Viewing LEE Kuang-Yu from the spaces within
Lin Hong-John Director, Department of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts
It is ‘ahistoricism’ that defines the assimilation process required to fuse oneself into another culture – Lacan, 1901-1981
黑格爾《美學》是第一部對於藝術現象的論述，在當代最為讓人熟悉的莫過於「藝術的終結」相關篇章，但通常人們忘了其實這本著作是第一本系統化介紹視覺藝術的書，同時不但在風格、媒材、類別及相關藝術形態分門別類的探討，也試圖建立一個以「世界」為版圖的藝術發展。 在黑格爾美學的世界圖像中， 當然是一個以希臘、羅馬作為開端的西方藝術史， 全然的西方中心主義。 對於之外的地域、國家往往是個輕忽及無知描述：非洲僅僅是個文化「黑暗大陸」。亞洲有著印度宗教雕像以及相關中國佛教藝術時。在片段的閱讀中，黑格爾認為亞洲藝術，相較於西方藝術，尤其在中國佛像雕塑呈現重視「思維」的文化，而其身體及姿態比例及截取往往不是強調「動態」的展示。黑格爾的閱讀， 即便錯誤，也許是對於目前「空缺」的臺灣雕塑史另類提示， 暗示了相較其他藝術類別，雕塑作為一種造型藝術，其形式往往顯示一種感知特別性，是一種美學意義上文化社會脈絡特殊性的差異。
Hegel’s “Aesthetics” is one constituent part of the discussion on the phenomenon that is art. In the contemporary era, people are most familiar with Hegel’s theory of the ‘end of art’ and associated writings. Yet people often forget that this book was the first book to systematically introduce the visual arts. It classifies style, media, category, and related art forms into different categories for discussion, while simultaneously attempting to establish a “world” as territory for the development of the arts. Hegel’s aesthetic image of the world, as one might expect, is entirely Western-centric, using Greece and Rome as the beginning of Western art history. There is a tendency to overlook or give ignorant descriptions of other regions and countries: Africa is culturally merely a “dark continent,” Asia is represented by a Hindu religious statue, and China is depicted by its Buddhist arts. Various extracts of Hegel’s work, describe Asian art and especially Chinese Buddhist sculpture as displaying the values of a “thought” culture – works tend to emphasize the proportions of the physical body and posture as well as their interaction, rather than showing the “dynamic.” Even though Hegel’s readings are mistaken, they might suggest something about the current “void” in the history of Taiwanese sculptural forms. It hints that in comparison with other forms of art, sculpture is a visual, modelled art, and its forms produce particular manners of perception. In aesthetic sense, it exhibits characteristic cultural and societal differences.
時至今日，在藝術全球化中，因為適當性與立即性是必要的， 屬於地方雕塑發展史往往是空缺狀態， 更別說做為特別範疇的雕塑，相較於其他類型，往往背負著文化歷史過程，編碼在政治現實的態勢。如此闕如的雕塑歷史敘事是顯示出一種地域藝術運動的「終結」，一種不可言說困難度， 因為地方雕塑歷史進程，並不能套用在從主義(-ism)演化的歐美藝術史敘述必然性。地域雕塑的發展，尤其是當代雕塑，是一個必須要被重新檢定的項目， 因為雕塑並存的文化向度作為連貫藝術風潮格式，是美學意識型態的透明化最佳范疇。在地域雕塑中各種風格與主義可以並行而不悖。雕塑的特殊歷史語境， 框架在一種特定的藝術書寫， 是一個在不斷「非歷史化」中呈現的同化過程。
Today, as art continues to globalize, appropriateness and timeliness are necessities. Therefore, it follows that local sculptural development often trends towards a state of vacancy. This is especially true of sculpture that works within the confines of a particular genre: as compared with other arts, it is burdened with cultural and historical processes and encoded in political realities. As such, the lack of a historical narrative for sculpture is displayed within the ‘end’ of geographic art movements, and in a kind of inexpressible difficulty. This is because the local historical sculptural process cannot be cribbed into to the ideological, inevitable evolution of the European and American art history narrative. In regional sculptural development, especially in contemporary sculptures, there is an aim that must be re-examined as the cultural orientation that sculpture co-exists within acts to form a series of artistic waves. This is the optimal, clearest pattern for consciousness of aesthetic attitudes. In regional sculpture, a variety of styles and ideologies can co-exist together without conflict. Sculpture’s particular historical context is framed within the designations laid by artistic writing, which is a constantly ahistoricizing display of the assimilation process.
臺灣雕塑發展中， 李光裕的出現是西方雕塑語言中特例。李的作品跨越文化、歷史向度的造型語言敘述，從透視、量體、運動、材質、姿態等等視覺造型，蘊含著從佛、道及現代主義的文化座標， 換言之， 這種特殊性顯示在間隙之間呈現的歷史感， 猶如拼貼；這是真正「非歷史性」(ahistoricity)的核心： 在例外之中所顯示的整體性， 而非一個看似完整歷史敘述的特殊案例。 李的學養背景， 早年赴歐的後殖民歷程， 內化在特殊東方化造型的風采。顯然的， 任何一種西方現代雕塑並不能完全符合，僅僅是種美學參考，如立體派到超現實及極限雕塑等等的主義被「挪用」了，作為作品總體考量。另一方面,李也代表了第一批臺灣留學海外經驗的藝術工作者，回國投入學院教育行列, 並從事藝術創作與發表，與臺灣的文化場域對話，開發新美學議題，培養年輕藝術工作者，開啟了80年代後專業性在地知識生產 。
In Taiwan’s sculptural development, LEE Kuang-Yu’s emergence is isolated case within the prevailing Western sculptural language. His work transcends both cultural and historical dimensions in its narrative style. The peculiarities of Lee’s work present themselves in the visual styles of perspective, mass, movement, texture, and poses, while containing the cultural coordinates of Buddhism, Daoism, and modern ideologies. Like a collage, his sculptures show the lacunae in historical sense. This is at the real core of “ahistoricity”: the display of completeness within the exception, rather than special case within a seemingly complete historical narrative. Lee’s educational background was such that he spent his early years amidst Europe’s post-colonial history, while internally maintaining a special Eastern style of sculpting. Evidently, the many forms of modern Western sculpture could not fully satisfy him and served merely as an aesthetic reference, as when he ‘borrows’ from artistic ideologies from Cubism to Surrealism, and minimalist sculpture and takes them into consideration within his works. Meanwhile, Lee also represents the first group of Taiwanese artists to study overseas. He returned to the ranks of his college education and engaged in artistic creations and publications, beginning dialogues across Taiwan’s cultural field, developing new topics of aesthetic exploration, and training young artists, while initiating the late 80s professionalization of local intellectual production.
李的美學特殊性標識了一個屬於在地文化基底表現，李的雕塑是操作在「少數文學」(minor literature)的在地藝術範例，用共通語表現私敘述，因為雕塑在技法、風格、材料本身端賴在形式處理的文化延續性。如同李在臺中國立臺灣美術館作品《凝II》(Meditation II) (圖1)， 藉由在建築體入口意向， 開啟一個「你看見了嗎？」的視覺場景， 同時也也是造型隱喻，凝結在富有禪味造型中，一個在斜望中瞥見的場景設計。作品的空間語彙， 一方面有著對峙中呈現的現代主義語言， 另一方面牽動了在婉約中的空間語彙。 李光裕為我們提出﹕如果藝術在於呈現一種「視覺幻像」﹐那麼透過視覺幻像的濾片(filter)，在提出展演空間所處的戰略位置(門口) ，使藝術作品空間認知形式改變了﹐這是一個由於地點所突顯藝術中空間策略的實踐， 在入口處瞥見他者。 而這種機制， 不但是形式及語言操作，是空間的拓樸，也是一種歷史文化主體的象徵。
The extraordinary nature of Lee’s aesthetics is marked by his firm foundations in local culture. Lee’s sculptures act as a ‘minor literature’, operating within the confines of local artistic categories. They use a common language to express a private narrative, as in management of form, sculpture’s techniques, style and materials themselves rely on the continuation of the culture in which they exist and have meaning. Like Lee’s work Meditation II (fig.1) which stands in the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts: by use of the inclination of the entrance of the building itself, it creates a ‘Can you see it?’ style of visual landscape. At the same time, it is also a modelled metaphor, given corporeal substance in the deeply contemplative form of the sculpture itself, granting an oblique, glimpse of a design landscape. The spatial vocabulary of the piece on one hand displays the oppositions of modernist language, and on the other produces a graceful, elegant space. LEE Kuang-Yu has asked us: if art lies in presentation of a ‘visual illusion’, then through a filter of that visual illusion and by strategic positioning (ie the entrance) within the display space, the understanding of the artistic space of the piece and its form changes. This is through the practice of spatial strategies which make art conspicuous in its location, so that is glimpsed as you enter. And this kind of mechanism is not the manipulation of form and language, but is the manipulation of topological space. It is also in a sense symbolic of the themes of culture and history.
正因為李的雕塑並不是「封閉論述」(close discourse)企圖與傳統性脈絡化的呈現。他作品中不斷轉譯傳統與當代雜化的創造性：從歐美藝術轉換成臺灣的現代藝術，也從原有臺灣文化場域的藝術、歷史題材轉出。李的雕塑反應出文化雜化本質，審視他的作品，其呈現文本在歷史連貫的必然性是種錯時的顯示，如同在黑格爾美學中提到一種屬於東方的「思維」空間，脫落在一種慣常西方歷史語境的美學呈現。這是一般在地的現代藝術普遍情境，透過歷史/現代、在地/西方的雙重指設並陳在作品中。李的作品一個文化政治寓意空間，也是在地文化「不得不」特殊美學表態，從解離西方雕塑史的延續性開始， 也「不得不」開放傳統性的定義。李光裕呈現的文化空間，是一個在差異基礎的文化、政治、社會框架在推擠、變形之下結果， 反應出當今文化主體在破與立、象徵暴力(symbolic violence)之外的世界性，這種文化場域結構的改變， 浮現在李作品中結合被濃縮化中西並陳的精簡、圓融雕塑語彙。這種形式演進的文化主體性過程是利用雕塑這個具有歷史性的題材，反應在當代的造型及空間語彙上， 如此的吊詭的必然性，在於作品所呈現的文化主體的座落， 過往歷史與風格辯證，形式與內容變成概念上的「現成物」，從其原有語義的概念及其隱喻的概念中剝離。
This is precisely because LEE Kuang-Yu’s sculptures are not closed discourses, nor are they traditionally contextualized displays. His works are a creative hybrid, continuously reinterpreting tradition and modernity: Western art transformed into Taiwanese modern art, and displaying subject matter drawn from the Taiwanese cultural arena and its history. Lee’s work is a reaction to the hybrid essence of culture. Inspect his works and they show that the coherent inevitability displayed in textual histories is a mistake of time, as in Hegel’s aesthetics when he mentions the ‘thought’ space that belongs to the East, this is an aesthetic which is omitted from customary Western contexts. In the universal situation of local modern art, the double weights of history/present, local/Western are implicated and set forth in the works themselves. LEE Kuang-Yu’s works are spaces filled with cultural and political meaning, and are also a ‘forced’ aesthetic declaration of a local culture. His break from continuation of Western sculptural history has also ‘forced’ a liberation from traditional definitions. The cultural space that LEE Kuang-Yu displays is the result of a different cultural, political and social framework that is changing, that is pushed, and squeezed and morphed. It reflects themes from outside the symbolic violence and breaking and re-establishing that characterize contemporary culture. The structural change of the cultural sphere yet emerges in Li Kuang-Yu’s works, combining a concentrated east and west in his simple, rounded and harmonious sculptural vocabulary. This process of the evolution of the cultural subjectivity of form uses sculpture, a topic imbued with history, to reflect that in the contemporary vocabulary of form and space, such paradoxical inevitability lies only in the work as presented within its cultural body. The previous dialectics of history and style, form and content become conceptually ‘ready-made objects’, and are peeled away from what were originally meaningful concepts and metaphors.
李光裕新作，更加開啟了這種獨特雕塑空間語彙的向度，原本的量體， 溶解在隱退及換形造型中，不斷穿越、收放，這種近似構成主義(constructivism)的建築空間語彙，往往在固定人物的題材上呈現一種穿透空間性，既抽象也具象，反應在虛實空間疊影，具體而微呈現一個思維性的單純造型。這些在平面與立體之間的造像更具有一種象徵的表演性(performativity)，形式在穿透及連接中膨脹、緊縮、隱退及顯現的持續變換， 邀約觀者在移動間視點轉移的遊戲性觀看。這些作品的主題人物並不是從事某種特定目的性(purpose-ness)的工作及動作， 相反的，往往在進行一種無目的思維及沉想， 這種無為的自在， 在李光裕的新作中更為顯著， 這些虛實空間中的調度，也標識觀者位置的視覺機制調度。
LEE Kuang-Yu’s new works initiate a further unique orientation of the spaces of his sculptural vocabulary. The former volume has dissolved and retreated from his forms. The continuously crossing and retracting, this vocabulary of architectural space that resembled constructivism, often displays a characteristic penetration of space – particularly in representation of defined figures. Both abstract and realist in nature – this is reflected in the superimposing of hollow and solid spaces – the slight yet perfect compositions of his sculptures demonstrate a purity of thought in his approach to creation. These statues, created from the interaction of flat planes and solids have a symbolic performativity. In the persistent transformation of forms – in the penetration and link of expanding, constructing, vanishing, and appearing-the works invite viewers to playful observation, to shift their perspective. The subjects of the works are not engaged in some set, purposeful work or action. On the contrary, they often are engaged in apparently aimless thinking and reflection. The freedom of such non-action is even more prominently displayed in Lee’s latest works. The organization of hollow and solid spaces further identifies the visual organization mechanisms of the viewer’s position.
觀看必須處於主、客兩方中對峙的狀態中產生，進而知會主體與他者的位置， 但真正凝視必須在一個主、客體對調的情境上。在李的穿透輕盈負面空間中，架空量體 ，錯落在虛、實共通造型語言中，不斷移位借景的空間策略﹐形成一種反觀(reflexive)視覺機制， 提示著觀者正在看的狀態：是具體的頭、手、足， 還者是抽象空間化的軀幹？而這種可以從四面八方可以被觀看的被動凝視模式， 解離觀看的對峙﹐強調造型物的現場經驗， 造型在複雜的移動的相對中形構本身的意義﹐不斷瓦解與結合，自在的聯繫在破碎殘像與美好全像之間﹐觀者與作品的相對狀態是一種拉扯的自我解構張力(aggressivity)，說明了主體形成的幻想是在不同脈絡轉換的交互主體。在李作品中穿透與互補的重組演化中， 並非一個確認的形式，而是在建構中的主體呈像在這個藝術品、觀者的交互認同網絡中， 造型在撕裂、崩壞間形成。換言之，兩者是形成觀看機制的拉距﹕凝視捕捉主體，而主體釋放「觀看」﹔凝視從客體(他者)而來﹐看發生於主體身上。造型成像在知會主體與他者的位置，調動著兩方中對峙觀看狀態。
The act of observation is necessarily a state produced from between the opposition of the objective and the subjective. Following on from this, it is a consciousness of the position of the subject and of others, although a genuine ‘gaze’ must attain a situation wherein object and subject can be exchanged. Within LEE Kuang-Yu’s graceful, penetrated negative spaces, the frame of the body and the creative vocabulary that scatters itself across virtual and realm realms, spatial strategies that borrow views and shift constantly, form a kind of reflexive visual mechanism, thereby affecting the state in which the viewer finds his or herself viewing: is this an actual head, hand or foot, or is it an abstract spatialized torso?
This method, by which pieces may be observed by views from all angles, disassociates the viewer from the confrontation of observing and emphasizes the on-the-spot experience of the sculpture. Amid the complex iterations produced by movement around the form, meaning itself is constituted. Ceaselessly collapsing and recombining, between the free connections made in the broken, collapsed image and the beauty of the complete, the relationship between viewer and piece is a compelled state of self-constituted aggressivity. This illustrates that the fantasy formed by the subject is an interactive subjectivity transformed by different conversions of structures and relationships. In Lee’s works, within the evolution and reorganization of forms, there is no one correct shape. Instead, it is between the structural presentation of the artwork and themes, the interactive recognition constellations of the observer, between the tearing apart of form and its breakdown that the artwork takes shape. Or that is to say, the viewer’s observation mechanism – its pull and its distance – are constituted from both sides: the gaze captures the subject, and the subject releases ‘the observation’; An objective (other) standpoint sees what happens to the subject’s gaze. In modelling a sculpture, the awareness of the position of subject and other mobilizes the confrontation between the viewing states of the two sides.
還有甚麼能比在造型的中空空間， 更能顯示出這種「正在被觀看(being-look-at-ness)」的空缺， 填補著主體觀看的凝視。李光裕作品呈現造型如何從一個經由空場轉換的景緻：一個微型空間化的觀看機制，同時也把觀看主體置換於可視於不可視的畫面中， 把眼(eye)與凝視間收容於其中 ，雕塑作為自主的藝術類型性必須從景緻的拓樸關係中展開，是將雕塑從形式、內容、媒材、實踐等規範面回到「看」的邏輯中，這是一個從人作為度量尺度的方式，而不是美學意識形態的操作成為概念化的歷史性操作，或是典型歷時過程的呈現。李作品中間隙之間的「空」景致，容進背景與他物，一種非歷史性的共時狀態的象徵，成為一個被觀看、檢視與參考的形式文本。而李作品中的特例性， 反應在空間化的態勢中，包含著「無」跟「有」互通的空間，這種無地之方，是個「終結烏托邦後的烏托邦衝動」的空間寓言，操作在拓撲關係上的非政治的指涉，這是一個在藝術作品中開啟主體的宣告，是一種「微政治(micro-politics)」的藝術主體性，框架在文化現實的真實處境。
Inside these hollow spaces, what else can bring forth such “being-look-at-ness” spaces that fill the subjective gaze? LEE Kuang-Yu’s works show how a sculpture can transform the landscape of emptiness: a micro-spatializing observation mechanism that simultaneously displaces the viewing subject into a scene that can be viewed and that is also unviewable, that shelters the eye and gaze within. The sculpture acts as an autonomous form of art that must from be unfolded from amid its relationship with the surrounding topology. Through form, contents, media, practice, and other specifications, his sculptures return to the logic of “viewing,” thereby giving observers a way to measure scale. Thus, if manipulation of the structures of aesthetic consciousness do not become a conceptualized historical operation, nor become the presentation of a typical historical process.The landscape of voids and spaces in Lee’s works incorporate background and surrounding objects into the work, making them a timeless common symbol of ahistoricism. They became a textual forms, able to be viewed, observed, and referenced. Furthermore, Lee’s works have a certain peculiarity, in reacting to the conditions of space and including the intercommunicating spaces of “being” and “unbeing.” This groundless, unlocatable place is the allegorical space of a “utopian impulse in a post-utopian world.” Lee’s works operate through the topological spatial relations of non-political subjects. This is a subjective declaration laid out in a work of art, they represent a “micro-political” artistic subjectivity, framed by the cultural realities of real-life situations.
在李作品的空場所呈現非歷史主義是一種「新歷史主義」的語態，是形式拼裝的「元語言」，更是文化處境的具體象徵，在各個美學藝術形態反映中， 解放在地方之外的認識圖誌關系，顯現之美學姿態是個微政治的文化語境。對應在「空缺」的在地雕塑史中， 李光裕的創作以及其所代表的歷史位置， 必須填補在這個位置上；或者必須面對李光裕以處理雕塑史的空缺， 因為書寫藝術歷史必須顯現一個共同社會性的基礎上，即便是不在場，即便是空缺的。而如此美學提問是一個文化倫理化的過程，原本在倫理層面強調做「對」的事，就是在無目的、無功利間的「美」：自主的遊戲性，對應在黑格爾歪斜閱讀的中國藝術中，這個空缺正是所有藝術必須回應的問題： 一個必須被思維文化形式的對象。
The a-historicism displayed in the empty spaces of Lee’s works is the voice of a “new historicism.” This is a “meta-language” assembled in his forms, and even more so is the representation of the specific symbols of a cultural context. In the reflection of every artistic aesthetic form, emancipating oneself from the recognition and relationship to the pictorial from outside the local and displaying an aesthetic stance is a micropolitical cultural context. Corresponding to the void in local sculptural history, LEE Kuang-Yu’s creations and the historical position they represent must fill this position; in other words, it is necessary to look towards LEE Kuang-Yu to address the historical voids in sculpture, because when writing about art history one must establish a common societal foundation, whether history is present or absent. Therefore, the question of aesthetics is a ethically cultural discussion. Once, ethical theory emphasized doing the “right” thing, a “beauty” without purpose and without utility: an autonomous realm of play. This corresponds with Hegel’s somewhat oblique reading of Chinese art, that this void is the true problem to which all art should respond: an object that is necessarily formed by thought and culture.