COVER STAR

以藝抗疫 An Artistic Remedy |藝術是離不開生活的

以畫為語言,傳遞心聲,身為藝術創作者的莊壹竹老師,除了配合政府全面停課之外,亦避開所有的群聚,因緣之下接受了Enya Fashion Queen時尚女王的邀請,安靜地在畫室中創作,即想綿薄之力能為台灣做些什麼?輕輕低喃一聲「台灣加油」,匯聚了無數的能量,於是畫出一張象徵祝福,點燃希望,清純可人的少女為台灣祈福的作品。

TRANSLATION | Eugenia Yang

In the wake of the pandemic and to avoid all unnecessary social gatherings, Enya Fashion Queen invited artist Ms. Yi-Chu Chuang who used painting as the language to convey her feelings for a special collaboration for our latest issue. Quietly creating in her studio, she pondered, what she can do for Taiwan? “Hang in there, Taiwan,” she whispered under her breath. Simple and succinct, it gathered this unsurmountable energy. Igniting hope, she drew a painting of a lovely little girl symbolizing her blessing for Taiwan in this particular time of hardship. 

為台灣祝禱的女孩

繁複的彩墨線條,於偌長的宣紙上揮灑毛筆,莊老師獨自在畫室裡耗時兩天繪出取名為《為台灣祝禱的女孩》的畫作,畫面中的右邊一位清純小女孩手持一束象徵永恆祝福、高雅、慈善、富貴的「鬱金香」,神情溫暖與虔誠地在祝禱,期盼讓疫情早日退散。提起台灣近日疫情升溫,許多人均陷入了嚴重的憂鬱情緒之中,全國進入三級警戒,學校被迫停課,公司行號也大多居家辦公,造成社會恐慌之現象,人與人之間無法熱絡的互動往來,她表示,在作品中描繪了百合花的輪廓,不僅象徵著平安與健康,更因為百合花有著堅韌的生命力,在台灣隨處可見,最能體現台灣人堅毅的性情,或許在這個特殊時期,藝術在不斷隨之探索變更,它始終保持清醒去直面社會的危機,也不斷用自身的力量為大眾消化焦慮。

畫面中的右邊一位清純小女孩手持一束象徵永恆祝福、高雅、慈善、富貴的「鬱金香」,神情溫暖與虔誠地在祝禱,期盼讓疫情早日退散。

寄情水墨游於藝 

從小對繪畫充滿嚮往的莊壹竹,長大師承畫壇巨擘李奇茂、胡念祖,徐谷庵等著名大師的指導,讓她的畫藝更為精進與生動,尤其是李奇茂大師可以説是她繪畫風格轉型的最大推手,一句話「勿墨守成規需汲古融今」,點醒了她,開始學習結合時尚走入生活,將筆觸淋漓展現其生活態度。

而那些傳頌不衰的古典詩詞,所謂的「詩是有聲畫,畫是無聲詩」,歷久彌新,陪伴了她度過青春歲月。尤其宋代女詞人李清照,在詞體的流變中,獨樹一格,於莊壹竹眼中,她的每一首詞幾乎都再三拜讀咀嚼,每每讀詩詞彷彿進入詩中之意境,就如同李清照的那首膾炙人口的「武陵春」流露出詩人的生活寫照:孩堤時的歡欣祥和,繼之與趙明誠兩情相悅,興趣相投,婚姻幸福美滿,羨煞旁人,爾後的悽楚哀思都在她的作品中得以窺探,這亦是藝術源於生活的過程。直到投入繪畫領域,莊老師便自然地將詩詞融入畫意,或對事物的反諷、或對情感的宣洩、或對時局的不滿·……等等,心靈之情緒,均藉由詩與畫的創作相融,達到抒發、寫情寄興之快意。

莊壹竹-晚來過雨添飛瀑79x142cm2018紙本

我畫的是人生

「藝術是離不開生活的」,

莊壹竹說道,正因為創作者在生活中孕育情感,進而產生「遷想妙得」之繆思,「氣韻生動,氣質俱盛」的筆意,寄情於藝,藝就有魂,這是她對於藝術創作的一種熱愛,一種純粹的信仰,她很乾淨,呈現的藝術也很乾淨,沒有雜質,沒有塵埃,將原本不具任何意義的繪畫媒材,注入了創作者的靈感與巧思,生活,及情感之移入,經過畫面的取捨、創造、處理、理出了作品中的張力,從中反映出畫家的主觀情感,進而連結觀者臆想浮游之境界。其實無論疫情有是否減弱、能否可控、會不會消失,人類很難再重新回到疫情前的時代,無法再無拘無束甚至任性地生活,尤其是面對那些已經逝去的生命。所以說,這次突然暴發的新冠疫情改變的不僅僅是日常生活行為,更是人類的思考價值,包括藝術審美。

莊壹竹-東風開過紫藤花69.5x139cm2018紙本

藝術的療癒

想起英國哲學家阿蘭·德波頓曾說:「如果將藝術視為一種療癒,可以為人生的許多問題找到解決的辦法。」

那麼在當下的惶恐與焦慮之於,藝術何為?在當下,藝術的語境也許是「安撫」,它迫切地希望給予世界以慰藉與治癒。這是藝術在此時向社會傳遞的使命感,它將自己的力量最大化,隨時準備著撫平危機下的「裂痕」。

之於莊老師,繪畫藝術與音樂,戲劇,詩詞小說等等創作一樣,可以牽動觀賞者的內心,你哭了、他落淚;你開心、他笑了,這就是藝術撫慰人心的力量,後疫情時代,人們對藝術的消費取向也會有所改變,而藝術療傷的價值還遠遠沒有被挖掘出來,或許在未來疫情日常化,這種題材也許會更加流行。唯美主義傾向和小資情調都會慢慢被削弱,重大題材、生命拷問、人生動向、社會趨勢等內容,也許是人們更加關注的部分,人們也許越來越重視健康,以及如何健康地生活、健康的交往。隔著兩層口罩去親吻的畫面,或許更帶有諷刺意味、更有痛感;在充斥著浮躁社會,或許對於藝術追求的人往往無法致富,卻可以治癒人心,一場關於藝術創作者的對話,她講起一段關於失智學員卻不曾忘記過她生日的故事,又建構起我對於世間良善的感知。

莊壹竹-你走你的路56x69cm2018紙本

Girl Praying for Taiwan 

With the colorful brushstrokes roaming free on the xuan paper, Yi-Chu Chuang spent two days in her studio to finish the painting titled “The Girl Praying for Taiwan.” On the right hand side of the painting is an innocent girl holding a bouquet of tulips, a flower symbolizing eternal blessing, elegance, charity, and wealth. With a warm expression, she is praying sincerely and hoping the pandemic will end soon. In the wake of the pandemic, a lot of people are coping with depression and anxiety caused by the current situation in Taiwan. The whole nation is on a level three lockdown, schools are suspended, and most of us are working from home. Deep in this social panic, people are unable to connect with one another like they used to. Yi-Chu Chuang intended for the tulips to not only be a representative of health and safety, but also an emblem of the tenacious vitality the Taiwanese people hold. Perhaps in this special time and through a continual exploration and growth, art still stays true to itself when encountering the challenges of society and never ceases to help us cope with the anxiety we are facing. 

Entrusting Emotions with Art 

Passionate about painting ever since she was little, Yi-Chu Chuang grew up under the guidance of famous artists, such as Chi Mao Lee, Nianzu Hu, and Ku-An Hsu. Her paintings became more refined and vivid. Master Lee was perhaps the key mentor who changed her painting style with his one piece of advice: “Never stick to the rules, you need to merge the past and the present.” Yi-Chu Chuang began to learn how to integrate modern fashion into her paintings and allow each brushstroke to fully capture her attitude towards life. 

And the timeless classic poetry that endured, or the so-called “poetry is a speaking picture, painting is a silent poetry,” had also accompanied Yi-Chu Chuang through her youth. Among all of them, Song Dynasty poet Qingzhao Li was her favorite. Drawn by the poet’s unique style and flow of verse, Yi-Chu Chuang is constantly rereading the poet’s work and knows each line by heart. Like in the famous poem Wuling Spring that depicts the life of Li Qingzhao—the joy of her childhood, the love life she shared with husband Mingcheng Zhao, the happy married life everyone envies, and the sorrow after the marriage ended—every bits of her life is hidden between the lines, all we had to do is read closely. This is how life becomes the origin of art. Once she entered the field of painting, Yi-Chu Chunag naturally injected these poems she loves into her artworks. Her soulful emotions—whether it’s the irony of life, her expression of emotions, or her dissatisfaction towards the current situation—become a merging of poetry and her art creations. 

It’s Not Life that I’m Painting 

“Art is inseparable from life,” said Yi-Chu Chuang. It is precisely because the creators are able to nurture their emotions in life, that they are capable of channeling that emotion into objective substances and bringing them to life. By trusting her emotions with art, art is then equipped with a soul—the perfect exemplification of Yi-Chu Chuang’s love for artistic creations. If her thoughts are pure, so will be her artwork. Without impurities and distractions, the originally meaningless art medium is infused with the creator’s inspiration and ingenuity. Through the selection of scenes and the process of creating and processing, the tension in the work reflects the artist’s subjective emotions and further connects with the viewer’s imagination. To be honest, whether or not the pandemic subsides or gets handled, it will be hard for us to return to the life before everything happened. It is merely impossible to live carelessly, especially with all the lives we’ve lost along the way. Therefore, this sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic not only has changed our daily lives, but also the way we think, including our artistic aesthetics. 

An Artistic Healing 

British philosopher Alain de Botto once said, “Art can offer a grand and serious vantage point from which to survey the travails of our condition.” So when we are panicking and feeling anxious, what does art do for us? In that moment, perhaps the context of art is all about “comfort” as it desperately hopes to provide remedy and healing for the world. This is exactly the mission art embodies from a societal perspective. Art maximizes its own power and is always ready to heal the “cracks”caused by the crisis and hardship we encounter. 

To Yi-Chu Chuang, painting and creating art—like music, drama, poetry, novels, and more—is capable of affecting the emotions of the viewers. If you cry, they shed tears. If you’re happy, they are smiling. This is the power of art therapy. In the time of a pandemic, artistic consumerism is changing and the value of art therapy is yet to be discovered. Perhaps in the future, if the pandemic becomes the new normal, this subject matter will gain its popularity. Aestheticism and petty bourgeois will lose their appeal and be replaced by bigger themes, life problems, and societal trends. People will focus more on health and what it means to live in a healthy way, in terms of life, mentality, and relationships. A photo of kissing with our masks on seems to be more ironic and painful than romantic. Maybe in this unsettling world, a pursuer of art is never wealthy but possesses the ability to heal others. In this conversation with an artistic creator, as Yi-Chu Chuang reflects upon the story about a student who is struggling with dementia but never forgets to wish her happy birthday each year, I am once reminded of the kindness of this world we live in.

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