Chien Chung Wei Watercolor

 


The Insistence on One Sheet of Paper
一張紙的堅持

一籃蘋果 A Basket of Apples  53×37 cm 1996

When I was around grade three or four, for my birthday, I asked for a little money from my father to buy the very first book in my life—“Origami Games.” In retrospect, the insistence of that ten-year-old boy on purchasing an origami book that used only one sheet of paper (instead of cutting and gluing multiple pieces of paper together) is rather curious to me.

To resolve the limitation of using only one piece of paper, and to create more details to make a more “realistic” origami work, some origami artists would resort to cutting and gluing. Because “origami” in Japanese literally means “folding paper,” as a little boy.

I would not condescend to these beautiful realistic “origami” which, to me, should not even be termed origami. Instead, I was more fascinated by works made from only one sheet of paper that “suggest” a bird or an animal. Of course, as a little boy, I did not understand the concept of realism or abstract art. I just simply felt that it was more “interesting” to make something with one single sheet of paper without cutting or gluing. Not cutting or gluing certainly poses a limitation, but it is also a principle that defines the core value of origami as an art form.

An origami animal made from one single (usually square) sheet of paper requires specific folding methods for specific parts of the animal, and specific ways to connect the different parts together. When you unfold an origami crane for example, the dozens of creases suggest where the head and wings will be. The creases on this square sheet of paper are the structure of this crane, and the “life code” of it too!

The same principle can be applied to painting: the crane is the subject, the paper is the medium, and the folding methods are the techniques. Each technique has its own purpose; when well incorporated within the innate limitation of the paper, an interesting simplified and abstract pattern will naturally occur. The purpose of painting is not to achieve a realistic image, but to produce an image with structure, interest, and life code where art becomes immortal.

In retrospect, that little boy’s insistence and attitude toward origami might have sown the seeds to why I have never taken the path of contemporary installation art or mixed media in my twenty plus years of a visual art career.

(Translated by Arianne Guan Toleno)

記得在我小學三、四年級的時候,有一次趁著我生日的理由,跟我父親要了三十五元,跑去書局買了人生中第一本書—“摺紙的遊戲"。現在回想起來,讓我覺得好奇的是,一個十歲的小朋友,對於要買哪一本摺紙書,卻有著很固執的偏見:只要是用到剪刀剪,或膠水黏,就放回書架,正眼都不瞧一眼。

摺紙需要剪、黏、接,通常是為了解決一張紙的先天侷限,目的當然是為了想要作出更多細節、更寫實。當年小小年紀的我,對那些接得很漂亮、很寫實的「摺紙」不屑一顧(嚴格說來,我認為這種不應稱為摺紙),反倒是著迷於只用完整一張紙摺出各種"看起來像是某種鳥獸"的樂趣。當然那時候,根本不知道什麼是抽象、什麼是寫實,只是覺得不剪、不割、不黏,只用一張紙摺,比較"有意思"。

不剪、不割、不黏是限制,也是原則,我認為這也是摺紙藝術真正的價值之所在。由一張紙(通常是正方形)摺出的鳥獸,它的造型各個部位,都是由某種摺法形成,各局部造型之間也會有某種摺法聯繫。將摺好的一隻紙鶴攤開,裡面密密麻麻的摺線,隱約透露出哪邊會形成頭部、哪邊會變成翅膀。這張正方形紙片上的摺線,就是這隻紙鶴的結構,也是這隻紙鶴的生命密碼。

就如同我現在教你們畫畫一樣:白鶴是作畫的題材、紙張是作畫的媒材、摺法是使用媒材的技巧。各種摺法都有某種造型目的,同時也配合了紙張的限制,終究自然而然的會出現簡化與抽象的造型趣味。畫畫的目的並不是要畫的很像,畫畫是藉由題材的觀察與感受,利用(或尊重)媒材的特質,完成一幅有結構、有趣味、有生命密碼的畫面,這才是繪畫藝術永垂不朽的價值。

我想,在我這二十多年的視覺藝術探索的道路上,始終沒有走向當代所謂的裝置藝術或是複合媒材表現形式,從我小時候對摺紙的態度與堅持就應該可以預見的吧!

(翻譯:管惠玲)

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