日期：2019-10-05 ~ 2019-11-17
― 用雕刻刀揮灑詩篇的木雕家 ―
1951年深井隆出生於群馬縣高崎市，東京藝術大學雕刻科碩班畢業後留校任教直至退休，現任該校榮譽教授，可以說是日本雕塑學院派的代表人物，雖然他的年輕時期面對的是極限主義當道的世界潮流，也曾經嘗試著去創作像極限主義的作品，卻很早的發現那不會是他的路線，一直到受到英國巴里．弗拉納根（Barry Flanagan, 1941 ~2009）、東尼‧克雷格（Tony Cragg, 1949~）、安東尼‧葛姆雷（Antony Gormley, 1950~）等人的影響，他們的創作既不屬於任何派別，又能自由地發揮具有自己的個人特色。這種創作存在的可能性讓他的創作能夠穩定的持續發展。英國皇家藝術學院的研習期間，他有了重新省思自我的機會，以日本精神文化為基盤，西方造形為架構，成就了深井的作品，也是具有不附屬於任何派別，但又具有識別性，對藝術家而言何嘗不是一種理想的狀態。
「いつもと変わらぬ今日 / 今天還是一如往日
いつもと変わらぬだろう明日 / 明天也會如往昔一樣沒變吧
あるとき / 有時候
そよめく風に、直降する陽光の中に / 在微風中，在直射的陽光裡
いろいろな幻想が顔を出し / 種種的幻想顯現在臉上
自己の内部に変容した日常を発見する / 發現自己內在變遷的日常
一時の流れの中に永遠性を求めようとする刹那 / 片段的時間流之中追尋永恆的剎那
そこに在る日常は何を語りかけてくれるのだろう… / 在那裏的日常或許會對我們訴說著什麼吧…」
Poetic and Philosophical Sculpture – Takashi Fukai Exhibition
– A woodcarver crafts poems with carving knives –
During a visit at the Department of Sculpture, National Taiwan University of Arts several years ago, Mr. Takashi Fukai brought along a dark green cloth hardcover of collected poems, Sheep’s Hands: CHRONICLE. Upon receiving the book, I was overwhelmed with admiration for the artist who also writes poems or literary pieces. I did not know until later, when opening it, that I found it to be a chronicle of his works. The forms of his wood sculptures amazed me with a literary quality. They were marvelous pieces of modern poetry, or thought-provoking philosophical essays, despite the fact that there were indeed a short poem and three pieces of prose in the book that seemed to complement his sculptures.
In 1951, Fukai was born in Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture. Before retirement, he had been teaching at the Department of Sculpture, Tokyo University of the Arts ever since graduating from its master’s program. Now as emeritus professor at the university, he can be said to be a representative figure in the Japanese world of sculpture marked by his professional training background. Born into an era when minimalism dominated the world, he had made a few minimalist attempts but realized that it was not his thing at an early age. The works of Barry Flanagan (1941-2009), Tony Cragg (1949- ), Antony Gormley (1950- ) and other British artists exerted an enormous impact on him. They do not fall into any school, and are characterized by a uniquely free, personal style. This artistic possibility inspired him to create on a continuous basis. Further studies at the Royal College of Art, UK, gave him the chance to rethink himself. Fukai pursued art with Japanese spirit and culture as a foundation, and Western form as a structure. Isn’t it, in some ways, ideal for an artist whose works are not attached to any school yet highly distinguishable?
One of the series on display at the exhibition, “Dissipating Thoughts” comprises nine works, with Dissipating Thoughts – Quintet newly created for this solo exhibition. This marks one of the most representative series in his artistic career so far. Five of them are about horses: flying winged horses, or those with four legs locked to the ground, yet stretching upwards to their fullest. While remaining static, there is a sense of dynamic force lying behind them. There are also house-shaped works, two made of wood and two of stone. The simple houses are accompanied by narrow courtyards, and the fact that they are named “Sojourn” reveals Fukai’s or Japanese’ longing and expectation for “home,” or a place to sojourn. Furthermore, Spring – Blue Sky is a vessel-shaped marble sculpture with flying wings at the mouth that unveils physical and spiritual meanings. There are also two prints and pastel paintings in which main characters have silently become frozen somewhere in space where Fukai’s vertical and horizontal times converge and evolve.
Fukai’s wood sculptures are hard to categorize. He has been creating chair-shaped camphor wood sculptures from early on all the way through his career. Apart from sofas, apples, books and wings, new subjects ranging from horses, houses, cylinders, cones, vessels to bouquets have gradually been incorporated into his repertoire. His artworks demonstrate great craftsmanship, with the form expressed minimally yet powerfully. The sculpter always seems aware of the spaces around the artworks so that his exhibition areas are ethereal to the extent of being almost mysophobic. Or perhaps it is a result of Japanese Zen thinking, as well as Fukai’s early minimalist aspirations.
As to the relationship between the self and artistic philosophy in Fukai’s practice of wood carving, the Japanese sculpture critic Tadayasu Sakai said in a review, “It is a kind of physical transformation to escape from the shackles of wood as a material in response to other materials, but I would like to call it translation.... Why? To the poet, it is like the mother tongue in that we sometimes get neurotic about the language. Your [Fukai’s] persistence in wood sculptures and technical virtuosity with the material cannot be overemphasized. The spirituality evoked by the nature of wood, too, cannot be overlooked.” As he said, Fukai’s items are obviously permeated with a strong aura or spirituality. This attribute is more or less shared by all sculptures, but manifested most strongly in his works.
I would call Fukai’s works sculptures made of wood as material, rather than wood sculptures. A quintessential part of his art pieces, the wood material is either waxed to bring out its natural wood color, or be covered with gold foil, silver foil, copper foil in copper green or others probably to tone down the strength of the wood material. Both these aim to strike an ideal balance between the material and artwork.
Time and space
Despite the fact that dynamic subjects such as the wings and horses are explored in his works of art, a static ambience can be found in his exhibition venues. There is a clear concept of time in his pieces: The horizontal time calculated by minutes and seconds flows into our daily surroundings, while the vertical time runs into the past and future. His works appear to be perching on a fixed interface at the intersection of horizontal and vertical times. Or we might say that Fukai’s sculptures should be appreciated along with the space around them. At a closer look, you will be impressed by the stunning ingenuity of his carving skills and the beauty of the material itself. Human existence is underscored with human absence in the whole exhibition area, if viewed from some distance. It seems like there is the concept of a “door” within the space, where metaphorical flowing and interweaving of both the horizontal and vertical times exist between the present and future. The now is merely a fleeting moment of our existence.
Another contribution Fukai has made as a teacher is that he has trained a great number of remarkable sculptors, including Koji Tanada, Shinichi Hara, Yoshimasa Tsuchiya, etc., all influential figures in the contemporary world of art in Japan. In addition to his retirement exhibition, meanwhile there was a joint exhibition of Fukai and his students hosted at the University Art Museum of Tokyo University of the Arts. While the students’ works were mostly created out of wood, there were still some pieces made of other materials, and even crossover image creations. Above all, none of them showed any hint of influence from him in terms of form. Perhaps it was because of the personality traits of Fukai, a professor with such a prestigious status, that his artistic styles did not creep into his students’ artworks.
I would like to end with a short poem by Fukai that had been printed on the flyer of his solo exhibition in 1979.
“いつもと変わらぬ今日 / “Today is like any other day,
いつもと変わらぬだろう明日 / So I guess tomorrow will stay the same, too?
あるとき / Sometimes,
そよめく風に、直降する陽光の中に / In the breeze, under the direct sunlight,
いろいろな幻想が顔を出し / Numerous fantasies play on the face.
自己の内部に変容した日常を発見する / I find my inner self changing with each day,
一時の流れの中に永遠性を求めようとする刹那 / Searching for a moment of eternity within fragmented flows of time.
そこに在る日常は何を語りかけてくれるのだろう… / The daily life there might probably whisper something in our ears.”
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