廖文豪 LIAO Wen-Hao
Those bear attempts, Elicit affection and desire, Settling in the moves of ink brushes.
Those embrace peaceful minds, Let thoughts and yearning, Naturally emerge.
Light ink drops on the paper, Dancing along the patterns of calligraphy.
As if Zen enlightenment, Implied not preached.
母親與外婆 Mother and Grandmother，水墨紙本設色 ink on silk，78x71cm，2015
小松圖 Small Pine，水墨棉布設色 ink on cotton，90x45cm，2015
時夢行旅圖 Dream of Journey，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，125x255cm，2015
風月無邊圖 Moving Scenes，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，140x78cm，2015
無關風月圖 Serenity，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，140x78cm，2015
搖扇圖 Fan Waving，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，70x70cm，2015
紳士圖 Gentleman，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，70x70cm，2015
女史圖 6 Women Mountain 6，水墨紙本，72x40cm，2017
女史圖 7 Women Mountain 7，水墨紙本，72x40cm，2017
女史圖 8 Women Mountain 8，水墨紙本，72x40cm，2017
女史圖 9 Women Mountain 9，水墨紙本，72x40cm，2017
女史圖 12 Women Mountain 12，水墨紙本，72x40cm，2017
女史圖 24 Women Mountain 24，水墨紙本，72x40cm，2017
毛寶圖 My Parrot，水墨紙本設色 ink on silk，78x71cm，2015
仙風煮茶圖 Decent Gathering，水墨絹本設色 ink on silk，70x90cm，2015
問余何意棲幽山 The Reason of Isolation，水墨絹本 紙本設色 ink on silk and paper，182x80cm，2015
潛夜山居圖 Seclusion in Placidity，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，142x156cm，2015
潛夜山居圖(二) Seclusion in Placidity(2)，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，142x78cm，2015
潛夜山居圖(三) Seclusion in Placidity(3)，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，142x78cm，2015
潛夜山居圖(四) Seclusion in Placidity(4)，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，142x78cm，2015
潛夜山居圖(五) Seclusion in Placidity(5)，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，142x78cm，2015
潛夜山居圖(六) Seclusion in Placidity(6)，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，142x78cm，2015
浮翠清幽圖 Secluded in the Serene Mountain ，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，70x70cm，2015
藏慾圖 Camouflaged Desire，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，68x35cm，2016
野趣圖 Uncultivated Exuberance，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，68x70cm，2016
空谷懷春圖 The Valley of Carnality，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，78x71cm，2016
春遊圖 Spring Excursion ，水墨紙本設色 ink on paper，78x71cm，2016
「風輕日暖 - 作為一席風景」，新苑藝術，臺北，臺灣
「Art 15 London」，奧林匹亞展覽館，倫敦，英國
「Young Art Taipei」，臺北晶華酒店，臺北，臺灣
「Young Art Taipei」，臺北喜來登大飯店，臺北，臺灣
「Young Art Taipei」，王朝大酒店，臺北，臺灣
2013 清純的愛、長空松隱圖、風月松雪圖、茶煙清籠圖，克羅亞洲藝術博物館， 達拉斯，美國
Born in 1983, Taipei, Taiwan
2011 HUAFAN University, Department of Fine Arts, M.F.A, Taipei, Taiwan
2007 HUAFAN University, Department of Fine Arts, Taipei, Taiwan
2017 「INTO THE EYE, INTO THE MIND - A Solo Exhibition by LIAO Wen-Hao」, Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei, Taiwan.
2015 「MIND FLOW- A Solo Exhibition by LIAO Wen-Hao」, Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei , Taipei, Taiwan.
2013 「INTENTIONALLY OR OTHERWISE- A Solo Exhibition by LIAO Wen-Hao」, Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei , Taipei, Taiwan.
2011 「SHAN-SHUI OF HUMAN- A Solo Exhibition by LIAO Wen-Hao」, MEME Space, Taipei, Taiwan.
「The bright Moon among the pines spies」，PiaoPiao, Taipei , Taiwan
「Unexpected」, Share Art Space, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
「The Silver Lining of Art」, Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei , Taipei, Taiwan.
「Dreams Habitations-Young Artist Collection Exhibition」, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan.
「Art Kaohsiung」, The Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
「Art Taipei」, Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
「In the Name of Nature and Reality」, Taiwan Art Bank, Taichung, Taiwan.
「CREATOR-RESEARCHER, Dual Exhibition of CHANG Teng-Yuan and LIAO Wen-Hao」, Ba Bi Song Gallery, Pingtung, Taiwan.
「Art 15 London」, Olympia National, London, UK.
「Beaming Spring」, Galerie Grand Siècle, Taipei , Taipei, Taiwan.
「Art Kaohsiung」, The Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
「Nomad-Y Project」, South Beach Miami, Miami, USA.
「The Present and Future of Japanese and Taiwanese Contemporary Art-Amplitude of the Global and Locality」, Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, Japan.
「Art Taipei」, Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Young Art Taipei」, Regent Taipei Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Art Taipei」, Taipei World Trade Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Art Kaohsiung」, The Pier-2 Art Center, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
「Young Art Taipei」, Sheraton Grande Taipei Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Art Tainan」, Tayih Landis Tainan Hotel, Tainan, Taiwan.
「Before．After」, MEME Space, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Flying」, Artyart Art Center, Tainan, Taiwan.
「The Rocking Horse」, Soka Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Young Art Taipei」, Sunworld Dynasty Hotel, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Don't Ever Say That Again」, King Car Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Trends Exhibition of Korean and Chinese Painting These Days」, Hyan Gam Art Museum, Andong, Korea.
「Six Inkstones」, Soochow University Art Center, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Calligraphy of Lion」, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, Taipei, Taiwan.
「Art seeds」, Hubei museum of art, Hubei, China.
2015 Islands of Wind, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan.
2014 Rope Jumpingˎ Perceiving the Silence, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan.
2014 Winter Pictureˎ Soundless Symphonyˎ Appreciation, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts,
2013 Pure Loveˎ Zen‧Pine‧Skyˎ Zen‧Pine‧Snowˎ Tea Vapor, Crow Collection of Asian Art, Dallas, USA.
2013 Hot Spring Bathˎ Whiteness Jade, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung, Taiwan.
透過可視的筆墨，形塑或寄託抽象的感情、思維，雖為傳統文人書畫經常使用的方法，然而，其中可能寓託的抽象情感，則又包羅萬象。例如，唐代詩人韓愈對張旭的草書甚為推崇，曾說其：「天地萬物之變，可喜可愕，一寓於書」，認為張旭在書作中，融匯個人對自宇宙、生命及自我的複雜體悟，其中的精神性有如出神入化的鬼神一般，無可捉摸，並非單純的筆墨、形象分析可以把握。文人書畫透過被意識形態化或符號標準化的筆墨，建立一套模擬宇宙、生命及自我等自然萬象的表現模式，傳達一種介乎可視與不可視邊界之間的「超真實性」(hyperreality)。因此，筆墨成為一種可供大量複製的媒介物或符號單元，在不斷模型化的生產方式中所傳達的真實，已非原有的真實，以布希亞(Jean Baudrillard, 1929-2007)「擬像三序列」(the three orders of Simulacra)的理論來說，與第三序列的「擬真」(simulation)觀念近似。在後現代社會中，筆墨的可複製性與媒介性已被廣泛用，在真實意義不斷流失的過程中，包含生理及精神反應在內的身體經驗，在書寫行為中已產生「缺席」、「匱乏」等不可避免的結果。不難想見，缺乏身體經驗或身體化的書寫，即猶如機械複製或大量生產一般，導致書寫性的喪失，架空了筆墨運作過程中身體、心理與視覺形象的有機聯結，而致使創作淪為一種去意義化的消費行為。
Nature, Homonymic Metaphor and Physical Desires— “Graphology” and Liao Wen-Hao’s Body Experience in Brush Painting
Professor of the Department of Fine Arts,
National Taiwan Normal University,
PhD of Art History, Kyoto University
Homonymic Metaphor and Assimilation— Subject Position of the Brush and Ink
Since ancient times, the brush and ink have not only been the figuration tool of Chinese calligraphers and painters to represent nature; as time moved on, the literati expanded their knowledge on the cognitive performance of materials, and then materials evolved from being merely media and tools. As Yang Hsiung, the literati in Han Dynasty, said “Words are the voice of the mind; calligraphy is the painting of the mind. One’s quality will be directly shown according to one’s voice and painting.” The idea has been deeply rooted that the brush and ink are the media for artists to extend one’s sensitivity or highlight one’s status or characteristics. Besides, a wide-acknowledged theory stated that it was the resonance of body and mind that elevated the brush and ink and formed a unique cultural practice that could be named as “The history of the spirit of brush and ink”. The calligrapher in Ching dynasty Fu Shan said “One has to learn to be a man of virtues before intending to write. One bestowed with rare talents inherits the qualities of the ancient calligraphers.” He believed one’s disposition will be reflected on one’s style on calligraphy and painting; that is, seeing one’s painting is like seeing one’s personality. The expansion on the meaning of ink and brush as media has signified a spiritual discovery hidden behind the materialistic phenomena amongst the ancient intellectual class; based on the discovery, an evaluation standard has been set up to distinguish people from different social statuses and highlight the superiority or inferiority among them.
Under such trend of development, it has been the historical norm for the artists to indirectly satirize, criticize or examine the social status quo or self-situation by the utilization of the brush and ink and the source of one’s private and invisible life experience, desires, senses or mental status. The norm works as a literature technique homonymic metaphor; as the name implies, it is to use figurative expression applying an object to a subject in jocular ways, from idioms or by assimilation, transforming an abstract or unspeakable idea to a concrete description easy to be understood. Therefore, the abstract content entrusted on the brush and ink including different aspects such as sensitivity, identity, or ego can be metaphorized homonymically to reflect the artist’s physical and mental status at that time. That’s why there were Chinese sayings such as “Mind is on the brush and ink” and “What is meant is beyond the image.” Under such circumstances, the subject and object are united as one where no one replaces the other and loses one’s reality and primary significance. To borrow the object means to carve out a path to the subject’s reality while the subject’s meaning is manifested by the existence of the object.
Although it was usually abstract sensitivity implied or presented by the brush and ink in the traditional literati painting; however, what would be meant after all is unlimited. For instance, the poet Han Yu in Tang dynasty revered the calligrapher Zhang Xu and stated that his works contained every changes in the universe including joyful or startled.” Han Yu deemed that Zhang Xu mingled his sophisticated realization on the universe, human lives and self into his works in which the spirituality was so irregular and abstruse beyond merely the subjects of writing and the style. Therefore, a behavioral mode of simulated universe, life, self-ego and everything in the universe can be built after the ideologies and standard symbols dominates the brush and ink to exhibit the surreality between the margin of the visible and invisible. Consequently, the brush and ink has become a mediate object or symbolic unit which can be replicated numerously, and the reality out of the process of modeled production can no longer be regarded as the original reality. Compared with “The three orders of simulacra” proposed by Jean Baudrillard (1929-2007), the above-mentioned is similar to the concept of simulation.
In the post-modern society, the duplicability and the mediation of brush-and-ink works have been vastly employed; when the body experience and physical and mental reactions are encompassed in the true meaning, the condition will lead to the inevitable results such as “absence” and “deficiency” in the writing behaviors. It isn’t hard to imagine that when writing lacks the body experience or embodiment movement the process is not much different from machinery replication or mass production, which would deprive the distinctness of writing and break the organic connections between body, mind and visual image, reducing the art creation to a meaning-removed consumptive behavior.
The Return of Reality and Physical Exploration
Traditionally, the cultivation of the literati calligraphers and painters must incorporate the process of copying the models of masterpieces, which includes “copying forms” and “reappearing the intentions”, to establish individual brush-utilizing concept and the ground for artistic creation. However, overly emphasizing the old-style fashion will lead to stereotyped and repetitive practices of the copied forms, while too much absorbing the intentions will weaken one’s characteristics, resulting in meaningless and consumptive mechanical transcription. To prevent the aforementioned failed copying, the development of modern calligraphy turned the direction into introducing the structured elements, concepts and techniques from painting; however, contrastedly, modern Chinese painting appealed for too much linear relationships and abstract quality of symbols in calligraphy, as a consequence, emphasized the distinction between painting and calligraphy was blurred.
The blurred distinction reflected on the roles of modern calligraphy and Chinese paining having converted from “cognate” to “intermixed” where the boundary was hard to find. Under the circumstances, it could be further explained in the cultural phenomena such as pastiche and hybridity commonly seen in post-modern and post-colonial scenarios. Calligraphy and painting have crossed the mutual boundary on forms after adapting the counterpart form to generate heterogeneous subjects from the original ones. However, although pastiche and hybridity in the post-modern and post-colonial cultural phenomena can shed light on the aesthetic value in the diverse cultures being co-displayed, the lack of autonomous creation was likely to have subjectivity and reality left behind. In addition, the blind borrowing from symbols and meaningless mass replication not only highlighted the dual predicament due to the missing subjectivity and reality, but rendered the results of dephysicalization and deideologization in the creation activity. Under such condition, it has been the inevitable questions that which path to take on to discover the lexicons or symbols and which cultural logic that will reconstruct self-physical and ideological experience shall be deduced, in pursuit of the return for a state where the artworks emerge reality.
During college, Liao Wen-Hao was receiving complete and systemized calligraphy education; his experience and artist role transited from calligraphy to ink painting has indicated the current trend of the intermixture of modern calligraphy and painting. In 2008, the series of Human Mountain extended to be the concrete response to the trend. In the primary stage, Human Mountain applied the way of pastiche of human body and the motif of shan shui (landscape) to combine the heterogeneous objects, emerging a fantasy-like image with surrealistic taste. As to the image of Women Mountain (2008), via the simulation of the ancient mountain synthesized with a pair of women legs wearing the high-heels, created a visual image both strange and humorous. In the quadtych of Woman Mountain, besides the style, dynamics, and colors respectively recognizable for bridging the communicative relationship, both of his concepts of forms and brush utilization featured a sense of synonymous duplication which fortified the value of independent appreciation on the symbolized image. Consequently, human body and shan shui (landscape) were detached from their native physical systems, and shaped new visual components which under various independent combinations would produce different meaning.
While the upper part of the human body replaced by the mountain and rocks in the ancient Chinese painting conjured a non-associative grafting relationship, it was the artist’s purpose to create the personified visual expression working as an object in the homonymic metaphor, conveying a metaphorical code of body having overcome the restriction of temporal-spatial factors. In Rest at Ease (2010), Liao Wen-Hao arranged the woman posture as sitting and crossing-legs to homonymically metaphorize the mental state in viewing the hermit-theme painting of Yuan dynasty, and he took advantage of the human-figured rocks or mountains to reconstruct the concept of harmony in the traditional view of nature, the subject and object assimilated as a unity. Likewise, the same condition was observed in Easy Swing (2011). Among the type of experiments, sexual characteristics of humans and facial expressions were intentionally concealed, while the body posture or the organ parts of the mountain-shaped figures were specially intensified to mirror his angle of seeing the allegorized human body. In other words, Human Mountain series were built upon the artist’s imagination of personification toward the external world, representing his search for a medium as the outlet of desires in the complicated sphere of the self and social relationships. The placement of women image can be further regarded as the visible results revealing such concealed desires, therefore giving birth to the new sexual and desire codes from the past landscape painting of suppressed desires. Accordingly, the boundary shared both by the mountains, human figures and the brush movement depicting and positioning figures were facilitated to create the leisurely and graceful image reflecting the artist’s mental state while he was thoroughly relaxed in his body and mind.
The Reversal on the Subject— the Dynamic Interpretation by Human Mountain
In Human Mountain series from his earlier stage, Liao Wen-Hao seemed to have found the balance between the discovery on body metaphors and the construction of visual expressions. Regarding the brush wielding, there were more meticulous artworks of him consecutively appearing in which the delicate, single and extensive lines have replaced the previous unrestrained short texture strokes and the complicated accumulation of brushworks and the theme has been evolving toward the fine-brushed human mountain. Conservatively speaking, the concurrent appearance of “Free Sketch” and “Fine Brush” painting could be inferred that the artist has taken reference from the ancient techniques; however, those paintings served for more positive purposes. In fact, the meticulous lines and dynamic extension configured the theme of continuous segmentation which gradually vanished inward the background where the distinction among human figures, mountains, rocks, nature and nothingness had been difficult to perceive. As the title Secluded Existence (2011) said, the artist has simplified personal physical desires and practical life experience into a status hard to be interpreted in a complete form, therefore entering a symbolic or spiritual realm. Such linear style of shading and color patch accounted for the illusionary human-figure shadows which may have shown up in dreams and left as retained images, in the meanwhile, reflecting the process where physical desires and life experiences were continuously disengaged from real lives and turned out to be a pure concept.
Since 2012, whether free sketch or fine brush works, Liao Wen-Hao adjusted the meaning of a few ones of Human Mountain series in the earlier stage through the brushworks having been re-endowed with the codes of body, and entered the stage of re-creating the previously-created works during which he thereby augmented the image system by expanding multiple meanings on the symbols. Breaking the Sky could be comprehended as the derivative one of Women Mountain III. The imagery position of women legs was maintained while he increased the meticulous brushes on the added pine tree on the rocks and white clouds curling inward, therefore the surrealistic wonder as if the mountain of immortals was built. Furthermore, the painting inscription “Pine Wind Pure Heart” in response to the Chinese title of Breaking the Sky has transcended the issue of desires or life muddles. The pine tree has become a new element of pastiche and supplemented on the value of Human Mountain series because in ancient Chinese painting and the literati culture, pine trees implied the characteristics of decency, aloofness and unyieldingness. On this account, there has emerged a new associative relationship between human figures, mountains, rocks, and pine trees in contrast with other ones of Human Mountain, evincing the artist’s intrinsic identity and functioning as the discerner of personality and physical-mental state.
Soundless Symphony finished in the same year of 2012 borrowed the subject and structure of Listening to the Qin by Emperor Huizong of Song dynasty, expressing the precious relationship between the artist and his four friends. The figure on the upper left holding a fan written with “Sun River” was the title of a literati study room representing the artist himself; the other figures also owned the symbols originated from their names or characteristics. The figure playing the pipa without strings matched the meaning of the Chinese title “the sound from the stringless”; at the center of the figure was a waterfall flowing from the mountain stream. The painting seemed to borrow the theme of a true story about the soul mates Zhong Zi-Qi and Bo Ya. Zhong understood Bo Ya’s zither music which conveyed “his true wills aim toward the lofty mountain and flowing water,” to implicate the friendship of genuine sincerity. Hot Spring Bath (2013) also presented the reclusive wonderland, the mountain of immortals, to demonstrate the pleasant moment when taking hot spring bath and drinking for fun with intimate friends; in this scene the expectation to liberate the physical desires was disclosed. It was the metonymy most frequently applied by Liao Wen-Hao which borrowed the ancient classical quotation and allusion in ancient Chinese painting to generate more symbolic meanings. Even though the subjects in the practice of “recreating the previously-created works” were originated from both his works and the ancient paintings, what the practice referred to was not the absolute copies of ancient models
In the re-created works from Human Mountain series, it was not an aimless conduct to involve the elements from the previous works or ancient works; in fact, it served as the medium to project the artist’s intrinsic feelings. For instance, Misty reserved the figure posture in Rest at Ease which sat cozily with legs crossing; Misty, through the finer depiction with more details, was able to exhibit an easier mindset and atmosphere and image characteristics. Furthermore, the after image of memories left to present was accentuated by the numerously disordered flakes of brushstrokes of women figure. Contrastedly, the men figures were intensified through the features of unprecedented high recognition over the previous works, marking the reversal of the artist role in Human Mountain series, from passively memorizing and watching to actively creating and recording. On top of that, The Spectator (2015) shared the structure and motif considerably similar to Appreciation finished in 2013, including the front-faced figure sitting rigidly on the official hat chair, the scholar rock beside the figure, twisted trees, flowing clouds or waves. Such conversion resembled the previous two examples: from woman to man, from fine brush to free sketch, and from ethereal woman mountain with facial expression missing to male spectator of clear identity embodying physical metaphors.
In Spectator, there were two playing cards, spade ace and diamond ace respectively, the former standing for the trump card with the power to dominate the result (death or hope) of the game as the highest commander who can render solution or lead the game. The latter generally stood for deception, destruction, or disturbance. Given that the well-dressed man sitting in the center was situated in the middle of both sides the justice and evil, judging from the man’s firm facial expression, it seemed that his rational wisdom in seeing the world aloofly could be deciphered as a physical metaphor. Through the differentiability and sexual characteristics of body, Liao Wen-Hao scrutinized the principal-subordinate relationship among “otherness and selfness”, “women and men”, “the viewed and the viewer”, and “the defendant and the arbitrator”, showing an intriguing transfer from the static beholding to dynamic interpretation.
Among the re-created works, the representative works were the oversized sextych of Summer Mountain and Ascending Peaks, Florid River, Autumn Night Living, Seeking the concealed, Mountain and Secluded House in the Dark, and Dim Light by Moon Behind (2015). Autumn Night Living, Florid River and Dim Light by Moon Behind (originally named as Forest Chamber Grotto at Chu-chu) borrowed the existed masterpieces of Wang Meng the landscape painter in Yuan dynasty as referential samples, and the other three may be the transformation from different texts related to the paintings in Song and Yuan dynasty. The naming of Autumn Night Living may have been influenced by the poem of identical title made by Zheng Gang Zhong (1088-1154), the poet in the Northern Song, with an eye to echoing the solitary mind when one stared the moon alone in the line “The greenish view entered the window dense as if about to drop, the chilly night holding moon was as tranquil as solitude.” The sextych could be divided into two categories according to sources of texts; “Re-creation from the previously-created works” directly took the reference from the structure of the original works, and “Re-elaborating on the original titles” such as lines of ancient poetry or the titles of ancient landscape paintings. As a result, the intrinsic logics among the brushworks, structures, and subjects were all allied and inter-auxiliary.
Graphology and the Contemporary Physical Realization by Brush Painting
Regarding the Sextych, it featured the mingled style of “fine brush and free sketch” and “the wet and dry brushstrokes”. The artist ingeniously integrated the detailed brush in pointing and tracing and the rough brush in shading, both belonging to two divergent systems. In particular, the dotted lines as the vestige from the numerously-replicated meticulous brushstrokes constituted the surfaces of rocks, mountains and texture. In the sense of overall image, it forged a simulation phenomenon constructed by the scheme of extreme formalization and symbolization, and meanwhile it obfuscated the materiality and the spatial relationship between the leaves and the texture of mountains and rocks because all objects consistently engaged in a homogeneous brushwork concept without exception. Moreover, the high-contrast color alignment created a negative-film state already light-sensed yet developed, arising more mystifying, abstract and surrealistic associative connections.
According to the note on the rough drawing of Summer Mountain and Ascending Peaks which said “based on Mountain Dwelling on the Summer Day, copied freely with personal wills”, Liao Wen-Hao completed the series by the dual process of “copying freely” steered by “personal wills”, corroborating his experience in the traditional practices of learning from the ancient painters. “Personal wills” enabled the memories and cognition of the original works to transform into the tangible brushworks under the coordination of body (mind and hands), achieving the extremely personal interpretation. Speaking of body coordination, “copying freely” comprised “watch”, “meditate” and “write out”, as firstly conducting the visual induction to the imagery elements via eyes and then transporting the obtained messages to the brain, secondly the central nervous system commanding the mental reaction being transported to hands, finally resulting in painting or writing through the coordinating functions of the muscles of the arm and the fingertips. During the process of physical reactions, “copying freely” essentially responded to the co-working of hands and the brain. Therefore, the “graphology” stemmed from the physical behaviors and mental-cognitive activities embodied by the brush and ink.
In this phase, the co-utilizing of fine brush and free sketch gradually emerged, forming the complicated physical behavioral inertia cultivated during practicing calligraphy. To apply an analogy between free sketch and fine brush in brush painting and clerical script, regular script, semi-cursive script and cursive script in calligraphy, fine brush represented the symmetrical calligraphic style produced by effectively controlling the body in a slow motion, and free sketch echoed the unrestricted calligraphic style shaped by the flow of emotions at the freely-altered speed; both styles could be considered as the results from physical reactions and coordination. In other words, the body experience accumulated by copying the models of ancient works has veritably achieved the balance between the mind and hands, the control upon the strength and speed, and the harmony of releasing and withholding, so as to accomplish the process of “selfing” the copied subjects (infusing self into it as the personal wills mentioned above). Furthermore, the body experience of copying has not only founded the behavioral inertia but probably collected emotions connected together. As the above-mentioned “calligraphy is the painting of the mind”, calligraphy itself was the outcome of physical-mental coordination. Calligraphy and painting will reflect the mental-cognitive activities and tracks of emotion flows of artists. Fine brush or free sketch, different bush strokes will arouse emotions utterly varied. The personal sentiments unveiled in brush lines, say, releasing, withholding, static or dynamic as if the homonymic metaphor for the sounds of nature quoted from Su Shih in the poem titled Red Cliff “As if complaining and admiring, as if weeping and reproaching,” registering the natural rhythm of pulses or breath.
What worth further attention is the vestige of altering by smear crossing over the image in his recent works, seen in Flowers on Dinner Table, Gentleman, Fan Waving, and Serenity (all finished in 2015). The employment of altering by smear on structures or motifs converted from simple revision illuminated the actualization and figuration of the changes of thoughts in the revolving process of “re-creating the previously-created work”. The execution of sweeping rough brush lines onto the background or the main figure of the image was rather extraordinary because generally this practice would only be applied in drafting and left a visual effect of retained image. Speaking from the physical reactions in writing, because both calligraphy and Chinese brush painting belonged to one-off art in which the smear would not be allowed in the finished works but only in the process of copying. Liao Wen-Hao revolutionized on the “revision” in the traditional concept and gave rise to a transitional production intermediating the “copying forms” and “reappearing the intentions” and showing the deliberate reservation on the changes naturally occurring in the process of searching the balance between “the likeness in form” and “the likeness in spirit”.
In the latest development of “Re-creating the previously-created works” and “re-elaborating on the original titles”, the representative work co-exhibiting “copying forms”, “altering by smear” and “reappearing the intentions” was titled Dream of Journey (2015). The work intermixed the elements of ancient painting (“copying forms”), rough sweeping brush lines (“altering by smear”), and created psychedelic state of mind in between the realistic and surrealistic worlds (“reappearing the intentions”), reinforcing the legitimacy of the action of smearing on the official works. According to the note on the draft, “travel in the dream; feeling chaotic and overlapped in the dream” (later the title was changed into Dream of Journey), to signify the concept of time, a clock was mounted on the building like school assembly hall on the left of the image; besides, to co-display the objects and scenes from varied temporal settings while based on illogic and intertwining relationships, the spaces were divided in the concept of cubism. On the left of the image were a standing man and a phoenix flying onward, and on the opposite bottom right was an official hat chair seated by no man. Contrasted with the sextych, the man in fashionable clothes on the left magnified purposely was gazing on the view at his front. His face was deliberately wiped off by smear, symbolizing the irony subjected to dreams where the details of sentiments were unable to be clarified. At this point, for the audience, the man’s mental status and sentiments based on his face, or the sitter expected to be on the official hat chair were respectively presented in the ways of deliberate smearing and absence, which elucidated that the dream can never be re-presented comprehensively, but vaguely emerged by the reserved pieces of retained images of memories; such awkward situation became the negative version of fable satirizing the reality.
To summarize the above, regarding the comprehensive analysis on the brush painting of Liao Wen-Hao over the nearly ten years, especially in the perspective of body experience from the calligraphy practices of copying the ancient models, to examine his concepts and ways of realization on the issues of the brush and ink, the audience can understand that his view on the brush and ink was built by the inter-reflective relationships between the homonymic metaphors from the ancient paintings and the reality in lives, and it brought about the continuous embodiment of the concept “reappearing the intentions” During the process, the graphology revealed in the brush and ink could be considered as a result of the interaction among varied aspects such as muscles, wisdom, and sentiments. The seemingly abrupt technique “altering by smear” could be realized as “the intuition of writing” consciously preserved to bridge the real and unreal worlds in the process from concepts occurring to artworks finished. Therefore, on one hand, “altering by smear” was facilitated as a catalyst advancing the original concepts and on the other hand, it took effect as an imperative resort, localization, in the process of continuous revision to maintain the balance between the two extremes “copying forms” and “reappearing the intentions”. Such physicality reflecting one’s writing experience has become the gene in Liao Wen-Hao’s artworks in terms of fashioning the contemporariness of brush painting. The graphology omnipresent in his artworks has further become the essential symbol inferring his role characteristics, emotions on the brush and ink, and his physical desires.
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