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  • Maria Dolfini

An interview with Zhang Chong

Updated: Jan 5

張翀進駐《歸去來兮》藝術家訪談

Artist Leading the Way | Taipei Artist Village: Exclusive Interviews with Artists-In-Residence

This interview was carried out by Maria Dolfini (M)and Chung Ying Ying (Y) in conversation with the artist Zhang Chong (Z)


Scroll down for the Chinese version.

Zhang Chong, Fire of Rebirth, 2019. Courtesy of Taipei Artist Village.

M+Y:Why did you choose the air raid shelter of Treasure Hill Art Village as exhibition space? This is a particular space to display your artworks and it is inextricable from the history of Treasure Hill.

Z: I tend to like places with a story, but since in Treasure Hill each space has its own history, meaning and value, I decided to give the choice to destiny and let other artists choose their exhibition space first. Although there are many restrictions in this room – it is rather warm and humid, there is no natural lightning and I couldn’t drill holes for safety reasons-, it is very charming: the space is a work of art itself! I mostly focused on its history, the architectural structure, the lighting, terrain and also considered the artists who created art here before. These factors helped me to determine whether this space could convey the theme of my work; it also affected the choice of materials.


M+Y:You thoroughly researched the history of Taipei and Treasure Hill. How did its history of change and relocation have an impact on you work? What does change represent to you and why is it important?

Z:Researching historical materials, I knew that Treasure Hill had experienced a period of prosperity and then the period of Japanese occupation. Subsequently, it underwent military control and the risk of demolition, which was eventually avoided thanks to active protests. Up to today, Treasure Hill Artist Village has witnessed many developments through Taiwanese history. So yes, relocation was a theme that emerged at that time. While change is a theme I have always liked to research and convey.

After taking relocation as the main theme, I found online an eighty-year-old ice shop in Taipei Xinfu market; this shop also underwent a period of rise, decline and relocation, just like Treasure Hill. Since the invention of refrigerators, the ice business is declining and new industries are now dismissing the old to bring forth the new. I decided to go to this ice shop as soon as I arrived in Taipei. So my exhibition started with ice and ended with fire..

Eventually, I found an ice shop near Treasure Hill, the owner helped me to bring four blocks of ice to the exhibition every morning. When the ice melt in the exhibition hall, it transformed into water and seeped into the ground, nourishing the plants of Treasure Hill and refreshing the air in the air-raid shelter. I also hope that the audience can value the important contribution of these old business which will slowly disappear under the pressure of modernisation.

Zhang Chong, Vanishing Ice, 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

M+Y: Going back to the title of your exhibition, 「Returning Home」歸去來兮is the title of a famous poem by Tao Yuanming – also known as Tao Qian –, one of the greatest Chinese poets of the Six Dynasties. Tao decided to withdraw from public office in order to live in seclusion surrounded by nature; many of his poems represent familiar and intimate rustic scenes, thus they are categorised as ‘pastoral poetry’. What did you wish to highlight by recalling his poem?

Z:I think everyone sees different aspects, just like a person could have many different faces.So I don’t wish to emphasise my works in any particular way because you can never define an artwork nor a person simply.

The title「Returning Home」歸去來兮conveys a sense of change. Everything transforms: not only material objects, but also events and states of mind, beauty and ugliness, good and bad. In this sense, I don’t think the Buddhist concept of samsara merely refer to the cycle of life, death and reincarnation. In fact, every aspect of human life unfolds in samsara.So, although ‘來兮’ in the title is often interpreted as as modal particle in Chinese, I think Tao Yuanming used it to express not only the real physical place of his homeland, but more importantly the dream of a ‘Pure Land’. Tao understood the cycle of samsara and saw part of the truth behind it. So Tao decided to return to the idyllic pastoral life and yearned for a mental state of seclusion from society and politics, one which he masterfully expressed in the famous story The 'Peach Blossom Spring': “The villagers asked what era it currently was. It turned out they hadn’t even heard of the Han, let alone the Wei or the Jin (Dynasties)”. So the purpose of returning to the countryside is to imitate this mental state, by withdrawing from public office. This is a similar condition to the Buddhist desire to break away from samsara. Ultimately, it's the spirit, not the body, that detaches from samsara, so the one whose spirit has been liberated doesn't care where he goes or where he returns to. When a person gets the feeling of return, he is already in samsara.

On another point of view, it is also true that transmigration - that is falling into the cycle of samsara- is the necessary premise for eventually releasing from samsara itself and obtaining enlightenment. Only this cycle of birth, death and reincarnation can temper and discipline humans, make us aware of different phenomena, and discover the truth. The name of Buddha means Great Wisdom, that is, he who is able to see the Truth. Only those who achieve the Truth can break from the vicissitudes of samsara. Thus in order to detach ourselves from samsara, we need to experience and recognise it. Only after picking it up, one can truly let it go.


M+Y:In one installation of the exhibition, the flowers are burnt and made into charcoal sculptures; can you tell us about the materials and process of this artwork? How do flowers relate to Buddhism and life in Treasure Hill temple? Moreover, how does Buddhism reflect your thoughts about separation and return?

Z:As I mentioned before, this exhibition started in ice and ended in fire. Whether in praying the gods, celebrating festivities, or in mourning ancestors, worshippers use fire. In Buddhism and Taoism - which are often interchangeable in Taiwan -, burning is a way of communicating with the ancestors and their spirits, or with the gods. There is also the saying: “Nirvana is Fire”. So drawing from the practice of “presenting Buddha with flowers”, which is also the original spirit of Ikebana, I put flowers into fire and refined them into fragile charcoal sculptures. In the exhibition I displayed the flowers in the form of Ikebana flower arrangement, also made of charcoal. When withered, the flowers turn into eternity. However the extremely fragile nature of the charcoal-flowers adds another layer of impermanence and perishability of life, including rebirth.

Courtesy of the artist.

Zhang Chong, Fire of Rebirth, 2019. Courtesy of Taipei Artist Village.

M+Y:In 2017 you had an exhibition titled 「Glacier」, which drew from the Jewish Tree of Life, as well as including materials from the Bible and astrophysic arguments on the opposition between science and religion. The artworks you produce seem to reveal some subtle hints of faith, often in relation to issues of separation, life and death. Is religion often a main topic in your oeuvre? In short, what is your personal take on the relationship between humans, gods and art?

Z: Although I often use the concept of religion in my practice, I do not believe in any religion. I use some of its elements to reflect on our reality. If I believed in any religion, I would be immediately tied to a certain dogma, and that wouldn’t allow me to create art freely.

At the time of the exhibition「Glacier」I was still studying in Germany, and I had not yet found my own style of creating. But this show was a turning point for my practice because I started being interested in contrasts and using religious elements to metaphorically address reality.

The relationship between man, gods and art is a very broad question. Art originates from religion, so art is inseparable from the religious discourse. Religion is also linked to political and social sciences, which further complicates the field. I am mostly interested in the sense of ritual, which is an eternal question in art and can unfold in important poetic and aesthetic expressions. But we need to look at it dialectically. Man creates a sense of ritual to formulate standard rules for worshipping the gods, and get the feeling of approaching the sublime by following these precepts. For example, they set times and rites to offer sacrifice. The same is true in art.

Artists also create a sense of ritual around their oeuvre, which makes them more poetic and, to a certain degree, shocking. Good works always have a sense of ritual: whether Matthew Barney’s video art, Gregor Schneider’s room, or Marina Abramovic’s separation from her partner during a ceremonial performance on the Great Wall. Thus, the ritualistic practice does not only consist in the details of the work, but the ritual also implies the accurate control of the spatial position of each artwork, the precision of the images and the concept, the fragile balance between the logical and illogical narrative within the artwork, and the inseparable conversation between humans’ spiritual essence and ceremonies. These elements are all necessary to convey a sense of ritual and to transport the audience into the art. But what is most easily overlooked is the spiritual essence behind the ritual. Only if we are able to condemn ceremonies without spiritual essence, we can get closer to a real sense of ritual. Some ceremonies bring artistic sublime and poetic significance, but it does not mean that we can achieve artistic sublime by imitating those ceremonies. We should find the forms able to convey our spirituality in art and express a sense of ritual with genuine spiritual essence.


M+Y: In the present exhibition, the installations ‘Ice of Disappearance’ and ‘Fire of Rebirth’ strongly visualise your thoughts in relation to parting and returning with the use of two opposing natural elements: ice and fire. Why did you choose these elements? Can you discuss your statement: “Parting can be seen as an end or a new beginning. It could be a sense of sorrow or a passion for freedom. Parting is ice as well as fire”.

Z: First of all, I like to bring forth opposition. When I decided to use ice, I naturally associated it with fire. As I mentioned before, this exhibition started with ice and ended with fire.

In regards to parting, although the whole exhibition seemingly talks about disappearance and separation, I actually wish to emphasise the residual warmth of meeting before parting, as well as the changes after, and perhaps those unsaid expectations and confusions during encounters. Because there are countless encounters and departures, the “Here” is very valuable. “Here” is the harbour of freedom, the pursuit of dreams, and a journey in life.

We obviously have various reasons to face parting. So leaving is not only a kind of affection, but also a determination or a form of goodbye to the past and a new beginning. In the same way, Tao Yuanming said goodbye to his disappointing public office career, returned to the fields and wrote pastoral poetry. Separation may also be the boundary between life and death, for example, when facing the death of a loved one. So parting can be warm and can be cold.



Zhang Chong, Fire of Rebirth, 2019. Courtesy of Taipei Artist Village.

M+Y:At the exhibition opening, you also held a separate ceremony: after keeping two parrots for ten days in your studio, you gave them the choice to leave and return back to nature. They eventually chose not to leave, what does this choice mean to you?

Z: There were many complications in this ceremony! At the beginning, I made clear that the project was not about releasing captive animals, but about giving them a choice. There is a video in my exhibition about a man releasing a fish into the water; however, in the end, the fish gradually decomposed. Although it is rather ironic, this is also a theme related to separation and disappearance. Release is also a Buddhist concept, but there are two sides of the coin: release is a form of respect, but on the other hand, unreasonable release is also an act of destroying the equilibrium of the environment. The double-faced character of this act has definitely unfolded in my performance. I was trying to express the contradiction of this act.

During the exhibition, a person in the audience raised strong objection towards my intention of releasing the parrots. They believed that Xuanfeng parrots can only survive as human pets and would never be able to resist in the natural environment. Xuanfeng parrots are actually wild birds native to Australia. The viewer not only denied that each parrot has a different personality and capability of survival, but also opposed their freedom of choice. However, after living with them for several days, we built an emotional connection and I was also reluctant to let them face the cruel natural environment, questioning my decision and postponing the act. Anyway, I have eventually opened the cage to give them the choice to fly away but they decided to stay. So I eventually decided to help them to find a good host and wrote a letter to their new owner in a parrot perspective, explaining all those things.

Courtesy of the artist.

M+Y: Besides the installations in the air raid shelter and the ceremony with the parrots, you also held an interactive workshop titled 「Parting」, where the audience was invited to choose a custom song and create their own punch card to be played into a music box. As soon as the machine played the symphony, those cards automatically shred; thus addressing the themes of vanishing and separation again. I admire the way you use multiple materials to explore one broad and fluid topic diversely, it is just like reciting a poem in different languages! In this sense, it seems to me that 「parting」is about separation as much as interaction. In fact, in your work you address interaction between humans, the relationship between humans and animals, humans and nature, religion etcetera. Thus, I would like to ask you if the interaction between materials is another way to express your interest in interaction/separation? What do these interactions leave behind?

Z:Yes, there are continuous conversations between different materials. Making installation with various materials can be seen like making a puzzle. Every material is a piece of the puzzle, so what an artist has to do is to give each material an irreplaceable position and value it. Different materials have different meanings. For example, iron can be divided into wrought and pig iron. Wrought iron is softer, easy to deform but hard to break, while pig iron is more solid, but easier to break. Each material has its own characteristics and conveys a specific feeling, so only those who really understand the material they are working with can handle very skilfully their creations.

I happen to come across new materials every time I prepare a new exhibition. Normally I don’t like to replace a material with another in order to imitate the texture of a material. For this exhibition, for example, I chose not to spray black paint on the dry flowers - even if it would have been much easier -, but I preferred going through the difficult process of burning the real flowers and turn them into charcoal. I deeply feel that every material is irreplaceable, so the reflective surface, texture, fragility and colour transition at different temperatures of charcoal simply cannot be conveyed with spray paint. I think this is also a form of artistic integrity.


M+Y:Last question, what are your future plans? Are you interested in continuing to research the theme of 「Parting」and its implications?

Z:I hope I can preserve the personality of what I like to explore and keep exhibiting contradictions and new changes. The concept of ‘parting’ will gradually penetrate into my practice; in fact, I believe that every important insight is accompanied by departure. Individuals also need to constantly bid farewell to their former selves in order to move forward.

Courtesy of the artist.

張翀進駐《歸去來兮》藝術家訪談


藝術家帶路 | 台北國際藝術村: 駐地藝術家專訪

訪談人:Maria Dolfini(以下簡稱M)、鍾盈盈(以下簡稱Y)

藝術家:張翀(以下簡稱Z)


M+Y: 為什麼你選擇寶藏巖藝術村的防空洞作為你的展覽空間?這空間不僅特別,而且與寶藏巖的歷史其實是密不可分的,請問有特別的理由嗎?

Z: 我比較喜歡有故事的地方,但其實寶藏巖的每個空間都在訴說著自己的歷史,當時選擇這個空間時,我向駐村單位表示先讓別的藝術家選就好,我最後再選,就是這個原因。駐地中的每個展示空間都各自具有不同的價值與意義,所以我把最終選擇權交給命運。防空洞內雖然比較悶熱,夏天佈展會被汗浸透,照明不好、有時候下暴雨會漏水,另外不能打洞安裝掛勾、不能有明火...本身條件限制挺多的,但當我真正面對這個空間時,還是被他給迷住了,因為這個空間本身就是一件藝術品。我將關注點放在這個空間的歷史上,包括房間的建築結構,光線,地勢問題等,另外還考慮到之前有哪些藝術家在此做過作品,以這些資訊來判定這個房間可以表現作品的主題,還有選材的方向。

Courtesy of the artist.

M+Y: 你似乎已經充分研究了寶藏巖與台北之間的歷史,寶藏巖的聚落變遷對你的作品有產生影響嗎?這些變化對你來說有沒有什麼重要性呢?

Z: 有的,在我抵達駐村單位以前,我就閱讀了寶藏巖的歷史資料,知道了寶藏巖經歷過香火鼎盛的時期和日據時期,光復後又經歷軍事管制,經歷過拆遷風波。後來在社會上各方人士、團體的奔走下,推動了一連串的聚落保存運動。直至今日寶藏巖藝術村聚落的形成,林林總總見證了很多台灣的發展史,所以變遷是一個當時想到的預設主題。而且變化,更替也是我一直喜歡表現的主題。在把變遷作為主題後,我在網上搜到一家台北新富市場80年的老冰店的故事,這家老冰店和寶藏巖一樣見證了台北各種事物的興衰和變遷。因為隨著製冷類機器和冰箱的大量普及,冰店生意也日漸蕭條。時代的發展帶來了行業的更替,新的行業推陳出新,老的行業漸漸退出歷史舞台。所以我就想,到了台北先去這家冰店看看。所以說我這次的展覽是始於冰,終於火的。


最終我找到了寶藏巖附近的一家老冰塊店,老闆有七十多歲了,做了六十多年的冰塊生意,但體格依然很健壯。當我訂購冰塊後,老先生還說可以每天幫我運輸冰塊到寶藏巖寺。當冰塊在展廳中融化,轉化成水滲入地下,滋養著寶藏巖山上的植物們,並使整個防空洞在炎熱的夏天顯得清爽涼快之時,也希望觀眾能夠感受到這些即將慢慢逝去的老行當曾經為我們的生活帶來的貢獻。



M+Y: 回歸到你的展覽主題「歸去來兮」。「歸去來兮」是中國著名詩人陶淵明(陶潛)的作品,陶淵明同時也是六朝最偉大的詩人之一。根據史料,陶在當官時決定辭官歸隱,隱居於大自然的懷抱中;他寫的詩多半表現熟悉而親切的鄉村景色,因此也被稱為「田園詩人」。透過閱讀、轉譯陶淵明詩的概念,你想在作品中特別強調什麼?陶的詩又如何與你的作品內容連結?

Z: 我覺得每個人看到的作品是不一樣的,所以我並不想把我的作品特別往哪個方向強調。我希望觀眾能夠看到這個作品的很多面,就像每個人都具有很多面一樣,你永遠沒法簡單定義一個人。


使用「歸去來兮」是因為我覺得這個名字很有更替的感覺,而且這種更替在各個時代都存在。但我並不是指向說我想要說時代更替的問題,因為萬物都在更替,或者也不只是物的更替,還有我們對於事件和精神狀態,美與醜,好與壞的認知都在更替。我覺得佛教說的輪迴也不單純是指生命的輪迴,人的一生就是在不斷地輪迴中進行的。雖然「來兮」被認為是語氣詞,但我覺得陶淵明是明白了這種輪回的人。歸去與來兮,這個世界就是這麼運作的。所以陶淵明想回歸田園生活。另一方面,從他的「桃花源記」中可以看出,他是很嚮往那種「問今是何世,乃不知有漢,無論魏晉。」的精神狀態的。所以回歸田園的目的也是想模仿那種狀態,嘗試從仕途中抽離出來。我覺得這和佛教中人修行是為了脫離輪迴有類似的含義。不過即使是田園牧歌也會有輪迴存在。最終真正能脫離輪回的是精神而非肉體,所以擁有真正脫離輪迴的精神的人也不會在意生活在哪和回歸到哪的,因為當你想回歸的時候,就已經在輪迴中了。


但從另一角度來看,這反而說明墮入輪迴是脫離輪迴的前提,只有輪迴才能磨煉人,使我們看清很多事情,使我們發現真理,因為只有真理才能在輪迴中永恆不滅。而佛的含義就是大智慧,就是真理。所以只有在經歷和認識了輪迴的真意之後,才能懂得如何去輕鬆穿越這些輪回而永生不滅。


M+Y: 在展覽中,其中一個裝置是碳化的往生花。你可以多跟我們分享這件作品的素材與創作過程嗎?花的意象如何與佛教和寶藏巖的生活相關聯?佛教又如何影響你關於重生與離別的思維?

Z:可以說我這次展覽是始於冰,終於火的。在考察台灣當地的人文環境的時候,我發現台灣普遍有一些佛道教相容的信仰,無論是在祈求神明,還是慶祝節日,亦或是在祭奠先人時都會用到火。在佛道教中燃燒是一種與先祖和自身精神回歸之地或是與神明的溝通方式。也有火中涅槃的一說。所以我利用借花獻佛的概念,把花付諸於火,但卻煉製成炭。然後用花道插花的形式去展出。因為花道也就是起源於以花供佛的概念。當會凋謝枯萎的花變成永恆但又極其脆弱的炭,我們反過來對於生命的無常,易逝,包括重生又會有另一種感悟。

Zhang Chong, Fire of Rebirth, 2019. Courtesy of Taipei Artist Village.

M+Y: 在2017年你曾經做過一個展覽《冰川》,以猶太教的生命之樹為引,另外也包括關於聖經的一些內容,甚至引用天體物理學家關於科學和宗教互相對立的觀點。在這之後的作品,都隱約透露出一些與信仰有關的線索,常常圍繞著逝去與別離,生命與死亡,宗教是你經常探索的創作主題嗎?你自己對於人、神、藝術三者之間的看法又為何?

Z:事實上,雖然我用了很多宗教元素在作品中,但我並不信仰任何宗教。反而更喜歡利用宗教的一些概念來反映我們的現實問題。因為當我信仰某個宗教時,會有教條的束縛,使我無法放開手去創作。


在做《冰川》展覽的時候我還在德國讀書,我當時還沒找到自己的創作風格。但在那之後,我開始喜歡上表現矛盾對立和變化的概念,明白藝術語言是需要轉彎的。我雖然經常使用宗教的概念,但其實並沒有在談宗教,我談的一直都是關於現實的問題。借用宗教來反思當代。

如果要談人,神,藝術三者的關係這個問題有點大。藝術起源於宗教,所以藝術也始終脫離不了去討論宗教問題。宗教又和政治與社會科學掛鈎,這樣會牽扯出很多議題。我簡單就宗教和藝術中的儀式感來說說自己的看法,儀式感是藝術中一個永恆的命題,它能帶來重要的詩學和美學的表現。但我們需要辯證的去看待這個問題。人創造了儀式感去制定供奉神明的規則,通過這種規則反過來賦予自身親近神的崇高體驗,比如祭祀,供奉神明的時節和禮儀。而藝術也是如此。


藝術家也創造儀式感使作品具有詩意和給人帶來震撼的感覺。我們可以看到很多好的作品是具有儀式感的。無論是馬修巴尼(Matthew Barney)的影像作品,亦或者是格雷戈爾·施奈德(Gregor Schneider)的房間,又或者是阿布拉莫維奇與男友分手時候把走長城作為一種分手儀式。不僅僅對作品的精緻的細節處理是一種儀式感,對於作品每個部分空間位置的精准把控,影像音畫,以及觀念的精緻度,在作品的邏輯與非邏輯中找到精准的平衡,人的精神實質與儀式的緊密融合,這些都是帶來儀式感的必要條件,也是把觀眾帶入到作品的重要基礎。不過在這之中我們最容易忽視的就是精神實質。通過對於無精神實質儀式感的批判使我們能夠更接近去認識真正的儀式感。我們可以說某些儀式帶來了藝術的崇高和詩學意義,但並不是說都去模仿這種儀式就能達到藝術的崇高。我們更應該去看到每一個不同的儀式背後的精神實質,應該在藝術中找到能夠傳達自己精神的形式,表現真正具有精神實質的儀式感。


M+Y: 在此次展覽里,透過裝置作品《消逝之冰》與《往生之火》,我們可以看到你運用自然中兩個極端相反的元素:冰與火,將你的創作理念以視覺化的方式展現出來。你為什麼會選擇這兩個元素做為代表?另外,在你的創作論述中有這樣一段文字:「別離可能是一個結束,也可能是一個重新開始,可能是一種傷感,也可能是一份追求自由的執念。別離是冰也是火」關於這段論述可以再更深入與我們多分享一點嗎?

Z:首先我喜歡在展覽中展現矛盾對立的東西,當我採用冰的時候就會自然而然的聯想到火。這次展覽始於冰,終於火,在之前的問題裡我也回答了原因。關於別離,雖然整個展覽表面上在談消逝與別離,但實則想談消逝與別離前相聚的餘溫,以及別離後的改變,也許還有一些面對未知的期待和迷茫。正如參加駐地項目的藝術家們一樣,來自世界各地,離開自己熟悉的環境,帶著各自的創作思考與不同的人生經歷,在此處相聚,一起創作和交流,又在此處分別和歸去。「此處」是自由的港灣,夢的追尋地,也是人生中的一段旅程。因為有相聚有別離,「此處」才顯得彌足珍貴。當然,我們面對別離也有各種情緒和理由。所以別離也不單純是一種溫存,也可能是一種決意或者是告別不堪回首的過往,重新開始。就像陶淵明那樣告別令他失望的官場,回歸田園牧歌。別離也可能是生與死的邊界,比如,面對親人的離世。所以別離可以是溫暖的也可以是冰冷的。

Zhang Chong, Fire of Rebirth, 2019. Courtesy of Taipei Artist Village.

M+Y: 在展覽開幕活動里,你同時也舉辦了一場離別儀式:賦予你飼養十天左右的一對玄鳳鸚鵡一次重新選擇的權利,回歸自然或是留下來繼續與人類生活,但在離別儀式的最終,寵物鸚鵡選擇留下來,請問這對你產生的影響與意義為何?

Z: 其實這之中出現了很多曲折的事情。但我也都有預料到做好心理準備。我在計劃之初也有在展覽說明中註明,首先這不是一個放生行為,而是一次選擇的給予。我不把它作為放生來看待是因為在防空洞的展覽影像裡我有表達一個關於放生的主題。但這個主題是一個諷刺,視頻中是一個人把魚放生到水里,然後就回家了,結果魚在水中漸漸融化。這也是一個與別離和消逝有關的主題。放生也是個佛教的概念,不過也有它的兩面性,一方面放生是一種尊重和善待生命的方式,但在另一方面,不合理的放生卻也是一種破壞環境平衡的行為。但我在工作室開放的時候又恰恰計劃執行這種放生行為,雖然行為是一樣的,但意圖和動機完全不同,這就產生了一個矛盾。放生和選擇權的給予,不同的目的卻帶來同樣的結果。這是我想要表達的矛盾之一。


另外在展出的時候,當家裡有養鸚鵡的觀眾獲悉我要在晚上做這個行為的時候,就提出了強烈的反對,理由是玄鳳鸚鵡在自然環境中會百分百死亡,絕對不能放,這是為它們好,它們只有在作為人類的寵物的時候才能好好的活下去。的確,經過人類馴化的玄鳳鸚鵡從出生開始就從來沒有在自然環境中生存過,沒有選擇的成為人類的寵物,它們不知道應該如何在自然環境中活下去,不知道哪裡有食物和危險。但我覺得有趣也是值得反思的是那個人說的話,因為她從來沒有讓鸚鵡試過哪怕一次就已經認定了它們的不可能,她就像楚門的世界中的導演那樣希望鸚鵡根據她規劃好的生活走,她覺得這才是對鸚鵡最好的。但玄鳳鸚鵡其實本身是原產於澳大利亞的野生鳥類,主要棲息在澳大利亞的濕地,灌木和叢林裡。有時候人類一但相信某種理論是正確的,就很難再去質疑它。那名觀眾否認了每隻鸚鵡都會有不同的個性和生存能力,她否認了它們能在自然環境中生存下來的可能性。她堅定的認為給鸚鵡選擇的自由是一件絕對錯誤的事。她沒想過這件事的始作俑者是人類,是人類把這些動物帶離原先的家園讓它們成為供人玩樂的寵物。但事實上世界上很多事就是這麼矛盾的。


不過和它們一起生活了這麼多天,還是很有感情的,要讓它們突然面對殘酷的自然環境也還是有點捨不得。所以最終我決定幫他們找到可以善待它們的主人,另外送給它們的新主人一封以鸚鵡作為第一人稱寫的信。把這次的事件和思考都寫下來。其實,在寫完信後的兩天內我有把鸚鵡放在房間中打開籠子,看看它們是否真的會選擇飛走,結果打開了兩次,它們都沒有選擇飛走。兩次都是半小時,一次是在籠子里站著沒出來,另一次是出來兜了一圈然後又跑回到籠子裡。所以我想這也算是給過它們選擇的機會了。之後我找到了家在台北的一個做策展的朋友,他的家人收養了這兩隻鸚鵡。我也把寫好的信交給了他。



M+Y: 除了上述防空洞內的作品和鸚鵡離別儀式之外,你在工作室內還準備了一個可以與觀眾互動的展覽《別離》,讓觀眾可以自己製作音樂播放卡片,但在音樂播放完畢後,卡片會自動被隱藏在音樂台中的碎紙機粉碎,因此產生別離的意義。我個人很欣賞你在作品中大量使用不同媒材與手段多方面探討相同主題這件事,像是用不同語言吟詠一首詩。從某種意義上來說,別離這件事的本質是建立在有互動、有交流之後的,事實上,在你的作品中我們也可以看到你的素材涉及到人和人,人和動物,自然與文獻、宗教等。因此我很好奇,在你的作品當中不同素材之間的相互作用是否也是你表達互動/分離的一種方式?這些互動留下什麼影響?

Z: 是的,不同材料互相之間會有對話,做綜合材料裝置有時候會像在做拼圖。每個材料都是拼圖的一塊,藝術家要做的是給每一個材料一個無法取代的位置。另外,不同的材料蘊含不一樣的意義。例如,鐵有熟鐵和生鐵之分。熟鐵柔軟,容易變形,不易斷。生鐵堅硬易斷,所以在感覺上熟鐵比生鐵要溫暖。石頭也有軟硬之分,體感溫度也是不同的,使用的工具也是不同的。就算是液體也都有個性,比如水是粘液質的,會有阻力,它和油有明顯的區別。每個材料都有自己的個性和傳達出來的感受。只有真正瞭解它們的人才能將其在觀念中運用自如。


回顧我以前的展覽,每做一次都會接觸到一些新的材料。一般我不會為了特意模仿某個材料的質感而去用別的材料來替代,除非觀念中需要這種替代。就好像我不會用乾花去噴黑色的啞光漆來代替非常難做的真花炭一樣。如果觀念中需要用到真實的花做的炭,我就會真的去把花煉製成炭。可以說這是一個藝術家的操守。因為我很深切地感受到每一種材料都是無法取代的,炭的表面既啞光又反光的那種質感是任何噴漆都無法取代的。還有炭的脆弱,炭的紋理,不同溫度帶來的炭的顏色過渡,這些帶給人的臨場體驗也都是無可取代的。展覽的時候我遇到一個觀眾反復說著太不可思議了,竟然能看到這樣的作品,從來沒見過花也能做成炭,還能這麼完整得做成插花。我想如果我用乾花去噴漆可能就絕對不會有這種震撼感了。我對此樂此不彼。另外我喜歡在創作中保持新鮮感,也希望讓我的朋友能夠在看每一次我的展覽的時候都有不一樣的驚喜。


M+Y: 最後一個問題,你未來的創作計劃是什麼?你有興趣繼續研究「別離」這個主題和相關的含義嗎?

Z: 我想我會一直保持我喜歡探索的個性,在展覽中呈現矛盾對立的事物,呈現新的變化。「別離」這個主題也會隨著我的修行而漸漸深入,事實上我覺得人的每一次重大的頓悟都伴隨著別離。人也需要不斷地告別曾經的自己而前行。



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