內空間的旅行 – 觀看李昆霖《獨腳仙行旅圖》A Journeyinto the Inner Space ---Watching “Journey of One-Legged Deva”
「今張絹素以遠暎，則昆、閬之形，可圍於方寸之內。今張絹素以遠暎，則昆、閬之形，可圍於方寸之內。 豎劃三寸，當千仞之高；橫墨數尺，體百里之迥。豎劃三寸，當千仞之高；橫墨數尺，體百里之迥。」 ---宗炳《畫山水序》
Mythology of the One Foot Celestial Being Perng
It is said that in the Republic times, around the Taizi Tempo area near the suburb of the Taiwan Prefectural city, there is a strange animal: on foot, two eyes, unknowing whether male or female It can avatar, one into two, two into three, and three into many. Its shape looks like animal, it moves quickly, time and space cannot limit it, it suddenly come and suddenly go, shuttle freely in and out. Its name is One Foot Celestial Being (OFCB).
It likes to dwell between mountains and waters, between heaven and earth. It often travels around wilderness and among forests. By chance it makes friend with my people. It likes to drink, attend a banquet, and talk about heaven and earth and the universe. When it is drunk, it runs and shouts, and often wields the pen to write and paint wildly. Its paint-ing and calligraphy are extremely ingenious It often talks about the Tao of the heaven and earth, and about its own subtle emotions About what it paints, people say that it looks like breast peaks－mountains and waters, but it is Tao indeed. It is what its heart feels about the universe.
While drinking beers with Lee, Kuen lin in his studio, facing all the works on the wall, in the carefree of a state of drunken ecstasy, it occurs to me this Mythology, talking about the mysterious and faraway story- living and moving- about the OFCB. In the universe of the OFCB, it shuttles alone among the past, the present, and the future. Space, no matter the floating island and the landed cloud, or the mysterious ponds or the unlimitedly stretching ocean, the OFCB is always standing among them silently, as if time do not exist. In the banquet, in a trance, face to face to the OFCB in the paintings, under the cold wind and cool moon of near- December I went away with the OFCB into a humid, dark and low room. The noises of the banquet faded away shakily. Awakening from an air filling with alcohol, an OFCB sitting in front of me is raising its head to drink a bear rumblingly, and happily pour a cup of beer into my cup.
“I”－The One Foot Celestial Being's Self Narration
In reading the works of Lee,Kuen in,tho objects in shapes of mountain and-waters and the human bodies,and the unknown animal（which the artist calls it OFCB）,are the main and very easily recognized signs of the series "The One Foot Celestial Being's Journey Map". Of course, it is to be convinced that for some observers the first thing that jump into the vision is the sign that look like "breast" in the paintings. Under the strong influence of the social ethic,the breast isstill a taboo. So,for the majority of the observer，facing breasts filling the entire frame, it is hard to avoid imaging hardly to the erotic dimension, with red checks. Nevertheless, if one just imagine according to the first meaning of the shape, one is surely to neglect the other dimension of the sign system of the paintings, and just interpret it as eroticism. About the meaning of this sign in Lee's painting,I will discuss later on.
Besides,I want to talk about the "OFCB" that appears almost everywhere in th eries. In the paintings, the OFCB some-times appears solo with clear shape and details（like the "Watching -- Man and woman", "Face to Man and Woman", "Man and Woman", "Looking Forward", "Query", "Wondering", "woman", Expecting",Visual", "Searching", "A Booming Thun der", "Black Print", "Counterpose", "Contemplation", " Variable", "A Cloud", "Wave Breaker", "Looking Down from a Height", etc.）, sometimes appears in two or three or in large numbers（like the "Surrounded Ruins", "Song of the Roamer Waste Land", "song of the Roamer-Hilltop", " Song of the Roamer-Black Lakr", "Song of the Roamer-Waste Pond", " Standing on a Hilltop", “Countless Layer of Mountains", "Jump for Joy", "Blowing",etc.）
When we try to cut into from the portrait-liked paintings of the OFCB-like"Watching-Man and woman", "Facing Man and Woman", "Man nd woman", "Looking Forward", "Query", "Wondering", "Woman", etc.-the themes of the paintings seem to tell about OFCB's relationship and emotion states：expecting,looking forward,searching,wondering and query,all of them slightly do not avoid presenting the states of himself. By this way he constructs the main characters of the"l", by way of the description of many dimensions, he presents the shape of the l of OFCB.
Interpreting this way, when a group of OFCB appears in a painting,there must be a contradiction explaining the sing. Namely, the symbolic meaning of one OFCB is the present I of the artist.Then, why in other paintings there are OFCBs in group？In psychology, when we analysis the dreams, we consider any person and any object that appears in the dream as a project of the dreamer. Namely,no matter it is one OFCB or many OFCBs,or breast,body like mountains and waters floating black clouds,tortuos strange wood on the hillside,or the lofty electricity tower on the hilltop, or an unknown civilized object, all are possibly a representation of the“I”of the OFCB.
In according to this,I can eventually understand the existential relationship of those OFCBs.FCBs.Namely,in this kind of paint. Ings,the artist expresses the multiple characters of the self,and the contradictory characters of the self.Moreover,by way of the appearance of the OFCB in the space of the paintings, Mr. Lee expresses the inner space of his own emotion. In addition,in front of the outside,it is about some thinking of the surroundings of him, or some experiences in the surroundings. If we look at the creator himself as the object connected by the sign, briefly speaking, every OFCB that appears in the paintings is the self of the artist in different instants. And the juxtaposition of them in the paintings expreses the relationships of every self. It is no strange that when I chat with the producer about the symbolic meaning of the OFCB ,he always says with a smile that："No matter how many I paint, all are the same one".
Dwelling and Traveling in the Inner Mountains and Waters
The works "Clouds", "Heavy Cloud-Floating Island", and "Solemnity" of Mr. Lee are the classical inner mountains and waters symbols, in which an island is no longer island, a cloud is no longer cloud; but an island is also island, and a cloud is also cloud. Those themes in his paintings, no matter the floating island or the landed cloud, the mysterious pond or the unlimited ocean,all are presentation of the "inner space" of the inner spiritual universe.
Under a drawing of an antigravity type, the inner space is therefore causing a sense of surrealism：floating mountains and island, landed clouds. The contradiction run out of the reality, reverse the scenes from the reality, squeeze densely the senses of the viewers in a dull color space. In front of the paintings, the viewers cannot help but enter into the spiritual world of the painter, and then live and move with the One Foot Celestial Being.
Hence, leading by the imagination, going against the gravity principle, the viewers can float in the inner mountains and waters of Lee, Kuen lin, travel in the mysterious world that seems body and mountains and waters. In the paintings of Mr. Lee, this world that one can live and travel,is conform to the tradition："the mountains and waters go near the Tao by their shapes". Yet his description is not an everlasting Utopia, but a body that inscribed a memory of the reality. So, when returning to the reality, the viewers will bring with them the enlightenment that they have experienced in the inner moun- tains and waters. And they will have a deeper enlightenment to ether their environment or their life philosophy.
The Earth is the Body
There is a headline "The Earth is the Body" in the data that Lee handed to me. It brings to light Mr. Lee's impressions and philosophy of the Earth. Simply viewing on the paintings, we often see the symbolic signs of the body, and the breast is the main theme of them. In the whole works, the breast is frequently inter symbolizes with mountains and clouds. The headline "The Earth is the Body", under this inter- symbolization, exposes his symbol and extension of the mountains and waters and human body.
In the mythologies of many primitive peoples, human's way of recognition to the world is from the body to the universe. For example, in the Chinese mythology of Pan Gu Created the Universe, his eyes became the sun and the moon, his breaths became the wind and the clouds, his hands and feet and his body became mountains. According to this way, people can find the order to follow the nature, and not feel disorder or fear to the unknown mystery.
In the philosophy of creation of Mr. Lee, the body and the breast, the earth and the clouds are reciprocal signs one to the other, and are signs that inter-symbolize in the meaning. For this reason, when we read the paintings of Mr. Lee, we shouldn't view it just with the meaning of the physical body breast, plus an eroticism of the social ethic. Those bodies, filled or tortuous breasts and bodies, are alike the breast nails or breast veins of the ancient jades and metal bronzes, symbolize the breeding and containing power of the earth.
However，just like the above when we talk about the OFCB and the dream symbol or the representative object, in the paintings of Lee. the breast or the body is not only pointing to mountains and waters, or clouds, but also to the creator himself. In his surrealistic painting circumstances, although every sign states respect- tively its meaning, but when the viewers are trying to fix their meanings, the signs begin to float, making the paintings produce in circulate abundant meanings, meanwhile point to the paintings themselves and the painter himself. The "Looking Far into the Distance" and the "Countless Layers of Mountains" are classi cally expressing this state. in the former one, a group of breasts, in a misty and pink atmosphere, are looking at the island（body？）far into the distance. The island and the breast point to each other, the breasts that look collectively far into the distance in a mysterious and wide space, are like newborn lives, looking forward to the future happily. The latter one, among heavy dark colors, there are many OFCBs Standing on hilltops in the foreground, in the dark background there are somewhat hilltops or OFCBs., or hilltops that are pregnant to many OFCBs？Or does it hint at the mysterious future hardly to endure？
Inter-relationships of Self-Emotion-circumstances
There is a double symbolic structure of "Self-Emotion" and "Self-circumstance" in the paintings of Mr. Lee. For example, the "Expecting", the "Visual", the "Red Cap", and the "Searching" are describing the OFCE that exists in an unnamable space, and the OFCB are staying alone in the space of the mountains and earth. This part describes the emotional states of the OFCB.
Other paintings like the "Countless Mountains", the-suspension Bridge", the "Double Electricity Towers", the "Black Sculpture ", the "Kite Flying", the "Tree Erecting", and the "Spearhead " are using a visual experience to express the outer space. In his travel experiences, the contrast of the civilization and the nature is a clear visual experience unable to neglect. So in the expression, he often contrasts to nature and the civilized objects on the twin peaks。Furthermore, to be in the middle state are the "Surrounded Ruins", the "A Booming Thunder", the"song of the Roamer" series, and the "Black Print". In this kind of paintings, the OFCB is deeply dwelling among mountain forest, being on hilltops, or traveling among them.
These three kinds of painting series seem to say that, the creator is showing in sequence the inter- relationships of the self-inner emotion-outer circumstances.
The Earth and the Tao
A Saint can imitate the Tao by his spirit, and a Sage can, too. The mountains and waters approach the Tao by their forms, and a Benevolent Man enjoys them. Aren't the three near？
To open a white silk for a far scene to reflect on it, then even the huge Kunlung Mountain's form can be enclosed in a square cun. A vertical stroke of three cuns is served as a thousand rens height, several chis of horizontal stroke is served as a hundred miles wide.
An esthetic Zongbing of Wei Jin Southern and Northern Dynasties（375-433 D.C.）had mentioned such an idea that the importance of the mountains and waters is their approaching to the Tao. But what an earth is the Tao？Lao Zi talked about it in Tao Te Ching Ch.25："There was something formless and perfect before the universe was born. It is serene, empty, solitary, unchanging, infinite, eternally present. It is the mother of the universe. "The Tao is before the universe, eternal and is the mother of all things on earth. So he thought that all things on earth come from the Tao. in Ch.42 he said："The Tao gives birth to one. one gives birth to Two. Two gives birth to Three. Three gives birth to all things." That is to say, all things on earth come from the Tao, which is an eternal order and truth, and the mother of all things. Then, how does an artistic creation presents the ultimate meaning of the Tao, Zongbing thought that：to be loyal in describe the spirit of the mountains and waters in a square cuns, then one can approach the Tao, and can experience the ultimate meaning. As such, he described the importance of the mountains and waters and the earth to the human's world.
In the paintings of Lee, Kuen lin, the earth that symbolizes the breast is indeed having an extremely important meaning in the creator's heart. Back to his paintings, the mountains and waters in the paintings is human body, and is the Tao of himself. He thinks that, all that human has comes from the mountains and waters and the earth. So, he units the breast that breeds all human beings with the mountains and waters and the earth, expressing thus the relation of the earth and the human beings. Perhaps we can see the relationship of Lee's paintings and the eastern mountains and waters theories in the forms of mountains of his works the "Black Sculpture" and the "Primitive Chaos".
From the point of view of motivation, the paintings are records of Lee's daily life experiences and of his advanced understanding and imagination. The universe of his paintings is the inner universe of his emotion. Under the use of dull colors, the dense mysterious space is not a hint of somewhere in reality, but some touches deep in the heart. In fact, Lee does not intend to understand or reflect the eternal Tao in the mountains and waters, but the experiences of his living and traveling among mountains and waters and forest. They are the representation of every present touching when living and traveling among mountains and waters. That is to say, the so-called "testimony of the Tao" in Lee's paintings is in the presentation of his emotions and touching, which comes from the inter-relationship of he and his surrounding.
Live Attitudes and Monologues
From the above paragraph "Inter-relationships of Self-Emotion- circum- stances", we see that：Lee first depicts the OFCB's portrait, presents its emotions and touching, using the "inner space" way of expression. And then, go into the deep experience writing of the OFCB facing his surroundings, describing the touching of the OFCB by the surrounding. Therefore, following the steps of the OFCB, the viewers can travel in its inner world; experience its live attitudes, read its monologues.
In this series, Lee writes the biography of the OFCB in the way of portrait painting, describing its emotions, doubts, queries and peeping into the mysterious future. He uses the OFCB to lead the viewers to see the mountains and waters in his "inner space", to hear his arguments about the body and the earth, and following the change of scenes from the trees, electricity tower, electric wires, small rooms and pavilion, to think about the relationship of the human and the earth, of the civilization and the nature.
When he carefree and happy, as in the "Pavilion", half of the coud contemplates silently on the top of the earth. The pavilion without a person, on the full earth, all is still, enjoys the present. The exited look "A Booming Thunder" erects alone on a withered and shriveled earth, is facing upwards and shouting crazily, but the withered branch is facing downwards and is exhausted. Moreover, there is in a self-ridiculed way, unsatisfied and complaint to the decline of the environment, the "Clouds" uses stirred up black clouds to affect and press the viewers' emotion; an almost disappeared island, Lee makes it float, leaving wishfully out of the earth. Furthermore, the "Double Electricity Towers", the "Provide", the "Thunder Peak Tower", the "Black Sculpture" and the "Spearhead", are all landscape description of his visual experience. In the "Spearhead", by way of the juxtaposition of sharp civilized objects and natural trees on the hilltop, he uses dried up and exposed rocks to show the resilience of the nature; and uses the civilized objects encircled by trees to express the interference of the civilization.
Although in his paintings there are description of landscape of the environment, but there's no need of Cynic excitement in reading Lee's works, all that one needs is to be quietly and leisurely in contemplating the philosophy that he had experienced from the mountains and waters, in following the One Foot Celestial Being's Journey Map step by step and travel in the mountains and waters of his inner space; and perhaps when you turn around and reflect yourself, you'll discover awesomely that you yourself is also an unceasing traveling One Foot Celestial Being.