Juming Museum “Between Rich and Lightness: Penetrating the Space”
Exhibition venue｜Juming Museum
In the era of disappearing aura—regarding the artworks of the age of mechanical duplication, Benjamin pointed out the “place and time” of original artworks, especially when presented through techniques of duplication, the replicas exist in a state of auraverlust. The vocabulary of art forms emerges with a new appearance in response to the techniques of duplication, and has attracted much attention. In other words, it is an inevitable trend of expression to duplicate artworks through mechanical means. What is emphasized here is: the changes of production conditions have further made the conveyance of “quantified” language of industrial mechanical duplication the inevitable fact of life representation in this age. Especially today in the 21st century, techniques of mechanical duplication have matured, and duplication has constantly evolved in response to art forms, expanding the horizons and contents expressed by artworks. Therefore, how can methods of duplicability (plurality), as the matrix spot of interpretation, present rational existences for concepts of duplicability (plurality)? And express the spiritual value that belongs to the culture of modern people?
Representation of Natural Sceneries
Jinshan has rich and diverse natural sceneries of mountains, valleys, and rivers. The museum hosting this exhibition situates within natural landscape, and personally, I regard the location as the starting point of the basic-level exploration of the exhibition: a unique contextual structure situated in a natural mountainous landscape. Within the boundaries of this specific site, and based on its properties, such as location, unique culture and history, and vast landscape scenery, it will be concretely incorporated in the exhibition site of constructed manually in the practical domain. Thus, how to refer to the onset of the support of creation and conversion of the process, while also considering the elements of works and the relationship between the works and the venue? That is, how can this site accept elements that are identical or exclusive, and connect them through the relationship between natural sceneries and its physical space? And ultimately expand to construct the works’ cultural trend and spiritual aesthetics in the current moment?
As contemporary art transcends into the domain of modern sculpture, it has abandoned past conventions and known sculptural visual angles to examine the boundaries of sculpture: a question that breaks the definitions of subject and object, and highlights the mutually dependent, referential, and enabling, relationship between overall action forces; that is, the sculptural subjectivity sheds more self-limits and conventions, and the subjective site of sculpture is no longer formed centering on own rules. In addition to the site created and referenced by the physical self of the work, the relationships between the work and physical architectural space, the work and external environment, and the work and viewer, will all become an entity jointly managed and constructed. The value form of the site constructed by the overall linkage is actually the dialectics of the flexible scope of the boundary between the internal and external “structural” sites of sculpture, where a powerful property of energy that continually reproduce and expand exists. In the premise of the expansion of spatial site of sculpture, especially the thinking and concept of the exhibition space and site, are converted and incorporated into the basic elements of the sculptural construct, emphasizing that the exhibition site is also a key element of the constructs that carry the contents of these artists’ creative expressions. At this moment, constructs of works differ in different contexts of spatial sites, and the intervention of formal viewpoint will also change accordingly. Therefore, sites are materialized to be incorporated into the material elements of the collective construct of works, opening up as a basic language in their own true physical state, and further opening up the hidden actual genes of a sculptural site, such as specific site, ambience, contextual reference, and the medium relationship in the works, just like dimensions, size, scale, material, light, temperature, color tone, sound, scent, and other unique basic equipment of the site or the cultural scenery and meaning behind the site, with which the exhibition method of how the work makes “appearance” is determined. Therefore, how can sculpture achieve an equal position of “new placement” to examine the unique phenomenal state and the interwoven relationship with works of the exhibition site? How to practice the logical issue of spatial structure within the site’s physical state of existence to label the referred content of the work? How to present a comprehensive thinking of construct for the exhibition mechanism of the work, within which the record of conversion between internal and external site structures is shaped and represented, to highlight the mutually permeating and shocking relationship generated by the elements and spatial site, further igniting and recreating the expansive tensions of the spatial site of sculpture? All these seem to have brought deeper and more complicated problems of the display of spatial dimension that need to be addressed.
Therefore, in creative practice, behind a kind of interpretive behaviors of perception is a deductive process that matches rational thinking, especially when facing the fixed format of existential value system in this civilized life: the mythical scene of the primary buildings of a new civilization, and a format of collective structure in the framework of the grid, naturally becoming the basis of the interpretation and reflection of life in the space of modern urban civilization. Through this scientific and rational totem product of the 20th century, the overall presentation of “modern nature” is derived in response to the industrial age. American art critic Rosalind E. Krauss also explained three scenarios of the grid format in The Originality of Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths: a sheerly quantitative success, involving the number of artists in this century who have used grids; a qualitative success through which the grid has become the medium for some of the greatest works of modernism; and an ideological success, in that the grid is able-in a work of whatever quality-to emblematize the Modern. Thus, for the overall presentation of the work, in addition to the shape of tree in nature, the expressive method constructed of lines that utilizes duplication to quantify repeated structural format is the starting point of exploration of the content of the work: a hidden grid-like structural feature encircles a single format into continuous grid framework; its lines are used as the support of the entire work, connecting vertically from bottom to top and horizontally from left to right. In addition to displaying the mathematical and physical rules of constitution that are the basic rules, within the continuous plural sites conditioned and constructed by the work, it also explores the interactive energy between concentric cohesion and expansive centrifugal axes. This inner cohesion triggers the external spatial pictorial structure that expands endlessly, enhancing within this process of representation, and summoning the recreation of the conversion of objects between thinking and existence, in order to rebuild another layer of imagery world, as an attempt to transcend a superficial fact and enter a self-aware inner space of reflection.
Texture of Medium
In Critique of Pure Reason, Immanuel Kant mentions that concepts without intuitions are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind. Here, concept refers to a kind of thought and understanding; it comes from accumulation of experience and the attainment, digestion, and judgement of knowledge. Intuition, on the other hand, is the process and state of practicing sensibility—it is a reflective expression of the trace of direct operation of organic texture; furthermore, the scope of this practice possesses the active nature of being, and is inclined towards being regarded as the extraction of the depiction enabled by content in the practice of art. Therefore, to emphasize the phenomena between nature and industrial civilization, the expressive process highlights the rigid, heavy and cold nature of metals, and uses mechanical tools to cut out silhouettes of simplified shapes of trees from thick steel plates, while also enlarging the size to twice the height of men; as for the settings input to the computer, powerful laser machinery is used to cut hard and straight lines of writing according to each individual picture. In this amount of repeated and unlimited duplications, the parts are fastened and linked by screws to construct a continuity within the site through the rhythmic accumulation and expansion of the quantity; the flowing lines that have not been broken within the space suggest a continuous body and trigger the dense and disciplined skipping tempo of the form to further display the substantial and empty relationship between forms and space. To strengthen the rhythmic physical dynamics, two mechanical motors have been installed in the work; through their centrifugal rotation in response to different flexibility and ductility of steel materials, a pure fluctuating energy present within the inner existence is drawn out to mutually influence and spread throughout the entire supporting structure, so that the entire work seems to be slightly shaking. Also, through this conversion, the work itself is constructed into an autonomous organism, and the superficial physical quality is simultaneously depicted in the dimensions of the visual and tactile aesthetics of the same surface, enhancing the self-referred content of the surface of sculpture, which fluctuates with time and becomes interwoven in the space.
Therefore, a rich and thick forest accumulated through the plural forms has been orderly constructed by a single unit of the tree-shape image; the exhibition lighting illuminates the entire venue to stretch the shadows of the trees onto all surrounding walls. A faint sound of dripping water is broadcasted in the space, and the comfort level of the air conditioning and industrial electric fans with timing device are coordinated to further enhance the power triggered by the non-material medium elements. As viewers till remember the natural scenery outside the venue and feeling the humidity of the summer, they suddenly walk into this giant green venue in the shapes of trees, and perceive the difference of various types of spaces; they follow alone the work’s linear support and the path through countless gates, as they constantly suggest and guide the viewers through the work and venue. Therefore, when admiring a work of continuous and repeated layers of media that penetrate the space, viewers not only concretize the perceived sight and touch of the physical scenario at the moment, but also feel the consistency between the dynamics of their body and the space of the work as their perceptions respond to the interactive site of the work with light vibrations, lighting, and sounds, allowing the shadows of their bodies to comprehensively fuse into the space of the grid structure. They interweave and jointly construct to become an important element of the work. It is an active scenery of natural forest like a drawing, a kind of representation extraction of the true spatial nature of humanized nature.
The formal language of duplicated sculpture had already left behind hints at the beginning of the development of modern sculpture, especially the widely-known Three Shades above Rodin’s the Gates of Hell created through molding, which interprets the essential differences between singular form and unlimited quantified forms. In today’s world, the mechanical duplication technology has progressed, further showcasing the diversity and rapidness of its functional methods. Thus, the shaping of the onsite atmosphere after duplication, such as expansive tensions of the formal language of plural co-structures/spatial site becoming a parameter of the construct of work/representation of natural scenery/openness of various tangible, intangible, material, and non-material elements of objects and materials/the changing and moving of sculpture’s original position and the homogenous variation of the adjustment and dialogue of site structure/interweaving connections of two- and three-dimensional spaces and time/and the model and mechanism of body joining and participating in the construct of work, is an attempt to comprehensively spark the work’s own power, further utilizing this cohesive specific spatial site to expand and stretch from the inside out to the entire environment, guiding viewers into the that is in an on-going present progressive state.