解現代雕塑的命題 郭清治的藝術人生

:::

2017 / 8月

文‧鄧慧純 圖‧郭清治 翻譯‧Scott Williams


郭清治,台灣戰後第一代本土雕塑家,他的作品《娑婆之門》獲日本《朝日新聞》高度評價;《太陽之門》也被列入1999 Forjar El Espacio 世界鐵雕回顧文獻,與世界級大師Eduardo Chillida同列。窮盡一生,他追求獨創性、國際肯定的藝術生命,解答現代雕塑的命題。


「你是要錢,還是要理想?」

「當然是理想,錢對我沒有吸引力。」

「既然你也不愛錢,那我們就來追求理想吧!」

郭清治夫人引述當年夫婦倆的對話。

當時,郭清治同妻子說,他的夢想是要自己的創作有獨創性,上得了國際舞台。

經過數十年的努力,他都做到了。

現代雕塑先驅

1939年出生於台中大甲的郭清治,從省立台北師範學校藝術科畢業後任職國小美術老師,因為一回北上訪友的機緣,看到雕塑石膏翻模的技巧,他心想著這容易呀,便開始研究把玩。朋友邀他參加中部美展,他拿了一件雕塑作品參加,意外得到二獎,索性辭職考上國立藝專(今國立台灣藝術大學)雕塑組。在學期間,又一舉奪下全省美展第一獎、全國美展金樽獎、台陽美展首獎。三十而立的郭清治,更曾為已故陳誠副總統鑄像,他的藝術天分在年輕時即嶄露無遺。

當時台灣雕塑界除了承襲傳統的寫實風格外,另一批受西方現代主義影響的藝術家,正進行一場雕塑的實驗革命,他們從寫實出走,思索著「什麼是現代雕塑?」前仆後繼的嘗試中,郭清治也是其中兢兢業業、不懈實驗的一員。

在資訊匱乏的時代,一切都靠摸索,為了創造屬於自己的風格語彙,郭清治做過許多實驗,從鐵雕、泥塑到抽象造型等等。1960年代,他與同好籌組「形向雕塑會」,1970年代,台灣現代雕塑的先鋒團體「五行雕塑小集」,郭清治也是發起者之一。

現代雕塑,往哪裡走?

「從世界雕塑史來看,18世紀以前是石雕的歷史,……真正以塑造為主流則起於羅丹後的50年間,到了20世紀以後,現代雕塑的發展更多元了,有了青銅、黃銅、不銹鋼等複合媒材出現。」郭清治簡單地勾勒雕塑的發展脈絡。

六○年代的台灣,石雕多見於傳統廟宇中,「現代雕塑還沒有人做」,但台灣不能沒有現代石雕創作,因著這份使命感,讓郭清治決定以石頭為素材,抽象造型為實驗路徑,探尋現代雕塑的解答。

他常騎著機車到盛產觀音山石(學名「安山岩」)的觀音山下,當地是台灣北部石匠匯集的聚落,觀摩傳統石匠如何製作石雕。他買了工具,從小件作品練習,觀音山石因質地均勻,硬度適中,上手容易,是他主要練習的石材。但不僅止於觀音石,在他手下琢磨的石材從雲石、玄武岩、花崗石、大理石不下數十種。

1969年,美商花旗銀行來台灣設點,委請郭清治設計石雕,他以貝殼是錢幣最早的雛型為發想設計了《貝之歌》,這是他第一件大型石雕作品,高度約有一米六。

爾後二十年間他藉由不斷創作,投身在石雕造型研究,期間也走訪各國,追溯各古文明的藝術遺跡,從原始的創作中汲取靈感,一邊思索何謂自我特色?自己的語彙?

在複合媒材中找到解答

「我在造型上下的功夫太久了,做複合媒材作品已經是50歲以後的事情了。」郭清治語帶感慨地說。

曾任中華民國雕塑協會會長,帶團到國外研習參展,卻曾碰到外國的朋友提問:台灣許多藝術家習得了外國的技法,但在創作中卻未見屬於東方人新意。郭清治聽聞此言十分難過,但卻是一針見血的點出事實。

在基本造型中找不到專屬的風格,郭清治改採其他途徑,實驗複合媒材。他曾試著把石頭跟黃銅、青銅和不銹鋼等素材結合,但都沒有成功。「如果不能清楚地區隔材料對比及互相襯托的效果,那就是失敗。」郭清治嚴格地說。

直到1993年,使用花崗石和不銹鋼結合的作品《新視界》,他以兩座高矮不一的花崗石為基底,較高的石柱上刻有眼睛的符號,另一石柱上以不銹鋼塑成纏繞線條,有人解讀為髮絲,郭清治則解釋為腦部思緒的活動。簡單數刀雕刻出的眼睛,代表「往前看」的意涵,意味著看到一個嶄新的世界;結合了具象與抽象的元素,作品陰影和明亮的地方互相對比映襯,算是他較滿意的作品。

1994年,郭清治受邀參加日本第三屆「亞細亞現代雕刻會國內展」,展出的作品《娑婆之門》被《朝日新聞》特別提出報導:「把兩個『眼睛』刻進紅色的大理石,左右邊的金屬翅膀再從各種不同的角度反射『眼睛』。隨著太陽移動,時時刻刻都產生變化的畫面,如同異次元一般。」利用不銹鋼如同鏡面的效果,使這件作品從不同角度看都有驚奇的景象,在當時實屬創舉。

以50歲為分界,郭清治說之後的作品在國際上才有立足之地。鑽研基本造型20年,才知道造型不是創作,只是技巧的一部分。但花費的基本功不會白費,這段時期打磨了郭清治雕刻的技術力,而複合媒材則為他開啟了嶄新的世界。

已開創出獨創性語彙的郭清治,自此才真正解脫材料的限制,遊走在抽象與具象間,利用虛實、光影等對比方式,組合衝突性的材質,產生交融的調性,任何媒材都能從心所欲地創作,並傳達他的概念。

灌注在雕塑上的情感

2016年,郭清治受邀參與東和鋼鐵文化基金會的「東鋼藝術家駐廠創作專案」,其實早在2012年東和鋼鐵即徵詢過郭清治的意願,直到第4屆他才點頭答應,期間他已醞釀了好久,有把握創作好的作品後,他才放手一搏。

創作的過程一如他多年來的程序,強調手作、注重感覺。儘管現在科技進步,許多藝術家創作都借助電腦繪圖了,但郭清治還是執著手繪草圖,再用紙板做成小模型,從各個角度細細審視,幾番打量後,微調至完美。

駐廠創作的作品《王者》,郭清治在鐵板上設計數個三角形的孔洞。施工時,工人搭設將近五米的鷹架,年已八十多歲的郭清治仍堅持親自攀上鷹架,確認作品開洞的位置、大小、鐵板上掀的角度……,任何細節他都斤斤計較不肯讓步。

不僅是創作的態度,在創作思惟上郭清治仍不改實驗精神。以往雕塑多是封閉的實體,郭清治這回像是拿了一把刀,把作品劈開,他讓雕塑有了可穿透的空間,探究原本被封閉的空間是怎麼一回事,雕塑是否還有其他的可能?過往雕塑都是靜態的存在,他在《王者》中設計了一個圓形的轉盤,會隨風而轉動,讓雕塑由靜態轉而動態,更是他近年思索的議題。

雕塑是一件頗為累人的活,已白髮蒼蒼的郭清治這幾年創作的時間少了,但他對藝術的思考未曾停止過。從年輕時在鮮少人跡的現代石雕領域拓荒,一路走來,獨創性與國際肯定仍是他所追求,以藝術創作當一生志業,仍是他不變的堅持。                                                            

英文

Answering Questions in Contemporary Sculpture: Kuo Chin-chih’s Life in Art

Kathy Teng /photos courtesy of Kuo Chin-chih /tr. by Scott Williams

Kuo Chin-chih, an early postwar Taiwanese sculptor, has been recognized around the world for his remarkable work. Japan’s ­Asahi Shim­bun newspaper lavishly praised his Gate of Saha, and the 1999 exhibition Forjar el Espacio: La Escultura Forjada en el Siglo XX, a retrospective of 20th-century metal sculpture, included his Entrance of the Sun alongside the work of the renowned sculptor Eduardo Chillida. Kuo has spent his life addressing the questions facing contemporary sculpture, while pursuing innovations in his art and international recognition for his work.


Kuo Chin-chih’s wife recalls a conversation she had with Kuo when they were young:

“Which matters more to you, money or ideals?” she asked.

“Ideals, of course. Money doesn’t interest me,” he replied.

“You don’t love money any more than I do, so let’s pursue our ideals!”

At the time, Kuo’s dream was to create innovative work and earn international recognition. Decades of hard work have enabled him to achieve both of those ambitions.

A pioneer

Born in Da­jia, Tai­chung, in 1939, Kuo graduated from the arts department of Taiwan Provincial Tai­pei Normal School (today’s National Tai­pei University of Education) and became an elementary-school arts teacher. On a trip back to Tai­pei to visit friends, he chanced to observe a technique for sculpting using plaster molds. Thinking that it looked pretty straightforward, he began studying and experimenting with the technique. When a friend subsequently invited him to take part in a central Taiwan arts exhibition, Kuo chose to show one of his new sculptures. To Kuo’s surprise, the piece won second prize, prompting him to quit his job and join the sculpture program at the National Academy of Arts (now the National Taiwan University of Arts). He went on to win first prize at the Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition, a gold medal at the National Art Exhibition, ROC, and the top prize at the Tai­yang Fine Arts Exhibition while a student at the NAA.

In those days, one part of Taiwan’s sculpture community was dedicated to a traditional realism, while another was pursuing an experimental revolution influenced by Western modernism. While the second group was also rooted in realism, it was using it as a jumping off point to explore the question: “What is modern sculpture?”

A member of the second group, Kuo was a meticulous and tireless experimenter who was seeking to create his own stylistic vocabulary. His experiments took him first to steel and clay, and then later into abstract forms. He formed the Xing­xiang Sculpture Club with friends in the 1960s, and became one of the founding members of the ZODIAC Sculpture Group, a pioneer in modern Taiwanese sculpture, in the 1970s. 

Whither modern sculpture?

“In world sculptural history, the period up to the 19th century is regarded as the era of stone sculpture. The use of molds didn’t become mainstream until the time of Rodin, more or less the 50 years from 1880 to 1930. Modern sculptors were pursuing numerous lines of development by the 20th century, leading to the emergence of composite media, combining materials such as bronze, brass, and stainless steel.

When Kuo started sculpting, most stone sculptures in Taiwan were produced for traditional temples. “No one was doing modern sculpture.” Kuo began working in stone because he wanted modern stone sculpture to exist in Taiwan. To that end, he used to ride his motorcycle to Mt. Guan­yin, which was a prime source for andesite and home to many stonemasons, to observe how traditional masons produced stone sculptures. He then bought tools and began to practice shaping small pieces from andesite.

When Citibank established a branch in Taiwan in 1969, the company asked Kuo to design a stone sculpture for it. Drawing inspiration from the use of cowries as one of the earliest forms of currency, he created Song of Currency, a 1.6-meter-tall piece that was his first large work in stone.

Kuo created new work continuously for the next 20 years, diving deep into his study of stone sculpture. He also traveled widely during this period, following the artistic traces of ancient civilizations, finding inspiration in their work, and wondering what defined his own vocabulary and work.

Composite media

“I spent too long working on form, and was already more than 50 years old when I switched my focus to working in composite media,” says Kuo.

Kuo found nothing to call his own while feeling his way through basic forms, so he decided to try experimenting with composite materials instead. He tried combining stone with brass, bronze and stainless steel, but none of his experiments succeeded. “I considered a piece a failure if I was unable to make the materials ­appear distinctively different, to make them contrast and set off one another,” explains Kuo.

He achieved success with his combination of granite and stainless steel in 1993’s New Vision, a piece that combines concrete and abstract elements to create contrasts between brightness and shadow. It consists of a base comprising two rough granite columns of different heights, with an eye carved into the taller column, and twisting lines of stainless steel mounted atop the shorter. While some people interpret these lines as hair, Kuo says they represent a brain in the act of thinking. He explains further that the eye, carved with a few simple lines, represents the idea of “looking ahead.” Kuo is relatively satisfied with how it turned out. 

In 1994, Kuo showed Gate of Saha at Japan’s third Association of Asian Contemporary Sculptors domestic exhibition. As the newspaper ­Asahi Shim­bun described the piece: “Its two ‘eyes’ are carved into red granite. Gold wings on the left and right reflect these eyes from a variety of angles, causing the sculpture’s look to change with the movement of the sun, as if in different dimensions.” It was a truly pioneering work, with mirror-like stainless-steel surfaces taking on surprising new aspects when seen from different angles.

Kuo’s career underwent a turning point at the age of 50, and he says that it is his work since then that finally made his international reputation.

By this time, Kuo had already developed a unique vocabulary, and at 50 he began to free himself from the limitations of his materials. He moved freely between the concrete and the abstract; contrasted fantasy and reality, light and shade; produced harmonious blends from combinations of clashing materials; and successfully expressed his ideas in works created in a variety of materials.

Pouring feeling into sculpture

In 2016, Kuo joined the Tung Ho Steel Foundation’s Tung Ho Steel International Artist Residency Program.

Kuo’s creative process during the residency emphasized working by hand and focusing on feelings, just as it had for many years. He still sketches out his plans by hand, and then makes a small model from cardboard that he can study from a variety of angles. Once he has a good sense of the design, he tweaks it until it is perfect.

Kuo’s design for The King, a piece he produced during the residency, includes many triangular holes punched through a steel plate. Kuo, who is now nearly 80, had laborers build him a near-5-meter-tall scaffolding to facilitate his work on the sculpture, and insisted on climbing onto it himself to check the placement, size and orientation of the holes. He was adamant that all the details be just right.

Kuo Chin-chih remains as artistically experimental as ever. In the past, most of his sculptures were physical objects that were, in a sense, sealed. For this project, he metaphorically sliced his work open. He made it permeable, exploring spaces that were originally closed up tight. He also designed a round turntable that would move with the wind to transform the sculpture’s normally static forms into something dynamic. He says he has given the question of dynamism much thought in recent years.

But sculpting is weary work and the white-haired Kuo is no longer able to devote all his time to it. Nonetheless, he continues to think about his art form. Having sought innovation and international recognition ever since his early years pioneering modern stone sculpture, he remains as committed as ever to spending his days making art.     

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!