I have used stamps to express my personal concepts of non-traditional painting since the 1980s. First, this concept is a reactionary of abstract expressionism. In some ways, the properties, which show the aesthetic manifestations brought by the emotional expressions of a painter’s physical emotions, of abstract expressionism paintings are close to the traditional paintings’. However, with the great changes in human production patterns, we will face cultural production as Benjamin also describes “Being replaced with the mass mechanical reproduction of aesthetic ideology exhibits the industrial society’s replication value of a single substance.” However, even if I use plural forms to stamp on works, I still retain the rationality, order, latitude and longitude, and other common elements and forms possessed by the cold abstract of modern paintings. Thus, my works will often make people feel minimal and recognize the importance of concept application in modernism works. Not only do stamps present dialectics between forms and concepts, in my one square centimeter stamping works, they also embody another aspect that transcends modern Western formalism. We all know that the West’s conscious application of forms of rubbing in aesthetic categories started with surrealism’s decalcomania in the twentieth century. In surreal paintings, decalcomania makes a breakthrough of the consciousness, fun, and intended implications that the traditional hand-drawn process cannot make. In the East, not for solving the problems of painting techniques, it just gradually heads towards aesthetic categories from a social standpoint. Our development from stamps to seals happened around the Warring States period. At first, seals were recognized as a credible mark of an individual. Later, they were brought into studies and became an organic component of calligraphy and paintings, eventually developing into a mature aesthetic form by the Song and Yuan Dynasties.
From the form of the one square centimeter stamping painting, it seems to be a minimalistic style in Western Modernist context. However, regarding connotation, it is a work that harbors Eastern meaning. The East and West characters are represented in the work form and the continuous stamping process in creating, respectively (like chanting or spiritual practice). When one stamp falls among the latitude and longitude grid, I view the canvas as the space for painting history. “Seal (章)” represents my own identity. It is the identity of the Eastern artists. At the same time, it manifests that I am not a traditional painter. The canvas used as the space for painting history, I view the process of facing the canvas as thinking and concepts constructing. Thus, branches, aluminum sticks, Ma Yuan at A Corner, Genghis Khan on the Prairie, and other classical aesthetic dialogue have appeared in my works in recent years. Sparkling Confrontation and Golden Reflection are both influenced by aesthetics of modern technology integrated with digital electronics and computer error codes. This open nature also enables my own works to escape from the shackles of modernism to avoid being trapped in the stereotypes of formalism. In the repeated actions of stamping over the years, I seem to have evolved from a “reciter” to an “interpreter”. Like the stamping actions in the early periods, the “modernist period” is a necessary practice of entering classics. In recent years, the same action (enters postmodernism), yet unconsciously moves towards a new realm that understands and interprets classics. However, there is a cultural situation that cannot be changed. It is manifested in the way that the West uses personal signatures as cultural certification. The East utilizes the method of stamping to present individual performance within collective cultural consciousness. Therefore, we can better understand how stamping occupies such an important position in Eastern culture and aesthetics.
(Consolidated by CHU, WEN-HAI)