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人不能選擇自己的出生地,不能選擇種族。
但藝術家可以選擇創作題材,直面世界的真實。
 
2006年回到香港時,重拾在學時常被我忽略的中國畫。有三個月的時間,我每天到中文大學的新亞圖書館閱讀中國畫的圖像,整理中國繪畫的元素,編輯成幾千個電腦檔案,化成字典般的圖庫、組合玩具的零件,去建構出一片玩樂的風景。我跟山水畫開玩笑,重疊跨越千年的繪畫元素,完成一張張的繪畫。歷史不是包袱,她是自由多面的稜鏡,在她的映照下讓我們思考人的種種,從而面對當下。只是,歷史的身旁,總是被盜賊包圍,遮擋了人的視線。
 
那時,我還以為世界紛亂,閱讀中國山水畫是安撫心靈的良藥,建構一片風景是一種簡單的快樂,猶如兒時在狹小的家居裡開闢一片私人的玩樂天地。轉眼十多年,世界越來越紛亂,簡單的快樂越來越難獲取。在累積山水畫閱讀經驗的同時,也在建構我的視角。我創作的存在,並非為了服務國族的驕傲,發揚什麼文化。因為,如果創作不能直面世界的真實,這些驕傲與文化根本不值一談。創作是反映人對世界存有的敏感度,否則媒介或風格,亦是不值一談。從這個閱讀中國山水畫的基礎上,我開始策劃旅程、城市遊蕩的錄像與裝置,創作了如《一日兩天》、《山洞記》系列的作品。
 
2021年年底,旅畢美國西岸三個月後回到香港的工作室,我發現原本用作為風景創作的盆景,竟是一片可移動的「土地」,一個微型世界。人為什麼將植物栽於盆中?植物為什麼脫離大地?看過有些盆景,在天崩地列的日本活上幾百年。人若忘了栽培心,縱使因為紮根大地而長得再高再大,活著也枉然。
 
經年的社會狀態,「中國畫」或是「中國山水畫」對來我說,開始越來越糢糊,越來越抽象。世界不同地方的氣候孕育不同的風景,自然與藝術本無罪,而控制思想的慾望,卻讓風景沾上了罪名的水印。還一片風景自由,還呼吸與思想自由!
 
 
林東鵬
書於香港,火炭
2022年5月3日

As individuals, we are unable to choose our place of birth, or the colour of our skin.
But as artists we are able to choose our subject matter and confront the reality of the world.
 
When I returned to Hong Kong in 2006, I began to revisit Chinese painting, which I had often neglected during my earlier studies. For three months, I went to the library of New Asia College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to study the imagery of Chinese painting, compiling quantities of pictorial elements and transforming them into an image archive of digital files. Together with figurines and loose components, I toyed around with the idea of recomposing a Chinese painting, overlapping historical imagery spanning thousands of years into a single painting. History is not a burden, but a multifaceted prism inviting us to reflect on our past and thus the present. But History is encircled by thieves who cloud our gaze.
 
I used to think studying Chinese Shan Shui was a method to soothe my spirits amidst a chaotic world, that fabricating a landscape was a simple joy much like a child imagining a playscape in the intimate confines of one’s own home. Over the past decade or so, the world has only become increasingly chaotic, and simple pleasures have become difficult to come across. The way I perceive the world has also been shaped by my accumulative knowledge in my study of Chinese painting. My purpose of creating paintings is not for the pride of my national culture, because if art is unable to come face to face with the reality of the world, what is the point of talking about pride and culture? I believe that to create, is to have a sensitivity of the world, and this awareness comes before medium or style.
 
I began to develop videos and installations of my travels and urban wanderings in my later work series, “A Day of Two Suns” and “Saan Dung Gei”, which was an extension from my studies in Chinese Shan Shui. In late 2021, I returned to my studio in Hong Kong after travelling around the West Coast, and came to a realisation that the Potted City series was more than a mere landscape study, it represented a miniature world, where soil and earth could also be migratory. Why are plants displaced from nature in the first place? Why do we confine them into pots? I have seen potted bonsai survive for hundreds of years amidst the natural disasters and social upheavals in Japan. If we forget to cultivate our thoughts, our roots will forever be stubbornly dug into the ground, even if we grow into imposing heights.
 
Against our recent social backdrop, the conception of Chinese painting and Chinese landscape painting appear increasingly blurry and abstract to me. Diverse landscapes are bred from diverse climates. Art and nature are intrinsically innocent. It is the urge to control free thinking that taints and convicts the landscape. Let us set our landscape free, let us breathe and think freely!
 
Fo Tan, Hong Kong
3 May 2022
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