西方的現代美學肇端於鮑姆嘉通（A. G. Baumgarten，1714-1762 ），然而系統性的學說卻是在哲學家康德(Immanuel Kant, 1724~1804)那裡完成。康德的美學理論圍繞著天才特有的品味，而絕美作品的創作形式正是天才生而有之的先天（先驗）能力，從而我們可以說：這是一種上帝的創作觀。然而，與西方不同的是中國的天人合一思想，使得藝術的創作生成不會著眼於藝術家自我主體上的品味與造型能力，而是將自我融攝於萬物自然的道體當中，這個形而上的道體從而根本上決定了他們看待世界以及審美的方式，這個審美的道體在日本是‘物哀’與‘幽玄’ （註一），在中國便是‘易經’所衍生下的天人合一暨其流瀉於生命的遭遇與可能的宿命。然而，我們會去質疑：藝術不就是藝術作品本身，何以需要那些旁枝末節的生命宇宙觀來干擾我們對於純然的藝術之認識？事實上，這是一個藝術起源的問題（所有的東方藝術至今仍然是處在這種起源的脈絡上）而不是那種十八世紀以來由觀念論（Idealism）而起的純藝術（Fine Art）問題。近現代以來的藝術發展，基本上是奠基於康德而起的觀念論，儘管這樣的美學觀也產生了以表現人類生存逆境之美的浪漫派(Romanticism)，但是它的根基（道體）仍然是處於內在精神層次而不是與自然世界共融的生存模式。因此康德以來精神的形式化直到現代主義的‘形式即精神’創作觀，從本質上來說仍是以天才品味為主的上帝創作觀，至於二次戰後的新表現主義，才能見到其返回生存脈絡。
對於藝術的起源方式在上一個世紀初，曾經在人類學的領域中引起了廣大的流行性探討。其中的巫術起源說，直到了今天依然是一個處於藝術範疇內值得深思的學說。若是我們能夠理解弗雷澤（James George Frazer）在《金枝》（The Golden Bough）一書，以及愛德華．泰勒(Edward Tylor)在他的著作《原始文化》(Primitive Culture: Researches into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art, and Custom.)一書，對於萬靈論的想像力來源是立基於非審美動機的現實緊迫性，那麼將會助於去理解莊普《巨蛋外的噴泉》作品中，《易經》象徵的天人合一，事實上是被生命處境的現實性與緊迫性所圍繞。莊普好奇於春秋末年魯班尺（約公元前四百多年前）所具的“數”竟然主宰著中國人在實用以及美感上的雙重特徵。如同人類學研究古代氏族圖騰代表的福祉和禁忌，魯班尺當中的“數”是能丈量人生的生、老、病、死等吉厄，它成功的建造了當時的皇宮、傢俱，至今仍是華人區域普遍使用的建造工具，《巨蛋外的噴泉》是用魯班尺上的各個不同吉祥的刻度，去製作了似八卦的底座及似噴出的每條水柱，以表達現在及未來仍使用有歷史有文化的尺寸可以帶來 平安、財富、健康及幸福的可能性。我們可以觀察到莊普在此作品中所採用的思維方式，與原始民族在對於現實世界混入萬物有靈的表象類同，而與赫伯特．里德（Herbert Read）所說的“泛靈主義藝術”思維極為近似，這在原始時代是被表現為“將精靈崇拜的恐懼意識，朝向將看不見世界的力量與現實世界的對等替換。”但是在莊普的《巨蛋外的噴泉》作品卻與原始藝術有著文化上的些許差異而被表現於：在一方面是由於人類文明造成的意義平面化過程；而在另一方面則是中國人對於天人合一的理解方式，始終是處於一種樂觀積極的態度。上述這兩種文明過程和文化差異，使得創作者對於此件作品的過程與外界發生的現象產生想像性的連結（樂觀的想像），他說：台北大巨蛋的過程如此的坎坷，而此作品製作期間卻恰巧是遠雄與台北市政府達成共識，因此我將它命名為《巨蛋外的噴泉》。如果大巨蛋能夠按照魯班尺去丈量設計，那麼就不會如同現在那麼坎坷。儘管這樣的說法看似無稽或是一廂情願，但是我們還是得進一步地看待藝術創作脈絡時，關於藝術的想像性思考不同於我們的日常邏輯性。因為啟動泛靈論的動因是涉及到一個二元世界，一個靈與肉相互關聯的世界，存在觀象背後是神秘的力量，這種力量只有通過 “想象性感知”（conceived imaginatively）才能被看見。因此，我們也可以理解為何莊普並不竭力表現任何現實和任何存在，而是竭力跨越現實，達到超然存在。那麼，莊普如何表現這種超然存在呢？他只能通過對現實進行抽象，只能通過尋求一種基本結構和物體的骨幹才能表現超然存在，他藉由魯班尺拉伸去描繪噴泉，並停格於最吉利的數字中去想像精神與現實的結合，他相信如此的結合將會使得每一滴噴出的水都會是甘泉。（圖三）
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)
The earliest human paintings were cave paintings that recorded things in life. However, they were able to make a breakthrough to objectively record nature, constituting painting as human creativity, which is shown in the consecutive double-square or four-square in original ethnic containers. Those patterns manifest that creativity is continuous “rhythm” and “vitality.” Its existence was positioned by anthropologists as a cultural phenomenon under the “universal animism” system of a theological nature. However, the major accomplishments obtained by the concept of painting in modern times is humans breaking away from the gods and using themselves as aesthetic criteria to create the concept of “art.” These formed paintings were used to express the creative mode of human emotion. This emotion is the source of aesthetics. At the same time, it is also the foundation of using emotions for learning and tasting, thereby creating the concept that painting is art.
For a long time, paintings were often used as a starting point for our observation of “beauty.” Learning painting is practically cultivating taste constructing, or forming the ability to beauty appreciating. In fact, the constructing of “taste” was influenced by the reproduction process of nature. That is manifested in the expression that beauty is the “reproduction of nature.” However, the development of the concept of art eventually went through a change of perspective due to human technology. This is presented in the way that cubism is expressed in art, tossing aside taste (the problem of beauty or ugliness) to seek “truth.” We must seriously take a look at cubism to make a breakthrough of picture frames which hold the thoughts of a virtual vanishing point and virtual three-dimensional space. Its meaning is closer to the truth of the matter and more accurately views our observations as actually being a live observation process. It is not seen as an alleged viewing method for traditional “beauty.” The discovery of photography and printing technology gradually destroyed the authenticity of the painting’s “aura,” and shook up the narrative structure formed by traditional painting. After successive waves of attacks, a trend of painting giving way to photography, composite media art, and art installations was already becoming commonplace. Yet, the self-proclaimed avant-garde still appeared to move towards the declaration that “painting is dead.”
“Is painting dead?” This is the artistic question that I have been pondering over the recent years. Of course, thinking like this, apart from the reluctance to depart as a creator from “painting” as a study process in the exploration of the self, this declaration of “painting is dead,” has seemed to also stir up my sense of responsibility within “painting.” Perhaps the existence of painting, as others have said, “seems to have entered the Forbidden City.” However, when faced with human “emotions,” painting has many qualities that other art cannot replace. So when conceptual art uses the form to reflect my own attitude towards art, perhaps they neglected that the origin of art stemmed from the inherent characteristics of life. This kind of palpitating is related to “emotion,” “temperature,” and the “actual functions of the body.” Of course, my concern is not purely returning to the original position of painting, but what direction painting should take in the future! As to this direction, I believe that the temperature of “painting” is a key concept. Even if minimalism wishes to lower the temperature, they cannot go without temperature and lower it to zero. This process illustrates that “painting” should be viewed as a subject. “Concept” should not be viewed as a subject. This is the direction painting should take.
(Organized by CHU, WEN-HAI)