的許多西方藝術家和知識

在藝術方面,康定斯基發現某些人 “ 是自然主義者 … 儘管


他們的信念牢不可破,但潛伏其中的 … 是一股不為人知的 恐懼感,令人心煩意亂、焦慮不安 … 是現代的一種不安的



這些 “ 野人 ” 和我們的 “ 文明 ” 之間的關係。從那時起, 一場非同凡響的精神運動開始了,現今參加這場運動

康定斯基繼續說道:“ 唯獨憑感覺才能體會屬於未來精神



了一些試圖通過內在知識探討精神性問題的團體。” 這條後來通往西方所謂的抽象或非物象藝術的道路,也充 在二十一世紀初閱讀康定斯基的《藝術的精神性》,令人

滿了超驗主義的各種論述。拉爾夫 • 瓦爾多 • 愛默生和亨利 •

感到妙不可言的是,他所描寫的 1910 年的政治、藝術和

大衛 • 梭羅等超驗主義哲學家相信,理想的精神境界 “ 超越 ”



之間並沒有一種 “ 穩固的合作關係 ”,他們


“ 致力爭取好處。他們投訴說有太多的競爭和過量的

1854 年,梭羅於《瓦爾登湖》(Walden)中寫道:

生產。忿恨、黨派對立、搞小集團、嫉妒、耍弄陰謀 詭計是這種漫無目的的唯物主義藝術的自然後果。”

我一早就沉浸在《博伽梵歌》浩瀚無垠的哲學思想 裏,這部令人驚歎不已的經典著作,成書至今已過了



人們自稱是猶太人、天主教徒、新教徒等,“ 但他們其實都


是無神論者。” 有些人甚至還 “ 公然宣佈,‘ 天堂是空的,’,


‘ 上帝已經死了。’”




人。他在其名著《和聲學》裏這麼寫道:“ 音符的組






協調的音程。”[1] 這表示勳伯格意識到,沒有所謂純粹


的一種最偉大的自由-即絕對無拘無束的藝術自由。 每個時代都在某種程度上取得這種自由,但就算最偉





西方知識份子對東方十分著迷,但遺憾的是,這股濃厚興 趣在當時甚至到了今天,並沒有促成西方進一步深刻瞭解



客觀主義和新造型主義為他們帶來 “ 更大自由 ” 的希望,




年代裏。蒙德里安在二次世界大戰期間所寫的論文-《從 藝術和生活所面臨的壓迫中解放出來》中就對這點做了深


刻且令人感動的闡述。1941 年,他在一篇有關抽象藝術的

術家瓦西裏 • 康定斯基、彼埃 • 蒙德里安、亞瑟 • 德夫和


馬斯登 • 哈特利;作家威廉 • 勃特勒 • 葉芝和 T. S. 艾略特; 以及作曲家古斯塔夫 • 霍爾斯特和亞歷山大 • 斯克裏亞賓。


他們對形而上學以及通神論的 “ 精神性典範 ” 法則的研究,


均圍繞著一種 “ 精神性等級制度 ” 的概念,而這種概念有

多或少都被隱蔽起來 [2]。

助人類根據這些法則昇華至更完美的境界。精神新生命的 根基包括節奏形式和三角形的力量。

他繼續說道:“ 藝術是完善生活的美學構建-既和諧又均 衡-不受任何壓迫 … 因此它能顯現出壓迫的邪惡性,並告



解,最終催生了二十世紀西方藝術和音樂的種種意義非凡 的革新現象,這從蒙德里安的非再現新造型主義,以致康



可以 “ 用一個巨大的銳角三角形代表 ” 精神生命。 康定斯



神論為諸如斯克裏亞賓的作曲家找到不協調對位法的根本 理由。在《藝術的精神性》一書中,康定斯基如此形容欣

在 [ 三角形 ] 頂端通常站著一個人,而且就只有那麼

賞斯克裏亞賓和阿諾德 • 勳伯格的音樂所帶來的體驗:








精神;“ 藝術家的才華 ” 是通往這種感覺的唯一途徑。




擺脫不了種種暗藏心底的恐慌,“ 令人心煩意亂、緊張不


安 … 是一種現代的不安全感。” 我在此提出下列問題:

(也可能是她)的才華是通往 “ 未來精神 ” 的唯一途徑。 這種精神革命的美學再現是抽象和非客觀藝術,其政治立


場是 “ 反對 ” 一切-反對有組織的宗教、反對政治階層(民

性,是不是通往 “ 未來的精神 ” 的途徑?

主主義者、共和主義者和社會主義者),以及反對唯物主 義時代。康定斯基在 1911 年寫道:

這種個人化的精神性是否擴大了我們這個時代的 “ 自由 度”?

當宗教、科學和道德的地位被動搖(搖動後兩者的是 尼采那強而有力的手),外在支柱也搖搖欲墜,人就

我們一直相信 “ 藝術家的才華 ”(以及他或她的直覺)是通



和藝術是最先受到這場精神革命衝擊的領域。它們反 映了現今的黑暗情景 … 他們捨棄現今那種沒有靈魂






然而我們不能忽略的是,其實西方也擁有深入瞭解東方哲 學和美學的藝術家。例如曾在美國西雅圖和中國上海向中 國藝術家滕白也(1900 - 1980)學習書法的馬克 • 托比 (Mark Tobey ,1890 - 1976),還有托比的同輩格拉夫

[1] “Die Musik,” p. 104, from the Harmonielehre (Verlag der Universal Edition).

斯(Morris Graves)。專門研究佛家禪宗思想的格拉夫斯 和托比同樣來自美國太平洋西北部,曾於 1928 年至 1930

[2] Piet Mondrian, “Abstract Art” (1941) in The New Art – The New

年期間三次到訪亞洲。最後我要提到的是巴納德 • 李奇

Life: The Collected Writings of Piet Mondrian edited by Harry Holtzman and

(Bernard Leach ,1887-1979) 的作品和著述。1920 年間, 他與日本陶藝家濱田莊司在英國康沃爾郡攜手創辦了李奇 陶藝工作坊。在香港出生的李奇,是托比的好友,曾與他 結伴訪問亞洲。

Martin James, London 1986, p311-312. [3] Ibid, p323. (吳錦漢 翻譯)



Avalokitesvara 1999 (detail)


Li Chen’s New Works and the Spiritual in Art Kwok Kian Chow First of all, the title of this roundtable, “On the Spiritual in Art: Is There a Place for the Transcendental in Contemporary Sculpture?” recalls Wassily Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1910), and indeed, Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker has done a critical contemporary take on the subject and further extended it to include the influence of theosophy and Eastern philosophy on Kandinsky’s ideas, and Kandinsky’s misreading of the latter. I have learnt a great deal from Danzker’s presentation and will relate to her points in my presentation. As a point of entry into the theme of “transcendental,” I wish to quote the Platform Sutra (Tanjing 壇 經 ) by Huineng 慧 能 (638-713 CE), the sixth and most influential patriarch, or the fountainhead of Chan Buddhism: The Kingdom of Buddha is in this world, within which enlightenment is to be sought; To seek enlightenment by separating from this world is as absurd as to search for a rabbit's horn; Right views are called ‘transcendental;’ Erroneous views are called ‘worldly.’ [1]

“beauty and energ y of emptiness” and “spiritual journey through the great ether”) was to look for what may seemingly be the contradiction between physical volume and, using the ver y mass to capture the opposite, the lightness or volumelessness of the sumptuous figures of buddhas and bodhisattvas. Hence, a tension between materiality and immateriality. It is the iconography, pose, scale All in One 1998 (detail) to pedestals, smoothness of finish (“the blessed robes are at one with the Buddha’s unobstructed self ”), roundedness and even youthfulness of the figures that helped suggest the experience of the volume-less, notwithstanding the heavy sculptural form.

Huineng goes on: All Buddha ksetras (lands) are as void as space. Intrinsically our transcendental nature is void and not a single dharma can be attained. It is the same with the Essence of Mind, which is a state of ‘Absolute Void.’ The void, on the other hand, does not equate vacuity: When you hear me talk about the Void, do not at once fall into the idea of vacuity (because this involves the heresy of the doctrine of annihilation). It is of the utmost importance that we should not fall into this idea, because when a man sits quietly and keeps his mind blank he will abide in a state of ‘Voidness of Indifference.’ Let us bear the above in mind and now look at Li Chen’s works. The challenge of Li Chen’s earlier works (appropriately entitled

Seeing these tensions in the Chan philosophical context, they are about the void that is not the vacuity, and the right balance of what is intrinsic and what is transcendental, which must come into a synthesis in the viewer’s mind. In fact, “tension” is not quite the right description of the kind of push-and-pull tussles in Li Chen sculptures, as they look completely serene and resolved, only because they stimulate the mental processes in the viewer of an animated movement between mass and void. “Spirituality,” on the other hand, I think, can describe the site in which such a reading is taking place, that is, in the mind of the viewer. Let me quote Huineng again: The Wisdom of Enlightenment (Bodhiprajna) is inherent in every one of us. It is because of the delusion under which our mind works that we fail to realize it ourselves, and that we have to seek the advice and the guidance of enlightened ones before we can 51

know our own Essence of Mind. To know our mind is to obtain liberation. Bodhi is immanent in our Essence of Mind, An attempt to look for it elsewhere is erroneous… Within our impure mind the pure one is to be found. Let me now return to Kandinsky, who also noted that “all works of art created by truthful minds without regard for the work’s conventional exterior remain genuine for all times.” Kandinsky, on the other hand, had great faith in materiality, provided that the artistic articulation of which comes directly from the mind, or the “inner truth,” which, as pointed out by Danzker, pointed the artist’s reference to a new era of theosophical universalism, one that signaled a new moment of what Kandinsky called the “spiritual turning-point.” The use of elements of painting, such as in “the harmony of colours,” was for the purpose of “touching the human soul,” as Kandinsky put it. Kandinsky further explained that such expressions were based on the “principle of internal necessity.” [2] I believe there is quite a parallel, in the ‘spiritual’ and the ‘transcendental,’ in the sense of the inner vision and the intuitive basis of knowledge, in both Kandinsky and Li Chen. However, in terms of the artworks, we are looking at what is often regarded as the polarity of abstraction and figuration. Let me first deal with this point by referencing Gao Minglu, before returning to Danzker’s point about Kandinsky’s misinterpretation of Eastern aesthetics and philosophy. We have also been reminded by T. K. Sabapathy, chair of this forum, that mis-reading can be positive and productive, as in the ample examples of Asian artists’ misreading of Western aesthetic concepts. Gao Minglu’s Yi Pai theory, as presented earlier, is most helpful in explaining the non-contradictory relation between abstraction and figuration, in the general embracement of synthesis rather than fragmentation, through the explication of li 理 “principle,” shi 識 “concept,” and xing 形 “likeness,” as cited from the 9th century art critical text by Zhang Yanyuan.[3] Other 52

sets of triadic relations invoked by Gao included abstraction, conception and representation, and Martin Heidegger’s da-sein (existence), zu-sein (to be) and zeug (equipment).[4] Heidegger further developed Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology which centred on consciousness as a first person experience to one that considered the structural features of both the subject and object of experience, or a relational experience between an individual and the world. Yi to Gao suggested the kind of relations that may be drawn in these triadic sets, with each element dependent on the other elements in the set, and not to be fragmented. Yi Pai, or the Yi approach, in my understanding of Gao, then, is a method of art creation and appreciation. It is in the in-between or relational spaces that art as an expression may invoke an experience of the world. This art should not represent anything that may be pinned down in terms of concepts, narratives, emotions or any form of representation, even the Greenburgian notion of ‘autonomy,’ which was also a representation of an ideal. The Western art categories of abstraction, conception and representation, on the other hand, look at these as separate categories and set them in an evolutionary scheme of figurative, abstract and conceptual art. These categories further ‘represent’ human reality, concept, logic, social commentary, etc. Now, in consideration of Yi Pai, we can say that Li Chen’s works are neither figurative, nor abstract, nor conceptual, but a synthesis of all these elements, which must further form a triadic relation. In a discussion the presenters had with T. K. Sabapathy yesterday, Sabapathy mentioned Ananda Coomaraswamy, whose eminent book The Transformation of Nature in Art of 1934, was an early attempt to relate theories of art in India, China and, interestingly, medieval Europe, triggered my memory that the concept of “yi,” in fact, had a Buddhist source. Coomaraswamy wrote of sadrsya, which he translated as “similitude,” and further explained that: It is in fact obvious that the likeness between anything and any representation of it cannot be a likeness of nature, but must be analogical or exemplary, or both of these. What the representation imitates is the idea or species of the thing, by

which it is known intellectually, rather than the substance of the thing as it is perceived by the senses.[5] Coomaraswamy further explained: Sadrsya, “visual correspondence,” (note: Coomaraswamy used a different translation here), has nevertheless been commonly misinterpreted as having to do with two appearances, that of the work of art and that of the model. It refers, actually, to a quality wholly self-contained within the work of art itself, a correspondence of mental and sensational factors in the work.[6] This comes very close to Yi. Gao explained that li 理 “principle,” shi 識 “concept,” and xing 形 “likeness” also referred to hexagrams, statements or text, and image as set out in The Book of Change, which was compiled in the first century BCE. Gao quoted The Book of Change that the purpose of the hexagrams was for the provision of the “fullness of what is true and false in a situation” 設卦以盡情偽 .[7] Let me just park this phrase aside and come back to Li Chen for now. Li Chen’s sculptures, we discussed, work on the tension between form and formlessness, mass and volumelessness, and the attainment of the ‘mind’ through the dynamics that force one to apprehend the work as the erasure of polarities like void and mass so as to be ‘non-characteristic,’ and evincing ‘non-thought,’ or a desire to veer away from representation by the very figurative means. As Li Chen has said himself, in his speech during the opening ceremony at this museum on Thursday evening, that the purpose of his art was to “turn presence into absence” 化有為無 . New issues arise as we look at Li Chen’s new works – the Soul Guardians series, first launched in Beijing in 2008 which is represented here by Lord of Fire and Lord of Wind on Bras Basah Road across from the Singapore Art Museum and the Five Elements at the front lawn of the National Museum, suggests a new turn in the artist’s work. In Soul Guardians, the artist takes on

Soothing Breezes Floating Clouds 2005 Venice Biennale 2007

a greater reference to societal presence, beyond the ‘spirituality’ of the earlier works. This is a new direction with a sense of calamities, troubles and disasters, whether natural or as a result of cultural and political clashes looming large at this point in time; the one immediately preceding the Singapore exhibition is the disaster of the typhoon Morakot that hit Taiwan in early August. The Five Elements in the series is a hexagramic presentation that comprises abstraction, conception and representation, and referencing The Book of Change. The introduction of fantastic if not furious creatures into the Five Elements installation adds to 53

the societal reference of the work and also draws a link with the figurative Soul Guardians. We see the different permutations of li “principle” (especially in the case of Five Elements), shi “concept,” and xing “likeness” (on Li Chen’s figurative elements) in Li Chen’s sculptures and may look at the implications of the permutations over a period of time. It is, then, appropriate to look at Li Chen’s works with our appreciation of them guided by Yi Pai. The artist spoke of the Five Elements as a “synthesis” 整 合 of his artistic journey in the last two decades. At this point, let me bring back Gao’s quote that the hexagrams were for the purpose of the provision of the “fullness of what is true and false in a situation,” which enhances also the conceptual basis of Li Chen’s work.[7] Now, Kandinsky. Please allow me to do the convenient thing of stating my agreement with Danzker in Kandinsky’s misreading of Eastern aesthetics and philosophy by invoking Gao’s critique of the dependency of Western art on representation. As Danzker said, the convictions espoused by Kandinsky and those artists who had been swayed by theosophical beliefs that “the spirit of the future could only be realized in the feeling and intuition of the individual, and the only road to this feeling was ‘the talent of the artist.’” What was the misreading part here was the belief that abstraction, notwithstanding the heroic discovery which marked a complete new turn in Western art history, was indeed the representation of the future. Before I end, just a quick note on the word ‘contemporary’ in the title of this forum; The fact that Li Chen’s formative years in art did not occur in art schools but through the apprenticeship in traditional and religious art and craft, brings forth new challenges in the current interest in diachronic analysis of art historical development, in tangent with the propagation of a postmodern pluralism generally devoid of historical continuity. In reading the iconography and sculptural manifestation in the Soul Guardians series, how do the works engage in a contemporary aesthetic forum without being read merely as representations of cultural symbols and icons? There is something deeply powerful about Li Chen’s work that should not be read as being culturally specific, yet its inspiration has to be located in historical continuity. 54

[1] A.F. Price and Wong Mou-Lam, trans., “On the High Seat of ‘the Treasure of the Law: The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Hui Neng’,” www.angelfire.com/realm/platform-sutra. All subsequent citations are based on Price and Wong, trans. For an alternative translation, see The Buddhist Text Translation Society, The Sixth Patriarcs Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra, The Sino-American Buddhist Association, San Francisco, 1977 (primary translation: Bhikshuni Heng Yin, editor: Upasaka Kuo Chou Rounds). There exist six historical versions of the Platform Sutra. For recent scholarship on the sutra, see Yang Yuanxing ed., Chan-he zhisheng, the conference publication of the 2008 Guangdong Chan Sixth Patriarch Cultural Festival, Beijing: Zongjiao wenhua chubanshe, 2009.

[2] Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, eds, Art in Theory 1900 – 1990, p 94. [3] Gao Minglu, Yi Pai: A Synthetic Theory Against Representation, Guilin: Guangxi Normal University Press, 2009, p 39-47. [4] Gao Minglu, Ibid., p 154-162. [5] Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, The Transformation of Nature in Art, New York: Dover Publications, 1956 (original publication by Harvard University Press, 1934), p 13. [6] Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Ibid., p 13. [7] Gao Minglu, Ibid., p 51.

Lord of Wind (side view) at Asia Art Center, Beijing


李真的新作以及藝術中的靈性 郭建超 首先,我想說這次圓桌討論會的主題《論藝術中的靈性: 超越性在當代雕塑領域是否自有其地位?》令人聯想到 瓦西裏 • 康定斯基(Wassily Kandinsky)的《論藝術中的 精神性》(1910)。事實上,Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker 已 經從當代評論的角度探討了這一聯繫,並且廣而論之,談 到了神智學與東方哲學對康定斯基的影響,以及康定斯基 本身對東方思想的誤讀。Danzker 的論文報告使我獲益良 多,我這次發表的內容將參考其論點。 為了引入討論會關於 “ 超越性 ” 的正題,我想先引述中國 禪宗影響最巨大的六祖慧能(西元 638 - 713 年)的一段 話。他在《六祖壇經》中說道:

佛法在世間,不離世間覺。 離世覓菩提,恰如求兔角。 正見名出世,邪見名世間。[1]


諸佛剎土,盡同虛空。世人妙性本空,無有一法可得。 自性真空,亦複如是。 然而,這裏所謂的 “ 空 ”,並不等同於 “ 空洞虛無 ”:

Work-in-progress at artist's studio, Taichung

莫聞吾說空便即著空。第一莫著空。若空心靜坐,即 著無記空。

我們不妨以上述法語為念,依此審視李真的藝術創作。李 真較早期的作品名為【空靈之美】、【虛空中的能量】、 【大氣神遊】等,其實命名甚為恰當。他在當中試圖追求 的,看似一種矛盾,也就是通過物理性的體量及品質捕捉 體態豐潤的諸佛菩薩之輕虛空靈、無實無質,由此帶出物 質性與非物質性之間的張力。這些作品雖然形式上為沉重


Sculpture display at the National Art Museum of China, Beijing 2008



表面光滑(佛身無礙,體衣不二)、體態圓潤,乃至於人 物的青春氣息,卻總使人隱約感受到一種虛體廓然。

若識本心,即本解脫。…… 菩提本自性,起心即是妄。



“ 內在 ” 與 “ 超越 ” 之間達到適當的平衡,任此兩端在觀賞 者的心中融合無礙。實際上,李真雕塑所蘊含的往來牽扯

現在我們回頭來看康定斯基。他說過:“ 凡是由真誠的心

的矛盾,用 “ 張力 ” 這個詞來描述並不太恰當,因為這些



遠真實無妄。” 康定斯基對物質性滿懷信心,只求其藝術


表現直接發自內心或者所謂的 “ 內在真理 ”。如 Danzker 所指出,這一 “ 心源 ” 引導藝術指向神智學普世主義的新


時代,而這個新時代標誌著康定斯基所謂 “ 精神轉捩點 ”

用 “ 靈性 ” 這個詞予以描述。正如六祖慧能所言:

的一個新契機。按照康定斯基的說法,繪畫的各種元素(如 “ 色彩之和諧 ”)用意在於 “ 感動人的靈魂 ”。他還進一步


解釋:這樣的藝術表現以 “ 內在必然性的原理 ” 為基礎[2]。


我認為,如果我們從 “ 內心之觀照 ” 和 “ 作為認知之本的 直覺 ” 這兩項內涵來理解 “ 靈性 ” 及 “ 超越性 ”,那康定斯 基和李真兩人之間委實大有相通之處。然而,單就藝術作 品本身的形式而言,我們不免得正視人們經常視為 “ 抽象 / 具象 ” 兩極對立的問題。關於這一點,請容許我先提一提 高名潞的高論,之後再回過頭來,談 Danzker 所說的康定 斯基對東方美學與哲學的誤讀。這次討論會的主席 T.K. 薩 巴帕迪提醒過我們:誤讀可以是正面的、帶來豐盛成果的。 有多少亞洲藝術家誤讀了西方的美學概念,卻走出了燦爛 的道路,正可說明這一點。

早些時候高名潞所講的意派論,很能幫助我們厘清抽象與 具象兩者的非矛盾性關係。他通過解析西元 9 世紀張彥遠 的藝術評論著作《歷代名畫記》所提出的 “ 理 ”、“ 識 ”、 “ 形 ”,化解了此中的矛盾分裂,使兩端大體相合不悖[3]。 高名潞所論及的其他三元關係組合,包括抽象 / 概念 / 具 象,還有海德格爾的 “ 此在 ”(dasein)/“ 去存在 ”(zusein) /“ 器具 ”(zeug)[4]。海德格爾其實是進一步發展胡塞爾的 現象學。胡塞爾重點關注的是作為第一手體驗的意識,而 海德格爾則進而探討了體驗之主客二體(或是個體與世界 之間的關係體驗)的結構特點。在高名潞看來,所謂的 “ 意 ”,正是隱然涵蓋了我們從這些三元組合當中所能得出 的各種關係。這些組合中的所有元素無不相依相成,不可

Lord of Fire (side view) Asia Art Center, Beijing

分裂。 論。 他 當 時 提 到 了 阿 蘭 達 • 考 馬 拉 斯 瓦 米(Ananda 根據我的理解,如此說來,意派即是一種藝術創作與鑒賞

Coomaraswamy)。早在 1934 年,此人的名著《自然在

的方法。藝術之作為一種表達,正是在 “ 間隙 ”(即 “ 關係

藝術中的嬗變》(The Transformation of Nature in Art)

空間 ”)之中才得以引出主體對世界的體驗。這樣的藝術



來。這使我憶起:“ 意 ” 這個概念的源頭之一,實為佛家。

形式之寫照、表述)對號入座的任何事物 — 一即使格林伯

考馬拉斯瓦米筆下談到了 “sadrsya” 這一範疇, 並將它譯

格(Greenburg)所謂 “ 自主性 ” 的概念也不外是對某種理

為 “ 契似 ”,作此解釋:

想的表述,故此也無法將它框住。西方慣用的抽象 / 概念 / 具象三大藝術範疇則不然,總是被人分別以觀,融入具象


藝術 — 抽象藝術 — 概念藝術三者層層演進的大系統中。


論者甚至更進一步,將三者說成是分別 “ 表現 ” 了人間實


象、概念、邏輯、 社會評論等等。其實,按照意派論的思




不屬概念藝術;它是這一切元素的融匯,而且必然構成更 高層次的一組三元關係的一部分。



考馬拉斯瓦米進一步闡明: 儘管如此,sadrsya(即 “ 視覺上的相應 ”)[ 案:考

Five Elements sculpture installation at Asia Art Center, Beijing 馬拉斯瓦米在此另作異譯 ] 仍經常被人誤解為關乎藝

禮上便曾表明:他的藝術,旨在 “ 化有為無 ”。


我們看李真的新作 —2008 年首次在北京面世的【神魄 】




作品當中知性因素與感性因素的相應相契 。

置在勿拉士巴沙路、豎立於新加坡美術館對面的《火神》、 《風神》,以及新加坡國家博物館前方草地上的《五行》。 它們暗示著李真創作上的新轉折。【神魄】在較早作品 “ 靈

這豈不是跟 “ 意 ” 非常接近嗎?

性 ” 的基礎上再進一步,在更大程度上重視社會存在。這 據高名潞闡述,“ 理 ”、“ 識 ”、“ 形 ” 還對應于編纂於西元


前一世紀的 《易經》當中的卦、辭、象。他引用《易經》

一種意識。所謂 “ 人禍 ”,指因文化與政治衝突而導致的動

裏頭 “ 設卦以盡情偽 ” 這句話,說明了易卦的用意 。

亂與災難;至於 “ 天災 ”,在新加坡這次開展的不久之前,


就正好有颱風 “ 莫拉克 ” 席捲臺灣,在 8 月上中旬造成了 我姑且暫時把這句話放一邊,現在先把目光再轉到李真這


裏來。前面講過,李真的雕塑持衡於有形無形、實質虛靈 之間。他通過矛盾的動態,迫使觀賞者把作品看成是 “ 空 /

屬於【神魄】系列的《五行》是包含抽象 / 概念 / 具象,並

質 ” 等對立兩極的消解,盡顯 “ 無特性 ” 與 “ 無想 ” 的狀態,


也即是以高度具象的手段抒發了脫離 “ 寫照 ” 與 “ 表述 ” 的



社會意味,也連接上了同一系列其他的具象形體。“ 理 ” 在


Five Elements (details)

《五行》中尤其突出,而李真的具象元素則又有 “ 形 ”。李


真的雕塑其實讓我們看到了 “ 理 ”、“ 識 ”、“ 形 ” 的多種不

史承傳的後現代多元主義大相徑庭。我們在詮讀【神魄 】







二十年來藝術歷程的一次 “ 整合 ”。我們在這個節骨眼上,


若再回想高名潞所說的 “ 設卦以盡情偽 ”,無疑能更清楚地




現在,讓我談一談康定斯基。請容許我近乎貪圖方便似地 表明一點:高名潞批評西方藝術過於倚賴具象寫照,而 Danzker 則說康定斯基誤讀了東方美學與哲學;我在此借 用前者之說,贊同後者。如 Danzker 所言,康定斯基以及 其他受神智學信仰影響的藝術家們認定:“ 未來的精神, 只能在個人的感覺與直覺中實現,而通向這種感覺的唯一 道路,乃是 ‘ 藝術家的才華 ’”。雖然抽象藝術確實是氣魄宏 大的大發現,標誌了西方藝術史上的全新轉折,但上面所 說的 “ 誤讀 ”,在於相信抽象派正是未來的具象派。 在我結束之前,我想針對 這次討論會主題中的 “ 當代 ” 兩 個字,簡單地說幾句話。我們注意到,李真早年學藝,並 不是在美術學校修讀美術,而是當學徒,學習傳統與宗教 工藝。對藝術史上的發展做歷時分析, 是當前不少人感興 趣的研究方向,而李真的這段經歷大概能給他們帶來一些


Wooden moulds, installation at Asia Art Center, Beijing

[1] 本 文 全 篇 所 用 英 譯《 壇 經 》 引 文, 皆 取 自 A.F. Price and

師范大學出版社,2009 年), 第 39 至 47 頁。

Wong Mou-Lam, trans., “On the High Seat of ‘the Treasure of the Law: The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, Hui

[4] 同上,第 154 至 162 頁。

Neng” ( 見:www.angelfire.com/realm/platform-sutra )。 此外,以下譯著亦可供互參:The Buddhist Text Translation

[5] 見:Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, The Transformation of

Society, The Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra,

Nature in Art, New York: Dover Publications, 1956 (original

The Sino-American Buddhist Association, San Francisco,

publication by Harvard University Press, 1934),第 13 頁。

1977 (primary translation: Bhikshuni Heng Yin, editor: Upasaka Kuo Chou Rounds)。《壇經》自古有六個版本。關

[6] 同上,第 13 頁。

于近人對此經的研究,可參見楊源興所編輯的《禪和之 —2008 年廣東禪宗六祖文化節學術研討會論文集》(北京:宗教文

[7] 高名潞《意派論:一個顛覆再現的理論》, 第 51 頁。

化出版社,2009 年)。

[2] 見:Charles Harrison and Paul Wood, eds, Art in Theory 1900 – 1990, 第 94 頁。

[3] 見:高名潞《意派論:一個顛覆再現的理論》(桂林:廣西


We live in a highly complex and volatile age. There is a deep spiritual poverty within humanity – they are spiritually lost and confused souls. Art is not merely a record of life and its activities, but is also a valuable form of spiritual healing.

Li Chen Taichung 2009


這是一個快速混雜又無常的世紀,人類心 靈貧窮,精神慒慒之天時。藝術不僅是生 命活動的印證,更包含精神療傷的价值。



MIND BODY SPIRIT (SAM) Singapore Art Museum 新加坡美術館 (LTA) Land Transport Authority 陸路交通管理局 (SMU) Singapore Management University 新加坡管理大學 (NMS) National Museum of Singapore 新加坡國家博物館


Water-Moon Avalokitesvara 水月觀音


Siddhartha 法界游子


Avalokitesvara 大士


Egret’s Spring 白鷺鷥的春天


Three Bodies of Buddha 三覺者


Snow Wonderland 雪峰仙蹤


The Buddha in the Cloud 云中一如來


Golden Rain 黃金雨


Cultivated by Mist and Cloud 煙雲供養


Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍


Lord of Fire 火神


Lord of Wind 風神


Fulfillment Bodhisattva 普賢菩薩


Wisdom Bodhisattva 文殊菩薩


All in One 合十


Floating Heavenly Palace 天闕輕舟


Float to Sukhavati 飛行樂土


Pure Land 無憂國土


Landscape in Heaven 天界山水


Clear Soul 無心海


Five Elements 五行



Sculpture installation in progress



Sculpture installation in progress



Exhibition opening and Round Table Discussion


Exhibition opening day




Singapore Art Museum (SAM) 新加坡美術館



Water-Moon Avalokitesvara 水月觀音 1992 Bronze 91 x 39.5 x 158cm


Siddhartha 法界游子 2000 Bronze 53 x 47 x 87cm




Siddhartha 法界游子 (L) and Avalokitesvara 大士 (R)

SAM Courtyard

Avalokitesvara 大士 1999 Bronze 140 x 80 x 152cm


Egret’s Spring 白鷺鷥的春天 2000 Bronze 39 x 27 x 49cm




Three Bodies of Buddha 三覺者 1998 Bronze 135 x 55 x 90cm



Golden Rain, The Buddha in the Cloud, Snow Wonderland and Cultivated by Mist and Cloud 黃金雨,雲中一如來,雪峰仙蹤, 煙雲供養

Snow Wonderland 雪峰仙蹤 2007 Bronze 77 x 71 x129cm



The Buddha in the Cloud 雲中一如來 2002 Bronze 68 x 44 x 128cm


Golden Rain 黃金雨 2005


Golden Rain 黃金雨 2005 (detail)



Cultivated by Mist and Cloud 煙雲供養 2000 Bronze 96 x 43 x 95cm



Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍 at SAM entrance



Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍 2001 Bronze 376 x 306 x 472cm



Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍 at SAM at night


Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍 at night


Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍 2001 (detaiil)



Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍 at SAM



Land Transport Authority (LTA) 陸路交通管理局



Lord of Fire 火神 2008 Fiberglass 311 x 156 x 363cm



Lord of Fire 火神 At night



Lord of Wind 風神 At night



Lord of Wind 風神 2008 Fiberglass 300 x 209 x 319cm


Lord of Wind 風神 2008 Fiberglass 300 x 209 x 319cm




Wisdom Bodhisattva 文殊菩薩 (L), Fulfillment Bodhisattva 普賢菩薩 (M) and Lord of Wind 風神 (R)



Wisdom Bodhisattva 文殊菩薩 (L) and Fulfillment Bodhisattva 普賢菩薩 (R)



Wisdom Bodhisattva 文殊菩薩 2001 Bronze 204 x 147 x 246cm



Fulfillment Bodhisattva 普賢菩薩 2001 Bronze 231 x 165 x 246cm



Singapore Management University (SMU) 新加坡管理大學



All in One 合十 at SMU



All in One 合十 1998 Bronze 148 x 134 x 338cm



All in One 合十 1998



SMU Campus Green



Floating Heavenly Palace 天闕輕舟 2007 Bronze 107 x 82 x 224cm


Floating Heavenly Palace 天闕輕舟 2007



Landscape in Heaven 天界山水 (L) and Float to Sukhavati 飛行樂土 (R)




Float to Sukhavati 飛行樂土 2002 Bronze 177 x 96 x 129cm


Float to Sukhavati 飛行樂土 2002




Pure Land at night



Pure Land 無憂國土 1999 Bronze 451 x 133 x 246cm


Pure Land 無憂國土 1999 (detail)




Landscape in Heaven 天界山水 (L), Pure Land 無憂國土 (M) and Clear Soul 無心海 (R)


Landscape in Heaven 天界山水 2001 Bronze 158 x 127 x 243cm




Landscape in Heaven 天界山水 2001 Bronze 158 x 127 x 243cm



Clear Soul 無心海 2002 Bronze 229 x 110 x 180cm



Clear Soul 無心海 2002 Bronze 229 x 110 x 180cm



Pure Land 無憂國土 (L) and Clear Soul 無心海 (R)



National Museum of Singapore (NMS) 新加坡國家博物館



Five Elements 五行 2008



Tiger 白虎 2008 Fiberglass 133 x 170 x 184cm



Dragon 青龍 2008 Fiberglass 130 x 169 x 206cm



Tortoise 玄武 2008 Fiberglass 146 x 143 x 173cm



Phoenix 朱雀 2008 Fiberglass 127 x 173 x 196cm



Qilin 麒麟 2008 Fiberglass 128 x 133 x 202cm


Tortoise 玄武 & Qilin 麒麟 & Phoenix 朱雀




Five Elements at NMS


Li Chen and Lord of Wind, Asia Art Center, Beijing





Water-Moon Avalokitesvara 水月觀音 1992 Bronze 91 x 39.5 x 158cm

Siddhartha 法界游子 2000 Bronze 53 x 47 x 87cm

Three Bodies of Buddha 三覺者 1998 Bronze 135 x 55 x 90cm

Egret’s Spring 白鷺鷥的春天 2000 Bronze 39 x 27 x 49cm

All in One 合十 1998 Bronze 148 x 134 x 338cm

Cultivated by Mist and Cloud 煙雲供養 2000 Bronze 96 x 43 x 95cm

Avalokitesvara 大士 1999 Bronze 140 x 80 x 152cm

Dragon-Riding Bodhisattva 大士騎龍 2001 Bronze 306 x 376 x 472cm

Pure Land 無憂國土 1999 Bronze 451 x 133 x 246cm

Wisdom Bodhisattva 文殊菩薩 2001 Bronze 204 x 147 x 246cm



Fulfillment Bodhisattva 普賢菩薩 2001 Bronze 231 x 165 x 246cm

Golden Rain 黃金雨 2005 Bronze 73 x 70 x 124cm

Landscape in Heaven 天界山水 2001 Bronze 158 x 127 x 243cm

Snow Wonderland 雪峰仙蹤 2007 Bronze 77 x 71 x 129cm

Clear Soul 無心海 2002 Bronze 229 x 110 x 180cm

Floating Heavenly Palace 天闕輕舟 2007 Bronze 107 x 82 x 224cm

The Buddha in the Cloud 雲中一如來 2002 Bronze 68 x 44 x 128cm

Lord of Fire 火神 2008 Fiberglass 311 x 156 x 363cm

Float to Sukhavati 飛行樂土 2002 Bronze 177 x 96 x 129cm

Lord of Wind 風神 2008 Fiberglass 300 x 209 x 319cm

Tiger 白虎 2008 Fiberglass 133 x 170 x 184cm

Dragon 青龍 2008 Fiberglass 130 x 169 x 206cm

Tortoise 玄武 2008 Fiberglass 146 x 143 x 173cm

Phoenix 朱雀 2008 Fiberglass 127 x 173 x 196cm

Qilin 麒麟 2008 Fiberglass 133 x 128 x 202cm


Biodata of



Selected Solo Exhibitions 2009

Li Chen: Mind‧Body‧Spirit, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore 2008 Soul Guardians, Asia Art Center, Beijing, China 2008 In Search of Spiritual Space, National Museum of China, Beijing, China 2007 Energy of Emptiness, 52 nd La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy 2005 Li Chen Sculpture, Art Taipei 2005, Taiwan 2003 Spiritual Journey through the Great Ether, Michael Goedhuis Gallery, New York, U.S.A 2001 Delights of Ordinary People, River Art, Taichung, Taiwan 2000 The Transformation of Emptiness – Boundary within Boundary, Art Taipei 2000, Taiwan 1999 Energy of Emptiness, Art Taipei 1999, Taiwan

Selected Group Exhibitions 2009 2008


Art HK 09, Hong Kong, China Art Taipei 2009, Taipei, Taiwan Singapore Art Fair, Singapore The New Spirit of the East, Asia Art Center, Beijing, China The Origin: The first Annual Moon River Sculpture Festival, Moon River Museum of Contemporary Art, Beijing, China Art Taipei 2008, Taipei, Taiwan Singapore Art Fair, Singapore The Power of Universe – The Frontier Contemporary Chinese Art, Asia Art Center, Beijing, China Exploration and Revolution of images in reality by the 14 contemporary Chinese Artists, Doosan Art Center, Seoul, Korea The Contemporary Road of Media and Tradition – Top 10 Chinese Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition, Asia Art Center, Beijing, China

China Onward: Chinese Contemporary Art, 1966-2006, The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark China Onward: Chinese Contemporary Art, 1966-2006, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel OPENASIA–10th International Exhibition of Sculptures and Installations, Venice, Italy Art Taipei 2007, Taipei, Taiwan Singapore Art Fair, Singapore 2006 Art Taipei 2006, Taipei, Taiwan Singapore Art Fair, Singapore 2005 International Gallery Exposition, Beijing, China Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai, China Shanghai International Biennial Urban Sculpture Exhibition, Shanghai, China Singapore Art Fair, Singapore 2004 International Gallery Exposition, Beijing, China Fiction Love–Ultra New Vision in Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan OPENASIA–7th International Exhibition of Sculptures and Installations, Venice, Italy Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai, China 2003 International Contemporary Art Fair, New York, U.S.A. Art Chicago 2003, Chicago, U.S.A. 2002 Art Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.A. International Fine Art Fair, Houston, U.S.A. Art Chicago 2002, Chicago, U.S.A. 2001 Asian Art Fair, Paris, France Salon de Mars Art Fair, Geneva, Switzerland China without Borders, headquarters of Sotheby’s, New York, U.S.A. International Asian Art Fair, New York, U.S.A. Art Chicago 2001, Chicago, U.S.A. 2000 International 20th Century Art Fair, New York, U.S.A.





以色列.耶路撒冷「中國當代藝術前沿展 19662006」以色列博物館

2009 新加坡.新加坡國家美術館「李真:精神.身體.




2008 中國.北京亞洲藝術中心「神魄」


2008 中國.北京中國美術館「尋找精神的空間」


2007 義大利.第 52 屆威尼斯雙年展「虛空中的能量」

2006 台灣.台北國際藝術博覽會

2005 台灣.台北國際藝術博覽會「李真雕塑展」

2003 美國.紐約古豪士畫廊「大氣神遊」

2005 中國.北京國際畫廊博覽會

2001 台灣.台中大河美術畫廊「李真雕塑 1998-2000」


2000 台灣.台北國際藝術博覽會「虛空化境-界中界」


1999 台灣.台北國際藝術博覽會「虛空中的能量」



2004 中國.北京國際畫廊博覽會

聯展 2009 中國.香港國際藝術博覽會





義大利.威尼斯「OPENASIA」第七屆國際雕塑及 裝置大展


2008 中國.北京「新東方精神」亞洲藝術中心

2003 美國.紐約國際現代藝術博覽會



2002 美國.佛羅里達州-棕櫚灘國際藝術博覽會



2007 中國.北京「天行健-中國當代藝術前沿展」




2001 法國.巴黎第一屆亞洲藝術博覽會



韓國.首爾「世事而非- 14 位中國藝術家對真實







丹麥.哥本哈根「中國當代藝術前沿展 1966-2006」

2000 美國.紐約 20 世紀國際藝術博覽會




Acknowledgements The Singapore Art Museum would like to thank the following for their generous support: 新加坡美術館對下列人士之熱心支持謹致謝忱: Li Chen Asia Art Center Venue Partners: Land Transport Authority, National Museum of Singapore, Singapore Management University Li Chen Round Table Discussion Jo-Ann Birnie Danzker, Gao Ming Lu, Hsieh Pei Ni, Kwok Kian Chow, T.K. Sabapathy Sponsor St. Regis Hotel Curatorial Management 策展管理 Tan Hwee Koon 陳慧君 Patricia Levasseur de la Motte 李佩吟 Text Editor 編輯 Dori Sabapathy Exhibition Coordination 展覽協調 Derrick Yam 嚴俊章 Suhirman Sulaiman Jumari Sanion Roslee M Noor Communications, Programmes and Development 傳訊与拓展 Sim Wan Hui 沈婉慧 Programmes 項目策划 Julian Chua 蔡錦漢 Mark Tipan Geraldine Cheang 鄭苑思 Sam I-shan 岑依珊 Hong Bei Yu 孔貝裕 Michelle See 徐美歡 Eunice Poh 傅优妮 Santha Anthony Communications and Development Kay Aw 胡麗麗 Ida Betryl Cecil Sybil Chiew 周怡伶 Liew Wee Wen 劉偉文 Translation 翻譯 Ng Kum Hoon 吳錦漢 Goh Ngee Hui 吳毅慧


Corporate Services and Estates 企業与物產管理 Jessie Oh 胡瑞玉 Josephine See 施美玲 Teri Ooi 黃玉茜 Angeline Tan 陳玉嬌 Carine Lee 李巧芳 Keith Tan 陳華國 Sutiah Sebon Arul Krishnan Sulaimi Kamsir Tom Teo 張進才 Hermee Bin Mohd Yussof Gwendolyn Ong 王國燕

Acknowledgements Mr. Li Chen would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their generous support (in alphabetical order): 李真先生對下列人士之熱心支持謹致謝忱 : Sponsors: Eva Air 長榮航空 Evergreen Marine Corp 長榮海運 Taipei Hua-Lin Funds Foundation of Culture and Arts 樺霖文化藝術基金會 Taiwan Council for Cultural Affairs 台灣行政院文化建設委員會 Agility Fairs & Events Logistics Pte. Ltd. Jilian Ang 汪少萍

Mr & Mrs Phua Way Choon 潘偉俊夫婦

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker Casey Gan 顏繼昌

T.K. Sabapathy

Chia Ngiang Hong 謝仰豐 Mr & Mrs Alex Chang 張榮華夫婦 Palina Cheung Gordon Gao 高鋼 Gao Ming Lu 高名潞 Stephanie Gee 俞月鋆

Dori Sabapathy Mr & Mrs Shih Chin Shen 史金生夫婦 Mr & Mrs Tai Chung Hou 邰中和夫婦 Tan Boon Hui 陳文輝 Tan Hwee Koon 陳慧君 Datuk Tan Ser Lay 楊錫蒼夫婦

Mr & Mrs Ho Show Chung 何壽川夫婦 Hsieh Pei Ni 謝佩霓 Jane Ittogi Cecilia Kwek 郭佩玲 Kwek Leng Keow 郭令僑 Kwok Kian Chow 郭建超 Mr & Mrs Bernard Lai 黎國光夫婦 TK Lai Lau Chee Herng 劉志恒 Alan Lee 李宜霖 Steven Lee 李宜勳 Thomas Lee 李敦朗 BC Leong & Associates Patricia Levasseur de la Motte Lim Swe Ting Mr & Mrs Lin Chuang Yuan 林壯遠夫婦 Mr & Mrs Lu Tsung Yao 呂宗耀夫婦 Ng Ming Ann 吳明安 Mr & Mrs Ong Kian Chew 王建洲夫婦 Ma Ong Kee 馬文淇