99-05
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少年叛客的密碼-載於陶藝雜誌


  第一次在施宣宇工作中拜訪他是在他父母天母的家中,宛如撞進一座重金屬的癲狂園;後來他在龍潭有了一方自己的天地,在這只自己設計,甚至施工佈置的索居盒中,裝的還是震天嘎響的搖滾樂和一個沉思工作的少年。

用數字傳教的異類

  從打上條碼的陶罐到佈滿數字的天書之作,符號的議題是施宣宇作品中相當耐人尋味的一環,這些由數字結構出的謎語般的句子,就像《第五元素》的天人話語(註一),其實是一道道哲學的密碼。如同難以理解的新世代青年詞彙,這些符號屏障了一處私密卻盎然的園地,如果我們僅僅將Nirvana(註二)的喃喃囈語概括為Smells Like Teen Spirits(註三),將另類的符號解讀為世代的隔閡,那麼就只觸碰到人我誤解的表皮。

  施宣宇的改造語文,其實是他對語言文字的符號意含重新消化的工程之一,透過觀者從數字,到英文,到中文腦袋的還原過程中,幽默地暴露出語文潛在的科學性問題、人類互相了解的意願,以及符號使用者看待符號的態度。這個「數字說話」的頑皮遊戲,在美學及內涵上均反映出現代人的疏離感。

  一本好書總是不那麼容易讀得懂,從中換得的智慧的喜悅,卻能讓人願意終其一生繼續閱讀的工作。讀施宣宇的作品,猶如閱讀一本好書,在費力解讀數字碑文的過程中,我們認識到這位關注於形而上問題的新世紀維特,在提示語言作為人類彼此溝通的鑰匙卻已逐漸遙遠之外,也提供了相當精闢的哲學觀。


站在宇宙基點的二元論

  從中西宗教書籍中吸取養分的施宣宇,在創作的態度上傾向於透過二元論的表現形式,尋找宇宙真理的平衡點。作品《蒼穹脊索》的兩塊對稱卻相異的陶面,以西方音樂中的對話形式,與東方哲學中的陰與陽,象徵了一體之兩面的相對世界,其中一虛一實的準錐則是他所強調的天體基點。有趣的是,這個類似將人體縱剖,以脊椎為中心藉以檢視復合的相異兩面,在一般從橫切面解析宇宙事物結構的觀點中,提供了縱向的角度。

  這樣的手法不僅表現於空間事物的概念,同時也表現在時間的主題上。施宣宇對於時間的表現一直保持著很高的興趣,他將時間的流逝與事件的發生比喻為在海上漂流,這種向海尋道的浪漫情懷,讓人聯想到荷馬史詩裡尤里西斯的生命之旅。

  「事物本身並未改變,只是人們從立足點看待它的角度不同」,他透過物體的正反表現過去與未來,並且以回歸天體基點的軸心論點詮釋時間的存在理論。這樣的作品引發我們企圖對「現在」進行捕捉,因而更能理解到,所謂的基點、軸心、真理,事實上不佔空間與時間,不具任何形式,因為任何體積與長度都會失去它作為中心的準確性。

  這個中心的存在,由於過於精微以致無法為人類所理解,故得仰賴修正中的中心作為危險的平衡點。在我們膠著於此一令人迷惑的當下,卻冷不防被作品上嬉謔的捕鼠夾嘲諷一番。這些附著在鐘上的陶土塑出的捕鼠夾,以偽裝的偽裝先引人設想捕捉剎那的情境,再後設地以陷阱姿態出現,因為剎那無法被實質捕捉,而時間就在我們落入盲點之際不斷流逝。施宣宇超越「十二隻猴子兵團」(註三)的惡作劇,指出人類因微觀而痛苦沉浮於時間之河中,表現超越時空錯雜的視野。

  然而在 "Catch you!" 的嘲諷的背後,我們隱約聽到 "I was there." 的心聲。慢慢地,我似乎開始理解到他那種置身在人工噪音的創作情境,消化現代文明的產物,消化後現代的雜音,以一種自我放逐的尋道方式,在失序中尋找秩序、向黑暗搜尋光的美感、在對立的衝突中找到相對的和諧,探索的是其實一種真正的寧靜。

Amor matris

  Amor matris,拉丁文,「母親之愛」,按主賓格講是「母愛」,按賓生格講是「對母親的愛」。施宣宇的母親郭雅眉是陶藝家,父親施並致是油畫家,兩位在藝術及東方哲學上都享有極高的聲譽。表面看來,施宣宇似乎得天獨厚地繼承了雙親的智慧財產,並享有令人稱羨的創作自由,事實上如同所有創作者背後都有一段苦澀的思路歷程。作為藝術家,施宣宇勇於選擇與雙親相近的路線,與母親相同的媒材,我不禁設想他有幾次站在創新與突變的臨界點上,然而他並未迷失在前衛藝術的迷思裡,反而以濾去雜質的澄淨作品,正面回報對雙親的愛慕與崇敬。

  我最初認識的施宣宇嚮往西西里,他的作品有一種機智的雋永,流露著一種極有教養的野性;我觀察到的施宣宇彷彿一名少年苦行僧,用宗教般的虔誠以及燦爛的青春,藉由捏土、塑陶、修坏、燒窯完成體悟中的人生;我所理解到的施宣宇,在頹廢與罪惡的美學中尋找涅盤與真理,用陌生而美麗的新語言重新詮釋日漸褪色的預言。他的作品如同新約聖經《約翰福音》言:「光在黑暗中放亮,而不為黑暗所理解」,喬依斯(James Joyce)卻在《尤里西斯》Ulysse以「這是一種在明亮中放光而又不為明亮所理解的深沈。」所作的時代新詮。願海上冒險的少年英雄宣宇,繼續用秉性澄澈的明鏡對準世界,照出現代人隱蔽的靈魂。




註一:第五元素的宇宙形成觀見於希臘哲學家亞里斯多德與西藏密宗的文獻中,為一使世界免於毀滅的元素。電影《第五元素》以人的具體形象表現,其陌生的語言不為常人所理解,卻是攸關宇宙和平運行的哲理。
註二:Nirvana,原意為涅盤,此為一在西雅圖崛起的迷幻搖滾樂團。
註三:Smells Like Teen Spirits,字面意義為「聞起來像青少年精神」,Nirvana樂團成名曲。
註四:十二隻猴子兵團,The Army of Twelve Monkeys,好萊塢電影,敘述深居地層下的未來人類,企圖回到二十世紀末阻止毀滅性病毒的傳播,藉以扭轉世界的命運。片中由於科技與人性的謬誤,造成時空的混亂感。

(文另載於九八年五月份的陶藝雜誌)





Youth Punk code
Chiu Hsin-hui



The first time I visited Shih Hsuan-yu was at his parent’s home in Tienmu, it was like entering a heavy metal world of madness. He later got his own place in Lungtan, a self-designed and even self-built or arranged abode filled with rock music, the home of a young man pondering the direction of his own creative work.

Teaching Through Numbers

Whether ceramic jars with barcodes or illegible writing full of numbers, the subject of symbols and symbolism is one of the most intriguing issues discussed in Shih’s work. Although his code-like sentences made up of numerical structures, bring to mind the language of heaven used in the film “The Fifth Element” (1), they are in fact a philosophical code. As with the frequently difficult to understand vocabulary of the younger generation, these symbols serve as screen protecting a world that is secret and vital. If we summarize the dream-like mutterings of the pop group Nirvana (2) as “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (3) or interpret alternative symbols as a generation barrier, then we can only ever expect to scratch the surface of misunderstanding between one group and another.
  
The way in which Shih Hsuan-yu transforms language is one of the processes by which he re-digests the semiotic meaning of the written word. From numbers, to English, to Chinese, the artist humorously reveals the potential scientific problems of language, the willingness of different people to understand each other and the way in which those who use symbols view them. In terms of both aesthetics and meaning this playful game in which “numbers speak” reflects the sense of isolation felt by many people in the modern world.
  
Any good book is never easy to read, but the joy of wisdom gleaned from it is so stimulating that people usually end up reading for the rest of their lives. Viewing the work of Shih Hsuan-yu is like reading a good book. As we expend effort in interpreting the numerical text, we come to understand that in a new era focused on metaphysical problems, language as the key to the human communication is gradually becoming ever distant. We are also provided with a very incisive philosophical view.

The Dualism of Standing at the Foundation Point of the Universe

Shih Hsuan-yu has learned much from books on eastern and western religion and tends to lean towards the expressive form of dualism in his creative work, searching for the equilibrium of cosmic truth. The two pieces of symmetrical but distinct clay surfaces in the work “”Axis of the Metagalaxy” take the form of a dialogue in western music and the yin/yang of eastern philosophy. This symbolizes the relative world where one object has two aspects, one true the other false, “The Axis of the Metagalaxy” emphasized by the artist. What is interesting is that an act similar to dissecting a human body along the central axis of the spine, allows us to examine the two different sides in more detail. In contrast to the standard horizontal analysis of the structure of the cosmos, we are here presented with a vertically oriented perspective.
  
This approach is not only expressed in the concept of spatial objects, but also in the realm of time. Shih Hsuan-yu has remains very interested in e­xpressions of time and often uses the metaphor of floating in the sea to the passing of time and occurrence of incidents. The romanticism of looking for answers in the ocean brings to mind the journey of life undertaken by Ulysses in the epic poem by Homer.
  
“Things themselves do not change, just the way in which people perceive them.” By using the two sides of an object Shih expresses the past and future, returning to the core theory of “The Axis of the Metagalaxy” to explain the existence of time. This type of work creates in us a desire to capture “the now” and thereby understand better that base point, core and truth occupy neither time nor space. They exist without form, because such form would cause them to lose precision as a center.
  
The extremely profound and subtle existence of this center has made it impossible for humankind to fully comprehend, as a result of which we depend on a changing center as a balancing point for danger. Trapped in the enchanting now, we are unknowingly mocked by the playful mousetrap in the work. Crafted by pieces of clay on the clock, the mousetrap utilizes the device of deception to first make the audience reflect on the point at which the mouse is caught - only then does it appear as a trap because the moment cannot be captured. As we enter a blind spot time continues to flow. Shih transcends the pranks in the Hollywood film “The Army of the Twelve Monkeys” (3), pointing out that man floats painfully in a sea of time, precisely because of its microcosmic view of the world, expressing a vision that transcends the intermingling of time and space.
  
Behind the satire of “Catch You!” we faintly hear the words “I was there” in our hearts. Slowly we begin to realize the creative plane of the artist, full of man-made noise, digesting the products of modern culture and post-modern sounds. As it searches for a Way out of self-imposed exile and order in disorder, looking for the beauty of light in darkness and finding relative harmony in antagonism and conflict, it becomes clear that discovery is itself true tranquility.

Amor Matris
  
Amor matris is Latin for “a mother’s love,” which expressed in the nominative is “maternal love” or the accusative “love of one’s mother.” Shih Hsuan-yu’s mother, Kuo Ya-mei is a ceramic artist and his father Shih Ya-chih a painter, both have an esteemed reputation in the fields of art and eastern philosophy. On the surface it appears that Shih has inherited their wisdom and a creative freedom that many would envy. In fact, as with all artists, Shih had to struggle to find his own creative identity and direction. As an artist he courageously chose to remain close to his parents, working with similar materials to those used by his mother. I cannot help but think that he must have stood on the edge of innovation and sudden change on several occasions, but still managed not to lose himself in avant-garde ideas. Indeed, his clear works with all impurities screened from them, serve as positive reflection of the artist’s admiration and respect for his parents.

When I first met Shih I thought of Sicily. His works possess an intriguing resourcefulness and reveal a well-cultured wildness. The artist I observed was like a youthful ascetic monk, applying his religious piety and brilliance to the kneading of clay, molding of ceramics and firing finished pieces - its own complete cycle of life. The Shih Hsuan-yu I know searches for Nirvana and truth in the beauty of decadence and crime, using in the process strange and beautiful new language to reinterpret fading prophecies. His works can best be summarized with a quote from the New Testament’s Gospel of John: “Light shines in darkness and darkness did not overtake it.” In “Ulysses” the author James Joyce offers his own interpretation of the age: “This is a darkness that shines in the light but is not understood by it.” Seeking adventure at sea the young hero Hsuen-yu continues to uses his clarity of vision to see the world as it is, calling forth the hidden soul of the modern world.

Footnotes:

1.The formation of the cosmos expressed in “The Fifth Element” can be found in the work of the Greek philosopher Aristotle and in documents from Buddhist Lamas in Tibet. In the film, this is expressed in the physical form of a person designed to save the world, who speaks in a language no one else can understand, but this in turn relates to a philosophy of the peaceful motion of the cosmos.
2.The original meaning of Nirvana is derives from the Buddhist word for Heaven but here it refers to a grunge rock band from Seattle
3.“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was a hit song for Nirvana.
4.“The Army of the Twelve Monkeys” is a Hollywood film that depicts the lives of people forced to live deep underground in the future. An attempt is made to return to the late 20th century to prevent the dissemination of a deadly virus and thereby change the fate of the world. The mixture of technology and human nature within the plot leads to a confused sense of time and space.

(this article was first published in the May 1999 edition of Ceramic Art)




[本日誌由 Samuel 於 2010-12-16 05:25 PM 編輯]
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