霍剛談霍剛

An Interview with HO Kan

採訪整理 / 杜綺文

Interview and text by Audrey TU

Q:先跟我們談談您在創作中的重要元素有哪些?這些元素的靈感來源為何?
Q: What are the quintessential elements in your artistic creation? What are the sources of these elements?

我的作品元素有「空間」、「點」、「圓」、「三角形」。這些是從中國文字吸取的養分,不是書法,因為書法裡面有運作,我講的是中國文字的造型、結構。「永字八法」裡面都有康丁斯基講的點、線、面,只是中國文字的表現比較含蓄。比方說:中國字的「點」,絕對不是這麼圓的一個點。永字八法的那一「點」,有點橢圓形,但是這個點,形已經誇張、變化了一點,那是為了一種和諧,跟其他的筆畫結構有關係。「雖然」的「然」下面四點也都不一樣,有高有低、有長有短,結構很美。每個字都有它的結構性,有的筆畫多,有的筆畫少。像「明」這個字,一個「日」,一個「月」,他有大有小,但是結合在一起就呼應的很好,結構很嚴謹。像「寶蓋頭」的那個點,你那個點要怎麼點,就各憑本事。有的人大筆一揮就沒啦,就這麼簡單。那我就研究,他為什麼要這樣,為什麼這個要這樣勾,要勾多少度,勾的長短剛好都有關係。所以我從中國字的空間性與書法學習,再融合到抽象的意念之中,也就是「意象」跟「觀念」的表現。我們的書法裡有「象徵性」,是一種暗示性的。像中文的「哭」、「笑」,如果我把字的外面用橢圓形圈起來,就很像一個人在哭、在笑。那也不是一個人臉,但是它就是給你這樣的感覺,是一種暗示,這種影響給我很大,所以「書法」給了我的創作有形的影響,在「結構性」、「象徵性」的層面上。
The elements in my work include “space,” “point,” “circle,” and “triangle.” These elements are inspired by Chinese characters per se instead of the calligraphic art. The art of Chinese calligraphy involves movement, but I rather focus on the form and structure. The “Eight Principles of Yong” (the eight brushstrokes of the Chinese character “永”) contains the point,line and plane that Kandinsky talks about, but the expression of Chinese characters is more reserved and subtle. For instance, the “point” in Chinese characters is never a fully round dot. The “point” in the “Eight Principles of Yong” is actually oval. The shape of the point has been changed and exaggerated a little to create a sense of harmony and a relationship to the other brushstrokes. There are also four points in the character “然,” but they are all placed in different heights and with various lengths, constituting the character’s beautiful form. Each Chinese character possesses its own integral structure; some are in elaborate brushstrokes,and some in simple ones. An example would be “明” (bright or brightness), which is consisted of two parts, “日” (sun) and “月” (moon). The two parts are in different sizes, and the combination creates a nicely corresponding harmony and a firm structure. Another example would be the point on top of the character “寶.” It could be written in various ways depending on the writers. Some just do it in a quick manner, and it can be as simple as that. On the other hand, I would study how the writer writes the point, why a twist in the brushstroke, how many degrees the twist is, etc. The length and precision of the twist matters, too. So, I incorporate the spatiality of Chinese characters and my learning of calligraphy into the concept of abstract painting, which individually embodies “image” and “idea.” Chinese calligraphy is “symbolic,” meaning it is suggestive in a way. For example, if I add an oval circle around both the Chinese characters “哭” (cry) and “笑” (laugh), they would look like a person crying or smiling. The two characters do not depict human faces, but they are suggestive in that way and give you that feeling. This aspect influences me a lot. So, Chinese calligraphy affects my artistic creation in a visible way in terms of its structural and symbolic aspects.

另外,中國的古文物、銅器、瓷器的造型與感覺,也給我刺激,我不做古物的研究,就是純欣賞。有點古樸、奇異的東西,我都欣賞。我南京老家的有些擺設,例如:傢俱、蠟燭臺上的用具、香爐、酒器、古樸的用具,也都淺移默化的影響我。還有像墨西哥、大洋洲、非洲古人製作的用具,還有兒童畫,接近一種原始本能的創作方式,我也喜歡。
Also, the form and sensibility of Chinese antiques, like bronze and porcelain, are aesthetically stimulating for me. I do not study antiques but simply admire them. I appreciate simple, unadorned and peculiar objects. There were some decorative objects in my childhood home in Nanjing, China, such as furniture, candleware, incense burner, and wineware. These simple objects all influenced me in a subtle and undetectable way. Other stuff such as Mexican, Oceanic and African historic tools and objects as well as children’s drawings also interest me a lot. They reveal a kind of artistic approach that is closer to our primitive instinct.

Q:這種追求古樸、原始的概念,類似高更?
Q: Is such a preference for the simple and the primitive similar to Gauguin’s pursuit?

高更也注重象徵。但是他比較刻意,就是要跟人家不同。我是自由的,但是我是受他們大師 的影響,那我要去除自己的包袱,比方說:學院派的觀念。
Gauguin paid more attention to symbolism. He was also more deliberate in making himself different from other painters. I am free, but I am also influenced by these great masters. From this perspective, I need to get rid of my own baggage, such as the academic preconceptions.

Q:講到「學院派」,在 1950 年,您進入臺北師範學校(今國立台北教育大學)藝術科, 當時的學習內容有哪些?
Q: Speaking about academicism, when you entered the Department of Arts of Taiwan Provincial Normal School (now National Taipei University of Education) in 1950, what did they teach in the school?

主要就是寫生,靜物、石膏像寫生,但是這些東西沒有辦法滿足我,很死板。其實老師並沒有特別限制我們,只是那時候的教學宗旨,就是為了培育老師,所以教材不能太離譜、太越軌。那時也不知道這個就叫做學院派,只是心裡覺得「畫畫」好像不是這麼簡單,我求好心切嘛,想要很快的進步,所以會自己去看畫展、看雜誌、聽有關美術的演講,學校教的對我來說並不太難,所以想要找一些不同的東西,後來就去李仲生那邊。
They taught primarily outdoor painting, still life painting, plaster sketch, etc. However, these practices did not satisfy me as they were quite rigid and fixed. Truth be told, our teachers did not really limit us in a certain way. However, their teaching objective was to train teachers, so their teaching materials had to be normative and guided. At that time, I did not know this was called the academic. I only felt in my heart that “painting” was not an easy job. I tried to refine myself and to improve faster. So, I would go and see art exhibitions, read art magazines, and attend art-related lectures and speeches. What they taught in school was not difficult for me, so I wanted to find different things and went to study under Li Chun-Shan later.

Q:談談跟李仲生學習的機緣?
Q: Could you talk about how you came to learn with Li Chun-Shan?

我在報紙、雜誌上看到他的文章,看他在講西洋藝術,對於繪畫的分析,我覺得他很重視學理,應該很有研究。後來,我認識了歐陽文苑,她的妹妹在二女中(今「中山女高」)唸書。李仲生那時是二女中的美術老師。歐陽文苑因為妹妹的關係認識了李仲生,我就跟著一起去找李仲生,那時候他才剛回台灣不久。
I saw his articles about Western arts on newspapers and magazines. From his analysis of painting, I could tell he was into theory and had done much study. Later, I met Oyan Wen- Yung. His young sister was a student at Taipei Second Girls’ High School (now Taipei Municipal Zhongshan Girls’ High School), and Li Chun-Shan was an art teacher there. Oyan knew Li because of his sister, so I went with him to visit Li. At that time, he had just returned to Taiwan.

Q:談談李仲生對您的影響。
Q: Please talk about Li Chun-Shan’s influence to you.

主要是觀念上的轉型,最重要的就是「如何看畫」。那時候師院不教這種東西,只教我們寫生、畫畫。李仲生就是跟我們聊天,聊天就是教學。比方說,那時候有學生因為在嘗試,一下用細線、一下用粗線。他就會說畢卡索這樣的一位大師,也不會三天兩頭在變。他的藍色時期、粉紅色時期,也是要經過一段時間才演變,是吧。他講的這個例子,我就犯了。例如他要講康丁斯基、克利、馬蒂斯,我們就找了很多這些藝術家的畫冊,看他們年輕時期怎麼畫,為什麼後來這樣轉變。後來,我喜歡哪位藝術家,我就買他的畫冊來看作品怎麼演變,這些都是有關聯性的,不是突然改變的。
The major influence was the change in concept, mainly “how to see paintings.” The Normal School did not teach such a thing but only sketch and painting. Li simply made conversations with us, and that was his way of teaching. For example, one of his students was experimenting, using thin lines in one painting and thick ones in another. He would then say that an art master such as Picasso would not change every other day. No matter his blue period or the pink period took time to manifest, didn’t it? This was precisely a mistake I had made. If he talked about Kandinsky, Klee, and Matisse, we would look for these artists’ catalogues and find out how they had painted at a young age and how they had transformed. In later days, whenever I was fond of any artists, I would find their catalogues to study their development. The changes are all interconnected instead of taking place out of the blue.

Q:李仲生所教的觀看方式有哪些?
Q: How did Li Chun-Shan teach you to see?

他會教你不要侷限在一個部位去看,怎麼去找你要的東西。比方說,我現在要畫這三個東西 (三個杯子),當然這邊比較大,那邊比較小,這是構圖。到了李仲生那裡,就不是這樣看。三個東西要一起看,這是一個三角形,這樣就跟學校教的素????不一樣了。那畫人像,擺 姿勢,這樣擺、那樣擺,這個比例…李仲生沒有那麼囉唆,就是這邊一條線,那邊一條線,整個什麼形,先是很輕的,再把重要的形弄出來。
He would teach us not to limit our attention to one single part and how to find the things we looked for. For instance, I want to paint these three objects now (three cups). Naturally, this one is bigger and that one smaller. This is composition. However, Li would teach us to look at the three objects together, which could form a triangle. This approach was different from the sketch lesson we learned in school. In terms of painting portrait, which we focused on poses and proportion, Li did not make a fuss about it. One line over here, and another over there; he focused on the form of the ensemble. He would approach the subject lightly, and then, capture the important form.

另外,把眼光放大,要看整體,看整張的創作,也要看藝術家一系列的創作。他教我們看畫分成三個階段:第一階段是「欣賞」,第二階段是「研究」,第三階段才是「創作」。第一個階段就是不斷的「看」,看別人的也看自己的。第二階段的「研究」,就會去圖書館找資料,還有前輩寫的文章,報紙的藝術版介紹等等,來做研究了解。第三階段的「創作」就是把自己觀察研究所學習的內容,變成自己的創作。
Another thing was to look at the bigger, whole picture, the work in its entirety as well as the series of works by an artist. He taught us that looking at paintings could be divided into three stages: the first one is to “appreciate,” the second to “study,” and the third, “create.” In the first stage, you have to continuously “look” at others’ as well as your own works. In the “study” stage, we would go to the library to do research, reading articles by predecessors and the art sections of newspapers, which we could study and better our understanding. The third stage, “create,” means to digest and transform what you have observed, studied and learned into your own works.

Q:跟李仲生學習前後,最大的改變是什麼?
Q: What were the major changes in your art after you studied under Li Chun-Shan?

就是「反自然主義」、「反傳統」,對於繪畫的創作理念朝向「世界性」的方向發展,觀念被打開了。我比較偏向後印象主義的探索與研究,因為這個時期以後的作品,就是塞尚、高更、梵谷,開始反傳統。這三位藝術家改變一個世紀的觀念,畢卡索、馬蒂斯還是在這個脈絡下,他們並沒有影響下一個世紀。現代主義的發源就是來自這三位大師,為什麼塞尚是「現代繪畫之父」?我們就去研究個所以然。我對印象派以後到二十世紀中期這個階段的作品,研究的比較透徹。
It would be “anti-naturalism” and “anti-tradition.” My idea of painting began to move towards the direction of “cosmological,” and my concept of painting was freed. I preferred to explore and study post-impressionism because the works of Cézanne, Gauguin, and Van Gogh had begun to challenge the tradition. These three artists changed the concept of the entire century to come whereas Picasso and Matisse were still part of this context and did not really influence the next century. Modernism came from these great masters. Why is Cézanne called “the father of modern painting”? We had studied the reasons. I would say I have conducted a fairly thorough study on the works from Impressionism to the mid-20th century.

經過這些研究,我就會採用不同的看法來看一幅畫。不是用傳統的方法來看畫,例如:構圖、透視、解剖學,不用這些,而是朝「繪畫本質」的方向來研究與欣賞。因為透視、解剖學,都是手法,你有了主題再用這些方式來呈現。但是攝影發明之後,繪畫的寫實功能就被取代了。回到「繪畫本質」來探索繪畫,題材方面開拓了,視野也開拓了,可以參照的東西也多,取捨的東西也多,自己可以改變的東西也更多了。
After such study, I started looking at a painting in a different light instead of traditional means such as the composition, perspective, anatomy, etc. I would study and appreciate it in terms of the “essence of painting. The reason for that is because perspective and anatomy are all related to the techniques of painting, which should be employed only after a subject is established. However, after the invention of photography, the function of realistic representation in painting has been replaced. Returning to the “essence of painting” to explore the art, I have had a wider range of subjects, an expanded vision, and a large frame of reference. I am able to take in and let go of more things as well as change more things by myself.

Q:除了李仲生的影響外,您在米蘭也待了很長一段時間,談談外國藝術給自己的影響?
Q: Apart from Li Chun-Shan’s influence, you have lived in Milan for a long time. Could you talk about how Western arts have influenced you?

雖然我是做抽象的,但是美國的抽象表現主義沒有影響我很深,歐洲的藝術影響比較深。像莫迪尼亞尼對我的影響就蠻大的,他的作品透露著一種冥想,一種對人類的鄉愁,表現人性,這是其他動物沒有辦法取代的。他的風格含蓄,不那麼暴露的表現,有內在,有精神性的藝術家本質。例如,他的人物像都沒有眼珠,就是一種冥想,一種思維。我覺得跟中國的佛像類似,受東方的影響。中國的大佛都是半睜半閉,當然也是有眼睛睜得很大的,像張飛、關公呀。其他道行很高的,他就是半睜半閉,這個就是東方的元素,東方精神的來源之一,比較智慧的、玄妙的,這也是一種奇異美。其實,我覺得現在東西方都相互影響,世界一家。那像「西方超現實主義」的思維與想法,也給我靈感。超現實作品中有一種「奇異美」、「奇異的現象」給我靈感,這種不同時空的組合形式,也影響我。
Although I am an abstract painter, but American abstract expressionism did not influence me a lot; I was rather deeply influenced by European painters. I was quite under the influence of Modigliani. His work embodies a kind of meditation, a human nostalgia that materializes our humanity. It can never be seen in other animal species. He has a relatively reserved style. It is not explicitly expressive but contains an inner, spiritual artist quality. For example, all his human figures are painted without pupils; it represents meditation, a kind of thinking, which I find similar to Chinese Buddha statues. It shows that he has been influenced by the East. The gigantic Buddha statues in China all have half-closed and half-open eyes. Of course, there are religious statues with wide-open eyes, like Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, but the ones with high spiritual attainment have the half-closed eyes. This is exactly the Eastern element, one of the origin of Eastern spirituality. It carries more wisdom, it is mysterious, and it embodies a kind of “peculiar beauty.” In fact, nowadays, I think the East and West are mutually influencing, and the world is one large family actually. On the other hand, the philosophy and ideas of Surrealism are also inspiring for me. There is also that “peculiar beauty” or “peculiar phenomenon” in the Surrealist works. Their combination of different time and space affect me as well.

Q:您在去米蘭前的創作,是以「超現實主義」為主。到了米蘭之後,如何轉變到「抽象風 格」?
Q: Your work was predominantly surrealist before you went to Milan. After you moved to Milan, why did you shift to an abstract style?

去了歐洲之後,看到很多藝術家畫超現實主義的作品,畫的很好,我認為畫不贏他們,我就改變方向了。我認為要走中國的方向。創作有要自己的個性,跟別人不一樣。那我們是受中國的教育、觀念,你要全部放棄,改成西洋的東西,這是不行的。不合理的東西要推翻,有些東西要保留。例如:中國的「線條」是別人無法比的,「水墨」也是,所以我作品裡的「書法性」,也是中國古文化的精神。我注重「空間」的處理,這也是東方的內涵。「淡雅」也是,但是這部分,我沒有做的這麼好,因為我的個性比較爽朗,所以我的用色就會比較明朗、清爽,接近野獸派的顏色,而不是像工業顏料那樣的強烈、刺激。
After I went to Europe, I saw a lot of really good and nicely painted works by Surrealist artists. I did not think I could outdo them, so I changed the course of my art. I decided I would bring in Chinese elements and create art that showed my own personality, distinctively different from others. We received Chinese education and concepts. It would not work if you abandoned them all and directly adopted the Western ideas. You could overthrow the things that no longer made sense, but you also need to preserve some things. For instance, the “lines” in Chinese painting are unique and incomparable, so is our ink painting. Therefore, the “element of calligraphy” in my work exemplifies the spirit of ancient Chinese culture. I pay attention to “space,” which is also an Eastern element. So is “simplicity and elegance.” However, I admit that I have not handled the last very well because I have a bright and hearty personality. It can be seen in my use of colors, which tends to be brighter and clearer, bordering on the colors used in Fauvism rather than being very strong and intense as those industrial colors.

其實我以前的超現實作品,你仔細看,裡面有幾何的形狀了,我現在就是把幾何形抽出來,追求意象,那個意象是神祕性,潛意識自然在我的畫裡面發揮出來。我故意重一點,或是故意輕一點,就是表現我自己的情緒與心理感受,是一個屬於我自己的世界。
As a matter of fact, if you pay close attention to my earlier Surrealist painting, you would already see geometric shapes. What I do now is that I take out and use the geometric shapes to pursue the image. The image is mysterious; it surfaces in my painting through the working of the subconscious. As for the intentionally heavier or lighter touch, it reveals my emotion and psychological perception. The image is a world of my own.

Q:您曾經在多次????到音樂對您創作的影響?如何將聽覺轉成視覺?可以再跟我們多談談這個部分嗎?
Q: You have mentioned in different places that music influences your art making. How do you convert the audio experience into the visual expression? Could you please elaborate on that?

音樂的語言就是透過旋律、對位、和聲、比例、長短、強弱等來表現,這些都跟我的畫有關,藝術是相通的。比方說,你整個和聲,弦樂器、管樂器的聲音,哪個大、那個小,什麼地方要突出,那只有指揮才會知道,所以指揮要非常懂曲式的,才能夠這樣。那畫畫也一樣,什麼時候要畫這一「點」,「點」的大小,在這個畫裡面要怎麼發揮作用的,你就要對結構很了解。
The vocabulary of music is melody, counterpoint, harmony, proportion, length, and strength. They could all be found in my painting. Arts are interrelated. For example, only the conductor would know the musical ensemble, the sounds of the string and wind instruments, their volumes, parts to stress in the music, etc. That is why the conductor must have a profound understanding of the music to perform well. Painting is the same. You must understand the structure to know when to paint a point, how large the point should be, and what it does in the painting.

Q:您通常畫一張作品,是怎麼開始的?
Q: How do you usually start a painting?

我平常會畫很多素????,都是隨便亂畫的,來找我的靈感,然後有好的形象我就留下來,反覆的修改,然後再比較一下,哪些有可能性,要畫大畫還是小畫,然後我就起一個大概的稿子,再看用什麼顏色,就是一個大概的樣子,再開始畫油畫。
I usually do a lot of random sketching to find my inspiration. Whenever I have a good image, I keep it and revise it repeatedly. Then, I compare these revisions to see which ones have more potentials and how large they should be. Afterwards, I would draw a rough sketch, decide on the colors, and start painting it in oil colors. It is generally like that.

Q:通常完成一件作品的時間?
Q: How long does it usually take to complete a painting?

不一定。有的幾個月,有的好幾年,我就放在哪邊,有靈感了我就把它畫完。藝術不 是 2+2=4,不是規律性的。我是看當時的情緒,繪畫的效果不能再增、不能再減了,就是畫完了,要看每張作品的狀況。
It depends. Some take months, and some years. I just leave the painting there, and finish it when I have an inspiration. Art is not a precise mathematical equation as in two plus two equals four, neither is regular. I would judge my feelings at that moment. If the effect of the painting could not be increased or decreased, it has reached its destination. Every painting depends on the situation of the time.

Q:作品中的線條表現,看似有一種手感的感覺?
Q: The lines in your painting seem to suggest a sense of hand-drawing?

對,因為我在畫的時候,會有輕重、有快慢,有著力道的使用,根據繪畫的需要去調整。
Yes, it is because when I am painting, the use of force creates light or heavy touches as well as fast or slow paces. It is adjusted according to what the painting requires.

Q:在您的作品中,「點」的意義?
Q: What does the points signify in your work?

「點」就是一個空間,一個符號。「點」本身就是意義,在空間佔據一個位置,使看他的人產生一個聯想,聯想一種玄妙的東西。有時候是很隨意的畫,最後再上那個點,這也有點中國的影響,就像是「畫龍點睛」、「萬綠叢中一點紅」。其實,就是給自己一塊空地去經營,比方說:我這裡要上個點,我這裡要打一口井,現在不需要打一口井來打水了,而是弄個水池來養魚,看安排在什麼位置。其實就是個生活的空間。我就是在這個空間,安排我的形、構成、符號、點,是一種精神的安排、生活的安排。這不是刻意的,而是一種隨性的安排,是一種「無目的的目的」,很講究「精神的密度」,就是畫的顏色、線條、構成很緊湊。不過,抽象最重要的還是強調一種「直覺式的美感」,就是直觀的感受。
A “point” is a space, a symbol. The “point” itself carries meanings and occupies a spot in the space, inducing an association in the mind of the viewer. Association is a very mysterious thing. Sometimes, I just paint spontaneously, and add the point at last. This also implies the Chinese influence. It is kind of like “the finishing touch” or “the single red flower in the green foliage.” Truth be told, it is simply giving yourself a blank space to work on. To give you an example, painting a point at this spot is like digging a well. Nowadays, people no longer need a well to get water. It might be like I dig a pond to keep fish. It all depends on where I want to place the pond. It is actually a living space, and I arrange my forms, compositions, symbols, and points in this space, a kind of spiritual arrangement, an arrangement of life. It is not done in a deliberate manner. It is rather a spontaneous arrangement, a “purposeless purpose.” It relies on the “spiritual density” that requires a compact unity of the colors, lines and compositions. However, the most essential thing in abstract painting is still the “intuitive sense of beauty,” meaning the intuitive perception.

Q:顏色的使用原則與概念?
Q: What are your principle and idea of using colors?

顏色上,我多半用對比色,有些顏色都是自己調出來的。同樣的顏色我會上很多次,就是「平塗」的技巧,這也是東方的方式。早期的作品顏色上的比較厚,感覺比較沈重。現在的顏色上的比較薄,比較輕快,比較明朗。我現在比較放鬆,心情要舒暢。色與色相互影響,跟你的個性有關係。我以前比較拘謹,我現在比較自由,有時候沒有那麼整齊,我也不講究,我講求的是一個整體效果。
I usually use contrasting colors. Some of them are mixed by myself. I would apply the same colors for many times, namely the technique of flat color application. This is also an Eastern method. My earlier works have thicker coloring, giving viewers a sense of heaviness. The coloring now is thinner, lighter and brighter. I am more relaxed now, always maintaining a calm and carefree mood. Colors influence each other. It has something to do with one’s personality. I used to be more rigid and uptight, but I am freer now. Sometimes I do not care about being really neat and tidy. I focus more on the ensemble effect.

Q:您的作品是一種點、線、面與色塊的構成,但是您的構成質地,卻是在理性中感覺到溫暖、趣味、與俏皮,有一種「感受性」或是看不見的東西在作品中發生,跟康丁斯基的絕對理性不太一樣,可否談談這個部分?
Q: Your work is composed of points, lines, planes and blocks of colors. However, the texture of the composition is as rational as it is warm, fun, and playful. There is a kind of “perception” or something invisible taking place in the work, which sets it apart from Kandinsky’s rationalism. Could you talk about this?

我的創作就是賦予想像的空間,一種在淺意識裡面的表現,很自然地釋放出來。我是專注在繪畫本質上的發展,就是藝術的本質,這也是人生的意義,我不只是看到畫本身,還看到動物、植物、礦物。只要有物,就有生命的存在,那是無限的。動物是不思維的,但是它就是一個生命存在,每個生命的解釋都不相同,這個就會談到整個宇宙。其實宇宙是看不見、摸不著的,是想像的。科學家的宇宙跟我們沒有關係,藝術家的宇宙是憑想像的。那我的作品就是不斷的在探索、發現、尋覓,帶點知性,有一點哲理,也有我自己的感受在其中。
Basically, my creation is to give imagination a space. It is a natural expression of the subconscious. I focus on developing the essence of painting, the essence of art to be exact. This is also the meaning of life. I do not simply see the painting itself but the animals, plants, and minerals. As long as there is material, there is life. It is infinite. Animals do not have thoughts, but they are living existences. Every life form has a different explanation, which leads to a discussion of the whole universe. Actually, you cannot see the universe; it is invisible, intangible, imaginary. We are not concerned with the universe of the scientists. Artists’ universe of is created out of imagination. My work is to continuously explore, discover, and search. It is a bit intellectual and philosophical, but it is also embedded with my feelings.

Q:作品元素有化繁為簡的趨勢?概念從何而來?
Q: Are the elements in your work becoming less complicated and simpler? What inspired you to move toward this direction?

這就像釀酒的過程,酒要經過過濾、醞釀、????煉,需要時間、空間與努力。不能太刻意的,也不能太認真的,因為這樣就死板了。也不能太隨意,就變成隨便。作品的造型、構成、意境,都在經意或不經意,隨性但不隨便的去嘗試、活用,就是要「畫活畫」、「活畫畫」、「畫畫活」。你看我的一些手稿,還有些形,但當時就有些幾何形象蘊含於其中。現在創作就是把很多元素都拿掉了,就是把最純粹的留著,只剩下畫面。
It is similar to the process of wine making. Wine needs to go through the filtering, fermenting, and refining procedures. It needs time, space, and human efforts. You cannot will it into the way you want, nor can you force it. Otherwise, you would kill it and make it stiff. You cannot be too casual because that would lack seriousness. The form, composition, artistic mood of the work all depend on a good balance between being deliberate and unintentional as well as experimenting and being creative in a spontaneous way that is not too casual. The point is to “paint lively paintings,” “paint paintings lively,” and “live as you paint.” When you looked at my sketches, you could still see some forms. There were already some geometric shapes in
them. When I paint now, I remove a lot of elements and only keep the purest ones, only the image.

Q:2010 年後的作品,跟過去有什麼差別?
Q: How are your works after 2010 different from the earlier works?

有一些轉變,以前的東西比較繁瑣,所以我覺得我現在的創作比較好,我淘汰了很多不必要的東西,作品比較單純。我以前的東西還不太穩定,還在探索,現在是在表現。以前的自己不太強,現在的作品比較有我自己的風格。過去就會馬馬虎虎,多一點少一點無所謂。所以,以前的畫,多一點少一點也沒什麼關係。我現在的畫,多一點少一點馬上就可以看出來了,因為現在的作品比較單純、比較緊湊、比較內斂、比較有自己。
There are some differences. My early works are more complicated and elaborate, so I actually consider my present works better. After eliminating a lot of unnecessary things, they have become simpler. My old works were inconsistent as I was still experimenting. Now I am expressing. My works in the past were weaker, but my works now have my own style. In the past, I was careless and I did not care if a point was added or not. Therefore, it would not matter if one point was to be added or removed from my earlier works. However, you could immediately tell if one point is added or taken out in my works now because they are simpler, more compact, reserved and characteristic of my style.

現在我也認為肌理不是特別重要。就像蓋房子,以前我會去注意瓷磚、小的地方,現在我不注意了,我會注意更大的環節、更多的空間,這樣就夠了,其他的也不是說多餘,只是我沒有那個必要去強調細微。這跟你們女人穿衣服一樣,你喜歡那些花紋,喜歡設計,有些人就只要是色彩喜歡,穿在身上相配,不會重視過多的花紋、細節。所以我的肌理就是儘量「減」,有時候還會有些「偶然的趣味」。
I do not consider texture very important now. Like building a house, I used to pay attention to small things, like tiles. Now I do not do that anymore. I focus on bigger things and space. That is enough. The rest is not redundant, though. I just do not feel necessary to emphasize on the details. It is similar to women picking clothes. You like those patterns and designs, and some people just like the colors and how they match on them without paying more attention to patterns and details. So, I try my best to reduce the texture, and I might have some “occasional fun” sometimes.

Q:創作六十多年,您所一直堅持的創作本質?
Q: In your artistic career that is over six decades, what is the essence of artistic creation you have been insisting on?

我是想單純。單純不是簡單,所謂的單純就像喝個好酒,在精不在多。以後,我可能會畫類似的畫,但是不是抄人家的,而是抄我自己的,就是稍微改變一下,看起來更舒暢。我在作畫是考量「整體性」的,甚至於整體以外,就是突破畫面的空間,聯繫到想像的空間,每一 件作品就是一個世界。在國外有的美術館,一面牆上就只放一件作品,一件作品就是一個世界。
I want to be simple, which is different from being simplistic. My so-called simple is similar to drinking good wine, in which the quality outweighs the quantity. Later, I might paint similar paintings, but instead of imitating other artists, I imitate myself with slight variations to make them look more smooth. When I paint, I think about the entirety and even things outside the entirety of the painting, breaking the space of the image and connecting to the imaginative space. Each painting is like a world in its own. In some foreign museums, they might put only one work on a single wall, and that work itself manifests a single universe.

不管活到幾歲,我的心地都很年輕,這也是我受到西方大師的影響,我看馬蒂斯、畢卡索、米羅,這幾個都是長壽的,他們的作品越到晚年越明朗,越近乎兒童,而且沒有包袱,非常直率、非常開朗、非常明亮。我喜歡痛快淋漓、乾乾淨淨的。但是現在社會沒有那麼單純,很複雜,比方生活中的應酬、婚喪喜慶、逢年過節,節目很多,都是包袱。現在我就順其自然,不把這個事情看得特別嚴重,才能專心在我自己的研究。
No matter how old I get, my mind remains young. This is also influenced by the Western masters. When I look at Matisse, Picasso, and Miró, they all lived a long life; their works became brighter and lighter in their silver years, which reminded me of children’s drawing. They painted without any burden, very candid, broad-minded, and bright. I like being straightforward and uninhibited as well as clear and clean. However, our society today is not that simple but rather complicated. Things like weddings, funerals, festivals and holidays are all burdening tasks. I only go with the flow now without taking these things too seriously. Only in this way could I concentrate on my own study.

但是,創作不能順其自然,創作要嚴謹,且求隨緣、隨性,但不是隨便,這種也不是隨隨便便就來的,我平常看的畫展、聽的音樂,我就會吸收,適合自己的東西,然後變成自己的創作。這就很像畢卡索,他在吃飯的時候,看到魚骨頭,他覺得很美,就把它拿去燒了(拓印),變成自己的創作,這就是手段。手段跟目的不同。我畫畫不是重視目的,但是手段很重要。我的創作是有想法,有一個方向,但是沒有準確的目的。我就是照想法去研究,也不會不擇手段,而是有選擇性的,來發展我創作的運行,所以我的畫畫不會預計一個結果。
Nevertheless, artistic creation cannot go with the flow. It has to be exact. On top of that, it needs to be natural and spontaneous without being too casual. You cannot obtain this easily and freely. When I go to art exhibitions and listen to music, I absorb and learn things that suit me. Then, I turn them into my own creation. This reminds me of Picasso. When he was eating, he saw a fish bone that was beautiful to him. So, he burned it (rubbing) and turned it into his own work. This is a mean. It differs from a purpose. I paint without paying much attention to purposes, but means are very important. My artistic creation has an idea and a direction, but it does not have a precise purpose. I simply follow an idea and continue this study. Yet, I do not use whatever means possible, but choose suitable ones to develop my work. Therefore, my painting does not project a possible outcome.

Q:創作生涯中,有沒有遇到瓶頸?如何突破?現階段的創作狀態與心境?
Q: Have you ever had any barriers in making art? How did you break through them? What is the current state of your artistic career and your state of mind in art making?

有的,我畫不出來就先放在哪裡,先不看,我就聽音樂、看電影,有靈感我就再畫。有時候過幾個月再拿出來看,就這樣改一下就好了,但是我那個時候就想不出來。所以藝術不能勉強。
The answer would be positive. When I do not feel inspired, I just leave the painting as it is and stop looking at it. I listen to music, watch movies, and paint again when I feel inspired. Sometimes, when I look at a painting after a few months, I could complete it with just a few small revisions, which I could not think of previously. So, you cannot force it in art.

我覺得現在就是我的高峰,最近兩三年。我現在的創作很平靜,是一個心境。現在有小萬 (霍剛妻子)幫忙我,就可以專心畫畫。
I would say that the present stage, the recent two or three years, is the height of my career. My artistic creation is very peaceful now. It reflects my state of mind. Now that I have Xiao Wan (Ho’s wife) helping me in life, I could concentrate on painting.