孤獨者的樂園 A Paradise for the Lonely One
1991年，李昆霖從部隊退伍，一個年青小伙子，用孤獨的行腳在現實的社會中，開始進行生命的探索。十多年來，「孤獨」一直是他訴說的重要主題 ，也是他在存有的深淵中，在語言的斷裂之處，來自生命基底最深沈的訴說。在藝術創作裡，李昆霖的「孤獨」並非現實的再現，而是在生命歷練中，內在思想的顯像；法國哲學家吉爾‧德勒茲（Gilles Deleuze）認為，思想就是一幅影像，如此，影像就脫離了與再現體制的關係，而思想也可由一種必然無影像的思想翻轉為影像自身；李昆霖1991年畫的「孤獨」，以至於這次的展覽新作，均不適合以再現體制來觀看，否則就會說：「啊，這是乳房！」，接著，在乳房與情慾觀的詮釋下，「孤獨」將被遮蔽，而作品也將回到再現體制中，這是本文所試圖要澄明的。
在聖經創世紀17：1中，神對亞伯拉罕說：「我是全足的神，你要行走在我面前，且要完全。」「全足的神」，在希伯來文是拼作“El Shaddai”，El，常繙譯為神，意為大能者，而Shaddai 則來自希伯來文Shed，就是胸部、乳房，意為全豐全足，所以「全足的神」，原意是有乳房的大能者，是全豐全足的供應者。
Lee, Kunlin was retired from the military service in 1991. As a young man, he began to explore his life with lonely walking foot in a realistic society. More than a decade, the “Loneliness” has been an important theme of his utterance; it is also the deepest utterance from the depths of his being, from the fracture zone of the words, and from the basis of his life. The “Loneliness” of Mr. Lee in his artistic creation is not a representation of the reality, but of the inner thoughts. The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze says that a thought is an image. In this way, an image breaks off relations from the system of representation, and a thought that is certainly without image can become an image. The works of Mr. Lee, from the “Loneliness” of 1991 until the new ones of this exhibition, are not suitable to see from a point of view of the representation system. Otherwise, one will say: “Ah, these are breasts!”, and then, under the explanation of the breast and of the erotic point of view, the “Loneliness” will be covered, and his works will return to the representation system. This is what I want to clarify by this article.
Among people, I Feel Lonely
Talking about loneliness, Mr. Lee once said, “Among people, be busy here and there, I feel lonely. Alone by myself, doing what I like to do, I don’t feel lonely instead.” The loneliness that Mr. Lee says is the loneliness of the being, which is the loneliest of all the loneliness. But in his loving world of artistic creation, he tries to find a place for it. And the process of this finding it a place, becomes the process of an unceasingly emerge of works. In this process, thoughts are images. The fascination of the Loneliness then comes forth.
In the “Standing Tree” and the “Providing” of 2006, there is a lonely tree on each lonely peak. The implicit loneliness relies on the supply and nurturing of the breast peak, the lonely tree finds its attachment, and finds its “relationship”. The “Drawbridge” and the “Thunder Peak Tower” unite the two peaks, and between them there is “relationship”. The “Kite Flying” and the “Pavilion” extend the connection between the breast peaks and their surrounding. The German philosopher Martin Buber says, “the relationship is the origin of all.” In order to conquer the fear of the existential loneliness, you have to have a relationship, which is not that of an interpersonal relationship, but that of a relation between a person and the basis of his being. Mr. Lee’s loneliness generates a dynamism, that radiates from the basis his life, and units him with the world. This is the primary calling of an artist. It is a calling to open to the Unkown, and to have relationship with Him. This calling eventually forms many plentiful symbols and musical movements.
One Can Move with Just One Foot and Two Eyes
The “Loneliness I” of 1991 seems to be the archetype of Mr. Lee’s life, and it’s the basis of all his artistic creation. In this oil painting of just 65*53 cm, there is a big foot, unique, triangle, firmly standing, with two nipple eyes on the top. Straightly walking through this way for 16 years, the artist’s heart has been ever the same, did not fall down by the circumstances. According to Mr. Lee, this little painting had been sold many years ago, later on he traded it back with another big one.
Mr. Lee says, “One can move with just one foot and two eyes.” This is a simplification of the live, a spiritualization of the desire of the matter, and a purification of the life. One who has a contact with Mr. Lee, often feels from him a character of saints. The themes of his works are usually connected to his live, for example, hiking, swimming, feeding, life surroundings, but about the character of saints, it has to be uncovered specially. The German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadsmer says that, the understanding of an art is not by way of many methods in order to look at it as a solitary object, but by way of the opening to the being in order to listen to the question the work brings forward. By this way, the work can really show us a world. Being an artist with character of saints, being an existential loneliness’ unceasing calling, Mr. Lee is showing in his painting series of 2006-2007 that, he can listen to the response of his Self- Great Man, and that there condense a certain maturity and perfection from the process of the reintegration of his life.
Breast is not Erotic, but Symbol of Mother’s Body
Lee, Kunlin had shown us scenes of heaven and earth mingling and the creation of all things in the series called “A Sorrow Gentle Wind and the Scene” in 1993. When one views and admires the exhibition of this series, one will probably find that he land himself in groups of “breasts”, and will speak without any consideration, “Ah, there are all breasts!” And the artist will say, “I paint no breast!” Then both come into a silence.
As Mr. Lee has it, “The human body is the earth,” “the breast is a symbol of the mother’s body… it nurses all….”, deducing in this way, the earth is the human body, the mountains are breasts of the earth, the breasts are mountains-and-waters that nurse all things on earth. In his own interpretation, his paintings are mountains-and-waters, in which the breast peak is not erotic, but symbol of mother’s body.
At Genesis 17:1 God says to Abraham: “I am God Almighty. Walk in my presence and be without blame!” The “God Almighty” in Hebrew is “El Shaddai”. “El” is usually translated as “God”, means the almighty one. “Shaddai” comes from the Hebrew word “Shed”, which is “chest”, or “breast”, means all abundant and all sufficient. So the “El Shaddai” means the Almighty with breasts, who is an all-abundant and all-sufficient Provider.
Mr. Lee’s breast is the presentation of the “Almighty One”. Although he doesn’t intend to interpret the divine, nevertheless the symbol of nursing all things on earth is coincided with the Almighty Provider. At this coincidence, the Almighty breast presents unceasingly, with single peak, double peaks, multiple peaks…, all beget from the Almighty One. One begets Two, Two begets Three, and Three begets all things, and bears, and generates and multiplies continually. This is the symbol that Mr. Lee usually used, and that is what he wants to express: “a symbol of the mother’s body… it nurses all….”
Nevertheless, on the breast of the Almighty One, there are usually implicated images of joy, humor, sorrow and even censure. But they are all implicit, just like the implicit nature of the artist himself. For example, in those works of 2006, the comfort and free of the “Drawbridge” and “Kite Flying”, the natural and leisurely of the “Pavilion”, are fountains of joy; in the “Standing Tree” and “Solemnity”, on the top of the breast there breeds pretty branches and leaves; there is humor in the breed. But in the “Thunder Peak Tower” and the “Double Electricity Towers”, the utterance turns. On the breast of the Almighty One, the Human goes so far as to erect electricity towers. The pretty branches and leaves begin to wither, the elegant mood of the poets and artists begins to break off, and the sorrow follows. In the “Clouds” of 2006, the industrial black smoke discolors the wind and cloud. In the “Laughing Lake- Black Lake”, those surrounding breast peaks appear somehow powerless. Coming to the 2007, in the “Booming Thunder”, under the dust, the breast of the Almighty One has become old and worn. The artist seems to feel the “anger” and “blame” of the Almighty One, but Mr. Lee’s nature is elegant. He says: “I love the nature, and I draw what I’ve seen. …I won’t be an environmental protector ….”
Mr. Lee has a deep affection to the sacred “Mother’s Body”. He walks along with his lonely walking foot from 1991. “Seeds and Pupas” appear repeatedly, animals and plants dialect to each other, the regeneration and multiplication makes the dualistic opposition of the live and dead dispel. Some may think that the style of Mr. Lee is “free, easily changed, but too dangerous.” Nevertheless, in his advance to the undependable wilderness, the affection to the “mother’s body” is always the same. This is the symbol of Mr. Lee’s “Self”, the nuclear of the spirit and it ties up closely to every level of every kind of works, and it is where the “existential loneliness” fins its place. This is the process of Mr. Lee’s individualization, and of his psychological completion. With the uncovering of this dimension, we can realize that although his works are free and easily changed, but in fact the central theme remains the same. Dangerous it maybe, but actually it’s the process of advancing to the safe paradise.
The Appearance of the Lonely One
Finally, in the works of 2007, we see the lonely walking foot of 1991 comes into the vision, and jumps actively among breast peaks, mountains-and-waters. It seems to have passed some extent of evolution: bareheaded, with big eyes, and the lone foot becomes the hindquarter of some wild animal. It no longer grasps straightly the ground, but becomes a body agile, quick, and easy for jumping. In the movement among breast peaks, mountains-and-waters, it has a special body scheme. It is the “Lonely One”, the archetype of Mr. Lee’s subconsciousness.
In the works “Contemplation” and “Gaze”, the Lonely One seems to look cautiously at the surroundings. He is “Searching” and “Expecting”. In the “Black Sculpture”, the Lonely One stands uprightly on a peak, as if “World nobody I am biggest.” As Mr. Lee has it: “When I’m alone, I feel no loneliness, because I can do what I like to do.” This is what the French phenomenologist Maurice Merlesu-Ponty says: “Loneliness and connection are two faces of the same phenomenon.” When the Lonely One stay in the “Tomb and Marriage” (work of 1992), in the procedure of performing acts of ceremony, he suspends the connection, but he cannot but stay in the connection. Nevertheless, when he is alone, he acquires a sense of existence; he regains an intimate connection with the world. He tries to transcend the other existences by his free existence. In the works of Mr. Lee, we can often experience this kind of “way of self transcendence.”
In addition, the scheme of the Lonely One in the eyes of people maybe is fragmentary. But Mr. Lee says: “A single foot is nearer to that situation, two feet will loose the sense.” This “sense” is not only referred to an aesthetic feeling, but more importantly, it should be referred to an awakening moment to the existential situation. At this moment, the Lonely One repeatedly returns to the Origin. The body looks like retrograded, is in fact returns to a more primitive scheme than a primitive man. It is a pure and complete scheme of existence. It is the scheme of appearance of the Lonely One after quenching. In the “Query” and “Puzzling” of 2007, the Lonely One appears alone, as a close-up of this kind of scheme, and makes us feel a strong body language. Meanwhile, we probably feel puzzled about: what is the assignment of the body scheme of the Lonely One? But this uncertainty is dispelling when the Lonely One returns to be among the breast peaks, mountains-and-waters. This dialectic between mountains- and-waters and the Lonely One, is the utterance comes out of Mr. Lee’s basis of existence. But in the utterance of the existing world, he always chooses to be silent, because the silence is another utterance. In this kind of language, the Lonely One finds a place for his utterance.
In the works of 2007, in the “Counter-pose” there are two Lonely Ones standing on two breast peaks in a counter pose. In the “Mountains” there are many Lonely Ones, each on one peak. When there are amount of Lonely Ones, can they still be called lonely ones? Mr. Lee says: “No matter how many of it is painted, they are actually the same one.” His using “it” for the Lonely One, has shown unintentionally the intention of returning to the Origin. Moreover, the “many noises” are all from one source, they are all interior echoes. The many Lonely Ones are in fact one Lonely One. And the one Lonely One is Lee, Kunlin himself. Here, the Lonely One appears not only in his pure existential scheme, but also in countless embodiments, it plays with itself in a great pleasure. Consequently, the Lonely One is no longer lonely. So Mr. Lee says: “Through painting, one can also do psychotherapy. It is possible that when one finishes his painting, he is no longer lonely.”
An All-Breast (All-Sufficient) Jetavana Vihara
The Reasons for the Dharma Assembly, One: "Thus is what I’ve heard, once Buddha was in Sravasti, at Jetavana Vihara, meeting with 1,250 Buddhist monks.” The “Jetavana Vihara”(means Garden of Jeta’s Trees and of Anathapindik- the Provider for the Lonely Ones) is the place where Buddha dwelled for teaching dharma, and for revealing the way of freedom. Lee, Kunlin’s breast peaks, mountains-and-waters have built a sacred land of freedom for the worldly eroticism and loneliness. To this kind of land for the almighty breasts and for the purification of the existential Lonely One, we can call it in a funny way as “An All-Breast Jetavana Vihara”, a paradise for the Lonely One.
In the large-scale work “Blowing” of 2007, the Lonely One is standing on a breast peak, and is blowing. The Lonely One is popping out its head to check its blowing. The elasticity of the breast peak allows the Lonely One to jump and play freely at all times. These surrealistic scenes and pleasing structures and colors transmit an atmosphere of joy, make us feel like entering into a fairy tale’s land. The “Fascinating Traces of the Earth” is all the most like a wonderland of the world, brimming over beauty and peace, the black smoke and black water have turned into clear waters which merge in one color with the skies. The “Electricity Towers” which originally symbolize destroy of the body land, are forgiven and dispelled. The Lonely One roams among the peaks, the electricity towers twist their bodies and have a good time together with it. The Lonely One is in the world, and also in the heaven. The loneliness and the connection can be a unity. The Lonely One enters into the being state of its life.
Lee, Kunlin’s lonely walking foot, starts from the “Loneliness” of 1991, comes all the way until now. The works of 2006-2007 series are another new jumping with important meaning. Edvard Munch in his extremely loneliness uttered his painful “skrik”. Every one of us can also develop a set of patterns to deal with the loneliness, and the Lonely One of Mr. Lee’s pattern is seeking to return to the Origin, return to the true self, and has shown us a heavenly paradise. Perhaps Mr. Lee does not intend to build a sacred atmosphere, but he has entered at ease into the sacredness, into the Eden of the Almighty One. In this paradise, those surrealistic wonderful flowers and different fruits, and abundant pictures of the thoughts surely will be a feast for the eyes. Let’s wait and see!